History of Little Sturgeon
One hundred and seventy eight years ago in the spring of 1835, Increase Claflin,
the first permanent white settler on the Door County peninsula, built his log cabin on the shore of Little Sturgeon Bay....
Door County's First Pioneer
ONE HUNDRED and seventy eight years ago, in the spring of 1835, Increase Claflin, the first permanent white settler on the Door County peninsula, built his log cabin on the shore of Little Sturgeon Bay.
This peninsula, almost a hundred miles long, was then a vast forest of pine, maple and beech, their trunks often many feet in diameter, having grown unmolested for hundreds of years. From shore to shore this forest was unbroken except for the bright sheen of its many sparkling lakes. The bear, the deer, the fox and all the smaller animals and rodents that had their lairs and nests in the caves and fissures of the limestone cliffs, led a peaceful existence, and the trout and whitefish that gamboled in the surrounding waters were unbelievably numerous, for there were few hunters and fisherman to trouble them. Far up on Mink River, near the northern end of the peninsula, was a small village of Potawatomi, and on Riley's Point, east of Little Sturgeon Bay, was a larger village of Menomini.
Immediately across the bay from these Menomini, on the outermost point, was the site that Increase Claflin chose for his home.
This first pioneer of Door County was a man whose manly qualities and excellent character it is a pleasure to contemplate. From old men who knew him and from recorded descriptions we know that he was a man of unusual energy, resourcefulness and industry; furthermore that he was intelligent and fearless and just and fair in his dealings, which made him a good neighbor. These sterling virtues were his principal inheritance from a long line of hardy Yankee ancestors leading back to the beginning of white mans settlement in New England. The following is a brief statement of his geneology:
Increase Claflin was born September 19, 1795, at Windham, New York, and was a descendant of a long line of sturdy Yankees who, centuries ago, conquered the forests of New England.
His father, also named Increase, was born at Hopkinton, Massachusetts, November 13, 1757, the son of Cornelius Claflin and Deborah How. He was a member of the Hopkinton company of Minutemen who, behind the stone fences of Lexington, faced the first attack of British soldiers. June 1, 1776, he enlisted in the Fifth Middlesex Regiment and served with honor throughout the Revolutionary War, eventually being promoted to a captaincy.
Increase Claflin's grandfather, Cornelius Claflin, was also born at Hopkinton, March 13, 1733, the son of Daniel Claflin and Rachael Pratt. He served in the French and Indian War and took part in the attack on Crown Point in 1757; in 1775 he was chosen First Lieutenant and took a prominent part in the battle of Bunker Hill. He served throughout the Revolutionary War in the same regiment in which his two sons enlisted as privates.
Cornelius Claflin's father, Daniel Claflin, was born at Wenham, Massachusetts, January 25, 1702, the son of Daniel Claflin and Sarah Edwards.
His father, Daniel Claflin, was born at Wenham, Massachusetts, January 25, 1674, the son of Robert Mackelathlan and Joanna Warner.
His father, Robert Mackelathlan, came to America some time before 1661. Here his name was simplified to Clafland, later Claflin. He was born in Argyllshire, Scotland, where in Cowal, was the seat of the Mackelathlans for many centuries. The name is said to be of Norse origin, and the founder of the family was supposedly a Norse viking who pre-empted this Scotch valley about year 1000.
Increase Claflin, the Door County Pioneer, was also a soldier like his father and grandfather. In 1812, when not yet seventeen years old, he enlisted in the army and served through the war with Great Britain. Subsequently he settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he opened a business of some kind not known. Here in 1818, he married Mrs. Mary Ann Walker, nee Adgedent, who was born in Boston in 1801. Shortly afterward, he moved to New Orleans where he served ad steward in a government hospital.
Nothing is known of how he happened to move from New Orleans to northern Wisconsin, but in 1830, he was established near Kaukauna, Wisconsin, as a fur trader. This was then the only settlement between Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. Here he must have had a number of men in his employ, for the census of 1830 gives the number of people in his household as thirteen.
