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Lucy Crawford.

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

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the house ; by the way I had the precaution, to
put the tongue of the sleigh upwards, and the
next morning when I came to where I had left
the sleigh, all that I could discover of it, was the
tongue : this stood upright : the rest of it was
entirely covered with the snow, and it was
then utterly impossible for me to take it along



♦THITB MOUNTAINS. 117

with me, and I there left it, and a man happened
to be with me, one who had stayed with me tho
preceding night, who was on his way to Ver-
mont, with an empty single sleigh and a cood
horse. One of my horses I put on forward of
his, and I and the other horse made a track for
thsm to follow : we worked hard half a day, to
get six miles ; such was the quantity of s'now
which had fallen in a few hours. Other descrlp-
tions I could give similar to this, but 1 do not
wish to tire the patience of the reader, with more
than what is necessary, to show the differenco
between the climate we lived in, and other cli-
mates not far from us, and what difficulties and
hardships we had to encounter in this region ; but
in later years, for some cause, we have not had
such quantities of snow, and have not been much
troubled with its depth, but many times for the
want of it.

In the winter, in the beginning of the year
1828, we went to work and bought lumber, and
had it drawn a distance of seyenreen and a half
miles. I bought my brick, and had them to
haul twenty -two males, which kept us busy
through the winter, with what other work we
had to do. In the spring w^e collected men and
raised these buildings. [ hired two joiners, and
they went to work on them.

In June, I again worked on my Mountain road,
and then made it passable for a carriage, with
what I had done the year before, a distance fi'om
my house of about six miles, on which I could
carry in a w^agon, with two stout horses,
seven passengers at a time, and this made it



118 HISTORY OF TH2

much easier for the traveller : for ladies could go
up much easier than they could go at any other
time before. They went oftener, and I spent
the most of this summer in ascending the moun-
tain, with my friends at the house, and in fishing
and hunting with them as much as they chose,
and bestowing every act of kindness on them
which I was capable of doing. The joiners,
with what other assistance we could afford them,
had the outside of these buildings finished and
the inside so much done that it was comfortable
for the winter. We were still at work, when on
the 2d day of September we were again visited
by a heavy rain, which was as great as the one
we had two years before. The water in some
places on the Amanoosuc, where the mountains
came near together, was higher than in the for-
mer freshet. On the Saco, it was not so high,
yet the other freshet had made the channel of
the river so wide, that the water flood could pass
without being dammed up, or stopped in places,
as it had been in the former one, therefore it did
not occasion so much damage, but passed majes -
tically along, taking only what lay in its course.
The bridges which had so lately been built anew,
were mostly taken from their places and moved
away, but not so far but that some of them could
be brought back and put in their former places
again. The road was in many places entirely
destroyed. This put an end to all our business,
at present, as we did not know what could be the
result of this. The joiners packed up their tools
and left them and went home, and I was at this
lime transporting tho United States Mail, from



WHITE IVI0UNTAO3. 119

Conway to Littleton, twice in each week ; and it
being impossible to go with a horse, we carried
it regularly, on our backs, without losing more
than one single trip, to the satisfaction of our
friends and employer. The Directors of the
Turnkpike came and looked over the road again,
and they found it would take a large sum to re-
pair it, and make it passable, for the winter, and
they refused by saying that the corporation was
not able then to do it, but must have help from
some other quarter, as they knew no other way
for the Crawfords than that they must remain
shut up by themselves, as they could not then
make another road there. This did not exactly
correspond with my feelings, to be entirely shut
up without any communication with our southern
neighbors, and not have the privilege of getting
provisions, and other necessary things for my
family. I then concluded I would try my own
luck, and see what I could effect myself. I set
out in good earnest, and took a piece of paper,
and a man of judgment with me, and went down
through the whole length of the road, and made
an estimate of what I thought it would cost to
repair it again ; consulted with my father upon
the matter, to know what was best to be done.
I then took my estimate and went down to Port-
land, and saw where the principal proprietors of
the road lived. On my way there I called on
one of the Directors and took from him a letter
directed to one of the principal proprietors and
owners, to this purport, saying that the Crawfords
were doing a little on the road, but could not ef-
fect much, and we as a corporation, have con-



