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Friday, August 18, 2017

PROVERBS 1:20-22



"Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates 
in the city she utters her sayings:
How long, O naïve ones, will
you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?


How apropos are these verses?
It seems that common sense has left the building,
and the naïve ones are wandering the streets
choosing to stay simple-minded by
delighting in hating knowledge
by closing their minds to truth:
FOOLS HATE KNOWLEDGE.





We are living with more hate now than any other time since I've been alive.  Yes, hate divided our nation in our two civil wars, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  But if we dislocate Truth, we cannot know knowledge.  Wisdom shouts in the street, lifts her voice above the noise crying out.
But do fools listen?  No, because they hate knowledge. 




There are plenty of people out there who are spoon-feeding fools opening wide to things that delight them no matter if they are truth or not.  What then?  The scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, loving hearing their own voice in an echo chamber.  Hate closes minds.  Fools hate knowledge.  


Solomon is speaking of wisdom of which he had been gifted with aplenty.  He is looking at his people who have chosen to ignore wisdom.  Is he frustrated?  I quote again from Psalm 111:10...


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have those who do His commandments."

Wisdom crieth...


Are we to conclude that if God is rejected, people are choosing to be fools?  His Spirit is personified in this Wisdom who is lifting her voice in the streets and square.  Adam Clarke wrote, "Here wisdom is again is again personified, as it is frequently, throughout this Book: where nothing is meant but the teachings given to man either by Divine Revelation, or the voice of the Holy Spirit in the heart.  And this voice of wisdom is opposed to the seducing language of the wicked mentioned above.  This voice is every where heard--in public, in private, in the streets, and in the house.  Common sense, universal experience, and the law of justice written on the heart, as well as the law of God, testify against rapine (pillage and plunder) and wrong of every kind.  Ye simple ones, ye who have been seduced and deceived."


Oh my, the seducing language of the wicked is out-shouting Wisdom, common sense, universal experience, and the law of justice written on the heart.  Hmm.  Once wisdom has been shown the door, justice soon follows and rapine and wrong of every kind is free to roam the streets.  Mob violence.  It is purposefully intimidating to any who wish to speak the truth.  You can choose to listen to wisdom or become one of the masses in the street with fingers in the ears.


William Wilberforce was the leader in the successful abolition of slavery in England:
"So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the (slave) trade's wickedness appear
that my own mind was completely made up for abolition.  Let consequences be what they would:
I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition."


I will let you make your own applications, but I know what it is like to be called threateningly every name in the book for crossing a strike line.  I know what it is to be intimidated in a gathering of hundreds by thugs surrounding us in a rally for the teacher's union.  I know what it is like to face down gang violence where someone was down and being viciously kicked.   I have been physically assaulted while standing in a silent show of support for life.  I have stood in a church assembly to speak what evidently was an unpopular view against alcohol in the church.   We can not afford to do nothing, to be intimidated to be silent when evil is at the threshold.  



Oh, dear ones, God continually told his people to be courageous.  Stand for truth, for wisdom.  You may become unpopular in your community, your church, and even with your family.  When the Holy Spirit came with power, we must ask, what difference did it make in the disciples?  What difference has it made in our lives?  It should empower you with boldness instead of man-fear.  






Thursday, August 17, 2017

PROVERBS 1:10-19


A WORLD GONE CRAZY!

They want to what?
Al Sharpten and others want to tear down the Jefferson Memorial 
and others, even George Washington's monuments?


"My son, if sinners entice you
Do not consent.
If they say, 'Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole as those who go down to the pit;
We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,'
My son do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.
Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence."


As often as possible, I choose to consider the Proverbs verse by verse, but here is a whole chunk to be taken together.  Though it is usually hard to relate to verses on violence, however, history has very seldom allowed peace.  There is always evil.  Thus, we have our peace keepers, those who wear the badge to protect us, our police, sheriffs, and military.  



Did you know there were two civil wars?  The word civil can mean relating to citizens or the state as a political body as well as the general population that is not military or ecclesiastical.  It can also mean polite or courteous.  Thus, a civil war is far from politeness or courteousness.   The Civil War that is a bone of contention right now, North vs South, is one that some would try to erase from our history though nearly 700,000 of our citizens died in battles to emancipate slaves as well as keep our union together.  However, I am becoming more and more aware that the Revolutionary War was much more than a war of independence fought against England but was in great part fought by Patriots against Tories, Americans fighting against each other.  There was much bloodshed as Tories, especially in the South, thought their bread was better buttered by England and went through their neighborhoods, their communities and countryside hanging fellow citizens and burning their homes and barns for the cause of King George.  




In my family research, I came across one ancestor who was pressed into service for these Loyalists by the threat of such hanging and burning of his home.  He finally escaped to go back home to protect his family only to be captured by the Swamp Fox's scouts, tricky Patriot raiders. Because he told them where sixty Patriot prisoners were being held, they let him go.  When Swamp Fox freed these soldiers, Francis Marian, the Swamp Fox, received a special medal bestowed by General George Washington, all because one Patriot escaped after being pressed into service for England.  It was neighbor against neighbor.  





May we be civil to one another while refusing to go along with evil.  We cannot erase the parts of history we disagree with because it would have no end.  That would be a danger to us all by not leaving the lessons of history for the generations to come.  In the East as well as the South, battlefields are everywhere with each division leaving statues to remember where men fought and died.  In the end, they all signed allegiance to our great nation. 



It is just as impossible for me to erase all the Southerners from my own ancestry who were slave owners and fought for the South.  It is just there.  Lesson learned.  That does not make me a racist or a bigot or one embracing the KKK or the White Supremacists or Nazi as I have been called on fb because I am a white conservative Christian.  I abhor what they stand for.  I would never run to their evil.  I sympathize totally with the young woman who died in Charlottesville protesting them.  But neither do I support those who came as alt-left with helmets and bats and concrete cans to confront them with.   Many are funded by the Resist movement that Hillary Clinton just gave $800,000 to.  May God help us not to repeat history because those who run to violence "ambush their own lives."






Here is an excerpt from a letter by Thomas Jefferson
written to an ancestor John Wise in 1798
concerning their difference of opinion politically...

"I can say with truth that political tenets have never taken away my esteem
for a moral and good man..."


They were brilliant!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

 LONGHUNTERS AMONG THE CHEROKEE



Joseph had not intended for his cabin to be so near the  over-mountain trail.  Yet,  now it wound so close by that he could hear  the ox-pulled wagons groan, creak and rumble over the narrow road, sometimes screeching out for more axel grease sounding like a panther.  But most of all Joseph had not dreamed his Patsy would die and leave him with a helpless infant.  He had no cow freshened for milk.  The poor infant was red-faced screaming himself hoarse.  So Joseph left his wife cold on their bed and wrapped the infant in a flannel blanket.  He strode down the hill towards the train of immigrants passing through.  A few glanced over, some waved and then did double-takes as he held the wailing baby up over his head.  

"Does anyone have milk for my son?  I have nothing to give him.  Please!"  "Oh, God!" he cried in his soul and half out-loud.  Joseph figured if this child was so important that he lived while his mother died to bring him into the world, then Joseph would do his utmost to try to save him.   