In 1835 a government land office was opened in Green Bay, the first west of Detroit. The sale of public lands opened July 30 and brought many moneyed men to Green Bay. Mrs. Elizabeth Baird, who was present, writes: "Many came from Milwaukee, some from Chicago, and more from Detroit. They were the leading business men of those places ... and I cannot describe the excitement of that time. William B. Ogden, who in after years was called 'the railroad king', was the most prominent among the speculators. He bought largely of land at government prices and would sell the property at auction, in the evening."1
To none of these eager speculators, however, did the honor go of obtaining the first deed to Wisconsin Lands. This distinction was won by Increase Claflin who by his energy made the first purchase. His choice was Lot 1, Section 8, Township 22, Range 20, which lies about fifteen miles south of Green Bay. As this tract lies on the Fox River not far from Kaukauna, it may be the same site on which for some years he had squatted as a fur trader. If so, he probably followed William Ogden's example and sold it at a profit in the evening.
At any rate, he never occupied it after this date for by this time he had taken up his abode in Door County. The preceding summer he had coasted along the shore of the peninsula and was charmed with its variegated scenery and resources. Little Sturgeon Bay was the choice for his home. This is thirty-five miles northeast of Green Bay. It was practically impossible to get his goods through the tangled woods and large swamps that lay between the two places, and it was also impossible to take his livestock in a small sailboat. But Claflin found another way: He waited until the bay was frozen. On March 19, 1835, the ice was smooth for sleighing, and he set out with two sleighs. On one was a load of hay; on the other was his sailboat in which were stowed his family, his furniture, tools, grain, provisions and other necessities, while behind followed his cattle and breeding horses.
According to the statements of old settlers who knew him, Claflin's main purpose in settling at Little Sturgeon was to breed horses. At this place there were several marshes and open glades which provided pasture and hay in abundance. Another purpose was to carry on trade with the Indians which probably was the chief reason for settling so close to the Menomini village on the other side of the bay.
For several years Claflin lived here alone with his family, a masterful and comfortable life. He produced on his farm practically everything that his family ate and wore. Emergencies, such as sickness, fire and protection of his homestead from prowlers, he met for himself. He paid no taxes and he needed none to help him maintain peace and provide progress in his own field of activity. He treated his Indian neighbors fairly and generously and was very popular with them. In the resolute independence and selfsufficiency of this pioneer in the wilderness except for the dubious proximity of a tribe of Indians, Claflin is a splendid type of the pioneering spirit that won the West without bloodshed.
A year or two after settling at Little Sturgeon, Claflin hired a young man by the name of Robert Stevenson to work for him. The next year Stevenson married Claflin's oldest daughter and he was given a share in the business. Stevenson was an energetic worker but he misunderstood the character of the Indians, thinking they were merely stupid, stolid brutes. Finding that the Indians had a keen craving for strong drinks, he availed himself of this weakness to make trading for profitable. This greatly displeased Claflin who was as fair to the Indians when drunk as when sober. However, Stevenson's eagerness to show good profits prompted him to continue to take advantage of the Indians. Finally the resentment of the latter blazed up and they resolved to kill Stevenson and take proper revenge for the losses they felt they suffered. The attack was made and would have ended most disastrously for the white settlers but for the cunning stratagem whereby Claflin restored peace. This incident is depicted in the one-act play entitled, "A Powderkeg Peace," printed below,
As Stevenson's relations with his father-in-law continued uncongenial, Claflin in 1844 left Stevenson in possesion of the old homestead and moved to the vicinity of the present village of Fish Creek, thus becoming the first settler in the northern as well as the southern part of the county. Here he built a large two-story house, fifty-two feet long. The foundation of the house may still be seen in the in the Claflin (cometimes called the Weborg) camp ground in Peninsula State Park opposite Fish Creek. Here he died March 27, 1868 and was buried close by. His wife died at Little Sturgeon Bay September 7, 1873, and was burried there.
Increase Claflin and his wife had seven children: Sarah, Adelia, Albert, Charles, Mary, Maria and William. When the Civil War broke out, his three sons wanted to enlist, and Claflin sent then off willingly, saying, "If I had twenty more, they should all go!"
