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Early western travels 1748-1846 : A series of annotated reprints of some of the best and rarest contemporary… Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913 1904

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Array       Early Western Travels
Volume III    Early Western Travels
m- 1748-1846
A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best
and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, descriptive of the Aborigines and Social and
Economic Conditions in the Middle
and Far West, during the Period
of Early American Settlement
Edited with Notes, Introductions, Index, etc., by
Reuben Gold Thwaites
Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Wisconsin
Historical Collections," "Chronicles of Border Warfare,"
"Hennepin's New Discovery," etc.
Volume III
André Michaux's Travels into Kentucky, 1793-96.   François
André Michaux's Travels West of Alleghany Mountains,
1802. Thaddeus Mason Harris's Journal of aTour
Northwest of Alleghany Mountains, 1803
Cleveland, Ohio
The Arthur H. Clark Company
Preface.    The Editor
Journal of Travels into Kentucky; July 15, 1793-April
11, 1796.    André Michaux ......      25
Travels to the West or the Alleghany Mountains,
in the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessea, and
back to Charleston, by the Upper Carolines . . . undertaken in the year 1802. September 24, 1801 -March
1, 1803.    François André Michaux       ....    105
The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains; made in the
Spring of the Year 1803. April 7-"beginning of July."
Thaddeus Mason Harris, A.M.    .       .       .       •       •   307  ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOLUME III
I. Portrait of François André Michaux. From oil painting in possession of American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia .... Frontispiece
II. Carte des Etats du Centre, de l'Ouest et du Sud des
Etats-Unis, 1804 [From the original French edition] .	
III. Photographie facsimile of title-page to François André
Michaux's Travels	
IV. Photographic facsimile of title-page to Harris's Journal
V.    Photographic   facsimile   of   Map  of   Alleghany   and
Yohiogany Rivers; from Harris's Journal   .
VI.    Photographic facsimile of Map of the State of Ohio, by
Rufus Putnam; from Harris's Journal .        .351
We publish in this volume André Michaux's journal
of his travels into Kentucky from 1793-96, Englished by
us from the French version in the Proceedings of the
American Philosophical Society; a reprint of the English
version of Travels to the West 0} the Alleghany Mountains, made in 1802 by his son, François André Michaux;
and a reprint of Thaddeus Mason Harris's Journal of a
Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains, made in the Spring of the Year 1803 — omitting,
however, as unnecessary to our present purpose, the
appendix thereto.
The Michauxs
André Michaux, whose name is known to scientists of
both hemispheres, was born at Satory, Versailles, in
1746. Destined by his father for the superintendence of
a farm belonging to the royal estate, Michaux early became interested in agriculture, even while pursuing
classical studies. Upon the death of his young wife,
Cecil Claye, which occurred at the birth of their son,
François André (1770), he devoted himself to scientific
studies in the effort to overcome his grief. These naturally took the direction of botany, and Michaux became
imbued with a desire to seek for strange plants in foreign
countries. From 1779-81 he travelled in England, the
Auvergne, and the Pyrenees; and later (1782-85), in
Persia, botanizing, and studying the political situation of
the Orient. He had intended to return to Persia, but
while in France (1785) the government requested that he 12
Early Western Travels
should proceed to North America in order to make a
study of forest trees, and experiment with regard to their
transplantation to France. Accordingly, in the autumn
of 1785, he left France, taking with him his young son.
Landing in New York he passed a year and a half in
that vicinity, herborizing, and attempting a botanical
garden. Finding the latitude of the Southern states,
however, more suited to his enterprise, he removed in the
spring of 1787 to Charleston. Purchasing a plantation
about ten miles from the city, he entered with enthusiasm
into the search for new plants and their culture upon his
estate. In this year he explored the mountains of the
Carolinas, and a twelve-month later made a difficult and
hazardous journey through the swamps and marshes of
Florida. The next year (1789) was occupied by a voyage to the Bahamas, and another search among the
mountains for plants of a commercial nature — notably
ginseng, whose utility he taught the mountaineers.
In 1794 he undertook a most difficult expedition to
Canada and the arctic regions about Hudson Bay, and
upon his return proposed to the American Philosophical
Society at Philadelphia an exploration of the great West
by way of the Missouri River. A subscription was begun
for this purpose, and Jefferson drafted for him detailed
instructions for the journey;1 but his services were needed
in another direction, and the Missouri exploration was
abandoned for a political mission.
The discontent of the Western settlers with regard to
the free navigation of the Mississippi had reached an
acute stage; the French minister to the United States
had come armed with instructions to secure the co-opera-
1 See documents in Original Journals of Lewis and Clark (New York, 1904),
appendix. c793-l8o3l
tion of trans-Allegheny Americans for a raid upon the
Spanish territory of Louisiana, aimed to recover that
province for the power to which it had formerly belonged,
and make it a basis for revolutionary movements in
Canada, the West Indies, and ultimately all Spanish
America.2 This minister arrived in Charleston in February, 1793, and selected Michaux as his agent to communicate with the Kentucky leaders. An ardent republican,
already in the pay of the French government, and friendly
with influential men in government circles, Michaux
seemed a most desirable as well as the most available
agent possible. One characteristic was not, however,
sufficiently considered. Whatever may have been his
interest in the intrigue, whatever accounts thereof are
through caution or prudence omitted from the journal
here printed, one fact is evident — that Michaux was
chiefly devoted to the cause of science; these pages reveal
that a rare plant or new tree interested him much more
than an American general or a plot to subvert Spanish
His first Kentucky journey was, from the point of view
of the diplomats, but moderately successful. With the
collapse of the enterprise — due to the imprudence of
Genet, the firmness of Washington, the growing loyalty
of the Westerners to the new federal government, and
the change of leaders in France — Michaux returned to
botanical pursuits, and his later journeys appear to have
been undertaken solely in order to herborize. There are,
however, some slight indications in the text that he entertained hope of continuing the enterprise, and of its ulti-
2 See Turner, "Origin of Genet's Projected Attack on Louisiana and the
Floridas" in American Historical Review, July, 1897; [also documents in
American Historical Association Report, 1896 and 1897. 14
Early Western Travels
mate success. His inquiries, in the Cumberland, for
guides for the Missouri expedition, prove that he had by
no means abandoned his purpose of undertaking that
hazardous project.
But these long Western journeys had exhausted his
resources; for seven years he had had no remittance
from the French government, and was now under the
necessity of returning to Europe to attend to his affairs.
Accordingly in 1796 he embarked for France, and was
shipwrecked on the coast of Holland, losing part of his
collections; but his herbarium was preserved, and is now
in the Musée de Paris. He ardently desired to be sent
back to America; but his government offered him no
encouragement, and finally he accepted a post upon an
expedition to New Holland, and in November, 1802,
died of fever upon the island of Madagascar.
His son, François André, entered into his father's pursuits and greatly assisted him. While yet a lad, he accompanied him on several arduous journeys in America;
at other times remaining upon the plantation, engaged
in the care of the transplanted trees. He returned to
France some years before his father, in order to study
medicine, and in the year of the latter's death was commissioned by the French minister of the interior to proceed to the United States to study forests and agriculture in general.
The journal of his travels was not originally intended
for print; but the interest aroused in the Western region
of the United States by the sale of Louisiana, induced its
publication. The first French edition appeared in 1804,
under the title, Voyage à V ouest des Monts Alleghany s,
dans les États de POhio, et du Kentucky, et du Tennessee,
et retour a Charleston par les Hautes-Carolines.   Another i793-l8o3l
edition appeared in 1808. The first was soon Englished
by B. Lambert, and two editions with different publishers issued from London presses in 1805. The same year
another translation, somewhat abridged, appeared in
volume i of Phillip's Collection of Voyages. Neither of
these translations is well executed. The same year, a
German translation issued from the Weimar press.
The younger Michaux continued to be interested in
the study of trees, and spent several years in preparing
the three volumes of Histoire des Arbres forestiers de
l'Amérique Septentrionale, which appeared in 1810-13.
This was translated, and passed through several English
editions, with an additional volume added by Thomas
Nuttall under the title of The North American Sylva.
Michaux's report on the naturalization of American
forest trees, made to the Société d'Agriculture du département de la Seine, was printed in 1809.* His "Notice
sur les Isles Bermudas, et particulièrement sur l'Isle St.
George" was published in Annales des Sciences naturelles
(1806), volume viii. He also assisted in editing his
father's work, Histoire des Chênes de l'Amérique; and his
final publication on American observations was Mémoire
sur les causes de la fièvre jaune, published at Paris in 1852.
Dr. Michaux died at Vauréal, near Pontoise, in 1855.
In 1824 the younger Michaux presented to the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia the notebooks containing the diary of his father's travels in
America — all save those covering the first two years
(1785-87), which were lost in the shipwreck on the coast
of Holland. The value of these journals has long been
known to scientists; their larger interest, as revealing
both political and social conditions in the new West, will
8 See review in Monthly Anthology (Boston, 1810), viii, p. 280. i6
Early Western Travels
perhaps be first recognized upon this presentation of them
in English form. Written "by the light of his lonely
campfires, during brief moments snatched from short
hours of repose, in the midst of hardships and often surrounded by dangers," their literary form is deficient, and
frequent gaps occur, which doubtless were intended
to be filled in at some future moments of leisure. This
was prevented by the author's untimely death in the
midst of his labors. For nearly a century the journals
existed only in manuscript. In 1884 Charles S. Sargent,
director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University,
prepared the manuscript for the press, with explanatory
notes chiefly on botanical matters.4 It was published in
the original French, in the American Philosophical
Society Proceedings, 1889, pp. 1-145.
From this journal of nearly eleven years' travel in
America — from Florida on the south, to the wilds of
the Hudson Bay country on the north, from Philadelphia and Charleston on the Atlantic coast to the most
remote Western settlements, and the Indian lands of the
Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee — we have selected
for translation and inclusion within our series, the portions that concern particularly the trans-Allegheny
region. These relate to the expedition made to Kentucky
by way of the Ohio (1793), with the return over the Wilderness Road and through the Valley of Virginia; and the
longer journey (1795-96) from Charleston to] Tennessee,
thence through Kentucky to the Illinois, and back by a
similar route with side excursions on the great Western
* The notes in the journals of the elder Michaux signed C. S. S., are those of
Sargent, found in the French edition and designed chiefly to elucidate botanical
references. 1J93-I803]
The journals of the elder Michaux "record the impressions of a man of unusual intelligence — a traveller
in many lands, who had learned by long practice to use
his eyes to good advantage and to write down only what
they saw.' ' A part of the value of these documents to a
student of Western history consists in their accurate and
succinct outline of the areas of colonization. The extent
and boundaries of Michaux's travels enable us to map
with considerable accuracy the limits of the settled
regions — first, that from Pittsburg down the Ohio to
just below Marietta; then, after passing a region without
a town, between Gallipolis and Limestone (Maysville,
Kentucky), the traveller enters the thickly occupied
area of Kentucky, bounded on the south and west by
the "barrens," into which emigration was beginning to
creep. In the Illinois, Michaux's unfavorable comment
upon the French habitants is in accord with that of other
visitors of the same nationality; his travels therein show
that the small French group were the only settlers, save a
few venturesome Americans at Beliefontaine, and ' \ Corne
de Cerf." In East Tennessee, the outpost was Fort
Southwest Point, where the Clinch and Holston meet;
thence, a journey of a hundred and twenty miles through
"the Wilderness" brought one to the frontier post of the
Cumberland settlements, at Bledsoe's Lick. Upon Michaux's return, nearly a year later, the Cumberland frontier had extended, and Fort Blount had been built forty
miles to the eastward as a protection for the ever-increasing number of travellers and pioneers. The western
borders of Cumberland were also rapidly enlarging.
Clarksville, on the Cumberland River at the mouth of the
Red, had long been on the extreme border in this direction; but Michaux found daring settlements stretching Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
out beyond, seizing the rich river bottoms and organizing
a town as a nucleus for scattered planters.
Michaux faithfully presents the conditions that confronted travellers in his day — the lack of inns, the straying of horses with the consequent annoyance and delay,
the inadequate means for crossing rivers, the frequent
necessity for waiting until a sufficient body of travellers
had collected to act as a guard through the uninhabited
regions. He also traversed nearly all the routes by which
emigration was pouring into the Western country — the
Wilderness Road to Kentucky, the routes from North
Carolina over the mountains to East Tennessee, the
Wilderness Road of Tennessee (this last a narrow and
dangerous link with the Cumberland settlements), the
paths thither to Louisville, and the Indian trails thence to
the Illinois; as well as the river routes — the Mississippi,
the Ohio, and the Cumberland.
Glimpses of the chief founders of the Western country
are tantalizing by their meagreness. We should have
valued more detailed accounts of conversations with
Clark, Logan, and Shelby, concerning Nicholas's plan
for securing the navigation of the Mississippi; of the
attitude of Robertson, Blount, and Daniel Smith toward
the French enterprise; and of the impression made at this
early day by "a resident near the Cumberland River,
Mr. Jackson." Particularly interesting is the record
of the number of Frenchmen who became prominent
and useful citizens of the West — Lucas at Pittsburg,
Lacassagne at Louisville, Tardiveau, Honoré, and
Depauw at Danville and vicinity; apart from the settlers
at Gallipolis, whose misfortunes our author deplores.
It is hoped that this English version of the elder Michaux's
journals may prove a contribution of  importance  to t793-l8o3]
those interested in early conditions in the Mississippi
Michaux's published works are, Histoire des Chênes de
l'Amérique — which appeared in 1801, and is supposed
to have been recast or corrected by other scientists — and
Flora Boreali-Americana, written in Latin by Richard
from the plants which Michaux had collected in America,
and issued a year after the latter's death.5
The few years that intervened between the journeys of
the elder and younger Michaux show the rapidity with
which the West was changing. Conditions of travel had
meantime been improved, and the development of resources was proceeding with bounds. The opening of
the Mississippi had caused an immense growth in both
the extent and means of Western commerce; the son
describes ship-building upon the waters along which the
father had passed in Indian canoes. The increase in
the number, size, and appearance of the towns, and the
additional comforts in the homes of the people, were indicative of a great and growing prosperity.
The younger traveller describes the inhabitants with
more particularity than his father. His observations
upon the characteristics of the people, their occupations
and recreations and their political bias, are those of an
intelligent and sympathetic narrator, with a predisposition in favor of the Western settlers. His remarks in
chapter xii on the restlessness of the pioneers, their
eagerness to push onward to a newer country, their impatience with the growing trammels of civilization, show
habits of -close observation. His optimism with regard
to the future of the country, in thinking that within
twenty years the Ohio Valley would be "the most popu-
5 The references in Sargent's notes marked "Michx.," refer to this Flora. 20
Early Western Travels
lous and commercial part of the United States, and where
I should settle in preference to any other," exhibits a
large comprehension of the forces and elements of Western growth.
The American popularity of the younger Michaux's
journal, in its own time, proved his ability to interpret
the ideas of our people, and the sympathetic interest of a
cultured Frenchman in the democratizing processes of
the New World.
Thaddeus Mason Harris
Thaddeus Mason Harris, author of the Journal of a
Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany
Mountains, was one of the coterie of liberal clergymen
who occupied the New England pulpits in the early part
of the nineteenth century. As a member of this group,
Harris's observations of the Western country are of
peculiar interest. He had the training of the typical
New Englander—"plain living and high thinking."
Born in Charlestown in 1768, his family were driven from
their home at the battle of Bunker Hill, and three years
later the father died of exposure contracted during his
service in the Revolutionary army. As the eldest of the
children, Thaddeus was sent to "board around" among
the neighboring farmers, one of whom took sufficient
interest in the promising lad to fit him for college. An
accidental supply of money at a later period, accepted as a
special interposition of Providence, made such an impression upon the young man's mind that he determined
to enter the ministry. He was graduated from Harvard
in 1787, in the same class with John Quincy Adams.
After a year's teaching at Worcester, the position was
tendered him of private secretary to the newly-chosen
President Washington, but an attack of small-pox pre- i793-l8o3l
vented its acceptance, and the place was filled by Tobias
In 1789 our author was "approbated to preach," and
the following year received his A.M. degree, delivering
on the occasion the Phi Beta Kappa address. During
the two succeeding years he served as the librarian of his
alma mater, and was elected (1792) a resident member of
the Massachusetts Historical Society. The year 1793
saw Harris installed as pastor of the first church of Dorchester— a relation which was continued through over
forty years of faithful and acceptable service. A careful
pastor, he exposed himself during the epidemic of yellow
fever in 1802 to such an extent that he contracted the
disease, and during his convalescence the Western journey
was planned and undertaken as a means of recuperation.
In this it was eminently successful, and upon his return
to Dorchester Harris plunged anew into literary and philanthropic labors. Within the next few years he aided in
founding the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Humane Society, the American Peace Society,
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the
Archaeological Society at Athens, and was chosen corresponding member of the New York Historical Society.
His addresses and sermons on different occasions found
their way into print, until nearly sixty were published.
Harvard honored itself by conferring upon him the degree
of doctor of divinity in 1813, and during his entire later
life he acted as overseer in the college corporation. His
eldest son, a well-known entomologist, served as Harvard librarian for twenty-five years (1831-56).
After a second severe illness (1833), Dr. Harris visited
Georgia, and thereupon published a biography of Oglethorpe.   In 1838 he resigned his pastorate and spent 22
Early Western Travels
his remaining five years in congenial literary pursuits,
serving for a time as the librarian of the Massachusetts
Historical Society. He is described as a "little quaint
old man, indescribably bent, but still wearing a hale
aspect, who used to haunt the alcoves of the library at
Harvard." After March, 1842, the place of the old
scholar and reader in the college library was vacant.
Dr. Harris made no contribution of permanent value
to American literature, unless the present book may be
so considered. Besides the works mentioned, he aided
(1805) in putting forth an encyclopedia, and a Natural
History of the Bible; the result of the last-named labor
was pirated by an English firm, which issued it in several
editions. The Journal of a. Tour, which we here republish, sold well, and was soon out of print. In recent
years, the volume has brought a good price at antiquarian
sales. In addition to the journal proper, Harris added a
bulky appendix, entitled a ' j Geographical and Historical
Account of the State of Ohio," from material collected
during his visit at Marietta, annexing thereto: a "Letter
to the Earl of Hillsborough on the navigation of the
Ohio (1770);" the "Act of Congress forming the State;"
the "Constitution of the State;" an "Account of the
destruction of the Moravian Settlements on the Muskingum;" "Wayne's Treaty;" and a number of papers
connected with the formation of the Ohio Company of
Associates, and the establishment of the Northwest Territory. This appendix we have omitted as not within
the sphere of the present series, and as containing information which can readily be secured elsewhere.
As an observer, two points characterize Harris's narrative— his enthusiasm for natural scenery, and the delight shown in its description; and the dryness of his i793-l8o3l
statements with regard to the human life which he saw
en route. Its chief value lies in the accuracy which he
exhibits in data concerning the size of the towns, their
prosperity and growth, their business interests, and stage
of material development; in matters regarding the growth
of ship-building and navigation, the number of manufactories, and the general material prosperity of the
region, Harris gives useful information. But as a picture
of Western life, or as a sympathetic relation of human
affairs in this region, the value is small. This arose in
part from the New Englander's stout prejudices against
conditions unfamiliar to him. His attitude toward the
Western inhabitants is quite the contrary of that of the
younger Michaux, and forms thereto an effective foil.
As with previous volumes of this series, the Editor has
had the active co-operation of Louise Phelps Kellogg in
the preparation of notes.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., February, 1904.  Journal of André Michaux, 1793-1796
Source: Englished from the original French, appearing in American Philosophical Society Proceedings, 1889, pp. 91-101, 114-140.  ft
On the 15th of July 1793, I took leave of Citizen Genet,
Minister of the Republic of France to the United States1
and started from Philadelphia on the same date at ten
o'clock at night to avoid the great heat, and to travel by
Moonlight. The 16th, being in company with . . .
humeau and   .    .    .    Leblanc,2 we journeyed 40 miles.
The 17th, passed by Lancaster and made 35 Miles.
The 18th, passed by Carlisle . . . Miles and slept
at Chipesbourg [Shippensburg].
The 19th we slept at Strasbourg   .    .    .    Miles.
Sunday the 20th, we started from Strasbourg, a small
town situate at the foot of the Mountains; one of our
horses having fallen sick we traveled only 21 Miles;
observed Magnolia acuminata, Azalea octandra, Kalmia
1 Edmond Charles Genet (Genest) was born at Versailles about 1765. His
father was a diplomat who was interested in English literature, and who welcomed the American coterie in Paris to his home. Henrietta Genet, later
Madame Campan, was first lady of honor to Queen Marie Antoinette; her
brother was chosen at the early age of twenty-four, secretary — later, chargé
d'affaires — to the French embassy at St. Petersburg. His dispatches thence
were of so republican a tone, that in 1792 he was commissioned minister of the
new French republic, to Holland; but late in the same year was chosen for the
mission to the United States, where he arrived April 8, 1793- His career in
America is well known. After his commission was revoked, Genet became a
naturalized American citizen, married a daughter of Governor Clinton of
New York, and died at Jamaica, Long Island, in 1834.—Ed.
2 Humeau and Le Blanc appear to have been agents of Genet, assisting in
this revolutionary movement. Nothing is known of the former. Le Blanc
was a citizen of New Orleans, well-affected to the French revolutionary cause.
He was to have been made mayor of New Orleans, when that city should fall
into the hands of the revolutionists. See American Historical Association
Report, 1896, pp. 1049, 1050.— Ed. 28
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
latifolia, Fagus castanea, Fagus pumila, Pinus 2-folia,
3-folia, Strobus: Abies Canadensis; Quercus castaneaefolia
etc.   Juglans nigra.
The 21st of July started from Wells's tavern, crossed the
Juniata river . . . and noticed Rhododendron maximum, Hydrangea frutescens, Trillium erectum; slept at
Bedford.    21 Miles.
The 22nd. Started from Bedford and breakfasted at a
place 4 miles distant where the Pittsburg Road divides
into two. We took the right hand road; the Rain compelled us to stop and sleep only twelve Miles from Bedford.3
The 23rd we made 24 Miles and passed the summit of
the Alleganys.
The 24th we made 25 Miles.
The 25th we passed by Green'sburg and made 31 Miles.
The 26th Rain; we made only   .    .    .   Miles.
The 27th, we made 19 Miles and arrived in Pittsburgh.
Total 32* Miles from Philadelphia.
The 28th visited Mr. H. Brackenridge.5
The 29th herborised; recognized on the banks of the
Monongahela, Dracocephalum Virginianum,9 Bigno-
nia radicans, Crotalaria alba?    These plants grow on
3 For a description of the left-hand or southern branch of the road, known
as "The Old Glade," see Harris's Journal, post.— Ed.
4 Evident error; perhaps 320 was intended.— C. S. S.
The distance in reality by this route was somewhat less than this.— Ed.
"Hugh H. Brackenridge was at this time the most prominent lawyer in
Pittsburg, whither he had come in 1781, after graduating at Princeton and
serving as chaplain in the regular army. Brackenridge was a Scotch-Irish-'
man, and a Democrat in politics; therefore he sympathized with the uprising
known as the Whiskey Rebellion, and wrote a work in its defense, although his
influence had been exercised to moderate its excesses. Gallatin defeated him
for Congress in 1794; but later he took his place upon the bench of the state
supreme court, and served with great ability until his death in 1816.— Ed.
e Physostegia Virgmiana, Benth.— C. S. S. I793-Ï796]
André Michaux's Travels
the banks of the river which are submerged when the
waters are high.
The 30th of the same, recognized a Plant of the Genus
Ziziphora . . . Cunila pulegioides7 fioribus tetan-
dris; Teucrium Canadense, Eupatorium aromaticum,
Sigesbeckia   .    .    .;   Verbenae several species.
The 1st of August, herborised and recognized Cassia
Marylandica; Monarda didyma; Sanicula Marylandica;
Triosteum perfoliatum; Sicyos angulata; Acer rubrum,
saccharum; Campanula, ... ; Cercis Canadensis;
Menispermum Canadense; Actaea s picola; Tilia Americana; Urtica divaricata; Arum triphyllum; Celtis occi-
dentalis; Panax quinquefolium; Staphylea trifoliata; Aza-
rum Canadense; Rhus typhina, glabra, vernix; copallinum,
radicans, toxicodendron; Clinopodium vulgare, incanum.
The 2nd of August recognized Aristolochia sipho or
macrophylla; Panax quinquefolium; Lobelia siphilitica;
Convallaria many species; Veronica . . . Ozalis
The 3rd and 4th of August herborised: Cacalia 2
species, Phryma leptostachia; Leontice thalictroides; Lobelia
siphilitica, inflata, cardinalis; Eupatorium perfoliatum,
maculatum, odoratum et celestinum; Actea s picota; Podophyllum peltatum; Azarum Canadense; Hydrophyllum
Canadense; Trillium cernuum; Panax quinquefolium;
Aristolochia Sipho; Menispermum ... ; Sambucus
Canadensis fructu nigro; Sambucus . . . , fructu
rubro foliis tomentosis; Tilia Americana; Laurus Sassafras, benzoin; Robinia pseudocacia, Jugions oblonga,
Jugions hiccory; Plantanus occidentalis; Acer rubrum,
saccharum; Ulmus ... ; Hamamelis . . . ,
Cynoglossum 3 species; Vitis vulpina; Dioscorea fructu
7 Hedeoma pulegiodes, Peis.— C. S. S. 3°
Early Western Travels
infero; Teucrium Canadense; Scrophularia Marylandica;
Dracocephalum Virginianum; Dianthera . . . , So-
phora foliis ternis stipulis lato-lanceolatis floribus coeruleis
vexillo corolla breviore; Mimulus ringens; Bignonia radi-
cans; Cercis Canadensis; Fagus sylvatica Americana;
Circaea Canadensis; Urtica inermis; Erigeron Canadense;
Cornus florida; Rubus odorata, Rubus occidentalis: Pen-
thorum sedoides; Cephalantus occidentalis; Polygonum
aviculare, hydropiper, amphibium, scandens; Sanguinaria
On the 6th of August I saw on the bank of the Monon-
gahela river opposite Pittsburgh a Coal mine at the entrance of which there seems to be a thickness of 15 feet
of that mineral without admixture; sometimes a ferruginous tint can be distinguished between the different
layers. In several spots soft rocks are to be found which
seem good for use as whet-stones for large tools; they
seem to me to consist of a combination of sandy, clayey
and ferruginous particles with particles of mica in very
rare instances.
The soil in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh is generally
clayey, the calcareous rocks or stones of a brown color,
consisting of much muddy clay. The soil between the
two rivers on which Pittsburgh is built, is alluvial; stones
rounded and worn by the rolling of torrents have even
been found in the earth, dug up while sinking wells at a
depth of more than 30 feet.
The 9th of August, when I was ready to start, the conductor of the Boat on which I had embarked my baggage
came to tell me that he was waiting for the Boats destined
to convey the troops, especially as the Boat seemed too
deeply laden for that Season when the Waters are low;
there was an appearance of Rain. i793"I796]
André Michaux's Travels
The ioth the river seems to be falling.
The nth, 12th and 13th we remained, awaiting the
The 13th three Boats arrived from the Illinois belonging
to Mr. Vigo.8 They were manned by about 30 French
Canadian or Llinois oarsmen.
A Frenchman who has resided in America for 14 years
and whose business consists in shipping supplies of flour
to New Orleans, told me that he would give me Letters
for Blinois addressed to the Commandant of the Post of
St Louis. He is at present settled in Pittsbourgh and his
name is Audrain.9 This Audrain is said to be in partnership with one Louisière or Delousière who was exiled
from France for having been concerned in the plot to
deliver Havre to the combined English and Spanish
fleets. This Louisière is at present absent from Pittsburgh. There is another Frenchman residing in Pittsburgh, Mr Lucas de Pentareau, an excellent Democrat,
now absent. He passes for an educated man with legal
8 Col. Francis Vigo was a Sardinian, who came to Louisiana in the Spanish
army. Settling at St. Louis as a trader, he embraced the cause of American
independence, rendering substantial aid in many ways to George Rogers
Clark, in the hitter's Illinois campaigns. Vigo took the oath of allegiance to
the United States, and later settled at Vincennes, where he died in poverty in
1836. His just claims upon the government were not settled until thirty years
after his death.— Ed.
9 A Spanish document of this period complains of Audrain as having misappropriated funds for his contracts, also charges him with being a radical
republican, receiving all the patriots at his house, where dinners were given
and toasts drunk to the downfall of monarchy. See American Historical
Association Report, 1896, p. 1049.
The commandant at St. Louis was Captain Don Zenon Trudeau, who held
the office from 1792-99.— Ed.
10 This Frenchman was known in Pittsburg as J. B. C. Lucas, and was
appointed associate judge of Allegheny County in 1800. His Democratic
principles were so strong that he brought about the impeachment of his colleague, Judge Addison, a well-known Federalist.— Ed. 32
Early Western Travels
Pittsburgh is situated at the confluence of the two rivers,
Monongahela and Allegany; These two rivers unite and
form the Ohio or Belle Rivière. There are a great many
more houses on the Monongahela river than on the Allegany. The number of houses is about 250 and it increases
considerably every year. The ditches are still to be seen
that served as the entrenchment of the Fort built by the
French and called Fort Duquesne. The English, since
that time, had built another almost beside it at the angle
formed by the junction of the two rivers. It was built
of brick and the Americans are demolishing it to use the
bricks in building the houses that are being erected every
day at Fort Pitt."
The Americans have a Fort of Palisades situated behind
the town on the bank of the Allegany River; it serves as a
Depot for the arrival of the troops that are being sent
against the Savages and as a Magazine for the Munitions
sent there from Philadelphia.12.
Wednesday the 14th of August, started from Pitts-
bourgh and slept at a distance of two miles only on the
point of a small island on which I found Acer negundo,
rubrum, saccharum; Evonimus capsulis glabris.13
The 15th recognized at 20 Miles from Pittsburgh Pavia
11 The writer here uses the term "Fort Pitt" as the name of the town; the
brick fortification which was being demolished was the one known by that
name, built by Stanwix in 1759-61. It stood between the rivers, below Third,
West, and part of Liberty streets. A redoubt, built in 1764 as a part of these
works, is still standing, and has been restored by the Pittsburg chapter of the
Daughters of the American Revolution, whom it serves as a museum. See
Frontier Forts of Western Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1896), ii, pp. 99-159.— Ed.
u Fort Fayette, a stockade erected in 1792 for protection against the Indians.
It stood about a quarter of a mile above Fort Pitt, on the present Penn Street,
at the crossing of Garrison Avenue.— Ed.
13 E. atropurpureus, Jacq.— C. S. S. 1793-179°]
André Michaux's Travels
Vutea, Panax quinquefolium; A Bryonia plant monoica
calyce 5-fido, corolla 5 partita floribus masculis spicatis
axillaribus floribus femineis quoque axillaribus germine
instructo spinis innocuisA Our journey covered 28
The 16th at 7 o'clock in the morning we crossed the
boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia. The
line is marked by cutting down the trees on a width of
about . . . feet on the right and left of the Ohio or
Belle Rivière and this place is 45 miles from Pittsbourgh.
In the evening of the same day arrived at Buffalo Creek.
yç Miles from Pittsburgh.
The 17th passed by Willing [Wheeling] 92 Miles from
Pittsburgh;15 this place is inhabited by about 12 families
as is also Buffalo Creek [Wellsburg]. Owing to the contrary wind we traveled only 30 Miles.
Sunday August 18th 1793, saw several flocks of wild
Turkeys; wind contrary.
The 19th we made 50 MUes. There are no settlements
between Willing and Marietta, a small Town situate at
the mouth of the Muskingum river.   We slept at the
14 This is probably his Sicyos lobata (Echmocystis lobata of Torr. and Gray)
which, according to the Flora, was detected by Michaux "in occidentaUbus
Pensylvaniae, juxta fluvium Ohio." The "corolla 5 partita" is retained by
Richard in his description.— C. S. S.
16 Wheeling was founded upon land taken up by Col. Ebenezer Zane in
1770. During Lord Dunmore's War a stockade was built at this place, called
Fort Fincastle; later, the name was changed in honor of Patrick Henry, first
governor of the state of Virginia. Fort Henry was thrice besieged during the
Revolution — in 1777, 1781, and 1782. Many romantic incidents are told
of these events; most notable, that of the sortie for additional powder, successfully executed by Elizabeth Zane. Colonel Zane laid out the place in town-
lots in 1793; two years later, the Virginia legislature incorporated it. In 1797
Wheeling became the seat of Ohio County; and early in the nineteenth century
appeared likely to surpass Pittsburg in prosperity, and as an important emporium for Western trade.— Ed. 34
Early Western Travels
place called Fort Harmar, situate opposite Marietta on
the right bank of the Muskingum river.16 Dianthera
The 20th we spent the day there.
The 21st, we passed by Little Kanhaway,17 Belpré, and
Belleville 34 Miles.
The 22nd we saw no settlements. Recognized Polym-
nia canadensis; Acer rubrum foliis in feme glaucis; Acer
negundo, Acer saccharum, Acer foliis rugosis nervis
sublanuginosis; Annona triloba, Pavia lutea, Platanus
The 23rd passed Great Kanhaway,18 4 miles before
arriving at Galliapolis on the opposite bank.
The 23rd we arrived at the settlement of Galliapolis
situate on the left bank of the Belle rivière. The houses
are all built of squared logs merely notched at the ends
instead of being Mortised (Log-house).18
The 24th remained over, visited doctor Petit who inspired me with the greatest respect by his good sense, his
knowledge and his virtue. It seemed to me that humanity
is the only thing that keeps him attached to that unfortu-
16 The site for Fort Harmar was chosen by Gen. Richard Butler (1785), on
his journey to Cincinnati to make peace with the Miami Indians. A detachment under Major Doughty began building the fort — named in honor of
Gen. Josiah Harmar -— in the autumn of this year; its completion in 1786
afforded protection to the frontier inhabitants of Virginia. Two years later
(1788), the Ohio Company of Associates — New England veterans of the
Revolution — came out under the leadership of Gen. Rufus Putnam, and began
the settlement of Marietta, "the Plymouth Rock of the West.''— Ed.
17 For the Little Kanawha, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series,
note 98.— Ed.
18 For the Great Kanawha and its historical associations, see Croghan's
Journals, vol. i of this series, note 101; also Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio.-^- Ed.
19 For the history of this French settlement on the Ohio, see Journal of
F. A. Michaux, post.— Ed. i793"I796]
André Michaux's Travels
nate colony.20 Out of the 600 persons who came there
to settle, only about 150 remain.
Sunday the 25th started from Galliapolis; at a distance
of 35 Miles recognized Iresine celosioides on the banks of
the belle rivière where they are submerged by the great
inundations. Passed a small river called Gay [Guyan-
dotte].-   We saw no habitations; 40 Miles.
