“Murder, Murder!”

Dale Carter shouted these words of warning to his companions at Fort Blackmore when he spotted a group of Indians stealthily approaching the fort in an attempted surprise attack. The warning gave sufficient time for the defenders to secure the fort, but Carter was outside of the walls and no one was able to come to his aid as he was disabled by a gunshot, tomahawked, and scalped. Without his alert, everyone at the fort might well have met the same fate.

The year was 1774, and it was a time of great tension and violence on the western frontier of the American colonies. In 1768, a treaty with the Iroquois had officially opened land west of the Appalachians for settlement. However, other Native American nations such as the Shawnee and Mingo did not accede to the treaty, and as settlers began arriving in their hunting grounds they made their displeasure known. Among the first victims was a small party that included a teenage son of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone, killed in a massacre Continue reading

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Mail on the Rails

charles-paysinger-17-years

Charles Paysinger, age 17

By the time Charles Paysinger married Lola Belle Tenery on Christmas Eve, 1899, their families had been in the adjacent Lincoln and Giles Counties, Tennessee, for four generations. While many aunts, uncles, and cousins pursued their fortunes westward to Arkansas, Texas, or elsewhere, the portions of the family that remained had set deep roots along the Tennessee and Alabama border, having been there virtually since the beginning of European-American settlement. But the world was changing at the turn of the century and Charles and Lola Belle would pull up those roots and become members of the 20th century economy – following job and career opportunities – rather than engaging in the 19th century’s relentless westward pursuit of new agricultural land. Continue reading