Lucy Crawford.

The history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket online

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ance to make this way practicable, he left his
situation and volunteered once more to serve the
public. In January, 1792, he took his family
and moved them to Nash & Sawyer's Location,
bought out my father, who had s Dme time before
bought out three or four settlers who had declin-
ed to remain, and had been living there alone,
keeping bachellor's hall, in one of the small huts
they had built.

Soon after this, my father rather than to be
crowded by neighbors, moved twelve miles down
the Saco river, where lie would have elbow room
enough ; and then began in the woods, in what
is called Hart's Location, and remains there un-
til this day, making as much improvement as
possible, and laboring for the public good —
while grandfather w^as beginning again in the
woods, vea, more than the woods, in the vallev


of tliG Amanoosuc, surrounded by mountains,
on all sides, lie afterwards sold his farm at
Guildhall, and the effects or proceeds he laid out
in this lonesome spot, far from any neighbors,
twelve miles cither way. fn a little log cabin
they lived many years — suffering all the hard-
ships, which might well be expected or borne
in this lonely, uncultivated place ; and as they
were dependent on their neighbors for food, they
were obliged to go, or send their children that
<listance to obtain it : always feeling anxious for
tiieir safety when they v/ere gone, fearing less
some accident might befall them. The way was
so rough they were fearful the horse would
break his leg and injure the child. Many an
hour, I have heard my grandmother say, she has
spent in. meditation of her absent children ; and
at a late hour in the night, many times, before
they would return ; and then she would pour out
her love in prryer and thankfulness to her heav-
enly Father for preserving them, and that she
was permitted to receive them again to her hum-
ble mansion.

Thus they lived several years, working on
their farms and making roads ; sometimes for
pay and sometimes without pay, just as it hap-
pened, until the Legislature saw fit to grant
them a Turnpike, 1803. This was divided into
shares to the number of five hundred, and let
out to different men to make. After a while, as
travelling and business increased, he built a
large and convenient two-story duelling, on an
elevated spot, on the vrcst end of what has since
been called Giant's Grave, with two rooms un-


tier ground ; from the chamber over this, in the
second stoiy, was an out side door, which
opened so that one could walk out on this hill,
which was beautiful, and gives a view of all the
flat country around it. He built a large barn,
stable, sheds and other out buildings — a sawmill
and grist mill, &;c.; the latter was of but little
use, being one and a half miles from where he
lived. The mice injured the bolt so much it
was difficult to keep it in repair ; but the saw
mill was of great service, both to him and to
my father, when building. Thus he prospered
and lived well ; but his children were not satis-
fied with their situation ; married, and left him,
one after another ; and their leaving him and
setling them off, put him in rather low circum-
stances, in his advanced age ; still, be had
sufficient, but was in want of some one to help
him, as will' be shown in the next chapter.



Ethan Allen Crawford was born in Cuild-
liall, Vermont, in 1792, and wlicn quite young,
h\s parents moved to Hart"'s Location, in New
Hampshire, twelve miles from neighbors, one
way, and sLx the other ; in a log house, in a
small opening among the trees.

Here our lamily lived alone, with the excep-
tion of a hired man ; when, one Saturday, my
parents went to spend the Sabbath in Bartlett,
among the Christians ; and they left me and a
brother older than I was, with this hired man, to
take care of us, and with a plenty of provisions
to last until their return. Soon after they were
gone, this man picked up such things as ho
thought valuable, and what victules were cooked
for us during their absence, steered for the
woods, and left us, two little boys, (to use the
words of Ethan,) with none to keep us company
all night, and without food. We had a cow, but
neither of us was larsie enouo;h to milk her.
We, however, got some potatoes, roasted them
in the ashes and ate them ; then, being tired and
lonesome, we hugged ourselves up together and
went to sleep. On ]\Ionday, when they came
and found us, and things as they were, my
father was so incensed with ihe man for his ill
treatment ^to hia little helple^ children, that he


followed him to Franconia, Avhero he came out
of the woods. We recovered some of the
stolen articles, and had the man punished for his


While my father was clearing up his land, I
and my brother helped him all we could. Many
times I have chopped, and my hands would
swell and pain me in the night so much, that my
mother would get up and poultice them, to give
me ease. I never had a hat, a mitten, or a pair
of shoes, of my own, that were made for mo,
until I was nearly thirteen years old. I could
harness and unharness horses, in the cold winter
weather, with my head, hands and feet nearly
bare, and not mind or complain of the cold, as
I was used to it ; it made me tough and healthy.