1. Life in Territorial Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections. XV: 242.
The Door County Centennial Festival
Held July 7, 1935
In order to create and foster a historical consciousness in the people or Door County, a centennial festival was held July 7, 1935, in honor of Increase Claflin, Door County's outstanding pioneer. The celebration was held at Little Strugeon Bay in what was once the front yard of Claflin's early homestead. On the shore stand two gigantic elms which were big trees even in Claflin's time, and beneath which he had a dramatic encounter with a large band of hostile Indians. Mr. Charles Gustafson, the owner of the land, kindly donated a small area of land surrounding these elms to the Door County Historical Society. Between them a huge granite boulder weighing 17,000 pounds has been placed by the society to serve as a base for a bronze tablet which was unveiled at the celebration. Its inscription reads:
IN MEMORY OF INCREASE CLAFLIN,Below is given the program of the festival, as previously announced, which was carried out in an excellent manner. More than three thousand people were present:
DOOR COUNTY'S FIRST PIONEER,
WHO SETTLED HERE IN 1835.
11:00 A.M.--As Increase Claflin was a Congregationalist, the Congregational Church with the Methodist and the Moravian Churches of Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer will hold a memorial service on the festival grounds at Little Sturgeon Bay. Sermon by Reverand G. D. Yoakum.
1:00 P.M.--Concert.....by Sturgeon Bay High School Band
1:30 P.M.--Stories old and new.....by B. F. Rusy
1:45 P.M.--Belgian fonk songs by Belgian singers in old Belgian costumes. Participants: Mrs. Alfred Baudhuin, Alfred Vandertie, Mrs. Arthur Pierre, Mrs. Orbie Pierre, Verna Wautier and Norman Wautier.
2:00 P.M.--Address of Welcome.....by H. R. Holand, President Door County Historical Society
2:10 P.M.--Dedication and unveiling of Claflin monument by Judge H. M. Ferguson, assisted by James M. Thorp and May Chambers, descendants of Increase Claflin of the fifth and sixth generation. At the close the audience will sing "America."
2:25 P.M.--Address.....by Franlkin Lee Stevenson, "The Vagabond Poet," great-grandson on Increase Claflin.
2:45 P.M.--Music.....by Sturgeon Bay High School Band
2:50 P.M.--A one-act play entitled
A POWDER KEG PEACEIncrease Claflin.....Landry Creighton
Written by H. R. Holand
Directed bt Kenneth W. Greaves.
Mrs. Claflin.....Joy Wagener
Cheif Silver Band.....Robert Creighton
Annabell Claflin.....Priscilla VanDreese
Earnest Tanner.....Virgil Albert
Robert Stevenson.....Howard Farrand
Indians.....Cedric and Louis Wernicke, Norman Stegman, Donald Lavassor, Henry Long
The action of the play opns and closes with two quatrains sung by a quartette of W. B. Calvert,
Dr. H. H. Farrand, K. W. Greaves, and P. D. Hale.
3:20 P.M.--Acknowledgements and remarks by H. R. Holand.
3:30 P.M.--Presentation of old settlers to audience.
3:50 P.M.--Music.....by Sturgeon Bay high School Band
4:00 P.M.--Sport Contests-Tug of war, races, horseshoe pitching, tec., under supervision of B. F. Rusy.
To you old settlers, Mr. Holland, members of the Door County Historical Society, those who have made this gathering possible, old friends, acquaintances and fellow citizens, greetings:
ADDRESS BY FRANKLIN LEE STEVENSON
DOOR COUNTY'S FIRST PIONEER,
WHO SETTLED HERE IN 1835.
Written by H. R. Holand
Directed bt Kenneth W. Greaves.
ADDRESS BY FRANKLIN LEE STEVENSON
I want you to know that there is a great thankfulness in my heart--a thankfulness that extends to all of you. It is a pleasure to speak to you and it will be a pleasure to see the pageant written by Mr. Holland which will soon be presented here. I consider myself highly honored by being asked to address you.
