The Story of the Life of Thaddeus Dean Glover.
My name is Thaddeus Dean Glover. When I was a young lad, folks called me Thad. However when I wrote my name, I would often get the letters switched around, and spell it Tahd rather than Thad. My schoolmaster mistakenly began to use the pronunciation of the misspelled name and thus all the children at school followed suit and soon most folks called me Todd and it just stuck.
My family came from the old countries of Wales, England, Scotland and Denmark but a few generations ago. When they arrived in the new world, they settled in the colonies of New York and Virginia. Some of the New York folk eventually drifted down to Virginny and that was where my Ma and Pa were born. Pa near the township of Danville in the year 1774 and Ma in Martinville in 1775. Both my Granddaddys and great uncles participated in both King George's War and the War of Independence.
My folks met and married in Virginny in 1793 and settled outside Martinsville where Pa worked a small farm and worked as a Wainwright building wagons and carts. Life was good there and Pa was a very hard worker, so they prospered. But Pa wanted a larger farm, and as most of the land was claimed by wealthy families or had been given as grants by the new national government to former soldiers, he had to move to the frontier to find a bigger place.
The government had just opened up the "Southwest Territory," and that's where my Ma and Pa headed to in 1795. Pa claimed a one thousand-acre parcel through " Tomahawk Improvements," which was mostly covered by thick forests with a nice creek passing through part. The earth was rich and the land wild and abundant with all types of game. A lot of other folks settled round about and soon they began calling the area "Piney Flats."
Pa went to work in his usual energetic fashion and soon had a nice sturdy cabin built complete with a loft for future children. This was soon to be needed as my older brother was born in June 1795. Pa cleared several acres working in cooperation with other men in the area. They also built a small saw mill where folks could bring trees for lumber.
I myself was born in this same cabin along the creek in Pine Flats not far from the Iron Mountains on the 25th of July 1796. I can't say as I recollect a whole lot about the area other than I do remember the tall dark woods and the smell of the fresh earth as Pa would till for planting. I also remember the smell of the lumber when Pa would bring a new load home from the mill for making wagons.
Ma says that lnjuns would come by regular and visit and get some "White Cookin." Pa said they were mostly friendly but always kept a rifle close.
This area around Piney Flats filled with folks real fast and in six short Pa was "Lookin to the horizon" as Ma would say and talking of heading on over into Caintuck" where the "land was fresh and a feller could claim him as much land as he could mark." So, in the spring of 1803 we sold the farm and packed up one of Pas wagons built for the occasion and headed West to what was once called the "Dark and Bloody Ground."
It was a long journey lasting many weeks. I can vaguely remember the creeking of the wheels, and sleeping under the wagon at night. We passed many small farms and occasionally a small town along the way. A. we moved up into the Caintuckee area there were many nice places to stop and settle, but Pa always wanted to push further west where things were less crowded and developed.
One night on the road we met a man who camped with us. He was dressed differently from the folks we normally met along the way. His trousers were made from deerskin, which wasnt highly unusual but they were quite worn and very dark from grease and smoke. His shirt was made of linsey- woolsey and was somewhat tattered. Over this he wore a hunting shirt also of leather and of Indian tailoring. There was a bit of decoration over the shoulders made of the quills of the prickly pig. On his feet he wore moccasins of a pattern I had never seen before, the seam ran around the side rather than straight up the middle or with the leather puckered around the toe. His long rifle was of rather plain manufacture and both it and his shooting bag and horn showed evidence of much use. All in all his appearance was that of a man who spent much time in the woods.
He spoke of some of his wanderings to the west and recounted some fantastic stories of his adventures there in what he called the "Shining Mountains." His tales seemed so wild and foreign to me, as if he were telling of some distant land. Pa seemed to be quite taken by his tales and l had the feeling that if not for the burden of his family he would soon quit this country and head for the lands far to the west.
Pa inquired of the man concerning good lands to settle to the west. His reply was that he had recently passed through a growing village along the Ohio river and that he thought a man with my Pas abilities in building wagons and boats might make tidy income there. Next day we bide farewell to the stranger and headed toward a village called Paducah.
Paducah was on the southern shore of the mighty Ohio river not far up stream from its confluence with the Mississippi. Across the Ohio to the North was Indian land and warriors were frequently seen on the river and often came to the village to trade for goods.
