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Posted:|| October 30, 2020 Views: 52|
Chapter 15 of the book Wilderness Redemption Road
It's about to get real on the frontier
"Into the Storm"
by Earl Corp
Carter Holler, Kentucky
Roseanna had gotten a faraway look in her eyes. She was back there again. She jumped when Caleb nudged her.
“Wh-What did you say, Caleb?”
“Granny, did you really shoot that man?”
Zack and Nathan leaned in, this was the first time they’d heard their mother tell this part of the story.
“I said I did, didn’t I? You callin’ me a liar?”
Caleb visibly trembled at the rebuke, he knew his granny didn’t cotton to any sass from the young’uns.
“N-n-n-no ma’am I wasn’t callin’ you a liar,” he stammered.
“You best not or I’ll tan you good, y’hear Caleb?”
Roseanna looked at the pile of wood, then at her sons. She figured they may have learned their lesson by now.
“Ya’ll can come back up to the porch now, grab that bucket and let’s git.”
Nate, Zack, and Clancy stuck their axes in wood. Nate grabbed the bucket and they rejoined the rest of the kids on the porch.
“Now where was I?” Roseanna asked.
“You were hittin’ the trail, Ma,” Clancy answered.
“And you shot a no good skunk,” Dan’l added.
“That’s right I did, well we were off on our big adventure and it was more adventure than we bargained for, that’s fer sure.”
Ohio River Ferry
North of Pittsburgh
Ezra Finnerty had been operating his ferry since he came home from the Revolution. Originally he’d moved his wife and three children there and intended to farm. A smallpox outbreak had taken his wife, a daughter, and a son. This left him with his 12-year-old son, Jack.
He’d been fortunate that the Shawnee had left him alone, for the most part, to operate his ferry and plant some corn. While the ferry business may not be booming, it kept him and the boy from starving. Especially when he had passengers, like Tyler McGraw, who paid him ten dollars to forget him and the mules laden with rifles bound for Indian Territory.
He squinted at the figures as they drew closer, he recognized Doo Carter and Clancy right off.
“That must be Clancy’s injun, Mighty Beaver, but I wonder who the boy is with them,” Ezra thought.
As the group drew closer, Clancy called out.
“Ho Ezra, you old reprobate, you ain’t been hung yet?”
“Not hardly, Clancy, what brings you my way?”
“We’re heading to Raccoon Creek to find a spot for a trading post,” Clancy replied.
“I reckon the Shawnees’ll have somethin’ to say about thet, especially if you’re taking Doo Carter with you.”
“Why would that be, Ezra?” Doo asked.
“The word is you killed Chief Running Deer’s younger boy on your last trip.”
“I killed a Shawnee, but I didn’t know which one, no wonder them varmints chased me all over creation,” Doo said.
“Who’s the lad wit’ ye?”
“This ain’t no lad, take a closer look Ezra,” Clancy said.
Ezra took a good look at Janie.
“Glory be, I’m sorry Ma’am, but at a distance you looked like a feller.”
Janie giggled and stuck out her hand.
“I think that’s the look we were going for, I’m Janie Wolfe.”
Ezra’s big paw swallowed up Janie’s petite hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Ma’am, are you trekking with these scoundrels? Talk about somebody thet ain’t been hung yet.”
“Here now, them’s fighting words, Ezra,” Doo said. “But they’s probably pretty close to the truth.”
Ezra cackled at that.
“It’s the God’s honest truth and you know it, Doo. How’s your pa?”
“Fair to middlin’, Ezra.”
Ezra turned to Mighty Beaver, who had remained quiet throughout the exchange.
“Howdy Mighty Beaver, good to see ya.”
“It is good to see you too, my friend,” Mighty Beaver replied.
Ezra and Mighty Beaver shared a special bond. Mighty Beaver had been a scout with Ezra’s unit during the war. If there was an Indian Ezra would trust with his life, it was Mighty Beaver.
“I reckon ya’ll be ferryin’ across to set some traps,” Ezra said.
“Not right away, Ezra, we’re holding up for the main body to catch up.”
“Main body? Are you taking settlers across into Shawnee lands? You might as well scalp’em now and save the hostiles the trouble.”
Doo cracked a grin at that.
“No we’re scouting and hunting for a party planning on buildin’ a trading post,” Doo replied.
“Huh, don’t that beat all,” Ezra said.
“Why’s that?” Doo asked.
“Tyler McGraw went through with four other fellers and ten mules nigh onto three weeks ago sayin’ they wuz doing the same thing.”
“Is that a fact? Is that the McGraw who’s mother’s a Shawnee?” Doo asked.
“The very same.”
“I wonder where he was bound,” Clancy wondered out loud.
“Mr. Finnerty, could I get some water from your well,?I’m parched,” Janie asked.
“Why sure, Honey, drink yore fill.”
Ezra turned back to Doo and Clancy.
“I reckon you’ll be stayin’ fer supper, I’ll have my boy, Jackie, rustle up some rabbits fer a stew. If you boys are thirsty too they’s a jug in the springhouse which’ll wet your whistle," Ezra said, then hollered, “Jackie!”
“Yeah, Pa?” the boy responded.
“Fetch us some rabbits fer supper!” Ezra hollered.
“Coming right up, Pa!”