The 26th, saw no habitations; passed the river Scioto
.    .    .    Miles.21
The 27th, saw a Settlement of several houses at the
place called Three Islands, ten miles before arriving at
Lime Stone;22 these Settlements are considered the first
belonging to Kentuckey. We reached Lime Stone toward
Limestone is considered the Landing place or Port of
Kentuckey. Goods are landed there that are sent from
Philadelphia for Danville, Lexington etc. A small town
founded six years ago at a distance of 4 Miles on the
Lexington road, is called Washington and is very flourishing being situate in very fertile land.
20 Jean G. Petit was the most prominent man of this settlement, acting both
as physician and judge.—■ ED.
21 For a description of the Scioto, and its early historical importance, see
Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series, note 102; also Thwaites, On the Storied
Ohio.— Ed.
22 The Three Islands were noted landmarks in the early history of Kentucky. Kennedy and his company encamped there in 1773, but the settlement
was in a dangerous location, as this was near an Indian crossing place. In
1791, twenty men were told off to garrison the settlement. The upper island
was near Brush Creek, in Ohio.    Only one island remains at this place.— Ed.
23 Limestone (now Maysville) was long the chief river post for Kentucky,
but was not early settled owing to its exposure to Indian attacks. Bullitt and
the McAfees were there in 1773; Simon Kenton settled farther up on Limestone
Creek in 1776. The same year, George Rogers Clark landed at this place the
powder provided by Virginia for the protection of the Kentucky settlements.
The first blockhouse was built on the site of Limestone in 1783; four years
later, the town was incorporated by the Virginia legislature.— Ed.
if 36
Early Western Travels
The 28th, visited Colonel Alexander D. Orr.24
The 29th I left the. two Companions who had come with
me from Philadelphia. They continued their journey to
Louisville while I went on by way of the inland Settlements. Colonel D. Orr offered me his Company to go
with him to Lexington whither he proposed to go in a
few days.
The 30th and 31st herborised while waiting until horses
could be procured for the journey to Lexington. Guilan-
dina dioica; Fraxinus {quadrangularis); Gleditsia tria-
canthos; Serratula praealta; Eupatorium aromaticum,
Crépis Sibirica? etc.
Sunday 1st of September 1793. Dined at Colonel
The 2nd dined with . . . Fox and prepared my
baggage for departure.
The 3rd the journey was put off until the Following
day. The soil in the vicinity of Washington is clayey
and blackish, very rich. The stones are of an opaque
bluish calcareous Substance, full of petrifactions of sea-
shells.   The bones of those monster animals supposed to
24 Alexander D. Orr was representative in Congress for Kentucky, from its
admission and through the fourth Congress (1792-97). A Virginian by birth
(1765), he removed to Mason County at an early period, and had much influence in his neighborhood, where he lived as a planter until his death, June
21, 1835. Michaux's visit to Colonel Orr is probably significant of the fact
that Orr was interested in the former's mission.— Ed.
25 Gen. Henry Lee was one of the earliest settlers in Mason County. Coming to Kentucky as a surveyor in 1779, six years later he established Lee's
Station, near Washington — one of the earliest in northeastern Kentucky.
Lee was Kentucky delegate in the Virginia house of burgesses (1788), a member
of the convention that adopted the federal constitution, and later member of
the Danville conventions for organizing the State of Kentucky; his political
influence, therefore, was important. Unlike many of the pioneers, he prospered in business and amassed a considerable fortune, dying on his estate in
1845.— Ed- i793"I796]
André Michaux's Travels
be Elephants are found in the neighborhood.28 It is to
be presumed that those bones belonged to marine Individuals, judging by the great abundance of debris of marine
bodies collected in those places.
The 4th started from Washington; passed by a place
where the soil is impregnated with saline substances and
whither the Buffaloes used to go in great numbers to lick
the particles of Salt continually exuding from the surface
of the Soil. There are at this spot springs whose water
is bitter, putrid, blackish and full of mephitic air which
frees itself at the slightest movement of the soil by the
bubbles appearing on the surface of the spring as one
approaches. The people living in the neighborhood
erect ovens with kettles and extract Salt by the evaporation of the water.27   We traveled 33 Miles.
The 5th we made 27 miles and, at an early hour,
reached Lexington,28 the chief town amongst the Settlements of the State of Kentuckey. We passed a small
Settlement, looked upon as a town and called Paris, the
capital of Bourbon county.29   It contains about 18 houses.
28 For the history of Big Bone Lick, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this
series, note 104.—Ed.
27 This was either May's Lick, in Mason County, or the Lower Blue Licks,
in Nicholas County. It is evident that the buffalo had nearly disappeared
from this region, where less than thirty years before Croghan had found them
in such vast numbers. Butricke {Historical Magazine, viii, p. 259) says that
in 1768 they were scarce above the Scioto River. The last buffalo was killed
in the Great Kanawha Valley, about twelve miles below Charleston, West
Virginia, in 1815.— Ed.
28 There is some doubt thrown upon the commonly-accepted statement
that the first cabin at Lexington was built in 1775, and the place named in
honor of the opening battle of the Revolution, news of which had just been
received. The permanent settlement was not made until 1779; the following
year the town was made county seat of the newly-erected Fayette County, and
itself incorporated in 1782.— Ed.
29 Paris was laid out in 1786, the first court of Bourbon County being held
there in 1787. Two years later, it was incorporated by the Virginia legislature
as Hopewell; the present designation was adopted in 1790.— Ed.
Iii 38
Early Western Travels
There are farming Establishments along the road and
travelers now go without danger from Lime Stone to
Lexington, a distance of Sixty six miles from one place
to the other.   66 Miles*.
The 6th visited two persons residing in Lexington for
whom I had Letters of introduction.
The 7th herborised    .    .    .
Sunday 8th of September was obliged to remain being
unable to hire a horse.
The 9th left Lexington, went through portions of forest
lands with very scattered Plantations. Crossed the
Kentuckey river the banks of which are very close to one
another; when the waters are low there is a height of
more than ioo feet from the bank of the river to the level
of the lands bordering on it and through which it runs. I
am told that in flood-time it rises to a height of 40 feet
in one day. On arriving there one would think himself
between two ranges of very steep Mountains but in fact
it is merely a torrent or a river whose Bed has been deeply
worn. The rocks on the banks are of a calcareous
nature. Several shrubs and Plants, natives of Carolina,
grow on the cliff with a southern exposure being secured
and protected from cold by the favorable situation offered
by the great depth of the bed of the river.
The 10th arrived in Danville30 and visited several persons for whom I had Letters: Colonel Barbee etc, Capt.
Peter Tardivau, a witty man31 etc. etc.
30 Danville was laid off as a town by Walker Daniel in 1781, and rapidly
rose to importance, being the centre of political activity and the seat of the
conventions in which statehood for Kentucky was agitated (1785-92). After
the admission of Kentucky as a state, Frankfort was chosen capital, and the
importance of Danville declined.— Ed.
31 Joshua Barbee was born in Virginia, and after serving in the Revolution
removed to the vicinity of Danville, early in the Kentucky settlement. He
was militia officer in 1791, a member of the political club of Danville, and o- I793-I796]
André Michaux's Travels
The nth, visited General Benjamin Logan whose
house is situate 12 Miles from Danville. I confided to
him the Commission entrusted to me; He told me he
would be delighted to take part in the enterprise but that
he had received a Letter a few days previously from J.
Brown32 which informed him that negotiations had been
begun between the United States and the Spaniards
respecting the navigation of the Mississipi and the Creek
Indians; That a messenger had been sent to Madrid33
and that any one of the United States that would venture
the state legislature. A man of wealth and prominence, his family became
intimately associated with Kentucky history.   He died in 1839.
Pierre Tardiveau was a French merchant who had an extensive business in
the West, and connections in Bordeaux. With his partner, Honoré, he carried on trade with New Orleans, and made frequent trips thither. Tardiveau
embarked in Genet's enterprise, and was appointed interpreter in chief by
Michaux, who appears to have used Viim to communicate with agents in New
Orleans. See Claiborne, Mississippi (Jackson, 1880), pp. 152, 153; also
American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp. 952, 1026, 1096. Tardiveau
removed to Louisiana when it came under American dominion.— Ed.
33 John Brown, one of Kentucky's most prominent public men, was born at
Staunton, Virginia, in 1757, and while a student at Princeton joined the Revolutionary army as aid to Lafayette. At the close of the war he removed to
Kentucky, was its first representative to the old Congress (1787-89); then to
Congress under the Constitution (1789-92), where he was employed in securing
the admission of Kentucky as a state. Upon that event (1792), Brown was
sent to the United States Senate, of which he remained a prominent member
until 1805. He was a personal friend of Washington, Jefferson (with whom
he studied law), and Madison, and when he died in 1837 was the last survivor
of the Congress of the Confederation. Brown was cognizant of Michaux's
plans, and evidently sympathized with them, having been interested in previous
separatist movements for Kentucky. See Butler, Kentucky, and John Mason
Brown, "Political Beginnings of Kentucky," Filson Club Publications No. 6.
Brown gave letters of introduction to Michaux. See American Historical
Association Report, 1896, pp. 982, 983, 1010.— Ed.
33 Brown refers here to the embassy of Carmichael, and the negotiations
entered into by him and Pinckney, the minister at Madrid, that ultimately led
to the treaty of 1794.
The Creek Indians lay south of the United States territory in West Florida,
and were believed by the Westerners to be incited to attacks upon Americans
by the Spanish authorities of this province and of Louisiana.— Ed. 4o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
to act in a hostile manner against the Spaniards before
the return of the first of December next, would be disapproved by the federal Government; That he was going
to start the following day for his Establishment of Boul-
skine [Bullskin] Creek and that, after I should have conferred with General Clark, he hoped the latter would, in
consequence of what I should communicate to him, make
arrangements for further conferences together34 etc. etc.
The 12th returned to Danville.
The 13th Visited (his Excellency) the Governor of the
State of Kentuckey, Isaac Shelby;35 visited the hills called
34 Michaux went to what was known as St. Asaph's, or Logan's Station, in
Lincoln County, to see the well-known pioneer and Indian fighter, Gen. Benjamin Logan. Next to Clark, Logan was, doubtless, the best known person in
Kentucky, and had been chosen by Genet as second in command of the expedition. That he afterwards decided to enter upon this affair, seems evident
from his letter to Clark of December 31, 1793, in American Historical Association Report, 1896, p. 1026. Logan was a Scotch-Irishman, born in Virginia
in 1743. When but fourteen his father died, and he was left as eldest son of
the family. Having removed to Holston, he was out with Bouquet in 1764,
and ten years later in Lord Dunmore's War. Locating his station in Kentucky
in 1775, he brought out his family the following year, and sustained many
Indian attacks as well as led several aggressive campaigns against the savages.
As county lieutenant he was a safeguard for the new settlements, and was
revered and respected by all his neighbors. Having served in the legislature
and the convention that drew up the Kentucky constitution, he died at his
home in Lincoln County in 1802.— Ed.
35 There was no better-known character in the West, than Governor Shelby.
Born in Maryland in 1750, the family were of pioneer stock, and early moved
to Western Virginia, where young Shelby was sheriff (1771), and lieutenant
under his father, Evan Shelby, at the Battle of Point Pleasant (1774). The
next year he surveyed in Kentucky, and then returned to the Holston to engage
in the Revolutionary struggles. To his forethought is attributed the success
of the battle of King's Mountain, after which he served in the North Carolina
legislature. Removing to Kentucky in 1783, Shelby was welcomed as a hero
by the new community, and made the first governor of the State. He served a
second term during the War of 1812-15, reinforcing Harrison at a critical
juncture for the Western division of the army. Refusing the portfolio of war,
offered by Monroe in 1817, Shelby retired to his farm in Lincoln County, where
he died in 1826. Michaux carried letters to Shelby; see American Historical
Association Report, 1896, pp. 983, 984. On Shelby's later attitude toward the
expedition, see ibid, pp. 934, 1023, 1040, note.— Ed. C793-I796l
André Michaux's Travels
Knob Licks;86 Saw several Plants especially in the salt
lands enclosed in the interior of the territory of Kentuckey.   Andromeda arborea.
The 14th left Danville for Louisville, lodged with
Cumberland ig Miles from Danville.
Sunday 15th of September 1793, 22 Miles from Danville found a sort of Tragia, a monoecian Plant, fructification in the manner of the Euphorbias. Shortly before
reaching Beardstown recognized the rocks and stones of
calcareous substances possessing all the forms of the
Madrepores. The tops of the Mountains (hills) one
has to cross, 3 or 4 Miles before reaching Beardstown,
consist entirely of these petrified madrepores. Recognized many Plants not found elsewhere: F agar a of the
State of New York; Rhamnus {Carolinian) and Rhamnus
. . . etc etc. The neighborhood would be very interesting for a Botanist to visit. Dined at Beardstown37
and slept 6 miles further.   31 Miles.
The country between Beardstown and Louisville
possesses no interest for a Botanist.
The 16th arrived at Louisville having traveled by the
new road.38   2Q Miles.   In all 79 Miles from Danville.
36 Knob Licks, Lincoln County, was formed as a settlement in 1776 by
Governor Shelby. De Pauw, one of the French agents, resided here. See
American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp. 977, 1002, 1023, 1102-1106.
The Knobs were a peculiar formation of detached hillocks.— Ed.
37 Beardstown (Bardstown) was an important settlement in early Kentucky
history, established (1788) near the Salt River in what is now Nelson County,
and named for the proprietor, David Baird. It is now a small village, although
still the county seat.— Ed.
38 For the founding of Louisville, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this
series, note 106. The old road from Bardstown to Louisville went via the Salt
Works (Shepherdsville, Bullitt County), and was reckoned at forty-five miles.
See Speed, "Wilderness Road," Filson Club Publications (Louisville, 1886),
p. 17. The new road was more direct, went across country from Bardstown,
and joined the old about ten miles below Louisville.— Ed. 42
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
The 17th of September visited General Clarke. I
handed him the Letters from the Minister and informed
him of the object of my Mission. He told me that he was
very eager for the Undertaking but that, although he had
written so long ago, he had received no answer and thought
it had been abandoned.39 I told him that his Letter had
fallen into other hands and that the Minister had received
it only indirectly after his arrival in Philadelphia. He
informed me that a fresh circumstance seemed to oppose
an obstacle to it.40
The 18th remained at Louisville and herborised.
The 19th returned to visit General Clarke    .    .    .
The 20th started from Louisville, passed by General
Clarke's41 and passed on to sleep near Salt river.
The 21st passed by Beardstown. Evonimus ramulis
quadrangulis capsulis muricatis.42
Sunday September 22nd arrived once more at Danville at 5 o'clock in the evening. Wrote to Minister
Genet the same day by the Philadelphia Post.43
The 23rd I rested.
The 24th started for Lexington and slept at the Kentuckey river crossing.
The 25th found that my horse had wandered away. I
slept at an inn where there was no Stable; my horse
3* For the letters of Genet and Clark, see American Historical Association
Report, 1896, pp. 967, 986.— Ed.
40 In Clark's letter to Genet, he seems to indicate that this obstacle was the
leaking out of the secret, by which intimations might reach the Spaniards.
Possibly he refers to the Spanish mission which caused Logan's hesitation;
see ante, note 33; also American Historical Association Report, 1896, p. 1007-
1009.— Ed.
41 The home of Clark's father, with whom he resided, was known as "Mulberry Hill,' ' situated in the environs of Louisville.— Ed.
42 E. Americanus, L.— C. S. S.
a On the early mail routes, see Speed, Wilderness Road, pp. 65-68.— Ed.
ft' i I793_I796] André Michaux's Travels'
jumped over the fence and I spent the whole day looking
for him.
While so engaged I saw on the sandy beaches: Iresine
celosioides; Mollugo verticillata; On the rocks; Heuchera
Americana; Asplenium rhyzophorum; Pteris nova; Parie-
taria ... ; Hydrangea arborescens. On the limestone mountains: Serratula 2 unknown species; Cuphea
viscosa; Didynamia gymnosperma novum genus; Didy-
namia angiosperma novum genus. On the bank of the
Dickson river, Dirca palustris; Sophora floribus coerulis.
In the shady forests etc: Acer foliis argenteis an rubrum?
Acer saccharum; Fraxinus foliolis subintegris, Fraxinus
foliolis serratis ramis quadrangularis; Gleditsia triacan-
thos; Guilandina dioica, Robinia pseudo-acacia; Evonimus
ramulis subrotundis, capsulis laevibus.
The 26th of September 1793, Rained all day; slept at a
mile from Kentuckey river at the house of . . .
Hogan44 who was kind enough to lend me a horse for
nothing to go in search of mine.
The 27th arrived at Lexington distant only 20 Miles from
the crossing of Kentuckey river called Hickman junction.43
The 5th of October started from Lexington.
Sunday the 6th of the same arrived at Danville. The
same day wrote to Citizen Minister Genet.
The 7th took lodgings at Puvit's49 and received my
44 James Hogan was a pioneer of Kentucky who settled at Bryan's Station
before 1779, and took a leading part in its defense against Indians (1781). He
was granted (1785) by the Virginia legislature the right to maintain a ferry
across the Kentucky River.— Ed.
45 The principal ferry on the road from Danville to Lexington was at the
mouth of Hickman's Creek, so named in honor of the first Baptist preacher in
Kentucky, Rev. William Hickman.— Ed.
46 See letter of this date, written by Michaux to Clark (American Historical
Association Report, 1896, p. 1010), in which he gives his address at "Mt0
Isham Prewitt, Jefferson County, near Danville."—Ed. 44
Early Western Travels
The ioth Sent a Messenger fo Louisville.47
The 13th Sunday returned to Lexington and came
back on Sunday the 20th, to Danville. Not having received general Clark's answer I was unable to take advantage of the Post to write to the Minister at Philadelphia.
The 21st received General Clark's answer.48
The ioth of November 1793, Year 2 of the French
Republic, left Danville for Philadelphia after visiting
Colonel George Nicholas49 near Danville. He laid stress
upon the plan he had proposed to me the previous day
regarding the Navigation of the Mississipi. Namely:
That the Naval Forces of the Republic should seize the
Mouth of the Mississipi, declare that the Country belonged to them by right of Conquest and invite the Americans of the Western Country to take advantage of the
freedom of Navigation. Then, if the Spaniards situated
higher up the river molested the Vessels carrying the
provisions conveyed by the Americans, the latter would
have the right to repel Constraint and force by force.
47 The original letter sent by this messenger is in the Wisconsin Historical
Library (Draper MSS., 55 J 5), and is printed in American Historical Association Report, 1896, p. 1013.— Ed.
48 This reply is given in American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp.
1007-1009. The break in the manuscript of Michaux's diary is occasioned
by the completion of one blank book and the commencement of another.—Ed.
49 Nicholas was one of a famous coterie of Virginia constitutional lawyers.
Born in 1743, the son of a distinguished lawyer, Robert Cary Nicholas, he
served as captain in the Revolution, and at its close qualified for the bar. His
services in the Virginia convention which adopted the federal constitution,
were important. Shortly after its close he removed to Kentucky, and there
aided in the adoption of its state constitution, which is reputed to have been
drawn up by his hand. Upon the formation of the state government, he was
chosen first attorney general. Nicholas adopted a moderate position in regard
to Western politics; the scheme here outlined, seems characteristic. In 1799
he was appointed law professor in Transylvania University, but died during
the same year.— Ed. t793"I796]
André Michaux's Travels
Thus the Spanish Government would have no reason to
complain of the United States having broken through
inasmuch as the country would be reputed in the possession of the French Republic.
Slept at Crab orchard distant from Danville 22 Miles.
The nth of November 1793, started from Crab Orchard in company with 12 persons who had assembled
at that place to pass through the Woods inhabited and
frequented by the Savages. The tract between Crab
■orchard and Houlston settlement is 130 Miles wide and
is called The Wilderness.80 Slept at Longford Station.
10 Miles.
The 12th slept at Modnell Station   28 Miles.
The 13th slept at Middleton station.   28 Miles.
The 14th crossed low, swampy places where the water
•was brown and stagnant. Six miles from Middleton
Post and 18 miles before reaching the top of Cumberland
Gap, saw a climbing fern covering an area of over six
acres of ground near the road.61 At this season when the
Frost had produced ice from 3 to 4 lines thick, this plant
was not at all injured by it. In this territory are two
places, one called Flat lick and the other Stinking Creek.
Saw near the Carcass of a Stag the . . . Raven
(Corvus cor ax). Da vissas station 2 miles to the52 . . .
Cumberland Gap68 26 Miles.
60 Michaux returned to Philadelphia by the well-known * ' Wilderness Road,' *
the chief means of exit from Kentucky. Parties frequently waited at Crab
Orchard — the western terminus in Lincoln County — until enough had gathered to act as protection against the Indians. See Speed, "Wilderness Road,"
Filson Club Publications, No. 2 (Louisville, 1886); also Hulbert, Historic
Highways of America, vol. vi.— Ed.
n Lygodium pal malum, Swz.— C. S. S.
62 Three words are here frayed away in the manuscript of the Journal.—
C. S. S.
63 Cumberland Gap, in southeastern Kentucky, emerging into Tennessee,
was explored in 1750 by Dr. Thomas Walker, who named both mountains and
river in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, son of George IL— Ed. 46
Early Western Travels
The 15th of November traveled through parts of very
high Mountains in the midst of which we crossed Clinch
river and slept at* Houlston Station54 in the house of one
.    .    .   27 Miles.
The 16th followed the bank of the Houlston river and
slept at the house of . . . Amis Esquire, three Miles
from Hawkin Court house.55   26 Miles.
Sunday the 17th the Rain compelled me to remain in a
a small Cabin near the North fork of Houlston 25 Miles.
The 18th my horse was so tired owing to the rapidity of
the journey and the bad roads across the Wilderness that
I was obliged to stop after a Journey of only eleven Miles.
II Miles.
The 19th started at daybreak. At the foot of the house
where I lodged, the Kentuckey road divides,56 the right
one leads to Burke court house in North Carolina passing
by the Mouth of Wataga river; the other leads to Abington
court house, the first town of Virginia. As my horse was
still tired, I made only 20 miles.
The 20th I made 75 Miles; arrived at Abington.67
The 21st I slept 22 Miles from Abington near Seven
Miles Ford, the middle Branch of the Houlston.
64 The Clinch and Holston rivers are upper waters of the Tennessee, in
southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. The settlements in these
valleys were among the first on the west-flowing streams. See map in Turner,
"State Making in the Revolutionary Era," in American Historical Review,
i, p. 74.— Ed.
65 Both of these stations are mentioned in an early journal; see Speed, Wilderness Road, p. 21.  The first was the seat for Hawkins County, Tennessee.— Ed.
66 The forks of the road was at the junction of the north and south forks
of the Holston River, near the present town of Kingsport, Sullivan County,
Tennessee.— Ed.
67 Abingdon, originally known as Wolf Hills, was one of the earliest settlements in the Valley of Virginia, and the seat of Washington County. It was
established as a town in 1778. It is still the county seat, and a station on the
Norfolk & Western Railway.— Ed. I793_I796] André Michaux's Travels
The 22nd of November 1793 crossed Seven Miles ford.
The Holston river consists of three principal Branches,
namely: North fork, Seven Miles fork and South fork
of Holston river.
In the space of six miles after crossing that little river,
observed on the northern Hills bordering several small
rivers the Pinus abies canadensis, Thuya occidentalis,
Rhododendron maximum and also Magnolia acuminata
in places where the soil is very rich: Fagus chinquapin;
clayey soil, ferruginous Quartz rocks, Slates rare and
lime Stones sometimes interveined with white Quartz;
grey Squirrel (forgot to mention that, in passing Abington, saw a Tortoise 8 inches in diameter petrified in a
black calcareous substance like the Rocks abounding in
the territory)    Our day's journey was 23 miles.
The 23rd of November slept in the house of a German.
During the night my horses strayed away. Between
Abington and With Court house58 among the Mountains
Abies canadensis and Thuya occidentalis.
Sunday the 24th, passed by With Court house and at
about 18 Miles in the steep Mountains observed Pinus
Strobus, Pinus foliis ternis (pitch pine) Pinus foliis
geminis . . . , Pinus abies canadensis, Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, Gaultheria procumbens.,
Epigea repens: In more arid places, Fagus chinquapin,
Fagus castanea americana, Fagus sylvatica americana,
Andromeda arborea, Hypericum Kalmianum. Among
the damp rocks or those watered by the streams; Rocks of
silex and also of agate slightly transparent.
From Seven Miles ford to With Court house 36 Miles.
68 Wytheville, near the centre of the county of that name, and its county
seat.— Ed.
ftl 48
Early Western Travels
w I
The 25th crossed the ferry called Peper's ferry69 on the
New River and afterward crossed from the West to the
East side of the Alleganies; slept on a branch of James
river called Catawba which flows eastward while the
New River flows West of the Mountains.
The 26th continued on my way to Botetort Court house
30 miles.
The 27th passed by Botetort Court house80 and by the
south Branch of the James River 12 miles from Botetort.
The 28th passed by Lexington61 40 miles distant from
Botetort and by the north branch of James river to one
Mile from Lexington.    Thuya occidentalis, Pinus Strobus.
The 29th of November, remained in Mac Dowall's
house;62 my horse's leg was so swelled that he could not
The 30th journeyed 27 miles.
Sunday the first of December 1793 passed by Stanton,
a small and rather flourishing town situate 120 Miles
from Richemont and 75 Miles from Botetort.6
M The early route through the Virginia Valley crossed New River at Ingles's
Ferry, a short distance west of Blacksburg, Montgomery County. A new
road shortened the distance and crossed the New River about five miles farther
up the stream, at a ferry operated by the pioneer family of Pepper. They
are alluded to in the Draper MSS., Wisconsin Historical Library, i QQ 97.— Ed.
80 Botetourt Court House, now Fincastle, the seat of Botetourt County
(established in 1769), was laid off as a town in 1772 on land donated for the
purpose by Israel Christian. It was named for the ancestral seat of Lord
Botetourt, an early governor of Virginia.— Ed.
61 Lexington was established by law in 1777 as county seat for Rockbridge,
then newly-formed out of Augusta and Botetourt.   See ante, note 28.— Ed.
62 Col. James McDowell, who lived near Fairfield, Rockbridge County,
was a descendant of the Scotch-Irish settler, Capt. John McDowell, who came
to the valley as a surveyor in 1737, and was killed in the first Indian fight
therein (1742).— Ed.
63 The present roads through the Valley of Virginia follow the course described by Michaux, passing through the same towns. Staunton is one of the
earliest towns of the region, having been settled in 1732 by John Lewis, a Scotch-
1     I .T
i793_I796] André Michaux's Travels
The 2nd passed by Rockyham or Rockytown64 20
miles distant from Stanton.
The 3rd passed by Woodstock,65 another small town 37
Miles from Rockytown. Between Stanton and Woodstock the country is mountainous, the soil rather fertile,
of a clayey nature, with calcareous rocks called Blue
limestone; Quercus rubra, alba; Fagus chinquapin and
Pmus foliis geminis, conis squamis rigidis et aculeatis.
Three miles before reaching that town, on the North of a
Hill on the road, Thuya occidentalis, Pinus foliis geminis,
Juniperus Virginiana.
The 4th started from Woodstock, passed by Newtown.66
The 5th passed by Winchester,67 35 Miles from Woodstock, formerly called Miller'stown.
Irishman, whose sons Andrew and Charles were among the most prominent
borderers. Andrew commanded the Sandy Creek expedition in 1756; and at
the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, where Charles was slain. Staunton was
laid out as a town in 1748, at the ' ' Beverly Mill Place,' ' but was not established
by act of legislature until 1761.— Ed.
84 This town is generally known as Harrisonburg, from its founder, Thomas
Harrison (1780). The county of Rockingham was erected in 1778, and held
its first court at the house of Daniel Smith, which was two miles north of
Harrisonburg.— Ed.
85 The upper or northern portion of the Valley of Virginia was first settled
by German emigrants from Pennsylvania. Woodstock was laid off as a town
by Jacob Miller, and established by law in 1761.— Ed.
M Newtown, or Stephensburg, was founded by Lewis Stephens on the site
of his father's first claim. Peter Stephens came to Virginia in 1732, with Joist
Hite, an early settler of the northern portion of the Valley. His son established the town in 1758, it being called Newtown to distinguish it from the
older Winchester.   Newtown is now a small hamlet, without a post-office.— Ed.
67 Winchester was built upon Lord Fairfax's grant in 1752. In 1738 there
were two cabins at this place, which was then called "Shawnee Springs," and
was the frontier outpost in that direction. The population was a mixture of
Germans and Scotch-Irishmen. Col. James Wood is accredited with the
foundation of the town of Winchester.— Ed.
y 5°
Early Western Travels
The 6th passed by Charlestown68 22 Miles from Winchester. Passed by Harspur ferry69 across the Potomack
river 8 miles from Charleston and entered Maryland.
The 7th passed by Fredericktown70 20 Miles from Harspur ferry (Potomack river) and 50 miles from Winchester.
Sunday the 8th passed by Woodberry and Littletown71
35 Miles from Fredericktown.
The 9th passed by Hanover, formerly MacAllister-
town72 42 miles from Fredericktown and by Yorktown
18 Miles from MacAllistertown now Hanovertown.
The ioth passed by the Susquehanna river and entered
& ■
68 Charlestown, in what was then Berkeley County, but now the seat for
Jefferson County, West Virginia, was laid off (1786) upon his own land by
Col. Charles Washington, brother of the general, and christened from his own
Christian name.— Ed.
89 Harper's Ferry takes its name from the first settler, Robert Harper,
who formed part of the German emigration of 1734. Washington perceived
the strategic importance of this place, and recommended it as the site of a
national arsenal.— Ed.
70 Frederick City, Maryland, was laid out in 1745 by Patrick Dulany, and
named in honor of the sixth Lord Baltimore. The first house, however, was
not erected on this site until 1748, when it became the seat of the newly-erected
Frederick County. Most of the early settlers were Germans, with an admixture of Scotch-Irish. At Frederick the road from Virginia crossed the National
Road from Baltimore to Wheeling.— Ed.
71 Woodsboro is a small village in Frederick County, Maryland. Littles-
town, in Adams County, Pennsylvania, was laid out in 1765 by one of the early
German settlers of the region, called Peter Klein (Little). It was frequently
called Petersburg in the earlier days. It is now a small station on the Fredericksburg branch of the Pennsylvania Railway.— Ed.
72 Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania, was laid out upon a tract granted
by Lord Baltimore to John Digges in 1728. The proprietors of Maryland
claimed this region, and Digges settled a number of German immigrants upon
his tract of 10,000 acres, which was known as "Digges's Choice." A Scotch-
Irishman, Richard McAllister, emigrated thither about 1749 and acquired
great influence over the German settlers of the neighborhood, where he kept
a store and tavern. He laid out the town and named it Hanover in 1763 or
1764.— Ed.
!» 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
Pennsylvania  eleven  miles  from  Yorktown.73   Passed
Lancaster 12 miles from Harris ferry on the Susquehanna
river and 24 miles from York.74
The nth of December 1793 traveled 30 Miles.
Thursday the 12th, arrived in Philadelphia 66 miles
from Lancaster.
The 13th visited Citizen Genet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republic.
|§The  14th Visited Mr.  Jefferson, Mr.  Rittenhouse75
and   .    .    .
Sunday the 15th; Recapitulation of the journey, namely:
12 miles
From Danville to Lincoln .
From Lincoln to Crab Orchard   .
From Crab Orchard to Langford Station
From Langford to Modrell Station
Modrell to Middleton Station     .
Middleton to Cumberland Gap .
Cumberland to Davisses Station
Davisses to Houlston
Houlston to Hawkin Court house
73 Michaux is mistaken in placing the Pennsylvania boundary so far north,
as he had entered that state'before reaching Littlestown. This territory, however, had been in dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland, but was settled
by the running of Mason and Dixon's line in 1763. York was not settled on the
lands of the Penn estate until 1741, when there were 2,000 settlers within the
bounds of what is now York County. The town became an incorporated
borough in 1785.— Ed.
74 For the early history of Harris Ferry, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this
series, note 73.— Ed.
75 Dr. Daniel Rittenhouse was one of America's best known scientists. Born
in Pennsylvania in 1732, his talent for mathematics early manifested itself,
and he became a clock and instrument maker, and finally an astronomer of
much repute. He held important positions in the new State of Pennsylvania,
was its treasurer (1777-89), also first director of the United States mint. Ritten-.
house was employed to settle the boundary between Virginia and his own
state, and during 1784-85 was in service in the field, directing the running of
the line. He succeeded Franklin as president of the American Philosophical
Society in 1790, retaining the office until his death in 1796.—Ed.
■ • -' ■   * 52
Early Western Travels
Hawkinto   .    .    .   Amis
Amis to North Fork of Houlston
North fork to Carolina fork
From the fork to Abington formerly Washington
Court House in Virginia
From Abington to Seven Mile ford      .        .     )
From seven Mile ford to With Courthouse      j
From With Court house to Peper ferry
From Peper ferry to Botetout Court house    .
From Boteton to James River South fork
From James river South fork to Lexington    .
From Lexington to Stanton
From Stanton to Rockytown
From Rockyham to Woodstock .
From Woodstock to Winchester
From Winchester to Charleston .
From Charleston to Harpur ferry or Potomack
From Potomack to Fredericktown
From Fredericktown to Littletown
From Littletown to Hanover formerly MacAlis-
From Hanover to Yorktown
From York to Susquehanna, Harris ferry
From Susquehanna to Lancaster
From Lancaster to Philadelphia
From Danville to Lexington
From Danville to Louisville77
746 Miles
33 Miles
84    1
78 The manuscript is so frayed that the figures for these two distances are
destroyed.   The footing requires 60 M. for the two.— C. S. S.
77 Michaux remained in Philadelphia until February 9, 1794, chiefly occupied with his botanical pursuits, and in getting his accounts audited.   Proceed-
I t793'I796]
André Michaux' s Travels
The 30th Germinal in the 3rd year of the French Republic One and Indivisible (Sunday 19th of April 1795
old style) started to go and herborise in the high Mountains
of the Carolinas and afterward to visit the Western territories. Plants seen before arriving at Monk's corner:
Heuchera . . . , Vicia 2 species, Smilax herbacea
erecta, Melampodium? : . . Polygonum necessaria,
Silène Virginica, Phlox lanceolata then in flower, Valeriana.   Slept at 45 Mile House.
The ioth Floreal (20th of April,) around forty five
Mile house, Valeriana; 3 Miles before reaching Neilson's
ferry Gnaphalium dioicuin, Uvularia ? On the said 20th
of April a new tree of the Santee river, elm-leaved, fructus
muricati capsula muricata, semen unicum subovatum.78
These seeds were then almost ripe; Celtis occidentalis
flowers   .    .    .79   and lower male flowers.
