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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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       Early Western Travels
Volume VIII
llftâi  Early Western Travels
pv. ;:H| 1748-1846 Hp&fp|;
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, LL.D.
Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents,"  "Original
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," "Hennepin's
New Discovery," etc.
Volume VIII
Buttrick's   Voyages,   1812-1819
Evans's Pedestrious  Tour,  1818
Cleveland, Ohio
The Arthur H. Clark Company
4 Copyright 1904, by
Stic ILafteafUe $re»
'■■ WMBW
 ""MiiiiHimiiiiiiiiiiiiHim CONTENTS OF VOLUME VIII
Preface.    The Editor	
Voyages, Travels, and Discoveries.
Author's Prefatory Remarks
Tilly Butlrick, Jr.
A Pedestrious Tour, oe Four Thousand Miles, through
the Western States and Territories, during the
Winter and Spring of 1818. Interspersed with Brief
Reflections upon a great variety of Topics: Religious,
Moral, Political, Sentimental, &c, &c.    Eslwick Evans
Copyright Notice, 1818    ......
Copyright Notice, 1819    ......
Author's Preface     .......
101  >*
illustrations to volume viii
Facsimile of title-page to Buttrick's Voyages
Portrait of Estwick Evans (frontispiece to his book)
Facsimile of title-page to Evans's Tour
The journals of the two American travellers whose
works have been selected for volume viii of our series,
form an interesting contrast and implement to one
another. Tilly Buttrick, Jr., was by na|pre a wanderer.
The early pages of his quaint little book give the principal facts of his biography, particularly his adventures at
sea. It is the narrative of iÉne to whom strange lands and
distant vistas irresistibly appeal. He tells his story with
a straightforward simplicity that transports the reader
through the scenes that the author has beheld. The
wandering disposition that had first carried him far
abroad, induced Buttrick to spend several years roaming
through the Great West, and the same quality of picturesque daritMôf narration makes his journal useful to stu-,
dents of that section.
Reverting from the Far West of the trans-Mississippi
and Oregon country — whither the journals of the" Astori-
ans have led us in the three preceding volumes of our
series — we find the Middle West of the Michauxs, Harris, and Cuming passing into a new- stage of progress.
The tide of emigration flowing from the older states down
the Ohio River, and spreading out into Ohio and Kentucky
on either hand, was checked by the second war with England, and the ruthless inroads of the savages whom the
British encouraged. In this war the new West bore its
full share; having successfully defended its long frontier,
it emerged triumphant in spirit, but financially and industrially exhausted. Not until the second great wave
of immigration began (1815-18), at the close of this strug* IO
Early Western Travels
gle, was the region again blessed with prosperity, and able
to renew its checked development.
Into this changing West the wanderer Buttrick came.
Arrived at Buffalo before the declaration of war, he was
upon the Canadian side of the Niagara frontier when the
fateful news arrived, and for a brief time was detained as a
hostage by the British General Brock. When released, he
returned to Massachusetts; but two years later started for
Kentucky — passing west through New York State, and
floating down the Allegheny and Ohio to Cincinnati. On
this journey he gives us an interesting picture of river life,
and its exigencies; while with graphic pen he portrays the
bad roads, fever and ague, and deserted condition of the
country through which he returned to his Eastern home.
In 1815 began his longest journey through the West.
He encountered at Olean, on the Allegheny, a large body
of Eastern emigrants who were awaiting the opening of
navigation and the rise of the Western rivers. Swept rapidly down on the freshet, Buttrick landed in Kentucky ; but
having been attacked by his old enemy, fever and ague, he
embarked for New Orleans, thus enabling him to draw for
us a brief but vivid picture of Mississippi navigation.
From the Southern metropolis Buttrick started on foot for
the North, over the route known as the Natchez trail —
a wild and lonely journey of a thousand miles, through the
land of semi-hostile Indians and backwoodsmen nearly as
savage. Upon this hazardous journey he was "generally
alone, always sick, often hungry, sometimes nearly
starved, '' and beset by drunken Indians; but he struggled
on, arriving in Cincinnati after forty-seven days en route.
While the chief interest of Buttrick's journal lies in his
own adventures, yet these are in a way typical of Western
conditions, and throw much light on the hardships of
pioneers, and the devastations of the War of 1812-15. 1812-1819] Preface 11
The book we here reprint is very rare. Published as an
eleemosynary appeal to readers on behalf of its unfortunate author, who had become blind through his hardships, a small edition was put forth, and no copies are now
known to be upon the market. Its reprint will, therefore, be a welcome addition to the journals of Western
Estwick Evans, whose Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand Miles, through the Western States and Territories,
comprises the second part of this volume, was, in his way,
a philosopher — a man imbued with early nineteenth-century views of the return to nature and the charm of savage
life. Slipping the leash of the restraints of civilization,
and influenced by a strange mixture of Quixotism and
stoicism, our author set forth from his New Hampshire
home in the dead of an extreme winter, and crossed the
frozen, almost trackless waste to the frontier post of
Detroit. His copyright notice contains the following epitome of the journey: "The blast of the north is on the
plain: the traveller shrinks in the midst of his journey."
Evans was born (1787) of good New England ancestry,
at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Largely self-educated,
he was admitted to the bar in 1811, and won popularity
by espousing the cause of the oppressed, taking up cases
for sailors, people in poor circumstances — those fleeced
by self-seeking lawyers. A prominent colleague said of
him: "Evans had about as much influence as any one,
because he was a clever fellow, honest, poor, and not well
treated, and the people sympathized with him." He
volunteered for the War of 1812-15, hut was rejected on
account of a physical disability. After his adventurous
Western journey, he married and settled in New Hampshire, at one time (1822-24) serving in the state legislature.
His vein of Quixotism never left him; he desired to fight Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
for South American independence, and actually left for
Greece in order to join her armies, but arrived after the
battle of Navarino and saw no bloodshed. In 1829 he
removed to Washington, and throughout the remainder
of his life practiced law, and served in the government
offices, frequently contributing to the National Intelligencer.   He died in New York, November 20, 1866.1
Despite the eccentricity of Evans's purpose, and the
grotesque dress of buffalo skins in which he attired himself for his Western journey; despite, also, his constant
tendency to moralize and involve himself and the reader
in a maze of speculation, his comments upon the men and
conditions which he saw in the course of his long tour are
shrewd, eminently sane, and practical. The Western
New York of 1818 is vividly portrayed; the solitude of
Northern Ohio,and the difficulties of the Sandusky swamps
are made known; glimpses of the Indians of the vicinity
are afforded. However, the chief value of the narrative
commences when the author reaches Detroit. From that
place through the remainder of the journey, to Presqu'
Isle, and down the Allegheny, Ohio, and Mississippi to
New Orleans, Evans was keenly alert for all manner of
information that bore upon the war, the state of agriculture, the topography and settlement of the country, and
the general industrial conditions. Much of his material
was obtained from first-hand participants and explorers,
and bears the stamp of accuracy. He gives us one of the
best pictures we possess of early Michigan Territory, the
French habitants contrasted with American settlers, the
influence of the fur-trade, and the scattered posts in this
far-away region. His description, also, of early Indiana
and Illinois presents interesting phases.   At New Orleans
1 These biographical details are from Bell, Bench and Bar oj New Hampshire (Boston, 1894), p. 343. fil
he encountered the remnants of French civilization,
whose picturesque mingling with American backwoods
life presented startling contrasts. "Here may be seen in
the same crowd Creoles, Quadroons, mulattoes, Samboes,
Mustizos, Indians, and Negroes; and there are other combinations not yet classified. ' ' Evans viewed the dissipations, pleasures, and excitements of the Southern metropolis with the eye of a New England Puritan, broadened,
however, by his contact with French philosophy and liberalism. ] B The wonderful wealth and physical force of the
United States" makes a strong impression on his mind;
and looking forward with the eye of a prophet, he foresees the development which a hundred years will bring,
and the power that will make all Europe tremble.
From New Orleans, Evans returned to New Hampshire by sea, having had, perchance, his fill of travels in
the wilderness, and having found "amidst the solitude and
grandeur of the Western wilds more correct views of human
nature and of the true interests of man." His book is
both diverting and informing, and fills its place in the
chronicles of the early West.
Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D., Edith Kathryn Lyle,
Ph.D., and Mr. Archer Butler Hulbert have assisted the
Editor in the annotation of this volume.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., September, 1904.
 'Hi'Mnmiwi niij'iiiiiiiniiHiiHWWWWWWWWHWIB
-> Reprint of the original edition:  Boston, 1831
Btjttrick's Voyages, Travels, and Discoveries
mîm   —  VOYAGES,
Sdhn Pataarn, Printer.
1831. «m.umimnrnilHHllllfflmiH PREFATORY REMARKS
In preparing this little work for the press, the Editor
had not only in view the interest with which an enlightened people seize upon facts not previously in their possession; but sympathy for this unfortunate traveller, who
by misfortune has now not only become bereft of his property, but, by providential circumstances, of his sight, contributed to induce him to copy it for the press. And he
confidentially trusts, if the information contained in the
following work is not sufficient to induce every individual
to become a purchaser, that sympathy for the past and
present sufferings of a fellow creature will forbid them to
withhold the small sum solicited for the pamphlet. T.n.^Trn>,mMiiiiUMNlHtWWSWWmWfflUIIIIHH]tlM|WIWWWB^(ffiB TRAVELS  AND  DISCOVERIES
I WAS born in Westford, County of Middlesex, and
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the sixth day of July,
1783. I lived with my father, Tilly Buttrick, until I was
ten years old ; when he removed to Princeton, in the County
of Worcester, where was the summer seat and residence
of his Honor Lieutenant Governor Moses Gill. I was
put to Mr. Gill, where I lived in his service five years, after
which I went and lived with my father, who now lived
in Groton, near where I was born, two years. At the expiration of that time, being hlfeay seventeenth year, I was
placed by my father in a mercantile house, in Boston.
My master, D. Hastings Esq., was a respectable merchant, and one of the best of men. With him I resided
until I was twenty one years of age. Being desirous of
seeing more of the worllJEthan my present situation allowed,
I resolved to go to sea. Accordingly I shipped on board
the fine ship Alnomak, of Boston, bound for the Isle of
France. Our crew consisted of seventeen in number,
mounting eight guns. On the tenth of September, 1804,
we weighed anchor, and left the harbor of Boston, with a
fair wind, which continued until the twelfth, in the afternoon; at which time we were clear of the land; the wind
then gradually decreased, until we were becalmed, which
was about six o'clock the same evening. We remained in
this situation about one hour, and night coming on, it was
noticed that the sea was greatly agitated; which is very
uncommon in a calm.
[6] The night was extremely dark, and the surfs that
broke about us appeared like huge banks of snow.   At
lys Early Western Travels
this time many observations were made by the crew, the
oldest sailors observing that we should soon find out the
meaning of this phenomenon. The wind soon began to
breeze up ahead, all hands were called to put the vessel
under close sail, and before nine o'clock it blew a tremendous gale; which obliged us to lay to, as she was heavily
laden. The wind continued to blow for thirty six hours,
and the ship labored with great difficulty. The storm
then began to abate, and coming about fair, we laid our
course and proceeded on our voyage. On our way we
often fell in with large schools of fish of different kinds,
such as Porpoise, Dolphin, Boneator, &c, and were very
successful in taking them, which supplied us with something fresh to eat. We passed in sight of the island of
Teneriffe and many other islands, and the coast of Bar-
bary. In crossing the equator, we were several days becalmed. On the twenty-second of December, we arrived
at the cape of Good Hope, a Dutch settlement in
the southern extremity of Africa, and came to
anchor in Table Bay. We found the people here
very industrious, working their cattle, which are of
the Buffaloe kind, by means of a square piece of wood
lashed to their horns, across the front of their heads.
Often six or eight yoke of oxen were thus harnessed
in one team. They were very handsome cattle, excepting the hump on their shoulders, so much resembling
the Buffaloe. The meat of these cattle is plenty, but
not equally good with our American oxen, being tough, of
a yellowish cast, and rather unsavory. Sheep are common here, and to appearance much larger than the sheep
in our own country. This may be owing partly to their
having longer legs than our sheep, and consequently taller.
Their meat is excellent, and perhaps equals in flavor any
found in North America, or any other nation.    But their 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
wool is of little value, being as coarse as dogs' hair. The
tails of these creatures are sold separate from their bodies,
and have the appearance of a large lump of tallow weighing from fourteen to twenty pounds.
In the suburbs of the town, I observed two of the feathered tribe, which I afterward learned were ostriches; [7]
who, upon discovering me, raised their heads much higher
than my own, and appeared no less frightened than myself, and were no less willing to make good their retreat.
The 25th, being Christmas, our sailors undertook to
imitate the landsmen in cheerfulness and hilarity; the
night was spent in high glee. Next morning all hands
were called, but not coming on deck so soon as was expected, the mates came forward with handspikes to hurry
them. They were met by the sailors with the same kind
of weapons; and. although nothing very serious took
place, yet it caused considerable difficulty between the
officers and crew. The captain being on shore was
soon notified, when a guard of soldiers were sent on
board; one man was taken and committed to prison on
shore, where he remained a few days, and was then put
on board and sent to America. No punishment was
inflicted upon the remainder, but they were strictly
Here we remained until the first day of January, 1805,
when not being able to dispose of our cargo as we expected, we weighed anchor and put to sea. But soon a
twenty four pound ball, fired from the guard ship lying
one hundred yards distant, besprinkling me with water,
as I stood on the bowsprit, occasioned us to drop anchor
and send our pass on board the guard ship, which our
captain omitted to do, though required by the law of the
place. This being done, we immediately weighed anchor
and stood out to sea.
■;:' Vi- '•V
i ne
Early Western Travels
The next morning we had lost sight of land, and in the
course of the day, the wind blew a terrible gale; the seiaft
ran mountains high, the ship was hove to, and we rode out
the storm, which continued about twelve hours. After
which we continued our course with the trade winds about
forty days. In the mean time our supercargo fell sick and
in about six weeks died. The usual ceremonies at sea
were performed, and his remains committed to a watery
grave. Thinking ourselves far enough to windward of
the Island, to bear away, we accordingly did so, and running twenty-four hours we discovered land. Supposing
it to be our intended port, we were greatly rejoiced. But
when coming within four miles of land, to our great mortification we found it to be the island of [8] Madagascar,
four hundred and eighty miles to the leeward of the isle
of France. This was a sorrowful tale for us to hear, as
we must have a head wind and oftentimes a current in
our return. We had become short of water, and for several days had been on allowance.
The grass on the sides of the ship had become one foot
in length, which greatly impeded our progress and rendered our situation truly distressing. The ship was put
about and stood to the south, as near as we could lay to
the wind.
The island of Madagascar, is inhabited by negroes,
with whom little or no trade is carried on by the whites.
We dared not venture ourselves on shore here, to obtain
water, for two reasons. First, we were afraid of the rocks
and shoals, as there were no pilots to be had; and secondly,
should we arrive safe on shore, we might be massacred by
those uncivilized people.
While ruminating on these unfortunate circumstances,
our ship was struck by a white squall, very common in
that eastern world, which carried away our foretop mast
fl 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
and maintop gallant mast and did much damage to the
sails and rigging. This was probably fortunate for us, as
the masts must have gone, or the ship upset. The squall
being over, it soon began to rain very heavily. Stopping
the scuppers, all who were able employed themselves in
dipping water from the deck. We filled six casks of a
hundred gallons each, which proved a very seasonable and
ample supply. Every exertion was now made, both by
the officers and crew, and continued until the 20th of
March, when we considered ourselves far enough to windward to bear away, and next morning discovered land,
and found it to be our long wished for island; the isle of
France. The harbor being on the leeward side, we ran
around, and not finding it so soon as we expected, we saw
several sail boats lying about, near the shore, and hoped
to find a pilot among them. But none appearing we fired
a gun as a signal. Unfortunately the gun was loaded with
a ball, which went close to several of them. This frightened the poor Frenchmen, and they made for the shore
with all possible speed, supposing us to be Englishmen.
[9] Within thirty minutes we discovered a large sail bearing towards us from the harbor. On its approaching us to
ourjsurprise we found it to be a French man of war, ready
for action; and coming close too, and hailing us, they ordered our captain on board of the ship, and took us under their protection, and stood for the harbor. We were
not insensible of the reason of this, from the circumstance
of the above mentioned shot, which was fired from the entrance of this harbor. The head of the harbor, on which
the town stands, is about three miles from the entrance.
The channel being narrow, the only way of getting up is
by warping, to assist in which buoys are set at a suitable
distance; a rope is made fast, the ship is hauled to one and
then to another, and so on through the whole.
M 26
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
II   1
A gang of negroes were placed on board the vessel, and
assisted in performing this labor, until we arrived safe on
our mooring ground. Our captain was then conducted
on shore, by a guard, and after due examination, was
found innocent of any ill design. We found this harbor
a very pleasant and delightful one; and from seventy to
eighty American vessels lying there. In a few days we
commenced discharging our cargo and sending it on shore;
we also stripped the ship to the lower mast; this being
done, we were about to repair the rigging and sails, when
the monsoons made their appearance.
These monsoons, so called, are the changing of the wind,
which blows in one direction from March to September;
then, shifting and whiffling about, blowing high gales, and
sometimes a hurricane, commences a contrary direction,
and so continues the remainder of the year, it being the
time when the sun crosses the equator. Vessels generally,
are afraid of being found at sea in this country, at this
season. The wind at this time was very variable, blowing from different points and constituting a terrible gale,
which lasted about forty-eight hours. Every precaution
was taken for the safety of the vessels lying in the harbor;
by mooring them by two anchors ahead, and two astern,
according to the requirements of the law; nevertheless, the
shipping in the harbor, consisting of one hundred and
fifty sail, French, Dutch, Danes, etc., but mostly Americans, presented a mosfrunpleasant [io] spectacle. Fifteen
or twenty vessels of different sizes, were driven on shore,
and some of them, when the water fell, were nearly high
and dry. But few lives were lost; although there was
a great destruction of property. The inhabitants of this
island are very friendly to the American people, and an
immense trade is carried on between the two countries.
About fifty yards from the shore, stood a spacious build-
>.n.<irm„rr*aj||lll|||llimimini 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages.
ing, occupied as a hospital, in which was a great number
of patients. Directly on the bank is a small building,
which is called a death house. When any one died in the
hospital, they were removed and deposited in this small
house, when they were placed in a coffin or box, large
enough to contain two. If another was expected to
die immediately, it remained until the second was
placed in it; then being put into a boat manned by three
negroes, expressly for that purpose, it was rowed down
about two miles and a half, being that distance from
any dwelling house, when the bodies were taken out of the
coffin, hauled up on shore, and thrown into a lime pit,
seemingly formed by nature. The boat then returns with
the coffin, and here ends the funeral ceremonies. The
dissolvent power of this earth, assisted by the rays of the
sun, soon decomposes and destroys these bodies, and the
remote distance from any dwelling houses, prevents any
evil consequences, which might otherwise follow such a
mode of burial. This boat is well known by the black
flag, which it carries hoisted, and often passes three or
four times in twenty four hours.
The labor in this place is done by slaves, who are kept
under close subjection. They are separated into gangs,
over each of which is placed an overseer or driver. During
the labor of the day, should any of them commit an
offence, even of the smallest nature, it is marked down by
this driver, and communicated to the principal overseer at
evening. Early next morning, when called out to their
usual labor, they are punished according to the aggravation of the offence. If small, they are punished with a
rattan, on their naked backs. If guilty of an aggravated
offence, they are lashed to a post, and so horribly whipped
and mangled as at times to leave the bones denuded of
their flesh, and in open view.
UtT ttfiUlilll
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
[n] horrid execution
Several times hearing the noise of cannon, and seeing a
red flag hoisted, on inquiry I found that one or more
negroes were to be executed. One day as this occurred,
I went on shore and finding a number of people passing
to a plain, back of the town, I followed on, and arriving
at the place of execution, saw a rope drawn round a
circle of about three hundred feet; inside of which stood a
platform abput ten feet square, standing on posts five feet
from the ground. On the top of this platform lay a common plank, one end of which was raised about two feet,
and extended even with the end of the platform. Here I
waited for the space of half an hour, when, hearing the
sound of music, and looking around, I saw a company of
soldiers advancing. In the rear of them was a cart, with
two young negroes in it, and a Roman Catholic priest
following after. They coming within the circle, the company formed, and the negroes were taken from the cart
and conducted to the scaffold. The priest followed and
conversed with them a short time, when a negro man
mounted the scaffold, with a broad axe in one hand and
a rope in the other. Looking very fierce, he ordered one
to lay down on the plank, with his chin extended over
the end. After lashing him tight to the plank with his
rope, he raised his axe and with one stroke, severed his
head from his body. Then unfastening the body he
threw it down where the head had fallen.
The other poor fellow, terrified and trembling at this awful sight, and scarcely able to stand, was soon ordered to
lie down in the same manner of the former, which he very
reluctantly did, the plank being already covered with the
blood of his fellow victim. The rope was then thrown
around him, as before mentioned; the axe was again
raised by this infernal butcher, with an apparent gratifica-
IM 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
tion and hardihood, shocking to human nature, and seeming to glut his revenge for the reluctance with which the
criminal laid himself down on the plank. After several
blows he at last succeeded in severing his head from his
To paint this horrible scene in its true colors, the wild
despair of the criminals, before their execution, and
agony [12] afterwards, indicated by the thousand changing motions of the face, and the_shooting out of the tongue,
is beyond the power of language to describe; their only
crime was taking four dollars from a slave, sent by his
master to some other person.
In about three weeks after our arrival in this place,
there appeared off this island, five English men of war,
which had left here about six k weeks before, for fear of
the former gale. This squadron was for the purpose of
blockading the island, and remained during our stay at
this place. They were very diligent on their'stations, but
effected but little; they would often appear close in to the
mouth of the harbor, but I never knew them fall in with an
enemy. The war still existed between France and Great
Britain, and several vessels and privateers were fitted out
of this port, and would often send in valuable prizes;
large ships laden with India and China goods, would be
sent in unmolested, which was surprising to all who saw
it. At one time an English sloop of war appeared in the
mouth of the harbor; spying a twenty four pound gun
about three fourths of a mile on shore, manned by five
soldiers, they tried their skill by firing an eighteen pound
shot at them, which hit the carriage, upset the gun and
killed two of the men. The other three men fearing a
second compliment, took to flight and made all possible
speed for the town, where they arrived in great confusion.
We now began to think it time for a cargo to come on 3°
Early Western Travels
board the Almonak. But soon found it to consist only
of stone to ballast the ship. Being soon in readiness, on
the first of August we put to sea, leaving this port for the
island of Sumatra.
On our passage we were several times boarded by
English men of war ships, and after a strict examination
were permitted to pass. We passed close to the island of
Ceylon, an English island, and saw colors hoisted, but
made no stop. On the first of September, we arrived on
the western coast of Sumatra. As there were no regular
maps or charts of this coast, we could only traverse it by
information derived from masters of vessels, which had
traded there, and our own judgment. There are many
reefs and rocks, which extend into the sea a considerable
distance. Many of which lay but just below the surface
[13] of the water. It was therefore found necessary to
keep a good look out, one man at mast head and others
closely watching below. We at last discovered a small
bay, and run into it; the place was called Moco. This is
one of the trading places. There are several others, such
as Soosoo, Mecca, Bencooban, and Pecung. At the latter
place, there was formerly a company of Dutch, who settled there for the purpose of trading with the natives.
