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The Bark Covered House   By: (1821-1884)

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THE BARK COVERED HOUSE,

OR

or, BACK IN THE WOODS AGAIN; BEING A GRAPHIC AND THRILLING DESCRIPTION OF REAL PIONEER LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS OF MICHIGAN

BY WILLIAM NOWLIN, ESQ.

1876

PREFATORY NOTE.

I little thought when I left my farm yards, horses and cattle in the care of other men, and began to write, that I should spend nearly all the winter of 1875 in writing; much less, that I should offer the product of such labor to the public, in the Centennial Year. But I have been urged to do so by many friends, both learned and unlearned, who have read the manuscript, or listened to parts of it. They think the work, although written by a farmer, should see the light and live for the information of others. One of these is Levi Bishop, of Detroit, who was long a personal friend of my father and his family, and has recently read the manuscript. He is now President of the "Wayne County Pioneer Society," and is widely known as a literary man, poet and author.

W.N.

KEY.

Sketch of the lives of John and Melinda Nowlin; of their journeying and settlement in Michigan.

Thrilling scenes and incidents of pioneer life, of hopes and fears, of ups and downs, of a life in the woods; continuing until the gloom and darkness of the forest were chased away, by the light of civilization, and the long battle for a home had been fought by the pioneer soldiers and they had gained a signal victory over nature herself.

Hope never forsook them in the darkest hours, but beckoned and cheered them on to the conquest of the wilderness. When that was consummated hope hovered and sat upon her pedestal of realization. For better days had come for the pioneers in the country they had found. Then was heard the joyful, enchanting "Harvest Home;" songs of "Peace and Plenty."

Crowned with honor, prosperity and happiness for a time.

PREFACE.

I have delineated the scenes of this narrative, from time to time, as they took place. I thought at the time when they occurred that some of them were against me.

I do not place this volume before its readers that I may gain any applause: I have sought to say no more of myself than was necessary.

This is a labor of love, written to perpetuate the memory of some most noble lives, among whom were my father and mother who sought a home in the forests of Michigan at an early day. Being then quite young, I kept no record of dates or occurrences, and this book is mostly sketched from memory.

It is a history of my parents' struggles and triumphs in the wilderness. It ought to encourage all who read it, since not many begin life in a new country with fewer advantages than they.

It is said that "Truth is stranger than fiction." In this I have detailed the walks of ordinary life in the woods. In these pictures there is truth. All and more than I have said have been realized. My observations have been drawn from my own knowledge, in the main, but I am indebted to my sisters for some incidents related. Together, with our brother, we often sat around the clay hearth and listened to father's stories, words of encouragement and counsel. Together we shared and endured the fears, trials and hardships of a pioneer life.

This work cannot fail to be of deep interest to all persons of similar experience; and to their descendants for ages to come who can never too fully appreciate the blessings earned for them by their parents and others amid hardships, privations and sufferings (in a new country) the half of which can never be told.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER.

I TALKING OF MICHIGAN II DISAGREEABLE MUSIC III HOW WE GOT OUR SWEET, AND THE HISTORY OF MY FIRST PIG IV OUR SECOND HOUSE AND FIRST APPLE TREES V THE JUG OF WHISKY AND TEMPERANCE MEETING VI HOW WE FOUND OUR CATTLE VII TROUBLE CAME ON THE WING VIII HARD TIMES FOR US IN MICHIGAN IX A SUMMER HUNT X HOW WE GOT INTO TROUBLE ONE NIGHT AND I SCARED XI THE INDIANS VISIT US THEIR STRANGE AND PECULIAR WAYS XII THE INSIDE OF OUR HOUSE A PICTURE FROM MEMORY XIII METHEGLIN; OR, THE DETECTED DRINK XIV OUR ROAD HOW I WAS WOUNDED XV PROSPECT OF WAR XVI FISHING AND BOAT RIDING, XVII HOW I GOT IN TROUBLE RIDING IN A CANOE XVIII OUR CLEARING AND THE FIRST RAILROAD CARS XIX TREES XX DRAWING CORD WOOD HOW THE RAILROAD WAS BUILT THE STEAM WHISTLE XXI HOW I HUNTED AND WE PAID THE MORTGAGE XXII BEAR HUNT XXIII GRANDFATHER'S POWDER HORN WAR WITH PIRATES XXIV LIGHT BEGINS TO DAWN XXV MAKING A BARGAIN XXVI HOW I COMMENCED FOR MYSELF FATHER'S OLD FARM XXVII THOUGHTS IN CONNECTION WITH FATHER AND EARLY PIONEER LIFE XXVIII FATHER'S NEW HOUSE AND ITS SITUATION HIS CHILDREN VISIT HIM XXIX MY WATCH LOST AND VISIT TO CANADA XXX MOTHER'S VISIT TO THE EAST XXXI LEAVING NEW YORK CITY FOR HOME

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