Slept 77 Miles from Charleston.
The 21st of April noticed on the Santee High-hills:
Phlox with white flowers and Phlox with pink flowers,
two different species, very small Phlox with lance shaped
leaves; Saw in the neighborhood of Monk's corner Lupv-
nus hirsutus in flower. Dined with Dr . . . ; slept
at Statesboroug.
The 22nd passed by Cambden; five miles beyond, a new
Kalmia; it was not yet in flower. Slept 10 Miles beyond
ing south on horseback, he arrived at Charleston March 14, 1794, where he
consulted with the French consul, Mangourit, concerning the Florida portion
of the expedition against French territory. See American Historical Association Report, 1897, pp. 569-679. Upon the collapse of this project, Michaux
undertook a botanizing tour to the mountains of North Carolina, from July
14, to October 2, 1794. Upon his return, he had an attack of fever for "more
than six weeks,' ' and passed the remainder of the winter in arranging his garden
and classifying his plants.—Ed.
78 Planera aquatica, Gmel. (P. Gmelimi', Michx.).— C. S. S.
78 A word here is illegible in the manuscript.— C. S. S. ■ ù>
Early Western Travels
The 23rd of April passed by Flat rock, by Hanging
rock Creek and slept at Cane Creek, Lancaster county,
in the house of a Mr May; my horse strayed away during
the night and following his traces it was found that he
had passed by Mr Lee's.
The 24th I was obliged to look for him all day. Mr
Lee also sent his son and his negro to search for him.
He procured me a Horse to go on my quest and afterward invited me to lodge with him; he overwhelmed me
with civilities.80
The 25 th, the horse came to Mr Lee's house of his
accord. Plants on the creek: Dodecatheon Meadia,
Asarum Canadense, Claytonia Virginica, Erythronium
Sunday 26th of April, started from Cane Creek, passed
by Land'sford on the Catawba river. But the real road
is from Cane Creek, ask for Colonel Crawford's house or
Plantation on the Waxsaw, then pass MacClean Hands
ferry on the Catawba; Thence straight to the Iron works
called Hill's Iron Works operated by Colonel Hill.81
Thus from Cane Creek to Waxsaw . . . Miles;
From Waxsaw to Iron Works, York county   .    .    .
The 27th passed Iron Works about 32 miles from Cane
80 Probably this was Thomas Lee, son of a Revolutionary patriot, and
usually a dweller in Charleston. In 1792, however, he married and afterwards
lived for some time on his estate in the up-country. Born in Charleston in
1769, he was admitted to the bar in 1790, and later was assistant judge (1804-16),
and United States district judge (1823-39). He was one of the most prominent
South Carolinians of his day.— Ed.
81 These were the most important iron-works in the state; their owner had
invented an improved water-blast, and had a forge, furnace, rolling mill, and
nail factory.— Ed. I793-I796!
André Michaux's Travels
The 28th passed by Armstrong82 ford on the south
branch of the Catawba, 12 miles from Iron Works.
The same day passed by the dwelling of Bennet Smith
where there is a . . . Magnolia, 12 Miles from
Armstrong ford.
The 29th passed by Lincoln,88 12 Miles from Bennet
Smith's and 36 miles from Iron Works.
Thursday 30th of April passed by the dwelling of Old
man Wilson84 9 miles from Lincoln and 6 Miles from
Robertson's. Reached Morganton86 30 Miles from Robertson.
The 1 st of May spent the day at Morganton and herborised in the neighborhood.
The 2nd spent the day at Colonel Avery's,86 4 miles
from Morganton.
82 Col. Martin Armstrong was a Revolutionary soldier in command of the
local militia, and much engaged in the war against the Tories. After the
battle of King's Mountain, he took over the command from Benjamin Cleveland.— Ed.
83 Lincolnton is the seat of Lincoln County, which was originally part of Ty-
ron. The name was changed in 1779 in honor of the patriot leader, Gen.
Benjamin Lincoln. This entire region was a centre of agitation for independence; and in 1780 a fierce battle between Whigs and Tories was fought at
Ramsour's Mills, near Lincolnton.— Ed.
84 Probably this was Capt. Zaccheus Wilson, a Scotch-Irish resident of
this region who migrated thither from Pennsylvania between 1740 and 1750.
Wilson was an ardent patriot, a member of the Mechlenburg convention in
1775, of the provincial congress of the state the following year, and a captain
at King's Mountain in 1780. In 1796 he followed his brother David to Tennessee, where he lived until his death in 1823 or 1824.— Ed.
85 Morganton is the oldest town in the mountainous district of North Carolina, having been founded during the Revolution, and named in honor of Gen.
Daniel Morgan. The settlers of this region were largely Scotch-Irish, who had
emigrated from Pennsylvania by way of the Valley of Virginia.— Ed.
88 Col. Waightstill Avery was of New England origin, born in Connecticut
in 1743. At the age of twenty-three he was graduated at Princeton, and after
studying law in Maryland removed to North Carolina in 1769. He was very
influential in the upper country, a member of the Mechlenburg convention of
1775, and of the state provincial congress the following year.   After a campaign
m 56
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
J    ! I
k u
Sunday 3rd of May started for the Mountains; at a
distance of 14 Miles from Burke is Wagely's house.
The Lineville Mountains at whose foot this house is
situated, abound in Magnolia auriculata. They were
then in flower. From Wagely's to Captain Young's is 8
The 4th of May left Young's. The distance to Ains-
wort's is 2 Miles but by going to the right one reaches the
foot of a very high Mountain 3 Miles from Young's.
The summit is 5 Miles from Young's.
From the summit of the Mountain at Young's to
Bright's, called Bright's Settlement, the distance is 3
Miles and from Bright's to Davin Port's 2 Miles, making
10 Miles in all from Young's to Davin Port's.87
The 5th of May herborised in the vicinity of the dwellings of Davin Port and Wiseman.
The 6th started for the Mountains, namely: Round
[Roan] Mountain and Yellow Mountain; Toe River
flows between these Mountains. All the Convallaria
were in flower as well as the Podophyllum diphyllum and
Sunday ioth of May 1795 returned from the Mountains
to the dwelling of Davin Port.
against the Cherokees, he was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with this
tribe in 1777. During the war Colonel Avery was in active service as a militia
officer; at its close he settled four miles from Morganton, calling his plantation "Swan Ponds." Five times Burke County sent him to the state legislature, and in 1796 to the senate. Andrew Jackson challenged Avery to a duel
in 1788, but later became his firm friend.   He died about 1821.— Ed.
87 Michaux followed the well-known Bright's trace, by which communication was maintained between the settlements of East Tennessee and those
of Western North Carolina. Over this road came the men who won the victory
at King's Mountain in 1780. Bright's place is now in the possession of the
Avery family. Martin Davenport resided at a noted spring not far from Toe
River, in Mitchell County, North Carolina. He was a well-known Whig;
his son William became a man of prominence, several times representing his
county in the state legislature.— Ed. I793-Ï796]
André Michaux's Travels
The nth herborised on the Mountains facing the
dwelling. The distance to the summit of the Bleue
Ridges at the part called Rompback is about 3 Miles; on
the first Mountains are to be seen in very great abundance
the Azalea foliis apice glandulosis, Azalea httea. There
is no other Azalea on the Hills surrounding the dwellings
of Davin Port and Wiseman but this yellow-flowered
species. That on the River banks is generally that with
carnation flowers and that with white flowers.88
The 12th ascended the summit of the Blueridges,
Rhododendron minus in flower, Cypripedium Luteum.
The 13th of May started to continue my journey. At
Noon arrived at the foot of Yellow Mountain 10 Miles.
In the evening came to sleep at the house of John Miller
12 Miles from the Mountain. Thus there are 22 Miles
from Davin Port's to Miller's; at a distance of half a mile
one commences to cross Doe River.
The 14th followed and crossed Doe river 27 times. It
is dangerous when the waters are high. Slept at the
house of Colonel Tipton,89 20 Miles from Miller's.
The 15th passed by Johnsboroug90 10 Miles from
Colonel Tipton's dwelling and 84 Miles from Burke Court
house. Slept at the house of Anthony Moore near Noley-
chukey river.    During the night my horse strayed away.
88 Rhododendron arborescens, Torrey.— C. S. S.
88 Col. John Tipton was one of the noted pioneers of Tennessee. Born in
Virginia, he early removed to Eastern Tennessee, and was engaged in the
defense of the frontier. Upon the inauguration of the state of Franklin, Tipton
joined the North Carolina party, and a fierce factional struggle ensued, which
culminated in the arrest of Colonel Sevier by Tipton's agency. Tipton lived
east of Jonesborough, on Sinking Creek.— Ed.
80 Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee, having been founded in
1779 and named in honor of Willie Jones, Esq., an active patriot of Halifax,
North Carolina, and a warm friend of the Western counties. Jonesborough
was the first capital of Washington District, and is still the seat of Washington
county.— Ed.
i 58
Early Western Travels
I   I
The 16th, Sunday 17th, & 18th were spent in searching for my horse.
The 19th bought another horse for the price of fifty
Dollars from an inhabitant of Noley Chukey river named
. . . Earnest, a neighbor of one Andrew Fox. The
Magnolia tripetala abounds on the banks of Noley
Wednesday 20th of May, passed by Green Court house
27 Miles from John's Borough and the road to Kentuckey,
taking the right hand and passing by . . . ferry on
the Holston river. Continuing straight on the road leads
to Knoxville. By going to the left a little before Green
the road leads to Frenchbroa'd.91 The distance from
John Borough to Green Court house is 27 Miles.
The 21 st passed by Bull's Gap 18 Miles from Green.92
The 22nd passed by Iron Works98 30 Miles from Bull's
gap. The distance to the river called Houlston river is
only four miles. Two miles from Iron Works is a Rock
of mineral, pieces whereof on being crushed and reduced
to powder dye cotton red ; this mineral is boiled etc.
The 23rd as my horse was injured I was obliged to
remain a Mile from Iron Works on Mossy Creek at the
house of one Newman. Near his house (*4 mile) is to
be found the mineral that I take to be Antimony.
Sunday 24th, arrived at Colonel King's on the Houl^
91 Greene Court House is now Greeneville, seat of Greene County. From
here two roads branch off, that to the right toward Cumberland Gap and Kentucky; that to the left through Newport and Sevierville, along the French
Broad Valley. Michaux took, as he says, the right hand road, leaving it, however, beyond Russelville, and continuing by this upper and less frequented
road to Knoxville.— Ed.
92 Bull's Gap is a pass in Bay's Mountain, between Jefferson and Greene
counties, named probably for Captain Bull, an early pioneer.— Ed.
83 This was one of the earliest forges in Tennessee; it was in Jefferson County,
not far from Mossy Creek.— Ed. 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
ston river at the place called Macby ferry9415 Miles from
Iron Works.
The 25th crossed the ferry and arrived at Knoxville 15
miles from Macby ferry, the residence of the Governor of
the Western territories, no Miles from Johnsborough.95
Plants and Trees of the Territory of Knoxville and of the
neighboring country: Quercus prinus saxosa; Quercus
prinus humilis; Quercus rubra; Quercus proemorsa; Quercus tomentosa; Quercus pinnatifida; Quercus alba . . .
TJlmus viscosa; Ulmus fungosa; Fraxinus . . . Dio-
spiros Virginiana; Liquidambar styracifiua; Juglans nigra,
alba or oblonga, hiccory pignut. Platanus occidentalis;
Nyssa aquatica; Fagus castanea americana; Fagus pumila;
Fagus sylvatica americana; Magnolia acuminata; Betula
abius americanus; Cercis Canadensis; Cornus fiorida;
Evonimus latifolius, Evonimus Americanus; Podophyllum
péltatum; Jeffersonia; Sanguinaria Canadensis; Trillium
Remained the whole week at Knoxville and herborised
in the vicinity while awaiting a sufficiently numerous
caravan to pass through the Wilderness.
Sunday 31st of May received notice that twenty five
84 McBee's Ferry, crossing the Holston in the northwestern corner of Knox
County, was a well-known landmark of this region.— Ed.
85 Knoxville was settled by James White in 1787, and at first called White's
Station. In 1791 a town was laid out, named in honor of General Knox,
which after the establishment of territorial government became the capital.
The first governor of the territory was William Blount, who was bom in North
Carolina in 1749, and was active both in the War of the Regulators (1771), and
in the Revolution. Blount was a member of the North Carolina legislature
and later of the national constitutional convention. Washington appointed
him governor of Southwest Territory, and on the admission of Tennessee as a
state he was chosen first state senator. For intriguing with foreign emissaries
he was impeached, and expelled from the Senate. The people, however, showed
their confidence by choosing Hm to the state senate (1797). He died in Knox
County in 1800.— Ed.
r, r*
mm\ 6o
Early Western Travels
im  '■-
armed travelers were on the point of arriving at Knoxville.
Monday ist of June 1795, old style, the journey was
again put off.
Thursday 4th of June started from Knoxville and slept
15 miles away at captain Camel's at the place called
Camel [Campbell] station.
Friday the 5 th, slept at the place called West Point on
Clinch river, a Post of soldiers guarding the frontiers of
the territory,96 25 Miles from Camel station.
The 6th started and crossed the river in a Scow or
ferry connected with West point station. Our journey
covered 10 miles. The Travelers consisted of 15 armed
men and more than thirty women and children.
Sunday 7th of June crossed the Mountains called Cumberland Mountains, 22 Miles.
The 8th continued our march in the Mountains. 23
Miles.    Magnolia petalis basi purpureis.97
Tuesday 9th of June 1795, alternately ascended and
descended the Mountains. In the bottom lands Magnolia tripetala in abundance, 25 Miles.
The 10th arrived at the Cumberland River, 10 Miles,
and slept beyond the 20th Mile.
The nth arrived at Blodsoe Lick or Blodsoe station,98
20 Miles.    120 Miles in all of the Wilderness.
88 Fort Southwest Point, as it was usually called, was erected in 1792 at
the junction of Clinch and Holston rivers, near the present town of Kingston,
as an outpost on the road to Western Tennessee, and a protection against the
Cherokee Indians. As late as 1803 travellers found it safer to go in company
through this wilderness.    See journal of F. A. Michaux, post.— Ed.
87 Probably M. macrophylla, Michx. In the Flora, it is described as only
growing "m regionibus occidentalibus fluvio Tennassee trajectis."—C. S. S.
88 Isaac Bledsoe was one of a party of hunters who discovered this lick
(near Gallatin, in Sumner County) as early as 1771. He removed hither in
1779 and founded a station; he was also one of the framers of the Cumberland i793-I796l
André Michaux's Travels
Slept at this place where there is food for men and
Friday the 12th, came one mile to Colonel Winchester's;99 slept there two nights to rest myself and my Horse.
Sunday the 14th herborised.
The 15th came to the house of a resident near Cumberland River, Mr. Jackson;100 soil fertile. Oaks, Quercus
prinus: Quercus rubra, Quercus glandibus magnis, capsula
includentibus, called Overcup White Oak.101 Quercus
tomentosa,102 Quercus praemorsa.    25 Miles.
The 16th arrived at Nashville 12 Miles.
Total 197 Miles from Knoxville to Nashville, the capital
of the Cumberland Settlements on the Cumberland
Association, and a faithful adherent of Robertson. His brother, Col. Anthony
Bledsoe, who had a reputation as a leader in the Holtson settlement, later
removed to Cumberland, and was an able second in command on Indian expeditions, especially that against the Chickamaugas in 1787. He was killed by
Indians at Bledsoe's Station in 1788. The spring at this place is now called
' ' Castillan Springs.' '— Ed.
88 Gen. James Winchester, born in Maryland in 1752, served in the Revolution, after which he removed to Tennessee, and settled not far from Gallatin,
in Sumner County. He served in the territorial and state militia, and in 1812
was appointed brigadier-general in the regular army, superseding Harrison in
command of the Western division. Captured at the River Raisin, he was
exchanged in 1814, resigned the following year, and died at his home in Tennessee in 1826.— Ed.
100 Michaux's remark indicates the obscurity of Andrew Jackson at this
early period of his history. He then lived upon a plantation called Hunter's
Hill, thirteen miles from Nashville, not having removed to the "Hermitage"
(two miles beyond) until 1804.— Ed.
181 Quercus macrocarpa, Michx.— here first mentioned.— C. S. S.
188 Q. bicolor, Willd — C. S. S.
103 Nashville was founded by James Robertson, who in 1779 came overland
from the settlements of Eastern Tennessee. Donelson's party, which went via
the rivers, did not arrive until April of the following year. Being beyond the
jurisdiction of any state, the settlers drew up a compact under which they lived
until the organization (1783) of Davidson County as a part of North Carolina.
The town, named for the patriot General Nash, was until 1784 called Nash-
n 62
I ft il!
I  '
I ft
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
The 17th visited various persons, Daniel Smith,104
Colonel Robertson,105 Captain Gordon, [G. M.] Deade-
rick, Dr White, Thomas Craighead106 etc. etc.
Herborised on the following days.
Trees of Nashville Territory :
Quercus prinus; Quercus phellos latifolia; Quercus
pinnatifida; Quercus foliis lyratis subtus tomentosis caly-
cibus maximis margine laciniatis glandibus inchidentibus
Vulgo; Over cup White Oak;107 Quercus rubra; Quercus
tomentosa; Acer saccharum, Acer negundo, Acer rubrum;
Juglans nigra, oblonga, hiccory: Platanus occidentalis;
Liquidamber styraciflua; Ulmus viscosa fungosa;10S Car-
pinus Ostrya americana; Rhamnus Alaternus latifalius,
Rhamnus frangula?109 frutex prunifer; Juniperus Vir-
giniana.   Banks of Cumberland river Philadelphus ino-
borough. Nashville was incorporated in 1806. The legislature met at this
city in 1812-16 and after 1826, but the city was not made the permanent capital
until 1843.— Ed.
104 See description of visit to Daniel Smith, brother-in-law of Andrew Jackson, in Journal of F. A. Michaux, post.— Ed.
106 Gen. James Robertson, the founder of West Tennessee, was born in
Virginia in 1742, but removed to North Carolina at an early age, and was one
of the first settlers of Watauga. In 1774 he took part in Dunmore's War, defended the Watauga fort in a siege in 1776, and three years later removed with
a party to the Cumberland. This settlement was maintained only by heroic
exertions, and the courage and wisdom of Robertson in his dealing with the
Indians. In 1790, Washington appointed him brigadier-general and Indian
commissioner.   He died in the Chickasaw country in 1814.— Ed.
108 These were all prominent early settlers of Cumberland. Captain Gordon was commander in several Indian affrays, notably the Nickajack expedition, and served under Jackson in 1813. Thomas Craighead was the first
clergyman in Nashville, where he arrived in 1785 and built a school-house at
Spring Hill. He was an especial friend of Andrew Jackson, whose wife was a
member of his church (Presbyterian).— Ed.
107 Q. Vyrata, Nutt.— C. S. S.
108 Ulmus fulva, Michx.— C. S. S.
189 Rhamnus Carolmiana, Gray.— C. S. S.
m 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
dorus; Aristolochia siphotomentosa;110 Mimosa erecta-
herbacea; Mirabilis111 clandestina seu umbellata seu parvi-
flora; Hypericum Kalmianum grandiflorum.112 -
Soil of Nashville clayey, rocky, limestone Rocks somewhat similar to the Kentuckey formation, position of the
Rocks horizontal, occasionally Quartz Veins in the Rocks,
abounding in marine petrifactions.
Sunday 21st of June 1795, killed and skinned some
Birds: Robin, Cardinal, Tetrao (grouse), Lanius Ty-
rannus rare, Quantities of the Genus Muscicopa; few
species of the Genus Picus: Wild Turkeys. Quadrupeds:
Musk-rat, Beaver, Elk, dwarf Deer, Bears, Buffalos,
Wolves, small grey Squirrels.
Minerals: soil clayey. Limestone Rocks always in a
horizontal position; impure Slate, flocks of schistus;
Petrifactions of land and fresh-water shells.
Monday 22nd of June 1795 (Old style) 4th of Messidor
in the 3rd year of the Republic, started from Nashville
for Kentuckey; passed by Mansko's Lick,11312 miles from
Nashville; slept at Major Sharp's 114 29 Miles from Nashville.
110 A. tomentosa, Sims.— C. S. S.
111 Oxybaphus nyctagineus, Sweet.   {Attionia nyctagvnea, Michx.).— C. S. S.
112 Probably Hypericum aureum, Bartram.— C. S. S.
113 Mansco Lick was in the northeastern part of Davidson County, named
for its discoverer, Kasper Mansco (Mansker), who was one of the party of
Long Hunters in 1769. On his adventures, see Roosevelt, Winning of the
West, i, pp. 147 ff.— Ed.
114 Major Sharp had formerly lived in Washington County, Virginia, whence
he had gone out to serve at the battle of King's Mountain. He removed to
Kentucky soon after the Revolution, and later settled in the Barrens. His son,
Solomon P. Sharp, born in 1780, became one of the most noted Kentucky
lawyers and political leaders, serving in the thirteenth and fourteenth Congresses, a friend and adherent of Calhoun. He was assassinated in the midst
of a brilliant career.— Ed.
w. fil
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
The 23rd crossed the Barren oaks and slept at [Drake's]
Creek. There is no house in the interval. The Soil
produces only black oaks.    30 Miles.
The 24th passed by Big Barren River. The man who
keeps the Ferry is well supplied with provisions.115 The
distance is 3 Miles from [Drake] Creek.
Crossed the Barrens and slept on the ground without
a fire and without allowing my horse to graze at large
through fear of the Savages.
The 25th passed by Little Barren River, the first house
43 Miles from Big Barren River. Afterward passed by
Green River 6 Miles from Little Barren River.
The 26th passed by Roland [Rolling] fork, head of Salt
River, 30 Miles from Green River.
The 27th arrived at Danville 35 Miles from Roland old
From Nashville to Danville, the oldest town in Kentuckey 117 Miles.
Sunday 28th of June rested.
The 29th skinned three striped Squirrels (Sciurus
The 30th herborised.
Wednesday 1st of July 1795 visited several residents.
The 2nd continued rain.
The 3rd put my old Collections in order.
The 4th
Sunday 5th of July116
Sunday 12 th of July dined with the Governor of the
State of Kentuckey, Isaac Shelby.
Thursday 16th of July 1795 left Danville.
116 This was Andrew McFàdden, who settled a station and ferry at this-,
point in 1785, and was a well-known character of that region.— Ed.
1X8 A part of one leaf of the Journal is here left blank.— C. S. S. i793"I796]
André Michaux's Travels
The 17th passed by Beardston forty three Miles from
The 18th arrived at Stanford's near Man's Lick.117
Sunday 19th remained to await my Baggage.
The 20th remained, and being obliged to stay, watched
the Process of manufacturing Salt. The Wells for getting the salt water are dug to a depth of about . . .
feet. Muddy clay is met with to a depth of . . . feet.
Then . . . feet of slatey rock. When the rock is
pierced the salt water is found at a depth of more than
. . . feet. This slate burns in the fire as if impregnated with bitumen or entirely made up of that substance.
Bones of those great marine bodies that are rather frequently met with on the banks of the Ohio have been
found in the impure clay that was dug up to reach the
slatey rock.
The 21st of July, arrived at Louisville, 40 Miles from
The 22nd and 23rd remained and herborised.
The 24th returned to Manslick, 16 Miles from Louisville.
The 25th returned to Louisville.
Sunday 26th of July herborised.
Plants in the neighborhood of Louisville: Quercus
cerroides,118 Quercus rubra; Quercus alba; Quercus prinus;
Liriodendron; Fagus castanea, Fagus sylvatica; Rhus
foliis alatis dioique; Hibiscus119 foliis hastatis calyce
exteriore lacinis subulatis flore pallide roseo.120
U7 Mann's Lick was a salt station before 1786; it was on the road from
Shepherdsville to Louisville, on the southern border of Jefferson County.— Ed.
ni Probably some form of Quercus alba, Michx.— C. S. S.
118 Hibiscus militaris, Cav. {H. hastatus, Michx.).— C. S. S.
m Here follow to the end of this part of the Journal separate memoranda
on loose sheets.— C. S. S.   We omit these.—: Ed.
ft «il
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
Saturday first of August made ready to leave for the
Wabash and the Illinois.
Sunday the 2nd I was invited to dine with a Frenchman named La Cassagne,121 a resident of Louisville for
more than 15 Years.
Trees, shrubs and Plants of Louisville territory:
Liriodendron tulipifera; Platanus occidentalis; Acer
rubrum foliis tnferne argenteis; Fagus sylvatica americana; Quercus rubra; Quercus alba, Quercus praemorsa,122
Quercus prinus, Quercus cerroides;122 Tilia americana;
Juglans nigra, Juglans alba, Jugions hiccory, (Juglans
pacane rare) ; Gleditsia triacanthos, Guilandina dioica.
Sunday 9th of August 1795, started from Louisville
and slept at Clarksville,123 two miles from Louisville on
the opposite Bank of the Ohio.
The ioth we set out and arrived at Post Vincennes
situate on the Wabash River on Thursday the 13th of
August in the evening.124 The distance is considered to
be one hundred and twenty five Miles. On the day of
our arrival we crossed a River about 20 miles before
reaching Post Vincennes and although the Waters were
then very low we were on the point of making a Raft for
the Country is not inhabited along this Road.    Of all the
121 Michael Lacassagne was one of the richest and most prominent merchants
of Louisville; he enjoyed the confidence of the community, and was a member
of the Kentucky convention of 1787.— Ed.
122 It is not clear what species are here referred to. Q. praemorsa is probably Q. macrocarpa, and Q. cerroides some form of Q. alba, although later in
the journal it is spoken of as an overcup oak.— C. S. S.
123 Clarksville, named in honor of Gen. George Rogers Clark, was intended
as the metropolis of the Illinois grant of 150,000 acres, which was made by the
Virginia legislature in 1783 to the officers and soldiers of the Illinois regiment
which had served with Clark. A board of trustees was established for the
town, and a few of the former officers settled here; but the place did not thrive,
and is now but a suburb of New Albany.— Ed.
124 For the early history of Vincennes, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this
series, note 113.— Ed. C793-I796]
André Michaux's Travels
Journeys I have made in America in the past 10 years
this is one of the most difficult owing to the quantity of
Trees overturned by storms, to the thick brushwood
through which one is obliged to pass; to the numbers of
Flies by which one is devoured, etc.
The 14th, 15th and Sunday the 16th of August I was
obliged to rest having arrived almost ill. My horse,
while trying to jump over the trunk of a large fallen tree,
fell and threw me a great distance and I suffered for
several days from an injury to the lower part of the Chest
on the left side because the trigger of my gun had struck
The 17th spent a portion of the day herborising on the
banks of the Wabash River.
I continued herborising on the following days.
The 18th of August 1795
List of Plants observed on the Wabash:
No. 1 — Verbena135 urticifolia caule erecto, paniculis
divaricahs, bracteis flore brevioribus, floribus albis.
No 2 — Verbena120 . . . , caule erecto, paniculis
fasiigiatis erectis, bracteis et calycibus pilosis, floribus
No 3 — Verbena127 caule erecto, paniculis rectis folhs
ovatis, tomentosis, duplicato-serratis.
No 4 — Verbena   .   .   .
No 5 — Verbena128 caule repente, foliis pinnatifidis,
bracteis longissimis.
Silphium perfoliatum, Silphium connatum, Silphium
laciniatum, Silphium grandifolium, Silphium trifoliatum,
Silphium pinnatifidum.   Andropogon muticum; Holcus?
126 V. urticifolia, L.— C. S. S.
128 V. hastate, L. ? — C. S. S.
127 V. stricta, Vent.    (V. ringens, Michx.).-
128 V. bracteosa, Michx.— C. S. S.
■C. S.S. 68
Early Western Travels
. . . ; Poa ... ; Quercus cerroides Chêne frisé,
Overcup White Oak; Quercus latifolia Chêne à latte
Ram's Oak; Quercus . . . Polygonum aviculare stam-
inibus 5, Sty lis 3; Polygonum aviculare majus staminibus
5, Stylis 3. Trifolium? pentandrum majus; Trifolium?
pentandrum floribus purpureis; Sanicula129 marylandica
or [called] Racine à Becquel by the Illinois French and
Sakintépouah by the Pians130 Savages: A decoction of the
root is a sovereign remedy for several diseases and for
long-continued venereal diseases.
Sunday 23rd of August 1795 started from Post Vincennes situated on the Wabash River for the Illinois on
the Mississipi. We journeyed six Miles and camped
on the bank of a Little River [Embarras]. I had no
other company than a Savage and his wife. I had hired
the Savage for ten Dollars and promised him two Dollars
more to induce him to carry all my baggage on his horse.
The 24th we made about 25 Miles; the Savage was ill
and was obliged to stop more than three hours before
The 25th crossed several Prairies. Observed a new
species of Gerardia.131 Stalk commonly simple, oval
leaves opposite one another, sessile, axillary flowers purpurine flowers.
The 26th the Provision of meat was consumed. The
Savage stopped very early, finding a favorable spot for
hunting. Moreover heavy Rain fell about three o'clock
in the afternoon. An hour after camping the Savage
came back laden with a Bear cub and with the two hams
m Spigelia? — C.S.S.
180 The Piankeshaw tribe of Indians, a branch of the Miami nation that
dwelt around Vincennes.— Ed.
m G. auriculala, Michx.— C. S. S.
W 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
of another and much older one. We boiled the kettle
twice and had enough to satisfy us. We roasted what
The 27th the Savage killed two Stags. We halted
very early to dry the Skins and to eat, for the Savage and
his wife ate five meals a day. Moreover, they regaled
themselves with the marrow of the bones which they ate
raw; for, being unable to carry away the meat, they contented themselves with a piece of the animal's loins.
The 28th of August 1795. Just as I was eager to see
Game the 1st and 2nd day, so was I afraid to see it then
owing to the waste of time. I was all the more anxious
to proceed that it rained every day. I had already been
obliged once to dry at a fire my baggage that had been
wet through especially four books of Botany and Mineralogy I had with me, as I had been unwilling to expose them
to the hazards of the River and had sent by way of the
Mississipi two Trunks containing grey Paper, Powder,
Lead, Alum, Boxes for collecting Insects, and all the
articles required for making Collections of Plants, Animals,
Insects and Minerals.
Sunday 30th of August arrived at the village of Kas-
kaskia182 situated   two mile   from the Mississipi river
182 The French villages in Illinois resulted from the plans of La Salle; the
earliest grew up about Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois River. In 1700, the
Kaskaskia tribe of Indians removed to the river bearing their name, the Jesuit
missionaries and traders followed, and the village at this place began. The
inhabitants were chiefly descendants of the coureurs des bois, intermixed with
Indian blood. The Jesuit plantation at Kaskaskia consisted of two hundred
and forty arpents of land, well-cultivated and stocked with cattle, containing
also a brewery. When the Jesuits were suppressed, the buyer, Beauvais,
raised eighty-six thousand weight of flour from a single harvest. The French
dominion came to an end in 1765 (see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series).
Kaskaskia was captured from the English in 1778 by George Rogers Clark,
and the American régime was instituted by John Todd, under appointment
from Virginia. See Mason, Chapters from Illinois History (Chicago, 1901),
pp. 250-279.— Ed.
I 1
Early Western Travels
and half a mile from the Kaskaskia River. It is inhabited
by former Frenchmen under the American Government.
The number of families is about forty five. It is agreeably situated but the number of inhabitants had decreased;
nothing is to be seen but houses in ruins and abandoned
because the French of the Illinois country, having always
been brought up in and accustomed to the Fur trade with
the savages, have become the laziest and most ignorant
of all men. They live and the majority of them are
clothed in the manner of the Savages. They wear no
breeches but pass between their thighs a piece of cloth
of about one third of an ell [in length] which is kept in
place before and behind above the hips by a belt.
The 31st of August herborised.
Tuesday the first of September continued my herborising; also on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of the same.
The 5th started for the village called Prairie du Rocher
about 15 miles distant from Kaskaskia.138 Passed by the
village of St Philippe abandoned by the French and inhabited by three families of Americans.184 This village
is 9 Miles from Prairie du Rocher.
The 6th arrived at Kaskia [Cahokia]186 near the Mississipi   .    .    .   Miles from Prairie du Rocher.
138 Prairie du Rocher was a small French village situated upon a grant made
to Boisbriant (about 1725) by the Mississippi Company, and by him transferred
to his nephew Langlois, who maintained seignioral rights therein until the
establishment of American government.—Ed.
184 St. Philippe was founded upon Regnaulfs grant. Pittman {Present
State of European Settlements on the Mississippi, London, 1770), says that when
he visited it (1766) there were sixteen houses, a small church, and one inhabitant, dubbed "captain of the militia," who had twenty slaves, many cattle, and
a mill.— Ed.
185 Cahokia was probably the oldest settlement in the Illinois, although
Kaskaskia disputes its priority. A mission of the Séminaire des Missions
Etrangères was founded among the Tamaroa and Cahokia Indians about 1698,
and a French village sprang up around the place.   In 1714 there was a large 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
The 7th herborised and visited the neighborhood of
The 8th started to return to Kaskaskia and arrived
there on the 9th.
The 10th continued herborising in the vicinity of Kaskaskia Village until the 13th of the same month.
Sunday the 13th of September crossed over with a savage guide to the south bank of the Kaskaskia River and
continued to herborise there until the 18th of the same
The 18th and 19th Rained continually. Put my Collections in order and gave my horse a rest.
Sunday the 20th    .    .    .
Kaskaskia 45 families; Prairie du Rocher from 22 to
24 families. St. Philippe 3 American families. Fort
de Chartres in ruins.136 Kaskias 120 families. Americans
at Corne de Cerf and at Bellefontaine187 35 families. St
Louis flourishing188    .    .    .    Prairies and hills.
accession of renegade coureurs des bois. See Wisconsin Historical Collections
(Madison, 1902), xvi, pp. 331, 332. After the English acquired the Illinois,
many inhabitants migrated from Cahokia to St. Louis.— Ed.
188 Fort Chartres was the most considerable fortification built by the French
in the western part of America. The original fort was constructed in 1720 by
Boisbriant, commandant in Illinois for the Company of the Indies. In 1756,
• the stronghold was rebuilt in stone, being described as an irregular quadrangle
with port-holes for cannon, houses, barracks, magazines, etc. For a contemporary description, see Pittman, Settlements on the Mississippi, pp. 45, 46.
After 1765, Fort Chartres was garrisoned by the English; but in 1772 the erosion by the river caused a portion to collapse, and the fort was abandoned.
For its present condition, see Mason, Chapters from Illinois History, pp. 241-
249.— Ed.
137 The earliest American settlements in Illinois were made by soldiers of
Clark's army. Bellefontaine, in the present Monroe County, was the centre
for American life. More American families were reported a few years previous
to this. Probably the Indian wars and the allurements of the Indian trade had
caused some dispersal.— Ed.