But in consequence of the English cruisers on the one side,
and fear of the natives on the other, they had evacuated
the place and returned to Batavia, from whence they came
hither. We came to anchor in our first mentioned port,
and prepared against any attack which might be made by
these savages, by tricing up a boarding-netting round the
ship, about fifteen feet above the deck. This netting was
made of line, about the size of a cod line, and wove together like a seine for taking fish; our guns were loaded
and primed, with matches burning by the side, boarding
pikes, muskets and cutlasses at hand, and a centinel walk-
SWHB 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
ing the deck. A gun was fired at sunrise and the colors
hoisted; another at sunset when the colors were taken
down. We had not been long at this place, before we
were visited by several boats from the shore. They were
ordered to haul close alongside of the ship; a gun was
pointed into their boats, and a man to each gun with a
lighted match in his hand. Should they attempt to rise
we were in readiness to receive them, and soon put a stop
to their proceedings.
They then asked permission to come on board ; this was
granted to three or four of them. A gun was then hauled
hack, and they allowed to crawl in at the port hole, while
the rest remained as they were. Some of them spoke
good English, and began to inquire if we wanted pepper.
We answered, yes. The captain agreed with them about
the price, and in a few days we were furnished with about
fifteen tons. The natives brought the pepper in their
own boats, and it was weighed on board of the ship, with
our weights and scales, which we brought for that purpose. They were very particular in examining them, and
fearful of being defrauded.
One man, whom we supposed was their clerk, took the
weight of each draft, and at the close footed it up, and [14]
cast the amount in dollars, as quick and as well as though
he had been a regular bred merchant. They write fast,
but from right to left. While here the captain was invited
on shore, and went in a boat with four men; each armed
with a cutlass. Three were left to guard the boat. Taking me with him we proceeded towards the village, which
is about half a mile from shore, escorted by some of the
chiefs through a narrow path, and thick wood of Bamboo
and Cocoa nut. On our way, we could often see the
heads of the inhabitants peeping from behind the trees,
or through the bushes, but would often start and run
'I1 ■
Early Western Travels
when we approached them. On coming to the village
we found a cluster of small houses, situated but a little
distance from each other, standing on six or eight posts,
and about three feet from the ground, being built similar
to log houses in America. The tops of these houses were
covered with bark and leaves, and were sufficiently tight to
prevent the water from penetrating through them. I
learned that there were about four hundred inhabitants
in this village.
There were many men and boys to be seen about among
these huts; but not one female. They show few marks of
industry, a few only being employed in making sails for
boats, from a kind of bark, which they work together
very ingeniously. I saw no implement of husbandry, nor
any household furniture, excepting a few kettles, standing
about the doors of their log huts. These people are of a
copper color, small in size, seldom weighing more than
one hundred pounds; their food consists principally of
fruit, rice and fish. They are indolent, but subtle and
full of intrigue; they speak a Malay dialect, and are by
persuasion Mahometans. They consider it their duty to
take the life of a Christian; they are very avaricious, and
seek every opportunity of obtaining money; Spanish dollars is the only coin they will receive, and which they obtain in large sums for their pepper, which grows in great
abundance on this island. It is difficult to know what
they do with their silver, as their expenditures must be
small, their clothing generally consisting of a small cloth
round their waist, extending down to their knees. Some
of the higher order wear a mantle over their shoulders
extending nearly [15] to their feet, with a small piece of
cloth neatly worked, covering the top part of the head ; a
belt around their waist with a long knife or creese in it,
the blade of which is very ordinary, but sharp; the handle
wtiiinniiiHin iiimmUM 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
is generally made of silver, but sometimes of gold and
worked in a curious manner; these except the handles are
purchased of foreigners. Opium, although prohibited, is
obtained and used to excess by the natives in this island.
They chew and smoke it frequently to intoxication, and
substitute it for ardent spirit, which they make no use of.
Instead of tobacco they have a kind of reddish weed,
which they mix up with something resembling white paint,
stirring it with their thumb and finger, and crowding it
into their mouths in the most disgusting manner. They
have no fire arms, not knowing the use of powder; but are
very expert with their knives. When meeting each other,
instead of shaking hands in the American way, they
salute each other by striking their knives together. They
are in separate tribes; each is governed by a rajah or
king, whose commands are implicitly obeyed. At the sale
or purchase of any goods, he must first be consulted, and
permission granted, and a certain part of all monies received are paid to him. Polygamy is allowed; the number of wives a man has, depends on his ability to maintain them. They are considered as personal property,
and are bought and sold at pleasure.1
After purchasing all the pepper that could be procured
in this place, we weighed anchor and stood along the
coast, about thirty miles. When about one mile off land,
we espied a number of natives on shore, and let go anchor.
They coming out in boats, we treated them in the same
manner as we had done those before mentioned. The
reason of our using so much precaution, was, information
that several vessels had been taken by the natives and
their crews massacred.   Finding no pepper at this place,
1 This description of the natives is given as they were found in 1805. How
far they have since become conformed to civilized life, the author is unable to
say.— Butteick.
1 34
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
and being told that by going about twenty-five miles
further up we could procure a plentiful supply, we weighed
anchor and proceeded &to the place pointed out by the
natives. When we arrived we found that information
[16] had been given, and preparations made for procuring all the pepper that could be obtained. Loaded boats
came out, which we received for several days; the pepper
was weighed off and paid for to the owners and all things
appeared to go on well. This looked encouraging, and we
expected soon to have a full cargo, they repeatedly saying we should have greater quantities by waiting a short
time longer. We knew not their object at the time, but
afterwards had reason to suspect their intentions. However, after waiting several days and receiving no more
supplies, we passed up thirty or forty miles further. Here
it appearing like a favorable place, we dropped anchor
about five o'clock in the evening, two miles from the
shore. It was calm, and the evening was pleasant. About
eleven o'clock at night, we heard the oars of several boats
coming. By the light of the moon we soon discovered
them to be three in number, one with about twenty-five
men and the others with about fifteen men each. I being on deck, notified the captain, below, who immediately
came up and hailed them; they answered and asked if
we wanted pepper; our answer was yes. Coming along
side, they were placed as before mentioned. All appeared
very desirous of coming on board, but only three were
permitted. As they came in at the port hole, we took
from each his creese or knife. This appeared not to
please them. At this time they were uncommonly merry,
looking earnestly about on every thing on deck, which
could be plainly discerned from the light of the moon.
The captain says to them, how much pepper have you ?
IWrtffiffl Tt%
Buttrick1 s Voyages
they answered, we have none here but will bring you some
bye and bye.
One of them walking down into the cabin, the captain
ordered me to follow him. The second mate lay in his
berth asleep; he looked at him very earnestly and laughed;
there were two lamps burning on the table, he took one
and blew it out, then looking at the mate again he laughed ;
ht the lamp, sat it down. He soon blew it out the second
time; mistrusting his objects, I seized him by the shoulder
and soon had him on deck, and notified the captain, when
all hands were immediately called. The natives in the
boat appeared very uneasy, some standing upright, others
were puking over the side; this [17] was enough to tell us
that they were intoxicated from the too free use of opium.
As they had no pepper, and coming in such a number,
their intention undoubtedly was to take the ship, and
after massacreing the crew to plunder her. But seeing
us so well guarded, they thought it not best to make an
attack, although they were three times our number.
The captain then ordered these three to go immediately
into their boats, with orders to steer straight from the
ship's side and not to vary either to the right or left, for
should they disobey, they would receive the contents of our
guns among their boats. They obeyed, although with
great reluctance, which to us was a certain proof of their
ill intentions.
Although these men are small in stature, and possess
but little muscular strength, yet when intoxicated they are
savage, cruel and fearless as mad dogs. The next morning we stood along the shore for several miles, and were
met by some Indian canoes. We then came to anchor,
went on shore and purchased a large quantity of pepper,
which was brought on board, weighed and paid for.   We 36
Early Western Travels
remained here several days, during which time some of
our crew saw and recognized some of the same persons
who made us the evening visit which I have already mentioned. They discovered no hostile intentions at this time.
We continued along the coast, stopping at different places,
until we had about completed our cargo, without any
damage except the loss of two anchors, and narrowly
escaping the rocks, which came nearly to the top of the
water. We were fortunate enough to procure another
anchor of a ship, which had just arrived on the coast. A
few days before we left the island, we fell in with an
English brig, which came there for the purpose of trading
with the natives, but unarmed. He came to anchor near
us, and observed that he wished to he under the cover of
our guns, while we remained here, observing that the day
before, he saw a sail standing in, having the appearance
of a French privateer, and should that be the case, he
should probably fall into their hands, and lose his all, as
this vessel and cargo was all the property which he possessed.
[18] He also told the captain of the Almonak, that he
had a number of curiosities on board, which he would
present to him for his acceptance; among which was a
creature called the ourang-outang; he was taken at the
island of Borneo, and is a great curiosity, even in India.
When walking upright, this creature was about four feet
high, his head resembling that of a young negro child.
This creature moved with ease, was good natured to white
people, would often put his arm around the sailors' necks
and walk fore and aft the deck with them; but towards
negroes he appeared to have an inveterate hatred. Our
cook was a large black fellow, and when employed in any
particular business, especially that of stooping, this creature would come behind him and clinch and bite him
niiiiiiniiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniM 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
most severely; and in a very few minutes would be at the
top-mast head, looking down and seemingly laughing, as
though he had gained some important victory; while the
poor cook was left to rub his wounds without being able
to obtain any further satisfaction. The English brig being manned by Lascar sailors, which are black, the captain said that in a gale of wind he always felt himself unsafe to send them aloft in the night, as the ourang-outang
would often follow them, and take every advantage to
bite and harass them. We kept this creature till we had
been at sea about fifteen days on our home-bound passage,
and were in hopes of presenting one of the greatest curiosities ever seen in America. But to our grief one morning he came from aloft on deck, made some signs of sickness, laid down and died instantly. An unfortunate
Dutch sailor, who twenty-five years before had been impressed into the English service, had lately made his
escape and got on board the brig I have mentioned.
Wishing to return to Holland, his native country, we took
him on board our ship, and, although many times boarded
by English men of war and strictly searched, he secreted
himself so closely that he remained undiscovered until we
conveyed him safely on board one of his own country
ships. The poor fellow often said, • 'I am afraid I shall
find none of my relations or friends left, after so long an
absence. ' '
We now took leave of our English friends, and completing our cargo, on the last of October, after a stay of
[19] two months on this coast, we weighed anchor and
stood out to sea, bound to the Isle of France, where we
arrived on the first of December. Remaining there three
weeks, we again put to sea, and in fifteen days came in
sight of the Cape of Good Hope. Falling about ten miles
to the leeward, we bore up with a fair and brisk wind, just
A Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
passing round the point of the Cape, when it became an
entire calm. This was worse than a gale ; the sea running
very high, the ship rolled from side to side, and oftentimes
would almost roll her yards into the water. Oftentimes
we thought she would upset or her mast go overboard.
After remaining in this situation about two hours, a breeze
sprung up which enabled us to pursue our course, and
which continued until we arrived near the coast of the
United States of America. One afternoon, about four
o'clock, saw a schooner ahead; coming near to her, she
lowered all sail. We hailed her, and asked if any thing
was wanted ; and were answered, as we thought, no. We
hailed the second time, and received the same answer;
understanding that they wanted nothing. One of the
crew thought she said differently, when, on a third inquiry, found they were an American vessel, had neither
bread, meat, or fights, and were in a state of complete
starvation. Several of them had become so weak as to
lash themselves to the rigging for safety. We supplied
them with all the necessaries we could possibly spare, being short ourselves, but sufficient as we supposed to take
them to New London, Connecticut, their intended port.
They had been out sixty-seven days from the Spanish
main, in South America, and for the five last days had
nothing to eat except a few crumbs of biscuit which they
had collected together. On the morning of the day on
which we expected to see land, the weather being cloudy,
about eight o'clock, breakers were discovered a-head, and
the water striking high into the air. Put the ship about,
and running but a short time the same was seen still a-head ;
the water seeming muddy, hove the lead, and found ten
fathom water. We ran this course but a little distance
before we found ourselves surrounded with breakers on
all sides.   The wind being fresh and a heavy sea, we were
mMRimnnHMmM 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
constantly throwing the lead, and found sometimes [20]
twenty fathom water, sometimes ten; about one o'clock,
finding but five fathom, which is thirty feet, expecting every minute the ship would strike to the bottom,
the captain ordered axes to be brought, and every man to
take care of himself. Our boats being much worm-eaten
could be of no use to us should the ship strike; therefore
the only way would be to cut away the masts. The fog
continuing there could be no observation taken, and no
one knowing where we were, nothing could be done but
to direct our course as well as we could to avoid these
difficulties. At eight o'clock in the evening we found a
sufficient depth of water, and on examination found it to
be Nantucket South shoals; the wind then being fair, in
the middle of April, eighteen hundred and six, we arrived
in the port of Boston.
I remained in Boston until the middle of June following, when I agreed with a gentleman to go to Liverpool on
board a new ship then lying in Kennebeck river. On my
arrival at that place, finding neither owner nor captain, and
the ship being but partly laden, I waited for several days,
and then shipped on board the schooner Decatur, an old
vessel of one hundred tons burthen. She lay alongside of
the wharf, and so heavily laden with lumber as to cause
her decks to be under water. Our crew consisted of only
six in number; no more could be obtained. The captain
offering us the extra pay of one deficient hand to be
divided among us, we accepted, and on the third day of
July put to sea. We immediately found we had sufficient
employment ; only three hands before the mast, one hand at
the helm, one at the pump, and the other not wanting for
employment. We soon began to repent of our bargain, but
there was no help for it. We were bound for Montego
Bay, north side of the island of Jamaica; which passage Early Western Travels
we performed in forty days. We made the islands of St.
Domingo and Cuba, and were boarded by an English
fifty gun ship, Arethusa, who sent their boat and ordered
the captain and all hands on board, which was done,
while they manned the schooner. After arriving on
board many questions were asked us separately; where
we were from, what our cargo consisted of, if we were not
Englishmen, and if we should not like to enlist on board
his [21] majesty's ship. Our answer being in the negative, wine was brought forward and we were invited to
drink. This not answering their wishes, we were ordered
below, where we remained until eight o'clock next morning; during which time we had neither wine nor food to
eat. We were then called up and returned on board our
schooner, their men returning and leaving us at our liberty.
On examining our effects, found my chest and trunk
pillaged of most of their contents. These articles were
not contraband, and could not be taken by any officer,
but were pillaged by the crew. We soon made the best
of our way on the passage, and arrived at Montego Bay
after a passage of forty days. We lay here three weeks,
in which time we discharged our cargo and took in another.
I had many generous offers in this place to take charge of
a store, and tried every possible means to get discharged
from the schooner, but to no effect ; the captain observing
that he could discharge no man. We then weighed
anchor, and laid our course once more for the United
States of America. We ran close by the port of Havana,
made Turks Island, and after being out but a few days,
found our meat and bread in a bad condition; sometimes
so bad it tould not be considered safe to eat it. This
evil could not be remedied through the whole passage;
this, together with bad weather, squalls and head winds,
seemed sometimes as though we should never reach our
....mtwmwfflHmmiTiiiiiiu imiUftMW 1812-1819]
Buttrick! s Voyages
native homes: however, in about forty days we arrived in
Boston bay. Within one mile of Cape Cod, about eight
o'clock in the evening, I was standing on deck, with a fine
southerly breeze, anticipating the pleasure we should enjoy on being in Boston the next evening, when in an instant a squall struck us a-head, which carried away our
foretopmast and main boom, and left our sails in rags.
Fortunately no man was hurt, although our captain was
saved from being knocked overboard by catching hold of
the main rigging. This squall continued only for a
minute, when all was calm again. The only business
now was to repair, which we so effectually did before daylight as to be able to make sail, and soon arrived in Boston
harbour, greatly rejoiced at being able once more to leave
old Neptune, bad beef and wormy bread, and visit my
friends [22] on terra firma. I then went to Concord,
Massachusetts, and made up my mind to leave the seas
for the present.
Wishing to see the Western country, I made an arrangement with a gentleman to go to Detroit, Michigan Territory, and to take out his family, consisting of his wife,
three children and a man-servant; which he was desirous
of removing to that country. Himself having business,
went on horseback several days before we started. I purchased two horses and a pleasure wagon, and proceeded
to Albany2 in New York, and passing through many hand-
' For a description of Albany written a few years later, see Evans's Tour, post.
Buttrick followed the Genesee Road, the well-established route to Lake
Erie. In 1794 the legislature had appropriated money for the construction
of a road six rods wide from old Fort Schuyler (Utica) to the Genesee River
at Canawagus (Avon, twenty-seven miles south of Lake Ontario), passing the
outlets of Cayuga, Seneca, and Canandaigua lakes. Being but little better than
an Indian path in 1797, lotteries were authorized for its improvement. In
1799 a stage began to run over the road, and the following year it was made
into a turnpike. A highway was opened the same year from the Genesee
River to Buffalo, thus completing the connection between Albany and Lake
Erie.— Ed. Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
some villages, such as Utica, Bloomfield, Canandaigua,*
Batavia, &c, came to Buffalo,4 at the foot of Lake Erie,
where we met the gentleman waiting to receive his family,
which he was going to put on board of a vessel and go up
the lake. But preferring myself to go by land, I crossed
the Niagara river into Canada; it being but three hundred
miles to Detroit on that shore, while it is four hundred on
the United States shore, and a much worse road. I went
to a friend's house, formerly from Concord, who lived
about nine miles from this place. This friend wishing to
go on the journey with me, we began to make preparations; however, as I was a stranger in that country, he
3 Old Fort Schuyler was erected upon the present site of Utica during the
French and Indian War (1758), for the defense of the frontier, but was not
maintained after the Treaty of Paris. The village was first settled in 1787-88,
its importance dating from the construction of the Genesee or State Road. It
obtained a city charter in 1832.
The site of Canandaigua, at the foot of Canandaigua Lake, was selected
by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham for the principal town of their purchase; they and a company of associates having bought from Massachusetts
(1788) her pre-emption rights to land in New York — namely, to all territory
west of a line drawn through Seneca Lake. The village was surveyed and
opened for settlement in 1789, and the following year contained eighteen families and a hundred other persons.
Bloomfield, the location of an old Seneca village, is nine miles northwest
of Canandaigua, and was surveyed and settled at the same time, chiefly by
emigrants from Sheffield, Mass.— Ed.
* Batavia bore the same relation to the Holland Purchase that Canandaigua
bore to that of Phelps and Gorham. These proprietors extinguished the Indian
title to their land only as far, approximately, as the Genesee River. Being
unable to pay for the remainder, they returned it to Massachusetts (March,
1791), which, two days later, resold it to Robert Morris. He, in turn, sold to a
company of associates in Amsterdam (1793), and the tract became known as
the Holland Purchase. The Holland Company marked off a village and opened
a land office (October, 1800) at Batavia, in an unsettled wilderness fifty miles
west of. Canandaigua. Two years later they surveyed and placed upon the
market a second village, called by them New Amsterdam, and located at the
mouth of Buffalo Creek. This stream being well known on the frontier, the
name was transferred to the settlement, and "New Amsterdam" never came
into general use. Buffalo received a charter in 1813. See Turner, History
0} the Holland Purchase (Buffalo, 1850).— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
wished me to visit the Falls of Niagara, thirty-eight miles
below. After notifying the before mentioned gentleman,
we proceeded on and saw the stupendous work of nature,
which has so often and so accurately been described by
other travelers as to need no description from me.
After spending three days in this neighbourhood, we returned to my friend's house. The vessel which was to
carry the gentleman's family was expecting to sail in a
few days, and I intended to start as soon. But a day or
two before we were ready to proceed, standing at my
friend's door, we saw a gentleman riding up in great haste,
who informed us that war had taken place between the
United States and Great Britian. This was sorrowful
news indeed to me; and my only remedy was, if possible,
to make my way back into the United States. Accordingly I harnessed my horses to the waggon, and drove with
all possible speed down to the ferry and called for the
boat; but judge of my surprise and sorrow, when, instead
of the ferryman handling their oars, I was accosted [23]
by sentinels walking with their guns, who said they had
strict orders to forbid any one crossing over. I stood
some time looking to the opposite shore, which was about
one mile, and could see the same business going on. I
then returned in haste; was advised to take my horses into
the woods and secrete them, which I did. Finding ourselves destitute of many articles which we wanted, such
as tea, sugar, tobacco, &c., and not being able to procure
them on this side, as there were no stores on the Canada
side where they were kept, we resolved to make an adventure upon the other side. Accordingly when night
came on, we fitted out a boat with four men with oars, and
sent them to accomplish our object. They had eighteen
miles to cross the lake, which was performed before daylight.   The next morning, unperceived by any one ex-
m Early Western Travels
cept the storekeeper, who was always ready to supply the
wants of any one when he was sure of cash in return, the
boat was hauled into the bushes, and the men secreted
during the day. In the meantime the articles wanted were
put up and at night put on board, when the boat was
shoved off, and they steered their course directly back
again. Owing to the darkness of the night they steered
too much up the lake, and at daylight found they were
about six miles from shore. They pulled very hard, but
did not arrive until after sunrise. Fearing they might be
discovered from Fort Erie,5 they carried their goods up
into the bushes and hauled the boat after them, when they
came up to a house a little distance from their landing,
and went about their daily employment. About two
hours afterwards a non-commissioned officer, whom we
found to be a serjeant, and four men belonging to the
cavalry, rode up to the door, armed and in British uniform, and demanded if there had been a boat across the
lake to this place. The answer was no. They then dismounted, and walking in, began to search in and about
the house, but found nothing. Observing their disappointment, we took pity on them; invited them in, and
gave them some spirits to drink. The morning was
warm, and after drinking several times, they concluded
that all was as it should be, and returned to their station.
I remained here several days, and began to grow quite discontented with my [24] present prospects; I therefore con
oid Fort Erie, at the head of Niagara River, on its western bank, was
built by the English in 1764. The location proving unsatisfactory, a new fort
farther back from the river was begun in 1805, and completed at the outbreak
of the War of 1812-15. This was captured by the Americans, July 3, 1814.
Although successfully resisting the siege of the British during August following, the fort was blown up in September and the troops retired to Buffalo. It
was never rebuilt.— Ed.
uiiiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiilllllHIIIIIflDHWhl 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
eluded to call on General Brock,4 the Commander-in-
chief of the Province of Upper Canada, and solicit his aid.
His head-quarters were at Fort George,7 forty-seven miles
below, near the head of Lake Ontario. The second day
of July I started with a horse and gig, went to Chippewa
and stayed over night. Next morning, wishing to know
my fate, I proceeded on till within about one mile of the
Fort, when ascending a hill, I fell in the rear of five hundred Indians, who were marching in Indian file, painted,
and in their war dress. Not wishing to interrupt them
at this critical time, I moved slowly after them until I had
an opportunity of passing them without molestation to
either party. They walked with their faces down, and
paid no attention to any one. On coming on to the plain
near the Fort, I discovered warlike preparations; flying
artillery, cavalry and foot, not in great numbers, but exercising and preparing for an attack. The American
Fort Niagara,8 and the English Fort George, lie nearly
opposite, one mile distant from each other, and on the
* General Isaac Brock, born in Guernsey in 1760, entered the English army,
and after serving in Jamaica and Barbados, came to Canada in 1802. He
was placed in command at Fort Niagara, and in 1811 was appointed lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada. Immediately upon the outbreak of the War
of 1812-15, he ordered an attack upon Mackinac, and marched with the main
body of bis troops to Detroit, receiving Hull's surrender in August, 1812.
