Thursday, May 5, 2011

Abraham Snethen, the Barefoot Preacher: Review by Abraham Lincoln

I like this story I wrote because it is a true story and so many of us forget what this landscape we call, "Ohio," was like. It wasn't a pleasant meadow with wildflowers but a endless forest with tangled vines, swamps and wild animals with a gnawing hunger that was fed by whatever was available.

Abraham Snethen, the Barefoot Preacher
Review by Abraham Lincoln

The year the treaty was signed in Fort GreeneVille (1795) found the buffalo and elk entirely disappeared from the country east of the Wabash River. Wolves, panthers, and wildcats were especially annoying to the settlers. Rewards were paid for wolf scalps but they persisted and would attack and drive unarmed men into the trees. They often came into the settlements in packs, driving women and children into their cabins. At night their howling could be heard in great numbers. They reportedly ate garden vegetables and destroyed pigs and poultry.

One account that I found and treasure is that of Abraham Snethen who came to Montgomery County when the area was still a wilderness.

Abraham Snethen was born on January 15, 1794*, and after his marriage, moved into Montgomery County, Ohio along the east side of what is now Arlington Road just north of the present Baltimore - Phillipsburg Road. His arrival in the county depends on the age he was married. He would be one of the earliest settlers in Clay Township.

While living there, he also worked on another claim farther west when he had the time. He often traveled before daylight and returned after dark. He said, "When traveling after night, I most always carried a torch of hickory bark, which not only enabled me to see my way, but with it I could protect myself from the wolves, for at that time the wolves abounded in great numbers everywhere, and would, when hungry attack a man, and woe be to the hapless fellow if he had no means of defense. They were afraid of the light, and one was comparatively safe, as long as his torches glared in the darkness."

Wolves again attacked Abraham Snethen and they nearly cost him his life. "I had gone quite a distance from home to help a neighbor by the name of Jake Tillman, butcher a hog. It was late in the evening when the work was completed, and I got started homeward. I had half a hog on my back, and had gotten within calling distance of the house when the wolves which had scented the meat, began to howl all around me. I had not forgotten my experience with the wild hogs, and knew from that, what I might expect from the wolves."

"I bent every energy, and ran with all my might toward the house, for I was anxious to save my meat as well as my life, but I soon found that I could not save both, and possibly neither.

"The woods seemed full of wolves, as it had of wild hogs on the night they attacked me. I threw my meat to them, and hoped they would stop to eat it and thus allow me to escape. I was disappointed for among so many there was scarcely a bite apiece for them, and so while a few stopped to quarrel over the meat, and devour it, the main pack pursued me. It was indeed a race for life, with the odds greatly in favor of the wolves. I chanced to run against a sapling and at once saw the means of my deliverance. I climbed the sapling in a twinkling, but not before the wolves had torn one leg of my pants off, and had bitten me severely.

"No sooner had I secured my own safety, than I realized the danger to my wife, for I well knew that the howling devils, would soon leave me, and assault the cabin. I cried at the top of my voice, which rose above the din of the yelping pack, and my wife hearing, responded. I told her that I was in a tree, and safe enough, and that she must bar the door, and do it quickly, too, for the whole pack would soon set off for the house, which they did, and with a dismal howl which chilled the blood to my veins, but my wife had acted quickly, and the pack came up against a door securely barred.

"I stayed in the tree until daylight. It was a very cold night, and with all my effort to keep from freezing, I only partially succeeded, for at break of day when the wolves slunk back into the gloom of the forest, my wife came out to help me down, I found that I was quite badly frozen, and actually stiff from the cold."

*This book is available at the Brookville Historical Society In Brookville, Ohio.
Abraham Snethen, the Barefoot Preacher

© 2004 - 2011by Abraham Lincoln. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */