Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 75
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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a chance to deploy my talents. McMillan was especially ebul-
lient and persuasive.
Christmas came and Tom invited me to spend the holidays
with him at his grandfather's place up in the Knobs, the hill
terrain which, running eastward below Louisville, roughly en-
closes the bluegrass country. With such scant call on my medical
services, I gladly took him up. I have never regretted this
excursion into the midst of the Kentucky back-country folk.
Here I got a strangely clear notion of what was now my land, of
the strength and passion which went into its settlement.
For now I found myself on the Dark and Bloody Ground
which, in the days of Boone and the westward flow by way of
the Cumberland Gap, had been covered by a primeval hard-
wood forest, so dense in places that the sunlight could not
penetrate. The archaic speech of the hill people and their cabins
of roughhewn logs, with a clay-and-twig chimney at one end,
evoked the past. I thought of Lincoln's family, setting out for
Illinois, of Shiloh and the Wilderness.
Here the riverine feeling of Louisville and its environs was
quite gone. A great hush reigned on the land, and a smoky haze
hung about the leafless stands of second- and third-growth oak,
hickory, and ash. Roads hardly better than trails wound through
the draws, suddenly swinging upward, back and forth, to the
ridges. In places the sandstone showed through the meager soil.
Streams ran cold and clear; no snow lay on the brown earth.
The lonely feel of the Knobs was something new and strange to
me. A sense of foreboding lurked in the hard and sun-shot air.
Just as the early frontiersmen, cautiously exploring the forests
of Kaintuck, must have been constantly aware of unseen savages
observing their movements, so did I uneasily sense eyes were
watching me as I tramped about after quail, armed with Grand-
pappy Price's old shotgun.
One morning, and it must have been shortly after Christmas
Day, I left the "main draw," as the widest valley bottom was
called, and turned to the left. I had been told that among the
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/87/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.