DOIIFAT ~ v
RECORD OF HARDSHIPS AND DANGERS ENCOUNTERED
AND AMUSING SCENES WHICH OCCURRED,
Operations of a !artp of Surbtgors
YY W. L. PERRY.
C. DREW'S BOOK AND JOB PRINTING OFFICE
SIontred according to Act of Congreas, in the year 1858, by
WILLIAM L. PERRY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States.
in and for the Northern Di1trict of Florida.
THus little volume i respect rflly ..fft-rtd t.. th. piu t.lic.
S not without some "misgivings" :s to hw it will I,. r.--
ceived. Trusting, however, toi thit. kindlness of the indil-
gent reader, it is sent f;rt h ith thrlt sirine.re hope that it
may contribute in s.in' mldgr.ee t.' the plt tusire and ,aiImiI -
ment of th'.se into' wh e i hand it r:may chance tl fAll ir
so, the author's object will have be,:n attained. The ri-.
lowing p.t:es ,..,ntain a ree:rd oif the .l.i..r''.,ro-u a i0 l .x1 it,-
S ing, as well as am.iusin: x s'enls enc-nuuctered by i; p:rty o.r
surceyors in South andl East Florida, whil.-t engaged in
the labir of laying out the piu lii: diJ .iin Tlhere is. i-r.
haps, no class of imen who endure so many ha.rdlshlip anid
privations-whose forttuide anril eI'lerc, wihu-e irntllLctual
powers, art' LaxCI to La rrcait r ix .tenl.t Ih.in tle (i.*\rrilrmitrL
surveyor in his operations in the wild fiurets of ti'e Srlluth-
ern and Western pI.rtimins of the United States, in paving
the way for the future wealth and uggrandizemr-it of his
country; and yet there is nio cl-s -i f men, uf useful eciuila-
tion, who receive a less share of consideration and sympathy.
In justice to himself the author feels called upon l,
plead the very unfavorable circumstances under which th.:
manuscript was written, arising from the fact that it was
prepared at moments spared from the press of business.
and not intended when first written as an offering to the
public in the form of a book. This, then, is offered to the
considerate reader as an apology for the very many imper-
fections which the volume contains. He is aware it should
have been revised before it was handed over to the pub-
lisher; but his situation has been such as rendered it im-
posible for him to bestow the time and labor necessary to
such a purpose. Relying upon the kind disposition of
the reader, he determined to publish as originally written.
C~rrns iii d ~-rro'u~iniots .i
IF the lit it', f ti. t'i fr. ti.-r stlh.cr, in 1ii- little log
cabin, Sitiatitil r i tin, lini.- f t',ll.i ,.r, atini between
civiliziati.,n II tl i'- iic li.i-1 1 ;:111, a W ildl'.rin,1 ss of
.avag.cs :; ,.l t;r....i,: i\\ l ;iiiilil- -it the other,
wlhitlher Iv- .. .-,\.. t,, bl.z:i tlin way 6-,r more
cnli~hitnl .l 'iort i, i i. i -r, t il, n.ld wild
adv-eutil'r,' tli.t it' tih ,ti i -vi_'r, vl ,' 'lecs far be-
yulon,. the s.trlr, vi iit.. tihe vvry lh-:ir of the
wililo i : .-... t-, i1,:r'k ,ut thi. laln' l-lines f-.,r ap-
pr:,i,:.lir._' sU. ttl.ic1110-lit i-. Ii.. it:.rttirlY 11,.it -less
so. Ii.l.. .j.,l-inl .' t 1tv tud. l ,a.i. _r ipare
the'. puir-nits lof tIn t\v'", it i, Lino-t 1'ut Il: conceded
that tin: s.urvev is si 'iir,,niitld with inre dan-
Sgut.I, thin -,,ii,.j t oit' il', til and lhardilhips, and
the r :iilii -nt it' t'.\,r it thi.i.-. anti'.l denorni-
nate.l the l1 1xu.11ic- o It' I'll-.
Let u.s 1'..r -i iiijielit in.Irc iarti,.-ularly exam-
lilne .m (nli'ilpi, tn lt 1ii1i.1 iad uniuits of the
surv'<,'or iniId fir niti-'r :> ttil-'.
Wh',n thin. luttei'r i'etlriis from a day's hunt,
SCENES IN A SrTRYEYOR'S LIFE.
which, aside from a small pumpkin and potato-
patch, is his principal business, tired and hungry.
he is sure, on entering his humble cabin, of find-
ing the steaming cofftt and smoking venison all
ready for himni, prepared by his better-halt', whose af-
li,,:t.ionate smile, and the joyful nitbursts. of whose
prattling progeiy, bid him welcome. When his
hunger is satisfied he repairs to a comfortable
moss-mattress for rest, made smooth by a hand of'
atfecrtimonat regard for his welthre and coiifort.
\When the foriimr, on the contrary, returns from
a harl d lay's work, Inuging the heavy implements
ineiess:lry tor his business through swmps, la-
?oons, saw--rrais, and palmetto hammockk, -he en-
ters no cabin, meets no smiling wife, hears not
the claminors ot'f his little children, sees no smoking
viands, but is foriccd to ipre'parq his own supper as
beqt he can, by thrusting his venison or bear's
meat on a sharp stick and holding it over the
tanmes until half cooked, wlhili he ravenously
devours, with a cake of bread of his own make, and
then retires to the dniamp erlth for a bed, apine-knot
for a pillow. and the broad sky for a covering.
When the heavens open and the rains descend,
the settler enters his log-:lhin, unpretclning as
it is, and he is secure from the beating storm.
Under similar circumstances, the surveyor ha.
no alternative but to lay his troubled head on a
sqft lightfcood knot, his body on the wet ground,
and let it ri', a, thanking his stars it isn't a hail-
storm instead of a rain.
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE. 7
Such are some of the advantages of the frontier
settler over the public land surveyor, briefly stated.
I will not tax tile time or patience of the reader
in adducing others, but proceed at once to the
object in view, which is simply to give an unvar-
nished historical account of a tramp of the writer
and others in a survey ,of Government land in
South Florida, and some of the many alventures
connected with it.
The kind reader, who patiently follows me
through, will find recorded many hardships, irnd
dangerous, excitimng, as well as :amusing sccne-,
which transpired while wewer eronagerd in that
work, and which, I trust, may prove of interest to
while away an hour of leisure.
* ,h 4 :* :* *r
Captain having prolcurel the services of
several persons, whom I shall denominate as Ralf,
Sile, Tap, Shieplc.Y, Maj,.r -- .J..ihn Smith, Joi'
Rogers, and your humble servant, to ass-ist him in
executing his contract, we began at once making
preparations for departure to our lield of opera-
tion. As the journey to .J:ckson viille was coiuple.l
with nothingM of interact, we p~;s iver it, and coIn-
mence at that place our history.
It was arrangled that Tap, witl the other Iiov,.
should lpro'i-edl with the tinam, con.-iLting of .t
yoke :of oxen and a pair of imar-h I pni.es, by lain
to Enterprise, while Sile and myself should go up
the St. Jolns River per steatrer for the purposee t'
taking up a yawl boat to be used in shipping 'iur
8 C0ENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
plunder down Indian River to the nearest point
to our work, and all meet at Eit.riri:-. vaind there
wait the arrival of Capt. who was to follow
in the next steamer.
In accordance with this arrangement, both par-
ties left Jacksonville on Saturday, September 2,
1,5-. On Saturday \ .l]ii II_.. the Darlington (the
steamer on which sik- and myself took lasage
reached Palatka, a flourishing little village some
tevcrity-fiv\ miles up the river from Jacksonville,
where she remained until Mnilil:.y il.ii irijg, in
order to make connection with the Sunday's
steamers for Savannah and Charleston. Early
Monday morning we loosed from Palatka, and
sailed for Enterprise, which is situated on Lake
Monroe, some hundred and twenty-five miles
Of the St. Johns River it is only necessary to
say that it is universally ailmuitt.Il to be, 1b. those
who have etnjoyic the pleasure of a steamboat-'
ride upon its placid bosom, one of the most mag-
uificenlt streams in all the country. Properly
speaking, we think the St. Johns could hardly be
called a river at all, but an immense chaiu of
ilkic, stretching itself thrll'l-hI the territory. At
its citrliiinc into.the Atlantic it is, perhaps, not
more thnin hllf a mile in width, while at Jackson-
ville (twentv-five miles above) it spreads out to
the width of more than a miil. From Jackson-
ville to Palatka, it varies from thrlei to seven;
but as you ascend from the latter place it gradu-
SCENES IN .\ STrHI'CRVl:;'S LIFE. 9
ally contra,'td i'f l til, in ....i .- 1 ..-I,.-, 1.t'..t r, r' LIh- ,
ing Lake M n,- '., ,m .. i)i, ,t i -utt :-ti 1' tr'.IaI
eitlIIII: i rtI 1111 t i, l i.. l it I 1 -I t-, Ii.
anlld a ; Ilr ~l, il: Sill. !I l jnill i i ii..it i- ,i l'c l'l to
the -p. ,'rCliu II ii I I!- I t11i i t 1 ;i -, 'ti l.' tUli rll
ifrot! m r t 1. l .-. I .1 -I I1 -'-.i ..,:. ',, 11'i .1 l.i i i'.
Cel, t Or '.111d. 11t.t',: ]. 11*. i ~,, t l. II..: I Ill, rbl, t-'til J
I T i.ie st *Un,-i ii ., it i 0 ,1 r 1_ri .;i-i \11,,t r i.tl \ .- m iti-
or lo .'f r ill t., Itr.w .i,, t i11it' l. I 11. i at ilnit.iin
Of tL'o .in.'L'ry l ii'lir r,-t: !lil i. t' i'. 1 ii 1,ii tilt' St.
0Jotili j y.i tlili .'i lf ir i i, -, 'ltil.. IIi t iIt p.lIt,
mJ ri.1 l-, *,d4 w*lll ,I,.l I.- .111 ittl ,.. r-. \HI V .....2 trr ,..jli-
loli .ig r i ld (l ilt 4 .1ild 1% I. * t ki llln ,l-
1]O tl l', i ', 11- t OI V i l ii,,:,- It .II 1. --t,,I LI f'lt1 l
ti e .ll; '"t,, i t. 1 l it,." ',. !ir I n.l\ ,: I l ..,| i| r ll ;ll..Vt.tV
tille ,' 1 11 1 m .' Il ,il l rI_ V T I u'., 11. li >\ -4, 11110*,
Sm-iuall i,l.i ii l ,l ii I I Itt] i t ,ii 0't '- i A.,' tIhei
ill o.At It_:Ul: tit'.It l liC., ;ItI ,I it \\h, Ii l'r .:;j'. Ii t [,,tIlA
a thelo .i.ci l lt'Iii I; in i rilli-i li- h .' r: I|'l,.-'. 1,lt ( .i l
al~ l lf111n1. t w t'11 in ;].intlt--l1\ ll .' i t I .t1' .rL i tiiL t'.'t
orulii _-r -'l ',r ive, I., li, l ,i ,,l\\'11 \\'11it 1 l- ,.' l'ii t l'rii t.
prr- a'ltilrg a l,-li';'itt'il ,',itiL.',t W ithl t !. ltxl uria.nt
, ,rF .t- I it' til l,- i r i,, llt ti r'-, ; ,tli :. i 1: 1. ;\,T n, v li
ud1 lk-1 ly :- li it ...t wit l p ill tl -. II. -i W ci Ol ntilitin.- ,Il'
the river hit,, :i1 iIIIIn~ttt' 1 tllk ', whl,'] .It 0on1 e
brin.,_.- to rail.l, ir.tm .- ull tlJ,-. ,' a- w i. ,ii .- n ,,ti.,ns
you \|ii,_Tr:le .,-:,l W\I ]WI.'_, t' tli ti I", tL llt, v,,"
lau l hn. tl O lt II|n iI till t.,.i-,,i II ,t' ti,,-: ._r1 .it ,.ec1[i.
One of th.l:e lic.tilt d'iil l.-_ .,f \w;t,.r i-i Lak"
10 SCENES IN A SURVEYOj'S LIFE.
George, situated about thirty miles above Palatka.
It is eighteen miles broad, and twenty in length.
The river enters it at the southern extremity and
passes out at the northern. On an island of con-
siderable extent, near where the river passes out,
is the residence of the late Dr. Calhoun, son of
the South Carolina statesman.
Another of those lakes is Monroe, but not so
large as the one just described, being only eight
miles in length, and five in width. The river
passes through it from east to west.
On the northern shore of this lake is Entcl'trpride,
our place of dI-tili;itiii on the tL;u:i...r, which we
reached safely on Monday night.
It being dark when we arrived, we chose to re-
main on board the boat, as it did not leave on its
downward trip until morning.
Entcrpriis is not, as erroneously supposed by
many, a city, or even a village, but simply a
.hotel, built by the enterprising commander of the
steamer Darlington, Capt. Brock, for the accom-
modation of those of a more northern latitude, suf-
'fcring under pulmonary and other diseases, who
may wish to spend their winters in a more genial
clime. And certainly a more beautiful place-a
plave better adapted to the physical wants, and a
place iffiordii, a greater variety of amusements to
while away the time-could nowhere be found
in the suriy South.
Situated as it is on the northern shore of tha
lake, the susceptible frame of the invalid is pro-
SCENES IN A SURVEY',-R'S LIFL. 11
tected from the chilling n.rtlh.rn :llasts hb thbl.
heavy pine tl'-rst. whi.'ih lie in that lire-.ti'in,
while tihe l..-almy, 1 in,, s..,ithn.rn bbr,.,z.: -w,:,I;|
the hb .r.m oft tli- tr:mpiil lakI_ t0 fan hii t'v..--riih
hrow\\. Tin.: vio'.-' -I in ti,- vi. in itY, .i lt:.11 -i ;i!i 1a1n-
daunce o1t .aine;: :;in thlo.-.- \ lI,, I.i\ tin- Sp.I t of
huitinr ., n ,.l 1.1 ..... fn t ,e stre>.. -tl t... .n.,l., thi, in
to witlh.tanu 1111 th i. tUir-I nt.iil n .i i i:.'. -. .iiiplain at
I. tu i ,:t a II'ti .i ft '. ii r :II vrr -:il: -, Sil,- 'a i I I
brown 'diht ai lrhoi ..- r ..iin: ll,. .li, l '';] '.-, ,... ,! i-tir,
of pi't-, k ttl,.., lry lp:iia l., .t-.. knil-ni.: k.. ,- .
A&L., t;nil .-t1 lil-k .:.Itil II.t r Ent. rplris.-, il thi- e.l..
'tof a witn1, ti \\await thi: .i. i !u i If thi.- 1 W ith
the ti 11.in, al i iiiw n I,:t we .l.-u..t l that dliy. a nd
also tO.,r ti,. (A.'lprt:in, .,1 tl,. ,xt l.I,,it. Thi,.- tam
arrival in ,ir. tin :,n, id iv: w. :it, pa.ti,.-ntly n,
week c o11 tie lu.t, iut. t.... ur .'I -:it di.-.,].pint-
detairned.l with Li. l.t-i; n..-- l, ..I' r thi:n li- :x-
pe rtL], and w .:. i, t .,.> r >, >.. dl.l ,l ltling l.ti t
wait iin'.illi'-r Wve,-k, 1 i':1i int ., ,iii- : i v---i .- anm i-
ety to Il, il l ti w. ,,,l, \ l..u" ,,te. It rolled
around, lih. : ; \ l.r i 1, i llu, ,.,,11-,' 't* tif ,,..4 allnl ti-'
Calptiin ci e.