188 St. Louis was founded by Pierre Laclede in April, 1764. He had secured
a license from the French governor of Louisiana to trade upon the upper Missis-
^B iWmw ^pHBBfl 72
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
Friday 2nd of October started to go by land to the
place where the Ohio falls into the Mississipi. Owing
to the difficulty experienced in crossing the Kaskaskia
river we traveled only 12 Miles.
The 3rd and Sunday the 4th Rained and we crossed
several prairies.   Traveled about 27 Miles.
The 5th passed more Prairies intersected by strips of
Forest. My guide killed an Elk called Cerf by the
Canadians and French of Illinois. This animal is much
larger (twice as large) than the dwarf Deer of the United
States of which there is an abundance also in the Illinois
country and which the French of these countries call
Chevreuil. Its antlers are twice the size of those of the
European Stags. Below each of its two eyes is a cavity which keeps closed but, by separating the two sides
like eyelids, one can insert a finger to the depth of an
inch. This cavity seems intended for the purpose of
secreting some kind of humor. In fact on opening the
cavity I found a substance of the form and consistency
of a hare's dropping but of the size of an acorn. This
animal has canine teeth in the upper and lower jaw like
those of horses, called fangs. The hunters say that this
animal is always very fat. In fact this one was exceedingly so.   Traveled about 32 Miles.
The 6th entered the forests and crossed several rivers.
Traveled   .    .   .   miles.
sippi and the Missouri. Upon arriving in the Illinois country, the previous
November, he chose the site for his new settlement, and spent the winter at
Cahokia making arrangements. Meanwhile the news of the transfer of Canada
and the Illinois to the British had arrived. Under the impression that France
had retained the left bank of the Mississippi, many Illinois settlers removed
thither with Laclede. St. Louis flourished under Spanish dominion, but was
known by its neighbors as "Pain Court" (Scant-bread) because its inhabitants
devoted more time to fur-trading than to agriculture. It was not until transferred to the United States (March, 1804) that the career of St. Louis as a city
began.—Ed. i793"I796l
André Michaux's Travels
The 7th of October 1795 my guide killed a Buffalo
which he considered to be about four years old. It
seemed to weigh over nine hundred pounds. As it was
not very fat my guide told me it was very common to see
animals at that age weighing over twelve hundred pounds.
It seemed larger than any Oxen in France and to surpass
them in length and size.
Thursday the 8th saw another Buffalo thirty toises from
our Road. We stopped to look at it. It walked very
slowly but after a couple of minutes it stopped and,
recognizing us, ran away with extraordinary speed. On
the same day arrived at Fort Cheroquis otherwise called
Fort Massac by the Americans.139   125 Miles.
The 9th of October 1795 herborised on the bank of the
Mississipi: Platanus Liquidamber Bonducs, pekan Nut-
trees, hiccory Nut-trees, called by the French Noyers
durs; prickly Nuts (by the French Noyer amer) round
Nuts. White Oak, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra ramosis-
sima, Quercus cerroides (by the French chêne frisé and by
the Americans overcup White Oak) Quercus prinus,
Quercus integrifolia1*0 or Quercus foliis junioribus omnibus et adultis semper integerrimis margine undulatis
apice setafieis. This species of oak abounds in the
Illinois Country.   It loses its leaves later than the other
138 For definition of Toise, see post, note 163.
Fort Massac had been erected by the order of General Wayne in 1794, in
order to check the expedition which Michaux went to Kentucky to promote.
It was on the site of an old French post, which had been erected in 1757 by
Aubry, governor of Illinois. He first named it Fort Ascension, and proceeded
thence to reinforce Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio. After the evacuation of that fortress (1758), the Illinois troops dropped down to this place, and
renamed it Fort Massac, in honor of the Marquis de Massiac, minister of marine.
When the French surrendered the Illinois, the British neglected to fortify this
place, although recommended to do so by their engineers. Accordingly Clark
marched hither overland to his capture of Illinois.— Ed.
148 Q. imbricaria, Michx.— C. S. S.
--TWOM 74
Early Western Travels
I imsA
species of Oak. The French inhabitants call it Chêne à
lattes. In Lower Carolina it is rather rare but keeps its
leaves until the month of February or March. It seems
to resemble the green Oak from which it differs in the
shape of its acorns.
Nyssa montana rather rare; Gleditsia triacanthos;
Robinia pseudoacacia (by the French fevier). The Gleditsia triacanthos is called fevier épineux and the Guilandina
dioica Gros fevier and the seeds Gourganes. Note. On
the Illinois river is a species or variety of Guilandina
dioica whose seeds are twice as big as those on the Banks
of the Mississipi, Cumberland etc. Liana Rajanioides;
Anonymos1*1 ligustroides; Vitis1*2 monosperma, this species
is found along the Rivers and not in the interior of the
forest; I saw it on the Kaskaskia River, on the Mississipi
in the vicinity of fort Massac, on the Tenasse river, but it
completely covers the banks of the Cumberland river
from its mouth to a distance of 45 Miles.
Sunday nth of October 1795 started with a Guide to
ascend the Cumberland (Shavanon) river148 in a Canoe.
The rain compelled us to return.
Tuesday the 13th hired two men at a dollar a day each
to ascend the Rivers of the Territory of the Cheroquis
Savages. Started from fort Cheroquis or Fort Massac.
The distance is six Miles to reach the mouth of the
Tenassee River called by the French of ÏÏlinois Chero-
141 Forestiera acuminata, Poir.    {Adelia acuminata, Michx.).— C. S. S.
142 Vitis riparia, Michx., or more probably, in part, at least, V. palmata,
Vahl. {V. rubra, Michx. in herb), a species which is often monospermous,
and which was discovered by Michaux in this region and merged by him with
his V. riparia.— C. S. S.
143 Tjjg Cumberland River was usually known as the Shawnese River on
early maps. Doubtless this Indian tribe had dwelt thereon when first met by
white explorers.— Ed.
m i793-I7963 André Michaux's Travels
quis River.144 This river is very great and very wide.
After ascending it about six miles we saw the tracks of a
Bear on the bank. We stopped and entered the wood
when we came upon a she Bear with cubs. The dog
pursued the Mother, the cubs climbed a tree; I killed one
and the guides killed the two others. We passed the
night at that place.
The • 14th very heavy Fog; we made only 5 Miles.
Rain began to fall about noon.
The 16th paddled or rowed about ten Miles owing to a
heavy Wind that began by a storm the previous evening
and continued a part of the day. We camped opposite
an Island or Chain of Rocks running nearly across the
River. Nevertheless there is a channel on the south
Bank that is fairly deep and sufficient for the passage of
large boats.
Banks of the Cheroquis river (Tenassee): Platanus;
Juglans pacanà, Hiccori, pignut; Liquidambar; Quercus
rubra, prinus; Anonymos carpinoides; Anonymos ligus-
troides;1*5 Betula austrolis grey-bark Birch,146 which is
found throughout America from Virginia to the Floridas;
it differs from the Betula papyrifera; Bignonia catalpa;
Ulmus; Fraxinus; Vitis rubra or monosperma; Gleditsia
triacanthos; Diospiros; Smilax pseudochina; Bignonia
crucigera, radicans; Rajania . . . Dioecia 8-dria;
Populus Caroliniana, by the French Creoles Liard, and
by the Americans Cotton tree. (Note: The Canada
Poplar is called by the Canadians Tremble and by the
English of Canada Quaking Aspen); Acer rubrum, sac-
144 So called because it took its rise in the Cherokee territory. See Weiser's
Journal, vol. i of this series, note 33.— Ed.
145 Forestiera Ugustrma, Poir.    {Adelia ligustrina.   Michx.).-
148 Betula nigra, L.   (25. lanulosa, Michx.).— C. S. S. fi
! fi
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
charinum, negundo: Anonymos ligustroides; Anonymos
(The 22nd of June 1795, according to the Gazette the
Agents of the French Republic were recognized by President Washington
Philip Joseph Letombe, Consul General
Théodore Charles Mozard, Consul at Boston
Jean Anthony Bern Rosier, Consul at New York
Léon Delaunay, Pennsylvania
Louis Etienne Duhait, Maryland)148
The 15th October 1795 herborised.
The 16th descended the river and camped at the mouth
of the Shavanon River called Cumberland river by the
Americans eighteen Miles from fort Massac; killed a
Canada Goose called by the French Canadians and
Illinois French Outarde; killed two water-Hens an
American kingfisher, an American pelican.
The 17th ascended the River about ten Miles; there
were numbers of wild Turkeys on the banks; the Rowers
and I killed five from the Canoe in passing, without landing.
The 18th continued on our way toward the upper part
of the River.
The 19th descended the river.
Tuesday 20th of October 1795 returned to Fort Cheroquis or Fort Massac.
Trees and Plants in the neighborhood on the Banks of
the Ohio.
147 Planera aquatica, Gmel.— C. S. S.
148 The interpolation of these names in the journal at tM» point, would
appear to indicate that the news of the appointments consequent upon the
arrival of the new French minister, Adet (June i, 1795), had just reached
Michaux; also that his interest in political affairs was still active, and that other
motives may have led him to this country under feint of herborizing.— Ed.
'rami i793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
Platanus occidentalis, by the Americans Sycamore and
by the Illinois French cotonnier; Populus, by the Americans Cotton tree and by the Illinois French, Liard;
Celtis occidentalis, by the Americans Hackberry tree and
by the French Bois inconnu; Liquidambar styraciflua,
by the French of Louisiana Copalm and by the Americans   .    .    .
A Frenchman who traded among the Cheroquis Savages
cured himself of the Itch by drinking for ten days a decoction of Chips of that tree which he called Copalm and
which is the true Liquidambar; Gleditsia triacanthos, fevier
(bean-plant) by the French and sweet locust by the Americans.
Guilandina dioica.1*9
Sunday 25th of October 1795 Spiraea trifoliata is a
purgative used by the Savages and by the Illinois French.
They call it Papiconah. In the neighborhood of Fort
Cheroquis is found also the Geranium called herbe or
rather Racine à Becquet which is given for chronic Diseases during several weeks; Veronica virginica called by
the French herbe à quatre feuilles (four-leaved grass) is
often added.
Sunday first of November I was obliged to defer my
departure, my Horse not having been found.
Friday the 6th my Horse was brought back to the Fort
and I at once made ready to start for the Illinois. Started
the same day and journeyed about 18 Miles.
The 7th the Rain began early in the morning and continued all day. Remained camped under a Rock where I
had stopped the previous day with my Guide.
Sunday the 8th traveled through woods and Hills.
The 9th, the same.
148 A blank of five days in the Journal occurs here.— C. S. S.
M   f l-n s
U 78
Early Western Travels
The ioth arrived toward evening at the Prairies.
The nth crossed the Prairies.
The 12th toward evening Re-entered the Woods once
more and slept 7 Miles from Kaskaskia river.
The 13th arrived before breakfast at Kaskaskia about
130 Miles from Fort Massac.
The 13th of November I rested.
Sunday the 14th went out to hunt Canada Geese.
The 15th put my Collections of seeds in order.
The 16th same occupation.
The 17th I went Hunting.
Thursday 18th started for Prairie du Rocher
The 19 th Duck Hunting.
The 20th Goose Hunting.
Sunday 22nd paid visits.
The 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th visited the
Mountains of Rock bordering on the inhabited Country;
Opossums, Raccoons, aquatic Birds etc.
Sunday 29th of November went to the Village of St
Philippe called the Little Village.
The 30th visited Fort de Chartres.
Tuesday the 1st of December started for Kaskaskias
and remained there.
The 2nd and 3rd of the same Made arrangements with
Richard160 to go by water to Cumberland.'
The 4th returned to Prairie du Rocher.
The 5th prepared to start. Stuffed a white-headed
wild Goose.
The 6th started once more for Kaskaskias.
The 7th confirmed once more in my opinion that the
Second Bark of Celtis occidentalis (called in the Illinois
160 A habitant named Pierre Richard is listed as a head of family at Kaskaskia in 1783, and again in 1790.— Ed.
i I
iH 1793-I796]
André Michaux's Travels
country Bois connu and toward New Orleans Bois inconnu)
is an excellent remedy for curing jaundice; a handful of
the roots or leaves of Smilax sarsaparilla is added to it;
it is used for about eight days as a decoction.
The 8th of December 1795. The French Creoles call
the species of Smilax found in the Illinois country, Squine.
Only the thorny species grows there; it loses its leaves in
the Autumn. The other species is herbaceous and
The 9th of December. The root of Fagara as a decoction is a powerful remedy for curing disease of the Spleen.
I have no doubt that the root of Zanthoxilum clava-Her-
culi can be used for obstructions of the liver and Spleen.
The ioth: Bignonia Catalpa,151 by the French Creoles
Bois Shavanon; Cercis canadensis, Bois noir (black
wood) ; Liriodendron Pulipifera, Bois jaune (yellow wood) ;
Nyssa, Olivier (olive). In making Wheels for vehicles
the workmen use the Wood of Padus Virginiana for the
felloes, Elm for the Naves and white oak for the Spokes.
The nth of December. Confirmed once more in my
opinion that the root of Veronica Virginiana, vulgarly
known as Herbe à quatre feuilles (four-leaved grass),
used as a decoction for a month, is effective for the cure
of venereal Diseases. Four or five of the roots are
boiled. As this beverage is purgative the strength of
this Ptisan must be increased or reduced by putting more
or less according to the effect it has on one. It is sufficient for the first days that the bowels be relaxed and
looser than usual; it is not unusual that the bowels be
moved 3 or 4 times the first day.
I was informed at Illinois that Mackey a Scotchman
««This, doubtless, is C. speciosa, Warder, the only indigenous species in
this region.— C. S. S.
M Ill
\ f-
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
and Even a Welshman, started at the end of July 1795
from St Louis to ascend the Missouri in a 4 oared Barge.
They are aided by a Company whereof Charles Morgan,
a créole from the Islands, is Manager.158
December the [12th] 1795.
Sunday the 13th made my preparations for the journey
to Cumberland.
The 14th started for Cumberland; passed the Salt
spring on Spanish territory. Observed Tagetoides.
Learned the news of the peace between France and
Spain. Slept six miles from the Salt spring. Observed
on the banks of the Mississipi river Equisetmn which the
French créoles call Prêle. This Plant has here a circumference of nearly one inch and the stalk is 4 feet high.
The 15th passed Cape St Come168 at the foot of which
the Mississipi makes an angle. Fish is caught here in
abundance; the distance from Kaskaskia is eighteen
Miles. Camped at Girardeau154 17 leagues from Kaskaskia.
182 The principal fur-trading company at St. Louis had been formed in
1794 by a union of all the traders at the suggestion of the governor, Trudeau;
at its head as manager was placed Jacques Clanmorgan (Ch. Morgan is a
misprint for Clanmorgan), who had for some time been in business in St. Louis,
but did not sustain an honorable reputation. He, however, succeeded in interesting in his enterprises, a rich merchant of Canada, named Todd, and probably the Scotchman and Welshman were his factors. See Billon, Annals of
St. Louis (St. Louis, 1886), pp. 283 ff.— Ed.
158 Cape St. Cosme has been corrupted into Cape Cinque Hommes, in
Perry County, Missouri. It was originally named for Jean François de St.
Cosme, a Canadian Seminary priest who made a voyage down the Mississippi
in 1700, and was a missionary to the Illinois and Natchez. A few years later,
he was assassinated on the lower Mississippi by a band of savages, upon whom
Bienville later avenged his death. The term "Cap St. Cosme" is found on a
map of 1758.— Ed.
184 Cape Girardeau was settled in 1794, the first house having been built
by a Frenchman. The later settlement, however, was almost exclusively
American; by 1803 there was a population of twelve hundred.— Ed.
It I793-Ï7961
André Michaux's Travels
The 16th continued for 6 hours with Hills and Rocks
on the shores of the river, then low land. We camped
at the place where the Belle Rivière [Ohio] falls into the
Mississipi. On the opposite bank was camped Governor Don Gayoso, Governor of Natchez and upper
Louisiana.156 He sent a Boat to find out who we were
and, learning that I was a passenger, he came to see me.
He told me the news of the Peace between France and
Spain. He offered me his services. The distance from
Cape Girardeau to the Mouth of the Belle Rivière is
eighteen leagues and in all 35 leagues from Blinois.
The 17th camped at a distance of about 7 leagues.
The 18th arrived near Fort Massac; seven leagues.
The 19th camped opposite the Mouth of the River
Cheroquis or Tenasse.
Sunday the 20th passed by la Pacanière; this is an extensive Swamp on the North West side bordered by
Pekan Nut-trees situate opposite or rather a little before
entering the Cumberland River.
The same day Sunday 20th of December, entered the
River Shavanon or Cumberland River the mouth of
which is six long leagues from Fort Massac. Slept two
leagues above the Mouth.
The 21 st rowed about 8 leagues.
The 22nd rowed about 7 leagues, and slept at the great
Eddy which is considered to be at a distance of forty five
miles from the mouth.158
186 Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos was educated in England and married
an American. During his governorship at Natchez he was employed by Caron-
delet in intrigues with the inhabitants of Kentucky; he had come north at this
time for a conference with Sebastian, and to communicate with Wilkinson.
In 1797 he was made governor-general of Louisiana, and died two years later,
after a dinner given at New Orleans in honor of Wilkinson.— Ed.
188 The town of Eddyville, Lyon County, Kentucky, was founded at this
eddy in 1799.— Ed.
h Ill
Early Western Travels
The 23rd we camped above the Isle aux Saules (Willow
Island); rowed about 12 Miles or 4 leagues.
The 24th remained in camp. Rained all day. The
River which was very easy to navigate until today, rose
considerably and flooded the woods.
The 25th Rain continued to fall mixed with hail. Remained in Camp.
The 26th Remained in camp on account of the rising
of the river whose current was too strong.
Sunday 27th of December 1795. rowed about 4 Miles
only owing to the difficulty of rowing against the current
of the river.    Camped at the mouth of Little River.
The 28th crossed to the opposite bank. The current
was as rapid as on the previous days and compelled us to
camp.   White frost.
The 29th it again Rained heavily.   Remained in camp.
The 30th the River having overflowed and flooded all
parts of the woods, we shifted camp and returned to the
Little river; we ascended it until we came to a Hill high
enough to relieve us from the fear of being flooded.
The 31st the weather became clear, the wind shifted
to the North but the river continued to overflow its
banks.    Most of us went hunting wild Turkeys.
Friday first of January 1796. Wind from the north;
Frost; the River rose one inch during the night.
In the vicinity of Little river, the Country has Hills
scattered here and there. Soil clayey, very rich Mould,
Rock consisting of Silex very slightly ferruginous. Blue
Animals: Raccoons, dwarf Deer, Opossums, Buffaloes,
Bears, grey Squirrels, Beaver, Otter, Musk-rats (these
three species very rare).
M" 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
Birds: Ravens, Owls of the large species, Cardinals,
blue Jays; green Parroquets with yellow heads of the
small species; Jays with red heads and throats.
Trees and Plants: Liriodendron; Liquidambar; yellow
chestnut Oak, red Oak; Annona; horn-bean.
The 2nd of January, still remained in camp at the same
spot.   Weather cloudy.   The River fell two inches only.
Sunday the 3rd Heavy wind. Nyassa montana is
called by the French Creoles Olivier Sauvage and by the
Kentucky Americans Black Gum tree and by the Pennsylvania Americans Tupelo. Having nothing to do I
made ink with gall nuts which I gathered on the Oaks
in the vicinity of the spot where we were camped. It was
made in less than five minutes and will serve me as a
sample. In the neighborhood of Little river Liriodendron; Liquidambar; Carpinus ostrya; Ulmus fungosa;
Padus Virginiana minor; Laurus benzoin etc.
The 4th rowed about 4 or 5 Miles. Camped hear
rather high Hills consisting of shifting soil and rolled
boulders. Carpinus ostrya; Ulmus fungosa; Padus
Virginiana minor; Philadelphus inodorus; Nyssa
montana, by the Americans Black gum; Acer rubrum;
Viscum parasite; Fagus Americana and Orobanche Virginiana a parasite on the roots of the Fagus Americana;
Betula spuria1*7 called by the French Bouleau bâtard.
Tuesday 5th of January 1796 we rowed 7 Miles and
camped opposite Diev Island 12 Miles from Little River.
The 6th the snow that fell during the night had cooled
the weather. Steep limestone Rocks from the place
where we were camped continuing for about a Mile on
the east bank.   Rowed about 8 Miles.
The 7th   The River fell 19 inches during the night;
167 B. nigra, L.— C. S. S. 84
Early Western Travels
.1/ !«
as the frost had lowered the water this led us to hope
that it would be easier to row against the current of this
river which is naturally hemmed in between Hills. Rowed
about 8 Miles.
The 8th the river fell 19 inches during the night.
Passed by the Island of the boundary line between Cumberland and Kentuckey.
Plants on the Banks: Platanus occidentalis; Betula
australis or spuria; Acer rubrum; Ulmus Americana;
Fraxinus; Salix on the low Islands ; Anonymos Ugustroides.
Rowed about 10 Miles.
The 9th the river fell nearly five feet during the night.
We rowed about ten Miles.
Sunday ioth of January the River fell 4 feet during the
night. Continual Rain and Snow. Passed Yellow Creek
16 Miles before reaching Clark's ville. Passed Blowming
grove ( ?) 13 Miles before reaching Clark's ville. Rocks
and Hills. Passed Dixon Island (?) 10 Miles before
reaching Clark's ville and at present the most remote
Settlement of Cumberland territory. This Settlement
consists of fifteen families who established themselves
there three months ago. The chief place of this settlement is called Blount's borough or Blount's ville.
The nth Rained all the previous night and a portion of
the day. Passed by a chain of Hills and by a rock called
Red painted rock on the right side of the River that is to
say on the north bank of the river 2 Miles from Clark's
ville. Afterwards passed by the red river whose mouth
is likewise on the north side and a quarter of a mile from
Clark's ville.   Finally arrived at Clark's ville.168
188 Clarksville was one of the oldest settlements of Cumberland, having
first been occupied (1780) by the Renfroe and Turpin families. As an advanced outpost it was attacked many times by Indians, the latest onslaught
having occurred in 1794.   The other settlements which Michaux mentions
EL,V 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
The 12th of January 1796, remained at Clark's ville
-on account of the river rising.
The 13th Doctor Brown of Carolina who had come to
found this new town Blount's borough 10 Miles above
Clark's ville, was at the latter place.159
The 15th bought a horse at the price of one hundred
The 16th departed; my horse ran away and I caught
him 6 Miles from Clark's ville at the Mill, 10 Miles.
Sunday the 17th dined 10 Miles from Nashville at
Ebneston's a quarter of a Mile from the Mill at the house
of an old Pennsylvanian, an educated man well informed
as regards foreign news.160 Slept at Crokes 18 Miles from
Ebneston. The Widow Martin lives near there and her
house is better for travelers.
The 18th passed the Ridges, 15 Miles, without seeing
any houses as far as White Creek. Old Stumps161 lives 5
miles from White Creek.
The 19th started from Stump's and arrived at Nashville 5 Miles.
Total from Clark's ville to Nashville 54 Miles by land
and 70 Miles by water.
were, as he says, of quite recent origin — incident upon the close of the Indian
war (1795), and the inrush of settlers over the new wagon road made this same
year to the Cumberland.— Ed.
169 The entry for the 14th is omitted in the original publication.— Ed.
160 Capt. John Edmeston was a well-known Indian fighter and leader of the
militia. An expedition against the Chickasaws, organized by him in 1792,
was forbidden by Robertson, because of negotiations pending with this warlike
tribe.— Ed.
181 "Old man" Frederick Stumps was a German, who early made improvements on White Creek, north of Eaton's Station. His flight of three miles to
the latter station, with Indian pursuers close at his heels, was one of the traditions of the settlement.— Ed. fti
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
From St Louis to Kaskaskias   .
From Kaskaskias to the place where the Ohio
falls into the Mississipi
From there to fort Massac
From there to the mouth of the Cumberland
river .......
From there to Clark's ville on the red river
From there to Nashville   ....
Total 432 Miles
(Prices at Nashville): Dinner 2 shillings, Breakfast
or supper 1 shilling 4 pence; yz Quart of Whiskey 1
shilling. Hay and maize for Horse 2 shillings. The
whole is six Shillings for one Dollar.)
The 20th, 21st, and 22nd remained at Nashville.
The 23rd started from Nashville and journeyed 29^
Miles; lodged with Major Sharp.
Sunday the 24th of January 1796 arrived at a Creek at a
distance of 29 Miles near which one Chapman keeps
lodgings at 3^ Miles; MacFaddin on Big Brown
[Barren] keeps a ferry and lodgings. Total 32^
The 25th Rain and Snow.
The 26th Started for Green river. The ground was
covered with snow, the Roads rough and my horse fell
lame. I was obliged to walk. I made 12 miles. I was
unable to light a fire because the trees and wood were all
frosted. I spent the night nearly frozen. About 2
o'clock the Moon rose and I resolved to return to Mac-
Faddin's where I arrived at 10 o'clock in the morning.
The 27th being overcome by cold and weariness, having
traveled afoot, having eaten nothing since the morning 1793-1796]
André Michaux' s Travels
of the previous day and not having slept during the night,
the toes of my right foot became inflamed. I bathed my
feet in cold water several times during the following
night and no sores resulted therefrom but for several days
the toes were numb and as if deprived of sensation.
The 28th I was compelled to go a distance of seven
Miles to get my horse shod and I went to sleep at Mr.
Maddison's whose plantation was close by.
The 29th of January 1796 I started very early in the
morning as I had 38 Miles to travel without coming to an
inn or other habitation. I had been received with all the
civility that can be expected from a man who has had a
higher education than the other inhabitants of the
country. This Mr Maddisson was a Virginian and a
relative of the celebrated Madisson, Member of Congress.
This gentleman was a true Republican in his principles
and I spent a very interesting and very pleasant evening
at his house.162 His wife surpassed him in offering me
«very service that hospitality could suggest, which is
seldom met with in America except in the case of persons
better educated than the common people. That Lady
suggested that I should wear heavy woollen socks over
my shoes. She herself cut me out a pair and I was so
surprised at the comfort I derived from them on the following days that I resolved never to travel in the season
of snow and frost without taking the precaution to have
118 This was George Madison, brother of Bishop Madison of Virginia.
Born about 1763, he served in the Revolution while yet a boy, and enlisting in
the regular army was wounded at St. Clair's defeat (1791), and again the following year. Shortly after this visit of Michaux, Madison was appointed
state auditor, and removed to Frankfort, where he held the office for twenty
ensuing years. In 1812 he served as major in the army, was captured at Raisin
River, and sent as prisoner to Quebec. Upon his exchange, he was received
in Kentucky with great rejoicing, and elected governor (1816), but died during
the first year of his term.— Ed. 88
Early Western Travels
a pair in my Porte Monteau. In the evening I came to a
place three Miles from Green river and slept at the house
of one Walter; I slept on the floor and my horse in the
open air; but I was accustomed to this.
The 30th I crossed the Green river ferry in the morning.
The cold was excessive and such as had not been felt for
Many years. At 9 Miles I passed by Bacon Creek and the
Cabin of a man but recently settled there and who was
unprovided with everything, even Maize, needed for
the sustenance of his household. At 22 Miles from
Green River is the House of one Ragon and I hurried on
to reach some better habitations before night. 26 Miles
from Green River I perceived a House 200 toises188 from
the Road situate on the bank of a Creek. The inhabitant was a German who had been settled there only a
year; he had a good stable, was well supplied with fodder
of wheat, straw, and Maize leaves for my horse, and I ate
Wheat bread for the first time since I had left Illinois.
My supper consisted of bread and milk and I found myself very well treated. The name of my host was George
Cloes; a German by Birth; his house is situated on the
South fork of Nolin river.
Sunday the 31st passed by Huggins mill164 on Nolin
river (good lodgings) ; at a quarter of a Mile the road on
the right hand leads to Beardston. At 2^ Miles the
new cut road is straight. At 9 Miles passed by Rolling
fork and 4 Miles further slept at Mr. Scoth's on Beech
Monday 1st of February 1796 passed by Dr Smith's
163A toise is a French linear measure equivalent to 6.395 English feet.— Ed.
184 This mill was at the site of the present town of Hodgenville, seat of Larue
County. Abraham Lincoln was born about two miles south of this place, when
Larue was still part of Hardin County — Ed. I793-I796l
André Michaux' s Travels
house 8 Miles from Beech fork and by Mackinsy 9 Miles
from Beech fork. From Mac Kinsy to Long Lake 6
Miles. From Longlake to Sheperdston on Salt river 4
miles.165 From Shepperdston to Standeford 9 Miles
(good inn). From Standeford to Prince Old station 8
Miles.   From Prince to Louisville 6 Miles.
The 2nd started from Prince's and arrived at Louisville. 3^ Miles before arriving measured a Lirioden-
dron tulipifera on the left hand road whose size was
twenty two feet in circumference, making more than seven
feet in diameter. (Correspondent of Monsieur La Cas-
sagne and St. James Bauvais at New Orleans Monsieur
Serpe Trader at New Orleans.186 Correspondent of
Monsieur La Cassagne at Philadelphia Geguir and
Holmes, Merchants, Philadelphia. Prices: Dinner 1
shilling 6 pence; Supper and Breakfast 1 shilling 6 pence;
Lodging 9 shillings; "$4 quart of Brandy 2 shillings 3
pence; Horse per day on hay and maize 3 shillings 9
The 3rd, 4th and 5 th remained at Louisville, being
occupied in gathering together the Collections I had left
with one La Cassagne.
The 6th I saw General Clarke and he informed me of
the visit of Colonel Fulton who had come from France a
few months previously.167
185 Shepherdsville, the seat of Bullitt County, was incorporated as a town in
1793. Its site was at the falls of Salt River, and it was an important station in
early Kentucky history.— Ed.
188 Gayoso mentions one Sarpy, a rich merchant of New Orleans, as concerned in the plot against Louisiana (1793). Another merchant, Beauvais, was
similarly involved. Consult American Historical Association Report, 1896,
p. 1049.—Ed.
187 Samuel Fulton, a native of North Carolina, who had lived for some time
among the Creek Indians, was agent for Clark in settling his accounts with the
French government.   He arrived from France late in 1795, and Michaux's
) ft
JJ Iii
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
ft  11'    ;
Sunday the 7th breakfasted with General Clarke's
Father whose house is 4 miles from Louisville. I wanted
to obtain more ample information regarding Lieutenant-
Colonel Foulton. I was told that he was to proceed to
Philadelphia immediately after having gone to Georgia.
That he was to embark for France and hoped to return
to America at the end of this summer 1796. The same
day, I started to return to Nashville. Slept at Standeford. 14 Miles from Louisville. (Supper 1 shilling,
Bed 6 pence. Hay for the horse for the night 1 shilling.
Maize 8 quarts 1 'shilling 4 pence.)
Monday 8th of February 1796. (Breakfast 1 shilling)
Passed by Sheperdston 9 Miles from Standeford. Maize
for horse 3 quarts, 9 Pence, Virginia money, as in all
parts of Kentuckey and Cumberland.) Passed by Long
lake, where Salt is made as well as at Sheperdston and
slept at Mackinsy's 7 Miles from Longlake.
In swampy places in the vicinity of Longlake: Quercus
alba; Quercus cerroides; Fraxinus . . . ; Nyssa; Lau-
rus benjoin; Sassafras; Mitchella repens; Fagus sylvatica
On the hills: Pinus188 foliis geminis conis oblongis
minoribus squamis aculeis retrocurvis. Saw planks of this
tree at the house of an inhabitant; the wood seemed to me
almost as heavy as that of the three leaved Pine of Carolina.   Tar is also made of it in this part of Kentucky.
The 9th I started very early in the morning from
Mackinsy's. I had been very well received there that is
to say he gave me a supper of boiled Pork; the same for
testimony was relied upon to secure the affidavits necessary to obtain recompense from the French republic. See American State Papers, Indian Affairs,
i, p. 463. Consult, also, American Historical Association Report, 1896,
pp. 1047-1065.— Ed.
188 Probably Pinus mops, Ait.— C. S. S.
llflir I793-I796!
André Michaux's Travels
breakfast. My horse fared very well on Maize fodder
and in a Stable that was not muddy like all those in
America when one lodges with Americans or with Irish.
I paid 3 shillings, being 1 shilling 6 pence for my horse
and as much for myself. I had paid 5 shillings for my
lodging the previous night and had not been so well satisfied. As the daughter of this house was the smartest
of any I had ever seen in America I gave her a quarter
of a Dollar and the old man offered me a stuffed Tongue
but I thanked him, not being fond of salt meat.
It began to rain an hour after I started but I was fortunate enough to pass Beechford and Rollingford. 13
Miles from Mackinsy's.
I was obliged to stop at the house of an inhabitant a
Mile and a half from the crossing and the Rain compelled me to pass the night there.
In the neighborhood there is Liriodendron with yellow
wood and in some parts Liriodendron with white wood.
The inhabitants prefer the yellow variety.
Wednesday ioth of February 1796, I had supped the
previous evening on Tea made from the shrub called
Spice-wood. A handful of young twigs or branches is
set to boil and after it has boiled at least a quarter of an
hour sugar is added and it is drunk like real Tea. There
was no Milk at the time and I was told that Milk makes
it much more agreeable to the taste. This beverage
restores strength and it had that effect for I was very
tired when I arrived. This shrub is the Laurus Benjoin
Linn. The Illinois French call it Poivrier and the hunters season their meat with some pieces of its wood.
In the vicinity grows a plant169 of the Orchis family
whose leaf remains all winter.   There are seldom two;
188 Aplectrum hyemale, Nutt.— C. S. S. 92
Early Western Travels
the form is oval, furrowed, entire; the root bears two or
three very viscous bulbs. It is used in the Country to
mend broken crockery. It is called Adam and Eve. This
plant is more common in the rich low lands of the territory West of the Allegany Mountains. I have also seen
it in Lower Carolina but it is very rare there. It is not
rare in Illinois.
Rain continued to fall all day and I. was obliged to
spend the night in a house near Nolin Creek because the
river had overflowed its banks.
The nth arrived at Huggins's 12 Miles from Rollin-
The 12 th passed through a Country covered with grass
and Oaks which no longer exist as forests, having been
burned every year. These lands are called Barren lands
although not really sterile. The grasses predominate:
Salix pumila, Quercus nigra and Quercus alba called
Mountain White Oak. Gnaphalium dioicum also grows
there in abundance. It is called by the Americans White
The same day 12th of February 1796 passed by Bacon
Creek, a new settlement 19 Miles from Huggins Mill and
arrived at Green river 9 Miles from Bacon Creek. Slept
3 Miles further on at the house of one Walter.
The 13th of February traveled 37 Miles without seeing
a House through the lands called Barren lands. The
Salix pumila that grows there in abundance is the same
as that which is very common in the Illinois prairies as
one leaves Vincennes Post to go to Kaskaskia. Slept
beyond the Big Barren river
Sunday the 14th traveled about 30 Miles. In all the
Houses the children were suffering from Hooping Cough.
