Lucy Crawford.

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

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Guildhall, just opposite that place, and we con-
cluded to go and see them ; and on the day ap-
pointed, I with others went to see the soldiers
perform, and while on the ground I was sitting
down, there came a man who was celebrated
for wrestling and laid hold of me and stumped
me to throw him. I eased him off, and then he
went to others in the same way, and received
oimilar treatment, until he upset a whole row of
aid men sitting on a rail fence or board. He
seme again and insisted upon my taking hold
with him. I told him I was not in the habit of
that kind of sport, and also I was lame and could
not, even had I a disposition to ; and he came
the third time and caught hold of my vest and
rent it several inches in length, and at the same
time whh his foot gave me such a blow on mv


lame ancle thai the hurt raised my temper to
such a degree that, unconscious of what I did, I
put my fist in such an attitude that it laid him
prostrate on the ground. He was taken up with
rather a disfigured face ; for which I was im-
mediately sorry, for I knew he was influenced
by liquor ; but it was done — and many were
glad of it — while I was ashamed to think I had
given way to passion, and when I came to where
Lucy was, I asked her to forgive my imjjrudence
by mending my vest. I told her it should be
tlie last time I would give way to an angry pas-
sion, and I have thus far kept my word.

In August 31, 1821, there came three young
ladies, the ]\Iisses Austins, who were formerly
from Portsmouth, to ascend the Hills, as they
were ambitious and wanted to have the honor
of being the first females who placed their feet
on this high, and now, celebrated place. Mount
Washington. They were accompanied by their
brother and Charles J. Stewart, Esq., who was
then engaged to one of them, and married her,
July 4th, 1822, and Mr. Faulkner, who was then
a tenant on their farm in Jefferson, attending
with their baggage. They were provided with
every thing necessary for the expedition, and
set forward. They went as far as the first
Camp that night, dividing it into two apartments,
and then put up. The next morning they pur-
sued their way until they reached the next
camp, which they in like manner divided. It
came on unfavorable weather, and now being in
pretty good quarters, they stayed and waited for


a better prospect. As their store of provisions
began to fall short, Mr. Faulkner came in and
said that I must, if I possibly could, go and re-
lieve him, as he had grain out in the field, then
suffering, and they wished to have me accom-
pany them.

I now mustered all my courage, as I was then
lame, took a load on my back and a cane in my
hand to help my lame foot, which was now
healed over, and went and overtook them. The
weather also looking flivorable, we ascended at
.six o'clock in the morning, and reached the sum-
)nit just before the sun had got to the meridian.
What a beautiful sight ! we could look over the
whole creation with wonder and surprise, as far
as the eye could extend, in every direction, and
view the wonderful works of God ! Every
large pond and sheet of water was plain to be
seen, within tlie circuit of one hundred miles,
for some time, until the sun had got up so high
as to cause a vapor to rise from the waters ; this
also, was grand to see ; the commencement of
the little vapor, which would grow larger and
larger, until it made a cloud and entrenched the
view. Houses and farms were to be seen at a
distance, so far off that they appeared nothing
more than small specks. At one time, previous,
when here w^th some gentlemen, we counted
forty-two different ponds in different directions.
The Sebago Pond is distinctly to be seen, and
some have thought they could see the ocean
from this place ; but as there is no object be-
yond, it appears to look like a cloud, differing


only a trifle in color from the sky. The ladies
returned, richly paid for their trouble, after being
out five days and three nights. I think this act
of heroism ought to confer an honor on them, as
every thing was done with so much prudence
and modesty by them ; there was not left a
trace or even a chance for a reproach or slan-
der excepting by those who thought themselves
outdone by these young ladies.