156 illSTORY OP tSE

eluded WG cannot do any thing, at present, on the
road, but must let it remain in the same condi-
tion for the winter. After having this letter ready
and showing him what I thought it would cogt to
make it again, this proprietor then gave me a
power of Attorney, to act on his shares, and
likewise others did, until I had enough to rule
the meeting, which it was then my whole busi'
ness to effect. On my way home, I bought two
yoke of oxen, hired men and set them to work
on the road. The first Wednesday in October
was the time for the annual meeting of the cor-
poration of the turnpike, to adjust their business.
When they had transacted their regular affairs,
it was then put to vote to know whether there
should be an assessment raised to repair the road.
There were some against me^ but I had the pow-
er in my hands and I could rule them jiist as I
pleased. I then, with the advice of my father,
voted to raise an assessment on the shares, and
that, with what other assistance we had from
Vermont, and the adjoining towns around, was
sufficient. We divided the broken places into
jobs, and let it out to different men, to make, sim-
ilar to the way we had done in former times, and
we had a tolerable sleigh path again for the win-
ter. I went to Danville Bank, and hired $300,
to pay off the men, and for other expenses, and
after spending a sum of 8400 more, I was oblig-
ed to live without this money for nearly four
years, with no interest, and could not get it, until
it was collected from the benefit of the road.
Such was my reward for persevering and mak-
ing the road contrary to the opinion of the Di-



M'il'TE .AIOliNTAIXa. 121

I

rectors, vel I could not cliarge them with ther
faiilt, for thev <.li<l not v/ish to have it done, until
Congress could assist, or some other means couUI
he devised to help thenni ; but it -vvas done and 1
did not feel sorr}'' for it, although my prospects
suffered; still, as it was for the benefit of the
people, and I had done it for the general or pub-
lic good, I did not mind it so much, as I would
have done, had I done it from any selfish motive.
But to return again to my own affairs at home ; a
field of grain which was partly cut, and still stand-
ing in the shocks, was swept away. As the chan-
nel of the river had been made wider in the for-
mer flood, it did not bring so much timber as at
the other time, yet great quantities of sand and
gravel were brought on to my intervale, and the
bridge and fences upon it, were again carried
away, and thus was my mountain road again de-
stroyed. My loss of property was then consid-
erable, but 1 did not make an exact estimate of it
at that time, as there does not seerti to be much
consolation in counting up one loss upon another-
My affairs looked gloomy, and I felt almost dis-
couraged, as one misfortune kept following anoth-
er, and I could not tell where mv troubles would
end. But in those times of trouble, Lucy was al-
ways calm and unruffled, whenever she thought
they proceeded from the hand of God. She re-
ceived things differently from myself; seldom if
ever did she complain for the want of any thing ;
but to know how to bring up our children, in the
right way, as they then began to be numerous,
she would say there was still more work for us
to do.

11



122 HISTORY or THE

This Fall a large number of men were at work
on the road down through the Notch, and among
them was a young man that was sub'ect to a kind
of fits, which would take him suddenly, and
sometimes, when he was not aware of it. These
fits did not hinder him from laboring, though, in
some measure they afTected his mind, and so
much so, that they always looked after him, and
generally kept w^ith, or near him, in order that
no accident should befal him. When he had one
of these turns, as he had worked hard through
the day, at nighl, he was tired, and in the evening,
showed some signs of wildness, which had been
noticed by some of his companions, and his fa-
ther was then with him, but the young man did
not wish to sleep with his father that night, but
slept with another man. Sometime in the night,
as it appears, he was thirsty, and wanted some
drink, he got up and came down stairs, unnoticed
by the rest of the company, went out of doors,
and it seemed that he lay down to drink out of a
small stream of water which then crossed the
road near the house, and while in the act of
drinking, he was taken with a fit, as it was sup-
posed, from every appearance, for in the morn-
ing when the men awaked and came down, and
went out of doors, they found him, lying dead and
stiff, with his face in the water. How long he
had lain there, they could not tell. He was
taken up and conveyed into the house, where a
rough coffin was prepared for him. My brother
Thomas being there, came to my house and got
a horse and waggon, and he v/as carried home,
followed by his father, to Jefferson, the place of



WHITE MOUNTAINS. 123

"his nativity, to his friends and connections, there
to be interred. Here again we had an evidence
of the uncertainty of life, and the importance of
being prepared to meet death, let it come in
whatever shape it might come. This was a great
grief to his friends, they were in rather low cir-
cumstances, and depended upon him for his la-
bor, to help them support an aged mother who
had been blind for twenty years ; the first female
settler in Jefferson, and I think her blindness wa.s
caused by a shock from lightning, which had
affected her eyes, and they could not restore her
sight, although some skilful physicians had tried.
She lived to be almost one hundred years old.

