The Life and Times of Robert B. McAfee, continued ______________
after in making my first pothooks in my writing book. I ended with him in the Bible and multiplica- tion table. My father took the Kentucky Gazette and I was able to read it and often puzzled him with asking the meaning of hard words and places about his geo- graphical knowledge did not extend. When strangers came to stay all night instead of going to bed with the other children I always sat up to hear their con- versation, by which means I learned many things and could tell my school mates of the passing news of the day. My father, observing these things, indulged and encouraged me to read and notice all important matters that I heard. During this school two events occurred, one of which was the cause of deep sorrow as well as furnished with a new rule for my future conduct. The other a mere pleasantry which we who were concerned very much regretted.
The first occurred during one of our play times. It was usual for the boys and girls to play together. We were all day playing at Pawns, which were to be redeemed by a kiss. One of my cousins, who was a very homely girl, and larger than me had won of me and approached to give me a kiss and I spit at her—she immediately threw up her hands over her face and burst into tears, while the other children gave me a look of indignation. I felt the rebuke strike into my heart, and I would have given worlds if I had not done it. Our plays were instantly broken up, and I went away with the feelings of the utmost misery. I could not hold up my head until on our way home that evening I sought the first opportunity to confess my guilt and ask her pardon. My good cousin granted it but I have never pardoned myself even to this day. She was even kind to me afterwards and I sought every occasion to treat her with respect afterwards until we were both grown. It has had an influence on my whole life, never to wound the feel- ings of others by act or by word, remembering that the poor and the humble as well as the most homely persons have feelings as acute as our own. The truth is I deserved a good slashing for this offence, and I have received it mentally every time it rises in judg- ment against me.
The other was an accidental foible. It was usual for our teacher,Mr. Taylor, to give the smaller boys an intermediate play time, so one day about ten o’clock a.m. four of us about the same size: Ben W. Casey, Enos Ashby, Robt. Goudy, and myself were let
out of school to play ten or fifteen minutes. We all paraded out on the side of the hill when Ben Casey asked us if we had ever heard the Indians yell. We told him we had not that we recollected, “Well, boys (says he), if you will join with me I will show you how it is done,” and with that he commenced yelling most hideously and we joined in chorus, which soon brought old man Taylor out who did not seem to relish such yelling and we were ordered in the house. We gave Ben a reproachful look, and he whispered to us – “pshaw, the old man don’t understand Indian!” This matter broke up our play and we never got any more.
In the fall of this year my father rebuilt his mill, he tore down the old mill house, and made a kind of barn of it and built a new hewed log house and had[an] entirely new mill works for two pair of stones put in it by a Mr. Boucher. It was double geared, having one large water wheel, and one large cogswheel with two smaller ones besides the Trundle head in the old stile, all in complete order, and for a second pair of mill stones for wheat he got them out of the bank of Salt River at the first bend below my uncle Samuel McAfee’s, three-fourths of a mile above the old McAfee station. The mill wright work cost him one hundred pounds and he had to sell one hundred acres of his settlement land on Salt River SW of Harrodsburg to pay it. He had, however, one of the best mills of that day, although the wheat stones were pure limestones, yet they made first rate flour. This mill house is yet standing and contains my present mill. My father also built a saw mill and put it on the west side of the river, there being at that time an abundance of poplar timber in the field adjoining out of which there are more than thirty acres on which there is now not one tree. I name this that after generations may know the condition of our native forests. My father’s stock of all kind increased abundantly and we then had cattle, horses, and hogs equal to any Durham or Berkshire I have ever since seen in this country. Sheep done equally well, although the wolves often made sad havoc among them, even in the sheep fold in which they were penned every night. Scarcely a night passed without hearing their united howls to the no little alarm of the children and poor sheep who instinc- tively huddled together with the rams at the outposts ready to make battle. My uncle, James McAfee, this
2007 Kentucky Ancestors V42-4