Once again Pa built a nice home. This time however he located it closer to town and along the banks of the river where he could build more boats and also float in lumber from upriver when need be. The constant trafficking to the west on both river and land kept Pa extremely busy and my whole family would pitch in and help where we could. My brothers and I quickly began to learn the ways of the wainwright and other skills such as blacksmithing. Pa hired a couple of men to help and the family business really prospered. Life was not always arduous work. This area had much game about, and my brothers and I would often hunt and fish along the river, and in the winter we would put out a string of traps for raccoons, mink otters fox and the occasional beaver that were still around. We often saw signs of Indians and occasionally even hid and watched as they passed up or down river in their large canoes.
On one occasion as my brothers and I were out trapping, we were surprised by a band of Indians who were out hunting. They had quietly surrounded us and crept up on us without our even knowing. We thought we were going to be in serious trouble, and might have been if we had not shown braveness. One of the leaders of the band spoke English very well and told us that we ought not to trap and kill game that belonged to his people. He said that because we were just small boys and brave, that he would let us return home rather than keeping us. He told us his name was Tecumseh, the same Tecumseh we would later fight against.
Besides meeting occasional bands of Indians from up North there were many other adventures for young boys and men on the frontier. Boatloads of Rivermen often passed with cargoes headed down river to New Orleans. For a time I fancied running away from home and hiring on to one of these crews. They always had such exciting stories, to tell of fights with Indians and river pirates and such. Listening to these men always had a deep effect on me and fired up my blood for adventure.
I finally got my chance at big adventure in the Fall of 1811. For years there had been growing hostility among the tribes up north across the Ohio. More and more settlers were crossing the river to settle and claim lands which was against the treaties but it seems little was done to enforce them. I kinda felt sorry for the Indians up there, as they were being pushed further and farther north, away from their homeland. In September of that year hostilities broke into open warfare. Folks in Kentucky had endured years of Indian attacks and had little sympathy for the Indians. So, when a call came from Gov. Harrison to raise the militia in Kentucky, my father and Brother and I joined in. I almost didn't get to go. My Mother said at least one of hor boys had to stay home, but after several days of pleading and reassuring her that I would just be a helper in the camps and not actually fighting, she allowed me to go along.
Sixty-five of us crossed the river and rode north to join Harrisons forces at Vincennes. Life in the military took some gettin used to what with their orders and drilling and saluting and all. Everyone was talking about Tecumseh being so cunning and blood thirsty, but I always remembered the time I had met him and felt that if someone would just talk with him in fairness, that he would have been a reasonable person. Gov. Harrison had held some talks, with Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwataewa but they hadn't amounted to much except showing that each side war determined to have their own way.
In August Indians raided some farmers horses and Gov. Harrison saw this as an opportunity to move against the Indians. He knew that Tecumseh was not in the area at the time and thought the timing was ideal. I remember the day he rode out in front of the cheering troops on a beautiful black horse as we all cheered. After what seemed like months to me, we finally had the order to prepare to march and we were off to fight Indians. After days of marching along the Wabash river with no action, we finally made camp. Scouts and spies were sent out to find the Indians, and reported back that there was a large village not far to the North. Everyone was sure there would be fighting, so we kept on he alert and kept our rifles and other weapons handy.
My Pa had allowed me to carry an old musket that had been in the family for years. Pa had nick named it the "Patriot" cause it had been around since the war of Independence from England. Besides the musket, I carried a small hatchet in my belt and a ordinary knife also on my belt.
Of course in spite of being well armed, I was told to remain in camp in case of attack, I was assigned to help guard supplies and horses from the enemy. I wasn't none to happy about marching all this way just to watch the camp while others got to go fight. Especially cause my brother got assigned to one of the companies who would fight.
An Indians war cry is a most awful thing to hear in the dark of night, and one morning before sun up we heard hundreds as they attacked our camp. We werent caught off guard cause guards had been watching well and we knew they were in the area.
The sound of battle was horrendous and far from what I had imagined. The whopping and screaming of the Indians was bad enough along with the screaming of horses and the shouting of desperate men fighting. All them guns firing and the wounded cries unnerved me for a while, and I sat among the stockpiled supplies and watched in a mixture of fascination and horror as the fighting went on. The Indians seemed completely without fear and charged like demons.