A gangly boy rode by on a mule and yanked back on his reigns.  "What'd ya say, mister?"

Joseph
had to shout over his babies piercing cries.  "I need milk for my son.  My wife just died and I can't feed my baby."  He could feel the tears pooling blurring his eyes.  It was as if saying it made it more true.  His Patsy was dead.

The lad scratched his scraggly scalp and offered, "There's a woman amongst us whose baby didn't make it, come too soon.  Her man was kilt by a tomahawk while herding cattle a ways back.  Maybe she can help."

His dirty heels kicked the mule into a lazy gait as he turned and rode towards the end of the wagons.  Joseph had begun to think he'd just imagined it, but then the lad reappeared out of the cloud of dust.

"
Here she is mister.  She ain't been talking much to nobody, grieving I guess, but you can ask her," he yelled over the baby's desperate cries.  A young woman driving a wagon drew up in front of him pulling on her brake.  Her mules looked gaunt, ready to drop.

At least he caught her eye.  Joseph had never seen such a vacant look on anybody before, but he approached her holding out his son.  "Please, ma'am.  I can't feed him.  Can you help me?  I'm desperate!"

The poor soul looked at his son for an eternity before her hands snaked out grabbing him and pulling him to her breast under her shawl."

The wagons swept by hers as if she were a boulder in a stream and though staring, they kept a-going.  She never looked up.  Joseph wove past the last wagon to speak to the men herding the cattle.  None had calves.  None had milk.

Reason began to dawn in Joseph's mind.  If his son was to survive, he would either have to give this woman his baby, or he could ask her to stay.  But would she agree?  He swept his hand over his face where trail dust mingled with sweat and tears.  It was a conundrum.  

Joseph
took a shaky breath knowing everything depended on this woman whose eyes were closed as his son lustily nursed.  He realized tears were streaming down her face blotted by the baby's blanket as they dropped.

"Ma'am.  I'm not sure what to do.  I'm in a fix.  My wife just died giving birth to my son, but I don't have anyway to feed him.  His life is in your hands whether you take him with you or if you choose to stay here with me.  I'm a God-fearing man, not a drinker, and a hard-worker.  Never raised my hand up against a woman all my life and never will.  I got me a snug cabin and a garden.  I can shoot either to bring in game or to ward off those who seek to do harm."  He swallowed hard as he saw her tremble and remembered that her man had just been killed. 

Finally she opened her eyes and turned to gaze at him as if waking from a nightmare.  

"I'll stay."

All speech was sucked right out of him as if he'd been gut-punched.

Finally he stammered with his voice cracking, "You will?"

It was then that he noticed the kid was still sitting on his mule which pulled up tuffs of grass at Joseph's feet.  The boy grinned and said, "I'll tell the others in the party.  I figure they'll understand, ma'am."

The kid jerked his mule's head up and turned back to the last of the straggling cattle where men held their rifles in one hand and a stick in the other to prod the herd along.  "Jim, which do you figure belonged to Mizz Sarah?  She's a-staying, and we need to cut out what's hers."

The man nodded at Joseph then spoke to another.  The men moved a couple of the skinny creatures over towards him.  Joseph could only stammer, "Thanks."

"She's good folk, God bless her soul.  It's been a rough time for her come lately.  But she looks to be in good hands now.  Bye, Mizz Sarah.  I know my wife will miss yer company, but it seems all for the best this way."

She nodded to the man without looking up from Joseph's suckling child.

"Well now," Joseph paused as he scrubbed his hands through his thatch of wild hair.  "When you are good and ready maybe you can drive yer wagon up yonder," he said pointing and catching her eye for a second, "and I'll drive these beasts of yours up to my pasture."   She nodded and wrapped his son cuddled up in her shawl and tied him there tightly.  Not even looking his way, she picked up the reigns and turned her wagon out as if nothing had happened though they knew both their worlds had just turned upside down with a cup of grief full to spillin' out.

"Gee haw!" Joseph hollered slapping her mules to go on.  Then he searched the ground until he could find a good stick to spur the cattle to follow in her dust.   But suddenly he almost wanted to use it to back a man away from the woman's wagon.  He smelled him before he saw him.

"Whoa there!"  A bushy man in buckskin rode up on a fine looking horse grabbing one of her mules harness.  "Mizz Sarah?  You sure this is what you want?  I mean, I sorta figured with your man gone, we could, I mean, I could use a woman when we get to where we are going."  The man turned snake eyes back and forth between them.  His tongue wasn't forked, but it slipped out over his lips in a disgusting manner before he spit a stream of brown tobacco juice.

"I'm sure, Mr. Grity," the woman said without looking at him and slapped the reigns on the mules to get them going again.

"I'll be back," he shouted after her before turning to Joseph.  "She might change her mind after her sorrow settles.  Remember, I saw her first."  He glared at Joseph and rode off.

His head throbbed as it swirled in disbelief.  His wife he'd loved lay on blood soaked sheets in their bed.  He'd have to dig a grave before this new woman, a perfect stranger, could even cross his threshold.  Joseph used his arms to swipe the tears that were erupting out of a chest swelled in pain.  A sob escaped.  He'd loved his dear  Patsy.  She'd followed him from Ireland to the new world only to die in the wilderness. 

By the time the woman pulled the brake on the wagon again, Joseph had let her cattle into his small enclosed pasture where his stout grass-fed cow lifted her head to judge the new scrawny specimens.  "Don't worry, Bess, they'll plump up in no time."

Then he hurried over to where the woman sat waiting.  "There's a place over there in the shade you can wait, but I have to bury my..."  He couldn't say it.  Grief was stuck in his throat to where he could hardly swallow.

"I'll get her ready for you, sir.  I've done it before.  You go on and choose your burying place."

He nodded and helped her down, but avoided her gaze which was just as drenched in sorrow as his own.  Joseph unhitched the mules and took them to his small barn so they could eat some corn.  He drew buckets of water to fill the trough.  Again he swiped his arm over his wet face and picked up his shovel.  He knew Patsy's favorite spot up the hill.

When his task was done, Joseph came back to stand in his open doorway, Patsy looked peaceful lying there, hands across her chest, eyes closed.  She looked as if she would wake up any moment. The bloodied sheets were no where in sight, but his sleeping son lay in the cradle fashioned by his own hands. 

"Do you have a box or do you want me to wrap her in a blanket?"  The voice was weary.

"She's laying on a quilt she made before we married.  She'd like it iffen I used that-er one."  Joseph choked out.  "I don't have any boards to make her a proper coffin any how.  I never expected to need any."

He drew closer and gazed down upon his wife for one last look at love, a love that cost death but gave life.  He pressed a kiss to her cold forehead and rose up to do what he had to do.  She was gone.

Joseph
carried her in his arms like when he first carried her over their threshold laughing.  Now she was silent bundled up in her shroud.  The birds would have to sing a hymn to commit her to the dust.  Only when the last shovelful covered her and rocks were piled atop, did he break down sobbing.  God would have to be satisfied with his groanings, because he had no words.

The woman was unloading some of her things out of the wagon when he made his way back down the hill.  It wasn't all that much, but it would fill his small cabin.  Joseph grabbed the trunk from her arms and hefted it up onto his shoulder to carry in.  Once it was shoved against the foot of the bed, the babe drew him until he plucked him up to bury his face in his softness.  Joseph found himself sitting in a rocking chair that the stranger must have brought in.  He rocked and croaked out a quiet song, an Irish lullaby his mother used to sing to each new one added to her brood.  

His mind finally registered that the woman was making noise with pans, and a smell of corn pone reached him while salt pork spit on the griddle.  Joseph realized he had not eaten since a hurried  breakfast on the previous morn.  Patsy's labor had been long and difficult so that he had not slept at all last night.  Weariness crept into his bones.  

The woman shook him awake.  She'd taken his son from his arms to sleep in his cradle and said, "I know you have been through agony, but you still need to eat."

"Thank you, ma'am."  He stood weaving for a moment before he sank into his chair at the table and propped his heavy head up with a fist.  "Smells good."  His appetite somehow found him, and he ate everything she put on his plate.

After seeing to the animals, Joseph came in and sat on the bed pulling off his boots.  When he yanked his shirt and pants off stripping down to his long johns, he glanced up just as he saw her look away blushing.  Joseph felt his neck burn, but this was going to be life in a very small cabin.  He grabbed a wool blanket and his pillow to lay on a rug in front of the fire like a dog.

"You get the bed, at least tonight.  I'll sleep in the rocking chair since I'll be up feeding the baby anyway."

He grunted his thanks and was out as soon as he sank into the cornhusk mattress.

The woman had made Irish oats for breakfast.  She must have brought coffee with her too because he'd had none since the backside of forever.  It soothed him to cradle his cup and slowly sip it.  He looked over at his infant and almost smiled.  It wasn't the little fella's fault that his mother hadn't made it.  God provided as sure as He had provided for Hagar and Ismael.  His eyes looked up and found himself gazing at the woman God gave him.  He swallowed a gulp that burned.

Last night he could no more have told a soul what she looked like, what color her hair was, or what color her eyes were.  Now they sat across from each other sizing the other one up.  He scrubbed his whiskery chin.  No wonder that buckskin brute wanted her.  She was a skinny thing but still beautiful in a sad sort of way.  Her eyes were blue as an Irish sky and her hair black as a moonless night.  In between he figured many a storm would break over her face before all was said and done.  

"Thank you for the coffee, ma'am.  It's been awhile.  What do you need from me today?"  

Her eyebrows rose in surprise.  "I think I have everything I need, except to be shown the way to the spring or howsoever you get your water."

A whimper came from the cradle.  Joseph about knocked his chair over in his hurry to pick up his son.  The boy was stretching with a round "o" of a yawn.  "How did he do last night?  Did he let you sleep?  I nary heard a peep."



"He needs to build up my milk, so he's drinking every hour or two.  I should have plenty for him in a day or so when it comes in, then he might sleep longer."  He saw her blush at the intimacy of their conversation.  But this was life with a baby he figured.  

"Then you should probably lie down with him and try to get some sleep in the bed.  I'll just fix myself something to eat out in the woods at midday and get out from under your feet.  Don't plan on me coming back until supper." 

Then he glanced over by the door and saw a new rifle leaning there.  "That yours?"  When she nodded, he went on, "Do you know how to use it?"

"Yes, my husband taught me."

"Good.  It'll give me peace of mind that you can protect yourself, but just be aware that mostly friendly Indians come by just to trade.  Don't be too scared if one pokes his face in your doorway."
He tried to ignore the look of horror on her face.

It was harder than he thought to hand over his child to his wet nurse.  Wet nurse?  Was that all she was, or did she figure on settling down with them here.  He hoped it was the latter because his son would need a mother from here on out.  Besides, he didn't know of another unattached woman within fifty miles.  Marriage wouldn't ever be the same as what he had with his Patsy, even if they could find a preacher.  Most around here just jumped the broom or fasted their hands.  Joseph shook his head.  It was too much to think about and too soon.

He glanced around the room before he left.  Besides the rocking chair, she had brought in another couple of straight backed chairs, a crate of what looked like dishes, another iron skillet and a stack of quilts which sat atop the trunk.  Of all things, there was a painting of a castle in a small frame leaning up against the wall.  Outside a bedstead still sat in the wagon along with another mattress.  He felt of it.  It was a feather bed!  My, my, ain't she fancy, he thought.  

Nevertheless, he stuck his head back in the door.  "Joseph Boney.  That's my name."  

She only nodded solemnly.  "Sarah Mullins." 

"Make yourself at home.  I'll go ahead and bring in the rest of the things in the wagon now 'cause it looks to rain, but you'll have to figure where to put it all.  I suppose we could put your mattress on the bed and the other un' under it so that it can be pulled out at night. if that's what you'd like, that is."

"Thank you...Joseph."  Her face was still taunt.  He knew it wasn't because of him, but because of what life had dealt her.  He managed a smile.  This woman had saved his son's life after all.  He'd better make her welcome.

Joseph went out to work in the garden after tending his growing bunch of livestock.  Instead of one horse and cow, now there were three cattle, two mules, and one horse, not counting his pigs that roamed the woods getting fat on chestnuts.  He was a wealthy man, one even with a real feather bed.  Sometime he'd like to just lay on it for a moment just to see what it felt like.  What would his Patsy have said?  No.  He couldn't go there.  Joseph went bac to hacking weeds harder than ever.  

Working hard, muscles bunched, teeth gritted, and sweat dripping, he finally decided that was enough.  Then he went to check his trout lines.  Fresh trout would be a treat.  After he hauled in a couple of browns, Joseph pulled off his clothes, even his long johns and took a dip.  He sure didn't want to smell like that fella yesterday.  It would be enough to drive a woman away from her cabin. Patsy never complained of him stinking, well there was that time when he fell in the manure, but that was it.  Nevertheless, we wanted to be clean while holding his newborn son.  That was all.  It brought a smile to his face just thinking about that precious bundle.  

Suddenly, he wanted to see him.  Joseph didn't want to wait for supper.  He dressed quickly, picked up his stringer of fish and strode back to his cabin.  He startled the woman Sarah.

"Sorry, ma'am.  I'm home early, I know, but I got a powerful urge to see my son.  Also wanted to bring you fish to fry for supper. 

She didn't look up from buttoning her blouse with his son sprawled across her lap with milk dripping from his mouth looking drunk happy.

Joseph
  left the fish by the door, washed his hands and came over to lift the babe off her skirt.  He kissed those sweet cheeks tasting a dribble of milk.  Sorrow slammed him hard thinking how much Patsy would have like to have nursed her son like this.  But he finally was able to relax his chest enough to breathe again.  

Some laundry she'd hung outside, but with the rain, she'd hung what she could on a line stretched across the room.  He had to duck to come to the supper table when she called.  But Joseph paused when he saw the plates that now lined the mantle.  They were thick china in a pattern close to what his mother had.  Every good Irish housewife had at least a plate or two that had been handed down through the generations.

