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The Life and Times of Robert B. McAfee, continued ______________

This circumstance has ever made me unwilling to force my children from home to go to school. I had suffered mentally the extremest tortures and consid- ered as a prelude to other sufferings as I knew my father intended to send me to school until I got the best education the country could afford.


In the month of February in this year my father went to Philadelphia. He rode a fine bay mare he had bought of my uncle James McCoun (the one who married my aunt Susan) and for which he gave one hundred acres of land. His business was to endeavor to obtain from Congress a grant of land NW of the Ohio on the waters of White River. Mr. John Breckinridge, having removed to Kentucky & settled in Lexington, being an old Virginia acquain- tance of my father’s from Rockbridge & Bottetourt county, my father had employed him in his land suit with Williams. Mr. Breckinridge encouraged to engage in this enterprise, and agreed to go partners with him, my father had also the aid of John Brown, who I think was then in the senate of the U[nited] States from Kentucky. He remained in Philadelphia attending Congress several weeks but did not suc- ceed as the Indian title had not been extinguished. He, however, obtained promise from many of the members to aid his views, as soon as the Indian claim was obtained. On his return Mr. Breckinridge agreed to pay him twenty shillings for every Thousand acres he would survey. In compliance with this agreement, my father & Brother Saml (who was his surveyor), James Magee, James Currens, Mathew Forsythe, and Richard Steele, Jun[io]r got canoes and embarked on the Kentucky river at ------------- with knapsacks, their rifles, & Provisions in the month of ---------

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    and descended the River to the mouth, where

having hid a few of their heavy articles in a hollow tree, they took Genl. Wilkinson & Genl. Scott’s Trace along which they had made an excursion to the Indian towns on the Wabash & went out to the East and Middle Forks of White River, principally in the present county of Jackson and around Brownstown, where they surveyed upwards of thirty Thousand acres of land and two thousand acre tracts. They suf- fered very much for bread as all they had was packed on their backs, but their guns furnished meat in abundance. The were fortunate in not falling in with

any Indians who were then hostile, but had their attention directed to the troops building Forts & es- corting provisions on the route of the army about to move against them from Cincinnati. My father had calculated on this and selected his time accordingly. They, however, several times heard the guns of strag- gling Indian hunters; having finished their labors, they all returned home in safety.

This speculation turned out a blank. Congress refused to make any more grants and determined to survey all their lands purchased from the Indians before making sales and granting large bodies of land to companies was found to be injurious to a regular settlement of the country, so they had all their labor for nothing, which I have often thought was fortu- nate for my father and his family, because if he had obtained this land such was the annoyance he felt from the law suit pending over his home place he would have probably moved to it – which afterwards proved to be unhealthy & some of the best lands he had surveyed were annually overflown—James Magee tried the experiment about the year 1809. He sold a fine farm on Salt River & purchased a part of the land he had surveyed, to which he moved with his family when after seven years annually shaking with the ague and fever he returned to Kentucky and afterwards moved to Missouri.

In the meantime, on my father’s return, I was put to school to a Mr. Ward a one legged man who taught a school at Providence in the log cabin built for a church and school house, about 50 yards SW of the present Brick church and I was boarded at my uncle James McAfee’s. Here I was doomed to suf- fer that contempt which I offered to a poor cousin at my second school with about as little reason, and from a similar source. My uncle James had a daugh- ter by the name of Margaret who went to school in company with me and another cousin by the name of Susan McAfee, the daughter of my uncle, George McAfee, who also board at my uncle James. Mar- garet had for no cause taken a deadly hatred to me, altho I was not conscious of giving her any offense. On our way to school she had every occasion to abuse me in the grandest manner. She had taken up the idea that her father was boarding me for noth- ing, although my father was paying for it in flour

Continued on page 198


2007 Kentucky Ancestors V42-4

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