Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Check in here for reviews of whiskey related books and other materials

Moderators: Brewer, brendaj

Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:08 pm

Daniel Boone and Others On the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795. Darren R. Reid, Editor. MacFarland& Company, Inc.:Jefferson, North Carolina, 2009. Contents, Introduction, Index, End Notes, Illustrated, pp.218.

This is a book of collected primary sources about frontier Kentucky edited by Reid. These sources are materials written or dicated to a writer that are first hand accounts of life in Kentucky. Reid does an excellent job in describing the prejudices and circumstances involved in these sources. Kentucky was a war zone. The native Americans were resisting the expansion of European settlers into their traditional territories such as Kentucky. This was not a unified resistance with several tribes north of the Ohio River including the Shawnee, Wyandot and Deleware tribes and the Cherokee and others to the south in the Appalachian mountains. Even so there were no "civilians" to be found on either side as the war involved all men, women and children on both sides, with both sides committing attrocities to the traditional non-combatants. These stories paint a grime picture of life in Kentucky that encompassed a whole generation of people.

These are stories from the setlers themselves. They describe life on a warring frontier where everybody carried a weapon even when going to plant a field. Native Americans used whatb would be called "terror tatics" in the modern world. Ambush, cattle and horse theft and kidnapping all being common in thie 22 year span covered by this book. One particular story of a family that moved into a new area and were discovered by Native Americans. The warriors simply stole the cow bells from their live stock to impress upon the family what would happen if they staid where they were, isolated from other European families. The accounts of the burning at the stake of Col. Crawford is told in horrid detail. The book leaves the reader with no doubts that frontier Kentucky was not for the pacificist.

The accounts used include Filson's biography of Daniel Boone, John D. Shane's interviews with Josiah Collins and William Sudduth, Dr. John Knight' story of his capture and witness of Col. Crawford's execution, John Slover's story of his capture from the same expedition and finally John Tanner's story of capture as a child in Kentucky and 30 years amongst the Native Americans in the north west territories. There are some illustrations by the author of forts or stations and some maps.

This is also a good source for distilling history for a couple of reasons. First of all it shows the difficulty the settlers faced in this period and just how hard it was to raise a crop and make whiskey. Most of this whiskey was probably made for consumption, not trade. It is also interesting in that the earliest documents do not refer to spirits as "whiskey" but as "rum". At one point a Native American asks a settler to teach him to "make rum from corn". The only document that does refer to spirits as whiskey is the Tanner narrative that was written in the 1820s. It was probably the "whiskey rebellion" that caused the change in nomenclature.

This is a good book to have in your distilling library because it does a very good job in setting the stage for early Kentucky disilling. The region was a war zone until the battle of Falling Timbers finally drove the Native Americans to a treaty that virtually drove them from the area.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:31 pm

I was expecting John Lipman to jump all over this since he has said for years that he thinks rum was the spirit that whiskey was to immitate. In this case I think it is more like the way people use the word "coke" for any soft drink - rum was used in the same manner. Also, if John is right, then it does indicate that rum was not an aged spirit since the Native Americans were associating whiskey for rum.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby cowdery » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:28 pm

Apparently is is about the whole western frontier, not just Kentucky, as William Crawford died in Wyandot County, Ohio. Crawford County, Ohio, named for him, is near there and also very near where I grew up. This is in north-central Ohio, far from the Kentucky border.
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
User avatar
cowdery
Registered User
 
Posts: 1586
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:07 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:51 am

Chuck,
It is true that Crawford died in north central Ohio, but it was very much about Kentucky. Kentucky was were the /europeans chose to settle first, but it was Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee that were homes to the Native Americans trying to resist this European expansion. Crawford was from western Pennsylvania (whiskey rebellion territory) and died in Ohio, but it was the expansion into Kentucky that caused the disputes that caused his death.

This war with the native Americans was another reason for the Whiskey rebellion as the settlers on the western frontier thought the government was not giving them the support they needed against the native American raids, so why should they pay more taxes. This was not a primary reason for the rebellion, but it was a grievance against the tax.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby cowdery » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:33 pm

It's a fascinating period, the history of our own native soil, and not so terribly long ago. The town where I'm writing this, Mansfield, Ohio, was a significant settlement during the War of 1812 and the lead-up to it. There were several blockhouses in the area (the primary type of frontier fortification) and troops in transit or on patrol often chose those locations to set up camp, since they could usually get access to food and other supplies, including liquor. We had a couple of small distillers, as did every frontier community.

The approximate site of Crawford's death is close to Findlay, Ohio. Also on my travels between here and Chicago I've enjoyed visiting Fort Meigs and the Fallen Timbers Battlefield, both near Toledo.

My own ancestors were among the first settlers in what was then called the Western Reserve, crossing the Ohio River and settling near what is now Marietta in 1806.

