Through recollection we recover consciousness of former events.
My aim has been to get of them, what they themselves know. And they may not know I will ever see another person.
JOHN DABNEY SHANE
An old farmer living between the ferry turnpike and the mill road was in his field when the young Presbyterian minister came to call. John Dabney Shane recorded the man's reaction to his inquiries about early times: "Wouldn't stop from his corn to talk longer. Unimportant." Yet as Ben Guthrie warmed to his tale--an account of moving to Kentucky in 1783 to settle a frontier outpost--his words filled five closely written pages of the young minister's notebook. On another day, Mrs. Stagg, with "a lively tongue, and a minute recollection," was anxious to speak of her experiences--especially of her memories of an Indian attack on Wheeling in 1777, when "women ran bullits in frying pans . . . and one Scotchman prayed all day." In fact, Shane noted of this overwhelming interview, the old lady talked so fast, so much of it, so little that I was conversant with," that he determined "to prepare myself, and at some time have a regular siege." But the day never came to return to her. In the early 1840s the pioneer generation of trans- Appalachian settlers was rapidly dying off. 1