Hunting is the Chief Enterprise

It is not strange, under these circumstances, that the people cultivated and displayed but little taste in their dress and in the erection of dwelling houses. The chief occupation, of many of them, was hunting, in which they found a peculiar delight and pleasure, and when wearied and worn out with their pursuit of the deer, which abounded plentifully in the hills and valleys now covered by luxuriant meadows and cornfields, they cared but little what kind of houses received them on their return so they were sheltered from the wolves and storms. If the hunter’s cabin was large enough to contain a pallet for himself, his wife and his children, a few chairs, a table, (perhaps on which he venison was spread), and more than all, if sitting away in one corner there was a jug or even a barrel of “Old Bourbon,” it was a home of luxury to him.

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Grant county, like all pioneer counties, had famous hunters, the bullets of whose unerring rifles never failed to bring down the “deer” or the “turkey.” It is amusing to think now how fond they were of these old flint-lock hunting pieces. They held them in their hearts as something a little less dear than their wives or their children, and fondled them and called them by pet names as though they were objects with life and could talk and smile when their masters would jump to their feet for “Old Sally” or “Old Betsey” as a deer would go bounding by.

The popular ambition of that day was not cultivating fields, erecting fine houses, raising fine cattle, hogs and sheep, and training blooded horses, but to satisfy their innate love for hunting and sporting, and to excel in personal attainments, such as foot-racing, wrestling, pitching quoits, etc. And if there was a personal difficulty to be settled between two or more persons, it was generally adjusted by the very pleasant and satisfactory way of knocking each other down a few times, and then drinking each other’s health over the result; for this was a day when whiskey made men drunk without giving them delirium tremens, and they got sober again without being poisoned, and before the deadly Derringer was used to murder him who had offended his murderer.”

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