Ezra then turned on his heel and headed for the springhouse. He went down the steps and entered through the open doorway. Within seconds he reemerged toting a brown crock jug. He blew the dust off of the bottle, uncorked it with his teeth, then he used the crook of his elbow to tilt the jug for a drink.
“Here ya go boys, if that don’t cut the trail dust I don’t know what will.”
Clancy took the offered jug, tilted it up and drank deep. Doo watched his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as Clancy drank.
“Gimme that afore you empty it,” Doo said, reaching for the jug.
Clancy relinquished the jug to Doo.
“Whoowee Ezra, that’s some good corn sqeezins,” Clancy said admirably.
Doo was dismayed to find that the jug was less than half full.
“Thunderation Clancy! You dang near emptied it.”
“That’s all right, Doo. There’s plenty more I just run a batch last week,” Ezra said.
“Ezra, I didn’t see Jackie take a rifle with him, how’s he going to fetch some rabbits?” Mighty Beaver asked.
“He runs snare lines all through the woods, we’re never short of vittles. I swear that boy is the luckiest I ever saw when it comes to snarin’ critters.”
“That saves on powder and lead I reckon,” Doo said.
“Yes sir, and those are two commodities we can’t afford to be short on, especially if the Shawnee decide to paint their faces black,” Ezra replied.
“Amen to that, Brother,” Clancy said as he took the jug back for another swig.
Janie was drinking from a dipper when Jackie walked past.
“Hello, I’m Janie.”
Jackie stopped and looked at the girl.
“Howdy, I’m Jack.”
“Where are you headed?”
“I’m going to fetch some rabbits fer supper.”
“You don’t have a rifle, how’re you going to do that?”
“I mostly use snares, sometimes I take my bow which I’m going to do today because I ain't got time to wait on critters to come to my snares.”
“Can I come? I’ve never shot a bow.”
“Suit yerself, but you got to be quiet and don’t ask me no fool questions.”
That didn’t sit right with Janie.
“Who does he think he is, Dan’l Boone,” she thought.
“I won’t,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Then let’s get after it, we’re burning daylight.”
The two walked up to the edge of the forest and Jack unlimbered his bow and nocked an arrow. They entered the woods, taking care not to walk on twigs or dry leaves which would make noise and scare off the game.
They came to the edge of a meadow, Jackie spied three fat bunnies munching on clover. He froze, then pulled his bow up sighted on the largest rabbit and let an arrow fly.
Janie watched as the arrow pinned the rabbit to the ground. Jackie had already knocked another arrow and let it fly at another cottontail.
“Two arrows, two rabbits, that’s impressive,” Janie thought.
The third bunny took off before Jackie could shoot again.
“Dang, he got way!”
“We’ll find some more,” Janie said in a soothing voice.
“I know, it’s I just would have liked to got it done right now.”
Jack walked over and retrieved his arrows and put the two rabbits in his game bag he had slung over his shoulder.
“I reckon two more will be enough for supper,” Jackie said.
“Maybe we’ll see a deer.”
“Not this close to the place we won’t.”
The pair continued moving stealthily through the forest. Janie was taking the hunting and being quiet seriously. She knew once they crossed the river they were in Shawnee territory. Carelessness there would cost much more than an empty stew pot.
Jack kicked a rabbit out, it started scampering to their right, it wasn’t quick enough.
“One more and we got supper,” Jack said with a big grin.
“That was an amazing shot.”
“Thanks, you wanna try?”
Janie was thrilled!
“Can you carry my rifle?”
Janie took the bow and knocked an arrow. As they started moving Janie spied a fat grey squirrel on the side of an oak. She stopped and took aim.
She caught the squirrel between the shoulder blades, the arrow quivered from the impact.
“Nice shot, you done this before?”
“Nope, that was the first time I ever used a bow.”
“My pa would say yore a natural.”
“Nah, it was a lucky shot.”
“It sure was, we got ‘nuff vittles for supper now.”
Jack was more relaxed on the way back to the ferry and felt like talking.
“Where you folks headed?”
“Raccoon Creek, we’re scouting for a party that’s going to build a trading post.”
“Is one of them yore pa?”
“No, my pa’s dead. Doo, Clancy and Mighty Beaver are my traveling partners.
“Ya’ll meetin’ up with them fellers that toted the rifles across last month?”
This made Janie stop and face Jack.
“Yeah, five fellers come through leading 10 mules carryin’ enough rifles, powder and lead to start a war from the looks of it.”
Janie’s stomach started doing flips. The only people on that side of the river were the Shawnee, and soon, them.
“Surely they’re not taking rifles to the Indians,” she thought.
“I need to tell Doo and Clancy,” Janie said and started walking faster.
“Whut’s wrong, you look like somebody kicked your dog?”
“Where do you reckon those rifles were headed?”
“I dunno, ain’t my lookout no-how.”
“Do you think 50 armed Shawnee braves are going to leave you and your pa alone?”
Janie could see the realization creep into Jack’s face as he mulled over her question.
“Now you know why I’m worried, we need to get back in a hurry.”
“I reckon so, I know a shortcut, let’s git.”
|The book continues with Into the Storm Part2. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter. Before anybody digs into the spelling and grammar this is written in frontier vernacular. Enjoy!
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Roseanna Carter-- Narrator
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Ezra Finnerty- Ohio River ferryman
Jack Finnerty- Ezra's son
and 2 member cents.
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