I went to Portland and bought furniture for my
new establishment, and supplied it with provis-
ions, and January, 1829, my brother Thomas
married and moved in and took charge of my
new stand. It being a new thing, and so con-
venient and accommodating, he had a great
share of the winter company. It was thought
that this would make a great place of resort for
those who would decline the more arduous un-
dertaking of ascending Mount Washington, for
just behind the house was the path which we first
made to ascend the hills, and a good way might
be found, one that could be made fit to ride in,
on horseback, by taking a zigzag course, from
one side of the hill to the other, which would only
make the distance a little further, but would make
the ascent much easier, and then the eye of the
curious might be almost satisfied from the sub-
lime, magniiicent and delightful prospect from
Mount Pleasant, which is not much inferior ia



10 1 niSToRY or TITK

the opinion of .some, to liiat IVom Mount Wash-
inirton.

This winter I iiud tiiM-n ii{> \\u- transporting of
the mail, and I had no greq.t busint..s3 on liand,
beside my necessary employment at home. The
4th ot" May, gran(hnotlicr departid this Hfe, in
the 84lh year of her age, alter slruiigling through
several cold winters. Being atHicted with a
fough, and worn out with a decline similar to
that of consumption, for the cold weather aifect-
ed her very much, natuff^ at leno:th gave way,
find she could withstand it no longer. Our good
neighbors and friends attain ciMsembled and paid
their last respects tu her remains, and she was
interred by the side of her husband, on a piece of
ground which was by them selected, not far from
where they hud lived and slept many yeai's of
their lives together. Here their bodies will
remain until called up at tlia last day. I have
placed some suitable monuments at their graves,
which can be plainly seen by their friends, and
their inscriptions can be read by all who would
like to see and road them.

"Their names and years, s^peit by thoir lettered Mutie,

The place of fame and eiesfv supply:
And many a holy teivt around siieblrevvs,

Th il teaclt ihe rustic moralist to die."

In the Spring, I gave up the idea, at present,
of my carriaue rogd to the n^ountain and thought
it would answer for a while, to n^ake a bridlo
path to the foot of it. I accordingly went to work
nnd made a path suiTicient for a h.orse to travel in,
^even miles, and I have sometimes gone farther
than tlii.s» but not olton, and when arriving at the



WHITE MOUNTAiriS. 125

place, we would alight from our horses, and .^ake
off our saddles, lay ihem away, tie the horses to
a tree, and thus compel them to remain there
until our return, without food, generally, with the
exception of one whose age and fidelity com-
manded more attention than the rest, and which,
when at the advanced age of thirty, had the spirit
of a colt, and would carry a visitor safely and
in good style. For him 1 used to carry, or
cause to be carried, a sack of oats, as often as
possible, yet this was not exactly the riglit way
of treating the dumb beasts, to ride them on the
run, early in the morning, the distance of seven
miles, and then in a state of perspiration, give
them grain immediately, but there was no alter-
native. It had to be done in this way or not at
all, and thus we drilled our horses from day to
day, and frequently they have gone on the same
route six days in a week. It was wearing the
flesh, and trying the spirits, to stand all day, tied
to a tree, and then run home again as fast as
possible, at night. The only time they had to
eat, was a few hours designed for rest, but in this
wav we travelled, the rest of the time while I
stayed at the mountains, but not without remorse
of conscience on my part, as our treatment of
the dumb beasts was rather inhuman. But I was
not able to remedy it, although I often promised
so to do, by carrying in the winter on the snow
a quantity of hay for them to eat when we were
gone.

