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With Axe and Rifle   By: (1814-1880)

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With Axe and Rifle; or The Western Pioneers, by W.H.G. Kingston.

With great skill and sincerity Kingston depicts many of the struggles and efforts that the would be settlers in the West had to make. Constant harrying by Red Indians, the weather, nasty neighbours, illness, all made life difficult, indeed almost impossible.

The book is told through the eyes of a boy, as he grows to adulthood. His family, also Mr Tidey, who acted as family tutor, or Dominie, and Dio, a runaway slave to whom they give a home, form the principal actors in this tale, but there are many others, such as the wicked Bracher, and a mysterious hunter who appears several times in the book in the guise of a rescuer.

Well into the last chapter we are presented with all sorts of dreadful happenings, which the hero feels to be like the imagined happenings of a bad dream. But suddenly it all sorts out and we have an unexpectedly happy conclusion to the tale.

WITH AXE AND RIFLE; OR THE WESTERN PIONEERS, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

CHAPTER ONE.

CAPTAIN LORAINE'S FARM IN THE FAR WEST HOT HEADED YOUNG MEN OUR FAMILY UNCLE DENIS TAKEN SICK WE SET OUT TO VISIT HIM THE CORDUROY ROAD A WAYSIDE HOTEL ROUGH COMPANY APPEARANCE OF THE COUNTRY CROSSING THE FORD AT GREEN RIVER NEARLY LOST A BRAVE NEGRO GRATITUDE OF MY PARENTS AT MR. SILAS BRACHER'S PLANTATION DIOGENES MAMMY COE THE SLAVE OWNER MY FATHER ENDEAVOURS TO PURCHASE THE NEGRO SLAVERY UNEXPECTED RECOVERY OF DR. O'DOWD'S PATIENT A SPORTSMAN'S AMBITION TRAPPING A RICH PRIZE SOMETHING ABOUT TURKEYS THE WONDERFUL CAVE OF KENTUCKY OUR RETURN TO ILLINOIS.

Some time after the termination of the long war which England had waged in the cause of liberty when well nigh all the world was up in arms against her, my father, Captain Patrick Loraine, having served for many years as a subaltern, believing that he should no longer find employment for his sword, sold out of the army, and with the proceeds of his commission in his pocket, quitting the old country, came to the United States in the hopes of making his fortune more rapidly than he could expect to do at home.

Finding that as a British officer he was looked upon with distrust in the Eastern States, he made his way westward until he finally located himself in Illinois on a fertile spot, sheltered on the north by a wide extent of forest, and overlooking that part of the river Ohio which separates the state from Kentucky. I remember even now the appearance of the country. On the eastern side was a range of hills of slight elevation, on one of which our house stood, while westward stretched away as far as the eye could reach, a vast plain, with the mighty Mississippi beyond. The scenery could boast of no great beauty except such as lofty trees, the prairie, with its varied tints of green and brown, yellow cornfields, rich meadows in the valleys, and the shining river in the distance, canopied by the blue vault of heaven, could give it. Still, it was my home, and as such I should have loved it, had it possessed even less pretensions to beauty.

So well satisfied was my father with the country that he returned to Ireland to bring back a young lady who had promised to become his wife. Two or three years afterwards I was born, and was succeeded by my brother Dan, and finally by my dear little sister Kathleen. My mother, whose maiden name was O'Dwyer, was, I should have said, accompanied by her two brothers, Michael and Denis, who came out with the intention of assisting my father, and ultimately settling near him, but they were hot headed young men, and before even they reached the farm they had a quarrel which resulted in their separation. Denis finally settled in Kentucky, while Michael, with a rifle on his shoulder and axe in his belt, saying that he should turn trapper, pushed away further west, and from that day to the time I am about to describe we had received no tidings from him... Continue reading book >>




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