|John Cutter West|
Continuing the story, my ancestor John C West was lost on a frozen lake in Maine
in a snowstorm with his friends Enoch Abbott and Joseph Chase. When Chase
decided to lay down and take a nap, my 3x great grandfather took drastic measures:
West applied the brad, then laid his
goad the length of his back, at the same
time in peremptory tones commanding
him to get up and walk or he would take
his pelt. Chase with a temper at fever
heat leaped from his recumbent position
and for a few minutes a fierce fisticuff
ensued. Chase was by this time well
roused and after due explanations peace
was restored and they resumed their
They soon came to more fresh tracks
when West ordered halt, "Now," said
he "we have all this time been playing
fool We are beyond a doubt traveling
in a circle like all bewildered people.
These cattle know their way and can
keep their course much better than we
can. Now I propose to turn them loose
and let them take the lead. They are
tired and hungry and will make the near-
est habitation." All agreed and the poor
tired creatures were soon set at liberty.
The master ox belonging to West with
a low cow bossy call to the others start-
ed off followed by the entire herd.
As it proved the ox knew best. On
they plodded for a half hour or more,
when the leader began toi low and quick-
en his pace. "Good!" exclaimed West,
"we are near some habitation. Old Star
never tells lies."
Anon they found themselves in Joe
Stone's dooryard. Joe hearing the low
of the oxen came out to bid then wel-
come. The house though small would
accommodate the men but how about
the oxen. A small log hovel for his cow
was all the out-house he possessed. A
stack of hay stood near the hovel to
which the oxen made way. Joe
came out, mounted the hove, thence the
haystack, undid the fastenings at the
top and completely buried the oxen in
hay. "There." said he, " they are all
right for to-night, now for supper."
After a hearty supper of moose and
deer steak, they looked to their oxen to
find them all resting on the soft hay,
each ox beside his mate. Next morning
the cattle made their way to the sleds,
were yoked and sped for home.
I'll have a few concluding thoughts in the next post.