This summer there came some Botanists from
Boston for the purpose of making a collection
of plants for themselves, and to collect an as-
11*



i28 H!»TORV OF THE

^ortmeiit to SL-nd to Europe, and to get some *
jive oiies to send to Nc^v lork to a fru.'nd. to be
placed in a botanical garden, I went with them
and tsvo other nien besides, to assist them in
carrying; blankets and buflalo skins to make them
comtbrtable during the night, and also other
things needful for such an expedition of three
davs. We traveled over and around the hill ;
and I and one of them went down into a great
gulf, and here we found a plenty of snow. One
place, I think was worthy of notice, where two
ledses of perpendicular rocks stood within six
or eight yards of each other, and the snow had
drifted over on top of these ledges and covered
them both, making a complete roof. The sun
had softened this snow by day — but at night it
would freeze ; this had been done so many
times in succession, that it had formed a crust
which was almost impenetrable ; and I could
not safely walk upon it, because it was glassy
and slippeiy, and 1 could not make a dent upon
it with the heel of my boot : and underneath
this, the ground was filled with water ; and warm
springs seemed to bo there, Avhich had caused
the snow to melt away from under. Such was
the size of this empty space that a coach with
six horses attached, might have been driven into
it. I do not know how far this cavern extended
as I did not go far into it, for the water was fast
dropping from the roof, but it appeared to be of
considerable length. It was a very hot day,
and not far from this place, the little delicate
mountain flowers were in bloom, and here w©
procured as many as Ave chose. There seemc^i






to be a contrast — snow in great quantities and
Viewers just by — which wonderfiilly displays tlie
presence and power of an all-seeing and over*
ruling God, who takes care of these little plants
and causes them to put forth in due serson.

As we were going up the mountain about
three miles from home, where blue berries grew
in abundance, we found roads in different places
in the woods, which were daily traveled bv
bears. William Howe, a brother of Lucy's,
being then with us, we concluded we would take
.a few of ihem, if thev would please to let us,
nad we went to v.ork in the woods and made
>several log traps, such as are called by hunters,
Jead-falls, as they were built in such a manner,
that when a bear came to one of them and
"panted tiie bait, he would have to go in such a
way that while he took hold of it, the trap would
fall, and, generally, kill him mimediately.

I had two steel traps, which I set also at one
l.'nne. When I was gone from home, William
'went and found a steel trap gone ; he returned
home, and taking another man with him, pur-
sued the remainder of the day, but overtook
nothing. Early the next morning they again
set out, and following, found where the animal
with the trap had lain the preceding night ; they
chased him all day, but could not overtake him,
and returning) homeward, came into one path,
3ome distance above, where we had set these
traps, and when passing them, it was dark, they
heard a great noise, which seemed to them that
§n old bear was cuffing her cub — he cried and
look on in so lamentable a manner. William



128 HISTORY OF THE

was anxious to go and see -what was the matter
with them, but his companion would not suffer
him, as he was better acquainted than William,
and knew that if a cub was there confined and
its mother was chastising him for his impru-
dence, she w^ould be likely to show them some
signs of her displeasure. They came home,
and voluntarily said they would not go again
after him.

HavinfT that night returned home myself, and
receivinii directions from them in regard to the
route, and not feeling satisfied to have such a
loafer make off with my property — he all the
while suffering with pain, while in his thievish
act — I concluded to go and look for him. Ac-
cordingly, the next morning, in company with
my brother Thomas, I set out, and soon found
where he had lain the second night ; we contin-
ued to pursue him as closely as we could trace
him by the marks he made on the bushes, by
breaking them with the trap, and laying the
green brake leaves, which grow common here.
I guess he began to think that Ethan, the Old
Hunter, was after him, in good earnest, and he
was driven so hard and so closely, that he prop-
ably concluded to seek out for himself a good
place, and then give us battle, as it appeared
from the situation he was in when we overtook
him. He was in a thicket, dangerous to en-
counter, for he was one of the long legged kind,
savage in disposition, and now being covered, I
thought it best to look out for him. Thomas
coming up with the gun, was desirous of demon-
strating his skill in shooting him, but as the gun