Brock planned a most efficient defense of Upper Canada, but was killed in the
American attack on Queenstown (October, 1812). Perhaps no English officer
has been more beloved by the people of Upper Canada; several towns have
been named in his.honor, and a monument was erected to him on Queenstown
Heights.— Ed.
' When the English withdrew from Fort Niagara, in accordance with the
provisions of Jay's Treaty, they constructed this fort directly across the river.
It was captured by the Americans (May 27, 1813), but abandoned at the end
of the year. After the War of 1812-15 it was dismantled and allowed to fall
into decay.— Ed.
8 For the early history of Fort Niagara, see Long's Voyages, volume ii of
our series, note 19.— Ed.
? 46
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
opposite sides of the Niagara river; they were each under
fearful apprehensions. I rode up to the General's house
and inquired for him, and was conducted to the garden.
I walked up to him and made known my business, and
my anxious desire of crossing the river with my property.
He politely replied, he had no objection to granting my
request, provided the officers of the United States would
grant the same indulgence to his Majesty's subjects; but
until then he could give me no permit. After many questions, to which he received my answers, he said I should
see him at Fort Erie the next forenoon, which I did, about
ten o'clock. While conversing with him this morning, a
cannon was discharged at Black Rock,9 two miles below,
which at this time had become fortified by the United
States; he started, and said, "I must consider you as a
prisoner of war, and unless you can procure bonds of
fifty thousand dollars to remain within this Province, you
must immediately be committed to prison. ' ' My friend
accidentally standing by at this time, passed his word for
me, which was sufficient, and I was set at liberty. The
cause of this discharge from the cannon, and many others
which followed, was the celebration of the fourth of July,
it being that day of the month.
[25] I remained under this bond seventeen days, but
was allowed to go where I chose without molestation.
Waggons were daily coming in from the back woods loaded
with men, women and children, many of whom were in a
very distressed situation; they begged for permission to
8 The Black Rock ferry across the Niagara River was in existence as early
as 1796, and was much used for transporting merchandise, especially salt. It
owed its name to the low black rock about a hundred feet broad, from which
teams entered the ferry. Passing into the control of the state in 1802, the
ferry continued to run until 1824, when the harbor was destroyed and the black
rock blown up in the construction of the Erie Canal. The village of Black
Rock was laid out in 1804, but grew very slowly, and in 1853 was incorporated
in the city of Buffalo.— Ed.
..~..m«niwmmw»fHmniiiiiiiiiiiHiiiiiiiiiiiiiHM 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
cross to the United States, many of whom were formerly
from there; but instead of this request being granted, many
of the men were made soldiers, and their horses taken
and employed in the service of government. Bad as this
may seem, yet it was far preferable to remaining in the
woods among the savages, who assumed the right of plundering whatever came in their way. These people were
truly in a bad situation, for they were neither safe at home,
nor on the frontiers, as the soldiers were few and provisions scarce. As for my part, I was allowed to go where
I pleased ; and oftentimes fell in company with the officers,
who treated me very politely. On the seventeenth day of
my bondage, while at my lodgings, I received a line from
an officer, ordering me to appear at Fort Erie; which I
did. I was then conducted two miles below, to the ferry,
where a boat was prepared, and I was ordered to go on
board, and soon arrived on the United States' shore.
When I first received this order, suspecting what would
take place, took my friend aside, told him I knew that a
gentleman in Buffalo had petitioned General Brock for
my release, and thought it possible this would take
place, and should I not return that day, he might be
assured that I was at liberty; and that I wished him at
night to build a large fire on the lake shore, and have my
horses and carriage ready if I should call.
My object now was to get a boat sufficiently large to
carry two horses and a waggon. I was told that I could
obtain one by going eighteen miles up the lake. I immediately hired a horse, and went to the place, but found
the boat was gone twelve miles further up. I passed on,
and when I arrived there, found the boat had gone still
further up, and was obliged to give over the pursuit.
This being the only suitable boat in the vicinity, and not
being able to obtain that, I began almost to despair of
13 Early Western Travels
ever getting my horses across to the United States' shore.
When night came on, I could plainly discern the light [26]
which my friend had kindled on the opposite shore; which
was for a mark for me to steer by, had I found a boat;
and although I was determined to run every risk, and
venture all hazards, to cross, and get my property on board;
yet I was obliged to relinquish all hope, and had the mortification to see all my attempts frustrated. I therefore
returned back to Buffalo, purchased a horse and gig, and
returned home to Massachusetts.
I remained at home till the third of July, eighteen hundred and fourteen, when a gentleman, who was gomg$§3p
Kentucky, wished me to accompany him. I took a horse
and waggon, and we set out on our journey; pursuing the
same route which I formerly took, to Batavia, in the western
part of New York. Our intention was to go by land to
Cincinnati, at the south-western part of Ohio, where we
should meet the Ohio river. But falling in with a gentleman who observed that he was well acquainted with all that
part of the country, and who advised us to steer southerly
to the head of Alleghany river, the distance being but
about forty-five miles, where we should find a pleasant
water carriage the remaining part of our journey; we
agreed with him, and sold him my waggon and harness,
as there was no road for wheels a part of this route, purchased provision, and packed all our effects on to the
horse, and set out on foot, driving our horse before us.
We travelled on two days, seldom seeing any house, having
very bad roads, such as by many people would be considered no road at all. We stopped at night at a log hut,
found the people more friendly than intelligent; inquired
how far we had come, and were informed we had travelled forty miles, and had forty miles further to go. We
were greatly disappointed and mortified at our informer's 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
account of this route, especially as provision was very
scarce both for man and beast. However, the next morning we continued on our journey till about twelve o'clock,
when we stopped at a log hut. There had been several
acres of land cleared, and we noticed a very tall hemlock-
tree at the farther end of this clearing, and a man chopping it down. It being of an extraordinary size, we
thought we would go to the root and see it fall. The
man who was chopping observed, it would be some time
before it [27] would fall; and my friend walked away to
some little distance. I remained a few minutes, and then
followed him. When I had proceeded about half of the
length of the tree I heard a cracking noise, and looking
back, I saw the tree coming directly upon me. There
was no chance of escaping; I therefore clung my arms to
me and partly sat down; the tree fell, the body touching
my left shoulder, and a large limb my right. I was completely covered with the limbs and leaves, but without the
slightest injury. I soon cleared myself of this uncouth
situation, and looked on my narrow escape with surprise;
the other two men stood motionless with fear. We soon
pursued our journey; and the next day, about four o'clock
in the afternoon, were overtaken by a boy, who observed
he was travelling our way about one mile and a half,
when he said we should come to a tavern. This
was joyful news to us, as our provision was almost exhausted, and we had but few chances of renewing it. The
clouds had been gathering fast, and there was an appearance of rain; in a few minutes the wind began to blow
violently, the limbs of trees were falling on all sides, and
large trees were blown up by the roots; we could scarcely
escape the danger of one, before another presented itself.
The cracking and falling of the trees was terrible, not
only to the hearing, but the sight also.    I jumped from 5°
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
tree to tree, not knowing which way or direction was
most safe. Heavy thunder, sharp lightning, and the
rain falling in torrents, made the scene doubly terrible,
and seemingly, nothing but death awaited us every moment. This gale continued about twenty minutes, when
the wind ceased, and all was still. My first object was to
find my companions and horse, if still alive. I had not
seen them since the commencement of the gale. I called
aloud, sometimes by name, at other times halloo, but no
answer being made, this gave me reason to believe that
all was lost. After renewing my calls for some time, I
heard a voice and followed it; found it to [be] my companion, and soon after the little boy came up. Our next
search was for the horse, which we found about one hundred yards from where we stood, standing still among the
fallen trees, stripped of every thing except the bridle on
his head. We made him fast, then [28] went in search of
the baggage, which we found, at considerable distance
from him, almost buried in the mud. Placing it on the
horse's back once more, we related our danger to each
other, and proceeded on our way, when we soon arrived
at the tavern which the boy had mentioned.
This tavern was an old log building of about twenty feet
square, and contained the landlord, his wife, and six children. Here we found some pork, a small quantity of
bread, and some whiskey, but no food for our horse.
This was the greatest accommodation we had found since
leaving Batavia. Finding a man who was going on to the
end of our land voyage, about seven miles, we left the
boy, and about one hour before sunset, we pursued our
course. The mud and fallen trees very much retarded our
progress; but notwithstanding our wading in water, blundering over trees and stumps, &c, at ten o'clock we
arrived at the Alleghany river.
>™im«mmffrt(nuln»iiimimmm 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
The next morning we met with three soldiers who had
purchased a canoe, and were bound down the river; we
made an arrangement with them, paid one-half for the
boat, sold my horse, and began to prepare for a trip down
the river. We endeavoured to purchase provision, but
could not obtain it for money. Having a blanket, I
traded with a good lady for a few pounds of bread and
pork. The truth is, the land about this place is so poor,
the few inhabitants who are settled here have no resources
only from the country, back a considerable distance; and
hence they may be called real speculators on travellers,
who happen to take this course for the Ohio river. Our
company, now consisting of five in number, embarked on
board this about three o'clock in the afternoon, and at
sunset we came to a sandy beach, hauled our boat ashore,
and concluded to remain here during the night. We
built us a fire, cooked some provision, and encamped for
the night. The weather being warm, we made but little
provision against the cold ; about one o'clock I awoke, and
found myself very chilly. The rest being all asleep, I
got up, and found I had been lying in water about two
inches deep. Mustering all hands we went further up
on to the shore, drawing our boat after us, built a fire, got
warm and partly dried [29] when daylight appeared. Each
one now taking a piece of bread in one hand and a piece
of pork in the other, made a hearty breakfast; after which
we took to our oars and continued on our course. The
river being very low at this season of the year, made the
navigation of our boat, although small, very difficult.
Sometimes, for a long distance, we would row in almost
still water, then coming to rapids, we were urged on with
great velocity among rocks and trees, which had lodged
among them. One of the soldiers being acquainted with
this river, rendered our situation much safer, as he served
* lOTnimimiimiinmimiiiiiniiiiin
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
as our conductor; otherwise we should hardly have dared
to run the venture. The log houses on this river were
few in number, and from the poorness of the land, and
the then existing war, the inhabitants were left destitute
almost of the necessaries of fife for themselves, much
more so for travellers. Deer, bears, and other small game
being plenty, their principal dependence was on these for
sustenance. The fourth day of our voyage, in the afternoon, we discovered a house on the bank of the river. We
pulled ashore, went up and requested to stay over night.
Our request was granted, and we had plenty of venison,
and fed to our full satisfaction. The man observed he
had just killed a fine buck, and was glad to entertain all
strangers. We remained here during the night, leaving
what little provision we had in a knapsack on board the
boat, which we hauled on the bank, thinking all would be
secure. Next morning went down, and found all safe except the provision, which had been carried off in the night
by some dogs, their footsteps being plainly to be seen.
We mentioned this to the man of the house, who observed
he was very sorry for our misfortune, especially as it must
be his own dogs, he keeping a pack of hounds. There
was no remedy however for this accident; we therefore
made ourselves contented, he saying that he would furnish us with every thing in his power, which was but little;
and for this little he was careful to charge us an exorbitant price. He however entertained us with many amusing stories of his great feats in hunting, particularly his
great success in killing catamounts, which are numerous
about the Alleghany mountains. He led a horse up to
the door, sounded a horn, [30] and immediately the beast
was surrounded by twenty or thirty dogs, barking, howling, and jumping almost into the poor animal's mouth,
which stood with great patience, and seemed not to notice
"■» ■niniwmiiiimiiMiHiwwuiiiiiiiii 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
them. This, said the man, is my pleasure and support,
and what I would not exchange for all the luxury of an
eastern city. Pleased with this history, we took to our
oars, pushed on, working hard during the day, camping
on the shore dining the night, with short provision till
the eighth day, when we came within thirty miles of
Pittsburg. Being tired of these waters, we sold our boat,
and proceeded on by land. Here we came to a plentiful
part of the country, and the next day we arrived at Pittsburg,10 at the head of Ohio river, three hundred miles
from where we first took water. We staid here one dav,
then parted with the three soldiers, and took passage in a
keel boat bound down the river. On board of this boat
we had|i|5very accommodation we could wish. Forty of
the passengers, besides twelve of the boat's crew, stopped
at Wheeling, a pleasant town in Virginia, and then proceeded on to Marietta, at the mouth of the Muskingum
river, and so on to Cincinnati, Ohio. Here we went on
board a flat-bottomed boat, and proceeded to Louisville,
Kentucky, at the falls of the Ohio river, seven hundred
miles below Pittsburg. I tarried at this place several days,
then purchased me a horse, saddle and bridle, parted with
my old friend, who had found his brother and wished to
remain, started for the eastern States, passed through
Frankfort, the seat of government in Kentucky, and came
on to Cincinnati in Ohio.
Here I met three gentlemen who were travelling on to
the head of the Alleghany river; their company was very
acceptable to me, as I was a stranger through that wilderness country.   The day after we commenced our journey
19 For notes on the places mentioned in this paragraph, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our series: Pittsburg, note n; Wheeling, note 15; Marietta,
note 16; Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series: Cincinnati, note 166; Croghan's
Journals, volume i of our series: Louisville, note 106; F. A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our series: Frankfort, note 39.— Ed.
* y
» nmnmmmmiiuiuimiiinimm
Early Western Travels
together, it began to rain, and continued raining most of
the time for ten days, which made the roads extremely
bad, and hard travelling. The soil being of a clayey
nature, in many hollows, which, in a dry season, are perfectly dry, we now found the water quite deep, in strong
currents, almost impassable for horses, and quite so with
carriages. Our feet were constantly wet during the day,
and our horses frequently mid-rib deep in water. [31]
There being but few bridges in this quarter, and these
mosdy log ones, we were frequently compelled to encounter these vallies or guzzles, without bridges, full of water,
and extremely difficult to pass. In some places, in low
grounds, there would be log-causeways for a considerable
distance, which, at this wet season, were very slippery,
and rendered travelling doubly difficult and dangerous;
although in a less wet time they might assist in keeping
travellers out of the mud. The accommodations on the
road for ourselves and horses were very good until we
came to the north part of Pennsylvania. Here I was attacked with fever and ague, and was obliged to stop several
days. All the company, except one man, left me, they
being very anxious to arrive at their places of destination.
I waited here until I was a little recruited, and then proceeded on, although very weak and feeble, both from the
disorder and the medicine I had taken. The third night
after our departure, we stopped at a hut, where we found
provision for ourselves and food for our horses. During
the night it rained very hard; the next morning we inquired
of our landlord the distance to the next house, and were
told it was twenty miles and a very rough road, which
proved strictly true. We climbed over rocky mountains,
often meeting with fallen trees, and no way of getting
round them. My fellow-traveller would get off his horse
and assist me in getting off mine, as I was unable to dis-
^iiimiiHiumiiiiiHiHiiirinminnHH 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
mount alone; he would then leap the horses over the trees,
and then help me on again. Thus we continued ascending and descending these high hills; and, although we
started very early in the morning, and were diligent during the whole day, we did not arrive at the above mentioned house until sunset, and were completely drenched
in rain. We stopped, went into an old cabin, found a
woman and a half a dozen children, asked permission to
stay, and it was granted. There was nothing for our
horses but a bunch of old straw lying out of the doors;
the saddles were taken off, and the horses tied to it, where
they remained all night. We then took off our coats and
sat down to dry ourselves; but there was but very little
difference between our present situation and out of doors.
This place we named Hobson's choice, (that or none.)
We then inquired of [32] the woman whether she could
furnish us with a supper. She pleasantly replied she
could, with such a rarity as she had not seen in the house,
till that day, for three months and a half; it was some
Indian meal, which she would make into pot-cakes, and
which with a little butter, some pickles, and a kind of tea,
which grew around her cabin, she said was good enough
for any gentleman. These delicacies being ready, we sat
down, and I ate extremely hearty, not having eaten or
drank anything since sunrise; it was a delicious meal.
The next morning we partook of the same fare, paid two
dollars each, put our saddles on to our trembling, half
starved horses, and bidding our hostess good bye, proceeded on our journey. On our way we stopped at a
house in an Indian village belonging to the Seneca tribe,"
which was improved as an inn.    Here we found plenty of
11 This village was probably on the Allegheny reservation — one of the ten
reservations retained by the Seneca Indians when the Holland Company in
1797 extinguished their title. It lay along the Allegheny River, extending
from the Pennsylvania line northeastward about twenty-five miles.— Ed. 56
Early Western Travels
- ¥    I
good provisions, and food for our horses. It was a small
log house, very neat inside, and the accommodations superior to any we had found on the road. They had all
kinds of spirits, and, from all appearance, made but little
use of them themselves; a circumstance not characteristic
of these wild men of the woods. One man introduced
himself as Major Obee; his manners did not appear like
the rest of the Indians, and we understood the reason was,
he was educated at Philadelphia. After several days
more of hard travelling, we came out on the great western
turnpike in New York.12 This was a pleasant sight to
us, and probably would have been to our poor animals
could they have expressed their feelings; for in travelling
among mud, rocks and stumps, they had scarcely any
hair left on their legs. I now considered myself almost
at home, although three hundred miles from it. After
this nothing material happened to me; I soon travelled
these three hundred miles, and safely arrived in Massachusetts the beginning of October.
In my absence, I had agreed to return again; accordingly on the third day of February, 1815, I set out, and
travelled nearly the same road as before, to the head of
the Alleghany river; what they call the head of navigation.    This place is called Olean Point,13 and was much
18 The Great Western Turnpike was the second road leading into western
New York. Unlike the Genesee Road, it was built by private companies and in
several sections. The First Great Western Turnpike was built from Albany
to Cherry Valley in 1802. At the time of Buttrick's voyage it had been extended by the fourth Great Western Turnpike Company as far as Homer, a
hundred and fifty miles from Albany. It was later continued past the head of
Cayuga and Seneca lakes, and under the Lake Erie and Oil Spring Turnpike
Company was completed to Lake Erie, terminating just north of the Pennsylvania boundary line.— Ed.
18 A small settlement was begun at Olean Point in 1804. For some time
its projectors expected it to become an important place on the route of Western
immigration; on one occasion two thousand people are said to have collected
there, while waiting for navigation to open.    But with the construction of the 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
altered in appearance since my former visit here; instead
of a few log huts as before, there were forty or [33] fifty
shanties, or temporary log houses, built up, and completely filled with men, women and children, household
furniture thrown up in piles; and a great number of
horses, waggons, sleighs, &c, &c. These people were
emigrants from the eastern States, principally from the
State of Maine,14 and bound to different States down the
Ohio river. Two gentlemen undertook to take a number
of these people, and found it to be about twelve hundred,
of all ages and sexes. They had a large number of flat-
bottomed boats built for their conveyance; these were
boarded up at the sides, and roofs over them, with chimneys suitable for cooking, and were secure from the
weather. There were also many rafts of boards and
shingles, timber and saw logs, which would find a ready
market at different places on the Ohio river. There are
many saw-mills on the streams above this place, where
these articles are manufactured from the fine timber
which grows in vast quantities in this vicinity. The river
at this time had risen full bank, and I should suppose was
navigable for vessels of fifty tons burden; but was frozen
over to the depth of ten or twelve inches; this was the
cause of so many people being assembled here at this
time, as many of them had been here two months waiting an opportunity to descend the river. I waited about
ten days, which brought it nearly to the close of March.
On Saturday night sat up late, heard some cracking of
Erie Canal, the Allegheny route to the West was abandoned and Olean lay
dormant, until the development of the oil interests in southwestern New York
gave it new life.— Ed.
"The hard times following the War of 1812-15 caused a great increase in
immigration from New England, especially Maine. The "Ohio fever" became a well-known expression for this desire to move West, and in the years
1815-16 it deprived Maine of fifteen thousand of her inhabitants. See Chamberlain, Maine: Her Place in History (Augusta, 1877).— Ed.    •
m I
Early Western Travels
!   i
11 ;
the ice, several of us observing that we should soon be on
our way; went to bed. Next morning at daylight found
the river nearly clear, and at eight o'clock it was completely so. The place now presented a curious sight; the
men conveying their goods on board the boats and rafts,
the women scolding, and children crying, some clothed,
and some half clothed, all in haste, filled with anxiety, as
if a few minutes were lost their passage would be lost also.
By ten o'clock the whole river for one mile appeared to
be one solid body of boats and rafts. What, but just before, appeared a considerable village, now remained but
a few solitary huts with their occupants. Myself with the
adventurers now drifted on rapidly with the current, and
in six days we were in the Ohio river, and should have
been much sooner had it been safe to have run in [34]
the night. We found this river had risen in the same proportion as the Alleghany; and several houses at which I
had stopped the July before, and which then stood thirty
or forty feet above the surface of the water, were now so
completely surrounded with water that we could float up
to the doors; and on my arrival at Cincinnati I was told
that the water had risen sixty feet above low water mark.
Small boats would run just below the city, and come up
in back water into the streets. Much damage was done
in many places by this extraordinary freshet.
In this part of the country I remained for a considerable time, part of which I spent in this state, and part in
Kentucky; but was soon attacked with fever and ague
again. This complaint seemed to be quite attached to
me, and no effort which I could make was sufficient to
remove it while I remained on the banks of this river. I
imputed the severity of this complaint to the heavy fogs
which were experienced at this place; and determined to
leave it, and go either to the North or South.
tf 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
Having concluded on the latter, I took passage on board
a boat to Shipping's Port,15 just below the Falls of the
Ohio. Here I went on board a barge of eighty tons
burthen, bound to New Orleans. There were but a few
steam boats traversing these waters at this time, for which
reason these large boats of burden were built principally
for conveying merchandize up the river; although they
commonly went with full freight of country produce down.
They are built with two masts, and sails, which are of
little service, the stream being so crooked that many times
the sails are hoisted with a fair wind, and in running a few
miles the bend will be so great as to bring the wind ahead.
In going down we stopped at many places on the Illinois
and Tennessee side. Getting into the Mississippi river,
our first stop at any town was at New Madrid.16 We
made the boat fast to the shore, and about twelve o'clock
at night was awaked by a noise which appeared like a
cable drawing over the boat's side. I started and went
on deck; found all quiet. My fear was that the boat had
struck adrift, and was running over a log; but on inquiry
found it was an earthquake. Next morning got under
way, and the water having become [35] low, the sawyers
made their appearance plentifully, some several feet out
of the water. These sawyers are large trees, washed
from the shore, which drift down till the roots or branches,
reaching the bottom, fasten into the mud and become as
firm as when standing in the forest. Should a boat be
so unfortunate as to strike one of these, it would in all
probability prove fatal; therefore every precaution is neces-
u For the early history of Shippingsport, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of
our series, note 171.— Ed.
10 A brief account of New Madrid may be found in Cuming's Tour, vol. iv
of our series, note 185.
For a description of an earthquake on the Mississippi River, see Bradbury's Travels, vol. v of our series, pp. 204-210.— Ed.