"So you're Irish," he asked.

"Scotch Irish."

"Same as me with a little French Huguenot thrown in.  Your dishes remind me of me mither's."  

She almost smiled.  "It's what's left of my grandmother's and her mother's before that.  I was surprised they only got a crack in one plate and a couple small chips on the others on the trek.  That's lucky for all the rattling we did across that corded road in the wagon.

Suddenly her eyes blurred with tears.  He figured she was thinking again of her lost husband and babe.  

And so it went.  He worked by the sweat of his brow while she cooked, cleaned and cared for his son.  With regularity, one or the other would be caught with tears caressing their cheeks for love lost.  But one morning after drinking the last of her coffee, he told the woman, I need to go hunting today so we can smoke the meat or barter it with the next immigrants who come down the trail."  He grinned, "Maybe I can get us some more coffee that way.  But if I'm not back tonight, don't worry.  Go ahead and bar the door if you're nervous.  I'll be taking my horse and one of your mules to hopefully pack a buck back on, but the rest of the livestock will be fine left in the pasture."  

He had heard her nightmares brought on from the shock of violence done to her husband.  Sometimes it was her babe she cried out for.  Those cries of distress or moans of sorrow would break the midnight calm as well as his heart.  He could sleep through his son's cries in the night, but not hers.  Usually, a quiet word from him or a warm hand on her arm would settle her.  Sometimes he'd had to rise from his bed on the floor and bend over her calling her back away from bad dreams, whispering her name while sweeping the hair out of her eyes and wiping her tears.  Joseph did not know if she was aware of those times or not.  Neither one of them ever mentioned them.  

"I'll bar the door and shutter the window," was all she said.  

"Well, your rifle's loaded, but don't shoot any of my Indian friends who might could happen by.  It would stir up a hornet's nest iffen you did.  Just offer them something to eat, and they'll leave you alone."

She made a sound of disbelief.

"I mean it, Sarah.  You're more in danger of killing a peaceful Cherokee than a bloodthirsty one.  As you know, the peace is stretched thin as it is, so it wouldn't do to break that thread."

She wouldn't look him in the eye, but only nodded.

"I'll be back as soon as I can."

But it wasn't until the moon waned in the west that he arrived back home.  It had been a good hunt with two deer, one for them and one for trade.  Joseph strung both bucks up to hang from a tree, high enough to keep it out of the reach of bears and wolves.  As a precaution, he did not do it close to the cabin not wanting to invite trouble to his doorstep.  Finally, he was done and anxious for his bed, but found the door with the latch string pulled in.  He knocked softly and called her name.  No response.

"Sarah, it's me Joseph.  Let me in."

No response.

"Sarah!"  He hollered, then he heard her scream.  He must have interrupted a nightmare or become a part of it as she shouted, "No, no, no!"

"Sarah
," he kept calling more softly.  "It's Joseph, sweetheart."  Just when he thought he'd have to bed down in his small barn, she cracked the door open with the gun barrel sticking out."  

He backed up.  "Sarah, it's me, Joseph!"

He saw it drop as she opened the door.  She was a mess shaking like a leaf.  "What happened?"

"I thought you were an Indian.  It must have been a dream, I guess," then she sobbed and threw herself into his arms shocking him to no end.

He carefully took the rifle out of her grip, laid it down and gradually wrapped her more tightly in his arms until she stopped crying.  "Shush, don't cry, sweetheart.  You're alright, our baby's alright," then he listened to himself and felt weak in the knees.  They needed to talk, not tonight, but soon.

In the morning he woke before she did, so he made chicory for their cups, bitter as it was and formed corn pones to fry on the skillet.  

"What are you doing!"

He grinned at her.  "Letting you catch a few more minutes of beauty sleep."

She felt of her frayed braid of hair and scowled.  "I'm sorry about last night."

"Don't worry.  I shouldn't have to leave you for awhile since I had a good hunt yesterday.  He brought her a steaming cup to drink and a plate of corn pone.  

"Breakfast in bed?  I must be some fine lady in me castle," she said with a shy smile teasing her lips.

For some reason, his heart felt like it flopped over in his chest.  Joseph figured he might just make it his life mission to make that woman smile.  If he didn't have to take down one carcass to cut up and hang in the smokehouse, he could have stayed in this comfort and talk with her.  Some things needed to be said so that she would not have to live in fear, just not yet, however.

While he was in the edge of the woods busy carving the meat up into chunks, he did not hear when the horse and rider came into the yard.  When he heard his name called stridently, he gripped his knife and sprinted to his cabin.  He smelled him before he saw him.  It was that dirty buckskin man, name of Simon Girty she'd told him.  When he looked down at the blood on his hands, he was tempted to put out his hand to see if he would shake it.  No smile would greet this man as his jaw clenched.  Sarah grabbed his arm sliding up next to him.




"You haven't made her yer wife yet, have you?"

Joseph narrowed his eyes taking offense at the man's audacity.  "Can't see as that's any of your business."

"Might be.  I came to tell you, Mizz Sarah, that I got me prime bottom land over Kentucky way.  It already had a cabin put up for us, none of this hilly business."  He glanced around with his lip curled.  "I figured, that brat has had all the milk he needs from you by now and his pa can make do without you.'"

Joseph heard Sarah gasp while he clenched his fists.  "Be careful, Mr. Gritty.  That's my son you are talking about and my woman."

"I wouldn't hold it against her if she had to take up with you for awhile..." the man started to say before Joseph stepped forward only to be held back by Sarah's iron grip on his arm.

"I think you've already stayed past your welcome.  You need to get down the road, mister," he ground out.

Simon laughed derisively.  "Not until I hear it from the woman.  Mizz Sarah, I can provide for you, I guarantee, so much better than this piddly fella ever can.  I can out hunt, out shoot, out..."

"No thank you, Mr. Girty.  I think you need to get on down the road.  I'm happy here and would never give up my baby."

"Your baby?" he snorted with disdain.

In a heartbeat, Joseph had caught up the rifle leaning against the wall and swung it around to aim point blank range at the man's chest.

"Yes," Sarah bravely faced the man.  "it's time for  you to leave, Mr. Girty.  I do not wish to go with you now or ever and do not owe you any hospitality after your insults."  Sarah stood with her arms crossed as fierce as any clansman's in Scotland.  

The man looked through hateful eyes at Joseph.  "It's not a good idea to spurn your neighbors, mister.  Enemies are already too plenteous lurking in the woods.  Who's to say, it wasn't an Indian who pulled the shot that caught you unsuspecting?"

"I'm a cousin to the Boones, and they wouldn't take kindly to your threats.  Be gone!" Sarah spit out furiously.  She didn't truly know if the whispers of their shared bloodline were true, but she'd drop the name Boone if it meant that this scoundrel would leave.

Joseph was astounded at the courage of this woman.  He waved the man out the door with the gun barrel.  Then he followed the unsavory character until he was sure the man had reached the Wilderness Trail from whence he'd come.  Still he waited until his cursing could no longer be heard echoing through the woods.

