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"SWEET Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
THE OLD HOMESTEAD.
"There is an appearance of comfort and freedom about this old house that renders it a pleasing object to almost every eye. The charm of these old houses, which are marked by neatness and plainness, and by an absence of all pretension, is founded on the natural yearning of every human soul after freedom and simplicity.
"But I warrant you'd find the old as snug as the new did you lift the latch, For the human heart keeps no whit more warm under slate than beneath the thatch."
HERE are few more picturesque spots than the gently rolling country of southwestern Ohio. The old homestead of which I write nestles quietly among its hills. It is not far distant from the historic Fort Colerain, or Dunlap's Station, as it was sometimes called, on the bluffs of the Great Miami, where, in the winter of 1790-91, an attack was made on the garrison by Indians, led by the renegade Simon Girty, and a detachment of soldiers had to be sent out from Fort Washington, on the Ohio, to their aid. The old earthworks of the fort can yet be distinguished in outline from the highway along the river. The upward slopes across the stream can be seen very plainly from our vantage point; and it is one of the diversions on clear days to observe that part of the country through a field glass, and pick out the various farms, and speculate upon the buildings and fields that are too obscure to determine definitely.
An old log cabin, double-roomed, once stood near the site of the present homestead, in pioneer days, and still another, for temporary occupancy, while the farmstead was in building. It was in the former of these that grandfather kept all his money, hid behind a loose chunk, or board, in the attic. There was a little square hole left in the logs, on the ground floor, and through this the children used to peep at the travelers along the highway. A path led out to the road, and they crossed the fence by means of a stile. I have reconstructed the old cabin in my thought, surrounded with roses, and with its clapboard roof, its plowed-andgrooved board floor, and its old-time windows (some of the pioneer cabins boasted puncheon floors, and had tanned deerskins for the panes), and I know of one old man who was born in it who has since become a lawyer and judge in a great city, and whose practice has extended to the highest tribunal in the land, the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington.
Most of these log cabins of the early settlers have long ago been superseded by more substantial structures; but the attachment of their descendants to these old homesteads has generally kept them in possession. of the family line, and each has its legends that go back to the Indians. My grandfather's was located in a region evidently once a favorite haunt of the red man. Flints, even now, are plowed up nearly every year. Indeed, one field used to be so strewn with arrowheads that we thought it must have been the scene of a battle, or at least the site of an encampment.
Starting from his father's farm, some few miles away, on horseback, with his money in silver in the
saddlebags, my grandfather came to this, his final home, in January, 1822, almost blazing his way through the woods; and here he began the hard life of a pioneer, felling trees and opening up the land for cultivation. His father had settled near the homestead in 1795, not long after Mad Anthony Wayne had gone through these parts after the Indians, having come from Pennsylvania to the Western frontier with just one hundred and fifty dollars in silver, which he had saved from the wreck of the Continental currency; and his father had been a soldier in the Revolution, and gave his life at the battle of the Brandywine. He (grandfather's father) simply followed Wayne's trail, or the old military road, until he found the situation he wished, and there settled. The homestead was a gift to his son, for the old gentleman managed to leave a large farm to each of the seven children that survived him; and grandfather, having the choice of two, between one in the bottoms and one on the hills, chose this on the upland. In later years grandfather added to his original patrimony by purchases of adjoining tracts, until finally he footed up the grand total of some three hundred and sixty solid acres of some of the best farming land in the county-one hundred acres of woodland, and the rest in pastures and tilled ground.
Grandmother herself had in 1820, at the age of seventeen, along with others, made the long trip in a prairie schooner from far-off New Jersey, in the dead of winter, cooking her meals, as did the rest, by openair fires all through the snow-clad Alleghanies. She came with memories of how her mother, when once in attendance as a young girl at Commencement Day
at the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, had been assisted up the of Nassau Hall by no less a persteps sonage than General George Washington himself, who was present on the occasion, and whom the ladies had honored with garlands of roses; reaching here finally, in the frontier West, to become the wife of a pioneer farmer. Far back there in New Jersey, too, shortly after the War of 1812, at a tavern where grandmother was once visiting, a coach had stopped before the door, and a lady had alighted from it for her dinner-a lady who was on her way to Philadelphia to meet her husband, General Winfield Scott, who had just acquired fame at the battle of Lundy's Lane, near Niagara. The family had come West four years before grandmother came, but her mother had missed the girl, and so sent her brother and a neighbor far back towards the ocean, for her to leave home and kindred and join fortunes with them in the West beyond the mountains. And it was that same girl who, years afterward, once stood a whole squad of soldiers at bay, while she protected her property and demanded back the young horse which they had taken, because it belonged to her son, who was fighting for the Union in the war.
Now grandfather himself was quite a hero-worshiper. They would flatboat their grain and other produce to New Orleans in pioneer days, and be gone a month or over; and on the return on horseback overland through the Indian nations, and through Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, grandfather once saw, just below the city of Nashville, General Andrew Jackson, who bowed and spoke to him on the wayside. Jackson had a colored servant with him. When the party reached Nashville and learned it was actually