Ii! maWnillHUMlUHUimiimmluimuuuiuiiiinnunuim
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
sary to avoid them. We had run but a few days when
our boat rubbed on one of these logs, which lay so far
under water as to escape our notice. Coming to the
rudder, it lifted it from its hinges, and took it overboard.
We immediately pulled for the shore, made fast, and
sent the boat in search of it; luckily about one mile below
we found it and returned. We then proceeded on, and
in two days after the same accident occurred again. Diligent search was made, but without effect. We then went
on shore, cut down a small tree, and made a steering oar,
about sixty feet long. The stern of the boat was so high,
it was with difficulty this could be managed. In turning
round points of land, we had many narrow escapes. Our
usual custom was to get to the shore and make fast before
night. At one time we concluded to drop anchor in the
river, which we did; and next morning attempting to
raise it, found it fast below. After working till ten o'clock,
found there was no possibility of raising it, and cut away.
This was unfortunate for us, as we had formerly occasion
for it, and more so afterwards. Several nights on this
trip, we made fast to the shore near the cane brakes.
These grow here very thick, and many miles in extent ; at
this season of the year they are dry; when setting fire to
them they will crack, making a noise like soldiers' musketry; which caused great amusement for the passengers
and crew. We arrived at Natchez,17 Mississippi, and
stopped there a part of two days. Immediately on leaving
the place, found we had left one man on shore. We
hailed a man standing there, and requested him to bring
this man on board, who had just come in sight. They
jumped into a boat, and when come within two hundred
yards of us the man fell overboard, which was the last
we saw of him.
For the early history of Natchez, consult F. A. Michaux's Travels, vol-
iii of our series, note 53.— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
[36] The river now becoming much straiter than we
had found it before for three hundred miles, made the
trip easier and safer, and on the eighth day of January,
1817, we arrived at New Orleans.
During my stay I remained the principal part of the
time on board this barge. The weaflier some part of the
time was cool, and three nights the ground froze quite
hard. Oranges and other fruits froze on the trees. By
accounts from Natchez we learned that the snow had
fallen six inches deep; a circumstance never known before
by the oldest person resident there.
The poor negroes, I was informed, suffered much, and
many of them died. Having tarried till my business was
closed, I determined to return by land; and finding a
number of persons, who were going on the same route, I
provided myself with a knapsack, a blanket, a tin quart
pot and necessary provisions, and on the 23d day of February shouldered my knapsack and set out on my journey.
I travelled three miles to the northward to Lake Ponti-
chetrain;18 there found a vessel in the afternoon ready to
cross the lake, being about thirty miles. The wind being
light, the next day at twelve o'clock we met the opposite
shore; went to a tavern, took dinner, and found eight
men travelling the same way, mostly strangers to each
other, and but one who had travelled the road before.
After collecting our forces, we went on, and travelled
about fifteen miles that afternoon. The country being
flat, we had to wade in water and mud a considerable
part of the way, and in many places knee deep. This
we found to be attended with bad consequences, as many
of us took cold thereby. At night we stopped at a small
house, the occupants of which gave us leave to sleep on
18 Lake Pontchartrain was discovered by Iberville on his exploring expedition in 1699, and named in honor of Count Pontchartrain, chancellor of France
under Louis XTV.— Ed. Il r
the floor. We wrapped our blankets around us, with our
wet clothes on, placed our feet to the fire, and so remained
through the night.
The next morning our joints were so stiff we were
hardly able to walk; yet we travelled on about two hours,
when we stopped by the way-side, struck up a fire, cooked
some victuals, refreshed ourselves, and marched on; the
same we did several times during the day; and at night
found we had gained forty miles. We again refreshed
ourselves with food, and went to our repose [37] for the
night, it being the custom among these travellers to start
very early, as much as two hours before day. Not being
accustomed to this way of travelling, myself as well as
several more wished to alter this course, and wait till a
later hour for starting; but the major part refused our proposal, saying they wanted to get home as quick as possible.
No one wishing to be left alone, in the morning we all
followed our leader; and went fifteen miles without refreshment of any kind. My feet had now become very
sore in consequence of travelling through mud and water,
and I was much exhausted with fatigue. We stopped,
I ate and drank with the rest of my comrades, but felt
quite unwell. After sitting half an hour, felt unable to
travel; they endeavored to encourage me, but I found it
impossible to keep pace with them. I was sorry to be left
alone, nevertheless observed to them, I did not wish to
detain any one, and requested them to pursue their journey. I got from them all the information possible for the
journey, bid them farewell, and we parted. At this time
I was only one hundred miles from New Orleans, and nine
hundred miles to complete my journey to the Ohio river,
and to add to my misfortune, five hundred of this lay
through an Indian country, with but few white men on the
road, and their friendship not to be relied on so much as
the natives.
^HM n»
Buttrick's Voyages
When my companions left me, I was at a very friendly
man's house, who condoled my misfortune. Here I tarried
about three hours, when, having determined to pursue my
journey, I took leave of these friendly people, and commenced my lonely journey, moving but slowly along; and
soon found I had entered the boundaries of the Choctaw
nation.19 I had no difficulty in finding the way, as a few
years before this, a road had been cut through the Choctaw
and Chickasaw nations to the Tennessee river;20 and as
young trees and brush had grown up in this road, the trees
were marked to assist the traveller. By strictly observing
these marked trees I felt secure, and proceeded slowly
along, sometimes ten, and sometimes fifteen miles in a day.
At night I generally found an Indian hut, where they
[38] would receive me very friendly in their way, and throw
down skins for me to sleep on.
Seven days had now elapsed, and my health not in the
least recruited, when, as I was walking on very deliberately, thinking of the decrease of my provision, and the
distance I had yet to travel, I was overtaken by a white
man, who asked me from whence I came, and where
bound, at the same time observing that I looked sick,
which probably must be the cause of my being alone; I
answered it was. He then said, ' T live but one mile from
this, go with me." I did so, and found his wife and several children in a small log hut, by whom I was received
very kindly.
This favor could not have come more opportunely, as I
was both fatigued and sick.   This man was from North
18 For the Choctaw Indians, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series,
note 187.— Ed.
80 This road extended from Columbia, Tennessee, forty-five miles southwest of Nashville to Madisonville, Louisiana, two miles north of Lake Pontchartrain. It was begun under the direction of the war department (March,
1816), and was one of three roads constructed about that time by United
States troops.— Ed.
II Early Western Travels
Carolina; and his motive for thus exiling himself and
family to this part of the country was not my business to
inquire; I have only to say, that they look suspicious.
With this family I remained two days, and no brother, who
had been long absent, could have been treated with more
kindness and affection.
I gave him a narrative of my life, which he and the
family listened to with great attention; he also narrated
his great adventures in hunting.
The principal food which this cabin afforded, was dried
venison and bread; the venison, for want of salt to preserve it, is cut in slices, dried and smoked, which makes
what they call jerk.
I now felt myself able to travel, and concluded to proceed on. He furnished me with as much of this meat as
I could carry, and after ascertaining that it was twenty-
five miles to the next house, I took an affectionate farewell
of this friendly man and family, and with my renewed
strength, and supply of provisions, hastily travelled on
until about twelve o'clock, hardly remembering I was
weak; but becoming somewhat faint for want of food, I sat
down, took some refreshment, and then travelled on agaii2|
till I arrived at an Indian village, where I found two squaws,
all the rest having left; for what purpose I know not;
probably for a frolic. I here obtained a pint of sour milk,
which proved an excellent [39] cordial to me at this time.
I inquired for a place of entertainment, and found, by
their holding up four fingers, that it was four miles. This
I quickly travelled, and found a neat Indian hut, where I
found the privilege of staying by myself, without interruption from the family, who resided in an adjoining
one. Salt provision and bread was what I now wanted,
but neither of them could be procured; if I except some
corn pounded up, mixed with water, and baked on a stone
— 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
by the fire. In travelling on several days, I came to the
line between the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations,21 where
I saw a large hewn log house and went in. The room
was neat, and, as is usual, contained no furniture, except
a table, nor any person, except a squaw and a few children.
I walked into another apartment, and after staying some
time, two white men came in and sat down, but appeared
to have no wish for conversation with me. I endeavored
to make some inquiries of them, but found they declined
any answer. A dish of victuals was brought in and set
on the table, which apparently consisted of minced meat
and vegetables. I was very hungry, and the sight of this
food was delightful. They sat down; I asked permission
to partake with them; the answer was no. I stated my
hungry situation, and observed that no reasonable compensation should be wanted; the answer was again no.
I then got up and walked away, wondering within myself
what could be the cause of these unfeeling creatures being
here; probably for no good. I faintly travelled on until
about three o'clock in the afternoon, when I came to an
Indian hut, went round to the back part, there being no
door in front, saw two Indians sitting on a platform of
hewn logs, and endeavored to make some inquiries, but
could not be understood. Thinking of the contents of my
knapsack, which contained a little jerk and fat pork, without bread or salt, my stomach too weak to receive these,
and I knew of nothing else I could obtain. At this moment a boy came out of a small hut a few paces distant,
bringing a large wooden bowl full of boiled corn, and
setting it down, they three placed themselves around it.
I, knowing the Indian custom to distribute a part of what
a Beginning with the Mississippi River at 340 30', this boundary was an
artificial line drawn southeast to Noosacheahn Creek, thence following that
creek to the Tombigbee River.— Ed.
I    1 Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
they had to strangers, ventured up and formed one of the
circle. A large horn [40] spoon, perhaps three times the
size of a common table spoon, was placed on the corn,
which the oldest Indian filled and put into his mouth; the
second one did the same, then I followed, and so it went
round. When we had continued so a few minutes, a tall
well dressed Indian came out of the door, looked upon us
all, but viewed me very attentively; he then went back
and closed the door, but immediately returned bringing
with him a cake made of pounded corn and baked, about
the size of a large cracker, but much thicker; this he put
into my hand, and then stepped back with his eyes fixed
on me. I divided it into four parts, and gave each of my
messmates a part. He smiled and went again into the
house, and left us to finish our repast. Never had I more
reason for gratitude than at this time, and I think I did
feel thankful that their hearts were open to my necesÉ||
ties. After we had done eating, one of the Indians took
the bowl and carried it back, the others followed, leaving
me alone. From the appearance of these Indians, I supposed they might be servants or laborers for the Indian
who brought me the cake, who I soon found was a chief;
for when they were gone, this chief came out again to me,
dressed in great style, with silver bands around his arms,
a large silver plate on his breast, moccassins and leggings
elegantiy worked in Indian fashion, a handsome hat filled
with plumes, with rows of beads around it, and other
ornaments; a horse was led up to a stake, a genteel saddle
and bridle was put on him, and in every respect the horse
appeared fit for any gentleman to ride upon. The chief
looked on himself, then on the horse, then on me; and I,
wishing to gratify him, expressed my surprise and gratification as well as I could both in my looks and actions.
This pleased him well; he soon spoke a few words of 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
English, and handed me a bundle of papers. On examining them, I found them to be bills of goods to a considerable amount purchased at New Orleans. On looking
over these bills, I found they contained a number of
articles which he then had on; pointing to the charges and
then to the articles, I expressed great surprise at the riches
which he wore. All this exalted me much in his esteem,
and we continued thus a considerable time. He then led
me into the room where [41] his wife and children were,
gave me a glass of good old whiskey, conducted me into
another neat apartment, spread a handsome grass carpet
on the floor, and, by signs, bid me welcome to stay all
night. In the same manner, by signs, he informed me that
he was going off, and bowing, left the room. I saw him
no more; probably he was going to attend an Indian council. Being refreshed with food, and it drawing towards
night, I laid down on the carpet, covered myself with my
blanket, .and quietly reposed until two o'clock in the
morning, when I awoke, carefully got up, shouldered my
pack and left this hospitable mansion. Being finely refreshed and feeling new vigor, I travelled on easily till the
sun was up a short distance ; when coming to a house, found
a white woman and her daughter. I called for breakfast,
and was well supplied with bread, meat, tea, &c, and
some to carry with me on my journey. From the hospitable treatment I had received at the two last houses, I
began to think that the worst of my journey was over, and
at eight o'clock I proceeded on about two miles, when I
met three squaws with large packs, who appeared to be
in great haste, and took no notice of me; which gave me
reason to suspect some trouble a-head. One or two miles
further on heard a whooping and yelling, and presently
saw an Indian running to meet me. He walked very fast,
bare foot and barelegged, without any clothes but his
% 68
Early Western Travels
CVol. 8
shirt, and that very bloody, looking as though he had been
engaged in some severe conflict. When he came up he
seized me by the shoulder and held me fast, and kept his
continual whooping and yelling, which almost j stunned
me. He was very drunk, and kept reeling backward and
forward, which occasioned me to do the same, as his nervous arm made such a grip on my shoulder it was impossible for me to extricate myself. Sometimes he would
bear me to the ground, and most of bis weight would be
upon me. Trying to give signs that I was sick, he laughed ;
I then called him bobashela, which is their word for
brother; this pleased him, and having a bottle of whiskey
in his other hand, he put it to my mouth saying good. I
opened my mouth, and he thrust the neck of the bottle
seemingly down my throat, the whiskey ran out, and
strangled me badly, and [42] when I sat to coughing and
choking, he burst out into a loud laugh and let go of my
shoulders. He was a stout, tall man, had a long knife by
his side, and put his hand several times on it, but exhibited
no appearance of injuring me; yet, from his drunken situation, I thought I had considerable to fear. I repeated
the word brother several times, when he looked sharp at
me a few moments, and uttering a loud scream, left me to
pursue my way, happy that the word bobashela had been
my protection. About half an hour after this, coming
round a large bend in the road, I saw twenty or thirty Indians, men, squaws and papooses, all formed in a circle.
On coming up with them, I endeavored to pass, but one
caught me by my pack and pulled me partly into the ring;
another pulled, and another, seemingly half a dozen pulling
different ways, talking, laughing, whooping, and hallooing,
and I in the midst, without means of defence or chance of
escape. I endeavored to make signs of sickness, but to
no effect; soon a tall, old Indian stepped up and spoke
M 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
to them; they all let go of me. I turned to this Indian
and made signs of sickness, by putting my hand on
my breast, &c, which he noticed, and seemingly with
pity; he was the only sober one among them. They
now began a second attack upon me; he spoke again
and they left me. He now made a motion for me
to go on, which I did, and having proceeded a few
yards, I turned my head partly round and perceived a
young Indian with a glass bottle in his hand just in the
act of striking me on the head. I looked him full in the
face; he lowered his bottle, and sitting partly down,
laughed ; he then returned to his comrades. I travelled on
as fast as possible till I lost sight of them, when getting
about half a mile, I came to a stream of water which
crossed the road. It was narrow, and the current swift; a
tree was fallen across, on the body of which I passed over.
Stopping for a moment, I heard the yell of an Indian, and
the footsteps of a horse in full speed; fearing it might be
some of the gang I had just left, I stepped into the bushes
and secreted myself behind a tree. In this situation I
could see a person who passed without being discovered
myself. Scarcely had I placed myself behind the tree
when an Indian rode up to the stream on full speed with a
[43] rifle on his shoulder; coming to the stream of
water, his horse stopped and refused to proceed ; he made
several attempts to cross, but the horse refused, wheeling
about and endeavoring to return. The Indian finding
that he could not make the horse cross, sat still, looking
up and down in every direction for a considerable time,
when, perceiving no person, and not descrying the object
of his pursuit, he wheeled about and returned. This was
the same young Indian who pursued me with the bottle,
and who, had he been fortunate enough to have discovered
me, would immediately have ended my life with his rifle.
Pi Et   \
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
After some time, I ventured out from behind the tree, and
in great haste pursued my journey, often looking back,
fearing that this or some other Indian might be in pursuit
of me. I passed a number of cabins without stopping
and without refreshment till after sunset, when I saw a
squaw standing at a cabin door. I asked permission to
stay. She made signs by holding up two fingers, that in
two miles I should find a place to stop at. I went on — it
soon became dark — I saw a bright light shining between
the logs of a cabin. On going up to the door I saw a
number of squaws sitting round the room silent, as though
something serious had taken place. I made motions for
staying all night, when one, who appeared to be head of
the number, shook her head and pointed to another room,
there being two rooms under this roof. I immediately
heard surly noises and clashing of knives, the squaw appeared very anxious, and shaking her head, made signs
for me to be off. I hesitated for a moment, but soon
found that the room was filled with drunken Indians,
which occasioned me to wait for no further invitation to
depart. The squaws all looking earnestly at each other
convinced me of my danger, and I stepped nimbly to the
door and proceeded on. Walking about half a mile, I
came to a low swampy piece of ground, and it being extremely dark, I could not tell what direction to take; and
being much fatigued with travelling, and faint for want
of food, having taken nothing through the day, I sat down
on an old stump in mud almost knee deep, and should
have fallen asleep had it not been for the fear of chilling
to death, or being massacred by the Indians, which I certainly should if they had happened to have come that way.
After ruminating for some time [44] on my perilous situation, I faintly rose up, travelled on perhaps for a mile,
when fortunately I saw another light, and following it
eai 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
came up to another cabin. I knocked, and an old Indian
opened the door. I stepped in — made signs to stay all
night — he shook his head, pointed to the cabin I had just
left, and said, Indian, whiskey, making motions that the
Indians that belonged there would soon be at home, and
I should be in danger should they return and find me at
their cabin. This signified nothing to me, as I was totally
unable to proceed any further. I therefore threw down
my bundle, and this poor old Indian expressed great
friendship and fear for my safety. He threw down some
deerskins which they used for beds, and I laid down with
my bundle under my head, without removing any of my
clothing. I had a wish to keep awake, but it was impossible, and I soon fell asleep; so much was I overcome with
fatigue and fasting. I awoke in about two hours; found
this old friend sitting up as if to guard me; we looked at
each other wistfully, and in a few minutes I fell asleep
again. About two hours before daylight, the Indian pulling me by the arm, awoke me, when at a little distance
from the cabin I heard Indians whooping, bells rattling,
and horses in considerable numbers coming with the utmost rapidity and haste. This was a horrid sound at this
dead hour of the night, when all before had been silent.
I jumped up as quick as possible, and the old Indian handing me my bundle, stepped to the door and was just opening it, when they approached so near I stepped back, and
both stood trembling with fear. Fortunately for us they
passed by, nor was it long from our hearing them on one
side before they had passed out of hearing on the other.
On opening the door, it was so extremely dark, I could
perceive no object; I went back and sat down before the
fire on a block, not wishing to sleep any more; while the
poor Indian walked back and forth in the cabin. Within
one hour the same noise of whooping, yelling, horses run-
I* WUUUUiJUUUiiiuiuiJimim
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
ning, &c, was heard. I caught my bundle, dipped out
at the door, walked hastily about fifty yards, stepped into
the bushes and sat down. In a few moments four or five
Indians rode up to the door and dismounted. When I
had seen the last of them go in and close the door, I ventured on my old track again; not without listening [45]
attentively at the least noise, fearing they might be in pursuit of me. Travelling on as fast as my trembling limbs
would permit, until nearly sunrise, I saw a large log house
on the right-hand side of the way, and hoped to find some
friendly aid at this place; but on arriving near the place, I
observed on the left-hand side, a number of large trees
fallen and burnt, except the bodies and large limbs; among
these were ten or twelve Indians, some sitting but most of
them lying down, being intoxicated. These wretched
creatures had been using their knives upon each other till
their heads and arms were completely mangled, and were
covered with blood from head to foot. This, with the
addition of crock from the burnt trees, caused them to exhibit a scene of horror which I cannot describe. I passed
them without even turning my head, leaving them to suppose I did not notice them. It now began to rain [very
hard; I travelled on till about nine o'clock, when I saw a
hut a-head, and coming within about three hundred yards,
three white men came out to meet me. When we met they
appeared very glad to see me, as they had heard of me
several times before. I learned that they were from Natchez, and bound to the state of Indiana, on the same road
I was travelling, and would keep me company through the
remaining part of this wilderness. It is probable these
two men passed me two days before, while I was at my
friend's the Indian chief.
The landlord here was a white man who had married a
squaw, which enabled him to reside in peace among them. 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
I conversed with him respecting his happy situation; of
the plenty of every comfort of life that appeared around
him, free from the noise and bustle of cities and other populous places, money constantly coming in, with little or
no expenditure, &c, &c. He made some reply; the tears
started in his eyes, and the discourse dropped. We tarried here until the next forenoon, in which time I washed
and dried my clothes, procured provisions of our landlord,
and made preparations for our departure. We left this
abode of plenty, after a stay of twenty-four hours, being
finely refreshed with the abundance of everything which
is necessary for the support of man. Nothing extraordinary happened to us on the way; the Indians appeared
[46] friendly, and provisions generally procured with ease,
and thus we passed on till we arrived on the banks of the
Tennessee river, at a house kept by an Indian by the name
of Tallbot. This man was said to be very rich, in land,
cattle and negro slaves, and also to have large sums of
money in the bank. He had but one daughter, and I was
told that many white men had attempted to gain this
prize. But the old man suspecting their affections to be
placed on the money rather than the daughter, advised
her to remain single a little longer.
It has often been remarked, and I believe truly, of the
Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians,22 that they are very hospitable to the white people who traverse their country; and
I have never heard of a life being taken or an insult given,
when they were free from ardent spirits; but like all other
Indians, when intoxicated they are savage, cruel and fearless. But even then, they oftenest take revenge on their
own countrymen, relatives and friends, who happen to
v For further information on the customs of the Chickasaw and Choctaw
Indians, consult Adair, American Indians (London, 1775); Pickett, History of
Alabama (Charleston, 1851).— Ed. WBUimnnsBaunnm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
offend them. Before they enter on any business of importance, such as agriculture, or a hunting or fishing expedition, they despatch several of their men to a considerable distance, to procure a' quantity of ardent spirits.
This is brought on horses, in kegs of their own manufacturing, and carried to such places as they appoint,
where it is deposited until the ti e appointed for their
meeting arrives. And it is remarkable that although their
thirst for rum is so great, yet this deposite is entirely safe,
right in the sight of every one, and no fears are entertained
of its being meddled with until the time appointed. When
this time arrives they assemble and commence their operations; singing, dancing, drinking, &c. They always select
one or more to keep sober, who sit quietly by themselves,
watching the rest, and who taste not a drop themselves till the frolic is over, even if it should continue three
or four days and nights, as it sometimes does, but which
time it seldom or never exceeds. This being over, the
Indian or Indians who have performed this duty take
their turn, and in the same way take their fill, without
Crimes committed in a state of intoxication are generally forgiven, not even excepting murder; but if otherwise
committed they are punished with the greatest severity.
[47] Their barbarous customs, however, are fast wearing
away, since our missionaries, schoolmasters, &c, are sent
among them.
