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To. The best understanding of America begins or so it seems to us. With the realisation that this nation is young yet but she's still new and unfinished that even America is man's greatest adventure and talk and speak. The University of North Carolina threw a grad in aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters prisons American Adventure a study of and in the New World a series made possible by the fund for adult education and independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton today's recorded program resigns.
Charles Kuralt an the pioneer call. This is the story of a pioneer a documented story we tell it just as it happened. The letters and journals we quote are the letters and journals of the pioneers who wrote them. And we will try to make these people real. This is the story of Eli Allied a South Carolina platter who wanted to move to the front here way off in Alabama. But even when he got there he wasn't satisfied. And before it was done it was the great western called it broke his heart. And his parents hearts. Our story begins in South Carolina. But way you want to go to and a Bama son you got a plantation you got your slaves once in Alabama you haven't got in South Carolina I don't know except it's new in Alabama. There's something to be built you know. You college educated your new gentleman I saw today.
You're a plant. You've got children in a way. You've got responsibilities. You can't just sell out and move to the Wilsons. The Coven spews Canon's Calhoun's you can name your so call or go into Alabama and I feel like I'm being left out of it that I just have to go out there with them and help make something new that's all. And it's there in South Carolina. And there's nothing I can do except reap my harvest and grow and harvest book Paul. Your brothers out there are pleasant to you. He says the land is good and it's cheap. He says there's a big house some neighbors just left when they came back east. It's there and you can buy the house. Good to have you here. You can send a foreman out there with some and I we were to look and start clearing the land now we can get there in time to put in a crop next spring won't be hard on the women and the
kids that way will it. I have a view I have a view and there's nothing to be said for something new just because it's new. They talked against it you know I had a sister named Sarah Jane plantation of the lives she talked against it and she could talk to Mr. go and he like you and me up PA's oldest he's always looked to us especially you cause you're a man. Kill him to be separated from you for the rest of his life and he can't go with you. You can't expect him to go with you at 65. What does your wife say. She says the same as everybody says in this family. She says Eli you're crazy. You've got something twisted in your mind she's right. Is she right. I've got something twitched in turning in my
mind. I wish the good Lord would tell me what he plans to do with me. Well sir Ely was the oldest. And even though his father was 65 he finally said he'd go with him to Alabama. The womenfolk dern near died on the spot. The specialist to say Ira but a foreman and man were sent to clear land. The Carolina plantations were sold. Six months later the wagons were loaded and the oxen and the horses were hooked up and the family and their slaves began the five to six week journey to Alabama. They were a somber looking group of faces as ever was seen. Eli rode a stallion at the head of the column. His father right beside him now was father. He sometimes would look to the right and sometimes back at the line when you're
on the land he was leaving. But Eli was like a thing possessed. He looked only straight ahead. It was as if he didn't see anything except lay off in the distance. Told trees in Alabama. The road that led from society here out of Alabama went to Donington village passed through Sparrow swamp lunches creek and on to Camden in the river there. I went through a can in Hamburg and when the wagons of the wides rode through Augusta they saw the steam boats tied up there and the oxen could do 12 to 18 miles a day day after day the wheels turning. The women rode and then generally walked and elide lead over the Okeechobee it finds a bridge through Buffalo Creek to the Oconee River at Scott's ferry on to commission creek through the old moldy river and the flint on the Chattahoochee. That's the way you went to Alabama Thursday 17th of December.
Fourth week of the journey. Across the Chattahoochee River and into the Indian country with gloomy feelings travelled 10 miles over a dreadful road and have now taken up camp Sarah Jane we all have our way to say hello to your Uncle James. Little Jimmy you would say and some days ago James that you didn't like riding through all the creeks and swamps of South Carolina and Georgia. You can thank your uncle. Thank you. You're welcome. He's all right. She is not. She's got an illness. Sorry to hear that she's been through so many rivers since we left our warm comfortable homes in Carolina she's got the croup she's been dried out so many times she resembles workload so well Sara we're half way. Another two three weeks will be done with travel and all days we're going to transition as best we can and it'll be all right. You wait and see. I'm not so sure I'll say so much in all this I don't understand
so much worry and hardship and nothing that I don't understand. I ain't so sure I'll ever see anything again. Deserts to cross ranges of heights. The large one. The first step is to go to the dangers. Heard the HAPPENING ON. The 24th Creek this morning which was a dreadful bad road. The prank
was very. Inviting to go in and take a cup of warm coffee and gave him some potatoes. Today I am. The 25th Friday a cloudy gloomy morning with some rain across the big swath. What a pretty deep at the bottom good through a little village called Churchill Road very rough in hilly and drizzly day driving about 18 miles. The 26 Saturday weather more favorable said at about 5 o'clock this morning. Stone Town Creek through some lone muddy hill then crossed Marsh Creek Pass through Pleasant Hill and at length after a tedious journey of five weeks and two days reached our destination. I feel worse than I have done since I left home. Everything seems to me and melancholy to me.