After about a half hour it became clear that our troops were pushing back the attack and the sounds of fighting began to grow more distant. What a relief it was when it began to grow quiet and things began to settle. But around then someone noticed occasional movements out on the battle field. We couldnt tell who it was, our wounded or theirs. A party of five men were sent out to check on wounded and after about ten minutes there were some screams and a couple of shots fired and three of the men came running back. They said the had been attacked by a small band of Indians. Just then someone shouted "here they come." We all looked where he was pointing and there were about thirty Indians rushing our way. My heart nearly stopped beating and I dropped down behind a pile of goods and some barrels. Our group consisted of about twenty boys and men and I thought we were going to he wiped out, but one of the men yelled to take cover and fire! After I saw our men firing I quickly kneeled up and laid my musket on a barrel and aimed at the charging group of Indians and fired. I never knew if I had hit any of them, but I quickly reloaded with some shot and fired again. The Indians had spread out and were also taking cover and firing at us. I think if they knew how few we were, they would have pressed the attack and over ran us. Luckily they didn't know we were mostly boys. Fortunately some men from another part of the camp noticed what was happening and organized a party and came riding our way. When the Indians saw this. they stood up and began to run off. We all got in a last shot at them as they were leaving. It looked like we had won the victory, and I guess we did, but that morning 150 of our men had died. We found only 38 Indians.
Having whipped the Indians so badly, they became peaceful and all the militia from Kentucky went on back home. That wasnt the end of it though, cause the Indians were still pretty mad at all the settlers moving in and some of the treaties that were made which took away lands unfairly. The British continued to stir up the Indians and supply them with guns and powder.
In the spring of 1812, it became clear that once again there would be war with England and once again the Militia was called out. Folks thought that this time America would settle the trouble with the British once and for all. I recall reading something about this in the Kentucky Gazette, it read "Upper and Lower Canada to the very gates of Quebec will fallinto possession of the of the Yankees the moment war is started, without much bloodshed, for almost the whole of Upper Canada and a great part of the lower Province is inhabited by Americans."
This time there was no question that I would be allowed to go, cause the situation looked bad. Spies had reported that the Indians were all rising up all over the Northwest and talking once again of pushing all the settlers south of the Ohio and even of taking hack their old hunting grounds in Kentucky.
Again my Father and older brother and I marched North with the militia and were this time attached to the federal troops under command of Captain Zachary Taylor. We fought in a number of skirmishes with the Indians and even some British regulars occasionally.
After we defeated the British and Indians, that settled the question once and for all about settlement in the Northwest territories and thousands of people began to pour in.All this traveling and seeing new places once again gave my Pa the itch. He had seen a nice stretch of land North of the Ohio, and after returning home he began trying to convince my Ma that we ought to move there. She said had wondered how he had stayed put for all these years in Paducah, and agreed to go. We sold our nice house in town, and ferried across the river to the newly named Indiana country and settled on a beautiful meadow along Little Pigeon Creek. Of course there were other settlers in the area, but not to many and not to close.
Pa continued making wagons and general carpentry and farming. My older brother met a nice young girl named Elizabeth King and they got married. This area seemed to be the nicest place we had ever lived. The land was fertile and the games was plentiful. My Ma was happy that there were other folks in the area. Up the creek a ways was the family of Tom Lincoln. They had several children, one who was a little older than I named Abraham. I recall that he was easy natured and liked to read a lot and borrowed some of my Mas books now and then.
We even had occasional visitors who were traveling through. One was a man named Morris Birkbeck. He was an English Quaker traveling and talking about religion. He said he was favorably impressed with the area we lived in. Some years later he wrote in a book
"If I mistake not, the character of the settlers is different and superior to that of the first settlers of Ohio, who were generally very indigent people; those who are now fixing themselves in Indiana bring with them habits of comfort and means of producing the conveniences of life; I observe this in the construction of their cabins and the neatness surrounding them, especially in their well-stocked gardens, so frequent here and so rare in the State of Ohio."
Well, after my brother got married, that made me the oldest boy around the house and people stared wondering when I was going to find a girl. There were several in the area that caught my fancy, but I wasn't thinking on gettin hitched and settling down just yet. All that traveling and adventure had also had an effect on me, and there were many evenings around the campfire listening to tales from men who had been west of the Mississippi and even up the Missoura and at some time I had made the decision that would go see or myself, even if had never spoken of it.
I discussed this with my Pa one day in the fields, and he didn't seem to be at all surprised. He said he remembered well the feeling, and that he wished he could come along too but that with the young-uns and all and the nice farm we had, that he had ought to stay here. My Ma was none to pleased and pleaded with me to stay and settle down as my bother had. I told her that I only intended to be gone year maybe two and would then return with some savings and become a proper landowner and gentleman. Still it was difficult to leave, but that's just what I did with the gift of Pa's rifle in my hands and everything else on my back, I walked down river to the next dock and caught a ride down river on a keel boat headed for St Louis. It was the spring of 1818.