After this, I was sent to school, in the winter,
to some one of the neighboring towns, wherever
I could work night and morning, and help pay
my board, until I could read, write and cii)her.

In 1811, I enlisted as a soldier, under the
command of Capt. Stark, for eighteen months ;
with a promise, from another officer, that 1
should have a commission, after we should get
to Plattsburgh. Here I stayed through the sum-
mer ; and late in the fall, the spotted fever raged
in the company, and I was one of the subjects
of this contagious disease. I was sick, and did
not knov/ but that it was even unto death, as
numbers were dying daily around me. I was
carried to the hospital ; but as it was so filled
with the sick, I thought I v/ould fare better in
my own bunk, and got back there some how or
Other. Here I made the best I could of it, and


having a strong constitution, as soon as my fever
turned, I crawled out and bought me a turkey
and had a part of it made into broth, of which I
took a little at a time until it strengthened me^
and I could get about.

Thinking that if I staid there, I would not live
long, I made an application for a furlow, to go
home, which was granted me. I started, but
was so weak and emaciated, I could walk but a
short distance in a day, and when the wind blew
I was obliged to stop and lay by, as I could not
stand against it. . I, however, succeeded in get-
ting home to the White Hills in fourteen days,
with the assistance of some kind friends, who
would occasionally give me a ride. Once on
the way I was suspected of having run away
from the army and I was obliged to show my

In the winter, after regaining my health, I re-
turned to my duty. I afterwards had to take the
place of a Lieutenant, a Sergant and a Corporal
and as I was called upon oftener than many
others on duty, one day when I was gone they
chose their officers, and I was left out. This
dissatisfied me so much I made my complaints
to the man that had promised to raise me above
a common soldier. He wrote to Washington,
to head quarters, and we soon had an answer
saying I might be discharged. This I showed
to the officer that had the authority to give the
discharge. He was unwilling ; but after he had
done it, he gave me a Corporal's commission,
which I accepted, and I stayed for a while. The
main army moved off, and I was left with a


company of invalids, and not much to do; I
thought best to go home, and so I went home.

In 1814, I hired with two men who had
engaged to take out the trees by the roots, and
prepare for a road, sixteen feet wide, leading
from Russell, in the State of New York to St.
Johns, for fifty cents a rod. We made a begin-
ning soon after the frost was out of the ground ;
took our provisions and cooking utensils with us,
and there, in those woods, I staid seven months
without once coming out. Three men of us, in
that time, with one yoke of oxen, grubbed and
made a road nearly eight miles long, and then I
went home.

In the spring of 1815, as my eldest brother
was then in Russell, in the State of New York,
and I having been there, and liking the place, I
concluded to go again. I bought me a horse,
and I did go. The eighth and ninth of June,
the ground froze and the snow fell a foot deep,
or more, and lasted for me to draw logs to a
saw-mill, two days, with four oxen.

Here the pigeons were so numerous, in some
places, that the farmers were obliged to M-atch
their fields to keep the birds from picking up the
sowed grain. At one time I went with three
other men into the woods, on to a swell or small
ridge of land, where the pigeons had made their
nests and hatched their young ones, and on half
an acre of land, in some beech trees, we found
them in great abundance. We would chop one
tree and fall it against another and that would
cause the young ones to drop from both trees.
Some trees had forty nests in each of them, with


two young ones in each nest. These were a
clear squad of fat, and as they could only hop
along and could not get out of our way, we
picked them up and pulled off their heads and
took out their crops to keep thern from spoiling.
There we worked until each of us had as many
as we could carry, in a bag, home on a horse ""s
back ; and a greater sight than that I never saw.

