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The Farther Continent Of James Clyman
“Surveyor, mountain man, soldier, businessman, wanderer, captain of emigrants, farmer…he was himself the westward-moving frontier.”
December 1978 | Volume 30, Issue 1
He preserved a lyricism and a love of life that was, I think, the deep current of his years. “Decoration Day 1881”:
He died that year, 1881, peacefully. His wife and daughter survived him, but only by repute his name. His journals were finally edited, brilliantly, by Charles L. Camp and published in a limited edition in 1928, 330 copies, and 1,450 copies in a second limited edition in 1960.
“Not that he settled Kentucky or made a path to the west,” writes William Carlos Williams of Daniel Boone in In the American Grain , “ … but because of a descent to the ground of his desire was Boone’s life important and does it remain still loaded with power—power to strengthen every form of energy that would be voluptuous, passionate, possessive in that place which he opened. … Filled with the wild beauty of the New World to overbrimming so long as he had what he desired, to bathe in, to explore always more deeply, to see, to feel, to touch—his instincts were contented.” James Clyman explored a farther continent, “the rich smiling surface,” as voluptuously as Boone a nearer. It grew up into him; he fitted it; with others he gave it to us; sensuously contented he gave it back himself. Strew flowers oer the heroes grave .