N ext Iii,:,nll_.' ', I'.-.'A. I pla.:-kinI- up f.r a.1 :itrt,
but b:-fire \\we '_,t thi.,.n'- I wa sviz..,l witlh a
Georgia *Ul,,hM.." l- \\.all,.,' in thon -IMp.. I'f ,in ,:_nue,
which t-erTiilat,-t'l in a ,i',.. t. -,p.:l, ,f bili mu ;. '-.i
This iifortiii> ,l..tain,_,l ni t-enii day-s l:ng.r.
son as I wai i Al.l,- tIo l .' lianled iu :( n :1 x-w.v- ti' '
'12 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
was tumbled in with the other rubbish, and we
Fr1' i this point our route lay -:oith, about one
hundred and sev( it--li,.'- miles, down Iihlian
River, which 1tr...II, or rather inlet, runs parallel
with the Atlantic coast. TI'- sr. Johns and In-
dian rivers approaching within eight or ten miles
of each other, some i\ -tv-five miles above En-
tcriI i --. the Captain determined to send four men
with the yawl up St. Johns to the nearest point
on Indian River, and there meet them with the
team and haul the boat and load across to the lat-
ter stream. The boat was despatched ;L, .: 'i ii nly,
and the men directed to proceed to Lake Harney,
and there await our arrival. Now, it happened
that neither of the men knew the river between
Ejt,.rl.'i.'- and Lake Harney, and it was difficult
to navigate on account of islands and a L'riat num-
ber of channels running here and there airing
them. TlI1.u- is also'a Lake Jessup between the
two places, of which fact the men were not awa re,
and as a very natural consequence mistook it for
Lake Harney, and struck camp to wait our cIli-
inl. In the mean time the Captain, with the rest
of the company, pushed forward t. L1 Iki Harney
and encamped, every moment cx I -ti n t t boat's
crew to heave in ,idlit. It did not come.
IHa\i n' waited, :aIn wlni. 1.d, and-fired t.ff guns
at various 1oiint 1 up und 11lu 11 the :ake ;lln river
for thlijc long d;iy~, tli Captain set out to hunt
in go'.,od earnest the missing men, and after two
SCENES IN A SURVFEYOI:' LIFE. 1,3
more days of lail.,rilon ?o;irli, foundtl thlteii snll2ly
ensconced on Lake Je'.l,, enjoying tlhiij-ilves
in fishing, shilItili.' g illiP t'i-, ;iitl oI ..i,-ionallv
taking a pull at til-: uiini liIe t the kL .''f .- if:rlI
About this timl we learn.d'il, conilr ir1 to our
first iiitfornatioi, tliih t it wa\ i not inilyt; inilr:i.-tica-
ble, but utterly iiipi,:.sille' ti. tran.i ..fir iir bl.at
and ehattel- tflrilll ini river t', tihe 'thlier, ;i'. le-
signed. There w\is no rou ,l, htli.- i i vlr .\' l vircI.-kr
and iianny iniiial, blte .sanip, intle-rven.'"l1. We
had no alternativti IIu-t to 'retr.i.e InI11 stlep1; to En-
terprise and taike ,,liie riitll i' c ii'e l, alt'tr i ilear
loss of ei-ght daiys, and no ilinoin-idelraililo amount
At Eiteirprise wt. fort:i.iuiatily ui.icc<--ded in pro-
curing wag -ins t, haul .-,r bi''at inii. g'oi:l- nur-iss
to Smyrna, and sent our own team iiiimediately
on to Fort C'Uiproli, laden with i I nnch of' the
plunder as it 'ouild conveniciiltly 'arr., in -liharge
of the lMjor, Haltf, Rogers, and Smitll, at which
place we hoped to meet thlrem in nine or ten
The Captain, Tap, Silc, Shlep, and mysenalf fell
to loading the team we hai1d hired,, with tlie resi-
due of our effit.',t which was s ooion accomplished;
and about three o'clock in the afternoon we took
up our line of march for Smyrna. From Enter-
prise to Siyrna the distance is thirty miles,
through an open pine country, interspersed here
"^ i -... '. :..:'. . ...::., ..
14 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
and there with large, ck-ar water lakes, and dense
,cirubs, with an occasional swamp. The course is
a little north of east.
Being heavily laden, we made slow progress.
but reached Deep Creek about sunset, where we
encainlped for the night.
,I If rnecr surveys the Captain had been in the
lnhiit of taking flour to make bread of, or soldier's
lisiicuit, but experience had taught him that it was
difticilt of pIrueiervation, exposed, as it must neces-
sarily be, to all the inclemlencl.ies of the weather;
so this time he concluded to take corn in stead,
and a steel mill to griud it in. It is'possible hI
had also another motive in view, viz: if the men
l.ad their corn to grind, they would probably be
rlss apt to waste.
The night we campc.d on Deep Creok, li1as son
as the cattle were properly attended to all hands
set in to bear an equal part in preparingg supper.
,ur regular cook having gone with ouur wagon.
On rumitiiaging around in the wagon for the cook-
ing utensils, "ve found, to our disimly, that in the
hurry of the morning, in getting our team off for
Fort Capron, all the pot were inadvertently put
into it, and were gone, save only a small frying
JLun and a tea-kettle. I went to bring out the
mill to grind corn for bread, but the handles were
missing; they had dropped somewhere on the
road, and, of course, the mill was of no use with-
out the handles to turn it. However, this was no
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
very serious difficulty, as we had n good suilply, of
rice. A fry pan of ri'i-i: was Ns:oon boiled, and a
kettle of coffee drawn. We tlln temlntied tile
rice on palmetto leaves, and us-ed the pun .again
for frying bacon. Supper now being Ire.y, we
seated ourselves on tli.i gr-ass at nund it. exep..,ting
Shepley', wlh. went to ft-'tthi -:niii' tin-iip.-, from
the waLg'-n, nut 'tf which t-, n.-p thit r..L.e. Aft. r
ai long seat- eh, Shiil ri-lj-irti'd 1ii i uilp to I.i fI),oId;
then Tap suddenly ri.n.cml-ierinl il:- I:i1d put tlhrn
all into our wa ,-.ian, ;inld tln.-y \ ; u.II with the
pots. lere wais ;a lnew, nd- d'..i iil. .ll ti.' monlI
serious ditlitcilty y.et. To ilt withli'nt thl e coffee
was out of the 'linstioii, for it is just a, nuei:ssarv
an article to a man c nic inng nu-t as a lpilp is to .L
grandmother; to.drink if h' lt Fiom thi- slpot of
the kettle wUa inl,~1i.n.. ill_., .in as wt' I.had e:.iaten
nothing since n-,.,ii ijiIg, to w;it until it cool.,l was
Inore than our iuin'gry iALutl ialits c.oui iil ,l.liiit to.
Fortunnltlv.y I h1-'tljlt'h'iLIt inI1' of.a ft\w lare sweet
potatoes we had' pl.rclhased at Entertprise, iLnd I
directly converted one of thll'm i inti a cup. liv
.scooping (ot tle pith, that li.il ine:-ar a pint. All
hands following suit, we were .o ,,n .unpplild with
cups which aniiswred every iut'rpoL',e of silver
goblets, anid lasted to Fort C'al roIn.
After a coninf..rtlile i nighlt'. resist ,ini tine luxu-
riant grass, we arose early in the morning and
proceeded on ourj:ouir'icy. It i.b'i only eilhtten
miles to Smyrn.a, we 'raclled that pil:ne early
16 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
in the afternoon, without any other serious dif.
As this is merely tlic introductory, I hope to
make the next, and succeeding chapters, more in-
THE first thing done oan arriving at Smyrna was
to launch our little r.rft, and see that she was
tight and taut for the long vyug e before us. The
cargo was soon stowed 'snugly away on board, as
she would only carry, besides ourselves, one bar-
rel of pirk, fur sacks of corn, and other matters
of plunder, such as knapsacks, blankets, com-
Our little craft all ready to set sail, and the
Captain concluding to remain here till morning,
let us have a word about Snmyrna and its situa-
Like Enterprise, the citizens of this place are
composed of the members of one family, and the
town of one house-the residence of Mr. Sheldon.
The situation is a beautiful one, on a high bluff
on Musquetoe River, in the midst of a large
orange-grove of spontaneous growth, whose every
twig bows low under its heavy load of the ripe
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
golden fruit. Musqueto river is simply an inlet
or arm from the ocean, running parallel with the
coast; the ridge of land dividing them in many'
places is not more than a stone's throw in width,
and about forty miles in length.
Some two or three hundred yards from tlih
house of Mr. Sheldon, on the bank of the river,
are the remains of what is termed the T- Cas-
tie. It' I have been correctly informed li t-ho,
who ought to know, the histtoll of those reinnin-
is about ia4 follows: Mlany yenrs n uno, before tli-
part .it f Flrila w:x'a kitit\'n (xct.l i to t lhe Nl:aviVs,
:1 Illtn iinn1led T-- l.l somlni' wealllcns or I.,tlivr l">,it
hold oft a cargo of creolus on the island of Clht;i,
whom hli laindled at thii -.pnt, and endlea'voreld ti
make slanve of theii. IIe .ni.et.-dl in induicing
tihent to ruiii'lltin by v Ix;,iterf te'I l ;I ;le. nts otf till
lilood-tliriMty lriii-openiti-4 of tihe Idiians, wlhom
lie repre.eCnted as annlilaln of thi- worst clnr.e-
ter, then roamnin t like hyi lnln; over every part tof
the Inountry. By some quil-il ii with the Spani-h
government, he diil)tained a large -rant of hind.
which lie designed to inlniprove ilnd cultivate with
his enslaved creonles. His first N\work was to erect
a liohusu of tsiiffiticint str:ng'th to dufvy the stormni
of lndiaun wairhre. Tlihere being inoithing left now
but the ruins of tlhe liouse, we cannott of (our-s
give the entire plain, but it wa-i : large building,
perhaps two iundired ftct front anid seventh\ or
eighty in width, and three stories high, built ,f'
brick and cokena rock.
18 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
There still stands three of the twelve massive
stone pillars which supported the piazza. The
whole was enclosed in a stone wall, about five feet
in thickness, and I presume, from the pile of rub-
bish, not less than twelve or filft.r. feet hliglh.
All this, however, was not sufficient protection
from the revenge of the red man. Not a great
while after it was completed, w\hil. T- and his
creoles were working in the field, the Indians
came and battered down the walls, and burned
the buildings. From the fill, T- and his men
saw the ominous pillars of black smoke rise up
from the horizon like a flying cloud, and knew
t. I. well what it meant. They fled in small il.(.it-,
andl .it'tTr some days of severe suffering arrived
safely in St. Augustine. Thus ended a shrewd
but ineffectual scheme to enslave the I.-....1fid-
ing creoles of Cuba.
At Smyrna we had a miserable camping place,
lbeingi ioiiiididhlily on the sand beach, with no
gras. to spread our blankets upon, or fuel to
burn; and there sprung up a keen north-easter at
sunset, which lasted through thq niiht, making it
very uiipleuant. At sunriseblauinket. were rolled
up, and i-ery thing placed on board our little
craft, 1ireplatry to a v.oy.-ig. down M.IuIi.eto
and Indian rivers of one hiiliidlld and sixty iiile~,
with not a human habitation on the whole route.
All hands on l.,bard, we found the gunwales of
our little boat stood only about four inches ab:,ve
the surface of the water. It was too heavily
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
loaded, but we had nothing on honrd but what
was absolutely necessary for us to take, and we
determined to make the venture and risk the con-
se-IqueLnCes. Tile anchor hoisted, the sails flung
to the breeze, and we glided smoothly and bea;u-
tifutlly out of the little harbor into the river. It
was a hoiste i-iu miorlinlg. Thle wind, .till blow-
ing from the northeast, made it exce-liiigly dif-
ficult salnillng mroIng the islands in the many nar-
row nnd crooked ch:erlneN, particularly for tht
first fittLen miles. After tlii,, however, the river
gradually wiilclned, the wind became more steady,
and we moved along finely.
At inrIn we reached T,.rtl. wliMl, where wr
landed and ate dinner. This very singular niound.
we think, deserves passing inotiie.
It, is composed entirely of oyster-shells, and is
S.lint one hllindrud and tw\\cty-five feet liill. and-
I'er lap tli re'. or four hundred in diiamin:ter at it-
base. How, when, and for what purpose this im-
mense structure of shell was thrown up lhire, will
probiialy remain a nyL.-ttery to the end of time.
It is situated on the narrow sand ridge between
the river and Atlantic--une side washed 1,y tli.
waters of the river and tilhe other by tlhos of l, I
mother ocean, alnd tii cprances wtuld indica..
that her unrglin_ biluillo w hIa-:e tlhundered there f- i
a tliounatd years. We climbed to the sunnmmit it
tihe mound, and had a imaginifi.cent view of thl.
On the top of the mound, where a little soil
20 SCENES II A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
has collected, the growth is wild pepper, which
was just ripening when we were there. It was a
species resembling the cayenne, but not quite so
pungent. We gathered a large quantity of it to
serve up with the venison we expected to kill
when we arrived at our place of destination.
At two o'clock we left Turtle Mound, and sailed
down the river at a rapid rate before a fine breeze.
She river along here was gien-rally iiarr',nw-not
wider, perhaps, than two or three hundred vurd.-.
Our fine -oililn, however, did not last l'mng. for
the wind that promised so much at noon com-
pletely dli'Il i't about four o'clock, and vwe were
ijrcid to take to the oars, and made but slow pro-
gress in the heavily laden condition of our boat.
At sundown we ualpr ia'lned i[Mu~rl to lagoon.
a t!'r.i.liIdl'l- lake, which spreads itself over :n
a rea o t u a r t wo hundred square miles. There was
no dry .-l[pt of 'r0mni l on either idi oit the river,
it being rniirliy and muddy; so we lulli'd for a
small island discernable some three Iziiles out in
the l:.,,!O|. and reached it about dark. It was
quite a small pla:.e_', eo.lijtin ng not more than hall'
L acre ft' dry ground, and no wood save only
,han n is f'.l!ishii.'d by the mangrove bush. We
-ucccedIICd, howeveO'r, in colleuLting enough for culi-
nary pu rpl'.", inut it no. uugli t1,r kccil .iin up a
fire through the night. Betwec n the want of fire
to keep us unchilled, and the bites of musquetos,
we spent anything but a comfortable night. Next
morning when we rose, and each saw the other's
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
face, no man felt called upon to ask "why was
this stream called MAIsqueto River, and this body
of water iMusqueto Lagoon ?" Some one of the
boys even suggested that the island upon which
we had camped was formed by a collection of a
small number of that very pestiferous little insect
inhabiting those regions, and proposed that we
dub it JlMsquetl 1linld.
With tli springing up of the morning breeze
we left our little MIusquetq island, and I do not
now remember that either of the party expressed
any regret at feeling the first flaw of the wind
that was to waft us away from the inhosl1itable
little lords of the soil, as daylight only brought
freshly armies to relieve those who, doubtless, were
fatiginil by a whole night's incessant work.
Our course lay southward, through the middle
of this immense lake; and I am free to confess
that I for one felt some forebodings in launching
out before so strong a wind, in so small a boat,
and she loaded, too, within four inches of the
The farther out we went the fiercer blew the
wind, until it swelled into a stiff gale; and it soon
became apparent that to weather the storm it
would require the most skilful management. The
Captain ordered a reef taken in the sails, which
was no sooner said than done. In the mean time
the water became restless, and from a gentle un-
dulating motion of the surface, it gradually grew
into tremendous waves, which thundered against
22 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
our little craft as if nmaddened at her presence.
and determlinied on her destruction. Firmly stood
the Captain at the helm, while I ewiung to the
lheet-rop c to "let go" whenever it should become
necessary to save us from a beam-end position,
and the boys worked hard with buckets and cups
to keep the water b-ail.-l out, whli:h, in spite of
all our etfi. t', would burst over the -unwale._ at
almost every wave. V
"Takc alnnthlir rc'.-f," said the Captain.
It was quickly done, and still she flew like a
thing of lift through the maddened sea of foam-
ing white. On we plunged, not ki.ow\\ing what
moment a more daring whitce-apl:led wave might
break over our heads and send us all to DavI
Jones' locker; but our little craft rode the bil-
Jows nolily, iad when, after three hours perilous
sailing, we shot safely into the little Ingoon lead-
ing to IIall-oiver canal, I am sure every man's
heart beat freer, and every riiidl felt r-sier.