Among the numerous branches of business
which the man I hired with had for me to do,
was working on a river of swift water, where
we boated barrels of potash fifteen miles down
the river. These barrels weighed five hundred
apiece. I could take one of these at a time, of
this average weight, and put it into the boat,
lioisting it two feet. There was but another
man in the boat that could lift but one end of a
barrel. My strength was so great, and my
health so good, I did not know but it would last,
until I began to have the rheumatism, by being
so often and so much exposed, and in the heat
of the day and when in a state of perspiration,
obliged to go into the water, and remain there
as we often times had to do.

Here I lived, and had bought n^e a piece of
land in the town of Louisville, in the State of
New York, and I had made a handsome begin-
ning, intending to settle there, near this brother
of mine ; when, in 1816, we received a letter
from our aged grandfather, desiring, one of us
to come and live with him ; as he said he would
not live long, being troubled with a cancer on
his under lip ; that his children were all married
and settled aw^ay from him, such as were capa-


ble of taking care of their harvests, and that
one of us should have a deed of all his property,
if one of us would come and see him, grand-
mother and uncle William, their eldest son,
(who was not capable of managing his business
through life.) and pay his grandfather's honest

My brother, who was always considered the
wiser of us two, said he would not do this, and
advised me not to ; setting forth the many diffi-
culties that would arise on the part of near
relatives, who, though not willing to go there
themselves, yet might find fault with another's
going; and the great responsibility resting upon
the one who should undertake the care of old
people. Although he honored and respected
them, yet he felt inadequate to the task, and
thought it devolved upon some one better quali-
fied for it. This council I heard and concluded
to abide by.

Unfortunately, I got lame and could not work;
I therefore thought I would go home, and visit
them and my parents, who lived twelve miles
distant from them ; and, in December, I started.
On m.y arriving there, the old" gentleman ex-
pressed marks of gratitude for my obedience to
his summons, but as I had made up my mind
according to my brother's advice, I told him I
had not come to stay, only to see him. On
hearing this he put his hand upon my shoulder,
and intreated me in such a manner, with tears
trickling down his farrowed cheeks, that my
forn\er resolution was shaken ; for he had ever
been a kind grandparent to me, and how could


I deny liim my services now when he so much
needed them ?

I then concluded to go back to Louisville and
sell my possessions there, and return to their
assistance, and do the best I could for them.
Accordingly I went back, and sold; [and in
March, 1817, returned to them again. I brought
with me two hundred and eighty dollars which I
had earned. This I contributed to the benefit of
the farm. Then I gave my notes for a sum of
from two to three thousand dollars, and took
up his. Afterwards he gave me a deed for his
farm, by me giving them a mortgage back, for
theit maintainance through life. I provided every
means which he and his friends thought proper,
to remove the disease, but to no purpose, it was
so far advanced it was incurable.

It was now necessary to have a nurse — one
who would feel an interest in his being made
comfortable ; as the disorder so much aifected
grandmother, she could not dress it, neither
could she bear to stay in the room when it was
dressed. And they desired me to go for a
cousin of mine, by the name of Lucy, who was
a {particular favorite of their's, and get her to
come and take care of him. I went and obtain-
ed her consent, with that of her parents, who
well knew his situation, and felt anxious that his
last days mi^ht be made as comfortable and
easy as possible.

The 5th of May, Lucy came home with me
and took the whole care of grandfather ; and he
was so well pleased with what she did for him,
that lie thought no one else could do for liim as


well ; and would never let his own children dress
liis lip when she was there. His pains, which
were severe, he bore like a christian, without a
nuu'mur or a groan, when awake, and he would
frequently say he had no more laid upon him
than he was able to bear. He would converse
upon death, with as much freedom, as though he
was going to take a long journey, into a far
country, and never expected to return.

He gave Lucy and myself a great many
councils, and expressed a desire, in the course
of the summer, that as Lucy took such good
care of him, he hoped she w^ould unite with me,
and continue there to stay; and, in the like man-
ner, rock the cradle for the declining years of
grandmother, as she did for him ; and likewise
for uncle William, who, he said, might cause
some trouble, as most people in his situation,
possess a quick disposition, and would sometimes
be irritable. He told us not to mind such things
but to discharge a clear conscience tow^ards him,
and we should have a reward for it, and if no
other, we should have a peace of mind, which
would surpass every thing in this world.