When he returned, he found Sarah in the rocking chair nursing his son.  When she looked up at him with such a lost look, he felt his stomach drop.  "What's the matter, Sarah?  Don't let that man frighten you."

She shook her head and bit her lip hard.  Her chin was quivering.  He squatted down in front of her the better to see her face.  

"Tell me, please, Sarah," he entreated her.

"You won't send me away, will you Joseph, I mean when your son is weaned?"

He barked out a laugh startling her.  "You think I would threaten that beast, like poking a stick at a bear, if I didn't want you to stay here with me, Sarah?  Are you willing to stay?"  Now he was the nervous one swallowing hard.

"Yes," she whispered flushing pink.  "I would like that very much."

A grin broke out on his face, and he lifted her up, babe and all, and sat her on his lap.  The woman actually giggled.

"Then I think it's high time we name your son, Joseph," she sighed and relaxed in his arms.

"I don't know. My ma didn't name my brother until he was past eight years old.  By then we'd all become so used to calling him Baby Boy that when the minister in our parish asked him to repeat his marriage vows, he started to say, 'Will you, Baby...' before he caught himself.  No matter if it was a holy union taking place in the kirk or nay, we all laughed heartily."

She grinned.  It lit up his world.  Still she asked him, "Well, what do you want to name him?"

This was her way of saying that his son had survived and thrived under her care.  Some folks did not bestow a name upon an infant until after his first birthday since so many were snatched away by death.  Not him.  Not them.

But holding her on his lap was causing him difficulty concentrating.  He stood her up so quickly while carefully holding tightly to their child, that she made a small squealing noise.

"I can't think with you there on my lap, Sarah.  Sorry."  He blushed bright red, but the woman could only giggle making her look so much younger than ever before.  He doubted she was all that close to twenty.  

"Listen," he suddenly looked down at his hands and noticed for the first time that they were covered in dried blood from the deer meat making him stammer from embarrassment.   Sorry,  but I came running when you called..."

"I'm glad, "she smiled up at him.  "It might have given that awful man pause about tangling with you.  I saw him glancing at your hands and bloodied knife from time to time."

"Well, I have to go finish that task before the wolves and bears smell it and rob us of it."

Sarah's eyes grew round?  "Wolves and bears?"

"This is the wilderness, Sarah.  We're not that far from Wolf Cave, so named by Daniel Boone himself.  You're never to go into the woods without your rifle.  There's panthers too that can scream like a woman.  But tonight after supper, we'll talk.  Lock the door until I'm back, just to make sure..."

"I know.  I will."  Then she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek.  "Thank you for coming to my rescue today, Joseph."

Now his eyes had grew round.  He could only nod and back out the door bumping into a chair here, a trunk there before he turned and fled hearing her laughter fill the sky above his head.

He'd never heard the woman laugh before, and it was like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
As he cut up the meat and wrapped it in cheesecloth, he talked to God and Patsy.  "You won't mind, too much, Patsy, will you, girl?  She after all saved your wee son's life.  And now we are living together, well you know I haven't touched her.  Okay, I held her on my lap today, I'll admit it.  But God, sir, I promise to keep looking for a minister to make it right in your eyes." 



But then his thoughts would drift back to a pair of dark eyes crinkled up in laughter revealing a mouth...never mind.  He sawed on the meat some more: that was enough to nip any romantic notions in the bud to be sure.  But it wasn't.  His mind kept wandering.  Just standing up and claiming her for his woman today was enough to make his thoughts wander further than ever before.

After supper, the baby they'd named Nathaniel was sleeping in his cradle with pursed lips.  Sarah was rocking slowly starring into the fire while he rubbed oil into his rife before laying it aside.  "Sarah?"  She looked up with wide eyes.  "Tell me about this Mr. Girty."  He meant to ask her about her nightmares, but that man was stuck in his craw.

She heaved a sigh.  "He's a vile man, a turncoat renegade.  His background though is tragic.  As he told it around the campfire, he was captured along with his siblings by the Seneca's.  By the time they were returned, his family had been arrested by the British for squatting on forbidden land and their cabin and barn were burned to the ground.  Then his father got into a quarrel and was slain, some say by an Indian named Fish.  His uncle Turner turned around and killed him in retribution before then marrying his mother.  Sadly they were attacked by the Lenapes and the poor man was tortured unspeakably before being burned at the stake in front of his wife and children, including young Simon Girty.  They were taken away again by the Indians and separated into different tribes."

"But don't discount the man, Joseph, he's smart.  He knows English, French, and many other Indian dialects.  My husband worried that after leaving the Indians again, he might side with them and the British and probably is escaping into Kentucky as a Tory."

"I've heard of him, the skunk.  He did defect from the colonists to join the British and Indians.  I should take him prisoner for the $800 dollar price on his head."

"Oh, no, Joseph.  That would bring the Shawnee down on us!"

"I won't, but the man better not show his face here again.  It's bad enough that the British officer Ferguson is threatening to come over mountain to burn us all out and hang us in front of the ruin of our homes.  But I wouldn't trust Simon Girty not to betray those very immigrants he has led over the Wilderness Trail to Kentucky and rejoin the Indians to fight them.  In fact, after he defected along with his brothers and a few others, he joined up with the Indians and British, and attacked Bryan's Station burning it to the ground.

"I'm so glad I did not go further into the frontier with them, but stayed here with you," Sarah said with a fleeting smile.

"How about your husband, Sarah, if you don't mind me asking?  Was he a Loyalist or was he a Patriot?"

"We are Scotch Irish and are determined no more to be under King George's thumb!  Our people, like yours, were the Highlanders who bled in the fight against King George.  After coming across the sea to the New World to escape him, we will not accept defeat again.  But my husband wanted to leave Virginia when the rumors of war were heard.  He wasn't afraid to take up arms along with the colonists, he said, but just wanted to keep me and our unborn child safe.  Then he was murdered..."

Again, Joseph scooped her up onto his lap before saying,  "and thus your nightmares?"

She nodded hiding her tears in his shirt.  

"Let me try to explain what has taken place here if I can.  After the Royal Proclamation of 1763 forbidding us to settle here west of the Appalacian Mountains, the Intolerable Acts were decreed that would allow Loyalists to turn on their own countrymen.  Even to raise an objection could be viewed as treason.  Livingston, Carter, Harper and others settled in Watauga area anyway and formed the Watauga Association and wrote their our own constitution as well as making a treaty with the Cherokees.  Nancy Ward and Chief Little Carpenter of the Cherokee led the peaceful faction along with Cornstalk Chief of the Shawnee.  But Little Carpenter's son Dragging Canoe is for war."

He continued, "Yet, most of the Cherokee around here are friendly.  It will last as long as the British Indian Agents or the French traders don't persuade them over by the gifts they offer.  In spite of that, those who follow Dragging Canoe can strike at any time.  Just this year, the Watauga Militia defeated him and burned some of their villages and fields.  Nancy Ward, called the Beloved Woman, has previously warned John Sevier of pending attacks.  So though tension is high, most Cherokee are remaining peaceful for now.

I know.  That is why I am so petrified.  I can't forget what they did to my husband."

