Was sitting around thinking what a young girl would be thinking about moving to a “wilderness”.
For the young lady
d n english
Hello my name is Rachel Williams. My grandfather had been given 1500 acres in the new territory around the Hatchie River in Tennessee.
When Grandfather died in 1819 and he left the land to my Father and my 2 uncles. My uncle Gabe left right away to claim his land five miles from the river . He came from the Mississippi River to the Hatchie River. My uncle Robert chose to stay in North Carolina, he was an important man in the city. He made the decision to sell his part of the land to Uncle Gabe and my Dad, William. That meant my uncle and father each had 750 acres in this wilderness. It had taken my Dad two years to straighten out his affairs and follow my Uncle Gabe.
According to my Aunt Sarah letters it had been hard the first months. My Uncle had a sawmill in North Carolina so when he saw his land he was excited. Aunt Sarah and Uncle Gabe had 5 sons and 2 daughters.
Dad and my mother (Mary Elizabeth) had me and my two sister and my two brothers.
My brothers Zeth and James came out a year before we made the trip. They helped my Uncle at his sawmill and started building our new home.
When we started the trip it was exciting but scary. We could not tie up at the riverbank the Chickasaw Indian guides told it would be safer. You see we had a lot of our possessions on our flat bottom boat. We had met some new friends on the trip we looked out for each other.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the wild animals we heard in the woods at night. We were told there were big cats , bears, deer and other creatures of the night. Sometime the men would get hunting parties together and kill a big hog or deer. Skin it and cook it under the instructions of the guides. They would also pick us berries and other plants we could cook ,preserve and cook.
Mother would teach us our numbers, writing and our
Bible lessons. We girls would do the wash and mending.
We would pull on shore in safe places build a fire and heat water so we could have clean clothes. We would stay at the safe places maybe 2 days to cook food to have to eat on our journey.
Then the day came and we docked at Estanaula. There waiting on us was Zeth and James, my Uncle, Aunt with all my cousins and some of our new neighbors.
Everyone unloaded the boat and loaded the wagons.
The boat would be taken back up river and sold to the next family.
Our first night was at my Uncle’s house. He had built a beautiful two story log cabin with two fire places, 4 sleeping rooms and a big kitchen. They even had a water pump in the sink and on the big porch. The water was pumped from the well that was supplied water from the spring. They had two outhouses. This was a big deal one for the girls and one for the boys. The neighbors had all bought food we had a feast.
Our brothers were so excited they had learned a lot from our cousins and Uncle. With the help of my cousins and the neighbors they had our home ready.
They told us our Uncle had one of the largest sawmills in the area. The boys had learned to identify the tree to cut down, how to mill them and use them to build houses ,barns and even make wagons. Zeth had been taught to make bricks out of the clay around the river and then fire them in the ovens to build the fireplaces.
The next day we went down the road about a mile to see our new home. Our house was not as big as my Uncle’s house but it was nice. We girls had a big room to share next to the boys room in the loft. Mother and Father had a bedroom down next to the kitchen. We had two fireplaces one for cooking and one for warmth.
We were told we had a fresh water spring close to the house so we had a hand pump in the kitchen sink and on the porch with a privacy room for us to have a bath.
Our brothers had worked enough to buy us a real tub.
The fire to heat the water was close to the porch and we had two clothes lines. Oh yea they had built us two outhouses also and painted the girl’s bright white trimmed with red.
To the side of the house was a one room school. Mother was so excited now she could continue to teach not only our family but the neighbor’s children. Father and Uncle had made arrangements, Father could keep the accounts for the Sawmill they would be partners.
They agreed to hire some of the neighbors to plant the crops and harvest them. That included vegetables and something called cotton. We had a good community
Things would be different but we would learn and survive.
And I can learn to shoot…
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