He would often say to Lucy when his can-
cer increased so much as to become an inhabit-
ed corruption, that he was only a glass for others
to look into and see their own final corruption at
death. He would never suffer any one to sit
up with him, or even go into his room in the
night to ask if he wanted any thing — always
seeming to be afraid we should do so much for
him that we should get sick. Jn this way he
lived from Mav until Sebtember upon nothing


but sweetened milk and water, with sometimes a
little spirit in it, which he said he could not well
do without, as the cancer in his mouth and
and throat was so offensive to him. When his
flesh was all gone, and his teeth fell into his
mouth, his spirit left his body, without a struggle
or a groan, with his hands and eyes uplifted to-
wards heaven ; he, by signs, commended uncle
William and grandmother to my care. Our
good neighbors, who lived at a distance of twelve
and twenty miles, assembled and paid their re-
spects to his remains, on the 27th.

As Lucy had with so much judgment, alacrity
and perseverance discharged her duty towards
grandfather, and knowing no other that would
All her place, I solicited her to engage with me
in the performance of the remaining obligations
1 was then under. She accordingly agreed to,
after I should have obtained the consent of her
parents, and on the first of November, we were
married. She now became a partaker of all
my joys and sorrows.

This winter (1818) being in good health, my-
self, and possessing a goodly share of strength,
I, with the help of uncle Av'illiam, managed to
do all our own work, without having any other
help, as we wished to economise all we could
to meet my notes and take them up when they
should become due. In this way our honest
endeavors were prospered; and I was able to
make my first payment without trouble, and
after getting through with my Spring work, in
the Summer I hired men and went to labor on
the turnpike, for pay, laying up everything we


could earn and save from our common, neces-
sary living, for that purpose, as I was^ determined
to pay every demand as soon as it should be
called for.


Early on the morning of the 18th of July,
my family not being well, I went to our nearest
nrifihbors for some assistance. It was nearly
eight o'clock when I returned with Mrs. Rose-
brook, and not long after, we had a son born,
which weighed nearly five pounds. After doing
what was necessary to be done, at the house, at
1 1 o'clock 1 went to carry some dinner to our
men who were at work on the Cherry Moimtain
road, one and a half miles from home. Grand-
* mother desired me, on my return, to bring her
some trout, as she said I must give them a good
treat and do something extra for their services
and my good fortune that morning. I accord-
ingly, though reluctantly, obeyed her commands.
The trout were in as great haste for the hook as
I was for them. I caught in a few minutes, a
fine string of good large sized ones. I was gone
about one hour from home, and when on my
return, the first sight which caught my eyes, as
I came out of the woods, was flames of fire
ascending the tops of the chimnies, ten or fifteen
feet in the air ! 1 added a new speed to my
horse, who was then under a good headway, and
I was soon there. Here I found Lucy and her
infant, placed on some feather beds, behind an
old blacksmith's shop, where she could not see
the flames of fire, in the open air. I passed h«r


immediately by and flew to the house, and tried
to save something from it, but all in vain. The
fire was raging ; and to that height I could not
save a hive of bees, which stood a few rods from
it. Tliesc were suifcred to perish. There
were no men there excepting a Mr. Boardman,
from Lancester, who, witli his wife, on their
return home from Saco, called for some refresh-
ments, and while this was preparing, Mrs. Board-
man came into the room and enquired of Lucy
how she did, and what she should say to her
mother who lived three miles from them, when
she should get home. After a little conversa-
tion and receiving thanks from Lucy for her
kindness, she took her leave and went out. The
room where Lucy lay was about ten feet wider
than the other part of the house, which was
])uilt with these two rooms under ground. And
there was a large poplar whose boughs anil
leaves touched the chamber window whore grand
mother slept. While in conversation with Mrs.
Boardman Lucy saw smoke and leaves pass her
window : but as she was much engaged and the
wind shifted, she forgot to mention it The girl,
going into one of the rooms, heard the crackling
of fire overhead, and when she opened the
chamber door, the flames met her. She imme-
diately closed the door and gave information.
In a few minutes Mrs. Boardman returned and
said, Mrs. Crawford do not be frightened, the
house is on fire and cannot be saved ; be quiet
and keep still ; you shall be taken care of; re-
member 3^our life is of more value than all the
property which is to be consumed. These
words, coming in so friendly a manner, and