They seem to have some sense of religious worship, as
at several times, when passing their cabins, I have seen
them sitting or kneeling in different postures, at which
time they will remain fixed in their position without even
turning their heads, let what will come. This ceremony
they perform after losing a near relative, but how long
they continue in this posture I know not.   Once or twice 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
I saw four poles stuck in the ground, with forked ends up,
and sticks laid across at little distances, on which was a
large roll of bark. On inquiry I was told that in this bark
was the remains of a deceased person, who, after remaining there the accustomed time, would be taken down and
They are very affectionate to each other, especially to
their children, whom they treat with great kindness and
attention. We arrived at Mr. Tailbot's late in the evening, and tarried there till next morning, when we crossed
the river, about one mile, and landed in the state of Tennessee. This gave us fresh hopes of finishing our journey
among civilized people. We travelled about nine miles,
and came to a house where we changed our clothes and re
freshed ourselves. I disposed of my blanket, cooking
utensils, &c, which I had prepared for my journey
through the wilderness, and moved on with a small bundle in my hand, which enabled me to travel very easily,
being freed from my former load. I kept company with
my companions two days, when they were to leave my
road. We bade each other farewell, and I was once more
left alone. I pursued on, and came to a village where was
a large three story brick tavern; they appeared like New
England people. Thinking I should here find what I had
long been wishing for, salt provision, I waited till dinner
was ready, and to my joy I saw a large dish of salt beef and
vegetables placed on the table. In company with a number of gentlemen, I sat down and feasted my appetite till
the last man rose from the table. Although I had eaten
twice or three times the quantity of food I had been accustomed to, yet I was not satisfied; and at supper I renewed
my hold on the salt [48] beef, to the neglect of pies, cakes,
&c. I went to bed fully satisfied, but awoke about midnight in most distressing pain, and almost famishing with
ift^i ii Early Western Travels
fiVol. 8
thirst. I got up, went down stairs in search of some person, but could find none. I then opened the outside door,
and the rain was pouring down in torrents. I saw an old
tub standing under the eaves, full of water. I ventured
out, put my mouth to the tub and drank several times; I
then waited a few minutes, drank again, and went in. All
this did not satisfy my thirst; but as I was very wet, being
but partly dressed, I went to my bed, shivering with cold,
and after getting a little warm, fell asleep. I awoke in
about two hours, in much the same situation as at first,
went to the old tub again, and drank with the same eagerness. I then went back to my bed scarcely able to crawl,
and passed the remainder of the night in a sleepless and
distressed condition. Early in the morning, hearing some
of the family up, I went down, sat by the fire, and seemed
to myself but little more than alive. Breakfast being
called, I had no appetite, and waiting till eleven o'clock I
sat out on my way, and pursued on as well as I could till
about sunset, when I had gained eight miles, and came to a
planter's house, who invited me to stay with him all night,
which invitation I accepted. But nothing could I eat till
the next day, and continued travelling in this situation
four or five days, when my appetite began to return, and
I recovered my strength fast, so that in a few days I was
able to travel my usual distance. Passing through a number of fine villages and towns, the largest of which was
Nashville, I arrived at Lexington,2* Kentucky, where I
found people very friendly, and willing to assist the weary
traveller on all occasions. From thence I pursued on my
course till I arrived at the Ohio river, and crossed over
into Cincinnati, in the afternoon of the forty-seventh day
from my leaving New Orleans; having performed a jour-
38 A brief account of Nashville and Lexington may be found in A. Michaux's
Travels, vol. iii of our series, notes 28, 103.— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
ney of one thousand miles only. The next morning I
walked out in the streets, and met one of my first companions with whom I started from New Orleans. He
lived a few miles above, on the Kentucky side of the river.
He informed me he had been at home twenty-two days,
and told me that the third day after we parted another
man stopped, and the fifth day [49] two more, and before
he was three fourths of the way through his journey,
there was only himself and one other left. Some from
being lame, and others sick, and what has become of
them, said he, I know not; you are the only one I have
seen or heard from.
I remained at this place a few days, and then went out
about ten miles to a town called Madison.24 It being now
the month of April, and fearing my old complaint, the
fever and ague, I resolved to quit the Ohio river, and go
out to Detroit in the Michigan territory. A gentleman
from that place was soon expected here for his family, who
at this time resided in this neighborhood. The lady hearing of my determination, called on me, and wished me
to stay there till her husband's return, and then accompany them to Detroit. This was a pleasant thing to me
as I was wholly unacquainted with the road through that
country. The gentleman did not return until the first of
August, when he arrived with a waggon and horses, and
after suitable preparations were made, he took his wife
and children with some light baggage, and we commenced
our journey.
We found the roads very rough for about eighty miles,
when we came on to the prairie grounds. We had laid in a
good stock of provisions, knowing that in consequence of
84 Madison, on the Ohio River fifty miles above Louisville and the county-
seat of Jefferson County, Indiana, was settled in 1808. A description of its
appearance in 1816 states that it contained three or four brick houses, twenty
frame houses, and about a hundred cabins.— Ed.
m 78
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
the late war the country was nearly drained. We now
came to where the water was very bad, the country being
flat and the water stagnant. After straining it would still
exhibit five insects, which they call wiggles. The inhabitants were few and scattering, but the soil remarkably
good, the grass growing five or six feet high, interspersed
with flowers of all colors, which gave it a delightful appearance. It is thought by many that this part of the country
was once overflown with water, and what adds to the probability is the number of littie hills or rises of land, covered with trees, standing in these prairie grounds, like so
many islands, as probably they once were. Great numbers of cattle are drove from Kentucky and elsewhere to
feed on these grounds, and soon become very fat. We
camped out two nights, and by forming tents with blankets made ourselves very comfortable, and slept without
any apprehension, except from the prairie rattlesnake, a
small but very poisonous reptile, [50] frequently to be
seen in those parts. After a slow but safe journey, we
arrived at Lower Sandusky,25 two hundred miles on our
way. Here we sent our horses on by the mail carrier,
went on board of a vessel at the foot of the Sandusky
Rapids, so called, and went down the Sandusky river
to the Lower Sandusky bay, to a small town called Venice.28 At this place but two years before, not a tree had
been fallen;   now, between twenty and thirty log houses
28 Lower Sandusky, at the head of navigation of the Sandusky River, was
until Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers, an important Wyandot village. A
fort was built there during the War of 1812-15, for the history of which see
Evans's Tour, post, note 52. From the close of the war the growth of settlement was continuous. About 1850 the name of the town was changed to Fremont, in honor of the Rocky Mountain explorer.— Ed.
28 This village was laid out in 1816 at the mouth of Cold Creek, three miles
west of Sandusky City. It developed but slowly, owing to the unhealthfulness
of the climate; see Flint's Letters, vol. ix of our series. Flour mills were constructed in 1833, and it became a centre for the industry in Ohio.— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick's Voyages
are built, two large framed store houses, and two wharves
for the accommodation of the back country traders.
Vessels of considerable size come up lake Erie and deposite
their loading here, being but six miles from the lake.
The next day after our arrival, president Monroe, with a
number of distinguished officers, stopped here, on his tour
through the Western country.27 We stayed here two days,
when we hired a man to carry us across the lake in a boat.
We laid in but a small quantity of provision as the distance was but seventy miles, and with a fair wind could
run it in less than a day. We set sail at noon with a fair
breeze, and ran up the lake about twenty miles, keeping
near the shore. About an hour before sunset it became
calm, and not wishing to be exposed on the open lake in
the night, we ran into a creek a short distance and made
our boat fast to a stake, which had been set there by some
one before us. We found there another boat with two
men encamped on a pleasant beach. The gentleman
with his family and pilot went on shore and encamped
also. I chose to remain on board. They formed now a
considerable company, four men, one woman and three
children. They built up a large fire, got supper, prepared
camps for the night, and laid down in quietude, expecting a quiet night's rest. But the clouds gathered up fast,
and between eight and nine o'clock the wind blew violently,
and they gathered up their blankets and clothing and tried
to get on board the boat, but she lay so far from shore
that with all my assistance they could not accomplish their
object.   The fire had all blown away and not a spark left.
87 President Monroe made two tours. . On the first, lasting from May to
the middle of September, 1817, he visited the New England States, journeyed
thence through New York to Niagara, west to Detroit, and returned to Washington via Zanesville and Pittsburg. On the second, undertaken in 1819, he
went as far south as Augusta, Georgia, passed through the Cherokee region to
Nashville, and thence to Louisville and Lexington.— Ed. 8o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
The night was dark, and the rain poured down in torrents;
there was no shelter, not even a tree to defend them from
the tempest. The three men took each of them a child,
wrapped it in a blanket, [51] and sat down upon such
clothing or bedding as came nearest to hand. The other
man and the woman were obliged to sit without anything
but their clothing. I often called to them from the boat,
but the howling of the tempest prevented me from being
heard. In this situation they all remained about eight
hours till daylight, when it ceased to rain, but the wind continued to blow very hard. I then moved the stern of the
boat round and got on shore; but the sight of these weather-
beaten objects presented a spectacle I cannot describe.
The children, however, had been kept considerably comfortable through the night. The woman acknowledged
she was alive, and that was all that could be said of her;
the men appeared much better than I should have supposed. As for myself, I was comfortably situated, and
should have slept well had it not been for the anxiety I
felt for my unhappy fellow-travellers on shore. The lake
now appeared more like the Atlantic than like an inland
navigation, the waves running so high that it was impossible for us to venture out; and the high grass and a few
bushes at a little distance promising some assistance in
sheltering us from the storm, we evacuated the old post
and retired to them for shelter, where with the help of our
blankets and other things we contrived so to break the
wind as to enable us to kindle up a fire sufficient to warm
and dry ourselves. We then prepared the remainder of
our scanty food, which was sufficient for a meal after re*;'
serving a part of it for the woman and her children. We
remained here through the day and night, the wind still
blowing a gale. The next morning very early, three men
went in search of provisions, and did not return till three 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
o'clock in the afternoon. They had travelled all that time
and found but one house, where they obtained three small
loaves of bread, which were enough for the woman and
children only. The wind had now ceased to blow, and
the lake was nearly smooth; and after feeding the children we put our things on board, and made up the lake
shore. At sunset judging ourselves about thirty miles from
Detroit, we ventured out on the open lake with our oars
only to move us a-head; we rowed all night, and at daylight
discovered the town of Maiden28 about six miles directly
a-head, on the [52] Canada shore ; and a little breeze springing up, we hoisted sail, and a little after sunrise landed
half a mile below the town. We went up, found a market,
purchased fresh beef, bread, &c, and had a fine breakfast; it having been forty-eight hours since we had eaten
any thing before. We now had eighteen miles to stem a
strong current with our oars only, before reaching Detroit.
At ten o'clock we moved on, and after having labored
hard till two o'clock in the morning, we made up to the
city of Detroit,29 and went to a tavern, the landlord of
which had formerly been an acquaintance of ours. He,
by some means or other, had heard of our being on the
lake in the blow I have mentioned; himself and several
others manned a vessel and went in pursuit of us; but
after making every possible search in vain, he returned,
supposing we must have been lost; but was most agreeably surprised when he saw us under his own roof.
I remained here a few days, and then embarked on
88 Fort Maiden, or Amherstburg, on the Canadian shore sixteen miles south
of Detroit, was established by the British in 1798, soon after they had evacuated
Detroit in accordance with the terms of Jay's Treaty. Dining the War of 1812-
15, it was occupied by General Proctor until Perry's naval victory (September,
1813) compelled him to retreat. Before leaving, he set fire to the fort and it
was not rebuilt until 1839.— Ed.
" For the early history of Detroit, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of our
series, note 18.— Ed. 82
Early Western Travels
board a vessel, and went down the lake in search of the
property I had left in the neighborhood of Fort Erie,
Upper Canada, at the commencement of the late war, as
I have before mentioned. I arrived at Buffalo, and inquired for the two gentlemen with whom I had left my
business, and found they were both dead. I then crossed
over the river, and went to my old friend's house, and to
my surprise found he was dead also. His unhappy widow
informed me that soon after my departure he was arrested
by order of the British government, and committed to
prison, which was the last account she had of him; but
supposed that he made his escape, and either fell into the
hands of the Indians, or that in attempting to cross the lake
was drowned. The person who last had charge of my
property was an American born, but had become a British
subject; he took an active part in the late war against his
own countrymen, and still persisted in so doing; and
totally refused to pay my demand. The persons with
whom I conversed on the subject, advised me to let it
remain as it was; observing that although the two governments were now at peace, yet a personal envy still existed
between individuals of the two nations, if not between the
governments; and as [53] the Court of King's Bench was
now closing its session, and would not sit again until a
year from that time, there could be no action tried for a
long time. This discouraged me and I gave it up, purchased a horse, saddle and bridle, and returned by land
through this Upper Province to Detroit. On my journey
back to Detroit, I was most sensibly struck with the devastations which had been made by the late war: beautiful
farms, formerly in high cultivation, now laid waste; houses
entirely evacuated and forsaken; provision of all kinds
very scarce; and where once peace and plenty abounded,
poverty and destruction now stalked over the land.   I
Ml m
Buttrick's Voyages
returned to Detroit, where I remained the most of my
time till the fall of eighteen hundred and eighteen; when
not yet satisfied with roving about, I started, in November,
in company with another man, for the central part of
Ohio. The roads at this season of the year were very
bad through the Michigan Territory, which we were now
travelling. We passed over the battle ground of French-
town and river Raison;80 to the river forty miles; thence
to Maumee rapids, forty miles; our nearest way now to go
to Sandusky river was thirty-five miles. On this last
route we had no road; the only guide for the traveller
was marked trees.81 The first morning missed our way,
got lost in the wilderness, and wandered about till three
o'clock in the afternoon, when we came to the old marked
trees; we walked on until sunset, when we were obliged to
halt ; struck up a fire, broiled some pork, on the end of a
stick, and with some bread refreshed ourselves; but without drink, as there was no water fit for use. We laid
ourselves down by the body of an old tree, and partly got
to sleep, but were aroused from our slumbers by the horrid
howling of a wolf, who had walked up close to our backs.
My companion was in great fear, and would have run
had I not stated to him the danger of leaving the fire.
He stopped, jumped up and down, hallooing with all his
might. Not being much acquainted with these animals,
he considered his situation very dangerous. After some
time I persuaded him to he down again, but it was not
long before the sound redoubled on our ears; his fears
became greater than before, as he found there was no
retreat. I laid down myself, [54] but could not possibly
persuade him and he remained in motion, and sometimes
80 An account of these battles is given in Evans's Tour, post, note 63.— Ed.
81 Buttrick was now in the Black Swamp; for a description of which, see
Evans's Tour, post.— Ed.
m fi
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
with yells which almost equalled the wolves, through the
night. Early in the morning we collected our things and
moved on; about nine o'clock came to a running stream of
water; this was a delicious treat to us, although I drank
heartily several times before I could taste in the least, my
mouth had become so exceedingly dry. We now began
to think we had lost our way, but pursued on the same
course till we came to a log house, where we found a very
friendly man who kept a house of entertainment. We
got some refreshment, and gave him an account of our
travel. He said it was a common thing for travellers to
get lost on that way, and informed us that we had gained
but fifteen miles. Just as he was saying this, a large
wolf came up close to the door, but seeing us, ran furiously
into the woods; this, probably, was our visitor the last
night. On inquiry we found the distance to the next
house seventeen miles. At eleven o'clock we started,
determined to see the end of the woods that day; and
after blundering over stumps and rocks, and through
mud till ten o'clock at night, we arrived at the village of
Lower Sandusky. Here I left my fellow-traveller, and
travelled on to the town of Grenville.82 I tarried there
till Spring, and from thence went to a village called Portland, on Lower Sandusky bay, where I arrived in April,
1819, fully satisfied with roving.33
Here I found a pleasant village containing about twenty-
five houses, besides two taverns, three large stores and
store-houses, and three wharves of a considerable length;
82 General Wayne built a fort at Greenville, seventy miles north of Cincinnati, in December, 1793, and marched thence against the Indians. He made
it his headquarters after the victory at Fallen Timbers, and there (August,
1795), the treaty of peace was signed.    The village was laid out in 1808.— Ed.
83 Portland, falling within the Connecticut ' ' firelands," was laid out by Zal-
mon Wildman of Danbury, Connecticut, in 1816, in the centre of his tract.
A few years later the plat was enlarged and the name changed to Sandusky
City.— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
the water being of a sufficient depth for vessels to come up
and discharge their cargoes. The steamboat stops here on
her passage, and leaves many passengers, taking in others,
&c. The land in and about this village is owned by two
men from Connecticut, who calculated, probably, on a
large town or city, but it has not answered their expectations, people finding the place very unhealthy, owing to
the badness of the water. The unhealthiness of the
place, however, continues only from about the middle of
July through the fail months; the remaining part of the
year is considered healthy. In the month of March,
wishing to go on to Cunningham's [55] Island" with another man, we took a canoe, and getting three others to
assist us, we made a rope fast to the bow of the canoe,
and drew it across the bay two miles, which was frozen
over, to the lake which was not frozen. When we were
about half way across, one man on one side of the canoe
and myself on the other, both fell in, the ice breaking under
us; but being one on each side, we balanced the canoe
and kept our heads out of water until the other men broke
the thin ice and drew the canoe partly up on to that which
was solid, and we crawled up, and thus escaped a watery
grave. We then went on, and reached the other shore.
It being late in the afternoon, our friends left us and returned. The beach here was clear of snow and ice. We
turned our boat up on one side so that it might make a
partial shelter for us during the night, and built a fire in
front. We then walked across the neck of land to the
other side, saw the lake clear of ice except a few floating
pieces.    Our object in crossing the bay that afternoon
84 This island, twelve miles northwest of Sandusky City, owed its first name
to a French Indian trader called Cunningham, who lived there from 1808 to 1812.
It contained few inhabitants — only six acres having been cleared — when in
1833 the greater part of it was purchased by Datus and Irad Kelley. In 1840
the name was by legislative enactment changed to Kelley's Island.— Ed. Jv'ii
Early Western Travels
was, that we might be ready to start on the lake early in
the morning, when there is generally but little wind, it
being then easier and safer, the water being smooth. We
then returned back to our boat, rekindled our fire, took
our supper, dried my clothes as well as I could, and
camped for the night. But soon the wind began to blow,
and the snow fell very fast; within two hours it blew a
heavy gale; our fire was blown away, the boat fell over,
and our only course was to run back and forth upon the
beach to prevent our perishing in the storm, which sometimes appeared impossible for me to do. At length, to our
great joy, the morning came, the wind ceased, and the
snow abated. The ice, which we crossed in the afternoon, was broken up and driven into heaps, with the addition of what had driven from the lake, and all up and
down the lake shore presented the same dreary appearance. We were now hemmed in on all sides, and it was
impossible to cross either with a boat or on foot, and our
only resource was, to prepare a camp in the woods, which
we did by cutting down trees and bushes, sticking the
ends into the ground which was not frozen, and forming
the tops together over our heads. We thus made us a
comfortable cabin, built a large fire, ate our [56] breakfast, and dried our clothes. We here remained seven
days, when all our provision had become exhausted, except some dry beans; these boiled in water were made to
supply the place of every other necessary; and although
we were compelled to acknowledge the flavor was not
quite so good, yet we were thankful that we had this
means of preserving ourselves from complete starvation.
We were now in sight of the village, and kept a large
fire burning in the night to satisfy the people that we were
alive. During the day we were constantly watching for
the separation of the ice, so that we might pass; and on
lit 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
the seventh day, in the afternoon, we thought we might
accomplish our retreat. Accordingly we put our boat
into the water, and our things on board, and with a pole
pushing the ice from the boat, we made our way along
for some distance, when we saw a boat coming in the
same manner to meet us. Coming up with her, found it
to be the same men who crossed the bay with us on the
ice, and who had come to relieve us. They turned then-
boat about, and we all arrived safely home the same evening without accomplishing our visit to Cunningham's
The inhabitants of the village remained very healthy
until July, when a new complaint of the eyes became epidemic among them. It attacked all ages and sexes without distinction, and, with some, would, in a few days,
cause total blindness.
This complaint is, I believe, what physicians call the
Egyptian Opthalmia.85 Some, who were very prompt in
their applications, were fortunate enough to recover their
sight after a considerable time; and others, not made
wholly blind, never saw so well as before. Many of the
inhabitants were attacked with fever and ague, and these
generally escaped the more formidable disease of the
As for myself, I remained perfectly well until November, when, one morning, my right eye was attacked with
inflammation and swelling; and the next morning my left
eye was attacked in the same manner. The inflammation
gradually increased, so that in about three weeks I was
totally blind. My surgeon, a very skilful man, made
every exertion for my recovery, and about the middle [57]
of December I could discern light; and in ten or twelve
days after, could distinguish colors.   My surgeon now
88 It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, with ajpurulent discharge.— Ed.
— uiutàiuuuiwaamn
I !-a
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
being called into another section of the country, was
absent about three weeks, when, from the want of proper
assistance, I grew worse, and was again in total darkness.
On his return, using every means in his power, I was so
far restored in a few weeks as to be able to discern light;
and continuing very slowly to gain until the first of April.
I could then see to distinguish capital letters.
A neighboring physician then calling in, advised my old
surgeon to make a new application, which he did, and to
the expense of the total loss of my sight. I now almost
gave up all hopes of recovery; but not willing wholly to
despair, attempts were once more made; and by the
middle of August I could once more discern colors. Hearing much said of the eye infirmary in the city of New
York, I resolved to visit that place; and on the thirteenth
of August, 1821, went on board a steamboat, proceeded
down the lake two hundred and fifty miles to Buffalo;
thence in a waggon one hundred and six miles to Geneva;8'
then went on board a boat down the Seneca Lake,
crossed the Cayuga Lake into the Erie canal,87 thence to
Utica, where I took the stage for Albany. After travelling about forty-five miles, was attacked with fever and
38 Geneva was originally the site of a populous Seneca village.    Lying within
the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, it was surveyed by them in 1789; settlement
began immediately, the village containing fifteen houses in 1791.    In 1797 a "
newspaper, Ontario Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, was established.    Geneva
was incorporated, June, 1812.— Ed.
37 The Erie Canal was constructed in three sections; the middle section,
extending from Seneca River to Utica, being completed by 1820. The history
of the construction of this canal is most interesting. As early as 1808 the legislature ordered a survey of a feasible route. Two "years later a board of canal
commissioners was established. Unsuccessful in appealing to the national
government for aid, DeWitt Clinton presented an elaborate memorial to the
legislature (1816), signed also by the other commissioners. The bill authorizing its construction was passed in April, 1817, and work was begun at Rome
on July 4 following. It was completed in 1825 and opened with much ceremony.— Ed. 1812-1819]
Buttrick s Voyages
ague, and was obliged to stop three days; then went on
board a boat down the Mohawk river to Schenectady,88
then in a waggon to Albany, where I tarried three weeks,
and then went on board a packet to New York, where I
arrived the first day of October. I stayed here five days,
called at the infirmary several times, and conversed with
different patients who had been there for a considerable
time; they discouraged me by saying they had found
little or no relief, and thought there were no hopes for
me; at the same time adding, that if I would go to Boston,
I might do much better. I considered the thing well,
took their advice, was assisted out on the turnpike, where
on foot and alone I proceeded on through New Haven,
Hartford and Worcester, and without difficulty found the
way to Concord, Massachusetts, where I arrived on the
twentieth of October, after an absence of six years. Some
time after [58] this I applied to several of the most eminent physicians and surgeons in Boston, and finally went
into the General Hospital in that place, where I underwent
various medical and surgical treatment to no effect; and
giving up all hope of ever enjoying that light which the
benevolent Creator has ordained for the happiness and
comfort of man, I have hitherto spent my time comfortably, destitute of property, in the company and society of
my friends.
