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The Forest King Wild Hunter of the Adaca   By:

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[Illustration: The Forest King]




A Tale of the Seventeen Century


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by HERVEY KEYES, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


To Mayall the Valley of the Mohawk was a land where flowers bloomed, where one fair girl flitted about through green glades and virgin forests, and lifted his mind to the supernatural, and he seemed to listen to the voice of seraphs. Then sweet memory brought him again to the morning of life, and he stood by his mother's knee, and leaned upon the cradle where he was rocked to soothe his infant mind. Again he rose to manhood. The power of the music of the groves, and the sweet voice of Nelly Gordon, was the angel of the moment, that unlocked the harmony of the universe. Her eyes appeared as pure as the first rays of morning, as it danced on the heaven kissed hills of Paradise. Her heart expanded with thankfulness, as she thought how rich she was in everything that made life desirable to Mayall, her lover. She longed to give out the stores of her own happiness, and Mayall seemed to think this lovely girl had a special claim on him for life, which he seemed proud to admit and willing to accept, as the richest gift that Heaven could bestow upon man was Nelly Gordon.

In writing this short history of Mayall and his family, the hunter and trapper of the Valley of the Adaca, I have gathered the main facts from the first settlers in my youthful days, who found him in this then wild but beautiful valley, a place of bloom and shade, dimpled on the face of creation with a smile that renders life pleasing in solitude. The song of birds, and the music of the rills that came rushing down the ravines, to water the flowers and swell the rapid current of the Adaca, under the arching of the woodland forest that hung out its green plumes to wave in every breath of summer, formed an earthly Paradise, in Mayall's estimation.

The bounty and grandeur of Eastern cities faded into insignificance, when compared with his surroundings; for here he reigned lord of the valley's long and wide domain, that abounded in deer, game and furred animals, whilst its streams swarmed with fish. He was truly one of Nature's noblemen kind and affectionate to his beautiful and lovely wife and children, charitable and humane to all. He was ready at all times to hazard his own life to assist a friend. When attacked by his enemies, he seemed to anticipate all their designs at a glance, and destroyed them without remedy. After the storm of the Revolution had passed away, and the muttering of its thunder was no longer to be heard, adventurers from the East, who were searching for new homes in the productive valleys of Tryon County, found this Friend, as he styled himself, and settled on the same stream, charmed by the beautiful forests, the crystal streams, and the fertility of the soil.

The history of this remarkable hunter is wrapped in mystery. His daring adventures, his wonderful escapes from danger, his presence of mind in the most trying scenes of danger, all combine to render his life wonderful. With his chosen companion to rear a family amid the wild scenes of Nature, far from the civilized world, surrounded by the wild beasts of the forest, he worshiped at the shrine of Nature's God, and gloried in the wild scenes of beauty. The romantic courtship and marriage of Esock Mayall with the adopted daughter of a famous Indian chief, her grace of manners, her remarkable beauty, and courage in time of danger, her journey to her new forest home and return to the land of her birth, seem to be one of the great events of Providence, together with her journey to Niagara Falls with the Indian chief, her father, to witness the sacrifice of a young Indian maiden of high rank to the Great Spirit of the Falls... Continue reading book >>

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