We are here in an attempt to laud that sturdy citizen, my great-grandfather, that pioneer who paved the way so that you could do as you have done in making this county the garden spot of America. There is nothing that we can say that will add fame to the life of Increase Claflin, nor to that character that was worthy of that fame. Today on this peice of ground stands a stone marker, not to honor him--for God, alone, can do that, but to remind us that there is still pioneer work to do, to remind us that a great agriculture industry has been born on this ground, and that as he, with his axe, built the cabin in which he first lived, so must we with our brawn and brain continue to add to the things for which this county has become famous.
If my great grandfather were the type of man that we all believe he was, he would find no great interest in the fact that one of his lesser descendants attempted to laud his efforts--instead, I am sure, that with great pride he must now be looking down upon you folks who are so well doing the work that he began one hundred years ago. Were he alive now he would be proud of you farmers who have developed the Door County cherry until it had no equal in any part of the world. He would be proud of you sailors who have conquered the lakes, he would be proud of you fisherman, with your modern equipment, he would be proud of you folks who have built cities and villages where once the redskin roamed at will without further ambition than was necessary for the day's needs, and I am also certain that he would be proud of you mothers who, side by side, are constantly fighting the battles that your men fight. He would also be proud of you farmers who have done so much to feed the world with your grain and your dairy products. Too, I am certain that had Increase Claflin had the opportunity to go into the whole world to select those who would continue the work that he began that surely he would have gone into those Scandinavian countries where the honest Swede, the intrepid Norwegian and the sturdy Dane has made their home for centuries.
When I was a boy I frequently sat at my father's knee and heard the stories of his grandfather's relations with the Indians. As a lad, I was thrilled and often in the stillness of the night as I lay within the red bed that father built for me I would while still awake hope that the day would come when I, too, could distinguish myself with his ability to overcome the serious problems of life. It became a serious matter with me and the one that I have never solved, but there is still the ambition lurking in my breast, the hope that some of the red blood of Increase Claflin may flow through my veins and bring to my heart the courage that once belonged to him. Probably that will never be, but I wonder if you folks realize how closely you have emulated the example of my ancestor.
Last winter I recieved a letter from my friend, Mr. Casperson, at Sister Bay telling me of the death of five young men who had tried to conquer the frozen sea. However, grim death was stalking at their heels and they are no more. Yet I have been in your midst several days now and though I know that your grief is deep there has been no word of complaint. Winter after winter you fisherman have lost your nets and there was no complaint. Sailors have lost their boats and have taken the matter stoically. Farmers have lost their crops only to replant again the following spring.
When the depression was just beginning a number of businessmen throughout the world failed and every day we read about them jumping from the tops of tall buildings, and destroying themselves in many other ways. Whoever heard of a fisherman, a sailor or a farmer from Door County that committed suicide because he lost his nets, boat or crop? Even the idea is repugnant and preposterous. You are made of a sterner stuff. Most of you men are composed of brain and brawn and courage. You women are not the crying type--not the type that whines. You are not the wailing type. I have seen too many of you cleaning fish, too many of you working in the fields to believe that. I have seen too many dye eyed mothers when fatal news has been brought into a home. I know you and I know that great-grandfather Claflin must be proud today as he sees you from his eternal home.
A few years ago I visited the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and I helped with many others to make a gala event for a few days. While I was there, however, an idea came to my mind and it is one that I believe would be of interest to you all, and one that might bring thousands to this country. I wondered why you could not so build a few gala days during cherry harvest. Owing to the geographical location of this country thousands of people from all over the world could be brought here with their money and support. You have within your midst two writers of note, at least who could prepare maunscripts as you would need. I refer, of course to Mr. Holland who wrote the script for today's pageant, and Mr. Harris. There may be others. Hire them to begin the work on the event and invite the world to celebrate with you. If you would put the enthusiasm into it that you put into other things that you do, the Door County cherry would recieve such a splendid amount of advertising that its sale throughout the world would be tripled and quadrupled. The price of cherries would go up and the wealth that would consequently flow into this county would be tremendous. As the Mardi Gras has made New Orleans famous and as the Passion Play has made Oberammergau famous so cancherry harvest make famous this spot of beauty that has no equal.