The Haul-over is a narrow canal cut from Mus-
queto to Indian river, at the narrowest point, bi-
tween the lap of the two bodies of water, and
e'rvesc as a lpassa.-nu for small boats from one to
the otlhe-r. It is several hundred yards long, and
about ten wide, with an average del-th, perhaps,
of'three feet water. On the bars, however, at each
iend of the canal, there is generally not more than
fourteen inches, which frequently occasiions muli
difficulty with loaded boats, a aswu thee case with
11i. We were forced to get out into the water
SCENES IN A SURVEYiRA'S LIVE.
and shove the bolt through the lilnl and qiiik-
sand. We tarried here to take dinner and ako
to replenish our exhau.tedwater-jugs frori an old
well made by those who cut thwn canal. The
wa1r was very bad, being very brackish; and the
mnusquetoi bit us so incessantly we could eat din-
ner in no peace. As soon as it could be de-
spaltclihed, therefore, we launched out upon the
broad bosom of Tuiiani river. Where we en-
tered it frni. the canal it i- about six miles wi',.
Owing tl an ugly coral reef, we were obliged to
sail directly w-rosf to the opposite shore before
we could lay our course. The wind 1Ilrinl.-ini
up, we had quite a rough passage; but, by dint
of good seamanship and the indliitrioui use of
bail-buckets, we nmne the run in :it-ty. lr 'ii-
the reef, we turned immediately south, and ouii
course lay .ieft, re us without deviation to the ri'rht
or let. Fromi, this point to Fort Capron (,I,:.e
hundred and tilty-five miles) the river i- perfectly
straight. An air-line from the centre of the river
here to the centre at Fort Capron would touch
the land nowhere on either side. The width of
this body of water varies from six or eight to
twenty miles. Tihe water is much more salt than
that of the ocean, owing to the fncit, I suplpo.~',
that it is shallow, and evalrlition takes place'
rapidly. The niiurnher of wild-:lucks seen floating
on the water and flying in the air was truly aston-
ishing. Weo frelliently frightened up flocks of
them extending almost from one side of the river
24 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
to the other. When one of these large flocks
rose in the air, it presented much the appearance
and sound of an approaching thunder-cloud. Of
course we feasted on their fat and delicious flesh
during the entire trip.,
The 'breeze dying out soon after passing the
reef, we had again to take to the oars, and, in
consequence, made but slow progress. -At sunset
we ran ashore at Sand Point, and encamped for
the night near the beautiful white sand &each, on
the edge of a dense hammock. This mmock,
commencing at Smyrna, extends down the west-
ern side of Musqueto river, and also down the
west side of Indian river, some forty miles, ex-
tending back some four or five iil.-s fi',in the
rivers; it contains many thousand acres of hind.
Their soil is cxcefdiligly fertile, and, I think, pecu-
liarly adapted to the cultivation of long staple
cotton and sugar. The finest live-oak in Florida
is said to be in this hammock.
We notic.--l on landing that the beach was lite-
rally covered with bear tracks, of all sizes, from
old bruin down to little cubby. One old bear
and her two cubs, from tih freshness of the sign.
had e-videnitly just passed alnig, and were only a
short distance down the river. The Captain took
a gun and went in pursuit, while the balance of
us comn iienc-d preparations for an early supper,
that we might get a good night's sleep to make
up for time lost on Musqueto island. About dark
we heard the Captain fire, some distance down
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'B LIFE.
.the river, and not knowing what difficulty he
might get into in that wild region, Sile and I ran
down to assist him, but on arriving found that he
had only 'shot some ducks.
t this camping place an accident happened,
orf'ery nearly happened, which was rather start-
ling to all hand, but particularly so to the Cap-
tain and myself. After supper, the Captain had
his trunk brought on shore to examine some
papers which were in it, and when he had finished,
in.itend of having it taken back to the boat, he
s'fl'vred it to remain on shore. When bed-time
came we spread our blankets-the Captain and I
sleeping together-and placed the trunk at our
heads for protection, as much as possible, from
the cold wind, forgetting the fact that there were
some eight pounds of powder in the trunk. On
waking next morning we were dismayed to find
that the leaves, which were thickly scattered
around where we lay, had caught fire, and actu-
ally burned around us to the.trunk! burned all
the covering off the side farthest from our heads
-burned several holes through it, and scorched
some papers inside without igniting the powder,
or doing any other damage.
Always a strong believer in the ever-present
protecting influence of Omnipotence, this was not
a circumstance calculated to lessen my faith. It
may be safely inferred, ever afterwards the. dis-
tance between fire and powder was kept as wide
26" SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFJ
We had a fine sailing-breeze on, this day until
about noon, when there came up a heavy storm
of wind and rain, and -the river became so rough
we were forced to put into a little cove ftr pro-
tection, where we remained about an hour b410orn
we could venture out. When the storm pa.sedl
over the wind ceased entirely; but. it continued
to rain, and the oars were kept in requisition all
the afternoon, which, I still remember, we did
not consider a particularly interesting or pleasant
exercise in the heavy rain that poured down upon
us the whole ift,.-rn1,,ili without cessation. At
night we had to climb an almost perpendicular
bank, some thirty feet high, to get a cnnimpin.,
place. We Lad, also, much difficulty in prepar-
ing supper in t]ie rain; but about nine o'clock it
clu-.aed off prettily, and we slept soundly in our
I was much afraid this exposure would lrinil.
on a return of fever, but, fortunately, it had no
u,'lih efte..t. The i n ly inconvenience I haid n.ow t,
iolnteiil with, as the result of my spell of sickness
;t Enteqrpise, was a morbid appetite, which seem-
ed to increase daily, and which I could at no tinIm
fully gratify, without the greatest suffering for
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
AB~UT noon of the day on which we left our
encampment at Sand Point, we put into Tiirkey
Bay, into which Turkey Creek eniptits, to re-
plenish our water-jigs at a spring near by; and,
also, to get a'supply of oysters, which, in this bay,
are remarkable for their large size and fine flavor.
The entrance from the river is not more than one
hundred feet in width; the bay itself is about two
hundred yards from side to side, and in shape
peirectly ruund. The bank, all around, rises from
the water's edge at an angle of some thirty de-
grees, to the elevation of forty feet. The bay is
cutirely inclosed in a hammock of considerable
extent and fertile soil, in which there is a grove
of wild oranges. We noticed a number of otters
fishing in the bay, and were no little amused at
their cunning and dexterity in catching the fish.
The water was in a perfect boil with the fish. No
detcriptionu can convey anything like an adequate
idea of their immense number, everywhere visi-
ble, not only here, but in every part of Indiai
River. Just before reaching Turkey Creek we
passed the southern point of an island called Mer-
rit'C Island, which is some thirty miles in length
and five in width. The land on this island is
28 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
principally pine, of the first quality, with some
hammock, but I had no means of ascertaining
how much. *
SThe remainder of our voyage was remarkable
for nothing save the number of musquetos, and
their blood-thirstiness. The bluffs on the river
in many places were steep, high, and studded
with large masses of cokena rock. As far as we
could judge, from the boat, the country on either
side of the river was rather elevated, and of a
good quality of pine, with an occasional ham-
As we sailed along the river we saw very little
game, but wherever we landed we saw any quan-
tity of deer, turkey, and bear signs, particularly
the latter, which at almost every place seemed to
predominate. We also frequently saw the tracks
of other animals, such as panthers, wolves, wild-
cats, foxes, raccoons, &c. No country can afford
a greater amount or variety of amusement to the
sportsman than this.
We arrived safely, and in good health, at Fort
Capron on the evening of the sixth day from
Smyrna. Finding no suitable place near the gar-
rison, we ran down some two hundred.y ard.l be-
low ind eienciapeld for the night, where we suffered
bountifilly from the bites of musquetos, and a
cutting north-easter, which swept like a hurricane
down the river. Here we had much difficulty in
finding wood to cook with, as the soldiers had
used all within reach; and only after a long
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
search in the dark, we found a sufficient number
of small twigs to half cook our supper. When it
was announced as ready for eating we were forced,
in order to prevent the musquetos flying dovwn
our throats, to take it on board the boat and push
half a mile out in the river before we could do so.
On inquiry we found, as expected, that our
team had not yet arrived, and of course we had
nothing to do but wait until it did come. We
found Foirt Capron on a fine situation, and, on
the whole, quite a pretty place. A company of
Uniiii-. States troops were stationed here at the
time of our visit, for the purpose of 1-;,jin]_- in
check the Seminole Iii:l,-., who occupy all, or
nearly all, that portion of Florida south of thi.-
point. [l',. barracks, commissary, hospital, offi-
cers' 1uiliiij-. and the dwellings of one or two
citizens in the immediate vicinity, altogether
formed quite a little village. Tl'i parade-ground
is perfectly level, and beautifully interspersed
here and there with the palmetto tree. The gar-
den of Major lhi--I- at this time presented a su-
perb appearance. In addition to the different
varieties of vegetables ordinarily grown in gar-
dens, there were numerous varieties of fruit, such
as oranges, lemons, limes, pine-apples, plant:iii-,
bananas, 'aii\a.-. and others. The M\;.Ior had
also" a number of cocoanut trees, but th'.y were
not yet old enough to bear. Of the various fruits
(we were permitted to pluck and eat at pleasure)
none suftired more than the banana.
30 $~SCENES IN A USVVYORU' S LIE.
Through the kindness of Majors Russel and
Haskins, we were filruished a house the day after
our arrival, divided into bed-rooms by partitions
of uinuijueit..'-irttiiLg, and spent a whole week
in waiting for the team, quite comfortably quar-
tered. During this week we fared sumptuously
on fish, of which there were so many in the river,
it required only one throw of a small cast-net to
procure enough to last four of us more than a
day. Shooting the salt-water trout, which swam
up near the banks to catch the smaller fish, and
drying them in the sun to take with us to the
woods, was a source of amusement and pastime.
Some of them weighed twelve or fifteen pounds.
At the end of a week our team and men arrived
by the land-routes matter a tedious and perplexing
trip of twelve days. We had hliol:'iiIt. until now
that we ha1 passed through the grand rendezvous
of all the musquetos in East or South Florida;
but judging from the virulent pustulic appearance
of every exposed part of the men who had made
the land-trip, we had only seen the outposts of
the enemy. While we of the boat had reason to
complain more of the musquetos at our plresie
location 'than at any other point on the river, they
of the team expressed themselves- as being per-
fectly delighted at having arrived where there
were no musquetos. We gave it up.
The Major and his little company suffered much
hardship on their trip. They neglected, in the
hurry of their dcparturc from Enterprise, to take
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR S LIFE.
a sufficient quantity of provision to lat them, and
uiitfired In little in consequence. The sixth day
from EinterprisV they ate their lat, supliol(inIg
they could not be more than i few liojurs .ourina.
f'oin IFurt Capron, and the rvIcinliniing six lived
entirely on fresh venison, without salt, with an
occasional palmetto bud, as they could spare the
time to cut it. Fortunately for them they found
game plentiful, and tame enough to be shot d,nwi
at pleasure. For the want of salt and bread they
only ate enough to keep up strength, and when
'ltve arrived at Fort, Capron they were ravenously
hungry. The first thing the Major did was to sit
himself down with a large tini-pau of baked bican.-
and pickled pork on one side of him, and a ten-
g-ill,,ii kc'g of whli.keY on the other, where he re-
mained, dividing his time and attention between
the two, until I verily thought the man would
The aMlijr described the whole route as being
a prairie country, with .isiniv pine land, and an
occasional <(enbl.gc hammock; some of the prai-
ries so large that the eye could not reach the
opposite side, and all covered with the most luxu-
riant grass, waist high, Imaki L it the finiist cattle-
range in the world. NMy own oliiiiiin is, tliat ere
a grr.at while these prairie lands will be made
valuable for pla:iting purposes. They are of a
dairk, rich colored soil, with a foiudation of ia:nii
from eighteeii to twcnty-aix ilnchs below the sur-
face; and, being somewhat elevated, are not sub-
32 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
ject to overflow, except during an extraordinarily
rainy season, and even this danger might be easily
obviated by a little ditching.
Our survey beg.in some thirty miles west of
Fort Capron, extending twelve miles still farther
westward, and twenty miles south, to Lake Oke-
chobee, including the ground upon which the
celebrated battle between Gen. Taylor and the
Seminole chiefs Apeiaka, Ololke-thlock, anil
Coa-coachee was fought, December 26,1838. Our
work lay immediately contiguous to the boundary
line of the territory now claimed by Billy Bow-
legs and his party, and, in truth, was not espe-
cially enviable on this account, as the treacherous
character of these Indians render them anything
but safe and 1p'.~,iaitf ,iii.hli,,is. Ishall probably
have occasion to speak more particularly of the
Seminoles hereafter. Giving our tired team one
day's rest, we began to make lpr-l.lrati,,n. for
taking leave of the last vestige of civilization.
Loading the wagon with as many articles as the
team could well pull, we struck out on an old
trail leading almost due west. For several miles
we passed over a succession of barren sand-hills,
with little or no growth upon them save here and
there a i,:i;:i. scrubby pine, so low in stature
that one might almost hitch his IhL'r- 's bridle
to the to-piii.'.t bough without very'materially
stretching 1liii':lf. Here and there, also, were
parched and :>1jivel.d bunches of wire-grass,
which looked as though it might not have grown
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
an inch during the last quarter of a century. In
an hour or two, however, we passed this sterile
barren, and entered an elevated, but level, coun-
try, of rich soil, fine timber, and the most luxuri-
ant growth of gieen grass I had ever seen. We
passed a number of prairies: some of them con-
tainiig many thousand acres, all covered with a
peculiar grass some three feet high, which appeared
to me unsurpassed for stock-raising purposes.
Occasionally, too, we traveled close to the margin
of a large lake, four or five miles in circuit, the
water clear as crystal, and containing every variety
of fresh water fish. At sunset we came to a small
brook of pure water, clear an^ ol, where we
encamped for the night. It was an excellent
camping place, dry and gra y. We collected a
large quantity of fat 1iqihtwood in anticipation of a
bloody attack from our old enemies, the musque-
tos. When we have plenty of fuel we can ward
off their attacks, by kindling a number of fires,
in a circle, and getting into the centre; for it is a
singular fact, as well as a most merciful provision
of providence, that a musqueto will not pass be-
tween two fires when burning near each other.
But on this night, to our inexpressible juy, not-
withstanding all our trouble in collecting light-
wood to keep them off, not a musqueto buzzed
about our ears; nor did they for sometime after-
wards. They seemed all to have concentrated on,
or about Indihn River.
At this camping place, the Major and myself
34 SOKHS INW A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
includedd to take a fire hunt, ,i nll hands had ex-
pressed a desire for fresh venison. That the rea-
der may have a distiln-t idea of this kind of pur-
suit, I will l'ri.tly describe lith inodus operandi.
Two persons are indi-li.n-b.ilr fo the operation.
One walks ahead with a fire pan on Lii .-ihoulder.
tilled with blazing cpine-kinit., c.-iiw, a ghlirin-
light all iroiund iion the ,i:,.ll ,,i]rii.. forest,
while tlhe ,lthl.r 1;,llow., imll n li,ll '!\. l lbelilill the
rilrt, with a gun in Iii liniil and ;a -mall wallet of
-'lit iine knots (in lji, .-,liiulili1 i'r, replenlishir g
thli fire from time tI tilter, ;: :.:-i,,t-11i may require.
Trl t.v walk stteadilyv ai l -iil tl\ivI forward, the
i-.ill-]ill turnitft s lil.it liit -ile to -idt and
ki.,--pin gI his -eves steuladily ti-x.il ;11 tli.. while on tilt-
d,1-'. of hlis ihaidowii:, dit.iiin ahead. The
,leer, rIposing quietly in thlic ni, is awakenedby
*lie ihuntersi, and inst.eald of tJcLilX ito the thi'kct-.
ihe remains stupidly .aziL' on the portentous
light, and the g'lirii- of hiis ,c, sLtriays his place
of rest to the hunter. As soon as tie man with
the tire shlimes the eye. he makes a sign to hi-
comrade Ilcliirld Iiin, who silently c.ocks the gun
iiands. it to him, and then ,iiuats in the grass, to
wait the result. The man with the fire and gun,
now steps slowly and stealthily forward, until
within fair gun-shot, and fire.. Fire hunters also
usually have a dog, trained for the purpose, which
is led by a line, and when a deer is wounded, but
runs off, the dog takes the trail and leads the hun-
ter directly to his place of retreat, when, if he is
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
not already dead, his eyes are again shined, and a
second shot procured. But to return to our hunt.
