TENNESSEE FREE TRAPPERS ASSOCIATION
By: ROBERT CAMPBELL
My first wife said that all trappers smelled like a grizzly bear, and people who make lure smelled like a grizzly bear with the mange. What a nose! She could smell a drop of lure half a mile away on a still day.
The preacher and his wife came by one day to visit with us. I came in to greet them. I did not know that the gallon of lure I was carrying would, after two years of aging, pick this time to explode. The divorce took place about 6 months later. Good thing, it took that long for the smell to leave.
My second wife has a nose about like my first wife had, except she's a good sport. The only thing is that with her, when I'm bottling lure, I lose about twenty pounds. It's not the smell that stops me from eating, she won't let me in the house. Drive-in meals are just not quite like home cooking. Thank goodness bottling season is now over. After ten baths and a trip to the car wash, I've got to the back porch once or twice now.
What really is a let-down and really makes your day is when you come home cold, wet, hungry, give out, and find out that your 14 year old has tossed hundreds of dollars worth of lure in the creek. She said it did not smell good to her and the creek was up of course!
By: ROBERT CAMPBELL
This is a story about Luke and Tots, some of my trapping kin, in the fall of 1790 (these are the dates on the old journals I am using to write this story).
It seems that Luke and Tots tradded with the trappers and Indians to the northwest of their home in what is now the hill country of Tennessee. Their travels took them as far away as Canada on trips lasting up to six months and covering 2,000 miles or more. They ran a pack train of about 30 mules and 10-20 good saddle horses. To trade along the way, they had trade goods, including muzzle-loading rifles with powder and lead to mold balls for the rifles. They also had blankets and beads to trade for furs, and other supplies that they might need on their travels.
Also included in their goods was about 100 gallons of corn whiskey to trade (and to take the chill out of their bones). Luke and Tots took a little nip - About a pint at a time if things were going well, which was not always the case. Like the time Luke traded 10 gallons of corn whiskey for a young Indian girl named Raven to help with cooking and other chores on the trail.
She was a pretty girl. She was also, according to Luke, as mean as a she-grizzly with cubs when things did not go to suit her, so Luke took her back to her father indtending to trade her for furs and buffalo robes, but her father, being a hard and smart trader, wanted 20 gallons of whiskey and 10 good ponies to take her back. Luke made the best of a bad trade and married her, so this is how my great-great-great-grandmother joined my family. She lived to be 93, and would still get on the warpath when things did not suit her. Luke said sometimes he wished that he had traded her father the wiskey and ponies to take her back, but if he had, I could not be writing this story about Luke and Raven. They had eight sons who followed their fathers way of life, trading and trapping and making good corn whiskey.
This is but a small part of the life of Luke, Tots, and Raven. There will be many short stories about them as I have time to read and research these old records.
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