38 Here was at one time an important Mohawk village, the capital of the
Five Nations. In 1662 Van Curler and certain other Dutchmen in"Albany and
Renselaerswyck bought the land from the Mohawk and founded the present
city of Schenectady. Being a frontier town, it suffered severely in the early
Indian wars, and in February, 1690, a general massacre of the inhabitants
occurred.— Ed.
lia 1
$v ; i
ifcn Evans's Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand
Miles —1818
Reprint of the original edition:    Concord, New Hampshire, 1819 1
i fil
.9 !-«
■m  le r.
i W
1   ill1:
îiwuriUiMHmiMriàifto^ PEDESTRÏOUS TOUR,
TMENTAL, Çc. $o.
"The blast of «he north is en the plain i—the traveller
shrinks in the midst of tis journey."
^m I
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the 18th day of
January, 1819, and in the forty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, ESTWICK
EVANS, of the said District, hath deposited in this Office
the tide of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author,
in the words following, to wit:
"A Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand miles, through
the western States and Territories, during the winter
and spring of 1818; interspersed with brief reflections
upon a great variety of topics: religious, moral, political,
sentimental, &c. &c.    By ESTWICK EVANS.
"The blast of the north is on the plain; the traveller
shrinks in the midst of his journey."
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United
States, entided, "An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books,
to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the
times therein mentioned.
Clerk, of the District of New-Hampshire.
A true copy of Record,
Attest, Peyton R. Freeman, Clerk.
The author is sensible that there are some typographical
and other errors in the following work; but as they will be
found few and inconsiderable, it is not deemed worth while
to notice them. PREFACE
An author, however inconsiderable he may be, always
feels that he has something to say to the public concerning his work; he must, therefore, have a preface. I think,
however, that éuch a course is seldom necessary; the
world, after all which the writer can express, will judge
impartially of his motives, and of the execution of his
plan. — My introduction will be very brief.
In justice to myself I ought to observe, that until after
finishing my tour, I did not entertain the least idea of
publishing an account of it; and that I have been induced
to take this step by the request of many of my fellow-citizens.
It will be readily perceived, that a work of this kind does
not admit of the display of much reasoning or erudition;
and I shall speak as little of myself as will be consistent
with the nature of the publication. This little volume
cannot possibly merit much praise; and I trust that it
will escape unqualified censure.
Portsmouth, N. H. 1818.
-1 fllli
* k
111 l-'Vl TOUR
The supposed singularity of the tour, an account of
which I am about to write, suggests a few preliminary
Customs and manners often produce more influence
than principle. Whilst the former are strictly adhered to,
the latter is often violated. Here we see the comparative
influence of self-reproach and the reproach of the world:
a deviation from custom, in relation to modes of living
and acting, may excite animadversion. We shrink from
the unfriendly gaze of the multitude; and tremble even at
the undeserved censure of the superficial and ill-natured:
— at the same time we disregard the condemnation of
our own hearts, and endeavour to cancel the obligations
of morality by the good, yet false, opinion of the world.
But it is readily acknowledged, that unless excentricity
ought always to be avoided; it invariably proceeds from
error in taste, from uncontrouled feeling, or from mental
imbecility. The dispositions and powers of men, however,
are various; and the beaten track is not always the field
for improvement.
Civil society is not without its disadvantages. Whilst
it adds to the information, and polishes the manners of
man, it lessens the vigour of his mind and the generosity
of his heart. He no longer experiences the sublime inspirations of Nature. A creature of habit and the slave of
form, she will not [6] deign to visit him. From the factitious grandeur of cities, she wings her eagle flight, to
communicate to the uncontaminated children of her
forests her instruction and blessing.
yni I02
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
In the savage state there is, no doubt, much individual
depravity; as great a degree of it, however, may be found
in the most civilized communities. But in the latter are
never witnessed that nobleness of spirit, that eloquence of
thought, that force of expression, and that wonderful
aspect which the former affords.
It is true, that the aggregate advantages of civil society
are much greater than those of a state of nature; and how
happy should we be if we could ingraft the instruction, and
impress the polish of civilization upon the lofty virtues of
untutored life. But, with us, courage gives place to cowardice; and the native disinterestedness of man, the source
of his greatest virtues and highest happiness, yields to the
calculations of meanness and fraud. Even in public life
we please ourselves with the tinsel of narrow views, whilst
we disregard those great principles of national policy
which alone can render us truly great.
I have often been questioned as to the objects of my
tour; and I am willing to gratify a reasonable and friendly
curiosity. My views were various. Besides the ordinary
advantages of travel, and of becoming acquainted with a
country comparatively but little known, I wished to acquire the simplicity, native feelings, and virtues of savage
life; to divest myself of the factitious habits, prejudices
and imperfections of civilization; to become a citizen of
the world; and to find, amidst the solitude and grandeur
of the western wilds, more correct views of human nature
and of the true interests of man. The season of snows
was preferred, that I might experience the pleasure of
suffering, and the novelty of danger. [7] On the second of
February, 1818,1 left the residence of my friends, in Hop-
kinton, New-Hampshire, prepared, according to the frontispiece, to meet the inclemency of the season, the hostilities either of man or beast, and also to provide myself, in
the way of game, with provisions. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
It may gratify some to know the particulars of my
habiliament: Mine was a close dress consisting of buffalo
skins. On my shoulders were epaulettes made of the long
hair of the animal; and they were for the purpose of
shielding the shoulder from rain. Around my neck and
under one arm was strapped a double leather case, with
brass chargers, for shot and ball; and under the other
arm a case for powder strapped in the same way, and also
having a brass charger. Around the waist was a belt, with
a brace of pistols, a dirk, two side cases for pistol balls,
and a case for moulds and screw. Also around the waist
was buckled an Indian apron, which fell behind: it was
about eighteen inches square, covered with fine bear skin,
trimmed with fur, and having over the lower part of it a
net for game. This apron contained a pocket-compass,
maps, journal, shaving materials, a small hatchet, patent
fire works, &c. My cap and gloves were made of fur,
my moccasons were of deer-skin, and on my shoulder I
carried a six-feet rifle. The partners of my toils and
dangers were two faithful dogs.
In this situation I arrived at Detroit on the 20th of
March. My dogs, however, were destroyed by wolves,
on the night of the tenth of that month, in the vicinity of
the Miami Swamp.
I had, in my juvenile days, voluntarily accustomed myself to fatigues, hardships, and privations of every kind;
but not having recently exercised much, the snow being
deep, and my dress and baggage heavy, my fa:igue, in the
early stages of my tour, [8] was excessive: My first day's
travel was only eight miles. In a short time, however,
my daily progress was from fifteen to twenty miles, through
trackless snows and over tremendous mountains. The
universal curiosity which my appearance excited was oppressive; but I had fortified my mind by reflection, and
endeavoured to present to all an aspect at once grave and
If io4
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
4 J
mild. In the course of my tour, I met, as might have
been expected, a great variety of character; from the savage of the wood to the savage of civil life; and I sometimes found it necessary to appeal to my arms, for the
defence of the privileges of the traveller and the rights of
the man.
My title page promises reflections upon various subjects. I hope they will neither be too frequent nor too
lengthy. The study of man, both as it respects the abstract principles of his nature and the almost infinite
variety of modes in which these principles, through the
influences of education and customs, develope themselves,
should be one great object of the traveller. In order
to become well acquainted with these principles, he must
frequently and maturely examine his own heart. Here
alone can he ascertain the secret springs of action; here
alone can he define and classify the passions; and lastly,
here alone can he find the means of their controul, or of
giving to them a proper direction. Much information,
in relation to this subject, may be collected from books,
and much by travel; but he who is ignorant of Lis own
heart must be ignorant of human nature.
In my way to the interior I passed through Amherst;1
and reached this place towards evening, during a heavy
fall of snow. I had been anticipating the pleasure of
visiting the family of Judge C. who reside there; but the
ladies of the family, supposing me to be an indian, barred
the doors against me. I [9] soon, however, obtained a
herald, and then the castle gates were elegantly thrown
open.   On account of this little adventure, which arose
1 Amherst, on the Souhegan River, twenty-eight miles" south of Concord, is
situated on the tract of land granted by the general court of Massachusetts
(1733), to the families of soldiers who had served in King Philip's War (1674-
76). It was incorporated in 1760, and named in honor of Lord Jeffrey Amherst,
at that time commander general in America.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
principally from the lateness of the afternoon and from my
being covered with snow, some captious scribblers took
the liberty, in the papers of the day, to be impudent.
Could I condescend to be offended with them, I should
here tender my forgiveness.
For the above anecdote I am indebted, principally, to
the interesting Miss L*******, whose vivid imagination,
aided by the story of the giants, magically converted her
habitation into an embattled tower, and gave to a harmless knight a consequence which he did not deserve.
Amherst is a considerable inland town. The plain
upon which the village is situated is very spacious; and
some of its buildings are large and elegant.
From this place I proceeded to Milford,2 the residence
of my friend P. whose love of principle, independence of
character, and talents, entitle him to much consideration.
With him I passed some pleasant hours. The appearance of this town is pleasant. The contrast between its
extensive intervales, and the rise of ground upon which its
bridge, manufactories, and village are situated, renders its
aspect quite interesting.
The distance between Amherst and Milford is only a few
miles; but in travelling from the former to the latter I
found the snow deep and stiffened by rain, and the road
The next day I began to ascend the mountains
of New-Hampshire:—my native hills!—Oh, may they
be the everlasting abode of Liberty! The weather here
was variable, the snow in some drifts ten feet deep,
my fatigue extreme, and my health impaired.   The towns
1 Milford is on the Souhegan, five miles southwest of Amherst. It is located
partly on the Amherst Grant, partly on the Duxbury School Farm (land granted
to Duxbury by the general court of Massachusetts to aid in establishing schools).
Settlement was begun about 1750, and the town was incorporated in January,
1794.— Ed.
1 io6
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U'l' il
m  s '
». fi
of Milton and Temple,8 [10] situated in this part of the
country, are pleasant; and the scenery about them highly
picturesque. Several branches of the Sowhegan in the
former, and the streams which pass into this river from the
westerly part of the latter, add much to the variety and
beauty of the prospect.
The next evening I found myself in Marlborough. The
weather had become severe, and my ability to travel
without fatigue was increasing. The mountainous aspect
of the country, the front of my cap, &c. whitened by frost,
and the creaking of the snow beneath my step, reminded
me of Wallace and Tell; those champions of freedom,
whose physical nature was as rugged as the rocks which
they inhabited, and whose hearts, at the same time, could
glow with generosity, or soften with compassion. The
Grand Monadnock here attracted particular attention. It
is more than two thousand feet in height, and is remarkable
for its cave and its fossils. Peterborough and Dublin, the
towns between Temple and Marlborough, are interestingly situated. The former is very mountainous, and its
numerous brooks render it a fine grazing township. A
principal branch of the Contoocook passes near the centre
of the town, and here unites with Goose river flowing from
Dublin. The latter place is exceedingly well watered, and
its two villages, together with some scattered houses, make
a pleasant appearance.
The coldness of the weather continued to increase. I
passed on through Keene4 and Chesterfield.   The ap-
8 Milton is a misprint for Wilton, a town on the Souhegan, nine miles west
of Amherst.
Temple is three miles west of Wilton.— Ed.
* Keene, fifty-five miles southwest of Concord, has become one of the most
important mai. 'facturing cities in New Hampshire. It was first settled in
1734; but Indian attacks becoming frequent, was abandoned from 1747 to 1753.
Marlborough, five miles southeast of Keene, is part of a grant made by
Massachusetts (1751), to Timothy Dwight and sixty-one associates.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
pearance of the former excited much interest. It is
almost an inland city; and promises to make a very conspicuous figure. It is also, evidently, a place of much
business; and from the appearance of some of its buildings, together with what little knowledge I possess of its
society, I should suppose [n] it a place of considerable
polish and refinement. Chesterfield too is a very pretty
town. The undulatory aspect of its hills, the quiet of its
vales, and the neatness of its village made a very pleasant impression upon my mind.
Soon after leaving Keene I passed over high and steep
hills. Some of them were, apparently, several miles in
length. In one of the vallies of these mountains an amusing incident occurred. It is a trifle, and may be thought
not worth mentioning; I feel a pleasure, however, in doing
justice to good nature: I met three six feet fellows in a
single sleigh. They were, probably, going to Keene in
their best. There had fallen, the night before, a light
snow of a few inches; and their horse, not fancying my
appearance, took it into his head, notwithstanding I gave
him the whole road, to sheer against the wall, and to turn
all these well-looking grenadiers into the snow. I was preparing to make an apology; but it was unnecessary: the
good nature of these liberal men furnished for them and
myself a hearty laugh.
During the following day I passed Connecticut river;
and entering rirattleborough, Vermont, proceeded to the
further part of the adjoining town.5 The appearance of
the country just before my crossing the Connecticut, was
truly interesting. My course was around a mountain
about half way between its summit and the river below.
i Fort Dummer was erected on the present site of Brattleborough as early
as 1724. The land in that region was granted by George II (1753) to certain
men of Massachusetts, among them William Brattle, after whom the town was
named.— Ed.
jtm io8
Early Western Travels
It was the sabbath day; and the mildness of the christian
religion seemed to breathe around. The rays of the sun,
with a kind of vivid obscurity, darted through the wood;
and the solemn, yet cheerful, gospel bell of a neighbouring
villa spake of the pure and peaceful communion of saints.
Even the game seemed to know it was the sabbath, and
did not shun my path. Perhaps it was wrong in me thus
to travel. I had [12] never done so before. My situation,
however, was peculiar, and I endeavored to confine my
thoughts to the appropriate views of this holy season.
I am now upon the borders of my own peculiar country.
A single step carries me from New Hampshire; and when
I shall again behold her pleasant hills is uncertain —
Perhaps never !
The term banishment is, in this part of the world, seldom employed ; and its introduction here may appear unmeaning. But those who have been exiled by their country, by misfortune, or by themselves, will hear the word
with a glow of interest, and find, in their own hearts, its
true and ready definition. Is there no exile beyond the
limits of our land ?— no spirit which sighs for the scenes
of childhood ? — where the light of Heaven was first
beheld, and the impression of thought first created ? —
where friendship first warmed, and love etherialized, and
patriotism fired ? Oh ! if prayer is heard on High, it must
be the exile's prayer.
The tears of patriotism need no apology. The name of
New-Hampshire is identified with that of freedom. Her
mountains were never intended for slavery; and tyrants,
I know, could not exist in the presence of her people.
Were she just to herself, she would always excite fear in
her enemies and admiration in her friends. Her institutions are dictated by the spirit of self-government, and
her will is the supreme law of the land.    Her citizens are i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 109
hardy, intelligent and virtuous; her climate is salubrious
and her soil fertile; her hills are covered with cattle, and
her vallies wave with grain. Industry, economy, and
mechanical genius are conspicuous characteristics of her
people; and a thousand streams,* intersecting the whole
country, tender to the manufacturing interest their powerful agencies. In point of hospitality too she [13] is second
to none; and the Virtue, benevolence, and beauty of her
daughters are, at once, the inspiration and the reward of
Within a few years I have visited nearly all the states
and territories of United America. I have noticed their
respective moral and physical character, and have viewed
them in relation to the ordinary causes of the rise and fall
of nations. Should the freedom of this country ever
perish, one of her last intrenchments will be in the mountains of New-Hampshire. Her citizens, however, must,
by adhering to her constitution, and by proper systems of
education, preserve in their minds a knowledge of the
first principles of civil liberty, a due sense of the im?>or-
tance of morality, and a lively interest in the transactions
of the Revolution. The whole history of that great event
should, with us, constitute an indispensable part of education. But in speaking much of its battles, we must think
more of its principles. The latter were so perfectly correct; and the manner of acting upon them was so candid,
so humane, so firm, so steady, and so persevering, that no
political event, since the creation of man, merits half so
much admiration as the achievement of our independence.
Before leaving New-Hampshire I may say a word respecting Connecticut river. It is one of the most pleasant
and useful rivers in the world. It generally preserves a
distance of from eighty to one hundred miles from the
ocean, and meanders through a very fertile country to the V!
m fir '\~.
Fr. i
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[Vol. 8
distance of more than three hundred miles. It waters
New-Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and at length passes into Long-Island Sound.
I am now in Vermont.6 This is a noble state, and may
well be termed the peculiar sister of New-Hampshire.
The same mountainous and fertile [14] country; the same
moral and physical energies characterize them both.
Should their liberties ever be assailed, they will sympathetically unite their efforts, and triumph or fall together. In
both of these states I met with Revolutionary men, and
they were still the champions of liberty. The tranquil
charms of rural avocations had preserved the purity and
peace of their bosoms; whilst the grandeur of their mountains, and the rudeness of their storms had continually
reminded them of the blasts of tyranny, and of the unconquerable spirit of freedom.
In both of these states I experienced unlimited hospitality and kindness. Money could not have purchased so
rich a boon. Amidst their lofty hills, covered with deep
snows and assailed by piercing winds, I found the humble
cottager; and in the benevolence of his aspect, and the
hospitality of his board, I seemed to hear the chorus in
Gustavus Vasa : —7
"Stranger, cease through storms to roam;
Welcome to the cotter's home;
Though no courtly pomp be here,
Yet, my welcome is sincere."
* From Brattleborough to Albany, Evans followed a much travelled route.
As early as 1774, a road had been made from Albany to Bennington, thence
directly east for forty miles to Brattleborough. A line of stages was established in 1814, which made the trip between the two places in one day. It
was considered the easiest and safest route to Boston.— Ed.
7 A play written by Henry Brooke (1706-83), containing reflections on the
Prime Minister (Robert Walpole). It was not allowed to be put on the stage
in 1739, but later was printed by the author, the Prince of Wales subscribing
for four hundred copies. Dr. Johnson vindicated it and scored the government for attempting its suppression.— Ed.       &h ,JV»-
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
In some parts of these states one may travel many
miles without meeting a habitation; and during deep snows
and severe weather there is no little danger of perishing.
In passing the Green Mountains, I experienced a very
narrow escape. The weather was remarkably severe, and
scarcely any one thought travelling practicable. The
wind being high the snow was whirled in every direction,
and the road was trackless. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon I passed a house, and, imprudently, omitted to
inquire as to the distance to the next dwelling. Fortunately, [15] however, I met, after travelling three miles,
an express from a neighbouring village; and he informed
me that the next habitation was at the distance of two
miles. To this circumstance I owe, probably, the preservation of my life.
About dark I arose a steep bill, and found myself in an
open and uncovered situation. The weather was intensely cold, and the wind very high. I realized that
owing- to the depth of the snow, the consequent difficulty
of obtaining fuel, and the probable chill which I should
experience after ceasing to travel, that the wood, from
which I had just emerged, could not afford me sufficient
shelter. I should, however, have resorted to its partial
protection in preference to exposing myself to an unsheltered opening, had I not fully presumed, from the information above noticed, that a habitation was near. There
was not a moment for indecision. I marked a central
course, redoubled my efforts, and in a half hour reached
a comfortable hut. Here, upon taking off my cap, I found
my ears frozen to an almost incredible degree.
It is high time for me to acknowledge some obligations,
which have a particular claim to my gratitude, not only
as it respects these stages of my tour, but throughout the
whole of thatpart of it which was enlivened by civilization.
ft fli
If ijm m
l Pli
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Benevolence and kindness are peculiar characteristics
of the female heart. The mildness of her nature comports with the delicacy of her appearance; and well may
Charity always be represented in feminine apparel. During my tour, the hospitality of the husband was always
more than seconded by that of the wife and daughter.
Such are my respect for, and admiration of the female
character; so high an opinion do I entertain both of her
understanding and heart; and so narrow [16] are the views
of many, even in this enlightened age, in relation to these
particulars, that I may be permitted, in this little work, to
become her advocate. A thousand arguments in her
behalf challenge my attention ; but I must not transgress
the proper limits of incidental remark.
The influence of woman, in civilized life, has not yet
reached its acme. The effects of her ancient condition
are not entirely removed. Hereditary ignorance and oppression still partially obstruct her intellectual progress.
She has, in times past, not only had to contend with an
almost entire seclusion from the world, where alone theoretical and practical knowledge are blended for the improvement of the human mind, but the other sex, unconscious of moral force and influenced only by a sense of
physical strength, have, in various parts of the globe,
treated her as an inferior. Oh, wretched pride !— oh, disgraceful ignorance !— oh, vulgar barbarity !— the Dove of
Paphos is oppressed by the Egyptian Vulture.
Even in Greece and Rome the state of woman, to speak
generally, was degrading. She was suffered to share but
little in the general intercourse of life; and Metellus Nu-
midicus, in an oration to the people of Rome, speaks of
her with contempt. Yet some exultingly inquire,— where
are your female philosophers and poets of antiquity ?
Greece and Rome were the principal theatres of ancient i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
literature. Had the men of those times and countries
been treated as the females were||ire should have looked
in vain for those galaxys of genius and erudition, which
are the constant theme of the modern world. Had this
been the case the Peripatetic Philosopher would not have
written, the Mantuan Bard would not have sung. Yet,
even here, Corinna was the instructress of Pindar, and in
competition [17] with him obtained the prize. Mamaea
too was so distinguished for wisdom, that the worthy and
renowned Ulpian thought it an honor to be appointed one
of her counsellors. Other cases might be introduced ; but
this topic is leading me too far from my main subject.
One example more, however, shall be mentioned. The
mighty genius of Zenobia rose above the indolence incident to the climate and manners of Asia. Her administration was guided by the most judicious maxims. She
was too a linguist and historian, and expatiated upon the
beauties of Homer and Plato, with the learned and eloquent Longinus.
Perhaps I may venture a little further. The peculiar
sphere of the understanding is mathematics; and because
there have not been great mathematicians among the female sex, she, to be sure, is to be deprived of her proper
station in the department of intelligence.
Would men have been mathematicians if their education
had been like that of woman ? Surely not. Why then
should woman, whose sphere is foreign to this pursuit, be
represented as incapable of successfully engaging in it?
Besides, many men of the first genius, and of the most vigorous intellect, have entertained an aversion to mathematics amounting to an incapacity to attend to them with
success. The learned Gibbon declares that he entirely
lost those seasons in which he was obliged to prosecute this
branch of study; and Gray, in his time the first scholar in ii4
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
Europe, asserts that if mathematics would insure him
wealth and fame, he would relinquish its advantages for
the charms of general literature.
There is a diversity of taste among mankind; and the
same privilege of enjoying it without censure should be
granted to both sexes. The great mathematician Archimedes had but litde inclination [18] for any other branch
of learning than geometry; and Gray could not endure
There is also a diversity of talents among both sexes.
The logical, learned, and eloquent Cicero failed in his attempts in poetry. How unreasonable would it be to
consider him inferior to our great female poets on this account ! and, of course, how unfair to deny strength of intellect to woman, because she is not conspicuous for her
knowledge of mathematics !
A sense of propriety, relative to this digression, constrains me to conclude. In what respect, I ask, is woman
inferior to the other sex ? Heroism is a test of intellectual
vigour; and woman has evinced superlative bravery, by
a sudden transition from the gentle avocations of domestic life to the battle's rage. An enlightened fortitude
also argues strength of intellect. Here let men admire
what they can never imitate: how much physical suffering,
and how much anguish of spirit are peculiar to the female
character ! yet, resignation and hope are the cherub companions of her tribulation.
Modern times are throwing wonderful light upon this
subject; and are developing those astonishing combinations of female sentiment and genius, which in past ages
scintilated through the gloom of barbarism. A splendid
list of names illustrative of this position might be here introduced ; but the whole list would be too long, and a selection would be difficult.    Sentiment is emphatically the i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
highest sphere of genius; and it is the sphere where the
heart becomes the great magician of intellectual life. Men
are indebted to woman for what they possess of this principle; and until she made them acquainted with it they
were barbarians.