WHITE MOIN TAINS.. l'-B9

had tH^trii injured by hiltiug it agaiiiisl a Ircc, il
could not be Dred easily ; he however aimed at
the bear's head, but to his ustoiiishinent the ball
entered his fore foot, the one lie had at liberty.
Beginning to feel for his safety, I took the guij
and reloaded it, held the lock, the ailbctcd part,
fi^j'mly m my hand, and ifiring, Ibitunately shot
liim through the bead ; he keeLed ov-er and soon
die^l. We now released the trap from his foot,
which was nearly worn off^ iie hiA managed to
carry the trap and walk on three legs, on loga
and over windfalls, by carrying it fintir<?ly up
and clear of them. The trap v/hen he first
stepped into it was fastened with a chain and
grapple ; this he broke, leaviu^ behind y.11 but a
few links, and that part whif^.h adhered to the
trap did ^lot ta'ouble him much,. We stripped
him of his skin and then retiu'ue-d honirS with it,
;i.nd the trap, i'eeiing justihed for our humanity
in releasing him from misery..

Early the same morning, William went to
fmd out what had been the trouble the evening
before, and wlien he «ame to the place, he found
a small cub caught by one hind foot ; it appeared
true what tlit^y had heatd tlie night before ; the
trap was in §. measure tern to pieces, and the
dirt and other btutF seemed to indicate that an
old bear hud been there ,sure enough, but did
not happen to release the young one,. As this
eub was sn^all, it was suifereu to go entirely
through, excepthig one hind foot, and Vv'hen ho
took hold of the bait, the trap fell and caught liis
hind foot. Wiiliam took hold of him and bound
».ip hi.s iyorv, then securinir liis feet to keep hin^



130 HISTOIIY or THS

from scratching, brought him home alive ; think-
ing he might be tamed and make a pet, as he
seemed not much hurt, and being so young and
small he supposed he might be taught as much
as any otlier of his kind ; he would also make
■a curiosity, as he was actually a native of the
place ; but either the hurt, or the different posi-
tion in which he traveled from what he had been
■accustomed to, affected him, or else he intended
to show proper resentment, and he died, shortly
after being brought home ; notwithstanding he
bathed him in cold water, and gave him water
to drink. His skin was taken off and fastened
to the barn.

Shortly after this, word came about the mid-
dle of the day, that there was a bear in a trap.
A party from the west having just arrived, one
of the i]^enllemen said he would go and shoot
him ; accordingly, we, with others, mounted
horses and galloped off. On arriving at the spot,
we found a good sized bear in a steel trap. The
gentleman chose his distance, and this was not
far, of course, as he did not apprehend any
danger from the enemy now before him, for
Ethan was close behind. He fired three times,
restina; his o;un and tremblinsf as if he were
freezing, (for any one under such untried cir-
cumstances would naturally have tremor of the
nerves, although naturally brave and determin-
ed,) and after the third shot, I took a club or
lever, and finished the matter of killing him ;
then placing him on my horse behind, brought
him home, as this was the way I was accustomed
to carry game home.



WHITE MOUNTAINS. 131

Once, when going out, 1 found a good sized,,
fat, short-legged bear in a steel trap, and having
a small gun, with only a partridge charge in it,
I stepped up to him and put the whole contents
of the gun into his face ; he fell back and died
immediately. It was always against my prin-
ciple to keep any wild animals in misery, when
they were in my power, or to try to sport with or
torment them, (further than to tiy their strength)
because they were savage by nature ; but I
would relieve them from pain as soon as possi-
ble. I considered they had feelings, and were
not to blame for the species to which they be-
longed ; therefore I had no right to do so ; but I
would treat them as well as I could. This bear
weighed three hundred, and I had some diffi-
culty in getting it on my horse. Some horses
are afraid of them and sometimes get frightened
by them ; this was the case with the one I had,
for whenever I made an attempt to put the bear
on her, she would snort and jump about in such
a manner, I could not get him on ; I then pulled
off* my coat, blindfolded her eyes, put the bear
upon a stump, tied the horse close by, her head
to a tree, and then putting my shoulder under
the bear, lifted him on the saddle. I afterwards
rolled him back on behind, loosed the horse and
then mounted the saddle myself, took off* the
blinders, and went on heme. Perhaps we made
rather an awkward appearance, but as my com-
panion was now civil, I had no reason to com-
plain. Still it required some care and manage-


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Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 8 of 13)