This winter, 1822, as my ankle was weak,
and the rheumatism now found its way to it,
I stayed at home as much as possible, doing only
what necessity really compelled me to, and in
the spring I made a considerable improvement
on my mountain road. This summer I went on
the mountain with one gentleman, and he was
a sood traveller, and we reached the top of the
mountain and returned to the camp before sun-
set ; he proposed coming home that night ; we
took some refreshments and started, and we
came along until it grew quite dark, and I pro-
posed taking a little nap and waite for the moon
to rise and give us some light. He hesitated a
little in consequence of the wild beasts, which
he said might happen along, and take us while
sleeping. I advised him to calm his fears for
my faithful dog would keep watch. We took
our blankets and laid down and soon fell asleep;
presently their came a large bear spattering
along in full speed, and as the air came along
with him he did not perceive us until within
a few feet of us, and then the dog sprang up
and went after him ; this awakened us, and as


the moon liad now got up so high as to shine
among the trees, we could pursue our path quite
well, and arrived home about twelve o'clock.

We set traps and caught two at one time, and
some more at other times this season, from which
we obtained considerable oil.

In August, we had some young gentlemen
from a University, — they were preparing for the
ministry ; and as they needed exercise, and a
respit from their studies, they chose this place
to spend their leisure hours, and regain their
strength, and view and contemplate upon the
works of God, and climb the Mountain. I went
with them as guide, and on the way I tried to
shorten the distance and make their toil less
tiresome by some anecdotes and telling some
little stories ; but as this did not comcide with
their feelings, I gave up these trifles and re-
mained silent most of the way ; and when arriv-
ing at the summit, they on this high and elevated
spot, offered prayers to Almighiy God for his
goodness. This was, I think, the first prayer I
ever heard on this Mountain. This appeared
solemn — now so high in the air, where we could
look down upon inferior objects — what could be
more interesting ?

The same month others came, and among
them was a sea captain, a man of good statue
and heavy ; he, while coming down from the
hill, and in the act of jumping from one stone
to another, laying there promiscuously, slipped,
and unfortunately sprained his ancle. This was
some trouble to him the rest of the way ; how-


ever, he managed to get home. This was the
greates injury happening to any person, while
going up or coming down the hills, to my knowl-
edge, during our stay at the White Mountains.

This summer, we had some trouble with uncle
William, as brother had predicted, when he
told me if I should go up there, I must expect
trouble from dear relatives. As our situation
was so uncomfortable, grandmother was under
the necessity of making my father's house her
home ; and she was desirous of having William
live with her ; yet she did not complain of his
"beino; ill treated, but wanted him, and coaxed
him to go there and live with her. But he did
not stay long, as they could do without him.
They advised him to come home again, but this
was contrary to the old lady's feelings ; and she
then advised him to go and live with his brother,
and as he had ever been at her command, he
obeyed her, and went. But this was not home
to him ; and after a while, he returned ; and
said he would not be controlled any more, but
w^ould remain on his farm ; he, therefore, came
back, and received from us as good treatment
as he ever had done.

In September, as I was ascending the moun-
tain with two young gentlemen, we saw in the
path, at some distance from the camp, a large
bear's track, but saw nothing of the bear. On
our descent, near this place, the dog left us, and
in a few minutes, went to bearking in great
earnest. I said he has something. I went a
few steps and saw a cub, the bigness of a good


Sized cur dog, climbing a tree. And how wo
could get him was the next thing. We talked
it over, and agreed that one should stand in the
road and keep watch for the old one, whom
we expected, should she hear the cries of her
cub; and the otner should climb the tree, and
get him off, while I and the dog should remain
at the foot of the tree and take him. The cub
was followed up the tree in good style. He
then v.alked out on a limb, and from that into a
small tree, which I took hold of, and shook so
hard that he fell off, and the dog caught him.
I then took hold of him, and tying his mouth
with my handkerchief, brought him safely home,
and kept him some time. At length a hired
man set up a pole, and tied a leather strap
around his neck, and gave him a trough of water
to bathe in. This he enjoyed remarkably well
for a while, but when the strap stretched, he
.slipped out his head and said, I suppose, good

This winter, 1822, I spent in buying salt, and
transporting it from Portland to Colebrook, and
exchanging it for grain ; I likewise bought a nice
mare, for which I paid in salt. I transported the
salt with this mare by sleigh loads. This winter
my dog caught a great many deer, and would
go with any one who desired him ; but an enemy
wanted him, and as he could not have, because
he was engagd, he gave him poison ; and I lost
my famous dag. But shortly after, I bought
another equally as good.

