But the mission of the good woman was prevented by the complainant’s insisting that he was much better, would presently be well, and wished to retire for the night. His request was granted—but little more was said—and all shortly after betook themselves to bed—to think, or sleep, or dream, as the case might be with each.
When the family arose on the following morning, they found the stranger had departed; but when or whither none could tell.
[Footnote 4: It may be proper to note here, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the early history of Kentucky, that, at the period of which we write, it was claimed and held by Virginia as a portion of her territory, for which she legislated accordingly.]
The year 1781 was remarkable in the history of Kentucky for the immense emigration from the east into its territory of unmarried females. It appears, in looking over the records of the time, as though some mighty barrier had hitherto kept them in check, which, being removed, allowed them to rush forward in overwhelming force, like to the pent up waters of some stream when its obstruction suddenly gives way. Whatever this hitherto obstruction or barrier may have been, we do not pretend to say; but the fact itself we record as we find it chronicled in history. The result of this influx of females into a region almost wholly populated by the opposite sex was one, as will readily be perceived, of great importance to the well-being of the embryo state; and was duly celebrated by the rising generation, in a general jubilee of marriages—one following fast upon another, like drops of rain in a genial summer shower; and, to extend the simile, with an effect by no means less productive of fertility, in a long run, to the country round about.
A wedding in those days was an affair of great importance to the neighborhood of its location; and was looked forward to by old and young—the latter in particular—as a grand holiday of feasting, dancing, and general rejoicing. Nor can this be wondered at, when we take into consideration the fact, that, in the early settlement of the country, a wedding was almost the only gathering, as they were called, which was not accompanied with some laborious employment—such as harvesting, log-rolling, and the like. Occasionally there might be some dissatisfaction felt and expressed by some, who, from some cause or another, chanced to be left out of the almost general invitation; in which case a special resentment not unfrequently followed. This was accomplished in various ways—sometimes by felling trees, or placing other obstacles across some narrow portion of the horse-path by which the wedding party were advancing, thereby causing considerable delay for their removal—sometimes by ambushing and firing a volley of blank cartridges at the party in question, so as to frighten the horses, by which means more or less were frequently injured, by being thrown to the ground—and sometimes by shearing the manes and tails of the horses themselves, while their owners were being occupied with the feast, and the dance, and the gay carousal of the occasion. But to proceed.