Having split a suflicient quantity of pine. the
Major shouldered the lon 'g-hnndkld fire pan, and
in ysl ft the Igun and wallet of pine; not forgetting
Bull, (the ,d 1-.-, and started. Keeping along the
same old trail we had fll.lvwe1 from Fort Capron,
we did not walk more than a mile, before the
\Iaj-r made -i.ln that he had shined a pair cif eyv\..
I innmul.dil.ltY li :t1,.'il him the gun, and he ad-
vanced a tfew yards and fired. At the crack of
the unmn, the deer gave several lhcavy pllllngc.
.among some brun1s and palmetto liiluhe, anil tied.
We put the idl'r on track, and in ten ininute-. got
another shot, which resulted precisely as the firi.
We now thought our game must be 1ally c ril1I'1.i
and :ir,,n some i.llo-ultaririm loosed hlil. line tirii:
Bull's neck and let him go, h:tp]']. -;ln he would
catch it in a few moments. Away he went as h: r !
as he (,iil']ld 1r.nu1,..r, :.llpin z it every jump. We
listened at every moment to hear the deer bleat,
but iumll.-r sounded Bull's voice until it could no
l'!n:1cL be lu'ar.l, and we gave up.the deer as lost.
Prese-ntly, however, we heard the yelping .again,
an,11 :t it alppr:,il:wh.dl, the more and more ili-tin,.t
it became. The deer was coniing down i t'e crtek
swamp, with 'ill in close pursuit, as we could
now distinctly hear the 0plulnge of each in the
brush and water. Just as they came opposite to
us in the swamp, the deer bleated, and we knew
Bull had him. We started to them as tast a
SCENES IN A SURVEYQR->, LIF.B,
possible, guided by the deer'. inces.sant bellowing,
the growls and suppressed barks of Bull, and
their tremendous pluniige rin the water. When
within about fifty yards of the scei,:, a vine caught
flie pan and emptied every spark of fire into the
water, then oer knee deep; but witlthot stopping
to cry over spilt fire, we pushed on as Cait as we
could make a way through the vines, bushes, and
bamboo hriia's, in the pitchy darkness, and when
we arrived at the edge of-the creek l.iiannel, Bull
was standing on a tussock looking wi.tfilly into
the water, giving occasionally a whine and bark,
but no deer was to be seen.
"IIe's in the creek," said the Mjnior, "and if
you'll hold on to the pan I'll go in and fish him
I took the pan and he walked in; the water
coming up to his armpits. He felt around for
some time before fi udi ng it, and when he had done
so at last, cried out, "Here he is-here's thef ras-
(al," and then commenced a .la.-l-,, the like of
which I have never seen before. The water
>plaslied all over me, so much so indeed, I was
forced to retire ri(niewbhat to keep the gun dry.
"HaMid me tlihe liatthet," said the Major, "quick,
hand me the ," then under he and the deer
"O-o-s-h," said he, blowing the water out of
his mouth and nose as he c(aiLe uil again.
'IIand me your kni- ," but the balance of
the sentence was carried under with him.
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
"Jump astride of him," I shouted as he came
up, "land drownl him. I can't come to you, loaded
asl am. Mount his lbak anil sink him."
'"Straddlh thunder," bawled the Major, "sink
the nation. Come and help me, he's tearing me
Ferinug the Major might get seriously hurt, I
laid the gun and othIr- plunder on some roots
which projected out of the water, and ran in to
his assistance, and with our combined efforts sooii
drowned the devr. On dragging him out and
striking a light, I found the Major almost bereft
of his clothes, and not only were his clothes torn,
but his skin also, in upwards of forty places.
We strung our buck on a pole, and returned to
camp, when the Capt. and boys.laughed no little
at my recital of our adventure in the creek swamp.
HAVING lost much time, and being anxious to
get to work as soon as possible, the gray streaks,
indicating the approach of daylight, had scarcely
began to shoot up from the east, on the morning
following the fire hunt, before we were busy hitch-
ing up our team for a start. In order to make
better headway with our heavily loaded wagon,
we tackled the two ponies to the end of the wagon
tongue to help the oxen along.
88 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
Now it happened that the yoke of oxen we had
were the most vicious and spiteful animals I ever
saw. They could be approached with safety
neither at one end or the other; for behind they
]o.t no opportunity to kick, and in front none to
hook.. In fact, to show more clearly their viperou-
dispbsitioris, when they got tired and 1i.'cg; to
lag, some of us frequently walked a pace or two
in front of them, turning now and then, and mak-
in, a motion at them as if to strike, which would
excite their anger and cause them to travel with
unihatel eunrgyv for hours, with the hope of catch-
ing Iu. It was' iICeceL.ary too, in this operation, to
have a special care for number one; for a stumble
;IId tall, immediately in front of those brutes,
would certainly have been attended with disagree-
able, if not fatal consequences. Owhviln, to their
illness, they sometimes gave us a deal of trouble,
and on the morning in question, were especially *
fi.rctiois. They seemed determined nit. to be
worked. The whole company united in using
every means to get them to their proper places,
for a long time with but little ctfH.et. At laIt,
however, we got them straiglit-onli on either side
of the tongue, and Smith went slyly around to
lift the tongue, that the end of it might be put in
the yoke ring, which would put an end to our
present troubles, and make all things safe.
- "Take care there, Smith,'" said I, "that ox will
"No danger," he answered, "if he kicks me I'll
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
take my kni- ," but before the sentence or
threat was completed, the ox's foot came in con-
tact with Smith's knee, with no very measured
force, if one might judge from the sound produced.
"Oh-o-oh-ol-oi-ho-a,"groaned Smith, "tumbling'
down and holding his knee with both hands."
"Oh Lordy, my leg is b-r-o-k-e."
As the Captain and Sile ran around to see how
badly the old fellow was hurt, which was soon
ascertained to bIc not half so bad as one right be
led to believe by his groans and wiit1iiiin in the
.igra-, the oxen commenced a series of jumps and
plunges about in various directions, ani d conrtiueiid
to do so until they got themselves in a position.
that one of their tails pointed to the north pole,
and the other to the south, and got tli ponies so
much entangled in their geering that one of them
rolled over on his side, and had to be cut loose
before he could rise.
After a time, however, wegotthem uieted uuld
hitcheli' to the wztI oI', and made them travel to
make up lost tiin>,.. The whole scene was full of
ludicrousness, and so forcibly reminded me of the
Irish sailor's first experience on a farm, (which I
believe has never been in print,) I hope the rea-
der will pardon me for rating it here. It was
Returning from a sea-faring life, the Irishmian
hired himself to a tinrmcr, choosing in plreferenc~i
to all other employment that of tilling the soil.
The farmer immediately put him to plowing a
40 SCENE. IN A SURVEYOR'S IPS,
-like-teami, coii.'istiu" of a yoke o oxen, and a
little brown minre n.Amed Bess. For a time he
-,ot long udiuiril-.ly, and was highly delighted
i\itl the tfrnier's lite. Unfortunately, however,
i., afternoon, while' moving quietly along in the
discharge of his duty, and reflecting upon the
great dillff.riin-e between Ameriky and Swate Ire-
land, he stirred up a yellow jacket nest, the in-
mates of which began at once a wholesale attack
upon his team. The oxen plunged and twisted
here and there, until they twisted the yoke around
and got it uindltc their necks, and the lead ox was
where the off one should be, and the off one in
the lalu.-e of the leader.' Little Bess also became
iitanuglid, in the mean time, and tell down. At
this point, Pat, who had stood apart and watched
the whole proceedings with astonishment, could
stand it no longer, but dropped his long whip and
ran for the house with all his might, and as soon
as he had approached -isuflici nltly near to make
]imsiilf heard, shouted "'Ma~thir, Masther, come
here quickly, for the very blazes is-to pay down
here in the tivell."
"Wl,\ t's the matter?" asked the master, fright-
ened almost as much as his plowman.
"Why, be Jabers," answered Pat, almost out of
breatli, "the larboard ox has got over to the star-
board side, and the starboard ox to the larboard
side, little Bess lays on her beam ends, and they
arc all dhriifting to the divil together."
SCENES IN A SEUrVEY\'L'S LIFE. 41
The reader will mnt foil to .'.lserve the points of
simiilarity in the Irishman'S (c;ias anil our own.
O.ir ri:onto this day lay tlrou'-h a country of
exceeding fertility, int.er.1,esi.li, here and there,
with immense prairies, reclhiiii'., sonime of thle,
as far as the eye could se.:.. Thei gril-a. on th:s:.-
prairies was then as high as a man's nhouil'lrs, of
the most luxuriant green, and when wafted hither
and thither by the south breezes, presented much
the appearance of the undulating motion of the
Occasionally too, we passed large lakes, like
seas in miniature, whose waters were as clear as
crystal, and literally, almost, aliNvo with every
species of fi 'h writer fish, turtles, and alligators.
The deer gambo;iul l about us on -very side, and
having never been hunted, except occasionally by
.tragL'glig iparti.- of Indians, they were so tame
that we had no trouble in shooting them down
whenever we saw proper.
To one who is desirous of quitting the world
without nevce..itV of "tokiig up a tree," thii part
of Florida offers numerous inducements. I con-
sider it the easiest country in the world not only
to live in, but to get rich in. One hnildred head
of cattle, twenty-five brood mares, and fifty or a
hundred head of hogs, would be all the tart. a
man would want, and might e :ily be mailde the
basis of a handsome fortune in a short time. In
a few year- they would increase four fold, and that
without the necessary outlay of a single dollar.
42 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
In addition to these, nearly every variety of the
tropical fruits might be succtessflily cultivated,
and on account of the near proximity to the ucoat,
there could l.e little difficulty in shipping what-
ever might be produced to a market in some of
the Atlanti. cities.
With a small capital, say five hundred dollars,
a fishery could be established oin Indian river that
would pay better than any now in the -outh. The
depth and shores of the river ari. peculiarly fitted
for this business, and there can be no reasonable
djuil.it that an immense business in this line will
one day I.. carried on at various points along this
The da-N will certainly 0omeIC, and I can see no
cause vwhy it should be very distant, when, this
will be one of the most populous, productive, and
wealthy portions of the State. Hitherto the great
drawbu.ck and blighting curse upon the interest
of Florida, has been the handful of ungovernable,
untamable Seminole Iilnia.is, with whom we have
to a late period been ell~agIr'l in an expensive war.
For the long period of more than seventeen years
they have been peirmjitil- to roam with impunity
like hyenas over the fairest portions of the coun-
try, committing the gr%.,;est acts of bloodshed
upon our citizen.-shb-lo'ting them down' like
brutes just whenever the devil lhappI Lned to dictate
to them the propriety ,f eomnuitfiing such acts, ;nul
destroying vast amou nts of property belongings to
the frontier settles. By these hostile demonstra-
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
tions, together with their well known insatiable
pr]',ln--itiit' for thievingL, th'-y I;i-ve h-terred thous-
ands of' enterprising and iusef:tl citizens from
emigrating to our State. Ai ri.i,'ina-ntS are now\
on foot, however, which it i, liiftildeihtly believr.-l
will speedily rid the State of thi. rCi'eniint O.f this
tribe of Indians, which for so long a time has kept
us at bay, and destroyed so many of our citizens.
At noon the Captain took Sile with him, and
struck off in, a N'i.Il -[t i:6ly direction for the
purpose of finding some old land lines, which,
from what information ...i'l be gathered from
maps furnished at the Surveyor General's office,
he thought must be in that direction i. 't v.-ry far
off. By these lines he designed to trace out the
corner post from which his survey commenced.
The rest of us, the Captain ordered to continue
our route along the same old trail we had followed
from Fort Capron, and he and Sile would lhaIp
their course so as to meet us at dark some rix or
eight luil .-.4 l.-ad. We accordingly marched for-
ward, but did not travel more than three or four
miles before we came to a creek which was im-
passable except by swimming. Here was a most
serious difficulty which had never entered our
The creek was some tiiw-ty -five y.i nl- in width,
and the banks on either side being aluu-t perpen-
dicularly stte1p, it was swimming from one si'l.
to the other. Cross it we must; here was no
44 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
use in waiting for the Captain's advic:-but
Fortunately, after many sore scratching of the
head, I bethought me of a large good's box in the
wagon, in which some corn was stored. I imme-
diately had the corn removed from it and the box
lirought out. We then proceeded to calk it as
well as we could with such materials as were at
hand, for the purpose of making use of it as a
boat. By bringing into requisition the Surveyor's
chains, we mustered line enough to reach twice
across the stream. One of these lines we fastened
to one end of this novel boat, and the other to
the other end. Having loaded it with as um..h as
it would conveniently carry, Tap swam to the op-
posite shore with the end of the line, and drew
the boat and cargo safely across. When he had
unloaded it we drew it back again by the line
fastened at the other end. Thus we slowly, but
safely passed over all our plunder to the opposite
side of the creek. We then swam-the oxen and
ponies across with but little trouble.
The next part of the business was to get the
wagon across. This was accomplished in the fol-
lowing manner: Drawiun it up close to the watcr's
edge, we thstened our boat lines to the end of the
tongue and carried an end to the opposite shore,
where we hitched the ponies to it to drag it cross.
We imagined that if we could ease it down the
steep bank into the water, the ponies might be
able to pull it over beibre it had time to sink.
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
For this purpose a man was placed at each wheel,
and the others wherever they could find a position
best suited to the object in view. All ready, the
word wan given to move slowly forward. On the
brink of the embankment the wagon poised for a
moment, like the eagle about to dart upon hii
prey, then plunge forward with a tremendotu-
fiirce, knocking. Slhepley heaid fuirnmost to the
bottom. IHe had foolishly, and uniolserved, taken
a position in front of the wagi ni, as lie said, tle
more etfectually to hold back. As soon as 1wt
ihal fihlid hlin out from between the w\leek-,
wl-ich we dlii with miuch difficulty, Tap put
hickory to the ponies on the other s-ide of the
creek, anld before it had time to entirely sink we
hall the w\'igon so near the bank, that we were
nile tu hi tch tihei oxen to the end of the ttlniguc
and dra-u it out.
Although the wngon, team and loadinmig were all
safely across, by far the ino'st serious difficulty yet
remain j.id to be overcome. .TUe PRiTger-, with his
bhi alido, ii ainl protuberance, was yet on the W rot '
side of the creek, and he haid never learned thn.
art of swimming. lIe couldn't legin to get into
the cr'.od's box, and it he c:oiil, it woluld'1 certiinlyV
have toppled over auil sjpill'-d him out. Variou.-
plans were proposed, discus.seil, and then dimisnied
as impracticable. It was finally accomplished in
thle following manner: II\ainig one of the ponies
brought back to where he could just. stand with
his back above water, I tied one of the lines to
46 -CENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
Joe's left' arm, and the other to the pony's bridle;
both extending to the opposite shore. Joe then
took his position on one side of the pony, and I
,ii the other. I directed him to hold to my left
w[ ist, and with tile hlaiin of the same I took firm
hold of the 1pony's mane; and in this manner Joe,
tile pony, and myself, were quickly landed on the
other side of the creek, with no other d:-! iiag-
than a sharp pain in my wrist, caused by an un-
wonted pressure of that part by Joe's powerful
-' i l'.
It being sundown when we got everything over,
we built a large fire to dry our clothes, and pitAched
the tent for tli.. nii ht. Al'oit .Irk-, tli: t'apt.ai
.and Sile came dli.'.Xu III th tl rti.-k. ln tih:' "1l ...-i.it.
side from wli, i: \v-, vI','- l':nii ,1, ,vi. .j -
pected, and w i.: -, i l-- ;-t..ii:i.l].:,l thii; 'l.~iliti.1
to fii, l that w .- hi~ l .-.t ,X\-,..r thi I-,.t;' ..i,, _1.
The day fo' ,_wi,_ our ii'.I-.iInp n-i.t lii.'.-. a;t I
a laborious se.i It t.r Ihi oil .L [ 1 liii.-, 1 tl -..tA ,-
thirty years po vi',.ii .i ,i-.: t i11l t!,iii, ;i 11 .- l it
the 0i ,.t rl ..,i tl.i: I ,1Oil t i(.1ll1 1,pi ii I, Il jl" .i. : -
ment. It wa- a .iijill li'it\woo p 1, -tni.-k up
about a half mile in :' dI:--i. .Of..a p ,:,t' tie-ti.-,
wild rose, and lani li.,I ri;ilar.
