skill could hardly be ascribed to him where so little was required.
's occupation was that of a farmer, which then, as now, must have been one of comparative ease, because of the exceptional facility for growing hay1
and raising stock, and not conducive to progressive agriculture.
Life was fairly amphibious: fences had (as they still have) to be taken down and corralled in the fall, to prevent their being floated off in the spring; and when at last the gentle flood covered the intervale as far as the eye (even looking from Burton heights) could reach, the farmer turned navigator over his own domain.
Lucky if the main river-road emerged, and his house and barn were uninvaded by the tide, he was yet tranquil in the assurance that where he now drew up his herring, he2
should by and by view with satisfaction his crops of grain and potatoes.
, we know, had pitched his log cabin too near the brink, and was made aware of the fact, in an extraordinary rise, by a huge cake of ice sailing through from door to door, and carrying off not only half the house, but the day's dinner of boiling meat in the pot, and the table gear, happily recovered after drifting against a stump.3
One other incident of these early days of the settlement has a more immediate interest.
Five children had been born to Joseph and Mary Garrison
, the youngest, Abijah, being an infant in arms—say, in the spring of 1774.
The mother had started in a boat down the river to pay her father a visit, taking her babe with her, and a lad who lived with the family:
‘The river was clear of ice when she started, and she 4 apprehended no danger.
Long before she got to her journey's end the ice broke further up the river, and came down with such force against her boat as to break it badly, and compel her to exchange it for an ice-cake, which was driven ashore by a larger piece of ice. Like a mother, she wrapped her babe in all the clothes she could spare, and threw him into the snow on ’