Having always lived in small towns, I wasn't prepared for the excitement of St Louis. I had never seen so many people in one place before, and so many different kinds of people. I don't know all the proper words to describe such a sight., so I'll quote from the best description of the city that I have ever heard.
" Sprawled over the hillside on the western bank of the Mississippi five miles below its confluence with the Missouri, St. Louis lived by the wealth bourne to it on the swirling yellow waters. From above flatboats, keelboats, pirogues, canoes and rafts floated down with cargoes of lead, lumber, wheat. pork, and the staple furs and buffalo robes. Up the river from below came the slim keelboats propelled against the current by powerfully muscled boatmen or by clumsy square sails; and among the keelboats in increasing numbers splashed the new steamboats. a sight to which none of the western waters had grown accustomed. Both were ladened with the varied wealth of the outside world for which St. Louis exchanged its furs. From these boats, and from the ferries that plied between the city and the green Illinois shore, thronged boatmen, trappers and traders, Yankee peddlers, miners, farmers, soldiers of the Republic and, not least conspicuous on the streets, gaily blanketed Indians come to Red Head's town to confer with General William Clark.
The streets along the water front were narrow and crowded, cluttered with warehouses and stores, but those on the heights were spacious, and adorned with finely built houses which gave the town a pleasing and substantial appearance. Some of the streets had lately been paved, which was progress to those appalled by St. Louis' dust and mud, but something less to the old French habitants who complained of the "rocks put in the streets," on which the rude wooden wheels of their carts were forever shattering.
With a population edging past five-thousand, St. Louis was experiencing the growing pains that mark the transformation of a village into a city. Only six years ago there had not been a single brick house in the town, but now more than a third of it's dwelling places were now wholly or partly built of brick. Many frame and some log houses were yet to be seen, the old French dwellings apparent at sight built with their hewn logs planted perpendicularly in the ground.
St. Louis, " under the hill" was only less notorious than Natchez. On the hill itself the townspeople were having their troubles learning to live together with ever less elbow room. Many families had the medieval habit of disposing of slops and worse by throwing them into the streets from any handy window; and passers by had to reckon with the prevailing conviction that the way to dispose of a defunct dog, cat or rat was to take it by the tail and hurl it into the street, to remain till rain, wind, sun, and passing cartwheels should return it unto the dust.
St. Louis' streets were a continuous spectacle. Fine broadcloth rubbed elbows with coarse homespun, greasy buckskin and greasier blankets. Boatmen from the Mississippi and Ohio, like the voyagers from the Missouri, swarmed ashore, spoiling for whisky, whores, and fight. The Hoosiers and Suckers bound for the rich farmlands of the Boonslick country and beyond, like the more numerous Kentuckians, strolled the streets of the Metropolis, there wide-eyed, sun-bonneted women on their arms. St. Louis was a southern town with an abundance of Negros, but they answered more readily to French than to English. The old French heritage of St. Louis was, in fact, always on show. The crude carts had clumsy wooden wheels innocent of iron tires, and they were drawn by little Canadian horses. Just as striking was the St. Louis manor of gearing ox teams, for the French had no truck with the ox yokes and bows of the Americans; they fastened five-foot stakes with leather straps to the horns of their animals and required their teams to pull with their heads.
This was a town adventurous in it's spirit, too quarrelsome and short of temper; gentlemen were always taking themselves at dawn to Bloody Island in the Mississippi, while the unwashed worked off their grievances in tavern brawls. Beyond that it was possessed of a certain graciousness and a feeling for the good things of this world. One could walk the streets and never be out of hearing of the fiddles pouring fourth on the soft night air the gaiety and the sadness of life. It was a rare evening when a public party was not in progress somewhere in the town, and the newly established theater was the pride of St. Louis.
Catholic in it's origins, St. Louis took pride in the new Cathedral on Church Street, adorned as it was with paintings by Rubens, Raphael, and Veronese, and with ancient and delicately wrought gold embroideries donated by wealthy Catholics in Europe. The Baptists and the Episcopalians had church buildings too, but the Presbyterians held their meetings in the circuit courtroom, and the Methodists in the old courthouse. Otherwise, the showplaces of the city were the imposing residences of the brothers Auguste and Pierre Chouteau, on the hill overlooking the town; the council chamber of General Clark, containing " the most complete museum of Indian curiosities to be met with anywhere in the United States"; and the Indian mounds and other remains of antiquity north of town, where also was situated the Mound Garden, kept by Mr. James Gray as a place of entertainment and recreations."