It is not wise to look to the past altogether, nor would my illustrious ancestor ask that you do so. He himself did not look back. He looked forward undoubtedly to these days when the cherry blossom blooms. Probably he did not think of cherries, but he surely did look forward to further progress. You must look forward to the time when more millions will be pouring into Door County. You must look forward to the time when tourists by the multiplied thousands will tour our county. You must look forward to the times when the vitamins of the Door County cherries will be recognized in every home. You must look forward to the time when housewives will demand your product. You must look forward to the time when women throughout the civilized world will insist on Door County cherries. Red gold those cherries are and you must recognize them as such. In the blood of that fruit you grow is the money for the education for your children. Too, our dairy products are known nationally.
Nor is this just an idle dream. Already you have gone further than Increase Claflin could have possibly predicted. Your progress so far is conclusive proof that there are no limits to your power. Napolean Hill once said that a man's limitations are within his own mind. VIf that be true--and it is--you may go as far as you will.
It is well to build a replica of the home in which my great grandfather lived. It is well to haul stone and erect it to his memory, but the greatest honor you can bestow on the first settler on this soil is to continue to progress-to build schools, raise your children in the fear of God and continue to catch the fish from the bay, to till your ground, to sail the seas and to so live that the efforts of Door County will go down in the annals of history as something to be emulated by the rest of the world.
A few weeks ago I spent several days in Lead and Deadwood, South Dakota. In the vicinity of those two towns the greatest gold mine in the world is pouring its wealth into the coffers of a few stockholders while miners, suffering in all the sordidness of their poor profession, are suffering the horrors of insecure economic life. A few weeks before that I saw the mines of Pennsylvania being exploited for the benefit of a few while the workers were being made to know the horror of untold poverty. The same thing I have seen in Southern Illinois, while in the extreme south I have seen the darkies working in the cotton fields under the hot semi-tropical sun without even a thought of possessing anything beyond the bare necessities of life. In Door County life is not like that. Of course I do mean that you all have all you want--of course not. But you are comfortable. You have built your own comfort. While life for you is a serious business, you are constatly winning your battles. You are slaves of no man as are the miner and the cotton picker. You breathe the air of freedom. Your homes are comfortable at all times and in any kind of weather.
There is no spot in America with such Acadian qualities as this county possesses. Why? Because they are inherent to you. You are built that way. If I were to speak of typical Americans I would go among you Scandanavians. VIf I wanted to learn faithfulness, I would go to you Swedes. If I wanted to learn courage, I would seek out the Norwegians, and if I wanted the best of culture, I would seek my Danish friends. Nor is that all. Among you are the Poles of Central Europe and the Bohemians with their inherent love of the finer things of life. What with the music of the Poles, the beauty of the Bohemians, the culture of the Danes, the courage of the Norwegians and the faithfulness of the Swedes and the domesticity of the belgians, we find a county of diversity and consequently diversified intersts, but altogether we find the best of American qualities. Nor am I forgetting the Germans and the Hollanders and the Swiss. All of these together and the inter-marrying of all of these means a group of people that cannot be beaten.
Surely my ancestor must be proud of you. He must smile as he knows you are trying to do him honor. Instead he would honor you and the lives that you live. Emulate his ability to be friendly if you will, emulate his industry if you wish, emulate his desire to explore, if you are the type that likes to travel, but always remember that while you are doing the things that you are doing and the things that you have done and the things that you will do in the future, the spirit of Increase Claflin looks with great pride upon your accomplishments.
In reference to these things that I have been saying I have written a few verses that may interest you. I named them...
Go on and fight as you have fought before
Go, find your inspiration in the bay,
Go, find your inspiration 'neath the sun
As Claflin did when youth was in his day.
Already you have done your work quite well--
Around me thrives the ruby cherry tree
And on the bay the proud boats float at ease--
Your larger boats are floating in the lea.
