« ZurückWeiter »
That 'mid the forests where they roamed
There rings no hunter's shout; Yet their names are on our waters:
Ye cannot wash them out. Their memory liveth on our hills,
Their baptism on our shore; Our everlasting rivers speak
Their dialect of yore.
Its crystal tide along;
And Yadkin swells the song ;
The Indian name remains ;
(Adapted) by K. P. B. CHAPTER II.
EARLY SETTLERS. - INDIAN TROUBLES.
In those early days the woods and prairies of North Carolina abounded in wild animals. There were herds of light-footed deer. There were clumsy brown bears and fierce wild-cats and panthers; there were buffaloes, and plenty of beavers building their dams on the creeks ; plenty of wolves, foxes, raccoons, opossums, and squirrels.
Birds of many kinds that are no longer seen here abounded; wild-pigeons came in such immense flocks that they darkened the daylight, and small green paroquets were so numerous that after the white people settled the country and planted orchards they destroyed the fruit. They would tear an apple to pieces with their strong bills to get at the seeds. There were swans and cranes and great flocks of wild-turkeys.
There was a great abundance of wild fruit in the forests and prairies. A variety of fine grapes flourished, and plums and cherries and many kinds of berries. The Indians had a dark-red peach in their fields which we have yet and call it the “Indian peach,” and we call the wild red and yellow plums“Chickasaw plums," after the name of an Indian tribe. Walnuts, hickory-nuts, chestnuts, chinquapins, locusts, persimmons, and haws abounded then, just as they do now.
The great bays on the seashore, the rivers and the creeks, were full of fish.
The whole country teemed with abundance, and seemed as if the Creator had intended it for the abode of a great and piosperous and powerful Christian people.
1492. It is only four hundred years since the whole of the vast continent of North and South America first became known to the people of Europe.
Christopher Columbus was the first man who resolved to sail from Europe straight across the wide and stormy Atlantic Ocean. He came from Spain, and had three small ships, and a few men in each, to follow his guidance in that dangerous voyage.
The first land they discovered was one of the West India islands, and, as these islands lie very near both North and South America, it was not long before these great continents were discovered, and a vast and glorious new world was found, apparently waiting for the white races of Europe to come and take possession of it.
Because Columbus and others of the first who came over carried back some gold and silver which they got from the Indians on the islands and in Mexico, people in Europe thought this new world of America was everywhere full of gold to be had for the digging.
Adventurers came over from every nation, eager to make discoveries and to claim new possessions for their own king and country at home. None of them appeared to think the wild and savage Indians had any special right to the land. We are very apt to despise those who are weaker than we and who cannot maintain their rights.
The Indians everywhere at first were willing to see the white strangers, and welcomed them kindly. They were struck with fear and wonder to see their great ships and the new and strange things they brought. The guns, the swords, the knives, the simplest articles of domestic use, the very clothes the white men wore, were astonishing. They thought the flash and report of a gun were thunder and lightning
Of course the poor savages were eager to possess some of these wonderful and useful things. As long as the white men were peaceable and gave them presents and treated them well, the Indians seemed well pleased ; but soon there began to be quarrels. The Indians were thievish and revengeful and murderous. The whites showed them that they too could take revenge, and that they meant to be the masters, and were strongest.
Then there was war for many years all over the country, from Massachusetts Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, wherever the white people attempted to settle and stay. And what made war with Indians so horrible was that the Indians were absolutely ruthless. They killed the babe and its mother as readily as they would an armed foe. They massacred without mercy, and destroyed everything—houses, crops, and cattle—in their path.
The people of Europe, however, kept coming over. It was understood after a while that there was no gold or silver to be had along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, but that there was a great country to be settled, new homes to be had. And the white-sailed ships kept coming. Wherever was a good harbor they entered and landed crowds of adventurers.
The Spaniards settled in the West India Islands, in Florida, in Mexico, and in South America.
The French sailed up the broad St. Lawrence River, and explored lands lying on each side of it, and the great lakes in the North-west, and the Mississippi River, and the valley of the Ohio.
The English spread all along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida. Other nations mingled with their settlements, but the king of England claimed it all, and all the settlers were subject to him and his laws.
But many years had yet to pass before there were any real growing, prosperous colonies anywhere in America. The very first attempt to found one and to build a town is a specially sad story, and especially interesting to us, because that first attempt was made on the shore of North Carolina.
Scarce makes a ripple on the lake;
Loiters, as loth his leave to take,