This disease probably results from a simple Cold but the 1793-1796]
André Michaux* s Travels
reprehensible system of living continually on salt and
smoked meat fried in the pan produces those acrid
humors that render expectoration more difficult.
The 15th traveled 27 Miles and arrived at Nashville.
Supper, bed and breakfast 2 shillings.
The 16th started to go and visit Colonel Hays170 a
wealthy inhabitant to whom I had been recommended
the previous year by Governor Blount, Governor of the
Country known under the name of Western territories,
South west of the Ohio. This Country, which is estimated to have 60 Thousand inhabitants, in consequence
of the considerable annual immigration and of the rapid
increase of population, has just been erected into a State
governed by its own representatives under the new name
of the State of Tennesee from the name of a very large
river that runs through the whole Houlston Country, the
Cumberland Country, the Country of the Cheroquis
Indians and other adjacent countries. This large river
fells into the Ohio 9 Miles above fort Massac. It was
known by the French, who were the first to discover the
Countries in the interior of North America, under the
name of Cheroquis River and it is so designated on the
French Maps. I met at Colonel Hays's several inhabitants of the neighborhood who came to confer upon current matters in connection with the election of new civil
and military Officers.
The 17th and 18th of February 1796 remained at
Colonel Hays' on account of bad weather.
The 19th concluded the bargain for the purchase of a
170 Col. Robert Hays, a brother-in-law of Andrew Jackson, was born in
North Carolina, and served in the Revolution, being captured at Charleston.
He removed to Cumberland in 17S4, was first United States marshal of Tennessee, muster-master-general for Jackson in 1S13, and died at his home near
Nashville in 1S19.— Ed.
f 94
Early Western Travels
■■ ■
Horse to convey the baggage, Collections of Plants,
Birds and other Tilings I had brought from Illinois and
recently from Kentuckey. Returned the same day to
sleep at Nashville.
The 20th spent the entire day in getting my collections
together and in packing them. Saw some French voyageurs who spend all their lives in the Trade with the
Savages and asked the Terms on which I could obtain a
Guide to go up the Missouri river. One of them named
. . . told me he would willingly engage for a year for
the sum of 500 dollars in furs that is to say 1000 dollars in
money; another asked me 2000 dollars in money.
Sunday the 21st prepared for my journey.
The 22nd had my two horses shod.
The 23rd started and after making two Miles was
obliged to return on account of   .    .    .
The 25th started to return to Carolina and slept 10
Miles away at the house of Colonel Mansko, a declared
enemy of the French because, he said, they have killed
their King. Although I had not dined I would not
accept his supper believing that a Republican should not
be under obligations to a fanatical partisan of Royalty.
I was greatly mortified that the night and the rain should
compel me to remain in his House. But I slept on my
Deer skin and paid for the Maize he supplied me with
to cross the Wilderness.
The 26th
Sunday 28th of February 1796 stopped ten miles from
the river on account of the Rain and because the Creeks
had overflowed their banks.
The 29th in the evening crossed the Creeks and slept
in the Wood near the road at a place where Reeds or
Canes were growing in  abundance.   This  species  of 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
grass which grows abundantly in many places which have
not been settled, is destroyed when completely eaten
by Cattle; Swine also destroy it by rooting in the earth
and breaking the roots. The stalk is sometimes as thick
as a goose quill, but in the rich lands bordering on the
rivers and between the mountains, some stalks are as
much as 2 and even three inches in diameter; the height
is sometimes from 25 to 30 feet. This grass is ramose
but it seldom bears fruit in the territory of Kentuckey,
in that of Tenesee or in that of the Carolinas. This
grass begins in the southern and maritime portion of Virginia. Further South as in the Carolinas, in the Floridas
and in Lower Louisiana, this grass is found in abundance.171
Snow fell throughout the night and on the following
morning my two Horses that had been tied had their legs
swelled in consequence of the cold and of the continually
muddy roads over which I had traveled the previous day.
The 1 st of March 1796 arrived at Fort Blount situated
on the Cumberland River.172 Snow continued to fall during a part of the day.
The 2nd remained over in order to pull young Shoots
of a new Sophora178 I had remarked in the vicinity of
Fleen's [Flinns] creek about 12 Miles from the Fort.
171 Arundinaria macrosperma, Michx.— C. S. S.
172 Fort Blount was not a pioneer stronghold, but one erected by the government shortly before Michaux's visit, for protection of the settlers against the
Cherokees. It was on the north bank of Cumberland River, in the southwestern part of Jackson County, about midway between the Eastern and West-
em Tennessee settlements.— Ed.
178 Cladrastis tinctoria Raf., discovered here by Michaux, although not included in his Flora. A letter written by Michaux to Governor Blount suggesting the value of the wood of this tree as a dye wood, was, according to the younger
Michaux, published in the Knoxville Gazette, on the fifteenth of March, 1769.
[See his journal, post.]— C. S. S.
fill e m •
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
Snow covered the ground and I was unable to get any
young Shoots but Captain Williams, the young [officer}
stationed in the Fort cut down some trees and I found
some good seeds.
I also pulled up some roots of those trees to replant
them in my garden in Carolina.
The same day I had occasion to write to Governor
The 3rd of March continued my journey; crossed
Fleen's Creek several times. Saw again the small bulbous umbelliferous plant I had remarked some days
previously.   Toward evening the road was less muddy.
The 4th arrived at the Mountains called Cumberland
The 5 th passed several Creeks and Rivers on which is-
an abundance of a climbing Fern of the genus   .    .    -174
The land through which these rivers flow is less fertile
than the territory of Nashville or Cumberland settlement
and two-leaved Pines are found there in abundance.
Sunday 6th of March 1796 arrived at West Point on the
Clinch River.
The 7th slept at a distance of 15 Miles near the junction
of the Houlston river with that called Tenesee.
The 8th arrived at Knoxville.
The 9th Dined with Governor William Blount.
The ioth took my lodgings in the house of Captain
Louné near the Cumberland river.176
The nth herborised on the opposite bank bordered by
steep rocks covered with Saxifrage, bulbous umbellifera
174 Lygodium palmatum Swz.— C. S. S.
175 -pjjg Looneys were a prominent family in the early history of East Tennessee. Captain David Looney was militia officer during the Revolution and-
the Indian wars.— Ed.
Ififi 1793-1796] André Michaux's Travels
The 12 th continued to herborise.
Sunday the 13th, Visited Captain Richard, Commandant of the garrison.
The 14th herborised; saw in bloom, Anemone hepatica;
Claytonia Virginica; Sanguinaria.
Saw a new genus of Plant designated by Linnaeus
Podophyllum diphyllum and discovered some years ago
in Virginia while passing by Fort Chissel. This Plant is
less rare in the fertile lands of Kentuckey and Cumberland. It is found in the neighborhood of Knoxville.
Dr Barton178 called it Jejfersonia in a description he gave
of this Plant after seeing the flower of the Shoots I had
brought back to Philadelphia in the hands of the Botanist
Bartram.177 The time when the plant flowers in the
neighborhood of Knoxville is about the ioth of March.
The 15th received the Letter from Governor Blount in
answer to that I had written him respecting the discovery
of a new Sophora in the neighborhood of fort Blount.
Started the same day and slept at a distance of 7 Miles.
Paid 2 shillings 3 pence for Supper and for Maize and
fodder for the Horses.   Bundle of fodder 2 pence.
The 16th of March 1796 slept a mile from Iron Works
at the house of Mr Rice, Lawyer, 30 Miles from Knoxville.
178 Dr. Benjamin S. Barton was one of the best known scientists and naturalists of his day, as well as a skilful physician. Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he was educated in Europe and took up practice in Philadelphia. In
1789, he was made professor of botany and natural history in the University of
Pennsylvania; he was vice-president of the American Philosophical Society, and
member of other learned organizations. He was designated to edit the scientific data of Lewis and Clark's expedition, but died before accomplishing this
H William Bartram, son and co-worker of John Bartram, one of America's
first naturalists, was born in Pennsylvania in 1739. He devoted his life to the
study of botany, travelling extensively for the discovery of plants. His headquarters were at the botanical gardens near Philadelphia.— Ed. Early Western Travels
Observed in bloom: Ulmus viscosa, Acer rubrum S flower
on one individual and ? flower on another tree.
The 17th slept near Bull's gap 30 Miles from Iron
The 18th passed by Lick creek and by Green court
house 18 Miles from Bull's gap.
The 19th passed by Johnsborough 25 Miles from
Green [ville]. Several merchants are established at
Johnsborough who obtain their goods from Philadelphia
by land.
Sunday the 20th started from Johnsborough. Saw in
passing Mr Overton of Kentuckey,178 Major Carter of
Wataga179 at whose house I had lodged several years
previously with my son, and Colonel Avery.
Sunday 20th of March 1796 saw in bloom Corylus
americana, ? flower having the Styles or Stigmas of a
purpurine color. Ulmus viscosa geminis aureis floribus
4-$-6-andris, stigmatibus purpureis.
Acer rubrum 5 flower on one individual and ? flower
on another. Slept at Colonel Tipton's 10 Miles from
Johnsborough. "
The 21st remarked that the Mountains were covered
in several places with Sanguinaria, Claytonia and Ery-
178 John Overton was one of the best-known jurists of Tennessee. Born in
Virginia, he early emigrated to Kentucky, whence he removed to Nashville,
about the time Jackson began his career. He became Jackson's partner and
warm friend. From 1804-10 he was judge of the superior court, and of great
service in adjusting land titles; the next five years (1811-16) Judge Overton
served on the supreme bench of the state. He was one of the early proprietors
of Memphis; and died near Nashville in 1833.— Ed. •
John Carter was the foremost man of the early Watauga settlement.
Coming from North Carolina, he had the prestige of family and a superior
education, and was chosen head of the new community, serving efficiently in
many capacities. He was concerned in the State of Franklin movement, and
was frequently called out at the head of the militia, on Indian expeditions.
Carter County was named for him, and he had therein a large estate.— Ed. 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
thronium with spotted leaves. These Plants were in
bloom. Magnolia acuminata et auriculata; Rhododendron; Kalmia; Pinus abies canadensis, Pinus strobus;
Azalea etc. etc. grow in abundance at the foot of those
Mountains. Arrived at Lime Stone cove and slept at
Charles Collier's 18 Miles from Colonel Tipton's.
The 22nd crossed Iron Mountain and arrived at night
at David Becker's, 23 Miles without seeing a house.
The 23rd started from Becker's on Cane Creek to
Rider's 6 Miles; from Rider's to Widow Nigh's 7 Miles;
from Nigh's to Samuel Ramsey's 2 Miles; from Ramsey's
to David Cox's on Paper Creek 4 Miles and from Cox's
to Young's 1 Mile; from Sam Ramsey's to Davinport's
8 Miles.180 Total 23 Miles. Slept at Davinport's.
Remarked the Salix capreoides in flower on the banks of
the streams.
The 24th visited the high Mountains opposite Davinport's house; pulled up several hundred Shoots: Azalea
lutea fulva; Anonymos azaleoides. Rhododendron minus
The 25th of March 1796. Saw in flower the Corylus
cornuta,181 amentis 6" geminis quandoque solitariis squamis
ciliatis; antheris apice ciliates, stylis coccineis.
This species flowers about 15 days later than the species
of Corylus americana found in all the Climates of North
180 Michaux returned across the mountains by a different route from the
one by which he went out. The northern or upper road over Yellow Mountain appears to have been the more frequented; the lower road, over the Iron
Mountain range and down the Nolichucky, the more direct. See the younger
Michaux's account (post) of the difficulties of this route, when he passed over
it six years later. Limestone Cove was probably at the mouth of Limestone
Creek, a tributary of the Nolichucky on the western or Tennessee side of the
mountain. Cane and Paper Creeks are small tributaries of the Nolichucky,
on the eastern or North Carolina grade of the mountains.— Ed.
181 C. rostrata, Ait.— C. S. S. IOO
Early Western Travels
America even in lower Carolina in the neighborhood of
Charleston. The Corylus cornuta is found only on the
highest mountains and in Canada. Corylus americana
amentis S solitariis squamis externe tomentosis margine
nudâ; floris ? stylis coccineis.
The 26th herborised and pulled Shoots of shrubs and
fresh Shoots to transport them to the garden of the Republic in Carolina.
Sunday 27th of March   .    .    .
The 28th prepared and packed my Collection of fresh
Mountain Plants.
The 29th started from Davinport's and slept at the
house of . . . Young. Violet with dentate reniform
leaves, villous petiole and yellow flower in full bloom on
the banks of streams and very cool places.
The 30th continued my journey and by mistake took a
road to the right leading to Wilkes [County]. Another
Viole lutea scopus foliosus foliis hastatis in flower in cool
places and also less damp places. This one is a little
more tardy than the previous one.182
The 31st arrived at Colonel Avery's and slept at Morganton or Burke Court house.
Friday 1st of April 1796, started from Morganton.
Slept at Robertson's, formerly Henry Waggner's, 30
Miles from Morganton.
The 2nd of April Epigea repens in full bloom as on
previous days; on several individuals all the female
flowers were without rudiments of Stamens while on
other individuals all the flowers were hermaphrodites.
Arrived at noon at the house of Christian Reinhart near
Lincoln. Remained all day to pull shoots of the Spiraea
tomentosa that grow in swampy spots.
182 V. hastata, Michx.— C. S. S. 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
Sunday 3rd of April arrived at Bennet Smith's 12 Miles
from Lincoln; remained all day to pull shoots of a new
Magnolia188 with very large leaves, auriculate, oblong,
glaucous, silky, especially the young leaves; the buds very
silky; Flowers white Petals with a base of a purple color.
Stamens yellow etc. Along the Creek on the bank of
which this Magnolia grows I also saw the Kalmia lotifolia,
Viola lutea, foliis hastatis; Ulmus viscosa then in process
of fructification; Halesia; Stewartia pentagyna.
The 4th started and crossed Tuck-a-segee ford on the
Catawba184 river 10 Miles from Bennet Smith's. Took
the road to the left instead of passing by Charlotte and
slept 11 Miles from Catawba river.185
The 5th of April 1796 at a distance of 12 Miles took
once more the road leading from Cambden to Charlotte.186
Took Shoots of Calamus aromaticus that grows in
damp places in the neighborhood of Charlotte and of
Lincoln. Rhus pumila. Slept near Waxsaw Creek in
South Carolina about 35 Miles from Tuck-a-Segée ford.
The 6th at the house of Colonel Crawford near Waxsaw
Creek: anonymous Plant with leaves quaternate, perfoliate,
glabrous, entire.   This same Plant grows in the Settle-
183 M. macrophylla, Michx.— C. S. S.
184 Tuckasegee Ford is between the present Gaston County and Mechlenburg, about ten miles west of Charlotte.— Ed.
185 Note: before passing the ford, I dined with . . . Alexander, a very
respectable man from whom I have received many courtesies.— Michatjx.
It is impossible to determine from this allusion, which of the numerous
Alexander family Michaux visited. The Alexanders of Mechlenburg were
noted as patriotic, God-fearing, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who had a large
share in the Revolutionary War in their country. Abraham presided at the
Mechlenburg Convention (1775), of which Adam and John McKnitt Alexander
were both members.— Ed.
188 When one does not wish to pass by Charlotte in going to Lincoln, he must
inquire twelve or fifteen miles before reaching these, for the route to the left
which passes by Tuckasegee Ford.— Michaux.
I I02
Early Western Travels
ments of Cumberland and in Kentuckey. Frasera
Passed by Hanging Rock; the distance from Waxsaw
to Hanging Rock is 22 Miles. To go to Morganton or
Burke Court house one should not pass by Charlotte,
but take the Road to the left 3 }£ Miles from Hanging
About 20 Toises after leaving the fork of the two roads
(one of which leads to Charlotte) one sees the Anonymous198 shrub with a red root which has the appearance of
the Calycanthus. This shrub is the one I saw in the
vicinity of Morganton.    Slept near Hanging Rock.
Thursday 7th of April 1796 arrived at Cambden; five
or six Miles before arriving there pulled Shoots of a new
Kalmia seen some years previously. The distance from
Hanging Rock to Cambden is 26 Miles.
Friday 8th of April started from Cambden, passed by
State's borough 22 Miles from Cambden and slept at
Manchester 30 Miles from Cambden.
The 9th my Horses strayed away during the night,
having broken the Fence within which they were placed.
In the streams: Callitriche americana; fructificatio
simplex, axillaris sessilis, Calyx 2-phyllus, stamen uni-
cum; fllamentum longum, latere geminis germen duplex?
styli duo longitudine staminis, stigmata acuta.
Silène . . . calyx 5-fidus cylindricus, corolla Petala
5 (or^-partita usque ad basim) unguibus angustis, laciniis
planis  apice obtusis; Stamina 10  basi corolla inserta;
187 It has been suggested that this may refer to F. Caroliniana, Walt.    (F.
Walteri, Michx.).— C. S. S.
188 It is not at all clear what shrub Michaux refers to in this entry. Mr.
Canby, to whom several of the doubtful points in the Journal have been referred,
and whose knowledge of the plants of the Allegheny region is now unrivaled,
suggests that Michaux may have found Darbya. There is nothing in his
herbarium to indicate that he ever saw that plant, which was found, however,
by M. A. Curtis not far fro m Morganton.— C. S. S. 1793-1796]
André Michaux's Travels
Germen oblongum. Styli très; stigmata acuta; Capsula
unUocularis, semina plura numerosa, flores rosei.189
Started in the afternoon and slept at 15 Miles having
crossed 10 Miles of sand called Santee High Hills in the
space of which observed Phlox; Silène ... ; Dian-
thus ... in flower; Lupinus perennis et pilosus
in flower.
Sunday ioth of April 1796 arrived at the Santee River
at the place called Manigault ferry; before arriving there
observed Verbena (aubletia?) and on the banks of the
Santee, arbor Anonymous whose fruit (muricatis) covered
with soft points, was almost ripe.190 Manigault ferry is
28 Miles from Manchester.
Two miles further on one takes the road to the right
called Gaillard road which is shorter than the ordinary
road but muddy in winter. Slept at the house of the
Widow Stuard 18 Miles from Manigault ferry. Tavern
dirty and without a supply of fodder for Horses.
The nth started very early; at a distance of 5 Miles
remarked Lupinus perennis and Lupinus pilosus in
flower. Distance from Charleston 40 to 43 Miles. Arrived at the garden of the Republic 37 Miles from the
Widow Stuard's that is to say 47 Miles from Charleston.
Recapitulation of the journey from Illinois to Charleston.
From St Louis of the Illinois to Kaskias
To the village of St Philippe
To the Prairie du Rocher
To Kaskaskias       .
To the junction of the Mississipi and Belle Rivière ......
4 Miles
189 Probably SUene Pennsylvania as suggested by Mr. Canby, or S. Bald-
winii, as suggested by Mr. Meehan. In both of the species the petals are sometimes rose colored.— C. S. S.
190 Planera aquatica, Gmelin.— C. S. S. u
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
To Fort Massac     .        .        .        -
45 Miles
To the Junction of the Cumberland and Belle
Rivière       ......
To Clark's ville on the red river
To Nashville	
To Bloodshed's lick191      ....
To Fort Blount on the Cumberland river   .
To West Point on the Clinch river
To Knoxville on the Houlston river   .
From Knoxville to Iron Works
To Bull's gap*	
To Green's ville      .....
To John's borough          .
To Colonel Tipton's        ....
To Limestone cove          ....
To David Becker's beyond the Mountain called
Iron mountain     .        .        .
From Backer's to Young's
To Morganton or Burke
To Robertson's       .....
To Lincoln
.        .        .
To Tuck a Segee
.        .        .
To Wax Saw Creek
.        .        .
To Hanging Rock  .
To Cambden .
■                           a                           .                           •
To Manchester
•                           •                           -
To Manigault ferry
.                           .
To Charleston
.        .        .    1123 Miles
374 1 %
, leagues
181 Bledsoe's Lick. A pioneer told Lyman C. Draper that this was often
called "the Bloody Ground," because so many whites were there killed by
Indians—note in Draper MSS., Wisconsin Historical Society, 3 XX 18.— Ed.
• Travels to the West of the Alleghany Mountains,
by Francois André Michaux
Reprint from London edition, 1805 ii
ff rs
I Zojvojt\ Hi
and back to charleston, by the upper
co m pai SING
The most interesting Details en the present State of
Particulars relative to the Commerce that exists betpeen the above?
mentioned States, and those situated East of the Mountains
and Low'Louisiana,
His Excellency M. CHAPTAL,   Minister of the Interior,
•i t .13
¥3  1M
fnaM by X>. N. SHtJP.Y, Berwick Street, Solw>
1805. ■■- \
»   !
Departure from Bourdeaux.—Arrival at Charleston.—Remarks upon the yellow fever.—A short description of the
town of Charleston.—Observations upon several trees,
natives of the old continent, reared in a botanic garden near
the city	
Departure from Charleston for New York.—A short description
of the town.—Botanic excursions in New Jersey.—Remarks upon the quercus tinctoria, or black oak, and the nut
trees of that country.—Departure from New York for
Philadelphia.—Abode     ......
[vi] CHAP. IH
Departure from Philadelphia to the western country.—Communications by land in the United States.—Arrival at Lancaster.—Description of the town and its environs.—Departure.
—Columbia.—Passage from Susquehannah, York, Dover,
Carlisle.—Arrival at Shippensburgh.—Remarks upon the
state of agriculture during the journey
Departure from Shippensburgh to Strasburgh.—Journey over
the Blue Ridges.—New Species of rhododendrum.—Passage
over the river Juniata.—Use of the cones of the magnolia
acuminata.—Arrival at Bedford Court House.—Excesses
to which the natives of that part of the country are addicted.—Departure from Bedford.—Journey over Alleghany Ridge and Laurel Hill.—Arrival at West Liberty
Town 141 Mil
«ii *■
Early Western Travels
Departure from West Liberty Town to go among the mountains
in search of a shrub supposed to give good oil, a new species
of azalea.—Ligonier Valley.—Coal Mines.—Greensburgh.
—Arrival at Pittsburgh   .        .        .        .        .        . 149
[vu]   CHAP. VI
Description of Pittsburgh.—Commerce of the Town and adjacent countries with New Orleans.—Construction of large
vessels.—Description of the rivers Monongahela and Alleghany.—Towns situated on their banks.—Agriculture.—
Maple sugar     ........       156
Description of the Ohio.—Navigation of that river.—Mr. S.
Craft.—The object of his travels.—Remarks upon the state
of Vermont   ........ 163
chap, vni
Departure from Pittsburgh for Kentucky.—Journey by land to
Wheeling.—State of agriculture on the route.—West Liberty Town in Virginia.—Wheeling        .        .        .        . 168
Departure from Wheeling for Marietta.—Aspect of the banks
of the Ohio.—Nature of the forests.—Extraordinary size of
several kinds of trees       .        .        .        .        .        . 172
[vni]   CHAP. X
Marietta.—Ship building.—Departure for GalUpoli.—Falling
in with a Kentucky boat.—Point Pleasant.—The Great
Kenhaway    ........ 177
GalUpoli.—State of the French colony Scioto.—Alexandria at
the mouth of the Great Scioto.—Arrival at Limestone in
Kentucky 182 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
Fish and shells of the Ohio.—Inhabitants on the banks of the
river.—Agriculture.—American emigrant.—Commercial intelligence relative to that part of the United States
Limestone.—Route from Limestone to Lexinton.—Washington.
—Salt-works at Mays-Lick.—Millesburgh.—Paris      . 195
Lexinton.—Manufactories established there.—Commerce.—Dr.
Samuel Brown       .        .        .        .        -        -        - 199
[ix] CHAP. XV
Departure from Lexinton.—Culture of the vine at Kentucky.—
Passage over the Kentucky and Dick Rivers.—Departure
for Nasheville.—Mulder Hill.—Passage over Green River     206
Passage over the Barrens, or Meadows.—Plantations upon the
road.—The view they present.—Plants discovered there.—
Arrival at Nasheville '    .        -        -        -        -        • 2I5
General observations upon Kentucky.—Nature of the soil.—
First settlements in the state.—Right of property uncertain.
—Population 222
Distinction of Estates.—Species of Trees peculiar to each of them.
—Ginseng.—Animals in Kentucky   .        .        -        - 228
Different kinds of culture in Kentucky.—Exportation of colonial
produce.—Peach trees.—Taxes        -
Mi mm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
[x]  CHAP. XX
Particulars relative to the manners of the inhabitants of Kentucky.—Horses and cattle.—Necessity of giving them salt.
—Wild Horses caught in the Plains of New Mexico.—Exportation of salt provisions       ..... 243
-Commercial details.—Settlement of the Natches      250
Departure for Knoxville.—Arrival at Fort Blount.—Remarks
upon the drying up of the Rivers in the Summer.—Plantations on the road.—Fertility of the soil.—Excursions in a
canoe on the river Cumberland .        .        .        . 255
chap, xxin
Departure from Fort Blount to West Point, through the Wilderness.—Botanical excursions upon Roaring River.—Description of its Banks.—Saline productions found there.—Indian
Cherokees.—Arrival at Knoxville     .        .        .        . 258
[xi]   CHAP. XXIV
Knoxville.—Commercial intelligence.—Trees that grow in the
environs.—Converting some parts of the Meadows into
Forests. — River Nolachuky. — Greensville. — Arrival at
Jonesborough ....... 265
General observations on the state of Tennessea.—Rivers Cumberland and Tennessea.—What is meant by East Tennessea
or Holston, and West Tennessea or Cumberland.—Fhst
setdements in West Tennessea.—Trees natives of that
country ........ 271
Different kinds of produce of West Tennessea.—Domestic manufactories for cottons encouraged by the Legislature of this
State.—Mode of letting out Estates by some of the Emigrants  276 l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
CHAP, xxvn
East Tennessea, or Holston.—Agriculture.—Population.—Commerce   280
[xii]  CHAP. XXVm
Departure from Jonesborough for Morganton, in North Carolina.—Journey over Iron Mountains.—Sojourn on the
mountains.—Journey over the Blue Ridges and Linneville
Mountains.—Arrival at Morganton .... 283
CHAP, xxrx
General observations upon this part of the Chain of the Alle-
ghanies.—Salamander which is found in the torrents.—
Bear hunting ....... 286
Morganton.—Departure for Charleston.—Lincolnton.—Chester.—Winesborough.—Columbia.—Aspect of the Country
on the Road.—Agriculture, &c. &c. .... 290
General observations on the Carolinas and Georgia.—Agriculture and produce peculiar to the upper part of these states     296
Low part of the Carolines and Georgia.—Agriculture.—Population.—Arrival at Charleston 3QI
Departure from Bourdeaux.—Arrival at Charleston.—
Remarks upon the yellow fever.—A short description of
the town of Charleston.— Observations upon several
trees, natives of the old continent, reared in a botanic garden near the city.
Charleston, in South Carolina, being the first place
of my destination, I went to Bourdeaux as one of the
ports of France that trades most with the southern parts
of the United States, and where there are most commonly
vessels from the different points of North America. I
embarked the 24th of [2] September 1801, on board the
John and Francis, commanded by the same captain with
whom I returned to Europe several years ago.1 A fortnight
after our departure we were overtaken by a calm, within
sight of the Açorian Islands. Saint George's and Graci-
osa were those nearest to us, where we clearly distinguished
a few houses, which appeared built with stone and chalk;
and the rapid declivity of the land divided by hedges,
which most likely separated the property of different
occupiers. The major part of these islands abound with
stupendous mountains, in various directions, and beyond
which the summit of Pico, in a pyramidical form rises
majestically above the clouds, which were then illumined
1 The date given here is evidently wrong; the translation in Phillips's Voyages gives it as August 25, which corresponds with the arrival of 'Michaux in
Charleston.—Ed. n8
Early Western Travels
ii f «ft' ■ .
by the rays of the setting sun. A gentle breeze springing
up, we soon lost sight of that charming prospect, and on
the 9th of October following entered the Charleston roads,
in company with two other vessels which had left Bourdeaux, the one eighteen days, and the other a month before
The pleasure that we felt on discovering the shore was
very soon abated. The pilot informed us that the yellow
fever had made dreadful ravages at Charleston, and was
still carrying off a great number of the inhabitants. This
intelligence alarmed the [3] passengers, who were fourteen in number, the most of whom had either friends or
relatives in the town. Every one was fearful of learning
some disastrous news or other. The anchor was no
sooner weighed than those who had never been accustomed to warm countries were escorted by their friends to
the Isle of Sullivan. This island is situated about seven
miles from Charleston. Its dry and parched-up soil is
almost bereft of vegetation; but as it is exposed to the
breeze of the open sea, the air is generally cool and pleasant. Within these few years, since that bilious and inflammatory disorder, commonly known by the name of
the yellow fever, shows itself regularly every summer at
Charleston, a great number of the inhabitants and planters, who took refuge in the town to escape the intermittent
fevers which attack seven-tenths of those resident in the
country, have built houses in that island, where they sojourn from the early part of July till the first frost, which
usually takes place about the 15th of November. A few
of the inhabitants keep boarding-houses, where they
receive those who have no settled residence. It has
been remarked that foreigners, newly arrived from
Europe or the states of North America, and [4] who go
itffflwmrttiw 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
immediately to reside in this island, are exempt from the
yellow fever.
However powerful these considerations were, they could
not induce me to go and pass my time in such a dull and
melancholy abode; upon which I refused the advice of my
friends, and staid in the town. I had nearly been the
victim of my obstinacy, having been, a few days after,
attacked with the first symptoms of this dreadful malady,
under which I laboured upward of a month.
The yellow fever varies every year according to the
intenseness of the heat; at the same time the observation
has not yet been forcible enough to point out the characteristic signs by which they can discover whether it will
be more or less malignant in the summer. The natives
are not so subject to it as foreigners, eight-tenths of whom
died the year of my arrival; and whenever the former are
attacked with it, it is always in a much less proportion.
It has been observed that during the months of July,
August, September, and October, when this disorder is
usually most prevalent, the persons who leave Charleston
for a few days only, are, on their return to town, much
more susceptible of catching it [5] than those who staid at
home. The natives of Upper Carolina, two or three
hundred miles distant, are as subject to it as foreigners;
and those of the environs are not always exempt from it:
whence it results that during one third of the year all
communications are nearly cut off between the country
and town, whither they go but very reluctantly, and seldom
or ever sleep there. The supply of provisions at that
time is only made by the negroes, who are never subject
to the fever. On my return to Charleston in the month
of October 1802, from my travels over the western part of
the country, I did not meet, on the most populous road, I 20
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
il Mm
for the space of three hundred miles, a single traveller
that was either going to town or returning from it; and
in the houses where I stopped there was not a person who
conceived his business of that importance to oblige him
to go there while the season lasted.
From the 1st of November till the month of May the
country affords a picture widely different; every thing
resumes new life; trade is re-animated; the suspended
communications re-commence; the roads are covered
with waggons, bringing from all quarters the produce of
the exterior; an immense number of carriages and single-
horse chaises roll rapidly [6] along, and keep up a continual correspondence between the city and the neighbouring plantations, where the owners spend the greatest
part of the season. In short, the commercial activity
renders Charleston just as lively as it is dull and melancholy in the summer.
It is generally thought at Charleston that the yellow
fever which rages there, as well as at Savannah, every
summer, is analogous to that which breaks out in the colonies, and that it is not contagious: but this opinion is not
universally adopted in the northern cities. It is a fact, that
whenever the disease is prevalent at New York and Philadelphia, the natives are as apt to contract it as foreigners,
and that they remove as soon as they learn that their neighbours are attacked with it. Notwithstanding they have a
very valuable advantage that is not to be found at Charleston, which is, that the country places bordering on Philadelphia and New York are pleasant and salubrious; and that
at two or three miles' distance the inhabitants are in perfect safety, though even the disorder committed the greatest ravages in the above-mentioned towns.
I took the liberty to make this slight digression, for the 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
information of those who might have to go to the [7]
southern parts of the United States that it is dangerous
to arrive there in the months of July, August, September,
and October. I conceived, like many others, that the
using of every means necessary to prevent the effervescence of the blood was infallibly a preservative against
this disorder; but every year it is proved by experience
that those who have pursued that mode of living, which
is certainly the best, are not all exempt from sharing the
fate of those who confine themselves to any particular
Jdnd of regimen.
Charleston is situated at the conflux of the rivers Ashley
and Cooper. The spot of ground that it occupies is
about a mile in length. From the middle of the principal
street the two rivers might be clearly seen, were it not for
a pubhVedifice built upon the banks of the Cooper, which
intercepts the view. The most populous and commercial
part of the town is situated along the Ashley. Several
ill-constructed quays project into the river, to facilitate
the trading vessels taking in their cargoes. These quays
are formed with the.trunks of palm trees fixed together,
and laid out in squares one above the other. Experience
has shown that the trunks of these trees, although of a
very spungy nature, lie buried in the [8] water many
years without decaying; upon which account they are
generally preferred for these purposes to any other kind
of wood in the country'. The streets of Charleston are
extremely wide, but not paved, consequently every time
your foot slips from a kind of brick pavement before the
doors, you are immerged nearly ancle-deep in sand. The
rapid circulation of the carriages, which, proportionately
speaking, are far more considerable here in number than
in any other part of America, continually grinds this mov-
LH w
Early Western Travels
ing sand, and pulverizes it in such a manner, that the
most gentle wind fills the shops with it, and renders it
very disagreeable to foot passengers. At regular distances pumps supply the inhabitants with water of such a
brackish taste, that it is truly astonishing how foreigners
can grow used to it. Two-thirds of the houses are built
with wood, the rest with brick. According to the last
computation, made in 1803, the population, comprising
foreigners, amounted to 10,690 whites and 9050 slaves.
Strangers that arrive at Charleston, or at any town in
the United States, find no furnished hotels nor rooms to
let for their accommodation, no coffee-houses where they
can regale themselves. The whole of this is replaced by
boarding-houses, where every thing necessary [9] is
provided. In Carolina you pay, at these receptacles,
from twelve to twenty piastres per week. This enormous
sum is by no means proportionate to the price of provisions. For example, beef very seldom exceeds sixpence a
pound. Vegetables are dearer there than meat. Independent of the articles of consumption that the country
supplies, the port of Charleston is generally full of small
vessels from Boston, Newport, New York, and Philadelphia, and from all the little intermediate ports, which
are loaded with flour, salt provisions, potatoes, onions,
carrots, beet-roots, apples, oats, Indian corn, and hay.
Planks and building materials comprize another considerable article of importation; and although these different
kinds of produce are brought from three to four hundred
leagues, they are not so dear and of a better quality than
those of their own growth.