I see your yellow grain that thrives and grows--
Result of effort in the early spring.
I've heard your voices on the Sabbath Day,
Not unlike sprightly robins when they sing;
And, too, in days of youth I worked with you,
I've rogued the peas in meadows where they grow,
I've pitched the straw upon the yellow stacks
In summer 'neath the sunlight's fearsome glow.
'Twas here I courted once when I was young
With one sweet maid who used to linger here,
And I was born upon these pretty shores
And so I hold this county very dear;
So, once again, I'm glad to say to you:
Go forth and fight as you have fought before,
Go find your inspiration by the bay
At night while standing on its sandy shore.
We'll bow our heads beside this Claflin shrine,
Together we shall humbly bend the knee;
'Tis but a pause the while we talk with God
Who gladly hears our very urgent plea
That we may have the strength to do His will
In building well this splendid Caanan land;
That we may listen to His solemn word--
Obeying well his stern command.
We'll follow in the path that Claflin trod
And hitch our wagon to a shining star;
We'll do the very best that we can do
For our reward when we have crossed the bar.
And though we'll think of him who lived here first
And broke Door County's fertile bearing sod,
We'll not forget to worship all the while
Our King, our Master, father Claflin's God.
A POWDER KEG PEACE
Directed by Kenneth Greaves
and presented at the Door County Centennial.
CHORUS: (Quartette) Sings:
The first who came to this fair land
Was Increase Claflin, sturdy man
In memory of him today,
We here present this little play.
SCENE: A green field with the waters of Green bay and Little Sturgeon Bay in the background. On the left of a grove of timber with hills beyond. In the right foreground the rear end of a long cabin with a door in the center. A musket near it. A few feet away is a wood pile and Earnest Tanner, and employee of Claflin, splitting wood and singing.
There's a land, I was told, far away in the West,
Where to live is a pleasure unceasing.
Where grim care is unknown and sorrow has fled,
And every prospect is pleasing.
Where the fish leap with joy from the clear waters cold,
And the bucks through the woodland are breaking.
Where the soil it absorbs in most excellent crops,
And the land, it is free for the taking.
(During the singing, Annabell, a daughter of Claflin, enters through the door where she stands admiring the singer. At the close of the second stanza, she goes up to him.)
Annabell: Where is that happy land?
Earnest: Where? (clasping Annabell with one arm, he swimgs the other and triumphantly sings:)
Behold! It is here! I have found it, my dear! My home shall be here now and ever! Let the years forward come! I welcome them all, With you by my side, mine forever!
Annabell: That was very pretty, Earnest. DId you make it up?
Earnest: I did, fair lady. I make up at least one every day. Some I sing and some I just whisper to myself.
Annabell: Whisper one to me, darling.
Earnest: Allright, here it is (staccato recital, keeping time with his forefinger):
Did you, sweetheart, tell your dad,
About the humble country lad,
Who wants to marry you, oh so bad?
Annabell: I did.
Earnest: You did! What did you say?
Annabell: (Beginning with gay humor and extravagant gestures which gradually change into an expression of passionate feeling):
I told him about my gallant knight
With feet so light and heat so bright.
Mentioned his looks and also his height
And said it was a glorious sight.
To see him, when needed, jump into a fight
He knows not, I said, the meaning of fright.
I love him, I said, with all my might,
Without him my life would be black as the night
Daddy, you dear! Won't you bless our plight?
Earnest (tossing his cap in the air):
Hurrah! What a speech! Did he take it all right and promise to speed our honeymoon flight?
Annabell (in pretended sadness shaking her head):
Alas! No promise! Oh no, not quite.
Earnest: No? -- What did he say?
Annabell: He just rubbed his nose and said two words.
Earnest (excited): Two words! Two words! Say, Annabell, was it -- was it "nothing doing"?
Annabell (laughing gaily): No, he said "good boy."
Earnest: Ha! I say so, too, good old boy! (He seizes Annabell with both hands and dances around singing):
Good old boy and good little girl,
Let us round the wood pile whirl!