Bright and etiar in th. in. ninil', ;ilttr a retit.sh-
ing night's sleep, the boys were all i-tir, nimkin,
preparation for a oolim.neinc en -t it wioirk. The
Captain ordered two days rations, tile iiilgt pre-
vious, for each man to pack, as it was uncertain
how far it was to dry land in the direction in
SCENES IN A PURVEYOR'S LIFE.
which he designed to run from the point of start-
ing. and he did not wish to leave the swamp until
the line was put through. Eacli 11an was furnished
with such of the surveying iimplltrliit.nts as wa.
adapted to the capacity in whlii-1 he was desirtil
to operate. She1 and silk, for instance, were
f'lriiisheId with naxe; li;al'and inv-~,lf, as chains-
men, with1 chain and pins; Joe and Tap, as pack-
men, with the ponies and pack s.lIlk,.vs; Smith as
cook, with all the ,aiinliiii_-' <'-uiIp:lngi. oxen and
S. r.. n11: aind rt 31.-I ,1-.lr, '.'l, was a sort of ini\Vilk" -11
character, nothing 1, i'n. required of him but to
1kill .I.I'.. was put in charge of the guns and
On arriving at the. I ri!i.-i -..-t, the t .Lpt;in pro-
ceeded to administer the oath required by law.
"Take o.il' your hats," said lie, "and all lay your
hands on this post, while I repeat the .'1ll.itti~:o
.,ii. as i,, .;-- -. ltiit-, have to subscribe to."
All hands did as :ri.'lii.-ti, looking a .. -I.it'iii
as if in the prcl'icnce' of the Ih.k Ir,:giii<, rea-
der, if you can, the l!illrouIs appearance present-
ed by the several persons .' riii .1 around that
post, standlliii, waist d.c--1 in mud and water in a
dense swamp, far friiii civ\ilizatin'i, in South
Florida. The dress of each was a hickory hunt-
ing shirt, fastened about the waist Iby means of a
leather belt, which supported on one side a large
butcher knife and sheatlh, and on the other a tin
cup, to be used in the various capacities of tea cup,
tea kettle, coffee pot and water bucket. Each
48 iiENES IN A SURVEYO'RS LIFE.
man, also, had a blanket strapped to his back, in
which was rolled two day's rations of bread, meat
"You, and each of you," said the Capiitain, as
inetrly as I can now recollect, "do solemnly swear,
as axemen, chainmen, &c., that you will perform
your several duties under my liirction, to the
best of your knowledge and ability, and remain
with me until the survey is finished, unless in
some way providentially hindered, so help you
God." "I do 1" was the prompt response of every
THE compass was set, the chain unrolled, and
the axemen commenced clearing out a track due
south along which to measure the line. When a
sort of opening was made through the thick un-
dergrowth for some distance by the axeman, the
Captain pulled up his jacob staff and moved fqir-
ward for a new sight. My position b'.il at the
front end of the chain, I moved ahead, also carry-
ing the ten little iron pins used by suiii vcyor. in
7uicasuriing land, and when the chain was stretched
full length, Ralf shouted "stick." I i .1ILdiately
stuck down one of the pins at the eiin of the chain,
and answered "stuck."
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
This interesting operation was repeated every
thirty-three feet; that being the length of the
chain used by surveyors.
On account of the thick undergrowth of the
swamp, closely interwoven with bambin anmd almost
every other species of thorned vine and busli,
through which it was necessary to open a road
sufficiently wide and clear to enable us to make
a correct line and measurement, we iirorL .-i.d but
slowly, as at noon we had made but one mile and
a quarter. The water being three feet deep, we
were under the necessity of standing to diin, and
using roots and cypress knees which projected
out of the water as tables.
In the afternoon the growth of the swamp ap-
peared to become more dense, and the water
deeper, so that it was exceedingly difficult and
tftiguing to make any liad'way at all.
As the sun sunk lower :and lower toward the
western horizoin, and there appeared no signs Io
dry land, we blJg'an to prepare our minds for a glo-
rious night of it in the swamp, with no place dry
enough to lie upon, or to build a fire upon, to keep
off the musquetos, which had begun already to sing
their ominous notes about our anxious ears. Good
fortune, however, destined for us a better fate.
The Captain discovered, some distance off, in the
direction we were going, what he conceived to be
an opening, which we thought might be high
woods. We stuck down a stake to mark the
Spot, rolled up the chain, and pushed for this open
50 SCENES IN A SURVEYORS LIFE.
space, in hopes of finding high ground upon which
to encamp for the night. 'We were not disap-
poi ti:-d, fir th i openingproved to be a small island,
,:,tuiutiiLih about, an acre of dry ground, and afford-
ing an abundance of wood. We slept soundly
after our laborious day's work in the swamp, under
an old Indian shed, covered with pine bark, sev-
eral of which were standing on different parts of
At an early hour in the morning we plunged
again into the swamp, anxious to see the opposite
side. All hands seemed cheerful and lively until
toward evening, as the prospect for a night in the
swamp seemed now almost inevitable, when there
was evidently a lengthening of faces all around.
No one felt disposed to communicate his thoughts
to his neighbor, so that there was no talking done.
No:tLiLig broke the solemn stillness around us, save
the noise of the axes, an occasional order from the
Captain to the axemen directing them to the
right" or to the left, as the case might require,
the splashing of the water as we dragged (our tired
legs through it, and the eternal stick, stuck, stick,
stuck, of the chainmen.
There can be little doubt that very many un-
pleasant thoughts were associated that afternoon
with surveying generally; but no di-';ti:-fiL'tioll
was openly -xlpreisscd by any, if we may except a
few horrid groans which occasionally escaped
from Joe, as he would hitch his foot under a root
and precipitate himself, head and ears, uuder the
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE. 51
mud and water. About four o'clock in the after-
noon the Captain climbed a tree to look out
ahead, and proclaimed the glorious news of"high
ground and open woods ahead, and not more than
three lhuinred yards (jii'" By this proclamnition a
wonderful change came over the spirit of our
dreams. Where only a few minutes previous all
was solemnity and gloom, now all was merriment
and high glee. The redoubled efforts of the axe-
men soon brought us to high open pine woods,
after having spent two days in making a line of
four miles length in the swamp. As soon as we
merged from the mud and water, we marked
the spot, and set out for the camp. We found it
abcot seven miles around the swamp, and reached
there about dark, tired and hungry enough.
After enjoying a hearty supper, blankets were
spread, and a night of profound obliviousness soon
On the following morning we packed every
thing into the wagon, and moved around to the
south side of the swamp, which operation, owing
fo the very difficult passage around, consumed the
entire day. We reached the rolling pine wo.jds at
the point where we desired to locate a camp, at
about dark, and came to a halt. Within a hun-
dred yards or so of-the spot where our tent was
pitched, there was a large clear water lake, from
which we desired to get our supply of water.
Wlieu we had unharnessed the team, I mounted
old Bet, (one of the ponies,) andF--the other,
52 SCENES LN A PURVEYOR'S LIFE.
to ride them down to water. driving to within a
few feet of the water's o-lg., Bet called a liilt and
refused to approach another inch, for what rea-
son I could not. .-. I used every ime-.iu o-'llt of
actual free to induce her to go near c ,iinugh to
drink, for I knew she was dry, but to no purpose.
In the d.,ikno _.-l I could see ij'.tliiiL, nor could I
conceive of anything that could justify such obsti-
n;it\. Iborrowed Rabe'swhip, and applied it to her
for '.;, tilimi, but to no effect. Dr..uliin furious
at last at what I conceived the most unwarrantable
contrariness, I alighted in the palmetto ;.IIl began
to apply the lash in such a manner as to make her
snort at every blow. After a lui,.' resistance, in
which she jumped and kicked at no small ra.it, tlih
poor oldbrute made a desperate ut;rtr, sti j,-d for-
ward, and in another instant dii...-lcari-d entirely
beneath the flood before us, .x,.elt .bou ut .-i: il*..he
of her fiose, which, by a strong effort at tl,. bridle,
I succeeded in keeping above the surface. On
a closer examination, we found the bank of the
lakei was II-.'i,-niIdi uiilii to the depth of about six or
seven feet, and there extended from the h.r11i
some dict.ucr out into the lake a mass of iimul,
nuo.-Z, iand \ ut.r, too thick to allow Bet to -wim,
and t:i,, thin and soft to ll .vc-Lit lhe g.,ingi d1,-win.
We h.id a heavy job to gt. her out. By iinii
of a spude, how\\cr, with \\hi.-l I e dug ;wa\\y tilh
lank, and a uniiin r t .' t I,'.V pol,, s, w.- .-i ce'd.-ted
in doing so after fuM1r jL uris libor.
For some,,timec after this a.dvcniture \ve went
SCENES j A SURVEYOR'S LIFE. 53
rapidly forward with our work without meeting
with anything of particular interest. We generally
located our camp in the centre of a township as
near as we could guess, and worked around it with
one, two, or three days rations packed on our
backs, and sleeping at night wherever dark caught
us, and we oiild find a dry spot of ground;
making the camp in the iidldlk of the township
headquarters, to which we returned when our
provisions were consumed. The packmen were
usually kept employed in transporting provisions
from Fort Capron, and from the regular camp to
us on the line, while Smith was kept busily engaged
in c'ockiiig victuals for the hands and moving
camp from place to place.
We invairialpy rested Suiiilay ; a thing not al-
ways done by Surveyors. Once, however, we lost
a day, and for several week- worked on the Sab-
hath and lny up Monday, supplosing the latter to
be the diy of rest.
In travelling through the brush and saw pal-.
metto, we of cour-e wOre out clothes fast, espe-
cially pantaloons. When worn off to the knee,
we usually patched and pieced them witl raw
deer skin, hair outside, which answered a very
good purplo.e. Frequently our breeches legs
wore ',ff while we were away from the cam p,'with-
out the means to mend themt, and by the time
the wearer went two or three days in this condi-
tion, walking continually through brush, briars,
and saw palmettoes, his legs genemily presented
54 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
the appL.-nrani-a of having had an attimlupt at ampu-
tation made by a child with a dull saw, who had
worried- it from the foot to the knee, without
being abhl to get deeper than just through the
skin. u.lh rakes across that very sensitive part,
the shin-bone, the reader may imagine, were not
generally attended with very agreeable feelings.
SIN this connection it would, probably, not be in-
appropriate to relate an adventure with a panther,
a very ferocious animal inhabiting almost every
Florida swamp and hammock. This animal, in
natural history, is :ipp" ip il ely termed the Ame-
rican lion. He is a 1" i:-tif'l beast, able to destroy
animals much larger than himself, and has fre-
quiently been known to carry off and devour, in
some instances, even grown persons. But to the
It was our custom to set aside, out of every two
or three weeks, a day for the purpose of w-'ashiLng
and mending our clothes, t,,getli,-.r with other little
matters necessary to be done for the i-oinfort of a
camp life. On one of these interesting occasions,
one morning about nine o'clock, while all were
plying the niiiIlle and scissors with the utmost
asiduit I oloked up from his work anld spied,
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
not more than seventy yards from where we sat,
a huge panther, half hidden behind a large pine,
peeping at us, and cogitating within himself, no
doubt, as to what steps he should take in order
to procure one of us for his breakfast. Scarcely
had Tap cried out, "Look at the panther!" before
all were on foot and gave a simultaneous shout for
the dogs, which sudden and boisterous proceeding
the panther not understanding, took to his heels
with all his might. The dogs (Bull and Cash) saw
his first leap, however, and scampered off in pur-
suit, encouraged at every jump by the almost in-
cessant yells of the boys. In the hurry of the mo-
ment Tap snatched up the gun, the Captain and
Sile, each a large hickory club, Ralfthe jacob staff,
and myself a butcher knife, all of which were
brought into full requisition, as will presently be
seen. We endeavoured, by loud shouts, to keep
the dogs encouraged, and by straining every mus.
cle to keep within hearing of them, which we suc-
ceeded pretty well in doing, by taking advantage
of near cuts.
The scene was a ludicrous one in the extreme.
I had on but one shoe, and Tap had none. Ralf
had pulled off his shirt to wash it, and Sile his
unmentionables for a similar purpose, and, of
course, they would not take time to put them on.
There wasn't a hat in the crowd.
Picture to yourself, reader, a set of fellows in
the above plight, running through the woods as
though old Nick was after them, falling over pal-
56 S09N IN A SURVEYOR'S.Ir
metto roots, scrambling through tie-tie swamps,
and plunging into sloughs, and you can form some
idea of the scene.
For about an hour the i ace was continued with
great en.t gy, but at last the dog. bayed, and we
knew he had treed. In a few minutes we a~rrivvd
at the spot, and sure ueoul. there, perched
snugly among the loilhi- of- a little pine in a fern
pond, sat the panting beast.
Tired, hey!" cried Ralf, "t reed, are ye? Don't
be glaring down upon us with them great green
eyes-it won't do you any good, old fel, your
time's up. Oh, you sneaking villain! you thought
you'd have a glorious breakfast of one of us this
morniug, but the t;ablh- are turned. We don't
expect to eat you, that's a fact, but, Jeeme's river!
what a lot o' shot bigs: we'll make o' that yaller
hide o' your'n !"
A dispute next arose as to who should shoot.
Tap had the gun, and \a; uinwilliing to give it up;
he was but a boy, and we feared his excitement
might cause him to miss. A d~l.fitining roar from
the gun, however, settled the dislpute-T:up had
tired. A loud scream, followed by a lideous
growl, told a tale of pain and rage as the result.
In a moment more he -p-rang fromu the tree ind
again took to his heels; but, being badly wounded,
ran only a short distance, and squatted under a
thick bunch of fern. Seeing him squat, and fear-
ing he would tear both of our dogs in pieces, the
Captain, Rlf, Sile, and myself, determined togo
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE. 57
to their rescue. When we got within ten yards
of the panther, he made a desperate spring for us,
but was met by the sharp point of Ralf's staff,
which h:applened, luckily, to stick through the
skin of his back near his shoulders. He then
whirled over on his back. to play the clawing
game, and Ralf pinned him in this position to the
groniiil. and there held him with some difficulty,
while, at regular intervals of about one second,
the Captain's and Sile's clubs descended upon his
head, and my butcher-knife sank to the hilt in
The fracas lasted but a few minutes-l-h, was a
dead panther. In his desperate struggle for life he
stripped my right arm of a shirt sleeve, and left
sundry red marks across Sile's bare legs. This
panther was the largest one I ever saw, measur-
ing from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail
nine feet and two inches.
On the Sunday following our soniewhat dan-
gerous panther fight, as well as I now ireollect.
late in the afternoon Ttalf and lmyeilf coiululdet
to take a walk, partly for exercise and partly for
the purpuse of reconnoiterini a portion of coun-
try to the south of us, which none had as yet
explored. On our return to camp we chanced to
pass a small hammock about sunset, in which we
noticed a large flock of turkeys flying up to roost.
Having no gun .with us at the time, I took par-
ticular notice of ti,, spot, intending to come out
next morning before they flew down and shoot
58 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
some of them. On reaching the camp I put the
gun in order, all ready for the mnorniug's sport.
In the morning I arose some three hours before
day, and started alone for the hammock, thinking
it much nearer day than it really was. When I
reached the thicket, instead of waiting on the
outside, like a sensible man would have done, I
strode right into it, about where I thought the
turkeys were r,,ostinng, and stopped to wait for
I had sat but a very few minutes, leaning against
a tree, when my attention was attracted by the
noise of something moving cautiously in the
leaves just before me, and, as well as I could judge,
not more-than ten or twelve paces off. My first
thought was that it was another panther, and the
noise I heard was the adjustment of his feet for a
spring upon me. I immediately, but slowly and
cautiously, slid laroimd to the opposite side of the
tree, and arose to my feet to await 'the result. I
had not remained in that position, however, more
than three or four niinutu-. before a rustling in
the leaves, similar to the one first lihar1. pro-
ceeded from behind me. Knowing it could not
possibly be made by the same thing that caused
the first, I at once felt that I was between two fires,
and in the most imminent peril. I was at a loss
to know what to do. If I should start to go in
any directiiin, I knew not but I might go pre-
cisely to the very thing I wished most to avoid.
Presently a low whine, terminating in a most
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
hideous ggrowl, not more than ten feet from me,
made my hair stand straight on end. At this
juncture I determiined, is a last resource, to aim
as nearly at the spot as possible in the pitchy
darkness, fire, and trust to Providence for the
rest. Another blood-freezing growl, and I fired.