from so good a woniun, calmed all her fears,
and, when left alone, she had! the presence of
mind to command herself without tremblino;.
She arose and dressed herself, then went to the
desk, which stood in the room, unlocked it, took
out all the papei-s and other things of conse-
quence from the drawers, and put them in a
pine chest, which stood near by ; then asked
I\Ir. Boardman to save it, which he did. She
then went into another room and took out some
draws, and they were carried out and saved.
She would have taken down the top of a bi-ass
clock, had it not been for Mrs. Boardman, who
would, every time she saw her making exertions,
admonish her by saying she was not aware of
her critical situation, and as it hindered her by
these arguments from doing much herself, Lucy
gave up and was placed in an arm chair, and
carried to the place where I found her. The
infant was the last thins: taken from the burnins:
ruins, as ^Irs. Rosebrook had taken it and laid it
upon a bench in the bar-room, for the house
was built for a tavern. Mr. B. asked where it
was ? She said she knew, and ran in and
brought it out. We had a pig shut up in a pen
so near the building, that before he could make
his escape, was burned. The noise of this pig
attracted the attention of the other hogs and
brought them to the place, and it was with diffi-
culty that Lucy and one little brother of hers,
four years old, who lived with us, could keep
them from tearing every thing to pieces — beds
all on fire — cheeses all around — hogs in the
midst of them — all hurly burly — while th«'


female party had much to do to keep safe what
they had taken from the house. And Mr.
Boardman had his horse and chaise to look
after. As there was but Uttle help, there could
not be much saved. The day was fair, and the
wind strong, and it blew in different directions,
so that the bed on which Lucy lay caught fire
three times, which she extinguished by smotli-
ering it with her hands.

The fire is supposed to have communicated
from a candle, accidentally left buring in a
kitchen chair, in the morning, in a tightly ceiled
room, by our grandmother ; and it was sometime
making its appearance, owing to the stillness of
the air, as that was the place from where it was
discovered. Lucy having been unwell in the
night, the old lady was called upon to come and
see her, and after rendering her services, Lucy
was better and desired her to go to bed again.
This, she was, at first, unwilling to do ; but after
a little pursuading, she went. I gave her a new
long candle, which she took and set in the chair,
and then she laid down on the bed, not thinking
to sleep, as she said ; but she did fall asleep, and
when she awoke, the sun shone brightly in her
face, and thinking she had neglected Lucy, and
unmindful of the candle, left it burning : coming
out of the room, she shut the door after her and
came down stairs.

Dear Reader, my feelings at this time, may
better be imagined than described, — no inhabited
house within six miles, on one side, and twelve,
the other — my family in this destitute situa-
tion — all my carriages sharing th« sam« fat«


with the buiidings, and no means to convey
them hence. As Mrs. Boardman was a feeble
woman, and out of health, she could not think
of giving up her chaise to carry away my family
with; neither was it a desirable carriage for
them. And while we were contriving some
means to get them away, it seemed as though
directed by the hand of Providence, a Tin
Peddler happened along, and after we had put
what things we saved into an old barn which
stood at such a distance from the other buildings
that it escaped the fire, he kindly emptied his
cart of its contents in the field, and we placed
some feather beds in his cart and put Lucy and
her brother and the babe in it. I then gave the
before mentioned trout to Mr. Boardman, helped
them to their carriage, and they went tlieir way,
and we went ours. While on the way, the babe
was uneasy, and Mrs. Rosebrook picked rasp-
berries and gave them to the child, and to its
mother. Grandmother and Mrs. Rosebrook, on
horseback, myself and the peddler on foot, made
up our travelling party, and about the setting of
the sun, and over a very rough road, we all

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Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 2 of 13)