Life is good and heaven above
For I have won the girl I love!
Where is he now?
Annabell: He rode back to the second marsh to look at the colts back there.
Earnest: Ah, horses! Say, Annabell, do you know what this country needs?
Annabell: Yes! Men!
Earnest: Well-yes, I guess your right. But what more?
Earnest: Of course! We could never do without 'em. But what more?
Earnest: Right again! But I'll tell you what I was thinking of: Horses!
Earnest: Yes, horses. That's what this country needs. Soon the settlers will come here by the hundreds. They'll cut the timber and plow the soil. Horses will be needed for that. And I think of the horses, barns, schoolhouses--
Earnest: Sure, schoolhouses for the kids. This is going to be a civilized country some day and horses are going to help civilize it. Your father is right in going into horse-raising and I'll try my luck, too, if he'll give me a chance. Think I'll trot over and see him about some colts right now. Goodby, Sweetheart! (He starts off briskly and Annabell turns to pick up some wood when she suddenly screams)
Earnest (rushing back): Annabell, whats the matter?
Annabell: I -- I am sure I saw the head of an Indian over there by the black stump. He had a red feather in his hair.
Earnest: A red feather? That means war, doesn't it? Where'd you see him? (He rushes to the door and seizes his gun but before he can take aim he is felled by a shot from the woods. Instantly there is general commotion with shouting Indians rushing out of the woods. Annabell grabs the musket and wounds the first Indian whom she sees and whom she believes shot her lover. The gun is wrenched from her hands while another Indian brandishing a scalping knife makes a rush at Earnest's scalp only to be driven away by Annabell with the long-handled axe. The Indians overpower her and bind her hands and drag her away.)
(While this is going on Robert Stevenson, Increase Claflin's son-in-law, a big man, rushes out of the door with a gun which he is unable to use because the Indians close in around him. He knocks two of them down, but is felled with a thrust from a knife.)
(In the midst of this conflict Increase Claflin rushes in on his horse. He jumps off and knocks down the Indian who is dragging off Annabell. He kicks and cuffs the other Indians in his way and approaches Silver Band, the Indian Chief, who on seeing him awaits his coming with folded arms. There is a temporary cessation of hostilities).
Increase Claflin: Chief, waht means this outrage? Have I not always treated you like a brother?
Silver Band: My brother, the Big Hunter, speaks words of truth. He is a good man, worthy of an Indian name.
Increase Claflin: Then what do you mean by coming here like a band of murderers? See, you have wounded my son-in-law and the young man yonder, and you are dragging off my daughter!
Silver Band: My brother, you are my friend, and I wish you no harm. You may take your squaw and your papooses and go away in your boat. But we shall kill your son (pointing to Stevenson) and burn your house and let no white man stay here among us. My young men bring their pelts and my young women their robes to your house and he (pointing to Stevenson) makes them drunk with firewater and gives them nothing in return. When they complain, he laughs in thier face. We shall kill him and give his squaw to our daughters to laugh at and spit upon. Go, while I remember your good deeds!
All the Indians: Ho! Ho! Ho!
(Claflin tries to reason with them but his words are drowned out in a hubbub of excited and threatening Indians. Only Silver Band remains calm. After the clamor has partly subsided, Claflin once more is able to make himself heard.)
Claflin: Well, this is too bad. Chief, I never thought this would happen. But if I have to go, let me treat you before I go. We have always been friends and let us part in the same manner. Light a fire and have a smoke while I get a keg of brandy.
Silver Band: It is well. My brother is a man of good sense. (Claflin goes into the house while the Indians seat themselves in a ring talking boastfully. One of them gathers chips from the wood pile and makes a fire in the center of the circle by help of a fire-steel and tinder. Claflin reappears carrying a keg, a tin cup and a ramrod, the end of which is wrapped in birch bark. He places the keg within the opening of the circle that has been left for him and dips the cup into the keg and places it in the center of the circle. To thier suprise the Indians perceive that in contains, not brandy, but gunpowder.)