AT the crack of the gun, a hundred wild shrieks
burst upon my astonished ears from every direc-
tion, that made my very heartjump into my throat.
The truth flashed upon me in a moment-I was
surrounded by a large pack of hungry wolves, bent
on an early breakfast of my flesh and blood. I
knew there was only oitolhalnee to escape them,
and that was by climbing a tree. The one I was
then standing behind was too large for me to
climb-it seemed a bad chance; but there being
no time to lose, as the bloodthirsty brutes were
closing up around me, I determined to rush in
some direction until I canme to one I could climb.
Fortunately, I proceeded only a few steps before
coming to one of suitable size, and the reader
may rest assured no time was lost in dragging
myself up.out of reach of the voracious creatures.
Climbing some twelve or fifteen feet up the tree
to a large limb, I straddled it to wait quietly for
60 SCENES IN A PURVEYOR'S LIFE.
daylight, and consider how to proceed in order to
extricate myself from this very unpleasant predic-
ament. The wolves gathered thickly around the
tree, and made the whole neighborhood ring with
their hildous nud incessant yells of disappoint-
ment until morning. As soon as it was light
enough for me to see distinctly, I took aim at the
largest of the pack, and he bit the dust. Turning
my other barrel to another, he shared the same
fate. At this the whole pack took fright and
scampered away to the thickest part of the ham-
mock, leaving me in victorious possession of the
field, or rather of the tree, where I remained till
some time after sunrise, when I'descended and
made tracks for the carmp, without so much as
renienibering I was out on a turkey hunt. It can
scarcely be necessary to add, that this was the last
time I went alone, beJbtre daylight, to hunt turkies.
It would be well, lrhaips. just in this connec-
tion, to relate an adventure of Sile with a wolf,
which, though not attended with niblch danger,
was really one of the most interesting and laugh-
able affairs of the whole survey: Smith having
hecorne tired of the cooking business, proposed
to exchange places with Sile, which proposition,
after consulting the Captain, the latter accepted.
One day shortly after he began to act in this"
capacity, while he and Tap were alone at the camp,
the oxen strayed off and did not return at night.
as usual. Nest morning Sile called to Bull and
started out to hunt them up, leaving Tap to take
SCENES IN 6 SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
care of the camp. "When he had walked about.
three-fourths of a mile, while passing a patch of
tall panletto, Bull dashed into the thicket, and
immediately a fight comIIImeued between him and
some other animal, which Sile could not -ee for
the brush. Presently, however, the dog came
trottinug out toward the spot where Sile stood,
and just behind him came a large wolf trotting
after. The idea at once .-trui:k Sile, thathe would
slip behind a tree, and let the dog go: by, and
when the volf came along le would "scare him
to death." The dog trotted past as he le-ired,
and when the wolf came up within four feet of
him, he sprang sudIdenly out from his diiliig pilac,'
threw up his iarns, and gave a thlinderiing "boo!"
Instead of falling down with fright, or brl'ekilng
his neck in getting out of the way, as Sile con-
fidently expec-td, the wolf st.lppellC rNhort, turned
his hair all the wrung way, ajnd :gv-, a ; low, augry
growl in return. Sile waited tfr l ino more. lut
turned and took to his Leels with all his might.
About the third or fourth jump, his Luat dropped
off--whether it was puslhedl off by hiir, which
he thinks was stanilitiju. pretty straight out at the
time, or whether he simply ran from under it,
lie has never been able currently to say. At any
rate, he didn't stop to pick it up. Tap, who at
the time was rubbing up the gun to take a hunt,
spied Sile while he was yet nearly a quarter of a
mile from the camp, coming through the woods,
his haii streaming to the wind, like Nick was after
62 SCENES IN A SURV*lOR'S LIFE.
him, concluded at once that the Indians were after
him, and that they would both be killed unless
some immediate and decided step was taken to
prevent it.. He determined, however, to make an
effort with that view, and while Sile was yet a
great way off, he bridled up one of the ponies as
quickly as he could, took the gun on his shoulder,
mounted the pony, and sat waiting for Sile to
come up and tell him the news, and all ready to
"cut stick" as soon as he should hear it. Of
course, when Bile came, the pony was again
turned loose to graze.
It is nothing but fair to state that Tap always,
and to the bitter end, denied that part of the story
relating to him; but Bile as resolutely affirms it
to be sU. I shall not pretend to decide between
I come now to the record of an adventure or
two of my own. One morning, while engaged in
frying pancakes, in order to assist the cook, that
we might get an early breakfast and a good start
for a big day's work, I was so unfortunate as to
burn one of my feet badly, which accident hap-
pened as follows: While holding the frying pan
by the handle to steady it on the coals, the grease
in it caught fire, and in giving it a quick jerk
toward me, for the purpose of blowing out the
blue flame which blazed up to the height of two
feet or more, for want of proper skill in perform-
ing the manacuvre, poured the whole of the burp-
ing fluid into my shoe. Of course I gave the
SCENES IN I SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
laughing, heartless crowd a rather operatic speci-
men of an up-country dance, but I can conscien-
tiously assure the reader that the operation
afforded no amusement to myself. IIaving per-
lfrmed a series of gyinmatic lurches right and
left, fore and Ilt, upset half a dozen pots, kicked
two quarts ofl sand into. the tray of dough, and
slapped my agonised foot into the pail of drink-
ing water, I became quiet enough to proceed to
aunexamination as to the extent of injury done.
I pulled off the shoe, anl along with it came the
dermis, jiiqcri.ns,, and cuticle, even down to the
cuperficalfiascia, (skin,) from the whole of the top
and one side of the foot.
As may well be imiagin6d, I was entirely inca-
pacitated for continuing my plee on the line,
and, consequently, had to exchange places with
Sile, and assume the onerous duties and respon-
sibilities of cook and teamster. Now it happened,
unfortunately for me, that just at the time of
which I write, the provisions began to run low,
and it became necessary for me, as teamster, to
proceed to Fort Capron to get a load, to which
place, from where we were then working, it was
very nearly three days travel through the woods,
without the sign of a road to guide one aright.
I felt many misgivings as to making the trip alone
through that wolty, beary, and painlttry country,
and particularly with a knowledge of the fact
before me that, numbers of the Seminole Indians
were roaming through the swamps and jungles of
SCENES IN A SURBV2OR'S LIFE.
that region, who were not walntinll in dipalosition
to sealp tihe pale-fthee wherever they might meet
him, ilnd wcr. only d.-tt.rre,1 fril1,i ding o0 thr'IughI
fear. But there was no use t,-' dri-iad it; I had to.
go. Accordingly, two mornings subsequent to
pourin'i the hot fat into my shoe, after atd early
1iI.viIkt6.'t, I made ready and started. Travelling
the entire day tlr:'iul, tlh, wi:.:.-, as nearly in the
right ilit1 n-ti:n as iny semi-compass cranium could
pilot Imi. I brought up at sunset on the side of,
and about one hundred and liftl yards from, a
small pond, and began to make preparations for
spedmliniL' mny fim -t nli._lrt alonein the woods. Firmt, I
u.111m n 11in-.-d the ponies and tied them to a couple
>of 1i.k.i..iks-, s- .i. tw., i v yards from th1- \vwa'igin,
a little .- t tn: rilt ,f tt i. >ijt. ,_"'-i- ,t ii to the liind,
arn l It'tor f, lin,.' a;,l pr..,pi,. ly att-nlilng to, tlhe.m ,
I .....k-il ;-'',.u 1 t;,r a -I itilih I.;amlrpini plaic.. I
1 finally .. ttirl..I ll,' i ;I -pi I1..t\W.'.-l til.- -v:,ig nIl,1
pond, about one third of flo dli-t: in.' to the latter,
where there was a good log of lightiv...nl ;id
plenty liglhtw..,l knits-.-it teol ii ,iiiiuid. IIav-
ill _2 kh .il'h.1 ta it., :al: it. lwhii1 time it .v. quitt
d.l Ik. I liiihted :a f\-w small ,~l-.1 amlld pr.-emdel
witl the !hii:-k,-t tu 1l I.'l,-pil t -.r \wattr. I tf;und
thie l 0po l '-.ui111 r'I I ..-i:1 tir'i- v ith iat i1 l miarsM;
gralss as llgI'h as my -1i1d1'r, ;ind as thlicik a the
Lhir :on a dog's back. TIlirou:gh thti. grais and
water, the ll.tter omrllL 'ix (i r iLigi2ht iin'ihes in deptlh,
I had to lirrow mlUy wav f~ or t\wentvy ynar.. to the
open space beyond, betfre finding a pla.e whero
SONNES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
the bucket could be submerged sufficiently to fill
it with water. Having accomplished this by no
means easy or pleasant task, and turned round to
come out again, my attention was attracted by a
slight rustling noise in the grass only a few feet
from me. Quickly I raised the light high above
my head, and peered wistfully into the high grass
all around, but saw nothing. Thinking, perhaps,
I might be mistaken, my alarm (I am not loth to
confess I was alarmed) somewhat subsided, and I
started for my enampena ent. Scarcely had I
made a single step, however, when a heavy, un-
mistakable movement in the grass again stopped
me short. My eyes were directed to the spot
whence came the noise, but every thing was still,
and I saw nothing. I made another step, and
the same frightful sound greeted my ears. Again
I raised the light, and by the aid of its almost ex-
pired rays, I beheld, through an opening in the
grass, a sight terrible enough to make the stoutest
and boldest heart quake with fear. There lay,
crouched to the earth, his ears lain close back to
his head, his eyes gleaming like halls of livid fire,
and slowly lashing his tail from side to side, an
enormous panther. The imminent peril of my
situation was at once manifest to my mind. ie
noise I last heard was his final adjustment for a
fatal spring. I knew the slightest motion on my
part would be the last forever. A thousand
worlds, had they been at my disposal at that mo-
68 seIUa Is A SURVrYOR'S rl.
ment, would have been too little to offer for sue-
cour; but, alas! where was it to come from I
There I stood, thirty miles from the nearest
human being, in the wild woods, face to face with
one of the most ferocious animals---when driven
to desperation by hunger-in existence, and not
even the smallest weapon with which to defend
I thought of home, of kindred, of kind friends.
I thought how dreadful was my last end; how
cruel the fate that destined me for it; how sad
the intelligence to those who felt an interest for
me, that I was gone, and none knew how nor
where. But,.while these thoughts were passing
rapidly through my mind, and I stool gazing on
the fiery eyes of the monster crouched before me,
in the very act of making his leap, a thought
struck me-hope washed across my mind. I
recollected Bull was at the camp, and knowing
he was ever on the alert, I thought I might bring
him to me by a whistle. The terrible creature
gathered up his hind feet, and I believed the
awful moment had come. A dreadful suspense;
another low whistle, very low, and how my heart
beat with rising hope as I heard Bull coming as
ftA as he could run through the bushes! In
another moment he was at my side, and the
frightened panther fled as if for his life, leaving
me in a state of mind which may be better ima-
gined than described.
I returned in haste to my encampment, de-
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'B LIFE.
voutly thanking the Almighty disposer of all
events for my almost miraculous deliverance from
a death most horrible.
ALrHOUiH feeling safe after escaping so dread-
ful a fate as that of buini devoured by a panther,
the terrors of this eventful night were not yet at
I had brought down from the wagon, whilh, the
reader will remember, was some dlistance from
the spot which I had selected for a camping-
place, my couking utensils, and after cooking
and eating ..1sippe.r, I spread my blanket upon the
grass and was c1on, wrapped in the most profound
iol)liviousuess. Abopt i idnight, however, my
slumbers were disturbed in a manner calLulated
to terrify one of stronger nerves than I could
boast. Tlhohorses were jumping from side to
side, snorting, ad jerking back against the black-
jacks to which th(e were tied, as if determined to
break their necki: and Bull, with his hair all turned
wrong end foremost, and uttering occasionally
a low growl terminating in a whine, (indications
of extreme fright) was doing his best to get under
me- The fire had smouldered down to a few
embers only, and as I slowly and cautiously raised
68 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
myself into a sitting posture, I could distinctly
hear sticks cracking in several directions, as if
breaking iirildr th. cautious tread of s ime heavy
animal. Just waking out of a deep l.eep, I sat
for some time in a half s.tip.fi(ld state, endeavor-
ing to realize the t.rue state of affairs. V
I was at a 1. -.- to account for the strange con-
duct of the horse~ and d- o; for I knew that nei-
ther of them had ever exhibited the least fear for
any of the wild animals ihLililititi" those 1p: ts-
particularly the dog. What., tlht'u, could it be.
There were certainly more than one of them; for,
as already observed, the sticks were cracking in
several directions, around me. IB-iug one of the
fortunate sort, however, who seldom lose presence
of mind even amidst the most-trying diflicilties,
I very deliberately reasoned with myself as fol-
Shall I build up the fire, or lay still where I am
and riAk the vos, lIliii. .t.i ? If they are wild
animals prowling around with a disposition to
make a supper of inle each moment I suffer the
fire to remain unkindled serves but to increase
the danger; but. on the other hand, if they are
Indians, and tfliy art- :-ekin. L to tLke my life, the
light will enable thenrto take a ior'e ci:rtaiu and
deadly aim. Coujidering, however, that if they
were Indians and they fIcl dipi-,i.el to kill me,
they would d: so anshow-ftbr t hey l;dl only to
wait till daylight to accomplish their plurp.ises-
and considering, too, that if they were animals
SCEREB IN A SURVEYOR'S LiFE.
the fire would protect me, I determined to kindle
it. Having thrown on the now blazing fire a'
large number of lightwood knots, I then lit a few
small clips and proceeded to the wagon to bring
out the gun, which, strange to say, I hadt not
thought of before. Putting on fresh caps, I re-
turned to the fire and sat with it across my lap,
both barrels co,-ked', and the axe and a couple of
pine knots, to be used as clubs, within my reach,
to await any Inew .turn matters might take, deter-
mined to fight to the last, come what might.
How long I remained in this position I know
not, for the next thing I knew, I awoke about sun-
rise in the morning, and found the horses all quiet,
and the gun lying across me. Not a vestige of
the cause, whatever it might be, that gave me such
an outrageous fright the night previous, was left.
I never : tucertained what it was, and can only at-
tribute the singular conduct of the horses and dog
to the Inear approach of Indians, whose design was
to steal smiruithing from miy wagon, but on wit-
nessing my proi:eedings with the gun thought
proper to withdraw.
I left this camping-place without much regret,
as soon as I could hitch up my team, and on the
evening of the following day arrived safely at Fort
Capron, without meeting with any further adven-
ture worthy of note. As soon as I arrived I
began loading up the wagon, and got as much of
the provisions on as the ponies could conveniently
pull, and set out at an early hour in the morning
TO s809*s 9Ur A St9VBYOB's LiM.
on.my return for the camp. I progressed finely
on that day, but about 9 o'clock on the morning
of the second day met with an accident which left
me in a woful plight. I had traveled but a mile
or two from my encampment, driving leisurely
along, when one of the wagon wheels came in
contact with the end of a small log, and the
axletree snapped in twain, immediately letting
tat part of the wa.on down to the ground.
Here was an awful "kettle offish!" forty miles
to the camp-thirt.y miles back to Fort C'apron-
not a soul from whm asristainc could be ob-
tained nearer than those two places, and the
wagon in a condition that if could' not be moved.
It was out tf the question for me to make a new
axle without the tools to do it with, and if I had
it I could not aloiin raise the wagon to put it in.
I knew that any delay with the provisions would
cause the Captain and hands at the camp to suf-
fer; for thi(' werthile on short rations, and look-
ing forward to my return with anxiety. The first
thing that struck me, when I sat down to turn the
matter over in mny iimid and come to some conclu-
sion as to what was best to be done, was to take
as much of the provisions as I could carry on the
ponies' backs and push on to the camp, and get
some tools and one of the boys, and return in a
day or two for the wagon. But when I.set about
putting this plan into.execution, I found that the
pork, beans, and, in fact, everything I had, was in
barrels, and l hadn't a single thing out of which a
Mn A suavLyYOU's9 'LIM
bag could be constructed. After a long debate
with myself as to what was the best mode to
pursue under the circumstances, I finally hit upon
and carried out the following plan, the result of
which will soon appear: I stove in the head of
of the pork barrel, and took therefrom four of the
largest sized pieces I could get hold of, cut holes
in them, strung two to each, end of a short rope
and placed them across the back of one of the
ponies, as one would a pair of saddle-bags. So
far, so good-one of the difficulties was overcome.
