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Mr. Pardee was a little more brave; he said it was foolish to notice such small things as mosquitoes. I have seen them light
on his face and run in their bills, probe in until they reached the fountain of life, suck and gormandize until they got a
full supply, then leisurely fly away with their veins and bodies full of the best and most benevolent blood, to live awhile,
and die from the effects of indulging too freely and taking too much of the life of another. Thus at different times I saw
him let them fill themselves and go away without his seeming to notice them; whether he always treated them thus well or not,
I cannot say, but I do know they were the worst of pests. Myriads of them could be found any where in the woods, that would
eagerly light on man or beast and fill themselves till four times their common size, if they could get a chance. The woods
were literally alive with them. No one can tell the wearisome sleepless hours they caused us at night. I have lain listening
and waiting for them to light on my Gee or hands, and then trying to slap them by guess in the dark, sometimes killing them,
and sometimes they would fly away, to come again in a few minutes. I could hear them as they came singing back. Frequently
when I awoke I found them as wakeful as ever; they had been feasting while I slept. I would find bunches and blotches on me,
wherever they had had a chance to light, which caused a disagreeable, burning and smarting sensation.
Frequently some one of us would get up and make a smudge in the room to quiet them; we did it by making
a little fire of small chips and dirt, or by burning some sugar on coals, but this would only keep them still for a short
time. These vexatious, gory-minded, musical-winged, bold denizens of the shady forest, were more eager to hold their carniverous
feasts at twilight or in the night than any other time. In cloudy weather they were very troublesome as all the first settlers
know. We had them many years, until the country was cleared and the land ditched; then, with the forest, they nearly disappeared.
As I have said our oxen were the first in our part of the town. Mr. Pardee had no team. Father sold him
half of our oxen. They used them alternately, each one two weeks, during the summer. For some reason, Mr. Pardee failed to
pay the forty dollars and when winter came father had to take the oxen back and winter them. The winter was very open, and
much pleasanter than any we had ever seen. The cattle lived on what we called "French-bogs"which grew all through the woods
on the low land and were green all winter.
We found wild animals and game very numerous. Sometimes the deer came where father had cut down trees, and
browsed the tops. Occasionally, in the morning, after a little snow, their tracks would be as thick as sheep-tracks in a yard,
almost up to the house. The wolves, also, were very common; we could often hear them at night, first at one point, then answers
from another and another direction, until the woods rang with their unearthly yells.
One morning I saw a place by a log where a deer had lain, and noticed a large quantity of hair all around
on the snow; then I found tracks where two wolves came from the west, jumped over the log, and caught the deer in his bed.
He got away, but he must have had bare spots on his back.
One evening a Mr. Bruin called at our house and stood erect at our north window. The children thought him
one of us, as father, mother and I were away, and they ran out to meet us, but discovered instead a large black bear. When
they ran out, Mr. Bruin, a little less dignified, dropped on all fours, and walked leisurely off about ten rods; then raised
again, jumped over a brush fence, and disappeared in the woods.
Next morning we looked for his tracks and, sure enough, there were the tracks of a large bear within four
feet of the window. He had apparently stood and looked into the house.
The first Indian who troubled us was one by the name of John Williams. He was a large, powerful man, and
certainly, very ugly. He used to pass our house and take our road to Dearbornville after fire-water, get a little drunk, and
on his way back stop at John Blare's. Mr. Blare then lived at the end of our new road. Here the Indian would tell what great
things he had done. One day when he stopped, Mrs. Blare and her brother-in-law, Asa, were there. He took a seat, took his
knife from his belt, stuck it into the floor, then told Asa to pick it up and hand it to him; he repeated this action several
times, and Asa obeyed him every time. He, seeing that the white man was afraid, said: "I have taken off the scalps of six
damned Yankees with this knife and me take off one more."
When father heard this, with other things he had said, he thought he was the intended victim. We were all
very much frightened. Whenever father was out mother was uneasy until his return, and he feared that the Indian, who always
carried his rifle, might lay in am-bush and shoot him when he was at work.
One day he came along, as usual, from Dearbornville and passed our house. Father saw him, came in, took
his rifle down from the hooks and told mother he believed he would shoot first. Mother would not hear a word to it and after
living a year or two longer, in mortal fear of him, he died a natural death. We learned afterward that Joseph Pardee was the
man he had intended to kill. He said, "Pardee had cut a bee-tree that belonged to Indian."According to his previous calculation, on our arrival, father bought, in mother's name, eighty
acres more, constituting the south-west quarter of section thirty-four, town two, south of range ten, east; bounded on the
south by the south line of the town of Dearbon. A creek, we called the north branch of the River Ecorse, ran through it, going
east. It was nearly parallel with, and forty-two rods from, the town line. When he entered ...