Oh how I would rejoice if we were only back in the good old Darlington again. Travel 14 miles today gloomy and melancholy. But just how depressed Sarah Jane and the others didn't write in that journal of hers. For the past twenty or twenty. Nor the 26 in the word Christmas. But as Sarah Jane was depressed her brother Eli was elated. The land was deep the trees were tall and the screams were full in Alabama. There was room around him and he was I was as carefree as you ever saw. As if a great weight had been lifted from him with a thousand acres of land to be cleared with houses to build for his own family livestock to tend and decisions to make. He
nonetheless appeared to have not I care or worry in the world but is pawed dead. His paw had the womenfolk and problems aplenty. Up here in the future. What you do and say I did yeah I've got a problem with nobody but kittens and he wouldn't be interested in helping me this time. What's the matter with the rock to hit you when you lie I've done lied to him. What am I going to do. Nope or if you were to me what's the matter you told me this morning that they weren't going to let me out of their sight till I took him to that big house I told them about their womenfolk Good morning said Jane I'll just take it easy Paul. But I had to get a word with you. Sneak go. Why don't you take them to the house. I ain't got the house for you promised the women folks been disposed of. I've been keeping it from them but it's getting colder and colder and they don't like it one bit. The tents are leaking some awful you know that too.
But what's a man to do the foreman favor this and getting the land cleared and we can't stop to build a house with spring not far away. That's what I know but try to tell him I promised him that house and now I got it and now what can I do. What can anybody do about that. You got a cabin on your land. I found it. I asked around a year or so ago some people built a cabin down near the road on your west S.E. leg when they were stopping over dude. I never saw it. It ain't listed on my deed. It ain't good enough to be listed on a deed ain't even got a wind but it's there. I've come to ask you for the use of it. You're welcome to it. It's yours. Lish You sound much of a house but it's the best I can do. How big is it. Two rooms and a porch between. Let's see that that would be one for you with your four and one for Sarah Jane and her two porch between. I sure hope you
enjoy the cabin. Paul. You said you wanted to hear this letter before mail it in your Mom. Is this the letter to your sister Hannah. To Hannah and Caleb. Well go ahead then I can listen then so at the same time Hannah and Caleb Coker society here in South Carolina we are living in pars new purchase. The house is far from being comfortable. It's a double house with a narrow passage between the rooms are small and very open. There are cracks where the joists go in almost large enough for a dog to go through but they answer for Windows and we have no others. The loft is nothing but some loose boards laid down and no way to get up or to climb up the logs. We have two beds in one room and three in the other. Consequently we have no room for a table
on which to eat. So at meal times we have to take down one of the doors and set it in the passage which is very uncomfortable and cold all rainy weather and we've had a good deal of both since we've been here. Paul and Samuel made us for Tester bedsteads out of a little sac wings and since we have put our curtains up we found it much more comfortable. That's a fact Sarah Jane. I simply didn't realize before you could put up curtains in a house which had no windows. But they do make the walls look better. Let's see where was it since we put our curtains up we found it much more comfortable. But still the two decaying leaky cabins are infested with snakes lizards mice and so. We live in a delightful neighborhood a kind of village place. Are you listening mother. Suppose you've been so quiet thought a man expected his wife to just listen and not talk.
