The Rampaging Frontier: Manners and Humors of Pioneer Days in the South and the Middle West

By Thomas D. Clark | Go to book overview

PREFACE

Too long the historian has neglected the earthy elements of humanity which went into the making of the West. He has written hundreds of learned essays and pamphlets about them, but seldom has he danced with their gals, or rolled on their camp-meeting floors. He has never drunk with the colonels, drilled with the privates, nor dodged their horses in main street and highway races. All of this to the learned fraternity of historians is frivolous, and above all historians must never be frivolous. of recent years a few bold ones have dared break away from traditional formality to tell some of the rich yarns which amused another generation. This departure has broken the ice, and the dignified brethren have listened with increasing interest to what apologetic chairmen of program committees have labeled "light stuff."

My story is human, and it is buckskin, but if there was ever anything in America that was more buckskin than the frontier and its society it has not yet shown its head. There may be those who will ask: Was there not broadcloth? Yes there was. It is hard to tell at times where it began and where it ended, but I know it really existed. I have come to grips with it. Once I turned patiently through hundreds of records, most of which had to do with teaching Latin, Greek and dogma, of a pioneer institution of learning in the West. I also assisted in collecting material for a history of pioneer medicine from which I found out about the abominable cowpox which was transmitted on woolen strings to innoculate hapless victims against the smallpox. Even a state legislature learned of this cultural advance and undertook to check it with an omnipotent act. Many times I have stood before beautiful fan-sashed Georgian colonial doorways, built in an early day, and admired the beautiful lines, and

-xi-

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The Rampaging Frontier: Manners and Humors of Pioneer Days in the South and the Middle West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter I - The Backwoods 17
  • Chapter II - Varmints 39
  • Chapter III - Green Un's 57
  • Chapter IV - Boom Poles and Paddle Wheels 79
  • Chapter V - Somebody in My Bed 102
  • Chapter VI - Servants of the People 120
  • Chapter VII - Where the Lion Roareth and the Wang Doodle Mourneth for His First-Born 142
  • Chapter VIII - Bench, Bar and Jury 163
  • Chapter IX - Gentlemen of Rank 183
  • Chapter X - Liars 205
  • Chapter XI - Qurater Hosses 224
  • Chapter XII - Keards 239
  • Chapter XIII - Fiddlin' 259
  • Chapter XIV - Foolin' with the Gals 281
  • Chapter XV - Yankees B'Gad 301
  • Notes 321
  • Bibliography. 341
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