In June, when returning from the camp, in


company with two young gentlemen, as we were
travelling along, we saw a bunch of mountain
ash ; they stopped, and each cut for himself a
beautiful, nice and straight cane, which they
intended to carry home with them; and after
this was done, we again pursued our path — I
forward, and they after me, in Indian file, as
this was the manner in which we used to travel.
The one behind saw another bunch, from which
he thought he could select a better cane. He
stopped to cut it, while we were walking on ;
and he, being in a hurry, after he had cut this,
to overtake us, unmindfully crossed the path,
and steered directly into the woods. The other
one that was next to me, observed his com*
panion was not with us, was alarmed, saying he
was subject to fainting fits, and thought he must
have fainted. I immediately threw off my load
and ran back to where I supposed we left him ;
there I hollowed as loud as my lungs would ad-
mit, a number of times. He at length heard,
and stopped. He was completely lost, and could
not find his way back. He answered, and i
went to him, and put him in the right path again.
This frightened me more than all the bears in
the woods ; but it however served as a lesson
to others, never to give up a certainty for an


This summer, 1823, Chancellor Kent, frorn
New York, came to my house, with two young
gentlemen. As he was desirous of passing this
way, he hired a private conveyance here, after
leaving the stage, which did not then pass
through the Notch, as the mail was then some-
timestransported on horse-back and sometimes
in a one horse wagon. He chartered me to
carry them to Conway, when they would take
the stage again. After putting up with our ac-
commo^dations, through the night, in the morning
I harnessed my two mares, who had each a
young colt, and they took the road forward and
their mothers behind, which made a regular
team ; this amused them much. I earned them
to the destined place, the same day; and while
on the way, we had an interesting time in ex-
changing jokes, &c.

In July, another man and myself took blankets,
provisions, and other necessary things, for a
small party, who were going to stay the second
night, on Mount Washington, as they were de-
sirous of being there and seeing the appearance
of the sun, when it should set in the evening and
rise in the morning. After staying at the foot
of the hill over night, we ascended, and being
there in season, went to work and built three
stone cabins. We then collected a quantity


of dry moss, laid it in them for beds, spread
our blankets, and at an early hour, on this ele-
vated spot, retired to rest, now prostrate on the
ground, so much nearer Heaven than what we
had ever been accustomed. Our sleep was not
exactly sound, but was interrupted by dreams,
which one would naturally suppose would be
the case. In the morning we awoke by times
to view the object we came for. We had the
advantage of our neighbors, in seeing the ap-
pearance of light first ; and when the sun rose,
it came up, as it were, behind a veil, and ap-
peared the bigness of a good sized cart-wheel.
We could look upon it without straining our
eyes, as well as we can look upon the full
moon ; and then it rose from behind this cloud,
and came out in its full splendor and glory.
This was the first night I ever slept on Mount
Washington. One of the party made the fol-
iowing lines :

The Muses' most Inspiring draught,
From Helicon's pure fountain quaff'd,
What is it, to the rising sun,
Seen from the top of Washington !
Cans't thou bear a dreary night ?
Stranger ! go enjoy the sight.

We then returned over Munroe, Franklin and
Pleasant Mountain, following our old path, came
in at the Notch, and from there home.

It was now beginning to be fashionable for
ladies, attended by gentlemen, to visit this place,
both for health and amusement ; and we were
most of the time crowded. As our house was

WHlTii MOUi\TAiJN8. 63

SO siiiail Ave could not accommodate but a few
at a time, although we could give them clean
beds ; but they were obliged to stow closely at
night, and near the roof, as we had but two
small sleeping rooms down stairs, and these
were generally occupied by ladies ; the gentle-
men were under the necessity of going up stairs,
and there lay so near each other, that their beds
nearly touched ; but as we did all we could for
them, they seemed satistied with it.