Or you can talk if you want to make any suggestions as I go along. Cost 25 cents postage to send a letter to Carolina and I want to get it just right. I'm sure you do. Let me see the kind of village place something like Society Hill. Not quite so dense a population but far more numerous. What does that mean. Well it means if all the people who lived round about lived in a town the town would be bigger than society. Not if all the people who live around about society here lived in society here wouldn't. Now you're going to listen to this letter are you going to write it. I'm listening. As to the health from all the information which I can gather it must be equal to the figure of just a few people here say equal to any in the world. Here is natural scenery which is grand and sublime. What are you laughing at. I didn't know I lived in a Cain until you told me some days ago I walked with Paul over some of his beautiful home of which I'm not up to Yanko as you did and
he said it appeared to him that lamb could not be any better than this is. The owners will say as he has better prospects before him now than he ever had and that a man might live here clear and above board. He is fully as pleased with this country as I am. You don't find anything funny about that Martha. Seems like you forgot to tell him that Paul was losing most of his corn crop to the grasshoppers and if I'm going to expect Sarah Jane you know what to do discourage him from coming out here. But my own wife. And what do you think Sarah Jane's right. I can guess. Probably be better to both of you would do away with exaggerate and stick to the way things really are. Only I want Hannah and Caleb to come out here and when you're to pose in a woman like Sarah Jane sometimes a man just handicaps himself by sticking too close to the truth. If you lived in Pleasant Hill Alabama in eight hundred thirty five and six and then gone
away for several years you wouldn't have recognized it when you came back through. As time passed the fields took on a trend in order to know instead of being big holes hacked from the sides of the forest. Houses were prosperous. There were three churches in a school with notice of the children were growing up and the babies were children. That the old people were getting very old. James lived for example was crossing a tree. And Eli was changed. But with Eli it wasn't so much as face serious doctor that was different. No it was something else that the years had done to Eli as wife noticed it as children did and his father did too. You couldn't help but see it the way he'd stand watching the wagon train. Finding their way west and some Clinton at night the way he would watch the fire. Just sit there and watch it. Was just a matter of time till he said what these problems are
you come in the bit and not the line in a minute if you're through with this coffee cup Take it had just been sitting here looking at the water in the fire curtain and you twisted you. I'm 54 Martha. What's the matter. Pretty soon they're going to stop turning for me. What do you love me enough to go to Texas with me. What you say you know that's the way the wheels are going Martha traveling on down the road to Texas I've seen that look in your Before I so I can Caroline over fifteen years ago. I've seen it many a time of little kids that honey. It's a look that sees beyond it sees beyond maybe in the children. You lie you have two thousand acres year some of it worth fifty dollars an
acre you were say and it's true honey and good luck the best. I used to think back in South Carolina it was the good land called Midwest. Not all. Have the land. But it isn't the land doing the main calling that a whole lot. Never was I guess would you go with me. You'd go without me if I didn't. Wouldn't you. You'd look right over me and the children wouldn't. But I don't say that please. I know you would. I suppose I ought to dislike you for I don't know what I'd do living apart from your mother. Would you go. If I decide to. I don't want to go but I stood before a preacher once and I said I'd stay with you until death parted us. I've had cause to regret sayin that because to be good. But I've said it before a preacher and before God I said it. And I reckon God
expects me to keep my word in South Carolina or in Alabama and I reckon God is even in Texas. Take care honey. That's what I love about you might say. I don't know what it is but I'd sure be a poor man without it. When you going to talk to your parents. All right. SPECTER be having words with this I reckon. Yes I get this broken coffee pot. Why would you ever marry a man like me. Tell you why because back in Carolina where I first knew your giant of a man who could go up and stand in the middle of a thousand acres of cleared with slaves in houses and barns wasn't big enough for you. Take the
Alabama close enough to the end of the earth. Oh yeah. Not anymore. You brought us out here. You're the one who got us to leave Carolina. And now you want us to go to Texas. If I had my way you'd be taken out Moss with Jane I've done her job with enough to be able to estimate your opinion on any subject. Surely on this one. Now be quiet. How come to be the reason. Cause I like the idea of the West. Do you know yourself I made a promise never to come West for I give him permission to marry you. I talk so hard again the Westin that even I haven't been able to talk him into breaking his promise in coming on out here in all these 14 15 year old. So what is calling me. It was because you come to me just like now and you said oh I'm going west and you're my oldest.
And in some ways you're my best you're just talking yourself into something that doesn't apply does apply. I come here to keep my family with you. I was 65 but I moved here most probably here for much the same reason if the truth was known. Even Sarah Jane is probably here because she couldn't stand being separated from the one man she's had to argue with since her husband died. But I can go further west. I'm 83. And this time I just ain't leaving. You build something here son. You built a town you probably more than any man around. You've got hundreds of acres of land and X has never even saw it you see it's done it's finished here except for the polishing of the way in a way the coal is out there. Cor well short of coal do you reckon it is it would take a man from his parents.
