Echoes From The Past

By JUDY MAUPIN *- Echoes From the Past
(A Column of historical and genealogical anecdotes, stories and family notes.)
Calloway County, Ky.

Romance Of Pioneer Spirit

September 22, 1979
Those of us who enjoy reading of the trials and tribulations of those hardy souls who first settled this land called Kentucky are inclined to look upon those individuals as steely-eyed, lean and mean frontiersmen. But I can't help but look at them as dreamers, looking for a land of promise. While looking through Perrin's history of Christian County. I discovered that he, too, regarded the early settlers in this way:

"There is much of romance in the story of the first settlers who came to these Western wilds. They were allured by the spirit of adventure as well as the hope of bettering their condition, and to attain the realization of their dreams they braved the perils and privations of the journey to this vast western wilderness.

"And what a journey! From Virginia and from North and South Carolina to Kentucky. Surely only stout hearts and brave spirits dared make the venture. Braver spirits and stouter hearts never dared the perils of the way or faced the onset of a foe, than these same sturdy pioneers into the wilderness of the then "far West."

"They took their lives In their hands, and with their wives and families, on foot, on horseback and in rude wagons, made the journey. This, ft is true, was the "dark and bloody ground," but this also was the "happy hunting ground" and the very "Canaan of Promise" to their imaginations.

"Dangers might lie on every side, and painted warriors lurk behind each tree, but beyond was a land of Inviting plenty and abundance - beyond was a land of more than fabled wealth. Here were lands for the mere having -homes, food, raiment and freedom. Here were forests of fine Umber, streams of flowing water and broad stretches of fertile prairie lands, deer, buffaloes, bears, turkeys and all the smaller game.

"The pioneer, the rude, rough, dauntless pioneer, is civilization's forlorn hope. He It Is who forsakes all the comforts and surroundings of civilized life - all that makes existence enjoyable; he abandons his early home, bids adieu to loved ones, and, like Daniel Boone, turns his face toward the vast, illimitable wilderness.

"With Iron nerves, these unsung heroes plunge into the gloomy forests, often with no companion but their gun, and exposed to danger in a thousand different forms; after years of Incredible toll and privations they subdue .the wilderness and prepare the way for the countless hosts who are to follow

"There is much romance in the story of the first settlers of Kentucky. The spirit of adventure allured these pioneer hunters to come Into this vast wilderness. The beauty of the country gratified the eye, Its abundance of wild animals the passion for hunting.

"They were surrounded by an enemy, subtle and wary, and ever ready to spring upon them. But these wild borderers flinched not from the contest; even their women and children often performed deeds of heroism in the land where "the sound of the war-whoop oft woke the sleep of the cradle," from which stern manhood might have shrunk in fear."

These words were written about a hundred years ago. Since then, civilization as a word has taken on a new meaning; but we still share with this long-gone biographer his admiration for the pioneer spirit.

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