In August, there came at one time, three dif-
ferent parties, which made quite a number for
us in those days. Early in the morning, the
gentlemen set out for the Hills, leaving the
ladies to amuse themselves and achieve such
victories as they, in their capacity, might think
proper. After dinner, the ladies inquired if the
hill north of my house had ever been visited,
and whether there were any views that were
interesting ? And after receiving an answer in
the affirmative, they started and took the nearest
route, which was a very rough one. One of
them being active and ambitious, said she would
be the first one up. She then set out in great
haste, supposing that this could be done in a
few minutes. The day being warm, she soon
grew fatigued, and perspiring freel}'', she gave
out before she had attained half its summit ;
and returned, nearly exhausted. She said this
hill should bear the name of Mount Deception,
for its deceptive appearance ; and, from this cir-
cumstance, it has since been called by that
name. The other ladies, taking it with moro


moderation, reached the top of the hill ; here
they could see some habitations in Bethel, and
had a good prospect of the valley, and the way
in which we travel to go up the Mountain,
which is a delightful view. They returned in
a different way. In the evening, I amused them
with the sound of my long tin horn, sent me by
a gentlemen from Portland, for the benefit of the
echo, which, when the horn was sounded, would
vibrate along the side of the hili, until the
sound would die away on the ear. This had a
strange effect on one lady, as she said it seemed
when the horn was sounded as if it were
answered by a supernatural voice from Heaven,
inspiring her with strange ideas or feelings,
which she never before experienced.

Again we had another party come, from which
I will relate a circumstance. We went up the
mountain, the weather then looked favorable,
until we reached the top of the hill , and then
we went into a cloud, which v/as dark all around
us. Having reached the summit, and not hav-
ing any landmarks to direct us back, and not
being acquainted with the weather here, we
stayed only long enough for them to carve their
names, and then tried to return ; but I was lost,
myself, for a short time. I started towards the
east, and we wandered about until we came
near the edge of a great gulf. Here we stay-
ed and amused ourselves by rolling such large
stones as we could find loose, and these being
started, went with such force that they would
lake others with them, and then rest only in the

l^HITfi M0U>'TAir4S.


valley beneath. Although a little danger was
encountered in this kind of sport, had one of
us have slipped accidentally, and have been pre-
cipitated down the gulf; yet it was actually a
grand sight ; and while we were enjoying this,
there came up a strong wind and carried away
the clouds in as short time as they had been
gathering and comming on. Now what a con-
itrast, to have the darkness all taken away, and
then a perfect clear sunshine come on. It
cheered all hearts. We then had a good pros-
pect of all the country around, and this oppor-
tunity was not lost. We could see what course
to steer, beat our way towards the path and
succeeded in finding it and returned home.

At another time I went up the mountains with
two gentlemen ; we started in the morning,
with the prospect of a clear day ; and having
attained the summit, could see the clouds gath-
■enng below us ; and, as the lightning streaked
along in the clouds, a rumbling noise was heard,
h\it not like the sound of thunder. Here, as
there was nothing to give it an echo, it only
sounded like -a rumbling noise, in the distance ;
but it was near us. What a situation to be
placed in, so high in the air ! Like the eagle,
we could now look down upon a raging storm,
while the atmosphere above, was perfectly
clear. We then went down to Blue Pond, and,
while here, the wind came up, attended with
hail, which descended with such violence, that
it seemed as though every hail stone left a mark
on our faces ; and to prevent losing our hats,


we T^^ere obliged to tie them on witlrour hand-
kerchiefs. We went struggling against the
wind a distance of one and a half miles ; some-
times it was with difficulty we could stand or
walk; until after we had attained this distance ;
we then got below the wind, and could now pur-
sure our way home, in a moderate rain ; we
arrived there, completely drenched.

Two gentlemen from Boston, came and went
up the mountains ; and after remaining on its
summit as long as they wished, returned by the
way of Blue Pond, and from thence, down
Escape Glen, as they termed it, to the camp — a
passage romantic, but precipitous ; where one of
them, as they said, came near loosing his life,
by taking hold of an old root of a tree to sup-
port himself, which gave away. He was over
a perpendicular precipice of fifty feet ; but for-
tunately, saved himself, and returned safely
home. He experienced no injury, save that of
beino- frightened.

