them almost at the very threshold, thus inaugurating a bloody war which lasted for twenty years, and gave to the State
, which near its close had become a member of the Union
, the sobriquet of ‘the dark and bloody ground.’
holds this title after the lapse of more than a century of statehood.
Tradition reaching back beyond Watauga
had represented it as an untenanted expanse of forest and grassy plains in which the Indians of the north and south periodically hunted the buffalo, deer and other game, and across which were beaten war paths by which they were wont to make predatory excursions into the territory each of the other.
The aborigines yielded before the march of civilization.
The axe of the pioneer felled the forest, and before a century had passed since Boone
blazed away for the Transylvania company more than a million souls were dwelling in peace and happiness in the fair land whose natural beauties had been heightened by the skill of the husbandman and the embellishments of modem civilization.
For a long season, interrupted only by the call to arms in the national defense, the dark cloud of the Indian
legend seemed dispelled and the war path between the North and South obliterated forever.
But the fancied security was illusory.
In the very sunshine of a peaceful day the cloud suddenly loomed up on the horizon, and spreading with a blinding gloom, enveloped every home with its pall.
again became in very deed ‘the dark and bloody ground.’
The war-path was reestab-lished and legions from the North
and from the South
threaded the ways which Boone
had trod, and crimsoned her soil with their blood.
The tragedy was heightened by the fate which arrayed father against son, and brother against brother.
There was scacre a home across which the shadow of death did not fall.
A third of a century has passed since this deluge of blood swept the State
Peace has smoothed the wrinkled brow of war. The passions of strife have cooled into the