In winter the markets of Charleston are well stocked
with live sea-fish, which are brought from the northern
part of the United States in vessels so constructed as to
mm l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
keep them in a continual supply of water. The ships
engaged in this kind of traffic load, in return, with rice
and cottons, the greater part of which is re-exported into
Europe, the freight [10] being always higher in the northern than in the southern states. The cotton wool that
they keep in the north for their own consumption is more
than sufficient to supply the manufacturies, being but
very few: the overplus is disposed of in the country places,
where the women fabricate coarse cottons for the use of
their families.
Wood is extravagantly dear at Charleston; it costs from
forty to fifty shillings2 a cord, notwithstanding forests,
which are almost boundless in extent, begin at six miles,
and even at a less distance from the town, and the conveyance of it is facilitated by the two rivers at the conflux of which it is situated; on which account a great number of the inhabitants bum coals that are brought from
As soon as I'recovered from my illness I left Charleston,
and went to reside in a small plantation about ten miles
from the town, where my father had formed a botanic
garden. It was there he collected and cultivated, with
the greatest care, the plants that he found in the long and
painful travels that his ardent love for science had urged
him to make, almost every year, in the different quarters
of America. Ever animated with a desire of serving the
country he was in, he conceived that the climate of South
Carolina [n] must be favourable to the culture of several
useful vegetables of the old continent, and made a memorial of them, which he read to the Agricultural Society
2 The piastre was the Spanish dollar, then the common circulating coin in
the United States, and the one whose value was adopted in our dollar. A
South Carolina shilling was worth T\ of a dollar.— Ed.
m FfW»
i 24
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
at Charleston. A few happy essays confirmed him in
his opinion, but his return to Europe did not permit
him to continue his former attempts. On my arrival at
Carolina I found in this garden a superb collection of
trees and plants that had survived almost a total neglect
for nearly the space of four years. I likewise found there
a great number of trees belonging to the old continent,
that my father had planted, some of which were in the
most flourishing state. I principally remarked two
ginkgo bilobas, that had not been planted above seven
years, and which were then upward of thirty feet in
height; several sterculia platanifolia, which had yielded
seed upward of six years; in short, more than a hundred
and fifty mimosa illibrissin, the first plant of which came
from Europe about ten inches in diameter. I set several
before my return to France, this tree being at that time
very much esteemed for its magnificent flowers. The
Agricultural Society at Carolina are now in possession of
this garden : they intend keeping it in order, and cultivating
the useful vegetables belonging to the old continent,
which, [12] from the analogy of the climate, promise every
success.3 I employed the remainder of the autumn in
making collections of seed, which I sent to Europe; and
the winter, in visiting the different parts of Low Carolina,
and in reconnoitring the places where, the year following, I might make more abundant harvests, and procure
the various sorts that I had not been able to collect during
the autumn.
On this account I must observe, that in North America,
and perhaps more so than in Europe, there are plants
8 The services of the elder Michaux in introducing European plants into
America, were considerable. He is said also to have been the first to teach the
frontier settlers the value of ginseng.— Ed. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
that only inhabit certain places; whence it happens that a
botanist, in despite of all his zeal and activity, does not
meet with them for years; whilst another, led by a happy
chance, finds them in his first excursion. I shall add, in
favour of those who wish to travel over the southern part
of the United States for botanical researches, that the
epoch of the flower season begins in the early part of
February; the time for gathering the seeds of herbaceous
plants in the month of August; and on the ist of October
for that of forest trees.
[13] CHAP. II
Departure  from  Charleston  for  New   York.—A   short
description of the town.— Botanic excursions in New
Jersey.— Remark upon the Quercus tinctoria or Black
Oak, and the nut trees of that country.— Departure from
New York for Philadelphia.— Abode.
In the spring of the year 1802 I left Charleston to go to
New York, where I arrived after a passage of ten days.
Trade is so brisk between the northern and southern
states, that there is generally an opportunity at Charleston to get into any of the ports of the northern states you
wish.    Several vessels have rooms,  tastefully arranged
and commodiously fitted up, for the reception of passengers, who every year go in crowds to reside in the northern
part of the United States, during the unhealthy season,
and return to Charleston in the month of November following.   You pay for the passage from forty to fifty [14]
piastres.   Its duration varies according to the weather.
It is generally about ten days, but it is sometimes prolonged by violent gusts of wind which casually spring up
on doubling Cape Hatras.
New York, situated at the conflux of the rivers from
14 I2Ô
Early Western Travels
the east and north, is much nearer to the sea than Philadelphia. Its harbour being safe, and of an easy access in
all seasons, makes it very advantageous to the city, and
adds incessantly to its extent, riches, and population.
The town consists of more than 50,000 souls, among whom
are reckoned but a very small number of negroes. Living
is not so dear there as at Charleston; one may board for
eight or ten piastres a week.
During my stay at New York I frequently had an
opportunity of seeing Dr. Hosack, who was held in the
highest reputation as a professor of botany. He was at
that time employed in establishing a botanical garden,
where he intended giving a regular course of lectures.
This garden is a few miles from the town: the spot of
ground is well adapted, especially for plants that require
a peculiar aspect or situation. Mr. Hosack is the physician belonging to the hospital and prison, by virtue of
which he permitted me to accompany him in one of his
visits, and I had by that [15] means an opportunity of
seeing those two establishments. The hospital is well
situated, the buildings are extensive, the rooms lofty and
well aired; but the beds appeared to me very indifferent;
they are composed of a very low bedstead, edged with
board about four inches wide, and furnished with a mattress, or rather a pallias, filled with oat straw, not very
thick, coarse brown linen sheets, and a rug. The prison
is remarkable for the decorum, the arrangement, the
cleanliness that reigns there, and more especially for the
willingness with which the prisoners seem to work at the
different employments allotted for them.
I Each seemed to be tasked according, to his abilities or
profession; some were making shoes, and others manufacturing cut-nails.   These nails, made by the help of a 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
machine, have no point, and cannot be used for the same
purposes as others wrought in the usual way; notwithstanding, a great many people prefer them for nailing
on roofs of houses. They pretend that these nails have
not the inconvenience of starting out by reason of the
weather, as it frequently happens with others; as upon the
roofs of old houses a great number of nails may be seen
[16] which do not appear to have been driven in more
than half or one-third of their length.
During my stay at New York, I took a botanical
excursion into New Jersey, by the river side, towards the
north. This part of New Jersey is very uneven; the soil
is hard and flinty, to judge of it by the grass which I saw
in places pulled up. Large rocks, of a chalky nature, as
if decayed, appeared even with the ground upon almost
all the hills. Notwithstanding, we observed different
species of trees; among others, a variety of the red oak,
the acorn of which is nearly round; the white oak, quercus
alba; and, among the different species or varieties of nut
trees, the juglans tomentosa, or mocker-nut, and the juglans minima, or pig-nut. In the low and marshy places,
where it is overflowed almost all the year, we found the
juglans-hickery, or shell-barked hickery; the quercus
prinus aquatica, which belongs to the series of prunus,
and is not mentioned in the "History of Oaks."* The
valleys are planted with ash trees, palms, cornus florida's
poplars, and quercus tinctoria's, known in the country by
the name of the black oak.
The quercus tinctoria is very common in all the [17]
northern states; it is likewise found to the west of the
Alleghany mountains, but is not so abundant in the low
* The History of Oaks discovered in America by A. Michaux.— F. A. Michaux.
I 128
Early Western Travels
I* St
'i \\
part of Georgia and the two Carolinas. The leaves of
the lower branches assume a different form from those
of the higher branches; the latter are more sharp and
pointed. The plate given in the History of Oaks only
represents the leaves of the lower branches, and the shape
of them when quite young. Amid these numerous species
and varieties of oaks, the leaves of which vary, as to form,
according to their age, which generally confounds them
with each other; notwithstanding, there are certain characteristic signs by which the quercus tmctoria may be always
known. In all the other species the stalk, fibres, and
leaves themselves are of a lightish green, and towards the
autumn their colour grows darker, and changes to a reddish hue; on the contrary, the stalk, fibres and leaves of
the black oak are of a yellowish cast, and apparently very
dry; again, the yellow grows deeper towards the approach
of winter. This remark is sufficient not to mistake
them; notwithstanding, there is another still more positive, by which this species may be recognised in winter,
when even it has lost its leaves; that is, by the bitter taste
of its bark, and the yellow colour [18] which the spittle
assumes when chewed. The bark of the quercus cinerea
has nearly the same property; and, finding this, I made
an observation of it to Dr. Bancroft, who was at Charleston in the winter of 1802. Upon the whole, it is impossible to be mistaken concerning these two kinds of oaks;
for the latter grows only in the dryest parts of the southern states. It is very rarely more than four inches in
diameter, and eighteen feet in height; its leaves are lan-
ceolated: on the other hand, the quercus tinctoria grows
upwards of eighty feet in height, and its leaves are in
several lobes, and very long.
Among the species of acorns that I sent over from the
mwnniLftii 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
northern states of America to France, and those which I
brought with me in the spring of 1803, were some of the
black oak, which have come up very abundantly in the
nursery at Trianon. Mr. Cels has upwards of a hundred
young plants of them in his garden.
The species and variety of nut trees natural to the
United States are also extremely numerous, and might be
the subject of a useful and interesting monography; but
that work would never be precisely accurate provided the
different qualities of those trees are not studied in the
country itself. I have [19] seen some of those nut trees
which, by the leaves and blossom, appeared of the same
species, when the shells and nuts seemed to class them
differently. I have, on the contrary, seen others where
the leaves and blossoms were absolutely different, and the
fruit perfectly analogous. It is true there are some, where
the fruit and blossom are systematically regular at the
same time, but very few. This numerous species of nut
trees is not confined to the United States; it is remarked
in every part of North America from the northern extremity of the United States as far as Mississipi; that is to
say, an extent of more than eight hundred leagues from
north to south, and five hundred from east to west. I
brought over with me some new nuts of six different
species, which have come up exceedingly well, and which
appear not to have been yet described.
I left New York the 8th of June 1802, to go to Philadelphia ; the distance is about a hundred miles. The stages
make this journey some in a day, others in a day and a
half; the fare is five piastres each person. At the taverns
where the stages stop they pay one piaster for dinner, half
one for supper or breakfast, and the same for a bed.
The space of ground that separates the two cities is com-
f ï
i h
i wm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
pletely [20] cleared, and the farms are contiguous to each
other. About nine miles from New York is a place called
Newark, a pretty little town situated in New Jersey.
The fields that encompass it are planted with apple trees;
the cyder that is made there is accounted the best in the
United States; however, I conceived it by far inferior to
that of Saint Lo, Coutance, or Bay eux. Among the other
small towns by the road side, Trenton seemed worthy of
attention. Its situation upon the Delaware, the beautiful tract of country that surrounds it, must render it a
most delightful place of abode.
Philadelphia is situated upon the Delaware, a hundred
miles distant from the sea; at this period the most extensive, the handsomest, and most populous city of the United
States. In my opinion, there is not one upon the old continent built upon so regular a plan. The streets cut each
other at right angles, and are from forty to fifty feet in
breadth, except the middle one, which is twice as broad.
The market is built in this street, and is remarkable for its
extent and extreme cleanliness; it is in the centre of the
town, and occupies nearly one-third of its length. The
streets are paved commodiously before the houses with
brick; pumps erected on both sides, about [21] fifty
yards distant from each other, afford an abundant supply
of water; upon the top of each is a brilliant lamp. Several
streets are planted with Italian poplars of a most beautiful growth, which makes the houses appear elegantly
The population of Philadelphia is always on the increase; in 1749, there were eleven thousand inhabitants;
in 1785, forty thousand; and now the number is computed to be about seventy thousand. The few Negroes
that are there are free, the greatest part of whom go out
HBHfiffia 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
to service. Provisions are not quite so dear at Philadelphia as New York; on which account the boarding houses
do not charge more than from six to ten piastres per week.
You never meet any poor at Philadelphia, not a creature
wearing the aspect of misery in his face; that distressing
spectacle, so common in European cities, is unknown in
America; love, industry, the want of sufficient hands, the
scarcity of workmanship, an active commerce, property,
are the direct causes that contend against the introduction of beggary, whether in town or country.
During my stay at Philadelphia, I had an opportunity
of seeing the Rev. Dr. Collin, minister of the Swedish
church, and president of the Philosophical [22] Society;
Mr. John Vaughan, the secretary; Messrs. Piles, John and
William Bartram.6 These different gentlemen had formerly been particularly acquainted with my father, and I
received from them every mark of attention and respect.
Mr. Piles has a beautiful cabinet of natural history. The
legislature of Pensylvania have presented him with a
place to arrange it in; that is the only encouragement he
has received. He is continually employed in enriching it
by increasing the number of his correspondents in Europe,
as well as in the remote parts of the United States; still,
except a bison, I saw nothing in his collection but what
may be found in the Museum at Paris.
5 Dr. Nicholas Collin was one of the most prominent members of the Philosophical Society, elected in 1789, dying in 1831. It is a curious mistake of
Michaux's to call him president, at a time when Jefferson held this position.
Dr. Collin was often acting chairman, and had been chairman of the committee for raising funds for the elder Michaux's proposed Western exploration
Dr.* John Vaughan was treasurer and librarian of the Society for many
years. . -.      r.
The Bartrams were famous botanists of Philadelphia, whom the elder
Michaux frequently visited.   See ante, p. 97, note 177-— Ed. I3'
Early Western Travels
The absence of Mr. W. Hamilton deprived me of the
pleasure of seeing him; notwithstanding, I went into his
magnificent garden, situated upon the borders of the
Schuylkill, about four miles from Philadelphia. His
collection of exotics is immense, and remarkable for
plants from New Holland; all the trees and shrubs of the
United States, at least those that could stand the winter
at Philadelphia, after being once removed from their
native soil ; in short, it would be almost impossible to find
a more agreeable situation than the residence of Mr. W.
[23] CHAP. Ill
Departure from Philadelphia to the Western Country.—
Communications by land in the United States.— Arrival
at Lancaster.— Description of the town and its environs.
— Departure.— Columbia.— Passage from Susquehan-
nah, York, Dover, Carlisle.— Arrival at Shippensburgh.— Remarks upon the state of agriculture during
the journey.
The states of Kentucky, Tennessea, and Ohio comprise that vast extent of country known in America by the
name of the Western Country. Almost all the Europeans
who have published observations upon the United States,
have been pleased to say, according to common report,
that this part of the country is very fertile; but they have
never entered into the least particulars. It is true that,
to reach these new settlements, one is obliged to travel
over a considerable tract of uninhabited country, and
that [24] these journies are tedious, painful, and afford
nothing very interesting to travellers who wish to describe
• The gardens of William Hamilton were at this time the most famous in
the United States. They now form part of Woodlawn cemetery, West Philadelphia, where some rare trees planted by him still exist.— Ed.
H 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
the manners of the people who reside in the town or most
populous parts; but as natural history, and more especially vegetable productions, with the state of agriculture,
were the chief object of my researches; my business was
to avoid the parts most known, in order to visit those
which had been less explored; consequently, I resolved
to undertake the journey to that remote and almost isolated
part of the country. I had nearly two thousand miles
to travel over before my return to Charleston, where I
was to be absolutely about the beginning of October.
My journey had likewise every appearance of being
retarded by a thousand common-place obstacles, which
is either impossible to foresee, or by any means prevent.
These considerations, however, did not stop me; accordingly I fixed my departure from Philadelphia on the 27th
of June 1802: I had not the least motive to proceed on
slowly, in order to collect observations already confirmed
by travellers who had written before me on that subject;
this very reason induced me to take the most expeditious
means for the purpose of reaching Pittsburgh, situated
at the extremity of Ohio; in consequence of which I took
[25] the stage7 at Philadelphia, that goes to Shippensburgh by Lancaster, York, and Carlisle. Shippensburgh,
about one hundred and forty miles from Philadelphia, is
the farthest place that the stages go to upon that road.8
7 Till the year 1802, the stages that set out at Philadelphia did not go farther
South than to Petersburg in Virginia, which is about three hundred miles from
Philadelphia; but in the month of March of that year, a new line of correspondence was formed between the latter city and Charleston. The journey is about
a fortnight, the distance fifteen hundred miles, and the fare fifty piastres. There
are stages also between Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as well as between
Charleston and Savannah, in Georgia, so that from Boston to Savannah, a
distance of twelve hundred miles, persons may travel by the stages.— F. A.
8 For historical sketch of Shippensburg, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this
series, p. 238, note 76.— Ed. *34
Early Western Travels
11 i
It is reckoned sixty miles from Philadelphia to Lancaster, where I arrived the same day in the afternoon.
The road is kept in good repair by the means of turnpikes, fixed at a regular distance from each other. Nearly
the whole of the way the houses are almost close together;
every proprietor to his enclosure. Throughout the United
States all the land that is cultivated is fenced in, to keep
it from the cattle and quadrupeds of every kind that the
inhabitants leave the major part of the year in the woods,
which in that respect are free. Near towns or villages
these [26] enclosures are made with posts, fixed in the
ground about twelve feet from each other, containing five
mortises, at the distance of eight or nine inches, in which
are fitted long spars about four or five inches in diameter,
similar to the poles used by builders for making scaffolds.
The reason of their enclosing thus is principally through
economy, as it takes up but very little wood, which is
extremely dear in the environs of the Northern cities; but
in the interior of the country, and in the Southern states,
the enclosures are made with pieces of wood of equal
length, placed one above the other, disposed in a zig-zag
form, and supported by their extremities, which cross and
interlace each other; the enclosures appear to be about
seven feet in height. In the lower part of the Carolines
they are made of fir; in the other parts of the country,
and throughout the North, they are comprised of oak
and walnut-tree; they are said to last about five and twenty
years when kept in good repair.
The tract of country we have to cross, before we get
to Lancaster, is exceedingly fertile and productive; the
fields are covered with wheat, rye, and oats, which is a
proof that the soil is better than that between New York
and Philadelphia.   The inns are very [27] numerous on 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
the road; in almost all of them they speak German. My
fellow travellers being continually thirsty, made the stage
stop at every inn to drink a glass or two of grog. This
beverage, which is generally used in the United States, is a
mixture of brandy and water, or rum and water, the proportion of which depends upon the person's taste.
Lancaster is situated in a fertile and well-cultivated
plain. The town is built upon a regular plan; the houses,
elevated two stories, are all of brick; the two principal
streets are paved as at Philadelphia. The population
is from four to five thousand inhabitants, almost all of
German origin, and various sects; each to his particular
church; that of the Roman Catholics is the least numerous.
The inhabitants are for the most part armourers, hatters, saddlers, and coopers; the armourers of Lancaster
have been long esteemed for the manufacturing of rifle-
barrelled guns, the only arms that are used by the inhabi-.
tants of the interior part of the country, and the Indian
nations that border on the frontiers of the United States.
At Lancaster I formed acquaintance with Mr. Mul-
henberg, a Lutheran minister, who, for twenty years past,
had applied himself to botany. He shewed [28] me the
manuscript concerning a Flora Lancastriensis. The
number of the species described were upwards of twelve
hundred. Mr. Mulhenberg is very communicative, and
more than once he expressed to me the pleasure it would
give him to be on terms of intimacy with the French
botanists; he corresponds regularly with Messrs. Wilde-
now and Smith.9   I met at Lancaster Mr. W. Hamilton,
• Gotthilf Heinrich Ernest Muhlenberg was a brother of General Muhien-
burg of Revolutionary fame, and grandson of Conrad Weiser. He was born in
Pennsylvania in r7S3, educated at Halle, Germany, and on his return to America in 1774 was ordained as a Lutheran clergyman. He served charges in New
Jersey and Philadelphia until 1779, when he settled at Lancaster, where he
'%  ' ffm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
whose magnificent garden I had an opportunity of seeing
near Philadelphia. This amateur was very intimate
with my father; and I can never forget the marks of
benevolence that I received from him and Mr. Mulhen-
berg, as well as the concern they both expressed for the
success of the long journey I had undertaken.
On the 27th of June I set out from Lancaster for Shippensburgh. There were only four of us in the stage, which
was fitted up to hold twelve passengers. Columbia,
situated upon the Susquehannah, is the first town that we
arrived at; it is composed of about fifty houses, scattered
here and there, and almost all built with wood; at this
place ends the turnpike road.
It is not useless to observe here, that in the United States
they give often the name of town to a group of seven
or eight houses, and that the mode of constructing them
is not the same everywhere. At [29] Philadelphia the
houses are built with brick. In the other towns and
country places that surround them, the half, and even
frequently the whole, is built with wood; but at places
within seventy or eighty miles of the sea, in the central
and southern states, and again more particularly in those
situated to the Westward of the Alleghany Mountains,
one third of the inhabitants reside in log houses. These
dwellings are made with the trunks of trees, from twenty
to thirty feet in length, about five inches diameter, placed
one upon another, and kept up by notches cut at their
extremities. The roof is formed with pieces of similar
length to those that compose the body of the house, but
not quite so thick, and gradually sloped on each side.
remained until his death in 1807. He was much interested in botany, and
devoted all his leisure to that pursuit, being a member of the American Philosophical Society, and, as Michaux notes, in correspondence with many scientists.— Ed. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
Two doors, which often supply the place of windows, are
made by sawing away a part of the trunks that form the
body of the house; the chimney, always placed at one of
the extremities, is likewise made with the trunks of trees
of a suitable length; the back of the chimney is made of
clay, about six inches thick, which separates the fire from
the wooden walls. Notwithstanding this want of precaution, fires very seldom happen in the country places.
The space between these trunks of trees is filled up with
clay, but so very carelessly, that the [30] light may be
seen through in every part; hi consequence of which
these huts are exceedingly cold in winter, notwithstanding
the amazing quantity of wood that is burnt. The doors
move upon wooden hinges, and the greater part of them
have no locks. In the night time they only push them
to, or fasten them with a wooden peg. Four or five days
are sufficient for two men to finish one of these houses,
in which not a nail is used. Two great beds receive the
whole family. It frequently happens that in summer the
children sleep upon the ground, in a kind of rug. The
floor is raised from one to two feet above the surface of
the ground, and boarded. They generally make use of
feather beds, or feathers alone, and not mattresses.
Sheep being very scarce, the wool is very dear; at the
same time they reserve it to make stockings. The clothes
belonging to the family are hung up round the room, or
suspended upon a long pole.
At Columbia the Susquehannah is nearly a quarter of a
mile in breadth. We crossed it in a ferry-boat. At that
time it had so little water in it, that we could easily see
the bottom. The banks of this river were formed by
lofty and majestic hills, and the bosom of it is strewed
with little islands, which [31] seem to divide it into several
j m ff*-
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
streams. Some of them do not extend above five or six
acres at most, and still they are as lofty as the surrounding
hills. Their irregularity, and the singular forms that
they present, render this situation picturesque and truly
remarkable, more especially at that season of the year,
when the trees were in full vegetation.
About a mile from Susquehannah I observed an
annona triloba, the fruit of which is tolerably good,
although insipid. When arrived at maturity it is nearly
the size of a common egg. According to the testimony
of Mr. Mulhenberg this shrub grows in the environs of
About twelve miles from Columbia is a little town called
York, the houses of which are not so straggling as many
others, and are principally built with brick. The inhabitants are computed to be upward of eighteen hundred,
most of them of German origin, and none speak English.
About six miles from York we passed through Dover, composed of twenty or thirty log-houses, erected here and
there. The stage stopped at the house of one M'Logan,
who keeps a miserable inn fifteen miles from York.10
That day we travelled only thirty or forty miles.
Inns are very numerous in the United States, and [32]
especially in the little towns; yet almost everywhere,
except in the principal towns, they are very bad, notwithstanding rum, brandy, and whiskey11 are in plenty.   In
10 The town of Columbia was situated at what was known as Wright's
Ferry, one of the oldest crossing places on the Susquehanna.
Michaux's father was at York, July 18, 1789, and describes it as "a pretty
enough little town situated at 59 miles from Fredericksburg (Md.). The
country appears to me to be but little cultivated in the environs. The inhabitants are Germans as well as in Pennsylvania. They are generally very laborious and very industrious.' ' On his later journey he does not describe this place,
see ante, p. 50.— Ed.
11 They give the name of whiskey, in the United States, to a sort of brandy
made with rye.— F. A. Michaux. 1802]
-F. A. Michaux's Travels
fact, in houses of the above description all kinds of spirits
are considered the most material, as they generally meet
with great consumption. Travellers wait in common till
the family go to meals. At breakfast they make use of
very indifferent tea, and coffee still worse, with small
slices of ham fried in the stove, to which they sometimes
add eggs and a broiled chicken. At dinner they give
a piece of salt beef and roasted fowls, and rum and water
as a beverage. In the evening, coffee, tea, and ham.
There are always several beds in the rooms where you
sleep; seldom do you meet with clean sheets. Fortunate is the traveller who arrives on the day they happen
to be changed; although an American would be quite
indifferent about it.
Early on the 28th of June we reached Carlisle, situated
about fifty-four miles from Lancaster. The town consists of about two hundred houses, a few of them built
with brick, but by far the greatest part [33] with wood.
Upon the whole it has a respectable appearance, from a
considerable number of large shops and warehouses.
These receptacles are supplied from the interior parts of
the country with large quantities of jewellery, mercery,
spices, &c. The persons who keep those shops purchase
and also barter with the country people for the produce
of their farms, which they afterwards send off to the seaport towns for exportation.
From M'Logan's inn to Carlisle the country is barren
and mountainous, in consequence of which the houses are
not so numerous on the road, being at a distance of two
or three miles from each other; and out of the main road
they are still more straggling. The white, red, and black
oaks, the chesnut, and maple trees are those most common in the forests.   Upon the summit of the hills we ob- ill
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
served the quercus banisteri. From Carlisle to Shippensburgh the country continues mountainous, and is not
much inhabited, being also barren and uncultivated.
We found but very few huts upon the road, and those,
from their miserable picture, clearly announced that their
inhabitants were in but a wretched state; as from every
appearance of their approaching [34] harvest it could only
afford them a scanty subsistence.
The coach stopped at an inn called the General Washington, at Shippensburgh, kept by one Colonel Ripey,
whose character is that of being very obliging to all
travellers that may happen to stop at his house on their
tour to the western countries. Shippensburgh has
scarcely seventy houses in it. The chief of its trade is
dealing in corn and flour. When I left this place, a barrel of flour, weighing ninety-six pounds, was worth five
From Shippensburgh to Pittsburgh the distance is
about an hundred and seventy miles.12 The stages going
no farther, a person must either travel the remainder of
the road on foot, or purchase horses. There are always
some to be disposed of ; but the natives, taking advantage
of travellers thus situated, make them pay more than double their value; and when you arrive at Pittsburgh, on
your return, you can only sell them for one half of what
they cost. I could have wished, for the sake of economy,
to travel the rest of the way on foot, but from the obser-
u Michaux travelled to Pittsburg by way of the Pennsylvania state road
which was laid out and built 1785-87, following in the main the road cut for
Forbes's army in 1758. This was the most important thoroughfare to the West,
until the Cumberland national road was built; and even afterwards a large
share of the traffic went this way. For a description of travel about this period
see McMaster, History of People of United States (New York, 1895), vol. iv,
chap. 33; and Albert, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1882), chap. 35.— Ed.
tsffifc l802]
-F. A. Michaux's Travels
varions I had heard I was induced to buy a horse, in conjunction with an American officer with whom I came
in the stage, and who was also going to Pittsburgh.
We agreed to ride alternately.
[35] CHAP. TV 'j
Departure from Shippensburgh to Strasburgh — Journey
over the Blue Ridges — New species of Rhododendrum
— Passage over the river Juniata — Use of the Cones
of the Magnolia Acuminata — Arrival at Bedford
Court House — Excesses to which the Natives of that
part of the Country are addicted — Departure from
Bedford — Journey over Alleghany Ridge and Laurel
Hill — Arrival at West Liberty Town.
On the morning of the 30th of June we left Shippensburgh, and arrived at twelve o'clock at Strasburgh, being
a distance of ten miles. This town consists of about
forty log-houses, and is situated at the foot of the first
chain of Blue Ridges. The tract of country you have
to cross before you get there, although uneven, is much
better; and you have a view of several plantations tolerably
well [36] cultivated. After having taken a moment's
repose at Strasburgh, we pursued our journey notwithstanding the heat, which was excessive, and ascended the
first ridge by an extremely steep and rocky path. We
reached the summit after three quarters of an hour's
difficult walking, and crossed two other ridges of nearly
the same height, and which follow the same direction.
These three ridges form two little valleys, the first of
which presents several small huts built on the declivity;
in the second, which is rather more extensive, is situated
a town called Fenetsburgh, composed of about thirty
houses, which stand on both sides of the road; the plan- 142
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
tations that surround them are about twenty in number,
each of which is composed of from two to three
hundred acres of woody land, of which, from the
scarcity of hands, there are seldom more than a few
acres cleared. In this part of Pensylvania every individual is content with cultivating a sufficiency for himself
and family; and according as that is more or less numerous the parts so cleared are more or less extensive ; whence
it follows, that the larger family a man has capable of
assisting him., the greater independence he enjoys; this
is one of the principal [37] causes of the rapid progress
that population makes in the United States.
This day we travelled only six-and-twenty miles, and
slept at Fort Littleton, about six miles from Strasburg,
at the house of one Colonel Bird, who keeps a good inn.
From Shippensburgh the mountains are very flinty, and
the soil extremely bad ; the trees of an indifferent growth,
and particularly the white oak that grows upon the summit, and the calmia latifolia on the other parts.
The next day we set out very early in the morning to
go to Bedford Court House. From Fort Littleton to the
river Juniata we found very few plantations; nothing but
a succession of ridges, the spaces between which were filled
up with a number of little hills. Being on the summit of
one of these lofty ridges, the inequality of this group of
mountains, crowned with innumerable woods, and overshadowing the earth, it afforded nearly the same picture
that the troubled sea presents after a dreadful storm.
Two miles before you come to the river Juniata, the
road is divided into two branches, which meet again at
the river side. The right leads across the mountains,
and the left, which we took, appeared to [38] have been,
and may be still the bed of a deep torrent, the ground
iHHWiHBH» 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
being wet and marshy. The banks were covered with
the andromeda, vaccinium, and more particularly with a
species of rhododendrum, that bears a flower of the clearest white; the fibres of the stamina are also white, and the
leaves more obtuse, and not so large as the rhododendrum
maximum. This singular variation must of course admit
its being classed under a particular species. I discovered
this beautiful shrub a second time on the mountains of
North Carolina. Its seeds were at that time ripe, and I
carried some of them over with me to France, which came
np exceedingly well. The river Juniata was not, in that
part, above thirty or forty fathoms broad, and in consequence of the tide being very low, we forded it; still, the
:greatest part of the year people cross it in a ferry-boat.
Its banks are lofty and very airy. The magnolia acuminata is very common in the environs; it is known in the
country by the name of the cucumber tree. The inhabitants of the remote parts of Pensylvania, Virginia, and
even the western countries, pick the cones when green to
infuse in whiskey, which gives it a pleasant bitter. This
bitter is very much esteemed in the country as a preventive against intermittent [39] fevers; but I have my doubts
whether it would be so generally used if it had the same
•qualities when mixed with water.
From the crossing of the river Juniata to Bedford Court
House, the country, although mountainous, is still better,
iand more inhabited, than that we travelled over from
Shippensburgh. The plantations, although seldom in
sight of each other, are near enough to give a more animated appearance to the country. We arrived at Bedford in the dusk of the evening, and took lodgings at an
inn, the landlord of which was an acquaintance of the
American officer with whom I was travelling.   His house
ME fm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
was commodious, and elevated one story above the ground
floor, which is very rare in that part of the country. The
day of our arrival was a day of rejoicing for the country
people, who had assembled together in this little town
to celebrate the suppression of the tax laid upon the
whiskey distilleries; rather an arbitrary tax, that had disaffected the inhabitants of the interior against the late
president, Mr. Adams.18 The public houses, inns, and
more especially the one where we lodged, were filled with
the lower class of people, who made the most dreadful
riot, and committed such horrible excesses, that [40]
is almost impossible to form the least idea of. The
rooms, stairs, and yard were strewed with drunken men;
and those who had still the power of speech uttered
nothing but the accents of rage and fury. A passion for
spirituous liquors is one of the features that characterise
the country people belonging to the interior of the United
States. This passion is so strong, that they desert their
homes every now and then to get drunk in public houses ;
in fact, I do not conceive there are ten out of a hundred
who have resolution enough to desist from it a moment
provided they had it by them, notwithstanding their
usual beverage in summer is nothing but water, or sour
milk. They care very little for cyder, which they find
too weak. Their dislike to this wholesome and pleasant
beverage is the more distressing as they might easily
procure it at a very trifling expense, for apple trees of
every kind grow to wonderful perfection in this country.
This is a remark which I have made towards the east
as well as the west of the Alleghany Mountains, where I
13 Michaux refers here to the excise tax that led to the "Whiskey Rebellion"
in this part of Pennsylvania. Its repeal was one of the first financial measures
of Jefferson's administration, and had occurred at the session of Congress in
the spring of 1802.— Ed.
"■"* gnnMiiSiMpi"" **" 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
have known lofty trees spring up from kernels, which
bore apples from eight to nine inches in circumference.
At Bedford there are scarce a hundred and twenty
houses in Hie whole, and those but of a miserable [41]
appearance, most of them being built of wood. This
little town, like all the rest on that road, trades in all
kinds of corn, flour, &c. which, with salt provisions, are
the only articles they sell for exportation. During the
war, in the time of the French revolution, the inhabitants
found it more to their advantage to send their corn, &c.
to Pittsburgh, there to be sent by the Ohio and Mississippi
to New Orleans, or embark them for the Carribbees,
than to send them to Philadelphia or Baltimore; notwithstanding it is not computed to be more than two hundred
miles from Bedford to Philadelphia, and a hundred and
fifty from Bedford to Baltimore, whilst the distance from
Bedford to New Orleans is about two thousand two
hundred miles; viz. a hundred miles by land to Pittsburgh,
and two thousand one hundred miles by water from
Pittsburgh to the mouth of the Mississippi. It is evident,
according to thi's calculation, that the navigation of the
Ohio and Mississippi is very easy, and by far less expensive, since it compensates for the enormous difference
that exists between those two distances. The situation
of New Orleans, with respect to the Carribbees, by this
rule, gives this town the most signal advantage over all
the ports eastward of the United States; and in proportion as [42] the new western states increase in population,
New Orleans will become the centre of an immense commerce. Other facts will still rise up to the support of this
On the following day (the 1st of July) we left Bedford
very early in the morning.    The heat was excessive; the
AM 146
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
ridges that we had perpetually to climb, and the little
mountains that rise between these ridges, rendered the
journey extremely difficult; we travelled no more than
six-and-twenty miles this day. About four miles from
Bedford the road divides into two different directions; we
took the left, and stopped to breakfast with a miller who
keeps a public house. We found a man there lying upon
the ground, wrapt up in a blanket, who on the preceding
evening had been bitten by a rattle-snake. The first
symptoms that appeared, about an hour after the accident, were violent vomitings, which was succeeded by a
raging fever. When I saw him first his leg and thigh
were very much swelled, his respiration very laborious,
and his countenance turgescent, and similar to that of a
person attacked with the hydrophobia whom I had an
opportunity of seeing at Charité. I put several questions
to him; but he was so absorbed that it was impossible to
obtain [43] the least answer from him. I learnt from some
persons in the house that immediately after the bite, the
juice of certain plants had been applied to the wound,
waiting the doctor's arrival, who lived fifteen or twenty
miles off. Those who do not die with it are always very
sickly, and sensible to the changes of the atmosphere.