Wherever I stopped, in my course through the settled
parts of the country, I was much pleased [19] with the interest which my appearance excited in little children. There
was a conflict exhibited in their countenances between the
fears implanted by domestic education, and the native
fondness of man for the hunter state. By my assuming,
however, the aspect and the smile of civilization, they
would come to my arms of fur, and listen attentively to the
simple stories of the chase. Afterwards, they would reward my kindness to them by more solid attentions to my
In travelling from Connecticut River to Bennington, I
passed through a part of Marlborough, Wilmington, Reeds-
bury, Stanford, and Woodford. Whilst in the latter place
the weather was severe beyond a parallel. When, however, in Brattleborough, which lies immediately upon the
river, the weather was much more moderate.
Whilst upon the Green Mountains my thoughts were
particularly directed to the days of the Revolution, when,
in the language of a British Chief, the sons of New-Hampshire and Vermont hung like a cloud upon his left. Here
too I remembered that thunderbolt of war, the veteran
Stark, in whose heart dwelt the very genius of his country,
and who discomfited her enemies by the strength of his
native hills.
On these mountains my attention was attracted by the
appearance of a thick fall of snow during a clear sunshine.
This appearance is not common here; and proceeds, I presume, from the little influence which the sun produces
I I ï  iii/
! i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
upon the state of the atmosphere in this situation. On
the west side of these mountains the snow was not so deep
as on the east side; and I apprehend that this is usually
the case.
Within about two miles beyond this lofty ridge, Bennington is situated.8 This town presents an ancient [20]
aspect, and appears unflourishing; it is situated, however,
upon a fertile tract of country, and contains several handsome buildings. The number of its houses is perhaps two
hundred. Mount Anthony, in the south part of the town,
makes a pleasant appearance; and the town itself is rendered interesting by the two famous battles, fought a little
west of it, on the 16th of August, 1777. In these battles
the celebrated General Stark acquired imperishable fame.
Owing to the severity of the weather T did not visit the
noted cave of Mount Anthony.
From Bennington I proceeded through Hoosuck, Pitts-
town, Troy, and Albany. From the former to the latter
place, the distance is about thirty-five miles.
In passing through Pittstown the weather was still
severe; and night having overtaken me before I could
reach a public house, I was under the necessity of lodging
in a log hut. The family were very poor; but the wealth
of Kings could not purchase their virtues. As is the case
with many other honest people, they had experienced a
series of misfortunes which ultimately reduced them to
penury. Two years before the period of my seeing them,
their mills, the principal part of their property, had been
carried away by a freshet; and a year after this event, their
dwelling was consumed, with all its contents. Yet these
good people were cheerful, and their poverty sat gracefully
8 Bennington was the first township granted within the present state of Vermont, being chartered by Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire,
in 1749.    Settlement was not begun, however, until the fall of 1761.— Ed.
kXm t8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
upon them. They were unable to furnish me with a bed,
a comfort with which I had learned to dispense, but very
readily shared with me their last loaf. For their services
they charged nothing; and it was with difficulty that I
persuaded them to take compensation.
The blessings of poverty are neither few nor small. It
attaches an extraordinary interest to the most common
acquisitions; and, when there is little [21] or no apprehension of want, it furnishes a constant source of pleasing
anticipation. Under such circumstances, parents and children experience their happiest moments. Mutual love, and
mutual gratulation, here heighten and sanctify every expression of the care and bounty of Providence.— There is
something in virtuous poverty, which speaks of treasures
laid up in Heaven.
In entering Troy I left Lansingburgh on my right. The
former place is exceedingly compact and flourishing, and
extends between one and two miles on the east bank of the
Hudson. On the other side of the river, at the distance
of six miles, Albany is situated.
This city, in relation to the state, ranks next to that of
New-York; but its appearance is far from being elegant.
The streets are generally narrow and crooked; and its
numerous buildings in the Gothic style give to it an ancient
and unpolished aspect. It is, evidently, however, a place
of great trade; and must, in the nature of things, rapidly
increase in wealth and population. The back country is
extensive and fertile; and the public spirit of the state of
New-York is affording every facility to the inland transportation of its produce.
The variety of people in Albany is great. The Dutch
here still make a considerable figure; but the Americans
are more numerous. This place has received many names.
Its scite was originally called Aurania; and the town itself
*$■ ïw -
Kl $t '
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
was afterwards named Beverwych, Fort Orange, William-
stadt, and, upon its capitulation to the English in 1664,
it received its present appellation. This city, next to
Jamestown, in Virginia, is the oldest in the United States.
This place contains many large public buildings, among
which is the city-hall, hospital, armoury, [22] &c. There
are here also some elegant dwelling houses; but I should
not suppose the city, from its appearance, the residence of
much taste or erudition. It contains, however, what some
may consider an equivalent :— many families of wealth and
fashion. The population of the place is about twelve
After leaving Albany I shaped my course for Niagara
Falls by the way of Cherry Valley. From the city there
are two roads; the left hand one leading to the last mentioned place, and the right hand one to Schenectady. The
great Western Turnpike extends from Schenectady, lying
on the south bank of the Mohawk, and sixteen miles from
Albany, to Buffalo, a distance of about three hundred
miles. The two roads above mentioned intersect about
one hundred and twenty miles from Albany.9 Upon both
of them are many flourishing villages; and the produce
which is conveyed from the interior to Albany, Troy, and
other places in the state, is immense.
The state of New-York is very conspicuous for her public spirit. She is affording every facility, within the grasp
of her mighty genius and resources, to her inland commerce.   In arts, and arms, and internal improvement, she
* The Great Western Turnpike did not pass through Schenectady, but
was the one that led to Cherry Valley, while the Schenectady road connected
with the state road, which extended to Buffalo. Strictly speaking, the two
roads did not meet but ran nearly parallel to Lake Erie; however, a turnpike
leading from Cherry Valley to Saline (Syracuse), intersected the state road at
about the distance stated. Evans took this path. For the Great Western and
State roads, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, notes 2 and 12.— Ed. ***«*»
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
is already a Rome in miniature; and her grand Canal will
vie with those of China and the Russian Empire.
In travelling over a part of the great western turnpike;
and in collecting information as to the settlements and business both here and on the Mohawk, I was led to make
some statistical calculations^ the general result of which,
together with some additional reflections, I transcribe from
my journal.
The state of New York is, of itself, a mighty republic.
Her moral and physical energies; her agriculture, [23]
manufactures, and commerce; and her individual enterprise and public spirit, render her omnipotent. She could
contend alone and unassisted with Great Britain. What
then is the aggregate force of all our states and territories ?
The contemplation of their potential, and even probable
physical power, within a short succession of years, presents such a manifold ratio as to overwhelm the boldest
But the moral energies of the country will, no doubt,
become proportionably less. The friends of political virtue, however, must not be discouraged. The moral hero
.can do much towards stemming the torrent of political
corruption. Besides, the vast surface over which the elements of this corruption will spread themselves, will render it, for a long course of time, comparatively harmless;
and beyond this period, the influence of some Heavenly
star may give to ambition and the love of power a purer
spirit and a nobler aim.
In relation to this topic, the prevailing spirit of emigration, from the maritime to the inland frontier, will have a
very beneficial influence. In a public point of view, great
and permanent advantages will arise from the settlement
of our western states and territories. But individuals
from the east are not always benefitted by a removal.   The I20
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
M ,
principal advantages arising from such a step, are the
profits on the purchase of new lands, and better crops obtained with less labour. The disadvantages are numerous. Those who can, by their industry, live well at home,
will act wisely in remaining where they are. By a removal they lose a climate to which they are accustomed,
good society, an opportunity to educate their children,
and scenes to which their hearts will often fondly turn —
The sons of New-Hampshire never forget her mountains !
[24] I shall speak more fully upon the subject of emigration in another place.
I may here introduce some facts relative to the grand
canal in the State of New York.10 The object of this
great undertaking is to facilitate the inland commerce of
the State, by uniting the waters of Lake Erie with those of
the Hudson. The former are much higher than the latter ;
but still the labour and expence necessary to complete the
undertaking, will prove to be immense. To the State of
New-York, however, such a work scarcely requires an
effort. Her almost inexhaustible resources, directed by
the genius and energy of her Clinton, could accomplish a
hundred times as much. The Canal passes in the direction of Genessee river, and Seneca and Cayuga lakes; and
will turn much of the trade of the west from Montreal to
the city of New-York.
Soon after leaving Albany I met with Colonel P. formerly an officer under General Wayne, during his famous
expedition against the indians." From this gentleman I
obtained many interesting facts; and spent a pleasant
evening in conversing with him upon the subject of
10 For a brief account of the Erie Canal, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note
37.— Ed.
II Wayne's campaign, 1793-94, terminated in victory at the decisive battle
of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794), where the confederated Indians under
Little Turtle were completely routed.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
I 21
expatriation. This subject involves an abstract question of principle; and should be settled by the United
States without the least reference to the opinion of
civilians, or the practice of other nations. It is humiliating to see with what reverence we turn in relation
to this subject, to the opinion of Blackstone, and to
the contradictory positions of the British Government.
The United States is the place, above all others, for correct opinions, upon questions involved in the great science
of morals, as far as it respects the natural rights of individuals, the necessary modification of those rights in civil
society, and the rights of nations as collective moral agents.
Europe ever has been, [25] and still is a school of wrong;
and those who are instructed by her participate in the
sophistry of her reasoning, the tyranny of her views, and the
inconsistency of her practice. The question of expatriation, is a question involving individual right, for the defence of which the aggregate strength of the whole community is guaranteed. This question, in the United
States, arises from the claims of other nations to those of
their subjects, who have left the territory to which they
belonged without violating any municipal law upon the
subject. The United States should protect all within her
jurisdiction, whether upon her territory or under her flag,
unless some municipal regulation of the adverse party in
the question, shall have rendered the individual concerned
incapable of acquiring the right to protection from the defending power. These principles should be adhered to
for three reasons: the United States have a right to do so;
they are bound by the civil compact, which renders protection and obedience inseparable, to do so; and it is then-
duty as a collective moral being to guard any individual,
not under the jurisdiction of another sovereignty, from
arbitrary power. f   > f  ;-'•
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
Such a course is dictated by the eternal and omnipotent
principles of justice; and therefore no law of nations,
which is a rule created or supposed by man, can resist
them. Even that law which civilians call the voluntary
law of nations, cannot, in relation to this subject, exonerate a government from those obligations which result
from the social compact ; because the question is grounded
in the very germ of civil society; and the welfare of the
whole community of nations, so far from requiring in this
case an adherence to this law, renders it, upon its own
principles, entirely inoperative.
[26] The internal law of nations does not militate with
the above principles, because it requires only what is fair
and conscientious. The customary law of nations must
yield to those older and better rules which are dictated by
justice. And as to the conventional law of nations, it rests
upon the terms of contracts in subordination to previously
existing and indispensable duties.
On the 12th of February I passed through Guelderland,
Princeton, Schoharie, and Carlisle; and on the following
day through Sharon, Cherry Valley, and Warren." Schoharie is one of the wealthiest inland farming towns in the
state of N. York.
The weather still continued remarkably severe; but my
dress was so comfortable, that I had no occasion for a
a Evans was now passing through the settlements of the Schoharie and
upper Susquehanna valleys. They had constituted the western frontier of
New York in the period of the Revolutionary War, and in consequence had
borne the brunt of the Iroquois and Loyalist attacks under the leadership of
Joseph Brant. The Susquehanna Valley was virtually reconverted into a wilderness, the most important single attack being the Cherry Valley massacre,
November 11, 1778. The first settlers had been chiefly Palatine Germans and
Scotch-Irish; those that repeopled the country after the war were almost entirely from New England. See Halsey, Old New York Frontier (New York,
1901).— Ed.
HP "****,
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
During my whole tour through the settled parts of the
country, I found a constant source of amusement in the
curiosity and variety of observation, which my appearance
excited. I must, however, confess that I often wished
myself less conspicuous.
It is in the moment of surprise that the human character
most fully developes itself; and in travelling, during the
constant operation of this cause, one may acquire much
knowledge of the almost infinite variety of disposition
which exists among mankind. I met, in my course, with
every shade of character, from the man of reading to the
totally ignorant ; and from the real gentleman to the rude
and vulgar.
It may amuse a portion of my readers to know some of
the various impressions which were made by my appearance, and the receptions which I experienced.
People seldom knew from whence I came, or what was
my place of destination; and surprise and speculation
were universal. Speculation was as various [27] as the
dispositions and capacities of individuals.— Some honoured me with the idea that I was Bonaparte in disguise;
and some secretly suggested that I was a Wizard :—
"Who prowl'd the country far and near,
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants,
Dry'd up the cows, and lam'd the deer,
And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants."
Some too, imagined me an Icelander; and some a British
Spy. A few treated me with rudeness, many in a very
gentlemanly manner, and some, not knowing what to make
of my appearance, conferred upon me the title of General,
and invited me to drink with them.
With respect to the first class, I made a point of taking
no notice of them, when I could with propriety avoid it;
but when I could not, I always made an example of them
life I
w ï'v'
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[Vol. 8
upon the spot. Such men seldom possess even animal
courage; and there are very few, even of their associates,
who are not pleased to see them punished.
I may here observe, that I was impressed by the general
ignorance, with respect to the manners and customs of
other nations, which appeared to exist in the civilized
places through which I passed; and especially in and
about Albany.
It is well known, that in Russia and many other countries in the north of Europe, people generally dress, more
or less, in furs; and there are some instances of such a
practice, even in the Canadas.— These facts, connected
with the severity of the weather which prevailed during
the early stages of my tour, might, one would think, have
rendered a suit of fur a less general object of surprise.
Severe as our winters are, I think a garment or two of
Buffalo or some other warm skin, to be worn occasionally,
[28] would, to say nothing of comfort, save many a man
from rheumatism, and even from being frozen to death.
It is only a year or two, since the stage driver from Albany
to Bennington, froze and fell from his seat. The passengers were not apprized of the event, until the horses had
proceeded several miles. The power of frost upon human
life is astonishing. In an unsuspecting moment the blood
chills in the veins and ceases to move. The memorable
winter of 1709 saw two thousand men, under the celebrated Charles the XHth, fall dead with cold in one day.
Many other similar instances might be mentioned. As
to Charles, however, he had, by habit, rendered himself
almost superhuman. His person was as invulnerable to
the frosts of Denieper, as was his mind to the misfortunes
which finally made him a prisoner at Bender.13
13 A fortified town on the Dniester in Bessarabia, Russia, where Charles
XII took refuge after the battle of Poltowa.— Ed. «Vu
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
On the evening of the 14th of February I had passed
Otsego, Richfield, &c. and arrived at Plainfield. The
towns between Albany and the last mentioned place are
generally inconsiderable, and offer no interesting materials. They are, however, flourishing villages. During
the whole of the 14th instant it snowed, and the travelling
was very heavy. The general aspect of this part of the
country is rather level than otherwise ; there are here, however, many high and long hills. I had not yet ceased to
be vulnerable to fatigue; but hardships had, in a measure,
become familiar to me. I do not pretend that I did not
sometimes stand in need of resolution; but men have only
to move on, and difficulties become less. It is in looking
ahead at the aggregate obstacles which present themselves
in an undertaking, and in embodying them, as it were,
in the space of a moment, that one's mind is appalled.
By meeting these obstacles in detail, we easily overcome
[29] them; and then look back astonished at our apprehensions.
The Dutch mode of building, both with respect to then-
houses and barns, is visible in every part of the state of
New-York; but American manners and customs are here
absorbing all others.
The interior of this state, like that of New-Hampshire
and Vermont, presents many small and ill contrived log
huts; and those who have been unaccustomed to seeing
such, would be surprised to find how comfortably people
may live in them. These huts are sometimes without a
floor, and have wooden chimnies. Men who are acquainted only with polished life, would tremble at the idea
of spending their days in one of these buildings; yet, they
are generally the abode of virtue, health and happiness.
On the 15th and 16th of February I passed through
Eaton, Nelson,  Casnove,  Pompey and Manlius.   The if'
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
weather was very severe, the snow deep, and continually
blowing. At Pompey I was so beset by ignorant impertinence and loquacious curiosity, that I found it necessary
to harrangue the multitude. Having laid down for them
some salutary rules upon the subject of manners, and taking their silence for an apology, I proceeded to Manlius.
Even in this part of the country, bears, wolves, and deer
are numerous. During the preceding fall the depredations of the two former were very great; and the bounty
offered for wolves, by some of the counties in the state,
was ninety dollars.
During the 17th the weather was still severe and
the wind high. I passed Onondago " and Marcellus.
Throughout these townships there are high and low hills.
Owing to them, and to the depth of snow, my fatigue was
great. My health also had suffered by many days and
nights of severe tooth ache. In [30] passing through these
and many other places, I experienced attentions from
people of consideration; and was frequently introduced
to their families.
Onondago was formerly the chief town of the Six Nations; and lies on the south of the lake of that name. This
lake is sometimes called salt lake; and the springs near its
shores produce immense quantities of salt. The Onondago Indians reside near this lake; but their numbers are
During the 18th, 19th and 20th of February I travelled
through Brutus, Aurelius, Auburn, Cayuga, Junius, and
Waterloo.16   The weather in this part of the country had
14 At Onondaga village was formerly located the council house of the Six
Nations. In the treaty of Fort Stanwix (1788) this village was retained as a
reservation; but ten years later a large part of it was sold to the state, and the
town of Onondaga was incorporated thereon.— Ed.
11 Evans was now in the military district. The legislature (1789) had set
aside 1,680,000 acres as bounty land for the soldiers of the Revolutionary War.
# \ i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
been for several days, and still was colder than had been
before known there. The snow likewise was remarkably deep. Cayuga Lake is about forty miles in length,
and from two to four miles broad. The famous bridge
across ips more than one mile in length. On the banks
of this lake the Cayuga Indians reside.
The Six Nations of Indians above mentioned are the
Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagoes, Senecas, Cayugas and
Tuscaroras. The Stockbridge and Brotherton Indians
now live with the united tribes.18 Notwithstanding these,
and many other tribes are still in possession of vast tracts
of land, and receive annually considerable sums from the
United States, and also from individual states, they are
occasionally emigrating to the wildernesses of Canada.
Still wild and untameable, the surrounding aspect of civilization alarms them; and they silence the suggestions of
jealousy by removing to pathless and illimitable forests.
Many of the villages on the Western Turnpike have
made their appearance within a very few years; and the
vast resources of the interior of the state of New-York are
daily developing.
[31] During this part of my tour a little incident occurred,
The tract extended from the eastern border of Onondaga County to Seneca
Lake, and was surveyed into twenty-eight townships, upon which the governor
bestowed classical names.— Ed.
M The Housatonic Indians who had formed a mission settlement at Stock-
bridge, Massachusetts, were granted a township by the Oneida — the present
New Stockbridge, Madison County. Thither, immediately after the Revolutionary War, they removed to the number of about four hundred. The Brother-
town Indians had preceded them. In 1774 the Oneida had given to the remnant of Narragansetts, Pequots, and other tribes living for the most part at
Montville and Farmington, Connecticut, a piece of land fourteen miles south
of the present Utica. They emigrated with their pastor and organized a new-
tribe, lie Brothertown Indians. Both tribes later removed to Wisconsin, the
Stockbridge Indians settling at South Kaukauna on Fox River (1822-29), and
the Brothertown Indians on the east side of Lake Winnebago a few years later.
See Davidson, In Unnamed Wisconsin (Milwaukee, 1895).— Ed.
H* 128
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[Vol. 8
which resulted so pleasantly, and so fully evinced the
policy as well as propriety of a certain course of conduct,
that I am induced to mention it. In one of the last named
towns, I was, whilst at a public house, furiously assailed
by words and threats, by a man, who evidently had been
of considerable consideration in society, but who had become a sot, and was at this time much intoxicated. As
he was not in a situation to defend himself, there could
have been no display of true courage in punishing him;
and besides, he was already an object of pity. To his
imbecile fury, therefore, I presented only a steady eye.
He drew back. In a few minutes, however, he made
another assault; and again yielded to a firm and silent
aspect. A few hours after I met him in another place.
His inebriety had, in a great measure, left him; he was
very sorry for his conduct, and expressed towards me
much good will.
I have observed, that I was seldom known ; and as I appeared to be a person travelling in disguise, some pains
were taken to ascertain who I was. The suggestions respecting me were very numerous; and a great many bets
were made, and many expedients resorted to in relation
to my origin, destination, and business. Some imagined
me to be upon a secret expedition for the government.
My manners seldom comporting with my mode of living,
the multitude were at a loss to know to what class in society I belonged. They heard me converse like other people; but seldom saw me eat or drink, and were surprised
to view me sleeping with my dogs upon the bare floor.
In my course through the upper part of the state of
New-York, I spent many a pleasant evening, surrounded
by a great variety of character, and seated [32] by a huge
western fire. During these seasons some political question would often arise, and it was interesting to witness i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
i 29
the debates. Upon one occasion a serious legal question,
long agitated in the neighbourhood, was introduced ; and
being a limb of the law, I involuntarily made an observation upon it. Bets soon began to run high, and the Pedestrian was appointed umpire.
It is unpleasant for one to speak of himself.— Many
anecdotes, which would be interesting to my friends, must
be omitted.
In the course of a few days after leaving Waterloo, I
passed through many towns, the principal of which are
Romulus, Ovid, Hector, Ulysses, and Geneva; also Canandaigua, the two Bloomfields and Lima; and in addition to
these Avon, Caledonia and Batavia.17 Some of these
towns, especially the two Bloomfields and Lima, constitute a remarkably handsome and rich tract of country.
Canandaigua is situated at the north of the lake of this
name; and many of the buildings of this place are large
and elegant. The lake is about eighteen or twenty miles
long, and two or three miles broad.
But it would have been in order first to speak of Seneca
lake, which lies east of lake Canandaigua. Seneca lake is
about thirty-five miles long, and about two miles wide.
The numerous lakes in the interior of the state of New-
York, are admirably calculated to promote her inland
commerce. Whilst they furnish by their numbers, and
their positions the means of connecting her resources, and
promoting the trade and intercourse of her people, they
are not so large as to occupy an unnecessary portion of
her territory. Every thing, in relation to New-York,
is conspiring to render her a wonderfully powerful State.
[33] Whilst in Canandaigua the court was sitting; and
H At Geneva, Evans left the military district and entered the Phelps and
Gorham Purchase. For a brief account of this tract and the towns located
upon it, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, notes 3 and 36.—.Ed.
$ i3°
Early Western Travels
owing to some novel proceedings there, one or two thousand people were assembled. After pressing through the
crowd, and obtaining some information respecting my
course, I proceeded on my way.
Not long after I formed a particular acquaintance with
Doctor S. He introduced me to his family, and entertained me in a very hospitable and friendly manner. The
Doctor, being no less fond of an innocent joke than he was
conspicuous for his good sense and benevolence, proposed
in the course of the evening, his introducing me to a
shrewd old neighbour of his, as a relation who lived on
some far distant mountain, and who had been long absent. I readily assented to the proposition, and we both
agreed upon the parts which we were to act. Owing,
however, to an unnatural performance on my part, or to
some other cause, the neighbour detected the deception.