I have heard a man getting a call to preach the gospel when the Lord said to leave your parents when you go out to preach but there's nothing in God's word about leavin him in the road rage after heaven drag him across the country. Not for a call which has no meaning to anybody and benefits nothing. Yeah. Please don't get so excited. What's the matter with you. You don't have to tell you that Paul. A man doesn't have to tell another man what there is in moving on. Maybe now you don't want me to go. You don't want to recognize it to be a which I recognize each day. I can see it clearly. I recognize your duty to your wife and kids and do you more than me. No I ain't too proud to tell you that I need you with me now to tell you that I think you ought to stay. You're educated. You're not a tramp to be marching through the woods all your life. And if you go you're go without my blessing.
You know I worked his land and harvested his crops for four more autumn's after that. But he was like a thing possessed restless unable to keep his eyes from running out over the tall trees. And more and more you'd see him standing high on the hill back of his house looking out over the road at the wagons used going west. Sometimes he'd stand there for near half a day. And then late one afternoon he came back to his house and his face was strained awfully strained as if he'd been fighting with himself. His wife she came up to him and suddenly he enveloped her in his huge arms and held her so tight she almost wanted to cry out. Held her as if he needed her. Suddenly he let her go and looked around and left the house. And she knew where he was going. It's going to hurt me. It's going to drive me crazy but I have no choice no choice at all.
I'm moving on. I know you can't come with me but I'm moving on and I don't want to go without at least your forgiveness. You ask is to forgive an act you haven't done. Know when you're going to do it. Yes I'm asking all right now usually even you with a case in your head. You're going anyway son. Yes mom. Why. I don't know why exactly. You tell me you born me you born a baby boy and you grew up to be a man and I don't know any more than you do. Except there's a call. And there's a road. In April of 1850 for 18 years after he'd arrived in Alabama Eli's wagons began rolling toward Texas with his family and his slaves. And on the
15th of April from camp of ill Alabama he wrote a letter to his parents which has been preserved to our day. This day. I'm 58 years old and for 58 years of my kind and affectionate parents nourished strengthened and advised me in every good thing and that at last I should have peen them by my gratitude and leaving them in their own. Soul. It almost breaks my heart but I had a dear father and mother. I'm not ungrateful. For all the kindness to me. Tears of gratitude can now flow in unrestrained silence and there's none to criticize my sincerity or to impugn my motives. I often think how can I do without my father and mother. I can't. I cannot do without them. Yet something within me whispers onward. On. And urges me on like a prisoner who has been fifty eight years
and idled in his Lord's vineyard and has lived on his bounty and has made no return for the favors he has received. Abraham's cases often applied to me as I travel along the wearisome road. And often does the desire arise in my heart to know what the Lord intends to do with me. It is now eleven o'clock at night. Family have retired long since. And there's nothing to break the silence of the night of the week rushing in. Trees in the rain entering upon them. Give my kindest regards to all my friends and relatives. You buy each. American Adventure is written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton produced by the communication center of the University of North Carolina American Adventure is a
study of mine in the New World. His values and his characteristics are who he is what he believes. The series is made possible by the National Association of educational broadcasters and the fund for adult education and independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Letters and journals of the Allied family have been edited by Fletcher Greene in a small book published by the University of South Carolina Press. Dr. Green's book is entitled The lines go south and west and the pioneer called Charles Kuralt was Eli Jonny Lee the father Fred O'Neal the sister and Josephine shock of the mother. Carl Kasell speaking American Adventure is produced and recorded by the University of North Carolina on the campus at Chapel Hill. This is the n AB network.
American adventure
Pioneer call
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A study of the challenge of new frontiers. The story of a son who never can be satisfied.
Series Description
This series studies the values and characteristics of notable figures from America's early years. It is written by John M. Ehle and directed by John S. Clayton.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Family life--United States
Media type
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Actor: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
Actor: Sharkey, Josephine
Actor: Ehle, Gail
Advisor: Green, Fletcher Melvin, 1895-1978
Director: Clayton, John S.
Host: Kasell, Carl.
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Writer: Ehle, John, 1925-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-12-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:14
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Chicago: “American adventure; Pioneer call,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Pioneer call.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Pioneer call. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from