Families form nations and place themselves under the aegis of the state, which is the higher form of organized human society. Yet even the nation is not its final term; it forms part of a vaster, broader community — mankind itself. While the individual always retains his proper value and can never be regarded as the transitory form of one great substance, as a mere wave lifted for a moment on the ocean of humanity; yet humanity is not a mere abstraction, it is an unquestionable reality. It is just this indestructible kinship among all the sons of humanity which explains the great and powerful fact of human solidarity, in which we are all included, and which brings us under the most various influences in the sphere of the family, the nation, or the race, so that we can hardly distinguish in ourselves that which is our own, or that which we derive from heredity, or from the influence of environment or of history.
The study of man as a social being is based upon the study of man as an individual; and requires, in order to give consistency to history, a knowledge of the general conditions under which individual life manifests itself. As presented to u3 in the writings of the old historians, history consisted, for the most part, of the bare recital of events, unaccompanied by philosophical reflections, or by any attempt to discover the mutual relations and tendencies of things. Writers of more modem times not only narrated events, but fringe them with the hues of their own thought, and impress upon them the bias of their own opinions, and, as a result, we have what is known as the Philosophy of History. Men began to think of events in their sources and issues, all national changes, all events upon the mighty stream of tendency, might be subjected to philosophical analysis. As the years went by the survey of the past took a higher, loftier stand, and spread over a wider range. The causes of the rise and fall of empires; the elements of national prosperity or decline; the obsoleteness or adaptation of various forms of government; the evidences of growth and transition among the people of mankind; all in their turn were made matters of historical inquiry. History, at first narrative and then polemical, has become, in our day a record of progress, a triumphal eulogy of the growth of civilization. But even now writers and readers of history form an unworthy estimate of its province, if they restrict it within such limits. They only realize its mission who see in it
"The divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them as we may."
It is not enough, if we study history aright, that We should follow in the track of battle, and listen to the wail of the vanquished, and to the shouts of the conquerors; it is not enough that we should philosophically analyze the causes of upheaval and remodelling; it is not enough that we should regard it as a chaos of incident, a troubled maze without a plan; we realize the true ideal of history when we discover the Mighty Civilizer, shaping its ends for the evolution of Hs own designs, bringing order from its vast confusion, resolving its parts into one grand and marvelous unity, making it a body of completeness and symmetry.
In the study of the history of our own county, we must remember certain peculiarities, which, though apparently of small account, are influential elements in material process, and means toward the formation of its character. The early traditions are potent factors in its progress. The memory of its heroes, and the battle fields where their laurels were won; of its seers of science, its prophets of cultured minds; of its poets who have won the people's heart; all the stirring recollections of the romantic past, which flush the cheek and brighten the eye; all these are substantial tributaries to a country's education, and aid in forming an estimate of its career and destiny.
The historian who attempts to write an authentic and impartial history of a community or state, going back a century for his facts and fancies, has a very difficult task to perform. The story, of the labors, dangers and hardships, endured by the pioneers who first peopled the Northwest Territory, would fill many pages with interesting facts, which, when interwoven with the wild scenes and adventure, fWould read like a romance to the people of the present age. Many of these facts may seem homely and lowly when contrasted with the rush of events, after a century has advanced the race, and covered the graves of these hardy sons of toil with the grasses of untold years; yet none the less necessary and important in shaping the destiny for the future in all its advance and progress. Just such men and women were needed, strong, active, fearless, who with axe and gun prepared the way for the peace and plenty of the present. Men who chased the? deer, or with noiseless foot fall trailed the wild Indian, and, in turn, were hunted by him, have made their names immortal by their identification with the civilization that was to follow the development of the Mississippi Valley. As long as the history of this Eden of America is read their names will be cherished and revered; while a numberless host whose "names are unknown and unBung" are alike worthy of a place upon the pages of history and in the hearts and homes of their children's children. It is with this object in view that we attempt the present history — to weave together the story of those early years, describing, as best we can, in name, character and circumstance the noble fathers and mothers of the race that have peopled the hills and valleys of Highland county; stealing glances through the cabin door at the busy housewife at her wheel or loom, or standing with uncovered heads in the dim old forest aisle, whose silence was unbroken save by the ring of the woodman's axe or the sharp crack of his unerring rifle.
We could not hope to succeed in this history writing without availing ourselves of the earnest, efficient and untiring effort of Judge E.M. Ditty in his careful compilation and publication of the early history of Highland county by Daniel Scott Scott began this publication in 1858 in newspaper articles, intending to bring the record down to June, 1851, but did not complete the work as contemplated, and when after the lapse of only thirty years. Judge Ditty began the search for the brief sketches of this facile and scholarly writer, many missing links made the effort one of great labor and research. Few counties have had such able pioneer historians as Daniel Scott. No worthy history of the County of Highland can be produced without liberal use of what he so carefully collected and so well set down.