Dale Payne’s The Pioneers is based on the Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts but incorporates other historical documents as well. Payne does all of his own work in researching and believe me reading the Draper Manuscripts is no easy task, for I have tried. The work is massive and extensive and takes the patience of a saint. What makes Dale Payne so priceless to those of us that research history is that he knows what is of value and of interest to us. Many writers, researchers and journalists begin projects that they may have no direct links to. But Payne has experienced the type of life that he researches. As a woodsman and hunter, he knows the woods and terrain of which our forgotton pioneers speak. It is what makes his work so valuable. It is with this background that he brings the Draper Manuscripts to life in all of his books. In this latest book The Pioneers he brings 16 individuals to life.
Payne has walked with a longrifle in his hand and he has carried the tomahawk. When he chooses a subject to research it is with this in mind. In this latest book - Payne has chosen men that were equals to the more famous pioneers but maybe not as well know. The names of the 16 men he has chosen are names like Robert Patterson, Joseph Bishop and William Linn. The names of men that you have passed in your research when reading about their more famous counterparts.
You might remember that Patterson was connected with Dayton, Ohio or that Linn was with George Rogers Clark’s expedition to Kaskaskia in 1778. Joseph Bishop’s name might be more familiar to those that research Tennessee than those that read mainly of Kentucky. But here Payne has given them their own spotlight. A chapter devoted to each man. Meticulously researched to bring them to life.
Payne gives us a deeper glimpse into these men and in Dale’s own words - “they were not men who set out to make the history books. They were your average 18th century individual who was simply trying to establish a homestead or make a living for them and their families on the frontier. There were many others who played important roles also. These are but a few.”
The 16 men included in The Pioneers are: Henry Skaggs, Edmund Jennings, Thomas Sharpe Spencer, Issac Crabtree, Hugh F. Bell, James Galloway, Bland Ballard, William Linn, Michael Cassiday, The Harmans, Col. Robert Patterson, James Ray, Joseph Bishop, Charles Poke, David Morgan, and William Haymond, Jr.