But by the time Ohio settlement began in earnest, Kentucky was already a state (1792). Europeans hugged the Atlantic coast for the first 150 years or so of New World colonization. The moves into what are now Kentucky and Tennessee were the beginning of the settlement of the interior, and the beginnings of bourbon whiskey.
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
User avatar
cowdery
Registered User
 
Posts: 1586
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:07 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Whiskey-galore » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:48 pm

Hi All - I was happy to see a review of my book on this site and decided that since I am currently trying to develop my appreciation for bourbon that this discussion would give me a great excuse to join this site.

Apparently is is about the whole western frontier, not just Kentucky, as William Crawford died in Wyandot County, Ohio. Crawford County, Ohio, named for him, is near there and also very near where I grew up. This is in north-central Ohio, far from the Kentucky border.


Essentially bourbonv summed up my response - sadly my publisher did chose my book's title for me - this was not my first choice for a title.

It's a fascinating period, the history of our own native soil, and not so terribly long ago. The town where I'm writing this, Mansfield, Ohio, was a significant settlement during the War of 1812 and the lead-up to it. There were several blockhouses in the area (the primary type of frontier fortification) and troops in transit or on patrol often chose those locations to set up camp, since they could usually get access to food and other supplies, including liquor. We had a couple of small distillers, as did every frontier community.


I couldn't agree more - I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in the States (I am from and live in Scotland) last year conducting research and it was amazing to me to think that just over 200 years ago Kentucky and Ohio (the places I was visiting) had changed so completely. For instance, I was lucky enough to visit the Buffalo Trace distillery - but what was really amazing was knowing that the original trace was not formed by the buffalo but by mastadons (wooly mamoths) thousands of years before. It was a strange experience to think that I was standing in an area that was connected every period of Kentucky's history - from the prehistoric to the modern bourbon industry.
Darren R. Reid, Author/Editor of Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795
"Curiosity is natural to the soul of man" - John Filson/Daniel Boone
User avatar
Whiskey-galore
Registered User
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:27 am

Darren,
Welcome aboard and enjoy the site. I do have a question for you that you are more qualified to answer since this early settlement history is your field. Do you think that I am right saying that Rum was a general term for all spirits in the late 1700s?

By the way, I think it most appropriate that someone with you historical background joined on Washington's Birthday.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Whiskey-galore » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:37 pm

bourbonv wrote:Welcome aboard and enjoy the site. I do have a question for you that you are more qualified to answer since this early settlement history is your field. Do you think that I am right saying that Rum was a general term for all spirits in the late 1700s?


Hi Mike,
That's a really interesting question which I must admit I've never given much consideration. That said I do think you might be on to something as I remember reading an account of a group of settlers travelling up a river in a canoe who, at one point, essentially kidnap an Indian who becomes their pilot. The reason this account sticks in my mind is the use of "rum" to pay the Indian for his services - in the account the Indian asks for alcohol by using the word "taffa" which the settler who reported this translated as rum. It seemed to me unlikely that Indian would know in advance that the settlers specifically had rum - and I don't think the settler in question believed he wanted any specific type of alcohol. I think both Indian and settler were simply talking about alcohol rather than a specific beverage. I also believe that Indians had a particular fondness for brandy - at least when the French were still a force in North America.

As I was thinking about this I also dug out my old copy of Delaware and Shawnee vocabularies recorded by Major Denny (1785-1786). What is interesting about this source is that the only word related to alcoholic spirits in the Shawnee section is a translation for "rum "- "Withocapay." The translation for "very drunk" is "Alamawanetho." This might be important because alcohol was such an important trade item between settlers and Indians - the presence of a translation for rum may very well suggest it was an anologue for alcohol or alcoholic spirits. There is, however, a word for "grog" ("Skepecothy") which, I believe, was a drink made from beer and rum which possibly muddies the waters somewhat. However, it may be that rum referred to alcoholic spirits in general whereas grog, contrary to its modern day meaning, actually meant something much more specific. In the context of trade with the Indians grog may have referred to a lower quality/diluted beverage. Bearing in mind that Indian traders would dilute their alcohol as much as possible to get the best possible value from a transaction this might possibly be the case. As for the Delaware the only word Denny recorded for any beverage was a translation for grog ("Behauseck") - this may be answered by the previous explanation or possibly because of the influence of Moravian missionaries among this group. The pacifist Indians massacred by western Pennsylvanian settlers (the same type of people who took part in the Whiskey Rebellion) at Gnadenhutten in 1782 were Moravian Indians and I believe they weren't keen at all on drink. It is possible there was less of a need for Denny to talk about alcohol with this group.

Now that I think about it I've never really seen the word alcohol used in any old source material (though that doesn't mean it wasn't used) - instead most refer to as something akin to "hard drink" so it seems prefectly reasonable to me that rum might very well have been used in this capacity.
Darren R. Reid, Author/Editor of Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795
"Curiosity is natural to the soul of man" - John Filson/Daniel Boone
User avatar
Whiskey-galore
Registered User
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:18 pm

im Holmberg seems to think it may be significant that that :Taffa" may be made with something other than rum. I am inclined to believe that it was made with corn whiskey that the settleres were simply calling "rum". In my opinion,there was too much of it traded for it all to be made from New England rum and the settlers probably had the attitude that the Native Americans did not know the difference anyway, so why not make it with corn whiskey.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Whiskey-galore » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:40 pm

bourbonv wrote:im Holmberg seems to think it may be significant that that :Taffa" may be made with something other than rum. I am inclined to believe that it was made with corn whiskey that the settleres were simply calling "rum". In my opinion,there was too much of it traded for it all to be made from New England rum and the settlers probably had the attitude that the Native Americans did not know the difference anyway, so why not make it with corn whiskey.