The plants made use of against the bite are very numerous, and almost all succulent. There are a great many
rattle-snakes in these mountainous parts of Pensylvania;
we found a great number of them killed upon the road.
In the warm and dry season of the year they come out
from beneath the rocks, and inhabit those places where
there is water.
On that same day we crossed the ridge which takes
more particularly the name of Alleghany Ridges. The
road we took was extremely rugged, and covered with 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
enormous stones. We attained the summit after two
hours painful journey. It is truly astonishing how
the vehicles of conveyance pass over so easily, and with
so few accidents this multitude of steep hills or ridges,
that uninterruptedly follow in succession from Shippensburgh to Pittsburgh, and where the spaces between each
are filled up with an infinity of small mountains of a less
[44] Alleghany Ridge is the most elevated link in Pen-
sylvania; on its summit are two log-houses, very indifferently constructed, about three miles distant from each
other, which serve as public houses. These were the only
habitations we met with on the road from Bedford; the
remaining part of the country is uninhabited. We stopped
at the second, kept by one Chatlers, tolerably well supplied with provisions for the country, as they served us
up for dinner slices of ham and venison fried on the hearth,
with a kind of muffins made of flour, which they baked
before the fire upon a little board.
Notwithstanding a very heavy fall of rain, we went to
sleep that day at Stanley Town, a small place, which,
like all those in that part of Pensylvania, is built upon a
hill. It is composed of about fifty houses, the half of
which are log-houses; among the rest are a few inns, and
v two or three shops, supplied from Philadelphia; the distance is about seven miles from Chatler's; the country
that separates them is very fertile, and abounds with
trees of the highest elevation; those most prevalent in
the woods are the white, red, and black oaks, the beech,
tulip, and magnolia acuminata.
The horse we bought at Shippensburgh, and which [45]
we rode alternately, was very much fatigued, in consequence of which we travelled but very little farther than 148
Early Western Travels
if we had been on foot; in the mean time the American
officer, my companion, was in haste to arrive at Pittsburgh, to be present at the fête of the 4th of July in commemoration of the American independence. In order
to gain a day, he hired a horse at Stanley Town, with
which we crossed Laurel Hill, a distance of four miles..
The direction of this ridge is parallel with those we had
left behind us; the woods which cover it are more tufted,
and the vegetation appears more lively. The name
given to this mountain I have no doubt proceeds from
the great quantity of calmia latifolia, from eight to ten
feet high, which grows exclusively in all the vacant
places, and that of the rhododendrum maximum, which
enamel the borders of the torrents; for the inhabitants
call the rhododendrum laurel as frequently as the calmia
latifolia. Some describe the latter shrub by the name of
the colico-tree, the leaves of which, they say, are a very
subtle poison to sheep, who die almost instantaneously
after eating them. At the foot of Laurel Hill begins the
valley of Ligonier, in which is situated, about a quarter of
a mile from the mountain, West Liberty Town, composed
[46] of eighteen or twenty log-houses. The soil of this
valley appears extremely fertile. It is very near this place
that the French, formerly masters of Canada, built Fort
Ligonier, as every part of the United States west of the
Alleghany Mountains depended on Canada or Louisiana."
14 Michaux is in error in saying that the French built Fort Ligonier. He
was probably misled by the name. It was named for Sir John Ligonier, commander-in-chief of the land-forces of Great Britain (1751), and erected on
Loyalhanna Creek, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, during the advance
of Forbes's army (1758). Fort Ligonier was thrice attacked, once after Grant's
defeat (October 12, 1758), and in the following June by a party of French and
Indians. During Pontiac's War, it endured a long siege, being relieved in
August, 1763. This outpost served to protect the frontier during the Revolution, after which it was no longer garrisoned. General St. Clair made his later
home at this place, dying here in 1818.— Ed. l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
[47] CHAP. V
Departure from West Liberty Town to go among the
Mountains in search of a Shrub supposed to give good
Oil, a new Species of Azalea.— Ligonier Valley.—
Coal Mines.— Greensburgh.— Arrival at Pittsburgh.
On my journey to Lancaster Mr. W. Hamilton had
informed me that at a short distance from West Liberty
Town, and near the plantation of Mr. Patrick Archibald,
there grew a shrub, the fruit of which he had been told
produced excellent oil. Several persons at New York
and Philadelphia had heard the same, and entertained a
hope that, cultivated largely, it might turn to general
advantage. In fact, it would have been a treasure to
find a shrub which, to the valuable qualities of the olive-
tree, united that of enduring the cold of the most northern
countries. Induced by these motives, I left my [48]
travelling companion to go amongst the mountains in
quest of the shrub. About two miles from West Liberty
Town I passed by Probes's Furnace, a foundry established by a Frenchman from Alsace, who manufactures
all kinds of vessels in brass and copper; the largest contain about two hundred pints, which are sent into Kentucky and Tennessea, where they use them for the preparation of salt by evaporation; the smaller ones are destined for domestic uses. They directed me at the foundry
which road I was to take, notwithstanding I frequently
missed my way on account of the roads being more or
less cut, which lead to different plantations scattered
about the woods; still I met with the greatest civility
from the inhabitants, who very obligingly put me in my
road, and on the same evening I reached Patrick Archibald's, where I was kindly received after having imparted
the subject of my visit.    One would think that this man, Early Western Travels
who has a mill and other valuables of his own, might live
in the greatest comfort; yet he resides in a miserable
log-house about twenty feet long, subject to the inclemency of the weather. Four large beds, two of which
are very low, are placed underneath the others in the
day-time, and drawn out of an evening [49] into the
middle of the room, receive the whole family, composed
of ten persons, and at times strangers, who casually entreat to have a bed. This mode of living, which would
announce poverty in Europe, is by no means the sign of
it with them; for in an extent of two thousand miles and
upward that I have travelled, there is not a single family
but has milk, butter, salted or dried meat, and Indian
corn generally in the house; the poorest man has always
one or more horses, and an inhabitant very rarely goes on
foot to see his neighbour.
The day after my arrival I went into the woods, and in
my first excursion I found the shrub which was at that
moment the object of my researches. I knew it to be the
same that my father had discovered fifteen years before
in the mountains of South Carolina, and which, in despite
of all the attention he bestowed, he could not bring to any
perfection in his garden.15 Mr. W. Hamilton, who had
received a few seeds and plants of it from that part of
Pensylvania where I then was, had not been more successful. The seeds grow so soon rancid, that in the
course of a few days they lose their germinative faculty,
and contract an uncommon sharpness. This shrub,
which seldom rises above five feet in [50] height is diocal.
It grows exclusively on the mountains, and is only found
in cool and shady places, and where the soil is very fertile.
16 Professor R. A. Harper, of the University of Wisconsin, thinks this plant
may have been some variety of]sumac (rhus).— Ed. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
Its roots, of a citron colour, do not divide, but extend
horizontally to a great distance, and give birth to several
shoots, which very seldom grow more than eighteen
inches high. The roots and the bark rubbed together,
produce an unpleasant smell. I commissioned my landlord to gather half a bushel of seed, and send it to Mr.
William Hamilton, giving him the necessary precaution
to keep it fresh.— On the banks of the creek where Mr.
Archibald's mill is erected, and along the rivulets in the
environs, grows a species of the azalea, which was then
in full blossom. It rises from twelve to fifteen feet. Its
flowers, of a beautiful white, and larger than those of the
other known species, exhale the most delicious perfume.
The azalea coccinea, on the contrary, grows on the summit of the mountains, is of a nasturtium colour, and blows
two months before.
Ligonier Valley is reckoned very fertile. Wheat, rye,
and oats are among its chief productions. Some of the
inhabitants plant Indian corn upon the summit of the
mountains, but it does not succeed well, the country
being too cold. The sun is not [51] seen there for three
quarters of an hour after it has risen. They also cultivate hemp and flax, and each gathers a sufficient quantity
of it to supply his domestic wants; and as all the women
know how to spin and weave, they supply themselves and
family, by this means, with linen. The price of land is
from one to two piastres an acre. The taxes are very
moderate, and no complaints are ever made against
them. In this part of the United States, as well as in all
mountainous countries, the air is very wholesome. I
have seen men there upward of seventy-five years of age,
which is very rare in the Atlantic states situated south of
Pennsylvania.   During my travels in this country the 152
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
measles were very prevalent. At the invitation of my
host I went to see several of his relatives and friends that
were attacked with it. I found them all drinking whiskey,
to excite perspiration. I advised them a decoction of the
leaves of the viscous elm, with the addition of a spoonful,
of vinegar to a pint, and an ounce of sugar of maple. In
consequence of the country being poor, and the population not very numerous, there are but few medical men
there; and in cases of necessity they have to go twenty
or thirty miles to fetch them.
[52] On the 4th of July I left Archibald's, and posted
on toward Greensburgh, which is about eleven miles
from it. I had not gone far before I had to cross Ches-
nut Ridge, a very steep hill, the summit of which, for an
extent of two miles, presents nothing but a dry and chalky
soil, abounding with oaks and chesnut trees, stunted in
their growth: but as I advanced toward Greensburgh
the aspect of the country changes, the soil becomes better.
The plantations, although surrounded with woods, are
not so far apart as in the valley of Ligonier. The houses
are much larger, and most of them have two rooms.
The land better cultivated, the enclosures better formed,
prove clearly it is a German settlement. With them every
thing announces ease, the fruit of their assiduity to labour.
They assist each other in their harvests, live happy among
themselves, always speak German, and preserve, as
much as possible, the customs of their ancestors, formerly
from Europe. They live much better than the American
descendants of the English, Scotch, and Irish. They are
not so much addicted to spirituous liquors, and have
not that wandering mind which often, for the slightest
motive, prompts them to emigrate several [53] hundred
miles, in hopes of finding a more fertile soil. i8oa]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
Prior to my arrival at Greensburgh18 I had an opportunity of remarking several parts of the woods exclusively
composed of white oaks, or quercus alba, the foliage of
which being a lightish green, formed a beautiful contrast
with other trees of a deeper colour. About a mile from
the town, and on the borders of a tremendous cavity I
perceived unequivocal signs of a coal mine. I learnt at
Greensburgh and Pittsburgh that this substance was so
common and so easy to procure, that many of the inhabitants burnt it from economical motives. Not that there
is a scarcity of wood, the whole country being covered
with it, but labour is very dear; so that there is not a proprietor who would not consent to sell a cord of wood for
half the sum that coals would cost, provided a person
would go a mile to fell the trees, and take them home.
Greensburgh contains about a hundred houses. The
town is built upon the summit of a hill on the road from
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The soil of the environs is
fertile; the inhabitants, who are of German origin, cultivate wheat, rye, and oats with great success. The flour
is exported at Pittsburgh.
[54] I lodged at the Seven Stars with one Erbach, who
keeps a good inn.17 I there fell into company with a
traveller who came from the state of Vermont, and
through necessity we were obliged to sleep in one room.
Without entering into any explanation relative to the in-
18 Greensburg was the successor to Hannastown, a place at the crossing of
Forbes's road, and the Indian trail to Kiskiminitas Creek. The latter was
made the county seat at the erection of Westmoreland in 1773; but in 1782 was
totally destroyed by an Indian raid. In 1786, Greensburg was laid out, about
three miles southwest, as the seat of Westmoreland County; and here the first
court was held in January, 1787.— ED.
17 Horbach's inn was the stopping place for the mail, its proprietor being a
contractor. It was situated on the comer of Main and East Pittsburg streets,
Greensburg.— Ed. n
Early Western Travels
tention of our journey, we communicated to each other
our remarks upon the country that we had just travelled
over. He had been upward of six hundred miles since
his departure from his place of residence, and I had been
four hundred since I left New York. He proposed accompanying me to Pittsburgh. I observed to him that I
was on foot, and gave him my reasons for it, as it is very
uncommon in America to travel in that manner, the poorest
inhabitant possessing always one, and even several horses.
From Greensburgh to Pittsburgh it is computed to be
about thirty-two miles. The road that leads to it is very
mountainous. To avoid the heat, and to accelerate my
journey, I set out at four in the morning. I had no trouble in getting out of the house, the door being only on the
latch. At the inns in small towns, on the contrary, they
are extremely careful in locking the stables, as horsestealers are by no means uncommon in certain parts of the
[55] United States; and this is one of the accidents to
which travellers are the most exposed, more especially in
the southern states and in the western countries, where
they are sometimes obliged to sleep in the woods. It
also frequently happens that they steal them from the
inhabitants; at the same time nothing is more easy, as
the horses are, in one part of the year, turned out in the
forests, and in the spring they frequently stray many
miles from home; but on the slightest probability of the
road the thief has taken, the plundered inhabitant vigorously pursues him, and frequently succeeds in taking him;
upon which he confines him in the county prison, or,
which is not uncommon, kills him on the spot. In the
different states the laws against horse-stealing are very
severe, and this severity appears influenced by the great
facility the country presents for committing the crime.
I had travelled about fifteen miles when I was over- 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
taken by an American gentleman whom I had met the
preceding evening at Greensburgh. Although he was
on horseback, he had the politeness to slacken his pace,
and I accompanied him to Pittsburgh. This second
interview made us more intimately acquainted. He informed me that his intention [56] was to go by the side of
the Ohio. Having the same design, I entertained a
wish to travel with him, and more so, as he was not an
amateur of whiskey; being compelled, by the heat of the
weather, frequently to halt at the inns, which are tolerably
numerous, I had observed that he drank very little of that
liquor in water, and that he gave a preference to sour
milk, whenever it could be procured.18 In that respect
he differed from the American officer with whom I had
travelled almost all the way from Shippensburgh.
About ten miles from Greensburgh, on the left, is a
road that cuts off more than three miles, but which is
only passable for persons on foot or on horseback. We
took it, and in the course of half an hour perceived the
river Monongahela, which we coasted till within a short
distance of Pittsburgh. A tremendous shower obliged
us to take shelter in a house about a hundred fathoms
from the river. The owner having recognized us to be
strangers, informed us that it was on that very spot that
the French, in the seven years' war, had completely defeated General Braddock; and he also showed us several
trees that are still damaged by the balls.19
We reached Pittsburgh at a very early hour, when [57]
I took up my residence with a Frenchman named Marie,
18 These last sentences result from a faulty translation of the French. Michaux stated that the gentleman's intention was to descend the Ohio, and that
he was not fond of whiskey.— Ed.
u For a description of the present appearance of Braddock's battle-field,
see Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio (New York, 1897, and Chicago, 1903), p.
17; also "A Day on Braddock's Road," in How George Rogers Clark won the
Northwest (Chicago, 1903).— Ed. i56
Early Western Travels
who keeps a respectable inn. What pleased me most
was my having accomplished my journey, as I began to
be fatigued with travelling over so mountainous a country;
for during an extent of about a hundred and eighty miles,
which I had travelled almost entirely on foot, I do not
think I walked fifty fathoms without either ascending or
[58] CHAP. VI
Description of Pittsburgh.— Commerce of the Town and
adjacent Countries with New Orleans.— Construction
of large Vessels.— Description of the Rivers Monongahela and Alleghany.— Towns situated on their Banks.—
Agriculture.— Maple Sugar.
Pittsburgh is situated at the conflux of the rivers
Monongahela and Alleghany, the uniting of which forms
the Ohio. The even soil upon which it is built is not
more than forty or fifty acres in extent. It is in the form
of an angle, the three sides of which are enclosed either
by the bed of the two rivers or by stupendous mountains.
The houses are principally brick, they are computed to be
about four hundred, most of which are built upon the
Monongahela; that side is considered the most commercial part of the town. As a great number of the houses
are separated from each other by large spaces, the [59]
whole surface of the angle is completely taken up. On
the summit of the angle the French built Fort Duquesne,
which is now entirely destroyed, and nothing more is
seen than the vestige of the ditches that surrounded it.20
20 Fort Duquesne, built in the summer of 1754 by the French commander
Contrecœur, and named for the governor of New France, was situated directly
in the point or angle made by the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. It was
strengthened, and strongly garrisoned, during the four years which the French
possessed it; and was evacuated and burned by its commandant, DeLignery,
on the approach of Forbes's army in November, 1758.— Ed. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
This spot affords the most pleasing view, produced by the
perspective of the rivers, overshadowed with forests,, and
especially the Ohio, which flows in a strait line, and, to
appearance, loses itself in space.
The air is very salubrious at Pittsburgh and its environs; intermittent fevers are unknown there, although
so common in the southern states, neither are they tormented in the summer with musquitoes. A person may
subsist there for one-third of what he pays at Philadelphia.
Two printing-offices have been long established there,
and, for the amusement of the curious, each publish a
newspaper weekly.21
Pittsburgh has been long considered by the Americans
as the key to the western country. Thence the federal
forces were marched against the Indians who opposed the
former settlement of the Americans in Kentucky, and on
the banks of the Ohio. However, now the Indian
nations are repulsed to a considerable distance, and reduced to the impossibility [60] of hurting the most remote
settlers in the interior of the states; besides, the western
country has acquired a great mass of population, insomuch that there is nothing now at Pittsburgh but a feeble
garrison, barracked in a fort belonging to the town, on
the banks of the river Allighany.22
However, though this town has lost its importance as a
military post, it has acquired a still greater one in respect
to commerce. It serves as a staple for the different sorts
of merchandise that Philadelphia and Baltimore send,
21 These newspapers were the Pittsburgh Gazette, founded in 1786; and the
Commonwealth, a Democratic journal begun about the time of Michaux's
visit.— Ed.
0 Michaux here refers to the Indian wars of the Northwest, culminating
in the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1795, followed by the treaty of Greenville in
1796.— Ed.
I i58
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
in the beginning- of spring and autumn, for supplying the
states of Ohio, Kentucky, and the settlement of Natches.
The conveyance of merchandise from Philadelphia to
Pittsburgh is made in large covered waggons, drawn by
four horses two a-breast. The price of carrying goods
varies according to the season; but in general it does not
exceed six piastres the quintal. They reckon it to be
three hundred miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and
the carriers generally make it a journey of from twenty to
twenty-four days. The price of conveyance would not
be so high as it really is, were it not that the waggons frequently return empty; notwithstanding they sometimes
bring back, on their return to Philadelphia or [61] Baltimore, fur skins that come from Illinois or Ginseng, which
is very common in that part of Pensylvania.
Pittsburgh is not only the staple of the Philadelphia
and Baltimore trade with the western country, but of the
numerous settlements that are formed upon the Monongahela and Alleghany. The territorial produce of that
part of the country finds an easy and advantageous conveyance by the Ohio and Mississippi. Corn, hams and
dried pork are the principal articles sent to New Orleans,
whence they are re-exported into the Carribbees. They
also export for the consumption of Louisiana, bar-iron,
coarse linen, bottles manufactured at Pittsburgh, whiskey,
and salt butter. A great part of these provisions come
from Redstone, a small commercial town, situated upon
the Monongahela, about fifty miles beyond Pittsburgh.23
23 As early as 1752, the
"Hangard," at the mouth
French officer who (1754)
fenses. After the capture
James Burd to build a fort
was long popularly known
moundbuilding Indians to
Ohio Company had built a storehouse, ..called the
of Redstone Creek, and it was described by the
explored that region and burned the English de-
of Fort Duquesne (1758), Bouquet sent Colonel
at this place, which was named Fort Burd; but it
as Redstone Old Fort, because of the remains of
be seen at this point.    The fort was abandoned
.. ï802]
JF. A. Michaux's Travels
All these advantages joined together have, within these
ten years, increased ten-fold the population and price of
articles in the town, and contribute to its improvements,
which daily grow more and more rapid.
The major part of the merchants settled at Pittsburgh,
or in the environs, are the partners, or else the factors,
belonging to the houses at Philadelphia. [62] Then-
brokers at New Orleans sell, as much as they can, for
ready money; or rather, take in exchange cottons, indigo,
raw sugar, the produce of Low Louisiana, which they
send off by sea to the houses at Philadelphia and Baltimore, and thus cover their first advances. The bargemen return thus by sea to Philadelphia or Baltimore,
whence they go by land to Pittsburgh and the environs,
where the major part of them generally reside. Although
the passage from New Orleans to one of these two ports
is twenty or thirty days, and that they have to take a
route by land of three hundred miles to return to Pittsburgh, they prefer this way, being not so difficult as the
return by land from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, this last
distance being fourteen or fifteen hundred miles. However, when the barges are only destined for Limeston,
in Kentucky, or for Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio, the
bargemen return by land, and by that means take a
route of four or five hundred miles.
The navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi is so much
improved of late that they can tell almost to a certainty
the distance from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, which
during Pontiac's War (1763), but appears to have been garrisoned by the time
of Lord Dunmore's War (1774). It was the rendezvous for Clark's men in
1778, and in 1791 the assembly place for fomentersof the Whiskey Rebellion.
In 1785 the town of Brownsville was incorporated, and for many years continued to be an important starting point for Western emigration. See Thwaites,
On the Storied Ohio, for descriptions of this movement, and of the region in
general.— Ed. Early Western Travels
they compute to be two thousand one hundred miles.
The barges in the spring season [63] usually take forty or
fifty days to make the passage, which two or three persons
in a pirogue™ make in five and-twenty days.
What many, perhaps, are ignorant of in Europe is,
that they build large vessels on the Ohio, and at the
town of Pittsburgh. One of the principal ship yards is
upon the Monongahela, about two hundred fathoms
beyond the last houses in the town. The timber they
make use of is the white oak, or quercus alba; the red oak,
or quercus rubra; the black oak, or quercus tinctoria; a
kind of nut tree, or juglans minima; the Virginia cherry-
tree, or cerasus Virginia; and a kind of pine, which they
use for masting, as well as for the sides of the vessels
which require a slighter wood. The whole of this timber
being near at hand, the expense of building is not so
great as in the ports of the Atlantic states. The cordage
is manufactured at Redstone and Lexinton, where there
are two extensive rope-walks, which also supply ships
with rigging that are built at Marietta and Louisville.
On my journey to Pittsburgh in the month of July 1802,
there was a three-mast vessel25 of two [64] hundred and
fifty tons, and a smaller one of ninety, which was on the
point of being finished. These ships were to go, in the
spring following, to New Orleans, loaded with the produce of the country, after having made a passage of two
thousand two hundred miles before they got into the
ocean. There is no doubt but they can, by the same rule,
build ships two hundred leagues beyond the mouth of the
Missouri, fifty from that of the river Illinois, and even
24 An Indian boat.— F. A. Michaux.
26 I have been informed since my return, that this ship, named the Pittsburgh, was arrived at Philadelphia.— F. A. Michaux. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
in the Mississippi, two hundred beyond the place whence
these rivers flow; that is to say, six hundred and fifty
leagues from the sea; as their bed in the appointed space
is as deep as that of the Ohio at Pittsburgh; in consequence
of which it must be a wrong conjecture to suppose that the
immense tract of country watered by these rivers cannot
be populous enough to execute such undertakings. The
rapid population of the three new western states, under
less favourable circumstances, proves this assertion to be
true.28 Those states, where thirty years ago there was
scarcely three hundred inhabitants, are now computed to
contain upwards of a hundred thousand; and although
the plantations on the roads are scarcely four miles distant from each other, it is very rare, to find one, even
among [65] the most flourishing, where one cannot with
confidence ask the owner, whence he has emigrated; or,
according to the trivial manner of the Americans, 1 \ What
part of the world do you come from ?" as if these immense
and fertile regions were to be the asylum common to all
the inhabitants of the globe. Now if we consider these
astonishing and rapid ameliorations, what ideas must we
not form of the height of prosperity to which the western
country is rising, and of the recent spring that the commerce, population and culture of the country is taking by
uniting Louisiana to the American territory.
The river Monongahela derives its source in Virginia,
at the foot of Laurel Mountain, which comprises a part
of the chain of the Alleghanies; bending its course toward
the west, it runs into Pennsylvania, and before it reaches
Alleghany it receives in its current the rivers Cheat and
Youghiogheny,   which  proceed   from  the   south  west.
20 Kentucky was erected into a state in 1792, Tennessee in 1796, and Ohio
in 1802.— Ed. IÔ2
Early Western Travels
The territory watered by this river is extremely fertile;
and the settlements formed upon the banks are not very
far apart. It begins to be navigable at Morgan Town,
which is composed of about sixty houses, and is situated
upon the right, within a hundred miles of its embouchure.27
Of all the little towns built upon [66] the Monongahela,
New Geneva and Redstone have the most active commerce. The former has a glass-house in it, the produce of
which is exported chiefly into the western country; the
latter has shoe and paper manufactories, several flour
mills, and contains about five hundred inhabitants. At
this town a great number of those who emigrate from the
eastern states embark to go into the west. It is also
famous for building large boats, called Kentucky boats.
used in the Kentucky trade; numbers are also built at
Elizabeth Town,28 situated on the same river, about
twenty-three miles from Pittsburgh — the Monongahela
Farmer was launched there, a sailing vessel of two hundred
Alleghany takes its source fifteen or twenty miles from
lake Eria; its current is enlarged by the French Creek,
and various small rivers of less importance. The Alleghany begins to be navigable within two hundred miles
of Pittsburgh.   The banks of this river are fertile; the
27 Morgantown, West Virginia, was settled originally in 1758 by the ill-
fated Deckers, who were massacred the following year; but not until 1768 was
it a permanent settlement established by the Morgan brothers. The town was
incorporated in 1785.   It is now the seat of West Virginia University.—Ed.
28 The settlement of Southwestern Pennsylvania — the Monongahela and
Youghiogheny valleys — was largely by emigrants from Virginia and the Southeast. Elizabeth was founded by Stephen Bayard of Maryland, a Revolutionary
officer who came West after the war and formed a partnership with Major
Isaac Craig of Pittsburg. The site of the town was originally called New Store.
Bayard gave it the present name in 1787, in honor of his wife. It was from
this point that many travellers took boats for the Ohio journey.— Ed. i8os]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
inhabitants who have formed settlements there export,
as well as those of Monongahela, the produce of their
culture by the way of the Ohio and Mississippi. On the
banks of this river they begin to form a few small towns;
among the most considerable are Meadville, situated two
[67] hundred and thirty miles from Pittsburgh; Franklin,
about two hundred; and Freeport, scarcely one; each of
which does not contain above forty or fifty houses.
Let the weather be what it will, the stream of the
Alleghany is clear and limped; that of the Monongahela,
on the contrary, grows rather muddy with a few days
incessant rain in that part of the Alleghany Mountains
where it derives its source.
The sugar-maple is very common in every part of
Pennsylvania which the Monongahela and Alleghany
water. This tree thrives most in cold, wet, and mountainous countries, and its seed is always more abundant
when the winter is most severe. The sugar extracted
from it is generally very coarse, and is sold, after having
been prepared in loaves of six, eight, and ten pounds each,
at the rate of seven-pence per pound. The inhabitants
manufacture none but for their own use; the greater part
of them drink tea and coffee daily, but they use it just
as it has passed the first evaporation, and never take the
trouble to refine it, on account of the great waste occasioned by the operation.
[68] CHAP. Vn
Description of the Ohio.— Navigation of that river.— Mr.
S. Craft.— The object of his travels.— Remarks upon
the Stale of Vermont.
The Ohio, formed by the union of the Monongahela
and Alleghany rivers, appears to be rather a continuance Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
of the former than the latter, which only happens obliquely
at the conflux. The Ohio may be, at Pittsburgh, two
hundred fathoms broad. The current of this immense
and magnificent river inclines at first north west for about
twenty miles, then bends gradually west south west. It
follows that direction for about the space of five hundred
miles; turns thence south west a hundred and sixty miles;
then west two hundred and seventy-five; at length runs
into the Mississippi in a south-westerly direction, in the
latitude of 36 deg. 46 min. about eleven hundred miles from
Pittsburgh, and nearly[69] the same distance from Orleans.
This river runs so extremely serpentine, that in going down
it, you appear following a track directly opposite to the
one you mean to take. Its breadth varies from two
hundred to a thousand fathoms. The islands that are
met with in its current are very numerous. We counted
upward of fifty in the space of three hundred and eighty
miles. Some contain but a few acres, and others more
than a thousand in length. Their banks are very low,
and must be subject to inundations. These islands are a
great impediment to the navigation in the summer. The
sands that the river drives up form, at the head of some of
them, a number of little shoals; and in this season of the
year the channel is so narrow from the want of water, that
the few boats, even of a middling size, that venture to go
down, are frequently run aground, and it is with great
difficulty that they are got afloat; notwithstanding which
there is at all times a sufficiency of water for a skiff or a
canoe. As these little boats are very light when they
strike upon the sands, it is very easy to push them off into
a deeper part. In consequence of this, it is only in the
spring and autumn that the Ohio is navigable, at least
as far as Limestone, about a hundred and twenty [70] l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
miles from Pittsburgh. During those two seasons the
water rises to such a height, that vessels of three hundred
tons, piloted by men who are acquainted with the river,
may go down in the greatest safety. The spring season
begins at the end of February, and lasts three months;
the autumn begins in October, and only lasts till the first
of December. In the mean time these two epochs fall
sooner or later, as the winter is more or less rainy, or the
rivers are a shorter or a longer time thawing. Again,
it so happens, that in the course of the summer heavy
and incessant rains fall in the Alheghany Mountains,
which suddenly swell the Ohio: at that time persons may
go down it with the greatest safety; but such circumstances are not always to be depended on.
The banks of the Ohio are high and solid; its current
is free from a thousand obstacles that render the navigation of the Mississippi difficult, and often dangerous, when
they have not skilful conductors. On the Ohio persons
may travel all night without the smallest danger; instead
of which, on the Mississippi prudence requires them to
stop every evening, at least from the mouth of the Ohio
to Naches, a space of nearly seven hundred and fifty
[71] The rapidity of the Ohio's current is extreme in
spring; at the same time in this season there is no necessity
for rowing. The excessive swiftness it would give, by
that means, to the boat would be more dangerous than
useful, by turning it out of the current, and running it
upon some island or other, where it might get entangled
among a heap of dead trees that are half under water, and
from which it would be very difficult to extricate them;
for which reason they generally go with the current,
which is always strong enough to advance with great 166
Early Western Travels
celerity, and is always more rapid in the middle of the
stream. The amazing rapidity of the Ohio has an influence on the shape of the boats that navigate upon it,
and that shape is not calculated to accelerate their progress, but to stem the current of the stream. All the
boats or barges, whether those in the Kentucky or Mississippi trade, or those which convey the families that go
into the eastern or western states, are built in the same
manner. They are of a square form, some longer than
others; their sides are raised four feet and a half above
the water; their length is from fifteen to fifty feet; the two
extremities are square, upon one of which is a kind of
awning, under which the passengers shelter themselves
[72] when it rains. I was alone upon the banks of the
Monongahela, when I perceived, at a distance, five or six
of these barges, which were going down the river. I could
not conceive what these great square boxes were, which,
left to the stream, presented alternately their ends, sides,
and even their angles. As they advanced, I heard a
confused noise, but without distinguishing any thing, on
account of their sides being so very high. However, on
ascending the banks of the river, I perceived in these
barges several families, carrying with them their horses,
cows, poultry, waggons, ploughs, harness, beds, instruments of agriculture, in fine, every thing necessary to
cultivate the land, and also for domestic use. These
people were abandoning themselves to the mercy of the
stream, without knowing the place where they should
stop, to exercise their industry, and enjoy peaceably the
fruit of their labour under one of the best governments
that exists in the world.
I sojourned ten days at Pittsburgh, during which I
several times saw the Chevalier Dubac,  formerly an 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
officer in the French service, who, obliged, on account
of the revolution, to emigrate from France, at first went
to settle at Scioto, but very soon after [73] changed
his residence, and went to Pittsburgh, where he is now
in trade. He has very correct ideas concerning the western country; he is also perfectly acquainted with the
navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi, having several
times travelled over New Orleans, and gives, with all
possible complaisance, to the few of his fellow-countrymen who go into that country, instructions to facilitate
their journey, and prevent the accidents that might
happen to them.
During my stay at Pittsburgh I formed a most particular
acquaintance with my fellow-traveller Mr. Samuel Craft,
an inhabitant of the state of Vermont, whom I met, for
the first time, at Greensburgh. I learnt of him, among
other things, that in this state, and those contiguous to it,
the expences occasioned by clearing the land are always
covered by the produce of pearl-ashes, extracted from
the ashes of trees which they burn; and that there are
even persons who undertake to clear it on the sole condition of having the pearl-ashes. This kind of economy,
however, does not exist in the other parts of North
America; for in all the parts of the east, from New
York westward, the trees are burnt at a certain loss. It
is true that the inhabitants of New England, which,
properly speaking, comprehends all the [74] states east
of New York, are acknowledged to be the most enterprising and industrious of all the Americans, especially
those who understand domestic economy the best.
Mr. Craft then imparted to me the intent of his journey,
which was to be convinced that what he had seen published upon the extraordinary salubrity and fertility of
m Early Western Travels
the banks of the river Yazous was correct, and in that
case to acquire for himself and a few friends several acres
of land, and to go and settle there with two or three
families in his neighbourhood who were rather embarrassed. The motive for his emigration to so remote a
country was founded, in the first place, on the length of
the winters, which in the state of Vermont are as severe
as in Canada, and which shackle the activity of its inhabitants more than one third of the year; and in the next
place, upon the cheapness of the country's produce: instead of which, in those parts watered by the river Yazous,29 the temperature of the climate and the fertility of
the soil are favourable to the cultivation of cotton, indigo,
and tobacco, [75] the produce of which is a great deal
more lucrative than that of the northern part of the
United States, and the sale of which is assured by their
exportation to New Orleans, where they can go and come
by the river in less than a fortnight.
Departure from Pittsburgh for Kentucky.— Journey by
land to Wheeling.— State of agriculture on the route.—
West Liberty Town in Virginia.— Wheeling.