But what of the beans? It was highly Inecesary
to take some of them. Shut your eyes, ye
timid whose modesty is easily shocked, and I will
tell you how I managed the benns. I drew off
my unmentionibles, tied a string tightly anrund
the lbotto, of each leg, filled tlhemr with beans, and
straddled them across the other pony, "just like a
man." Thie thiug looked so much like a man
astride the pouy, who had been sawed off consid-
erably above the knees, that I could scarcely look
upon it without experiencing some slight sensa-
tion of horror. After piling a vast number of
lightwood knots on the provisions in the wagon,
to prevent the wolves and other animals from de-
stroying what was left, I mounted the pony in
front of the breeches of beans, (for I couldn't
make up my mind to ride behind such a looking
object,) and went on my way rejoicing, at least
fir a time. But presently, as the sun mounted
higher and higher in the heavens, and his mays
72 003NMEE IN A BRlRVEYOR'B I'E
became hotter and hotter, I begau to experience
a sensation from my exposed legs anything but
the most agreeable. I hoped they would soon get
accustomed to the exposure, and when the sun
turned the meridian would begin to feel better;
but it was a vain hope. Every moment served
but to increase the pain, and by twelve o'clock
the torture was almost insufferable.
I now thought, for the first time, that if I
would get some small bushes, tie the stems about
my waist and let the tops hang down over my
legs, it would be a protection fiom the -sun's
rays and afford relief at once. I did so, but it
was too late. When I had tied them around me,
the slightest touch of the leaves as they swung
against my bare, baked legs, produced the most
intense and excruciating pain. Of course I aban-
doned the bushes, preferring the hot sun to the
agonizing tonch of the leaves. I rode slowly all
day, suffering more pain, ten times told, than in
any similar period of time in all my life.
At about sunset as I was crossing a narrow bt
very thick strip of swianp, the mud and water
knee deep, and fairly groaning with the intensity
of my pain, I chanced to raise my eyes and was
startled by a glimpse of the muzzle of a gun
being thrust through the thick bushes toward
me, and not more than four yards from my head.
Before I had time to think how the shot might be
obviated-for I was certain it was an Indian bent
on taking my life-the gun fired, the pony
gamng n? A isuVmOI'g un.
wheeled to the left, and I rolled in the mud. I
imagined I felt the ball pass right through me;
and while I lay half buried in the mud, won-
dering whether I should ever be able to rise, and
whether my scalp would be taken while yet
alive, Sie, whom the Captain had sent to meet
and camp with me, pushed his way through the
thicket and presented himself in the open space
before me. When he saw my pitiable condition,
instead of expressing feelings of regret, and mak-
ing every apology for what he had done, as any
Christian would, he just put his hands to his sides
and set up a roar of laughter that I thought lasted
one hour, without the least bit of intermission.
'I was greatly relieved when I found I was not
beset by the Indians, but coull freely have
"mounted" Silo for the fright he had given me.
We camped near the scene of this last fright, but
I slept very little. I rolled and tumbled nearly
Sthe whole night in great agony, and when I arose
in the morning a scorching fever was upon me.
I made out to ride the fifteen miles to the camp,
when I took to bed and did not leave it for two
long weeks, at the end of which time my legs
shed skin like a black snake in the spring season.
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S IJJE.
TWE Captain dE(patched two of the men after
the broken-down wagon the morning after our
arrival, who sii:.r-cded in getting it to the camp
at the end of thrtie d:\-,i fin.'ii the time of their
departure, durin'-, which time the men at camp
subsisted entirely on saw palmntto buds, which,
by the by, if they welte nit iiitpe so hard to "pull
up," is no mean article of f:odl.
My burnt legs and foot-the former by the
scorching rays of the sutl, and the latter by Ip-
setting on it a fryiun'-p.ii of hot grease, -vs the
reader doubtlu.-i roti-tmulier-i- ot well in due
course of time, and I i:.-iumed my place, at the
front end of the chain, on the line. I by no
means regretted having toturn over to Sile again
the co(okship, as my exl-ri'.ne in that cap:iacity
had not been alt':-grthli- such as to inspire me
with a very great toindijsi tfor it.
For some time afitr 'thif w"e met with no other
adventure worthy of record. We progressed with
our work as rapidlly as the nature of the country
would admit, and to describe nil the minutia
would be but a repetition of descriptions of cut-
ting our way through briary hammocks, sousing
through lagc'ons, marshes and prairies, covered
with water, and floundering through bamboo and
.I. _,, I "::N,.- - , _IWW, _, .
SCENES IN A SURVIYOK's IIIr.
tie-tie swamps, of which I imagine the kind
reader would soon tire.
While the work is progressing thus, day after
day, in the same monotonous manner, I trust the
reader will pardon me for introducing a subject
which, thus far in these scenes," has been scru-
pulously avoided, but one in which, I venture
positively to assert, every one who has honored
my scribbling with a perusal does now fV.el, has
felt, or will hereafter, if life is spared, feel the
most lively interest. The subject to which I al-
lude is that of thetender passion. -Whi, having
reached the age of maturity, has not felt its over-
powering influence? its vicissitudes of pleasure,
pain, hope, fear, bliss, and despair, which some-
times tfllow each other in quick suct.essionl, and
always fast enough to keep one eternally in hot
True, the wild woods of South Florida, in the
midst of savages and wild animals, and where the
ribbons and ht-ad-geiring of the gentler st-x were
never known to flutter in the passing breeze, is a
strange place to select for the scene of a love
story; but the facts shall speak for thjmselalves.
Ralf was the bore of the whole company. E-
dowed by nature and practice with an inordinate
love of laughter and fun, he never lost an oppor-
tunity to gratity it, no matter at what expense or
sacrifice to others. Not a' day passed but the
most bitter complaints were made against him on
aecomut of some misohievous trick, resulting ia
76 SOENIS IN A StURVEYOR'S LIFE,
the loss, inconvenience or pain of some one of
One would wake up in the night and find his
soft pine-knot pillow removed, and his hend half
buried in a puddle of mud and water; another
would have a log of wood lain across his breast-
not heavy enough to wake him up, but suffi-
ciently so to cause him to dream of devils, hob-
goblins, and fiightful fiery-eyed spirits perched on
his bosom, gradually sucking away his breath;
and another would have a red-hot coal stuck to
his toe, ora nest of sandspurs placed under his
body ready to pierce the flesh whenever the un-
fortunate sleeper should chance to move. Fight-
ing being strictly prohibited by a solemn pledge
of all hands when we entered, on the survey,
under any circuimstances whatever, the violation
of which subjected the. aggressor in the case to
severe pun ishrent, of course no satisfaction could
be obtained in this way. Besides. it was not
always an easy matter to catch him at these
pranks: for, when any one of the party woke up
and found himself in any of the conditions de-
scribed, Ralf was sure to be found commingling
his snoves with those of the loudest of his sleep-
ing companions, and, to all appearances, as sound
asleep; and when aroused and charged with the
mischief, always protested his innocence in such
a manner that it was impossible to convict him
of guilt. Every attempt to pay him off in his
own coin was soon abandoned in despair; for
SCENES IN A PURVEYOR'S LIFE.
whoever undertook to play this game with Ralf
was sure to come out at ten times the littlest
end of the horn." We had scarcely any alterna-
tive left, therefore, but to bear our troubles with
a good grace, which we did until forbiearance
amounted to an absolute sin. At length, how-
ever, we discovered the young gentleman's vul-
nerable part, and made use of it to the accom-
plishment of our purposes.
Accidentally we discovered that his heart was
touched with the tender passion. Sile, pretend-
ing to make a confidant of him in many little
love matters, drew from him the whole story,
which was just as we would have desired. He
was in love-deeply in love-with a charming
little Miss at home, to whom he had nimlo love,
nay, had actually made offers of marriage outright,
and was rejected, but in such a gentle, friendly
manner as only to make him love her the more,
and resolve to redouble his cfibrts on his return
As I was on intimate terms with Mollie (for
that was her name) and hcr family, Sile induced
him to communicate the whole athnir to m.ie, tell-
ing him that I might be of incalculable service to
him, through my influence with the litmily, in his
suit. This he readily acceded to, and frankly
asked my advice as to what would be the best
course to pursue on his return home. He re-
peated to us every word of the last conversation
between himself and Mollie, from the tenor of
78 BONES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
which I drew the correct conclusion, that she had
intended her refusal to his hymeneal proposition
as a final and decisive one. This conclusion,
however, we kept strictly secret from his' ears,
and led him, by uveryv inducement, to believe that
another good, strong effort on his part would cer-
tainly be crowned with success. At the proper
time we urged him to write to her, to lay open
his whole heart, and portray his feelings in such
a manner that it would be impossible for her to
look upon him with indifference. To this, how-
ever, he obstinately objected for a long time, say-
ing that it was aginn his principle to put him-
self in a position in love matters in which black
and white might be produced agin him in after
time;" but when we urged upon him the danger
of his losing her altogether by delay-that she,
thinking he had abandoned ill idea of obtaining
her hand, would, in 1ll plrobability, accede to the
first proposition made by another, and he be left
with his fingers in his 1moth, lhis cwruplh.s in this
particular were entirely overcome, and lie con-
sented that if we would fix up a good, nice, pro-
per love-letter" tfr him, ie would send it and risk
the consequences. Accordingly, that evening,
when night had drawn her sable curtains around
us, we three gathered up a quantity of lightwood
knots, some distance from the camp, built a flat-
ing fire, and by its brilliant light, with the head-
ing out of a pork barrel for a writing desk, some
time between midnight and day completed the
80ENES Il A SURVEYOR'S LIPE
following letter to Miss Mollie. Should this let-
ter chance ever to meet the eye of Miss Mollie, I
trust she will pardon me for the liberty I have
taken in publishing it to the world:-
P&raTHE SwAMr, SourH FLORIDA.
MY DEAREST MISS MOLLIE: It does, I confess,
smatter of piresumpition in mue to trouble you
again, either verbally, or with pen and ink, and so
soon, too, after what has already passed between
IsI, and ifter my srlenim proilmi-e no more to in-
flict my attenttiOlli 1111on yo01.
Will you, my love, as iomne degree of palliation
for my seeming presumption, anl1 to' some extent
broken promise, take intoconeiideration the feel-
ings which I aIive told you I never felt liefore,
.and which I now agadi, friront e he fullness of an
honest heart and true affeetion, reiterate ? Will
yVu calmly lonrider lihw grievous and sore must
be my disappointment by the sudden blasting of
hopes ainl pl.ispeclts, which at first were faint, 'tis
true, but which grew stronger and brighter with
the lapse of fime, under the influence of your
S heavenly smile, and with the increase of that ten-
der feeling toward the on0l, being whom, before
God, I have ever fondly and truly loved-the only
being I have ever looked upon as combiining all
those noble qualities and characteristics of her
whom I would make my wife?
Think not, Miss Mollie, that the object.of this
note is to press to a speedy issue a suit which, 'I
80 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
confess with feelings anything but pleasant, has
already met with a rebufl sufficient to satisfy any
one with impnulses less ardent than mine; but I
cannot, without one more effort, resign the object
of s:o cherisAledl a lo:l ie.
I would not willingly infict a single wound
upon your ftCling--not one; ulit it is hope, that
bright lbea::o which lnvre~- men on to repeated and
redoublel. action, that leads me o:ncee more to
trouble you upon a subject which is ever ipper-
most illn y mind.
My obIject i, to crave your final-your decisire
answer, as to whether I may or may int hope-
however distant the realization of that liie-that
your minil and feelings toward me will _one day
undergo a change; that you will, at least. endea-
vor to look upn me wihli more exalted senti-
ments than those inspired by tihe cold word
I do not ask you to make a speedy decision in
so important a maitter-tbr truly it is an impor-
tant matter; one in which is involved the happi-
ness or miisery of all 3our future life, and one
that ,lioiuld elicit your imot serious and dispas-
sio:nte con.is-ideratio-In upon every dependingl point;
but I only ask that, if in ace,-ordannce with your
present t',eli'ng-s, I may entertain the least degree
of hop e, in tinme-no matter how loig the time-
you \will endeavor to overcome your present in-
disposition to marry, in favor of one whose only
solace is to love you.
9CMS IT B 3%VE'3ols LinI.
Unfortunately, I have no fortune to offer you;
none of the glittering metal that runs mad all
men; no broad acres, or fields, to lay at your feet;
nothing but an honest, loving heart, with the prom-
ise to devote the efforts of my whole life, be it long
or short, to the advancement of your happiness and
your comfort. Can I do more? Do you fear the
act of its acceptance might be repented, because
you have seen unhappiness the result of married
life? Why judge the whole masculine race by the
soul of one man, or even two ? But this is a point
upon whieb your own faculties of reasoning and
judgment should be exercised-not mine. Do
you ask why I harbour the lingering hope that
prompts the writing of this letter, after all that has
passed between us? I can only answer, it is the
slender thread of hopb inspired by a few words
which fell from your lips involuntarily when last
we met, and a love which I fear, should you
again refuse my offer, even the strong arm of
time will fail to eradicate.
But ere your patience is wearied, I will close
by saying that, if you can find in your heart one
reciprocal feeling for the sentiments herein ex-
pressed, and will tell me so, the object of my hap-
iness is complete; but if not, then commit this
sheet to the flames, and permit its contents quiet-
ly to sink into the depths of oblivion; and, oh! let
not the smile of contempt or derision for the wri-
ter for a moment desecrate your lips, -but rather
let one heartfelt sigh escape your bosom in ~gM-
82 aBOiNp Ir A sURVrYo'J LMI
miseration for him whose all is involved in your
"How do you like it, Ralf?" inquired Bile, as
I finished reading it over for his approbation. "0,
it's capital," answered Ralf; "It's capital, only I
think there's a leetdc more mashed turnips and
potatoes about it than necessary, but then I reckon
it will do."
"You reckon it will do!" said Sile, "you reckon
it will do ? Why, I think it's one of the most
perfect things of the kind I ever saw in my life.
There is'nt a man in the world that could write a
letter to fit a case like yours better than this one
does, and yet you reckon it will do."
"0, it's first-rate," said Ralf. "I was only
thinking that when Mollie and me got married,
and we should fall out some day, as married folks
very often do, she would go and fetch out this
letter and read it, and then tell me how deceitful
I was before we got married, &c. &c.; but then
when we git married, you know, I kin manage
to git hold of this letter and burn it up, and that
will put an end to the thing."
The letter was duly sealed and directed, and
when Bile started to Fort Capron a day or two
afterward for a load of provisions, it was deposited
in his jacket pocket, to.be mailed at that place.
From the moment of Bile's departure, Ralf was in
a copatant fever of excitement. His peace of
mind was gone. He could think of nothing else
BsalE IN A UanRVuoa''S Lrs.
but Mollie, and the effect his letter would produce
upon her. While the other boys slept soundly,
after eating their pork and beans, poor Ralf rolled
and tumbled in the wire-grass for half the night
before sleep would soothe his troubled feelings,
which were constantly alternating between hope
During the day, when talking with me about
it, as was the case whenever an opportunity pre-
dented itself out of hearing of the others, he often
wondered what she would say when she read the
letter, lie would give anything to be where he
could see her, and she not know it, to see the
tearss fall from her blessed eyes, for he knew such
a letter could not fail to touch the tender chord of
Sometimes he got very low down, but when
Sile returned we did every thing possible to keep
up his spirits, and led him to expect a favorable
answer, and succeeded finally in inducing him to
dispel every thought of receiving any other sort;
and by the time Sile started for another load of
provisions, he was perfectly confident that he
would get a letter from Mollie full of expressions
of the most devoted love, and a warm acceptance
of his proffered heart and hand.
Knowing very well that Miss Mollie would
never answer his letter, Bile and myself concluded
that rather than he should be disappointed, we
would write an answer ourselves, amd forge the
name, which we did the night previous to Bile's
84 SCEBEBS IN A UEBVEYO0B' LIFE.
departure for Fort Capron, while Ralf was soundly
asleep, and probably not dreaming of what a dupe
he was being made.
