The Life and Times of Robert B. McAfee, continued ______________
ing to my brother that his end was come and to do the best he could. My brother’s troubles now began and, having only time to make a safe deposit of his month, the government officers seized his boat and such articles as they had not sold as government property. Totally ignorant of the law, or customs of the country, my brother did not know what to do when a Mr. -------- Thompson, who had been several times down at N. Orleans before with a boat & who lived in the same county in Kentucky near Danville called to see him and told him what to do. By his ad- vice he employed counsel & filed his petition in their court, claiming the property as the eldest son of my father which he proved by Mr. Thompson and after a Tedious trial the property was restored. My brother then sold out the balance of his load, but still he had other difficulties to encounter. It was against the law for a foreigner to carry out of the country any gold or silver and he had also to obtain a passport and re- turn home by sea as in these days there was no other way of getting back unless through several Indian nations whose friendship could not be relied on. My brother, finding a vessel bound for Charleston, South Carolina, under the advice of his friend Thompson he sewed money (about $1500.00, the great part in gold) in a belt and buckled it round his waist next to his skin & then sending a few hams of meat to the custom house officer he was permitted to pass with but a slight examination to the vessel and in this way returned home by sea landing at Charleston. He got home about the middle of August – such were the absurd and oppressive regulations of the Span- ish Government in relation to their trade. It was no wonder that the Kentuckians were incensed against the Spaniard & truly rejoiced when by the treaty of 1795 our Government secured a place of deposit & more liberal regulations. I was in Lexington (Ky.) when the news arrived of this event and assisted in making Bon fires out of pine boxes & Tar barrels the night after the news was received.
Soon after I heard my brother had returned. I insisted on going home & remained several weeks at my Brother-in-law’s, M. Forsythe’s. I then returned to school. I felt myself solitary and alone, cast upon the world without the guardian care of Parents at the tender age of Eleven years. I viewed my situation as dark and gloomy enough. Tis true I had many relations, who no doubt felt anxious that I should do well, but my impressions were that none of them took much interest in my future prospects. None gave me their counsel except my relation, James McCoun, who had been left by my father with John Breckenridge, the Executors of his will, but both of whom having business enough of their own to attend to declined the trust. My brother, Samuel, became the administrator & managed my Estate as well as acting as my voluntary guardian, and in addi- tion to all my troubles, the law suit of Williams was revived against me, and my younger brother John to whom my father had left his home farm where I now live which placed in jeopardy, my patrimony and place of my birth, the expenses of which took all that could be raised from the rents. In the fall 1795 Mr. John Cardwell from the State of Virginia came to the neighborhood and rented the farm for the ensuing year, giving the third of what he could raise. Young as I was I felt the full force of my difficulties and then took a firm resolution to look to my own effort for my future support, and from that moment determined to qualify myself for business. I felt as if I had no home or any friend who cared much for me and soon lost all desire or anxiety to return to my na- tive home now in possession of strangers until I had completed my Education and was prepared to oc- cupy it. When of full age my portion of my father’s Estate was about one thousand dollars part of which was already expended.
2007 Kentucky Ancestors V42-4