"Well, you know it first hand, and I can't argue with that.  But since the whole band of immigrants were not attacked, it was probably only a lone brave trying to steal one of the cattle.  It is true that some settlers and forts have been under attack.  I know a man named Benjamin Sharp who was with his brother-in-law Jacob out looking for their horses and cattle in the cane break along the Holstein River.  But when Jacob was killed by Indians, the savages tucked a tomahawk under his saddle and sent it back riderless as a warning.  But as horrendous as this is, the attacks are less frequent than before and the majority are left in peace.

"Will you go fight the British, Joseph?  Would you truly leave your son and me alone here?"



"If they look like they are coming over mountain to get us, of course I'll take up arms.  There's some talk of that right now, headed up by Sevier, Shelby and Campbell.  But you'd have a rifle left you, Sarah, and would be safe enough.  Some women keep their largest kettle with a fire smoldering under it near their front door since they've heard that the braves are afraid of being burned by boiling water.   But if you are afraid, I could take you to Black's Fort if I had to leave you.  I could turn the livestock free into the woods to fare for themselves, if that's what you want."

"I'm sorry I'm so scared, Joseph.  It's hard to be brave after seeing my husband scalped.  He'd left the others to go get a stubborn cow out of the brush when it happened."  She spoke hardly over a whisper.

Joseph swallowed hard before saying what was on his mind unrelentingly.  "Sarah, do you think you would sleep better and not have as many nightmares if we shared the bed?"

She stilled.  Then her hand traced up his collar, his neck, then along his jaw.  When he dipped his head, she allowed him to kiss her.

"Yes, Joseph," she sighed.

"I promise you, Sarah, that I'll meet every immigrant train that passes by to ask for a preacher who can marry us."

"Thank you.  I'm sure you'll come across one eventually," she cuddled against his chest where his heart was beating  hard and fast.

The corn husk mattress was traded for the feather bed much to Joseph's comfort.  As he thought, her nightmares settled down, rarely coming any more.  

A few days later, the rumble of a passing immigrant train could be heard.  Joseph threw the deer he'd shot on a pack mule and hurried down to trade.

Soon, S
arah could hear him hollering her name as he slapped the mule into a gallop back up to the cabin.  She stood in the doorway, "What on earth, Joseph?"  

"Grab our baby and come down the hill with me.  I found us a preacher!"  

"Oh my!"  She disappeared inside and came back out with the bundled baby Nathaniel.  

Joseph had followed her in and took up the family Bible.  He took their son out of her hands and said, "Here, you carry the Good Book, and I'll keep hold of the boy."  Then he grabbed her hand and practically dragging her down the hill.  

"Slow down Joseph before I stumble!"  But she was half laughing and half trying to catch her breath.

Suddenly he pulled her to a stop.  "Sarah, will you marry me?"

Her laughter bubbled out.  "Of course, Mr. Boney, I'll marry you."

He grinned and brought her the rest of the way down until they stopped in front of a wagon that had pulled out waiting.  An older gent in a dusty dark coat with wild white hair smiled down on them.  "So yer fixing to get hitched, are ye?"

"Rev. Doak, this is Sarah, soon to be Mrs. Sarah Boney."

"Nice to meet you, sir."

"So you got a pretty little bride and a baby to boot, young feller!  He tells me, ma'am, how ye unselfishly saved his motherless newborn after yer own great loss.  You are a bright blessing indeed to be found in the wilderness."

Joseph beamed down upon his blushing bride.  "We're ready, sir."

The minister quoted the exchanging of the vows by heart and finished by saying, "And if you haven't already, you may now kiss your wife."  He winked but then got busy signing the family Bible to document the union with his flourished signature.

Then he prayed over them loudly with much feeling that God would keep them safe and make them strong and to give them more children to settle this land.

"Amen," Joseph echoed and kissed Sarah again more fueled by passion until the baby squished between them protested.

"Off with ye, Mr. and Mrs. Boney with my blessing!" The preacher hooted then slapped his oxen to rejoin the others.  "I'll be back this way as I ride a circuit to preach to as many settlements as I can."

Between the sprint down the hill and not one but two kisses, Sarah was winded and dizzy by the suddenness of it all.  "Who would have thought when we woke this morning that we'd be caught up in a whirlwind of a wedding today!  Look, Joseph...I got married in my apron!" 

"You're still the prettiest bride I've ever seen," Joseph declared.  She saw the love in his eyes that matched the shine in her own.  It may not be exactly the same as their first marriages, but God was good to give them another chance for happiness.

Now that we've known the depth of sorrow, Joseph, God is allowing us to taste new joys we never dreamed we'd ever have again.  For awhile there, I feel like I was drowning in my grief, but when I touched the bottom, I pushed back up and now have broken the surface to breathe again."

"I'll have another taste those new joys," her husband crooked a smile and looked at her lips.  She giggled until he did just that in front of God and everybody.  The last of the immigrant wagons passing cheered.  Then the couple more leisurely walked up the trail hand in hand.  

Before entering the cabin, Joseph swept her up to carry over the threshold.  Sarah giggled but then sniffed the air noticing for the first time a sack of coffee, the smell pleasingly teasing the air in the cabin.  "You got us some coffee, Joseph!"  But then she also saw a beautiful quilt folded up beside it.  She ran her fingers over the fine stitching and sighed, "Oh, Joseph, it's so very beautiful!  I can't believe someone would trade it away."

"They were wanting some fresh meat in the worst way.  Then when they heard me talk about getting married, a grannie pulled it out right fast from her trunk and held it out for the taking.  She said that it would make a fitting wedding present for my bride.  Let's spread it on the bed and see how it looks.  Well, what do ya know...the bed looks inviting indeed!"  He said with a wink.



The newlyweds spent their first couple of years of wedded bliss almost all alone tucked up in their mountain holler.  The colonists war seemed so far away.  Neighbors were scarce.  That first year or so, more Cherokee braves came by to trade than settlers.  Even though it was understood to be women's work, the braves were hungry enough to help Joseph harvest the plentiful corn crop and bring it into the corncribs. 

Sarah was still on edge, but she came to accept them better as she began to recognize their faces when they dropped in.  After John Sevier had burned many of their crops in retaliation for the murderous raids Dragging Canoe carried out against settlers, they'd had a starving time and were thankful for the sacks of corn Joseph offered in trade for furs.  If the braves were this hungry, what of their wives and children?  Her heart was moved with compassion. 

However, the Cherokee braves warned them of a hard winter coming, a big freeze.  Joseph worked all the more diligently to bring in provisions knowing the Indians knew of what they spoke.  He too had noticed his pelts were the thickest he'd ever since before.

When neighbors did ride their mule or horse up their hillside, it was pleasant to visit, but the news  they brought was seldom good. One day Fulkerson, Harper, Sharp, and Vance menfolk all rode up together.  Sarah's heart pounded at the sound of so many horses.  She ran and got her rifle thinking it must be an Indian raid.  But then she saw Joseph come out of the barn all friendly like to shake their hands once the dust settled.






