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The following sketches I found dispersed through a variety of local publications and the productions of the daily press. Of the latter, “The Spirit of the Times," a New York paper, devoted to sporting and humour, and sustained with singular ability, as well as at a vast expense, furnished many of the best articles. Of the former, though well known in the United States, but one or two have ever found their way to England, as they generally contained others of a less interesting or inferior character. I have, however, found the field, even restricted as it is to “the Byeways, Backwoods, and Prairies," more extensive than it at first appeared to be. There are classes and scenes of diversified interest yet untouched, the sketches of which I regret that I have not been able to compress within the prescribed limits of this work.

THE

AMERICANS AT HOME.

I.

THE PRE-EMPTION RIGHT;

OR, DICK KELSY'S RIGHT TO HIS LAND CLAIM.

DICK KELSY was one of the earliest settlers in the Upper Missouri country, and a more open-hearted or careless son of Kentucky never squatted in the “Far West.” He had wandered from his parent state more for a change of location than any desire to improve his condition, and if a spot offered easy hunting facilities, it mattered not what contingencies were added, Dick “sot himself down thar." Tall, raw-boned, good-natured and fearless, he betrayed no ambition to excel, except in his rifle, and the settlers generally conceded that his “shooting-iron” was particularly certain ! A spot upon one of the tributaries of the Missouri won Dick's heart at first sight-it bordered upon a beautiful

VOL I.

B

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