Mr. Craft and I agreed to go together to Kentucky
by the Ohio, preferring that way, although longer by a
hundred and forty miles, to that by land, which is more
expensive.    However, as the season of the year being
that when the waters are at the lowest, to gain time, and
to avoid a considerable winding which the river makes
on leaving Pittsburgh, we were advised to embark at
Wheeling, a small town situated upon the Ohio, eighty
29 The river Yazous runs into the Mississippi between the thirty-second and
thirty-third degree of latitude.— F. A. Michaux. 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
miles lower down the river, but not so far by land.30 On
the 14th of July, in the evening, we set out on foot, and
crossed the Monongahela at John's Ferry, situated on
the opposite bank, at the bottom of Coal-Hill, a very
lofty mountain which borders the river to a vast [77]
extent, insomuch that it conceals the view of all the
houses at Pittsburgh built on the other side.
After having coasted along the borders of the Ohio about
a mile and a half, we entered the wood, and went to
sleep at an indifferent inn at Charter Creek, where there
was but one bed destined for travellers: whenever it
happens that several travellers meet together, the last
that arrive sleep on the floor, wrapped in the rug which
they always carry with them when they travel into the
remote parts of the United States.
The following day we made upwards of twenty miles,
and went to lodge with one Patterson. On this route the
plantations are two or three miles distant from each other,
and more numerous than in the interior of the country,
which is a general observation of all travellers. The
inhabitants of this part of Pennsylvania are precise in
their behaviour, and very religious. We saw, in some
places, churches isolated in the woods, and in others,
pulpits placed beneath large oaks. Patterson holds a
considerable and extensive farm, and a corn-mill built
upon a small river. He sends his corn to New Orleans.
The rivers and creeks are rather scarce in this part of
Virginia, on which account they are obliged to [78] have
recourse to mills which they turn by horses; but the flour
that comes from them is consumed in the country, not
30 An early trader on the Ohio, speaking of the return journey, says, "As soon
as we got to Wheeling, we went on foot to Pittsburgh, it being less fatiguing and
costing less time to walk 57 miles, the land distance, than to pole and
paddle 90 miles, the distance by the river." — Cisfs Advertiser, November,
1849.—Ed. Early Western Travels
being susceptible of entering into trade. Nobody has
ever yet thought of constructing windmills, although
there are on the top of several of the hills places sufficiently
cleared, that offer favourable situations.
On the 16th of July we arrived at Wheeling, very much
fatigued. We were on foot, and the heat was extreme.
Our journey was rendered more difficult from the nature
of the country, which is covered with hills very close
together, to some of which we were almost half an hour
before we could reach the summit. About six miles from
Patterson's we found the line of demarkation that separates Pennsylvania from Virginia, and cuts the road at
right angles. This line is traced by the rubbish that is
piled up on lofty eminences, consisting of all the large
trees, in a breadth of forty feet. Twelve miles before
our arrival at Wheeling we passed by Liberty Town, a
small town consisting of about a hundred houses, built
upon a hill.31 The plantations are numerous in the
environs, and the soil, although even, is extremely fertile. The produce of the lands vary: they produce from
fifteen to twenty bushels of corn [79] per acre, when they
are entirely cleared, and only twelve to fifteen when the
clearing away is not complete, that is to say, when there
are many stumps remaining; for in clearing they begin
by cutting the trees within two feet of the ground, and
after that dig up the stumps. It is proper to observe
that the inhabitants give only one tillage, use no manure,
81 The boundary line between Virginia and Pennsylvania was the cause of
much disturbance, each colony claiming the region south of the Ohio. The
Monongahela Valley was settled largely from Virginia, and on several occasions
the conflict of jurisdiction nearly led to a border war. The settlers themselves desired a new state. The controversy was finally settled by an agreement
between the states in 1780, although the lines were not finally run until 1785.
See Turner, "Western State Making in the Revolutionary Era," in American
Historical Review, i, pp. 81-83.
West Liberty was established as a town November 29, 1787.— Ed. 1802]
F. A. Michaux' s Travels
and never let the soil lie idle. The value of this land is
according to its quality. The best, in the proportion of
twenty to twenty-five acres cleared, for a lot of two or
three hundred, is not worth more than three or four
piastres per acre. The taxes are from a half-penny to a
penny per acre. The hands being very scarce, labour is
dear, and by no means in proportion with the price of
produce; the result of which is, that in all the middle and
southern states, within fifty miles of the sea, each proprietor clears very little more than what he can cultivate
with his family, or with the reciprocal aid of some of his
neighbours. This is applied more particularly to the
western country, where every individual may easily procure land, and is excited to labour by its incomparable
Within a mile and a half of West Liberty Town the
road passes through a narrow valley about four miles
long, the borders of which, elevated in [80] many places
from twenty-five to thirty feet, present several beds of
coal from five to six feet thick, growing horizontally.
This substance is extremely common in all that part of
Pennsylvania and Virginia; but as the country is nothing
but one continued forest, and its population scarce, these
mines are of no account. On the other hand, were they
situated in the eastern states, where they burn, in the
great towns, coals imported from England, their value
would be great.
The trees that grow in this valley are very close together, and of large diameter, and their species more
varied than in any country I had seen before.
Wheeling, situated on one of the lofty banks of the
Ohio, has not been above twelve years in existence: it
consists of about seventy houses, built of wood, which,
as in all the new towns of the United States, are separated 172
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
by an interval of several fathoms. This little town is
bounded by a long hill, nearly two hundred fathoms
high, the base of which is not more than two hundred
fathoms from the river. In this space the houses are
built, forming but one street, in the middle of which is
the main road, which follows the windings of the river
for a distance of more than two hundred miles. From
fifteen to twenty large [81] shops, well stocked, supply
the inhabitants twenty miles round with provisions.
This little town also shares in the export trade that is
carried on at Pittsburgh with the western country. Numbers of the merchants at Philadelphia prefer sending their
goods there, although the journey is a day longer: but
this trifling inconvenience is well compensated by the
advantage gained in avoiding the long winding which
the Ohio makes on leaving Pittsburgh, where the numerous shallows and the slow movement of the stream, in
summer time, retard the navigation.
We passed the night at Wheeling with Captain Rey-
mer, who keeps the sign of the Waggon, and takes in
boarders at the rate of two piastres a-week. The accommodation, on the whole, is very comfortable, provisions
in that part of the country being remarkably cheap. A
dozen fowls could be bought for one piastre, and a hundred weight of flour was then only worth a piastre and a
[82] CHAP, rx
Departure from Wheeling for Marietta.— Aspect of the
Banks of  the  Ohio.— Nature  of the  Forests.— Extraordinary size of several kinds of Trees.
On the 18th of July in the morning we purchased a
canoe, twenty-four feet long, eighteen inches wide, and 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
about as many in depth. These canoes are always made
with a single trunk of a tree; the pine and tulip tree are
preferred for that purpose, the wood being very soft.
These canoes are too narrow to use well with oars, and in
shallow water are generally forced along either with a
paddle or a staff. Being obliged at times to shorten our
journey by leaving the banks of the river, where one is
under shade, to get into the current, or to pass from one
point to another, and be exposed to the heat of a scorching
sun, we covered our canoe a quarter of its length with a
piece of cloth thrown [83] upon two hoops. In less than
three quarters of an hour we made up our minds to continue our journey by water; notwithstanding we were
obliged to defer our departure till the afternoon, to wait
for provisions which we might have wanted by the way;
as the inhabitants who live in different parts upon the
banks of the river are very badly supplied.
We left Wheeling about five in the afternoon, made
twelve miles that evening, and went to sleep on the right
bank of the Ohio, which forms the boundary of the
government, described by the name of the North West
territory of the Ohio, and which is now admitted in the
union under the denomination of the State of Ohio.
Although we had made no more than twelve miles we
were exceedingly fatigued, not so much by continually
paddling as by remaining constantly seated with our legs
extended. Our canoe being very narrow at bottom,
obliged us to keep that position; the least motion would
have exposed us to being overset. However, in the course
of a few days custom made these inconveniences disappear, and we attained the art of travelling comfortably.
We took three days and a half in going to Marietta,
about a hundred miles from Wheeling.   Our [84] second Early Western Travels
day was thirty miles, the third forty, and on the fourth
in the morning we reached this little town, situated at the
mouth of the great Muskingum. The first day, wholly
taken up with this mode of travelling, so novel to us,
and which did not appear to me to be very safe, I did not
bend my attention further; but on the following day,
better used to this kind of navigation, I observed more
tranquilly from our canoe, the aspect that the borders
of this magnificent river presented.
Leaving Pittsburgh, the Ohio flows between two ridges,
or lofty mountains, nearly of the same height, which we
judged to be about two hundred fathoms. Frequently
they appeared undulated at their summit, at other times
it seemed as though they had been completely level.
These hills continue uninterruptedly for the space of a
mile or more, then a slight interval is observed, that sometimes affords a passage to the rivers that empty themselves into the Ohio; but most commonly another hill of
the same height begins at a very short distance from the
place where the preceding one left off. These mountains rise successively for the space of three hundred
miles, and from our canoe we were enabled to observe
them more distinctly, as they were more or less distant
[85] from the borders of the river. Their direction is
parallel to the chain of the Alleghanies; and although
they are at times from forty to a hundred miles distant
from them, and that for an extent of two hundred miles,
one cannot help looking upon them as belonging to these
mountains. All that part of Virginia situated upon the
left bank of the Ohio is excessively mountainous, covered with forests, and almost uninhabited, where I
have been told by those who live on the banks of the
Ohio, they go every winter to hunt bears. l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
They give the name of river-bottoms and flat-bottoms
to the flat and woody ground between the foot of these
mountains and the banks of the river, the space of which
is sometimes five or six miles broad. The major part
of the rivers which empty themselves into the Ohio have
also these river-bottoms, which, as well as those in question, are of an easy culture, but nothing equal to the fertility of the banks of the Ohio. The soil is a true vegetable humus, produced by the thick bed of leaves with
which the earth is loaded every year, and which is speedily
converted into mould by the humidity that reigns in
these forests. But what adds still more to the thickness
of these successive beds of vegetable [86] earth are the
trunks of enormous trees, thrown down by time, with
which the surface of the soil is bestrewed in every part,
and which rapidly decays. In more than a thousand
leagues of the country, over which I have travelled at
•different epochs, in North America, I do not remember
having seen one to compare with the latter for the vegetative strength of the forests. The best sort of land in
Kentucky and Tenessea, situated beyond the mountains
of Cumberland, is much the same; but the trees do not
grow to such a size as on the borders of the Ohio. Thirty-
six miles before our arrival at Marietta we stopped at
the hut of one of the inhabitants of the right bank, who
shewed us, about fifty yards from his door, a palm-tree,
or platanus occidentalis, the trunk of which was swelled
to an amazing size; we measured it four feet beyond the
surface of the soil, and found it forty-seven feet in circumference. It appeared to keep the same dimensions
for the height of fifteen or twenty feet, it then divided into
several branches of a proportionate size. By its external appearance no one could tell that the tree was hollow; Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
however I assured myself it was by striking it in several
places with a billet. Our host told us that if we would
spend the day with him he would [87] shew us others as
large, in several parts of the wood, within two or three
miles of the river. This circumstance supports the observations which my father made, when travelling in that
part of the country, that the poplar and palm are, of all
the trees in North America, those that attain the greatest
"About fifteen miles," said he, "up the river Muskingum, in a small island of the Ohio, we found a palm-
tree, or platanus occidentalis, the circumference of which,
five feet from the surface of the earth, where the trunk
was most uniform, was forty feet four inches, which
makes about thirteen feet in diameter. Twenty years
prior to my travels, General Washington had measured
this same tree, and had found it nearly of the same dimensions. I have also measured palms in Kentucky, but I
never met with any above fifteen or sixteen feet in circumference.   These trees generally grow in marshy places.
"The largest tree in North America, after the palm,
is the poplar, or liriodendron tulipifera. Its circumference is sometimes fifteen, sixteen, and even eighteen feet:
Kentucky is their native country; between Beard Town
and Louisville we [88] saw several parts of the wood
which were exclusively composed of them. The soil is
clayey, cold and marshy; but never inundated.
"The trees that are usually found in the forests that
border the Ohio are the palm, or platanus occidentalis;
the poplar, the beach-tree, the magnolia acuminata, the
celtis occidentalis, the acacia, the sugar-maple, the red
maple, the populus nigra, and several species of nut-trees;
the most common shrubs are, the annona triloba, the
evonimus latifolius, and the laurus bensoin.' ' l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
[89] CHAP. X
Marietta.— Ship building.— Departure for GalUpoli.—
Falling in with a Kentucky Boat.— Point-Pleasant.—
The Great Kenhaway.
Marietta, the chief of the settlements on the New
Continent, is situated upon the right bank of the Great
Muskingum, at its embouchure in the Ohio. This town,
which fifteen years ago was not in existence, is now composed of more than two hundred houses, some of which
are built of brick, but the greatest part of wood. There
are several from two to three stories high, which are
somewhat elegantly built; nearly all of them are in front
of the Ohio. The mountains which from Pittsburgh run
by the side of this river, are at Marietta some distance from
its banks, and leave a considerable extent of even ground,
which will facilitate, in every respect, the enlarging of the
town upon a [90] regular plan, and afford its inhabitants
the most advantageous and agreeable situations; it will
not be attended with the inconveniences that are met
with at Pittsburgh, which is locked in on all sides by
lofty mountains.
The inhabitants of Marietta were the first_ that had
an idea of exporting directly to the Carribbee Islands the
produce of the country, in a vessel built in their own
town, which they sent to Jamaica. The success which
crowned this first attempt excited such emulation among
the inhabitants of that part of the Western Country, that
several new vessels were launched at Pittsburgh and
Louisville, and expedited to the isles, or to New York
and Philadelphia. The ship yard at Marietta is situated
near the town, on the Great Muskingum. When I was
there they were building three brigs, one of which was of
two hundred and twenty tons burthen.
J;.*,:: w
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 3
The river Muskingum takes its source toward Lake
Eria; it is not navigable for two hundred miles from its
mouth in the Ohio, where it is about a hundred and sixty
fathoms broad.32 The country that it runs through, and
especially its banks, are extremely fertile.
Near the town of Marietta are the remains of several
[91] Indian fortifications. When they were discovered,
they were full of trees of the same nature as those of the
neighbouring forests, some of which were upwards of three
feet diameter. These trees have been hewn down, and
the ground is now almost entirely cultivated with Indian
Major-General Hart, with whose son I was acquainted
at Marietta, gave, in the Columbia Magazine for the
year 1787, Vol. I. No. 9, a plan and a minute description
of these ancient fortifications of the Indians: the translation of which is given in his Travels in Upper Pennsylvania.
This officer, of the most distinguished merit, fell in the
famous battle that General St. Clair33 lost in 1791, near
Lake Eria, against the united savages. When I was at
Marietta, General St. Clair was Governor of the State of
Ohio, a post which he occupied till this state was admitted
in the union. His Excellency coming from Pittsburgh
and going to Chillicotha, alighted at the inn where I
lodged.   As he was travelling in an old chaise, and with-
82 The translation here is faulty. It should be, "it is navigable for only two
hundred miles,' ' etc.— Ed.
83 General Arthur St. Clair was a native of Scotland, who came to America
during the French and Indian War, and settled in Western Pennsylvania.
He served with much success in the Revolution, and in 1787 was president of
the Congress of the Confederation. He was appointed by Washington first
governor of the Northwest Territory, and served in that capacity 1788-1802.
He was unpopular because of the military defeat here mentioned, and his
Federalist principles. On his dismissal, in 1802, he retired to his home in
Pennsylvania, and died there in obscurity in 1818.— Ed. l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
out a servant, he did not at first attract my attention. In
the United States, those who are called by the wish of their
fellow-citizens to exercise these important functions do
not change their dress, continue dwelling in their own
houses, [92] and live like private individuals, without
showing more ostentation, or incurring more expense.
The emoluments attached to this office varies in every
state; that of South Carolina, one of the richest of the
union, gives its governor 4280 piastres, while the Governor of Kentucky receives no more than twelve or fifteen
hundred. The inhabitants of the State of Ohio are
divided in opinion concerning the political conduct of
General St. Clair. With respect to talents, he has the
reputation of being a better lawyer than a soldier.
On the eve of my departure I met a Frenchman at
Marietta, who is settled on the banks of the Great Muskingum, about twenty miles from the town. I regretted
much my inability to accept the invitation that he gave
me to go and see him at his plantation, which would have
given me time to make more extensive observations in
that part of the Western Country.
On the 21 st of July we set out from Marietta for Gal-
lipoli, which is a distance of about a hundred miles. We
reached there after having been four days on the water.
The inhabitants of the country, by putting off from the
shore in the night time, would have made that passage in
two days and a half [93] or three days. According to the
calculation that we made, the mean force of the stream
was about a mile and a half an hour; it is hardly to be
perceived in those parts where the water is very deep;
but as you get nearer the isles, which, as I have said before,
are very numerous, the bed of the river diminishes in
depth, so that frequently there is not a foot of water out of Early Western Travels
the main channel. Whenever we came near those shallows the swiftness of the current was extreme, and the
canoe was carried away like an arrow, which led us to
observe that it was only as we distanced the islands that
the bed increases in depth, and that the stream becomes
less rapid.
On the day of our departure we joined, in the evening, a Kentucky boat, destined for Cincinnati. This
boat, about forty feet long and fifteen broad, was loaded
with bar iron and brass pots. There was also an emigrant family in it, consisting of the father, mother, and
seven children, with all their furniture and implements
of husbandry. The boatmen, three in number, granted
us, without difficulty, permission to fasten our canoe to
the end of their boat, and to pass the night with them.
We intended, by that means, to accelerate our journey,
by not putting up [94] at night, as we had before been
accustomed to do, and hoped to spend a more comfortable night than the preceding one, during which we had
been sadly tormented by the fleas, with which the greater
part of the houses where we had slept, from the moment
of our embarkation, had been infested. However our
hopes were frustrated ; for so far from being comfortable,
we were still more incommoded. In the course of my
travels it was only on the banks of the Ohio that I experienced this inconvenience.
We were on the point of leaving them about two in
the morning, when the boat ran aground. Under these
circumstances we could not desert our hosts, who had
entertained us with their best, and who had made us
partake of a wild turkey which they had shot the preceding evening on the banks of the river. We got into the
water with the boatmen, and by the help of large sticks 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
that we made use of as oars succeeded in pushing the
vessel afloat, after two hours' painful efforts.
In the course of the night we passed the mouth of the
Little Kenhaway, which, after having watered that part
of Virginia, empties itself into the Ohio, on its right
bank. Its borders are not inhabited for more than
fifteen or twenty miles from its embouchure. [95] The
remainder of the country is so mountainous that they
will not think of forming settlements there this long time.
About five miles on this side the mouth of this little river,
and on the right bank of the Ohio, is situated Bellepree,
where there are not more than a dozen houses; but the
settlements formed in the environs increase rapidly.
This intelligence was given us at a house where we stopped
after having left the Kentucky boat.
On the 23d of July, about ten in the morning, we
discovered Point Pleasant, situated a little above the
mouth of the Great Kenhaway, at the extremity of a
point formed by the right bank of this river, which runs
nearly in a direct line as far as the middle of the Ohio.
What makes the situation more beautiful is, that for
four or five miles on this side the Point, the Ohio, four
hundred fathoms broad, continues the same breadth
the whole of that extent, and presents on every side the
most perfect line. Its borders, sloping, and elevated
from twenty-five to forty feet, are, as in the whole of its
windings, planted, at their base, with willows from
fifteen to eighteen feet in height, the drooping branches
and foliage of which form a pleasing contrast to the
sugar maples, red maples, and ash trees, situated immediately [96] above. The latter, in return, are overlooked
by palms, poplars, beeches, magnolias of the highest
elevation,  the enormous branches of which,  attracted l82
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by a more splendid light and easier expansion, extend
toward the borders, overshadowing the river, at the same
time completely covering the trees situated under them.
This natural display, which reigns upon the two banks,
affords on each side a regular arch, the shadow of which,
reflected by the crystal stream, embellishes, in an extraordinary degree, this magnificent coup d'œil.
The Ohio at Marietta presents a perspective somewhat similar, perhaps even more picturesque than the
one I have just described, through the houses of this little
town, that we perceived five or six miles off, the situation
of which is fronting the middle of the river, going up.
The Great Kenhaway, more known in the country
under that denomination than by that of the New River,
which it bears in some charts, takes its source at the
foot of the Yellow Mountain in Tennessea, but the mass
of its waters proceed from one part of the Alleghany
Mountains. The falls and currents that are so frequently met with in this river, for upward [97] of four
hundred miles, will always be an obstacle to the exportation, by the Ohio and the Mississippi, of provisions
from the part of Virginia which it waters. Its banks
are inhabited, but less than those of the Ohio.
[98] CHAP. XI
GalUpoli.— State of the French colony Scioto.— Alexandria at the mouth of  the  Great  Scioto.— Arrival at
Limestone in Kentucky.
Gallipoli is situated four miles below Point Pleasant,
on the right bank of the Ohio. At this place assembled
nearly a fourth part of the French, who, in 1789 and 1790,
left their country to go and settle at Scioto: but it was not
till after a sojourn of fifteen months at Alexandria in l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
Virginia, where they waited the termination of the war
with the savages, that they could take possession of the
lands which they had bought so dearly. They were
even on the point of being dispossessed of them, on account of the disputes that arose between the Scioto Company and that of the Ohio, of whom the former had
primitively purchased these estates; but scarcely had
they arrived upon the soil that was destined for [99] them
when the war broke out afresh between the Americans
and Indians, and ended in the destruction of those unfortunate colonies. There is no doubt that, alone and destitute of support, they would have been all massacred, had
it not been for the predilection which all the Indian nations
round Canada and Louisiana have for the French.
Again, as long as they did not take an active part in
that war, they were not disturbed : but the American
army having gained a signal advantage near the embouchure of the Great Kenaway, and crossed the Ohio, the
inhabitants of Gallipoli were united to it. From that
time they were no longer protected, nor could they stir
out of the inclosure of their village. Out of two that had
strayed not more than two hundred yards, one was scalped
and murdered, and the other carried a prisoner a great
distance into the interior. When I was at Gallipoli they
had just heard from him. He gained his livelihood very
comfortably by repairing guns, and exercising his trade
as a goldsmith in the Indian village where he lived, and
did not express the least wish to return with his countrymen.
The war being terminated, the congress, in order to
indemnify these unfortunate Frenchmen for the [100]
successive losses which they had sustained, gave them
twenty thousand  acres of land  situated  between  the
I 184
Early Western Travels
small rivers Sandy and Scioto, seventy miles lower than
Gallipoli. These twenty thousand acres were at the
rate of two hundred and ten acres to every family. Those
, among them who had neither strength nor resolution
enough to go a second time, without any other support
than that of their children, to isolate themselves amidst
the woods, hew down, burn, and root up the lower parts
of trees, which are frequently more than five feet in
diameter, and afterward split them to inclose their fields,
sold their lots to the Americans or Frenchmen that were
somewhat more enterprising. Thirty families only went
to settle in their new possessions. Since the three or four
years that they have resided there they have succeeded,
by dint of labour, in forming for themselves tolerable
establishments, where, by the help of a soil excessively
fertile, they have an abundant supply of provisions; at
least I conceived so, when I was there.
Gallipoli, situated on the borders of the Ohio, is composed solely of about sixty log-houses, most of which being
uninhabited, are failing into ruins; the rest are occupied
by Frenchmen, who breathe out a [101] miserable existence. Two only among them appear to enjoy the smallest ray of comfort: the one keeps an inn, and distills
brandy from peaches, which he sends to Kentucky, or
sells it at a tolerable advantage: the other, M. Burau,
from Paris, by whom I was well entertained, though unacquainted with him. Nothing can equal the perseverance
A fHs Frenchman, whom the nature of his commerce
obliges continually to travel over the banks of the Ohio,
and to make, once or twice a year, a journey of four or
five hundred miles through the woods, to go to the towns
situated beyond the Alleghany Mountains. I learnt from
him that the intermittent fevers, which at first had added 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
to the calamities of the inhabitants of Gallipoli, had not
shown itself for upwards of three years. That, however,
did not prevent a dozen of them going lately to New
Orleans in quest of a better fortune, but almost all of
them died of the yellow fever the first year after their
Such was the situation of the establishment of Scioto
when I was there. Though they did not succeed better,
it is not that the French are less persevering and industrious than the Americans and Germans; it is that among
those who departed for Scioto not a tenth part were fit
for the toils they [102] were destined to endure. However, it was not politic of the speculators, who sold land
at five shillings an acre, which at that time was not worth
one in America, to acquaint those whom they induced to
purchase that they would be obliged, for the two first
years, to have an axe in their hands nine hours a day; or
that a good wood-cutter, having nothing but his hands,
would be sooner at his ease on those fertile borders, but
which he must, in the first place, clear, than he who,
arriving there with two or three hundred guineas in his
purse, is unaccustomed to such kind of labour. This
cause, independent of the war with the natives, was more
than sufficient to plunge the new colonists in misery, and
stifle the colony in its birth.34
34 Michaux has here given a good account of the unfortunate French colony
founded on the banks of the Ohio, nearly opposite the mouth of the Great
Kanawha. The Scioto Company was an offshoot of the Ohio Company
formed by Manasseh Cutler and his associates. In May, 1788, the Scioto
Company employed Joel Barlow, "the patriot poet of the Revolution," to go
to Paris and sell lands for them. The buyers were, as Michaux remarks,
unsuited to pioneer life; the company overcharged them, and then ensued litigation in which the settlers lost the titles to their lands. The log-houses mentioned by Michaux were built for the settlers on their arrival in October, 1790,
but the severity of the climate, Indian hostilities, and frontier hardships, decimated their ranks.   The present town has been built up by the energy of IP
Early Western Travels
6. I
On the 25th of July we set out from Gallipoli for
Alexandria, which is about a hundred and four miles distant, and arrived there in three days and a half. The
ground designed for this town is at the mouth of the
Great Scioto, and in the angle which the right bank of
this river forms with the north west border of the Ohio.
Although the plan of Alexandria has been laid out these
many years, nobody goes to settle there; and the number
of its houses is not more than twenty, the major part of
which are [103] log-houses. Notwithstanding its situation is very favourable with regard to the numerous settlements already formed beyond the new town upon the
Great Scioto, whose banks, not so high, and more marshy,
are, it is said, nearly as fertile as those of the Ohio. The
population would be much more considerable, if the inhabitants were not subject, every autumn, to intermittent
fevers, which seldom abate till the approach of winter.
This part of the country is the most unwholesome of all
those that .compose the immense state of Ohio. The
seat of government belonging to this new state is at
Chillicotha, which contains about a hundred and fifty
houses, and is situated sixty miles from the mouth of the
Great Scioto.   A weekly newspaper is published there.35
At Alexandria, and the other little towns in the western country, which are situated upon a very rich soil,
American and German settlers, and in 1893 but three descendants of the French
settlers lived there. For further accounts, see Winsor, Westward Movement
(Boston, 1897), pp. 402-407, 498; "Centennial of GaUipolis," in Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, iii; and Thwaites, On the Storied
Ohio.— Ed.
S5 Chillicothe, on the site of the famous Indian village, was laid out in 1796
by General Massie as an American town. It was in the heart of the Virginia
military district, and was chiefly settled by Southerners. It was the seat of
government for Ohio until 1816. The weekly newspaper was the Scioto Gazette,
begun at this place in 1800 by Nathaniel Willis, grandfather of the poet N. P.
Willis.— Ed. l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
the space between every house is almost entirely covered
with stramonium. This dangerous and disagreeable
plant has propagated surprisingly in every part where
the earth has been uncovered and cultivated within twelve
or fifteen years; and let the inhabitants do what they will,
it spreads still wider every year. It is generally supposed to have made its appearance at James-Town in
Virginia, whence it derived [104] the name of James-
weed. Travellers use it to heal the wounds made on
horses' backs occasioned by the rubbing of the saddle.
Mullein is the second European plant that I found very
abundant in the United States, although in a less proportion than the stramonium. It is very common on the
road leading from Philadelphia to Lancaster, but less
so past the town; and I saw no more of it beyond the
Alleghany Mountains.
On the 1st of August we arrived at Limestone in Kentucky, fifty miles lower than Alexandria. There ended
my travels on the Ohio. We had come three hundred
and forty-eight miles in a canoe from Wheeling, and had
taken ten days to perform the journey, during which we
were incessantly obliged to paddle, on account of the
slowness of the stream. This labour, although painful,
at any rate, to those who are unaccustomed to it, was
still more so on account of the intense heat. We also
suffered much from thirst, not being able to procure any
thing to drink but by stopping at the plantations on the
banks of the river; for in summer the water of the Ohio
acquires such a degree of heat, that it is not fit to be
drank till it has been kept twenty-four hours. This excessive heat is occasioned, on the one hand, by the [105]
extreme heat of the climate in that season of the year,
and on the other, by the slow movement of the stream. i88
Early Western Travels >
I had fixed on the ist of October to be the epoch of
my return to Charleston in South Carolina, and I had
nearly a thousand miles to go by land before I could
arrive there, in executing the design I had formed of
travelling through the state of Tennessea, which lengthened my route considerably. Pressed for time, I relinquished the intention I had formed of going farther down
the Ohio, and took leave of Mr. Samuel Craft, who pursued by himself, in a canoe, his journey to Louisville,
whence, after having come down the Ohio and Mississippi,
he was to proceed up the river Yazous to go to Natches,
and then return by land to the state of Vermont, where he
expected to be about the middle of November following,
after having made, in six months, a circuit of nearly four
thousand miles.
[106] CHAP. XII
Fish and shells of the Ohio — Inhabitants on the Banks of
the river — Agriculture — American Emigrant — Commercial Intelligence relative to that part of the United
The banks of the Ohio, although elevated from twenty
to sixty feet, scarcely afford any strong substances from
Pittsburgh; and except large detached stones of a greyish colour and very soft, that we observed in an extent
of ten or twelve miles below Wheeling, the remainder part
seems vegetable earth. A few miles before we reached
Limestone we began to observe a bank of a chalky nature,
the thickness of which being very considerable, left no
room to doubt but what it must be of a great extent.
Two kinds of flint, roundish and of a middling size,
furnished the bed of the Ohio abundantly, especially as
we approached the isles, where they are accumulated 1802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
[107] by the strength of the current; some of a darkish
hue, break easily; others smaller, and in less quantities,
are three parts white, and scarcely transparent.
In the Ohio, as well as in the Alleghany, Monongahela,
and other rivers in the west, they find in abundance a
species of Mulette which is from five to six inches in
length. They do not eat it, but the mother-o'-pearl which
is very thick in it, is used in making buttons. I have
seen some at Lexinton which were as beautiful as those
they make in Europe. This new species which I brought
over with me, has been described by Mr. Bose, under the
name of the Unio Ohiotensis.
The Ohio abounds in fish of different kinds; the most
common is the cat-fish, or silurus felis, which is generally
caught with a line, and weighs sometimes a hundred
pounds. The first fold of the upper fins of this fish are
strong and pointed, similar to those of a perch, which he
makes use of to kill others of a lesser size. He swims
several inches under the one he wishes to attack, then
rising rapidly, he pierces him several times in the belly;
this we had an opportunity of observing twice in the
course [108] of our navigation. This fish is also taken
with a kind of spear.
Till the years 1796 and 1797 the banks of the Ohio
were so little populated that they scarcely consisted of
thirty families in the space of four hundred miles; but
since that epoch a great number of emigrants have come
from the mountainous parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and settled there ; in consequence of which the plantations now are so increased, that they are not farther
than two or three miles distant from each other, and
when on the river we always had a view of some of them*
The inhabitants on the borders of the Ohio, employ 190
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[Vol. 3
the greatest part of their time in stag and bear hunting,
for the sake of the skins, which they dispose of. The
taste that they have contracted for this kind of life is
prejudicial to the culture of their lands; besides they have
scarcely any time to meliorate their new possessions,
that usually consist of two or three hundred acres, of
which not more than eight or ten are cleared. Nevertheless, the produce that they derive from them, with the
milk of their cows, is sufficient for themselves and families, which are always very numerous. The houses that
they inhabit [109] are built upon the borders of the river,
generally in a pleasant situation, whence they enjoy the
most delightful prospects; still their mode of building
does not correspond with the beauties of the spot, being
nothing but miserable log houses, without windows, and
so small that two beds occupy the greatest part of them.
Notwithstanding two men may erect and finish, in less
than three days, one of these habitations, which, by their
diminutive size and sorry appearance, seem rather to
belong to a country where timber is very scarce, instead of
a place that abounds with forests. The inhabitants on the
borders of the Ohio do not hesitate to receive travellers
who claim their hospitality; they give them a lodging,
that is to say, they permit them to sleep upon the floor
wrapped up in their rugs. They are accommodated
with bread, Indian corn, dried ham, milk and butter,
but seldom any thing else; at the same time the price of
provisions is very moderate in this part of the United
States, and all through the western country.
No attention is paid by the inhabitants to any thing
else but the culture of Indian corn; and although it
is brought to no great perfection, the soil being so full
of roots, the stems are from ten to twelve feet [no] high, l802]
F. A. Michaux's Travels
and produce from twenty to thirty-five hundred weight of
corn per acre. For the three first years after the ground
is cleared, the corn springs up too strong, and scatters
before it ears, so that they cannot sow in it for four or
five years after, when the ground is cleared of the stumps
and roots that were left in at first. The Americans in
the interior cultivate corn rather through speculation to
send the flour to the sea-ports, than for their own consumption; as nine tenths of them eat no other bread but
that made from Indian corn; they make loaves of it from
eight to ten pounds, which they bake in ovens, or small
cakes baked on a board before the fire. This bread is
generally eaten hot, and is not very palatable to those
who are not used to it.
The peach is the only fruit tree that they have as yet
cultivated, which thrives so rapidly that it produces fruit
after the second year.
The price of the best land on the borders of the Ohio
did not exceed three piastres per acre; at the same time
it is not so dear on the left bank in the States of Virginia and Kentucky, where the settlements are not looked
upon as quite so good.
The two banks of the Ohio, properly speaking, not
having been inhabited above eight or nine years, [in]
nor the borders of the rivers that run into it, the Americans who are settled there, share but very feebly in the
commerce that is carried on through the channel of the
Mississippi. This commerce consists at present in
hams and salted pork, brandies distilled from corn and
peaches, butter, hemp, skins and various sorts of flour.
They send again cattle to the Atlantic States. Tradespeople who supply themselves at Pittsburgh and Wheeling, and go up and down the river in a canoe, convey 192
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[Vol. 3
11 s
them haberdashery goods, and more especially tea and
coffee, taking some of their produce in return.
More than half of those who inhabit the borders of
the Ohio, are again the first inhabitants, or as they are
called in the United States, the first settlers, a kind of men
who cannot settle upon the soil that they have cleared,
and who under pretence of finding a better land, a more
wholesome country, a greater abundance of game, push
forward, incline perpetually towards the most distant
points of the American population, and go and settle
in the neighbourhood of the savage nations, whom they
brave even in their own country. Their ungenerous mode
of treating them stirs up frequent broils, that brin