"Joseph, we know you as a good Patriot, Scotch Irish like the lot of us," James Fulkerson said building steam.  "As you already know, Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia Burgesses, court ordered me to build the wagon road from my place outside Abingdon to Black's Fort.  I did like they said 'to view, explore, and mark out the most eligible way for a wagon road' in order to smooth the way for Boone's Warrior's Path to turn into the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap.  But I'll be jiggered if I've made it a smoother path for some Redcoats or Tories to trot down!  Why I'll chop down every tree in the forest to block it if they so much as step a foot over the mountains to come this way!"

Samuel Vance continued, "We men are preparing to join up with the Patriots, for the time has come.  First Savannah was captured by the British.  Then we colonists suffered a huge defeat when General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered the only large army in the South in Charleston."

"Truly?" Joseph gulped.

James
Fulkerson's son-in-law Benjamin Sharp broke in. "The butchery of Tarleton's massacre of Virginia militia--even when our men had surrendered--has sent a chill that is felt even here in the wilderness.  I know we have hesitated joining up till now with our hands full due to the constant threat of Dragging Canoe and his lot, but we can't ignore the English threat on the other."

John Sharp added, "It is becoming apparent since Cornwallis destroyed General Gates' militia at Camden, that we Overmountain men have to realize we must take up arms."

James Fulkerson's brother Abraham said, "Have you heard that the braggart Scot, Major Ferguson, is making his way with an army of Tories and British soldiers threatening us like none other?"

James Fulkerson hit his fist on the table making their little toddling Nathaniel jump and scurry to his mother. "Why he's crowing like a rooster.  We can't sit back any longer.  He's put up notices everywhere how he is coming to get us, promising to come after us here to hang us and burn us out.  Here, read this notice our scouts just brought back."

"October 1, 1780 Gentlemen: Unless you wish to be eat up by an inundation of barbarians, who have begun murdering an unarmed son before the aged father, and afterwards lopped off his arms, and who by their shocking cruelties and irregularities, give the best proof of their cowardice and want of discipline; I say, if you wish to be pinioned, robbed, and murdered, and see your wives and daughters, in four days, abused by the dregs of mankind--in short, if you wish or deserved to live and bear the name of men, grasp your arms in a moment and run to camp. The Backwater men have crossed the mountains; McDowell, Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their head, so that you know what you have to depend upon.  If you choose to be pissed upon forever and ever by a set of mongrels, say so at once and let your women turn their backs upon you, and look out for real men to protect them.  Pat. Ferguson, Major 71st Regiment.

Joseph  stood so suddenly that his chair fell over in a loud clatter. "How dare he!  He's calling us barbarians, cowards, and mongrels!  It's bad enough how the Tories are hanging their neighbors, some mere boys, and burning Patriots' homes, but he dares to accuse us of such atrocities!  But if he thinks he can get by with it on our doorsteps, he has another thing coming!"

Sarah looked at her husband wide-eyed.  Her hands shook as she poured coffee for the men gathered to talk war under their roof.  Nathaniel clung to her skirt as she set out biscuits with honey.

James Fulkerson seemed to take charge and was nodding in agreement with Joseph.  "The Overmountain men have rendezvoused down in Watauga at Sycamore Shoals.  They'll be led by Sevier and Shelby and McDougall and Thomas Robinson and others to march over Roan Mountain where our Virginia boys are meeting them.  Will you join us to serve under Colonel  William Campbell?  We can't sit idle any longer.  It has become our fight.  Our wives and children, our homes and crops have been threatened.  It's time we show them how our True Love and Sweet Lips, our rifles have to say!"

The men chuckled at the pet names some had given to their long rifles.  

"But this time of year, you'll probably meet up with rain and even snow going over the mountain into the Carolinas," Sarah interjected with the first excuse that popped into her head.

Benjamin Sharp was kind and answered, "It won't be a frolic, that's for sure and certain.  But Rev. Doak has prayed over the militia rendezvous down in Watauga.  Have you met him?"

"He married us," she nodded.

"He has encouraged us to take up the charge, 'By a sword for the Lord and for Gideon!'  We must trust our lives into the hands of the Almighty!"

Sarah felt chagrined, but was more fearful than ever before.  Life had been sweet up here on their hillside but now her world was crumbling.  

"The folks from over yonder, King, Laughlin, Samuel Adams, Isaac Thompson and many, many more will rally with us," another of the Vance men said.

"A lot of Tories have escaped the fighting going down to Kentucky.  That renegade Simon Girty is there.  He'll be causing trouble wherever he is," Joseph ground out.  "This war seems to be stirring up neighbor against neighbor almost more than the threat of the Redcoats.  At least we are united on our side of the mountain."

"Ol' Daniel Boone will take care of ol'Simon, no doubt," James Fulkerson nodded.   I got a son Isaac itching to join him in Kentucky.

"It's said that Major Patrick Ferguson's is collecting Tories by the hundreds though he only started with 300 British troops.  Those loyal to King George think the tide has turned and are flocking to him in spite of General George Washington's advances in the north.  By the way, some wanted to make him king, but he refused.  When we get through with those Tories though, they'll be begging to be Patriots again.  Their only concern is which side their bread is buttered on,"  John Sharp said in disgust.  "And we'll show them, won't we!"

"Here, here!" the men all joined in.

"We think we can muster nearly 1,000 strong," James Fulkerson said hopefully.

"Do you really think there are that many of us?" Joseph questioned.

"You'll see them come out of hiding melting out of the woods to join us, I'm sure.  You'll need food for several days, and well, you know what it takes to make such a trek.  Are you in, Joseph?"

He looked at his wife but said firmly, "I'm in."

Sarah did not make a sound but had to continually wipe the tears that streamed down her cheeks.

Benjamin Sharp looked kindly at her, "We'll take the stinger out of this bee before you know it, missy.  Don't you worry none."

"But what if Dragging Canoe sees it as an opportunity to attack while we're  left defenseless?"  Sarah couldn't help but give voice to her concern.

The men looked at each other but tried to sound convincing. "You frontier women come from fierce Highland stock.  I'm sure you can shoot squirrels out of trees, so you can protect yourselves against that Cherokee snake. You can be fearsome when called upon.  But there are still the forts you can go to as well if you don't feel safe at home, ma'am."  James Fulkerson had such a commanding voice that she wanted to believe him.



Sarah only picked up her son and rocked him with her back to the men as they sat around their table and plotted out their route down into the Carolinas from their corners of the wilderness.  She cried herself to sleep that night held in her husband's arms.  While night still had its grip on the dawn, Joseph rose to go.  He took up his rifle and his pack filled with the corn pone cakes and bacon and biscuit sandwiches she'd made him last night. 

"Sarah, you know this is something I have to do, right?  You won't be safe unless we stop him.  He's declared himself to be coming after us," Joseph choked and swallowed hard for a moment.  "We aren't choosing war; it's choosing us."

"I know," she said in a broken voice.  "It's just that I've already lost one husband, and I don't think I could stand it if I lost another one, to lose you, Joseph.  I love you so."