I think that is perfectly reasonable - in the specific case of Kentucky it was a long time before wagons could be taken through the wilderness gap so transporting massive amounts of rum from the eastern states probably was not easy. Of course the Ohio River was always an option but, depending upon when one tried to navigate it, it would have been a difficult/dangerous endeavour in its own right. At least as far as the late 18th century is concerned I think the alcohol produced in the west would have been far more important than the alcohol imported.

I've been considering the significance of the Appalachian Mountains for a while - although Kentucky, Tennessee, etc were not a huge distance from the eastern states (at least compared to the later west of the 19th century) they were nonetheless physically separated from these settled areas by a signiciant geographic obstacle which I believe helped to foster a distinct trans-Appalachian culture that alcohol production was an intrinsic part of.
Darren R. Reid, Author/Editor of Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795
"Curiosity is natural to the soul of man" - John Filson/Daniel Boone
User avatar
Whiskey-galore
Registered User
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:21 pm

http://www.in-west-indies.com/sint-maar ... e/rhum.htm

The term "guildive" in this account is evidently a francised version of "kill-devil", an old English name for rum.

Where taffia comes from, the etymology, is hard to say. I wonder if it is from the French "tot-fait" (quickly made), which is the origin of the confectionary term toffee, apparently. Both would share an origin in sugar, yet tot-fait refers to the rapidity of production, not the source materials as such.

Etymology dictionaries might offer more help for taffia, as far as I know, the term has always had French associations. The Indians probably got it from early French explorers.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Whiskey-galore » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:22 am

Hi Gary, pleasure to meet you

gillmang wrote:Where taffia comes from, the etymology, is hard to say. I wonder if it is from the French "tot-fait" (quickly made), which is the origin of the confectionary term toffee, apparently. Both would share an origin in sugar, yet tot-fait refers to the rapidity of production, not the source materials as such.


It may be that taffia entered the trans-Atlantic vocabulary as a corruption of an Indian word dating from this period. It is plausible that this Indian word first entered the French vocabulary as it described a drink that was distinct to the New World before passing into wider usage through the Americas and possibly Europe. It reminds me of the story of "kangaroo" - if memory serves a group of British explorers met a tribe who used this word to describe the modern day animal - when these same explorers went to a different part of Austrailia they used this word believing that the aboriginal population would understand it. Quite naturally, these other groups spoke a completely different language and did not - instead they adopted this word believing it to be the original English word for the animal.

Taffia may have originated as a description for a very specific alcohol - the word may or may not have developed wider connotations over the years. It is also possible the word is a fusion of African and Indian dialects as the source quoted in the above article states "The spirit drawn from sugarcane is called guildive, though savages and negroes call it taffia." It was certainly common for slave communities to use fusions of different African languages along with words from the groups who owned them (English, French, Spannish, etc) to create new pidgeon languages.
Darren R. Reid, Author/Editor of Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795
"Curiosity is natural to the soul of man" - John Filson/Daniel Boone
User avatar
Whiskey-galore
Registered User
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:02 am

Darren,
Do you have a "recipe" for taffia?
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4057
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Whiskey-galore » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:38 pm

I don't I'm afraid - I've had a look through some sources but nothing close I'm afraid. The internet doesn't seem to contain any information on it either except this article that appears on various websites (including wikipedia) without any citations:

Tafia is a kind of cheap rum made from sugarcane juice. It is typically unaged.

The history of rum dates back to the 17th century on vast sugarcane plantations established in the West Indies. In the colonial era, rum trade became very lucrative along the existing trade routes and rum production also became a component of slavery.

In the making of rum, the juice from sugarcane is boiled down to syrup. This syrup is briskly stirred until crystals form. When the crystal layer is removed, the remainder - molasses - is boiled again and water and yeast are added to the molasses and water mixture and allowed to ferment. The fremented mixture is then distilled. The distilled product is colorless until it is aged in wooden barrels and other natural ingredients like caramel are added.


Though as I was reading this I wondered whether maple syrup could be substitued for the sugarcane syrup?
Darren R. Reid, Author/Editor of Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier: Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795
"Curiosity is natural to the soul of man" - John Filson/Daniel Boone
User avatar
Whiskey-galore
Registered User
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Book Review: Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontie

Unread postby Bourbon HQ » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:08 pm

By the way Darren, our Bourbon Society here in Louisville uses tasting glasses from Scotland (Glencairn).


Gayle
User avatar
Bourbon HQ
Registered User
 
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Louisville, KY

Next

Return to The Library

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests