Onto the pack horses and mules they loaded the family clothing, some blankets and a few other bedclothes, with bed ticks to be filled with grass or hair, a large pot, a pair of pot hooks, an oven with a lid, a skillet and frying pan, a hand mill to grind grain, a wooden trencher in which to make bread, a few pewter plates, spoons, and other dishes, some axes and hoes, the iron parts of a plow, a broad ax, a froe, a saw, and an auger. Added to these were supplies of seeds for fields and vegetable crops, and a few fruit tree saplings.
They traveled the buffalo paths, game trails, Indian trails, creeks and rivers to find a place for their new homes. When their destinations was reached, they cut trees and built a log house, split boards with the froe and made a roof which was held on by weight poles, no nails being available. Puncheons were made by splitting logs and having the flat side smooth for floors and door shutters. Some chimneys were made of split sticks covered on the inside with a heavy coating of clay; but usually stones were used for this purpose as they were plentiful. The space between the log walls were filled with mortar called chinks and dobbins.
The horses and cattle were turned into the woods to eat grass in the summer and cane in the winter, being enticed home at night by a small bait of salt or grain. The small trees and bushes were cut and their roots grubbed up, while larger trees were girdled and left to die and become leafless. Rails were made and the clearing fenced in, the brush piled and burned, the land plowed and planted. It was work from daylight to dark, to get the cabins built, a wood supply cut and split, before winter came on.
After the first year, a larger cabin would be built, leaving the original to become the barn. Other smaller sheds were built to house the corn and grain raised for the family food and the animals. All this time the families had to contend with bands of Indians; some friendly, some resenting the infringement of the white man on their way of life. They were being pushed over and closed in by the white men that came to their lands.
Many of the Cherokee had established villages, laws and government long before the settlers came to their land. Their leaders tried to establish good relations with these new neighbors. Some of the warriors saw this as an end to their way of life and were not hesitant to show their feelings. Many fought with the British during the War. They had established relations with the King's men years before then.
Submitted By Ethel Taylor
June 9, 2004
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