Such a description seems to do justice to what I saw before me, and I spent several days simply wandering about the streets getting to know the place. Of course I didn't feel much comfortable up among the wealthy houses on the hills, so I mostly stayed down around the docks and along the streets where folks were working.
After several days I reckoned it was time to get on with looking for some work to do, so I presented myself at the establishment of "Broadband and Bentley" in hopes of working in the ship yards. The good reputation of the boats my father had made in Paducah aided me in gaining employment and I was soon sweating among the bustling numbers of workers.
The ship yards and docks were an exciting place as they were the crossroads of all who came and went through St Louis by river. Most exciting to me were those who were coming from up the Missoura in large canoes or bateau or other more rudely fashioned craft. These were most often trappers or traders, and again I vowed that I would soon join them.
During that period I made my lodging in a low cost boarding house where I had to put my rifle up as a deposit. However the owner soon became trusting of me and allowed me to take my rifle out whenever I wished to go hunting. I often furnished the boarding house with turkey or wild boar from the countryside which further endeared me to the owner.
Amid all this hustle and bustle, time passed very quickly and the summer passed before I knew it and It became clear I would stay here until spring.. During those long fall and winter nights, I would often visit some of the more notorious grog shops were any of a number of men fresh from the mountains would gather to drink and relive days of glory to a bunch of eager young ears. Some of the stories told were so fantastic that even gullible young fellows like myself would sometimes chuckle in disbelief until one of the mountaineers would cast a cold and deadly glance in our direction. Stories of one of the most famous among them were still being circulated five years after Mr. John Colter had passed away. I sat spell bond as men retold his tales of a hell on earth where the ground rumbled and erupted in fountains of steaming water.
One cold blustery January morning I visited Mr. Colters grave on a bill outside of town and swore to myself that I would someday see for myself if such a place existed..
I was somewhat depressed at that time due to being unable to end an employment agreement I had signed with Broadband and Bentley in time to accompany an expedition into the mountains organized by Cabanne' and Company and being led by the well known trader Mr. Manuel Lisa. He had departed in the fall and I recall working on a new keel boat the day his party poled their boats out of the docks pointed up river. There was a large lump in my throat which I had to quickly choke down, but my resolve to follow them grew all the more strong.
In the spring of 1819, there was considerable activity about town as a number of lesser groups prepared to depart upriver. Some of this excitement was tempered by the recent death of Mr..Lisa. He had returned early in the spring with some sort of ailment which his early return to St. Louis was unable to cure.
Around this time I received a letter from my older brother informing me that I should return home at once as our father had been injured in an accident and was doing poorly. I packed my few possessions and carefully tucked away a tidy roll of currency and coin, and caught passage on a flatboat bound for Cincinnati on the Ohio.
My arrival back home bittersweet as Pa was indeed in very ill health. It seems he had been working with a stubborn young horse and somewhat foolishly had tried riding it to break it. The horse had gone into fits and Pa was thrown onto a fence which had caused injuries to his back and insides. Pa had always been so tough and able to handle anything, it was hard to see him lying there wanting to get up and out in the fields. He did enjoy my stories of St Louis and tales I'd heard of the far western lands.
Pa managed to linger and even to temporarily improve, sometimes being able to walk out among the fields and along the creek enjoying the beauty, before his health failed all at once in November of 1819 and we buried him beneath his favorite giant Oak tree along the creek where he had often fished with Grandchildren about him. Pa was only forty four when he passed on and seeing him go showed me how quickly life passes and how a person must follow what he most wants before it becomes to late.
Obligations to the family kept me on the farm as I was determined that Ma should be. well provided for. My brothers and I built an addition to my older brothers fine home and Ma moved in there. Some of the cleared acres on Pa's .farm were sold to local folks and my younger brother and his family moved into the family home.
I remained around the area building and farming and becoming readjusted to the home life. Ma frequently reminded me that I was long past due to get a wife and family of my own. These same. thoughts began to occur to me more and more, and I even was known to be seen in the company of some of the available young ladies of the area.
(Stay tuned for the rest of the story)