NICK OF THE WOODS.
The sun of an August afternoon, 1782, was yet blazing upon the rude palisades and equally rude cabins of one of the principal stations in Lincoln county, when a long train of emigrants, issuing from the southern forest, wound its way over the clearings, and among the waving maize-fields that surrounded the settlement, and approached the chief gate of its enclosure.
The party was numerous, consisting perhaps of seven or eight score individuals in all, men, women, and children, the last bearing that proportion to the others in point of numbers usually found in a borderer’s family, and thus, with the help of pack-horses, cattle, and a few negroes, the property of the more wealthy emigrants, scattered here and there throughout the assemblage, giving to the whole train the appearance of an army, or moving village, of Vandals in quest of some new home to be won with the edge of the sword. Of the whole number there were at least fifty well-armed; some of these, however, being striplings of fourteen, and, in one or two instances, even of twelve, who balanced the big rifle on their shoulders, or sustained it over their saddle-bows, with all the gravity and dignity of grown warriors; while some few of the negroes were provided with the same formidable weapons. In fact, the dangers of the journey through the wilderness required that every individual of a party should be well armed, who was at all capable of bearing arms; and this was a kind of capacity which necessity instilled into the American frontiersman in the earliest infancy.