Several Indians: Gunpowder!
Claflin: Sure, it's gunpowder. Just a sample of the new brand I have recieved.
(Quickly Claflin ignites the birchbark on the end of his ramrod and sticks it into the cup. There is a flash, a thunderous crash and the cup has disappeared. Apprehensively the Indians look at each other and fidget in their seats.)
Silver Band: Wh -- what is my white brother going to do with a keg of powder?
Claflin: "I'll tell you what I'm going to do! I shall blow you all to hell -- do you hear? (moving the torch closer and closer to the keg, he continues:) One move from any of you and that torch goes into the keg. You would not listen to me back there, so now we shall have a quiet, orderly talk or else --.
Silver Band: )lighting his pipe with a brand from the fire): My brother promised us brandy, but instead he brings us gunpowder. His tounge is as frisky as a squirrel, but his memory is as slow as a mud turtle.
Claflin: No, chief, I'm bringing you more than I promised; first the dry, then the wet. But before we taste the brandy we shall first have a little business talk. You said my son-in-law had cheated you in trade. I know that's true, so I'll say nothing about the wounds you have given him. He is from the East and does not yet know how to treat the Indians in the West. But the young man over yonder whom you shot first of all, you will have to pay for the damage done.
Silver Band: The young man held a gun and was about to shoot us.
Claflin: That makes no difference. The quarrel was not of his making and you know, Chief, that he only did what you would do under the same circumstances.
Silver Band: What damages does my brother ask?
Claflin: Twenty good horses if he lives of fifty if he dies. (Much involuntary excitement among the Indians with angry mutterings of protest).
Claflin: Easy now, don't forget the gunpowder keg.
Silver Band: The white man stands on his keg and crows like a rooster. But if my people come a week or a month from now and wring his neck, will he crow then?
Claflin: I am not forgetting that there are chicken thieves. But does Silver Band forget my Father in Washington? Does he think that the great Father is deaf and cannot hear the cries of his children? Does he think that the great Father's dogs are all dead that he cannot track down the wolf that prowls by night? Does he really believe that the great Father's arm is paralyzed that he cannot strike down the evil doer? No, Silver Band, the chief of the Menomoni, is no fool. He knows that for every man or woman that is killed here is my house, our great Father will demand the life of ten of the Menomoni. Your annuities will be cut off, and you will be hunted down like the snarling wildcat of the wilderness. But threats are not necessary to show Silver Band his duty. While he believes in a tooth for a tooth, he also knows that an innocent bystander should not suffer unjustly.
(There is a long silence while all eyes are on Silver Band who is thoughtfully smoking. Finally he speaks).
Silver Band: There are dogs who stand on the hilltop with open mouths swallowing the wind which they pour out again in empty barks. But my great brother, the Big Hunter, is not a barking dog, but a man of sense who picks his words well before he speaks. He is also a brave man, and the Indian respects bravery above all. Nor is it right that a young man in the springtime of life should suffer for the evil deeds of others. If therefore there be no more cheating in trade in the house of the Big Hunter, then I, Chief Silver Band, say: Let us bury the tomahawk deep in the ground, and let the damage that is asked be paid to the young man to heal his wound. What say my young men? (There is a pause. Then one after another shouts the affirmative "Ho, ho!")
Claflin: It is well; my brothers, the Menomoni, have showed that they are men and not children. (To Annabell who has joined the other uninjured inmates of the house in the doorway): Annabell, how is Earnest?
Annabell: He seems to be doing all right, father, the wound has bled frrely and mother says she thinks he'll get well.
Claflin: Good! Now bring us a couple of bottles of brandy with plenty of cups, pipes and tobacco. (Claflin and Silver Band shake hands followed by other Indians amid good natured greetings. Annabell returns with the articles. Silver Band looks at her approvingly and says):
Silver Band: The young maid is as good to look upon as the sunrise of a June morning. May she and her young man have many papooses to bless their memory!
With thought and toll man seeks to win
A better place for self and kin.
Let us remember what we owe
To pioneers of long ago.