When the wagon returned, Ralf was among the
foremost who went to meet it, and was the first
"Any letters, Sile?"
"Plenty," was the answer.
"Any for me?"
"Don't remember just now, think may be there
is one with your name on it."
"Well," continued Ralf; "let's have it as soon
"Just you hold on now," said Sile, "till I can
get it out of my pocket, won't you ?"
By this time all hands had gathered around the
wagon, eagerly inquiring for letters. Sile drew
from his pocket a large bundle, and standing in
the front end of the wagon, read off the names,
and as each answered, he received his letter. Ralf
stood trembling with excitement, and when at
last his name was called, he grasped the extended
letter with as much anxiety as if his very exist-
ence depended upon the contents.
Ah!" said he, "that's it," as he held up be-
fore me a letter neatly directed, in a fine lady's
hand, and as he turned off to read it, gave me a
nudge in the ribs with his elbow, and made a sly
wink with his left eye.
He sat down by a tree some thirty yards from
the camp, and opened his letter. Whether it was
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S IRS. 6
difficult'for him to decipher the contents, or whe-
ther some other matter was the cause, I cannot
tell, but certain it is, he remained in the same
position, as if transfixed to the spot, for more than
an hour, and would probably have remained so to
the end of the day, had not Sile called out-
"I say,Ralf, what's the matter? Is it going to
take you all day to read your letter ? You seem
mightily interested. What's the news ?"
"Come here, felles, I want to see you," said
Ralf, beckoning to Sile and myself, and then
walking off towards the margin of the lake, near
which we were then encamped. We followed,
and when we came up with him he handed me
the letter, and said, read that." I took it, and
read aloud, as follows:
MR. R.ALF: Sir, yOur very "presumptuous" epis-
tle has been received, and in answer thereto I have
only to say, that I "can find in my heart" no
"reciprocal feeling" for the sentiments you express,
and hope in future you will not trouble me with
any more such stuff. In conclusion, I would give
you a little piece of advice, and it is this: next
Time you send a love letter to a lady, write it your-
self, and don't get somebody else to compose one
that any fool would know such a jackanapes as
you never wrote. MOLLIE.
I had scarcely finished reading the letter when
Smile set up a roar of laughter that no doubt astn-
86. SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
ished half the alligators in the lake, in' which,
when I looked at. Ralf's palid cheek, sunken eyes,
and distressed countenance, I could but join most
"You may laugh, gentlemen," said Raltf "laugh
as much as you please. You got me in this yere
scrape, and now as you are the first to laugh at
me for being such a big fool as to let you do it,
just laugh now, till you pop your eyes out!"
This speech only made us laugh the more, which
soon brought down all hands from the anmp to
see what was the matter. Sile related the whole
story and read the letter, in spite of Ralfts entrea-
ties and threats to prevent it, but we did not let
Ralf, or any o:f the boys know but what the letter
was really written by Missv Mollie.
Ever after this, whenever Ralf undertook to
play off one of his little tricks on any of the boye,
it was only necessary to say, "any late news from
Mollie, Ra.lf" and lie was done. It was a subject
he couldn't bear mentioned.
Soon, theretbre, we could lie.down at night to--
sleep with the comfortable assurance that we
would not be awakened by the juxtaposition of a
red-hot tire coal with our toes, and that we should
not be put to the necessity of having to tish our
heads out of a mud hole before morning.
Some six months after our work was completed,
and we had returned home, I met Ralf one day in
the road, told him the truth of the whole matter,
and asked his pardon for the part I had taken in
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'B LIFE.
it; but it was a long time before I could get the
idea of a fisticuff sufficiently out of his head to
induce him to do so; he did, however, at last, and
we have been good friends ever since.
,FFR:O about the time of the tranpiration oft
events recorded in my last number, we began to
experience tough times in the sXl nmp, and our
troubles were not materially abated, as our faith-
ful history will show, until the last line wa run,
the chain rolled up, and our faces turned home-
ward. In fact, we were not without misifortune
until we were safely landed at our respective
At th~ time above referred to, which was about
the middle of April, there commenced a dry spell
of weather, which, judging firom its effects, was
without a preeedent--at least fora number, of years.
Ponds, creeks, branc-hes, swamps, and every other
place usually contaijinig water, dried up, and the
fia-e of the whole country was left without that
element so necessary for the sustenance of animal
and vegetable life.
I speak not exaggeratingly, when I say we must
have seen, during that dry spell of weather, at
least five thousand barrels of dead fish scattered
sqa stow S A sEsvrYOS LJM.
over the beds of the dry ponds. These consisted
of all sorts and sizes-from the largest trout, cat,
and mudfish, down to the friskey little minnow.
During a whole month we were scarcely ever,
at any time, out of reach of the almost intolerable
smell emitted by the piles of these dead animals;
and if the reader has any knowledge of the scent
of putrid fish, he knows it is neither sales nor cologne.
How I longed for Billy O'Neil's "nose that
I have said we were left in the midst of a vast
plain or swamp and prairie without water, which
is true; but, as the reader may be inclined to
doubt this part of the story-that we lived for
months without water-I proceed to explain.
We had a substitute, of course, of the efficacy
of which I shall leave the reader to judge for
When the water dried up, a soft, thick mud was
left in the lowest spots; and our manner of pro-
curing water was to repair to these moist places,
with a pointed pole some three or four inches in
diameter, scrape away the dead and putrid fish,
jog down the pole, and after waiting a sufficient
time for the water to ooze into the bole, sucked it
up through reeds carried for the purpose. Invari-
ably the color of the liquid was precisely that of
"Harrison's best black ink;" and Rogers even
suggested the idea of putting up a few barrels of
it to speculate upon when we should return home;
SOWN M A SBtURVEYOR'S LII.L
but owing to the difficulty of transportation to a
market, the enterprise was abandoned.
It is useless to undertake a description of the
appearance of the victuals cooked with this water-
such as rice, bread, &c. It is enough to say, that
they looked very much like they had been taken
to a coal-pit and worked for an hour in coal dust,
before being subjected to the process of cooking.
Up to this time we had been operating in the
upper, or northern portion of our survey, and
knew nothing of the topography of the country
in the southern part. The Captain, therefore,
during this dry season, determined to run his
township lines in that direction, and thereby ascer-
tain something of the nature of the country to
which our future operations were to be confined.
He accordingly ordered the cook to prepare ix
days rations, which was done. On Monday morn-
ing, bright and early, each.man rolled in his own
blanket his six days supply, and, as it was uncer-
tain what sort of difficulties we might have to
encounter, an additional provision of two days
supply, uncooked, for the whole company, was
put up and placed on Joe's back, who was required
to do nothing but act in the capacity of pack-horse.
He also carried the rifle.
For several-miles we progressed finely, as we
had only high and dry prairie to pass over, but at
the end of this distance we entered a swamp-
without much regret, however, as we knew there
wa no water to wade, and supposed it to be only
90 C80NES IN A BSUVETOR'S SIjE.
a short distance through. In the latter we were
The axemen were brought into requisition, and
we went forward as fast as they were able to clear
a path through the bamboo and tie-tie under-
Scarcely had we entered the swamp, when the
everlasting stench of the dead fish burst upon us
with almost stifling effect. Sometimes we passed
small spots, lower than the surrounding ground,
on which the water had stood longer than on other
places, where lay putrid masses of fish to the
depth of six inches or more. In passing these
places each man held tightly his nose, and only
released it at long intervals, and then but just a
sufficient time to breathe enough of the infected
air to enable him to keep his leg's and march
Dinner hour came, and instead of signs of an
approach to better country, the swanip became
more and more dense and difficult to pass, and
discouragement began to be visible on every coun-
tenance. No one feeling disposed to eat, with
the almost insufferable stench arising from every
quarter, and constantly present to the organs of
smell, we "propelled" without stopping to dine.
Night came and found us still-in the swamp,
and, to all appearances, as far from the opposite
side as ever. .
Tired and weak from the effects of the excessive
labor of the day, and the debilitating influence of
OCENBS IN A SURVNYOR'B LIFM.
the infected air breathed, we forced on our
stomachs a respectable amount of supper, and re-
tired, each man to his tussuck, or projecting cypress
root, upon which to spend the night. We were
forced to the tussucks and roots for rest, because the
ground proper consisted of soft black mud, from
ankle to knee deep, and was rather moist and
sloshyy" to spread blankets and sleep upon. With
the appearance of the first ray of light from the
east on the following morning, we started again,
in good spirits, with the hope that we should soon
have the pleasure of seeing open country, far from
mud and stench, but another day and night, and
another, passed, and we were still in the swamp,
the same as the first, except that we had become
somewhat more accustomed to the odor emitted
from the dead fish, and could devour our provis-
ions with about as good relish as ever.
About an hour after dark, on the fifth night of
our sojourn in the swamp, after having eaten sup-
per and taken our usual places on the tussucks and
roots to pass the night, our astonished ears were
greeted with a noise which appeared to me, at the
time, could be compared to nothing short of the
shaking to pieces of a hundred cities, by an earth-
quake, or the crash of steel, booming of cannon,
shouts of victory, and screams of the wounded and
helpless in battle.
"What's that?" exclaimed Sile, as the almost
deafening racket burst upon us, at the same time
springing from his roost on an elevated cypress
92 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
root, and taking up knee deep in the mud below.
"What's that?" shouted Joe,' as he followed
suit, except that he landed stomach and face first
in the mud. "What's that?" he continued, as he
endeavoured to draw himself out of the mud.
"Has the devil open'd his gates, and turned loose
his prisoners to destroy the world?"
Every man mounted up on the highest place he
could conveniently climb, to catch, if possible,
some distinct sound that would lead to a know-
ledge of the cause of this bedlamic fuss in the
For a long time we listened in astonishment
without being able to do so. At last, however,
the noise grew somewhat less, and we were able
to distinguish sounds.
The Captain was the first to come to a clear
comprehension of the matter. He said that there
was a hole of water about the spot from whence
the noise proceeded, and all the birds, beasts, and
reptiles, of the whole country around,had collected
there to quench their thirst; which was the fact.
Through the whole night the noise was kept up
to such an extent that we slept but little.
Owls hooted, ducks quacked, cranes whooped,
water-turkeys squalled, foxes barked, wolves
howled, panthers screamed, bears growled, and
alligators bellowed, all of which noises, comming-
ling together, made "one grand fuss" frightful to
listen to. On repairing to the spot next morning,
we found the Captain's surmise to be true. .There
SCBHE8 IN A SURVEYOR'8 LIFE.
,was a deep dark hole of water, embracing I sup-
pose about an acre, and around it was collected
every conceivable variety of birds and smaller
animals, (the larger had retired to their dens,) inha-
biting the wild woods of South Florida. Of the
birds there was no such thing as estimating their
number. Of the alligators, it is sufficient to say
that we counted three hundred and seventy in this
small body of water, and they were all large, as
the small ones had all been eaten up by the larger.
I shall have somewhat more to say of this place,
and our tramp of six days, in my next.
THE different animals in and around the hole of
water, described in the last number-and parti-
cularly the alligators--judging from their vora-
ciousuess, must have been in a starving condi-
tion. When one of the birds which fed upon
fishes dipped into the water to secure his prey, it
was at the peril of his life. The alligators
watched with longing eye every motion of these
fish birds, and whenever a water-turkey or fish-
hawk ventured within reach of their heads or tails,
he was a' goner.' I remember very well an instance
that will show the temerity of the former bird,
and the agility of the alligator, which should have
94 SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
served as a solemn warning to the other birds that.
witnessed the scene: An alligator floated on the
water with a portion of himself, from his head to
the end of his tail, above the surface, whether
dc.-igi.ily to entrap the stupid turkeys, I know
not; but this I know, that one of them, probably
mistaking the alligator's back for a floating log,
perched upon it, and almost as quickly as one
could think, the head and tail of the alligator
were brought together, and the turkey passed
down the enormous reptile's throat, kicking and
fluttering as it went.
On making the least noise anywhere about the
edge of the hole, the alligators flocked to the spot,
thinking, I suppose, they might get something to
satisfy their hunger, with such precipitancy as to
make a sufficient splashing in the water to be heard
several hundred yards. In this way Shepley c 1I.,l
them up within a few feet, and amused himself
and the crowd in shooting them. When one was
shot and blood drawn from him, his comrades
pitched him porpoise-like, and in less than two
minutes his body was torn asunder, di ii led among,
and swallowed by as many as could fight their
way to the scene of blood. The first one shot, as
the ball struck him, floundered some three feet out
of the water, and as he fell back again gave a
tremendous roar, which seemed to be a signal to
all the others to roar too; for every one-save
about twenty, which were too busy devouring the
body of the wounded one-hoisted their heads
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIE. 96
and tails, and commenced a thundering roar. The
noist wa deafening; the earth seemed fairly to
quake under the hoarse and grating sound. The
birds now commenced mingling their voices; and
we had a repetition of the frightful din that had
given us so much alarm the night previous.
In order to have a better view of the scene, Sile
very imprudently climbed some twelve feet up in
a tree which leaned at a considerable angle over
the water, and while enjoying it in high glee, the
branch upon which he stood gave way, and he fell
with a tremendous splash into the midst of twenty
or so large alligators beneath. For an instant he
was invisible, but presently his head popped up,
and with the first breath he shouted, "Help, or
I'm gone!" We ran to him as quickly as possible,
and although he was not more than six or eight
feet from the shore, it was only by dint of the
most incessant shouting, and flourishing of sticks
and whatever we could lay hands on at the moment,
that we succeeded in keeping the alligators from
laying hold of him, until he had approached near
Inougl to the baluk for us to catch hold of and
draw him out; and when we had done so, there
were a half dozen of the hungry creatures within
three feet of him, with mouths wide open, ready
to tear him in pieces.
Sile's hair did not, as some men's have done
when they were badly scared, turn white in a
moment, but his face did; and in a husky voice,
after acknowledging indebtedness to those of us
96 SCENES Wr A SURVEYOR'S LIQF
who had come to the rescue, he breathed ven-
geance against the whole race of alligators hence-
forth as long as his life should last-vowing never
to let one live when it was possible to kill him,
which vow I presume he has kept inviolate up to
At this place the Captain rigged up his fishing
tackle, and as fast as he could put his line in the
water and draw it out again, he caught as fine
looking bream and trout as I have ever seen; but,
taken as they were from muddy, stagnant water,
we did not eat them.
Only a few hundred yards from this spot, we
came to high, open pine woods, when immediately
all the troubles and hardships of the last five days,
in passing through a dense swamp of eighteen
miles width, were forgotten in the joy of behold-
ing once more open, dry ground. No mind,
however romantic, ever enjoyed;a scene from the
loftiest peak of mountain, more than we did this
sight of simply open woods.
On emerging from the swamp, we found that
we had but just provisions cinough for the day;
but this we deemed rather in our favor than other-
wise, as we should be encumbered with less weight
to carry; and as it was only four miles to the
southern extremity of our survey, we felt certain
that we could run the line that distance and return
to the camp again by the next night without
Owing to a great number of swamps, though
SCENES IN A SURVEYOR'S LIFE.
none of them were very large, it took the entire
day to reach the end of the four miles, where,
although cloudy and a little windy, we had a good
night's rest on the wire grass.
Early the next morning, without stopping to
take breakfast-for the simple reason that we had
no breakfast to take-we set out on our return to
camp. We shaped our course so as to get back
without passing through the swamp, as the Cap-
tain believed that there might be found an open
way around it without going much out of the way.
The day was dark and cloudy, but the Captain,
not doubting that he was pursuing the right course,
only once or twice through the day took the pre-
caution to set the compass, which was slung by a
string, shot-bag fashion, over his shoulder, and
marched steadily forward.
During the entire day we passed over a mono-
tonous country of prairies and low pine land,
meandering a great number of swamps, though
none of them of very great extent.
About sundown, while walking as fast as our
tired legs would carry us, every moment expect-
' ing to set eyes on some familiar spot in the neigh-
borhood of the camp-for all agreed that we could
not be very far from it-the Captain, who was in
the advance, suddenly stopped, and looking care-
fully around, said:
"Boys, here's a spot I've seen before-what
place is it?"
"Yes," said Ralf, taking a survey of the neigh-