This spring and summer, the Grey Cat or
Siberia Lynx, troubled us very much, making
several depredations among our sheep and geese,
and we underwent some fears for the safetv of our
children. These cats were bold and not afFraid
of man — never putting themselves much out of
the way to shun him. At one time a gentleman
was coming down Cherry Mountain, in a sleigh,
and saw two of these animals engaged in a
quarrel, as it appeared to him, in the road before
him; and it was with some difficulty that he
could convince them that the road belomred to


him ; but with some eDtreaties, they separated,
one on either side, giving him just room to pass.
He said he might have reached them vrith his
whip, but as they were content to let him pass,
he was content not to disturb them in their
angry looking position. I set traps, and in
various ways tried to catch them. 1 even killed
a hen and set her for bait, feathers and all on,
in the appearance of life, supposing thev would
like this, but they only seemed to amuse them-
selves by this, in coming up and looking at it,
and then passing on. At length I thought of
one more thing to try. I took some pickled fish,
which had a strong smell to it, for bait ; and the
first one afterwards who happened this wav. had
the curiosity to see what was there : and as the
trap was between him and the fish, he put his foot
into the trap and was held fast. He managed
to move the trap a little distance, but was soon
fastened by the grapple, which caught in a
thicket, where I found him. He was lying
partly hid, and I did not perceive him until I
came near stepping upon him, when he suddenly
started up, and I as soon sprang back to find
something to defend myself with; and when
prepared, entered into an engagement with him;
which was rather a tough one, he having the
advantage, being in the ticket. I conquered
him, at last, and brough him home in triumph ;
he measured six feet and over. In this, and
similar ways, I caught six of them. The next
spring I took one by stratagem ; as I was trav-
•eHing down through the Notch, with a team and


dog, below the Notch House, while we wero
going on, my dog came upon the track of one
of these animals, who had just crossed the road
before us ; the dog followed so closely, that the
animal sprang into a tree, and then the dog set
at the bottom, barking earnestly at him. I
knew he had something, and leaving my team
in the road, took my small axe with me, which
I always carried, and went to him ; he was up
a tree thirty feet, watching- the movements of
the dog. I then cut two birch sticks, the longest
I could select, and twisting the ends put them
together, and at one extremity of the stick I
made a ring with a slip noose to it ; this I rua
up through the boughs of the tree, and so man-
aged to get it over his head, then giving a sud-
den jerk, brought him down ten feet ; he caught
on a limb, and the halter slipped off. I then
fixed it again, and he being nearer, gave me a
better chance ; 1 put it over his head, down on
his neck, so that it held him fast, and then giv-
ing another jerk, fetch him to the ground. The
dog instantly seized him, but the cat soon extri-
cated himself, by tearing him with his claws,
which lie seemed to know how to apply very
actively, causing the dog to cry for quarters.
The cat them gave a jump the length of the
stick, over a spruce top four feet high, with the
halter still around his neck, and here he hung;
I then fell beating him with a club, which I had
previously prepared, and the dog recovering
himself, assisted me, and we soon finished him.
Shouldering my booty, I returned to my team,


and placing him on it, carried him down to my
father's, and there leaving him, resumed my
journey. On my return I took him home. I
never saw but one afterwards, and that, as I
was coming down Cherry Mountain; the dog
drove him into a tree, and I followed him up
there, myself; but the trees were so thick that
he jumped from one to another, and thus made
his escape, for the time. But shortly after, I
had a trap set in a brook, near the mouth, where
it empties into the Amanoosuc, hoping that I
might catch an otter ; the trap set near the end of
a log vv^hich crossed the stream, and was fastened
by a chain to a limb, six feet above the water ;
and this cat, wanting to cross the brook here,
walked on the log, when, stepping off, he put
his foot into the trap, and there he was held.
He managed to get back on the log, and then
on the limb, and wound up the chain in such a
manner, that he could not get either way ; here
I found him, dead, suspended between heaven
and earth. On these animals I had a premium
of three dollars apiece, which nearly paid me
for my loss land trouble. After making this
havoc among them, I was never troubled with
any of them again, while living at the Hills;
and there being no signs of them, I supposed I
destroyed the whole family.

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Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 4 of 13)