He put his arms around her while she trembled. "Sweetheart, I love you too much to let that fiend come carry out his threats.  We've worked too hard to carve out our niche in the mountains to lose it.  I already have felt guilty not answering the call to help our countrymen, but it seemed so far away.  Now it is coming to our doorstep.  There's no other choice.  We have men proven in battle to lead us, and God will help us."

"I know," she said softly.  

"Promise me you'll read a Psalm every day for comfort and pray for us, alright?"

"I promise I will, Joseph."

He kissed her on her forehead then went out to saddle his horse in the spitting snow.  Sarah stood in the doorway hugging herself then waved until he was out of sight, her tears practically freezing on her cheeks.

The march was miserable.  The provisions soon ran low until by the time they got to the Cowpens in South Carolina almost a week later, many of the footmen and weak horses had given out and had to be left behind with Capt. Neil hoping to recover in time to join them.  Joseph was ever so thankful for his good horse.  He wouldn't want to have to make the trek on foot, especially since they had naught to eat for two days and nights whilst another company found and killed some beef.  It was torture to smell it without being able to partake.  Yet, he rode while others marched on because the enemy was nigh.


Later he would tell Sarah all about it. "As agreed by our leaders, we surrounded that Pat Ferguson on his mountain stronghold.  He would not be able to get by our long rifles.  We had the advantage because we had trees to hide behind before coming out to shoot.  But can anyone ever be ready for that first shot and shout?  The fight was on then.  Black powder smoke filled the air.  Sometimes it was so thick it was hard to see.  There wasn't much to be seen of Redcoats, only men who looked like us.  After a couple of bayonet charges, we fell back only to be rallied again by Col. Campbell.  Sometimes the fight was heaviest on our chunk of the mountain, while at other times it seemed Sevier and Col. Shelby's Tennessee boys had it the hottest.  I had to grit my teeth and think of you,  dear Sarah, about how you would be left at the mercy of these vile men if we did not succeed.  My heart cried out to God as I kept ripping the paper packet of black powder and loading my rifle over and over again, sometimes running from the bayonets, sometimes charging back up the hill."

Joseph went on as Sarah listened intently, "Then we could see the man himself on his white horse wearing a bright plaid hunting shirt for an easy target.  It appears  we surprised him.  One woman, a camp follower by the name of Virginia, came running down waving a white handkerchief while another woman stayed and was killed.  Next thing I knew, Col. Ferguson was shot off his horse and some of his men became disheartened and began waving a white flag.  I'm sorry to say, some of our men ignored it and kept firing thinking of Tarleton.  With that much fight flowing in your veins, especially for those who had lost loved ones and farms, they found it hard to stop, but we finally did.  The quiet almost hurt my ears.  No birds were singing and no creatures were scurrying about through the leaves.  Then the groans of the wounded and dying were everywhere while a shout commenced as our men claimed victory.  We lost  thirty-two men while some say they lost two-hundred and fifty.  We took nearly a thousand Tories and Redcoats prisoner, not counting their wounded.  

The march back was slow going but we didn't want Tarleton's reinforcements to catch us, so we tried to hurry.  Fortunately, we found a field of sweet potatoes and were heartened.  But at the next daybreak, some ten, maybe twenty of these Loyalists and soldiers known to have done harm were hung while their companions were made to watch.  I didn't care to see it though.  I'd had my fill of death.  We hardly had enough to eat ourselves, much less to feed that many prisoners.  Finally they were given an ear of corn a piece.  I'm not sure it was even cooked.



"Then word spread like lightning that Dragging Canoe was ready to strike our homes and women and children.  Those of us Overmountain men with horses quickly mounted and rode fast and furiously back up the mountain.  It was more grueling going up than it had been coming down for certain."


"When you burst in the door," Sarah laughed, "I was sure you were an Indian come to scalp me.  I couldn't help but scream first with fright then with relief making our son cry."

"I'm so glad to be home," he said wearily as he hugged her to his chest, mixing his own tears of joy that she was unharmed.  "We heard Dragging Canoe was attacking.  I've never been so happy to see something wasn't true."

"Nancy Ward was able to warn some and kept his savages from attacking."

"That won't prevent Sevier from seeking them out and burning their crops and villages more than ever before.  He's so wound up from our fight and losing a brother and a son there on the mountain so much so that he probably won't even let her village Chota stand.  He vowed to burn every one of their homes."

"Well, well, so you Longhunters beat that ol'Col. Ferguson?" she felt the need to change the subject.

"Of course!  We lost some good men, but nothing compared to their losses.  It was a horrible victory that I shall never forget," Joseph said scrubbing his hand over his face as if trying to wipe away the faces of those men and boys he had shot.

Sarah had more good news though.  "Joseph, I think you'd better be figuring out some more names, 'cause this child I'm carrying won't be waiting as long as poor Nathaniel did to be named."

"Oh my soul, Sarah, you know how to make a man even more glad to be home!"  Joseph grinned before he kissed his wife.




It was ten years later in 1790  that their daughter Sarah was born, named after her mother. Sarah and Joseph Boney had a passel of young'uns, but Joseph had an itchy foot.  He had no trouble selling his little farm to a new immigrant and moving his family to Kentucky then down to Hawkins County, Tennessee where Sarah was born.   Hawkins County was where Gov. Sevier tried to establish the state of Franklin.  Frankly, nobody truly knew whether it was in the state of North Carolina or Tennessee.  When the tax collector came by, they just said they'd already paid the other one.  

*I borrowed from the actual accounts written by John Sharp and Benjamin Sharp as well as others written by many who were also there, like Col. William Campbell.  The battle only lasted an hour, but George Washington sited it as a pivotal turning point in the war. The disheartened English felt the south was a lost cause after that and turned toward Yorktown where the English finally conceded defeat.  George Washington even named two of his dogs True Love and Sweet Lips after those Overmountain boys' rifles.  We carried on that tradition with a dog named True and a dog named Sweetie in our own family.

In t
he next portion, I will tell the story of Sarah Boney who marries great-great-great grandpa Jesse Adkins.  I didn't truly know much about Joseph and Sarah Boney so much of what I wrote is pure fiction.  For example, Simon Girty is a real life frontier villain, but I have no idea if they actually ever met.  The settings and other historical characters are true.  I've included the names of our kinfolk who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain: "Revolutionary War Patriot" Samuel Vance and his son John, James Fulkerson and his brother Abraham, as well as Samuel and Benjamin Sharp.  I believe a Laughlin and even a Thomas Robinson--who probably is also related--were there as well.  Come to find out, Kings Mountain is not named after King George as I had assumed, but after early settlers, the Kings.  Your dad can draw his line back to a Merica King in Tennessee.  A King was also listed on the monument at the Battle of Kings Mountain which lies between North and South Carolina.  There is a trail, I've heard, of the same route these Overmountain men took to get to this pivotal battle in the Revolutionary War, but that's for you spry youngsters to take, not me.  My hope is someday you may be as thrilled as I am to see history through the lens of our ancestors.

*The Battle of Kings Mountain, Eyewitness Accounts, the Battle Turned the Tide of the American Revolution, by Robert M. Dunkerly, a book we purchased at the sight.