But the assay resulted in considerable amusement; and
after drinking to the health of each other, the Doctor
and myself left the old gentleman to exult in his
At 3 o'clock the next morning, I was awakened by the
rich and lofty notes of the bugle-horn, and entertained by
several superb martial songs. At day light we sat down
to a good breakfast ; and immediately after I resumed my
Amidst all these pleasant circumstances, my dogs had
accidentally been neglected; and seeing their master fare
so well, they at length took the liberty to help themselves.
The larder of Mrs. S. being open, they espied there a large
pan of baked pork and beans; and without ceremony,—
or knife and fork divided the former between them; leaving the beans for those who were less carniverous. After
this broad hint on their part, the lady of the house fed
them to their heart's content. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
[34] During my tour, thus far, I formed many valuable
Here I may remark that from Albany to the remote interior of New-York, there is, generally speaking, but little
hospitality; and the love of money there displays itself in
the high prices which are charged for provisions. Immense profits are realized by the retailer at the expense of
the traveller. I have always noticed in my travels, that
the newer a settlement is, the more prevalent is hospitality.
This great virtue is much more conspicuous among the
poor, than among those who possess more than a competency. Here avarice begins its reign; and every virtue is
blasted by its poisonous influence.
In this part of the country, and in many other places I
often found it convenient to stop at the log huts of poor
emigrants. From the inmates of these huts I always experienced a kind and generous welcome; and in almost
every case I ascertained that they were from New-Hampshire or Vermont.—They would generally refuse to take
any compensation for their services; and were so afraid of
violating the sacred principles of hospitality, that I could
only leave my money upon their table, or cast it as a play
thing to their children. Oh! how many tutelary angels
shield the cot of the poor and virtuous man, whilst the
splendid habitations of the rich and dissipated, receive
only the averted eye of offended Heaven.
I have omitted to mention, that whilst in Albany I
was informed that robberies had been frequently committed on the Western Turnpike. This information appeared peculiarly important, on account of the frequent
suggestions of people that I probably had with me a large
sum of money. Besides, war, which always produces a
greater or less number of abandoned and desperate characters, having [35] recently ceased, and there being many
''V: wv
ï kl I'- 4
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
dark and solitary tracts of wood on the turnpike, I thought
there was much cause for apprehension. I had, however,
previously concealed my money in different parts of my
cloaths, and was careful to keep my arms in a state of preparation. Fortunately I met with no attack. The appearance of my arms, and the apparent fierceness of my dogs,
were, probably, preventatives.
I was frequently told too, that owing to my mode of
dress, there would be much danger of my being shot by
the hunters in passing through the bushes. Many accidents, sanctioning the idea, had from time to time occurred.
A hunter, not long before, had killed a deer, and throwing
it upon his shoulder was proceeding home. Another hunter, having an obscure view of the deerthrough the bushes,
fired and killed the man. I did not, however, experience
any injury from this quarter.
Such was the depth of snow and such the severity of the
weather during the first month of my tour, that no game
was to be found in the woods excepting a few squirrels;
and those only during a momentary sunshine. Numerous as had been the beasts of prey throughout the preceding fall, they seemed now to be waiting in their dens for
the storms to be overpassed. All nature appeared to be
congealed ; and the tyrant winter presented an unrelenting
In the remote parts of the State of New-York provisions
were scarce. There are so many emigrants travelling and
settling in that quarter during winter, that want is frequently the consequence.—The emigrants, who settle during that season of the year, must be fed, for many months,
from the common stock of provisions, before they can, by
their labour, add to it. Some of them have money, but
[36] money will not save them from want. Here we see the
importance of the agricultural interest, and, generally, of i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
the productive power of labour. Agriculture and domestic manufactures will render a people perfectly independent. Money is of no real consequence excepting
when employed as a circulating medium; fancy however
has cherished for it an irrational partiality. Thank
Heaven ! we have no considerable mines of silver and gold
to corrupt our country; but plenty of iron to plough her
fields and to defend her liberties.
Agriculture is the most natural, necessary, and honourable employment of man. Ignorant pride and vain folly
may represent it as derogatory; but in so doing they show
how very far they are from true greatness. Agriculture
furnishes for vigorous constitutions the most salutary exercise; and here the brightest geniuses may find ample employment.—An unlimited field for experiment in many
branches of natural philosophy is here presented, and
there is no sphere in life so well calculated as this to promote individual virtue and public advantage.
Here man is engaged in the peculiar work assigned him
by bis Creator, and many interesting reflections naturally
result from it. The field which he cultivates is his parent
earth. According to the righteous appointment of Heaven,
he must here obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow,-until he returns to the dust. The employment naturally directs his thoughts to his origin and destinies; and impresses
his mind with a sense of his mortality, dependence, and
accountability to God. Here too he reflects, with peculiar
advantage, upon the gracious plan of Redemption. The
return of spring joyfully reminds him of the Resurrection;
and in the perishing grain which he has sown, he recognizes St. Paul's similitude of this great event.
[37] The further a man's employment is from rural scenes
and avocations, the further he is from the original dignity
and simplicity of his nature.    Here may be acquired the
Um J34
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
II   «fi* '1
■mi ■■ '■' ¥7 ■•]
greatest comparative degree of physical and mental vigour,
the noblest virtues, the truest piety, the most sincere and
ardent patriotism, the loftiest independence of character,
and all the pleasures which flow from the sprightliness of
the imagination and the susceptibility of the heart.
The great and good of every age have spoken in behalf
of agriculture; and the Egyptians ascribed the discovery
of it to their gods. The worthies of Greece and Rome
were well acquainted with the plough; and Cincinnatus
left his team, vanquished the iEqui and Volsci, who were
besieging the Roman army, and then returned to his beloved employment. Our Washington too, charmed his
pure and noble spirit with the rural occupations of his endeared Vernon; and the Emperor of China attends, every
spring, to the ceremony of opening the ground, by holding
the plough himself.
In my course to Niagara Falls I passed Genesee river.
This river rises in Pennsylvania, and enters Lake Ontario
about eighty miles east of Niagara river. It contains several falls, from fifty to one hundred feet in height, and offers
many fine seats for mills. This river, and those which
are connected with it are generally sluggish in their motion.
The tract of country lying upon the Genessee is rich,
and well watered. The celebrated Genessee Flats are situated on the borders of the river, and is about twenty
miles by four.
The Holland Purchase is a part of the Genessee Country.18
Although I have not yet surveyed the whole field of
domestic emigration, I may, with propriety, introduce in
this place some ideas which I [38] have heretofore entertained upon the subject; these ideas having been fully
sanctioned by the experience of my whole tour.    The
18 For the Holland Purchase, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 4.— Ed.
w i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
subject should be examined both in a national and individual point of view.
Supposing, for a moment, that my reflections upon this
topic may produce some effect upon the feelings and opinions of those who are disposed to emigrate, there is little
or no danger of lessening the interests of the nation, in relation to it, by checking too much the existing locomotive
disposition of the people.
Dear as home is to man, he is, in his best estate, a wanderer. An alien from the purity and peace of Heaven, he
will sigh for other scenes until his highest hopes eventuate
in a habitation there.
Upon this general disposition of mankind to change
their views of happiness and their place of residence, the
people of the United States have engrafted an unusual degree of enterprise. This enterprise has at once enriched
and ennobled their country. Naturally fond of agriculture, and fully sensible of its consequence, both in a public and private point of view, our citizens have combined,
in relation to this subject, the powerful influences of inclination, interest, and patriotism. But the impulse to
emigration under these circumstances may have been too
great. When a spring naturally overflows, the superabundance of its water may well be spared to fertilize the
adjacent country; but when some extraordinary influence
produces an ebullition in the spring, it may, in consequence
of this cause, exhaust its own resources and ultimately become dry.
Extraordinary causes, in relation to those subjects which
concern the growth of a nation, should always be watched
and sometimes checked. Under ordinary circumstances
the natural operation of cause and effect will keep every
thing within its proper [39] sphere,— will direct every
thing to its proper level. Early Western Travels
With respect to emigrations from our seaboard to the
inland states and territories, there is danger of the strength
of the nation being, for a time, lessened. The physical
force of a country should always be kept compact. By
dividing its powers its energies will be weakened.
Such, with us, has been the impetus of the spirit of emigration, that the influence of example and habit, in relation to it, will continue to operate for some time to come.
Indeed such is the fascinating nature of the subject, that
it will always be more or less popular; and as to the habit
of moving from place to place, it is, in some, so completely
fixed, that after they have passed through every part of
the land of promise, they will, for the sake of one more
change, return to the seaboard again. In a national
point of view I am far from wishing to discourage domestic emigration; and I am far too from thinking that
it does not frequently result in individual advantage.
It is essential to the preservation of our free and economical institutions, that the seaboard should from time
to time transplant a part of its population to the interior.
The existence of liberty in a state ultimately depends, in
no small degree, upon rural avocations, and upon a particular climate and scenery. In some of our western
states and territories liberty will exist for a great length of
time. Transplanted from the seaboard, their citizens will
acquire a new moral force, and that force will be cherished by the local peculiarities of their situation. These
states will produce a happy balance between the agricultural and commercial interests, and prove at once the
check and the political salvation of the maratime states.
[40] In proportion to the population of our maratime
cities will be their luxury, dissipation, and indifference to
simple and rational modes of government. No doubt the
interests of commerce ought to be cherished; not, how- i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
ever, so much because they are essential to our independence and happiness, as because they encourage industry at home by furnishing a foreign market for surplus
produce. The other advantages of foreign trade, both
literary and commercial, are not inconsiderable; and they
ought to be appreciated:—but not without a due reference to the contaminating influences of foreign manners
and customs. With respect to manners and customs,
other nations, in their intercourse with us, are, no doubt,
gainers; but we, I am satisfied, experience from them
much injury. It may be added, that a certain extent of
population in our sea ports is essential to that degree of
commercial enterprise, which will set afloat our surplus
capital; and therefore we ought to view the spirit of emigration in relation to this particular.
I may improve this opportunity to make a few additional reflections upon foreign commerce. The advocates of this interest, under the pretence of attaching to it
a consequence only equal to that of agriculture, have
laboured to prove that the former is even paramount to
the latter,— that the country is almost exclusively a commercial nation. One of these advocates, in a speech delivered in Congress in January 1814, advances such a
principle. Much as I admire the sublime complexion of
his intellect, and the enlightened majesty of his heart, I
must say that his position is altogether exceptionable.—
He observes, in the above mentioned speech, that the
principal motive for adopting the constitution of the general government was the protection and extension of commerce. So far from this being the [41] case, the great and
principal conditions and objects of our national compact,
were individual security and the advancement of the true
interests of the country. It must have been well known,
that a state of things might exist which would render an
tra 138
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
Vfaw u
abandonment of foreign commerce absolutely necessary
to the preservation of our liberties,— to the protection of
individual right, and even the very existence of the
But I go much further. Our commercial interests are
of far less consequence than those of agriculture. The
former are not essential to our independence and comfort.
They do not even exist until agriculture has so far advanced as to furnish more than sufficient provisions for
the support of the whole community; not only for those
who labour in agriculture, but also for labourers in manufactures and other mechanical employments; for those
who are engaged in domestic commerce; for those who
are engaged in promoting intellectual improvement;
and lastly, for those who, owing to infancy, old age, disease and other causes are unable to work. When this
state of things commences, and not before, foreign commerce begins its career. Here the people inquire what
they shall do with their surplus produce, and being unable
to find a market for it at home, endeavour to find for it
a foreign market. Hence arise foreign commercial relations. As to the luxuries which foreign commerce produces, our constitution certainly never made provision for
their introduction.
It remains for me to notice the subject of domestic emigration, in relation to the individual advantage which may
arise from it.
The views of mankind with respect to the sources of
true happiness are, generally speaking, very erroneous.
This effect arises principally from inconsideration. [42]
We see enough in the Divine Word in the book of nature,
and in the suggestions of conscience to convince us, that
our relation to a future state of existence is of wonderful
import.   The first questions which we should ask our-
Ltfefc i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
selves are:—what was the design of our creation? and
what duties does this design inculcate ? As far as is consistent wjth these great views, man may innocently consult his inclinations. Indeed they were given for the twofold purpose of rational gratification, and to furnish him
with an opportunity, when their indulgence would be
irrational, to display his virtue by self-controul. The
more strictly we conform to that purity of heart and
holiness of life which the gospel inculcates, the more exalted will be our nature, the higher our standard of happiness, and the more perfect our preparation for the society
of Heaven.
The present life is, no doubt, a season of probation.
Here we are to form a character for a future and permanent state of existence. Consistently with the endeavour
duly to improve our intellectual, moral, and religious
nature, it is important for man to exert himself to obtain
a comfortable support. Generally speaking, however, this
should be the limit of his views. It is most consistent
with the uncertain tenure of human life, and most congenial to the growth of virtue and the production of happiness. A wish to acquire a great estate can be sanctioned
only by an equal desire to employ it in effecting charitable
purposes, and in aiding institutions which have in view
individual and public advantage. The desire of great
wealth for other purposes is criminal. It is dictated by
a spirit of luxury, by pride, by extravagance, by a spirit
of vain competition, or, what is worse than all, by avarice.
As for leaving great estates to children, no wise or kind
parent will ever do it. Industry will, generally speaking,
produce a [43] competency; and economy will, in time,
convert that competency into wealth.
But I must speak more directly to the point.— From
motives of patriotism one may emigrate from the east to
C H. J
Early Western Travels
the west, especially to a frontier state or territory; and
he will, perhaps, find in this removal great individual
profit. The circumstances of men are various. Emigrations are sometimes advantageous and sometimes otherwise; — advantageous in point of health and in point of
property. Many, however, lose both instead of gaining
either by a removal. There are many erroneous views
entertained upon this subject: and it is, principally, because men are governed, in relation to it, more by feelings
than by ideas. The subject interests the imagination; and
pleasing anticipations upon a new topic, always afford
more satisfaction, than the actual possession of that which
is as valuable as the object itself, the future possession of
which is anticipated. Many persons by emigration have
become rich; but does it follow that they might not have
become so at home ? Many too by moving from place to
place have become poor. Had they been stationary they
might at least have secured to themselves a competency.
There are almost innumerable advantages and disadvantages in relation to this subject, and the balance must
be stricken according to the circumstances of each individual. Those whose object is to acquire a good living
by their industry, and who can obtain this at home, will
act unwisely in changing their situation. They cannot
more fully gratify their views by a removal : and by such
a step they abandon what is necessary and certain for
what is at once unnecessary and precarious. They might,
perhaps, obtain abroad, with less labour, what they now
obtain at home; but they are not aware how essential industry is to their happiness. [44] It gives a zest to food,
and sleep, and social intercourse; and also furnishes substantial rest; — a luxury of which the idle are ignorant.
Some have been so imprudent as to abandon the home of
their infancy, where the comforts of life could have been i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
obtained by a good degree of industry. What were the
consequences? perhaps wealth; — but it was unnecessary; -*- perhaps poverty, disease and premature death.
"Some too, even in advanced life, and after spending their
time in clearing a tract of land, so as to render it fertile
and easy of cultivation, have sacrificed a comfortable and
pleasant old age for new perils and labours in the western
The great complaint of the people of the east is, that
their agricultural labours are great and their crops small.
This declaration is, in some degree, correct ; but its truth
arises, principally, from our cultivating too much land.
And yet we are ready to make great sacrifices for the purpose of obtaining vast tracts in the west. It is admitted
that the land of the west is, generally speaking, more
fertile than ours; but it does not follow that it will always
be so, or that ours may not be rendered sufficiently fertile.
New land is always most productive. It has been enriching itself for ages. But its fertility will, upon being cultivated, become less. We see the truth of these remarks in
the cultivation of our own new lands. But I will not conceal the fact, that the western lands are naturally more
fertile than those of the east. Some of the former are
almost inexhaustibly rich; but others of them will, in
time, become poor; and then will not be so easily rendered
fertile as those of the east. The eastern land too is
stronger, more durable, retains moisture longer, and of
course more easily preserves its fertility. This is particularly the case in its comparison with the land of Kentucky.
That State is exposed [45] to great drouth. Its pan being
limestone, and its soil consisting of loam, but little rain is
imbibed, and that little is soon lost through the pores of
the limestone, and by evaporation. To the great quantities of limestone in Kentucky, its caves and petrefactions
IM 142
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
1 ;f
are to be attributed. Moisture is absolutely necessary to
vegetation. The richest land without it is entirely improductive. Upon this principle it is decidedly injurious to
deprive land of its small stones. They not only cause it
to retain moisture; but, by keeping it light, enable it to
receive much rain. They also render the earth warm, and
admit into it the necessary quantity of air. By depriving
land of its stones the earth falls into a solid mass, and the
consequence is, that it imbibes but a small portion of rain.
The stones of our fields should be rolled in as soon as the
grain is sowed. On the surface they will be useless, and
very troublesome.
I have suggested, that we cultivate too much land to
render agriculture profitable. I speak in relation to the
means which we employ for fertilizing our land. Much
may be done without the aid of manure; but the use of
this article is the most ready and efficient mode of rendering the cultivation of the earth profitable. Instead, however, of increasing this article by compost, we misapply
that which is incident to our farms. By spreading a small
quantity of manure upon a large piece of poor land, it is
almost entirely lost ; in as much as it remains in an inactive state There is not a sufficient quantity to give an
impetus to the cold and barren earth with which it is
mixed. This is one great cause of poor crops; and the
great surface over which the labour of the husbandman is
spread is the principal ground of the excessive labour of
which he complains. Should the farmer plough [46] only
as much land as he could highly manure, his labour would
be comparatively small, his crops great, and his land constantly improving. By this mode of proceeding the crops
would not exhaust the land ; and the quantity of manure
upon it, beyond what is necessary to the production of
the crops, would, by its fermentation, fertilize and render i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
of the nature of compost the whole cultivated surface.
Such land may, with a trifling expense, be kept very rich.
Whilst this process is operating upon a part of the poor
lands of a farm, the residue of them may lie fallow, or be
fertilized by ploughing in such green crops as may be
produced upon a lean soil.
The extraordinary means of enriching land are numerous. A little reflection upon the most common principles
of philosophy will point them out. The elements, acting
upon each other, are constantly producing effects, and
the latter operate as causes in the production of effects
more remote. Different soils, and different manures, and
different crops must all be connected according to their
respective and relative natures.
The materials for making compost upon a farm are
almost innumerable; and leisure hours, which would
otherwise be lost, may be employed in collecting them.
Another extraordinary mean of fertilizing the earth is frequent ploughing. This work, especially when performed
at particular times, is highly useful. It separates the unproductive masses, and opens the soil more fully to the
impregnations of that vegetable nourishment which is
contained in rain, dew, and even the air itself. Ploughing
land when the dew is on the ground is very beneficial. I
may add, that the ploughing in of stubble as soon as the
crops are off, is of much consequence.
[47] Wet land should be drained, and, when practicable,
land comparatively high should be overflown. The soil
of the former should, in some cases, be spread upon the
latter; and that of the latter applied in the same way upon
the former. Overflowing may sometimes be employed
conveniently and to much advantage.
I have said that moisture is absolutely necessary to
vegetation.    This country is rather subject to drouth than 144
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
: A*
otherwise; and hence, principally, arises the occasional
failure of our crops. One cause of the great fertility of
England is the frequent rains there. With us there is
more rain than in Great-Britain; but in the latter place
it falls, not in torrents as is sometimes the case with us,
but in gentle and more frequent showers. Wet seasons
are never unfruitful.
Another mode of rendering land productive is by a
change of crops. Different plants require a different kind
of nourishment, and a piece of land may contain a greater
quantity of one kind of vegetable food than of another.
All crops, in a greater or less degree, consume, in time,
their peculiar food; and of course require a change of
situation. To make this change, among the variety of
crops on a farm, with judgment, requires both theoretical
and practical knowledge in husbandry.
A change of seed also is of consequence. Seed carried
from the north to the south, and likewise from the east to
the west will do better than that which comes from a
milder climate. Sowing seed upon the ground which
produced it is highly disadvantageous. By a change of
seed the action of the soil upon it is more animated. Improvement of seed too in agriculture is of consequence.
That which is first ripe and most perfect should be
selected; [48] and the mode of preserving it requires
With respect to the raising of cattle too we act as unwisely as we do in relation to the cultivation of our land.
According to the limited productions of our farms, our
cattle are too numerous. We lose one half of the food
appropriated for them, by applying it to too great a
number. In many cases our cattle are not worth so
much in the spring of the year as they were in the pre-
ceeding fall.    Our swine, in particular, are kept poor until
ittiil i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
the crops come in, and then it costs to fatten them three
times as much as they are worth: the consequence is that
the farmer, before another fall, complains of his want of
Great improvements may be made in relation to the
breed and feeding of cattle. A change of stock is as important here as in agriculture. It may also be observed,
that present profit is too frequently consulted at the expense of ultimate loss. The farmer sells all his best cattle
to the butcher, or kills them for his own use, before their
real value is suffered to develope itself, and to eventuate
in the improvement of his stock.
The agricultural societies established in New-England,
and in other states of the Union, within a few years, have
produced much individual and public benefit. That of
Massachusetts is rendering her, with respect to this subject, the rival of Great-Britain. New-Hampshire is doing
something in this way; and her legislature should immediately encourage her agricultural interests.
As to the means of increasing our crops, much more
might be offered; but the nature of this work will not warrant it. Although many of our farmers do well, all might
do better; and it cannot be denied that many of us are
very negligent agriculturalists. How many of our lands
are [49] ploughed only once, and that very imperfectly !—
How many of our pastures are injured by the promiscuous
range of swine, geese, and every other creature on a farm !
How many of our orchards are left for years uncultivated
and unpruned! How many of our mowing fields are,
both in the spring and fall, shamefully poached and
grubbed by horses and sheep, as well as horned cattle!
How much neglect is there in the collection of fodder,
and how much waste in the application of it ! With us
there are many errors to be corrected, and many improve-
I ;!1!
}\ 146
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[Vol. 8
V  I
ments to be made. This topic is important, interesting,
and exhaustless; but I must dismiss it, after making a very
few additional remarks. As to our orchards, and the grazing of our mowing fields in the spring, I trust that we shall
speedily abandon practices which are so disgraceful and
so injurious. The most vigorous roots of grass shoot
first. Those our cattle crop. The future growth is
feeble; and grass, which springs after the season for it, is
always puny. With respect to our orchards, we seem to
think that they require no cultivation; that we have only
to set down the trees, and all will be well : but the nature
of things should convince us of the irrationality of our
views upon this point. Trees require manuring and cultivating as much as any other plant.
I return to the comparison between the east and the
west. However high may be the reputation of [50] the
western lands, they are decidedly inferior to ours, as a grazing country. Another advantage which we possess over
the west is, the superiority of our market. There is a
much greater disproportion between the prices, than between the crops of the two sections of the country. Our
crops are something less; but the prices which we obtain
for our produce are much higher than those of the west.
As to the prices too, of many articles, such as clothing and
groceries, the advantage is with us; the people of the
west being obliged to pay for the expense of transportation, and also the profits of the western retailer.
In point of health, the air of the west is not so salubrious
as that of the east. The country being still covered with
forests, its streams are noxious; and being too, a level
country, its evaporations are great. These circumstances produce diseases of a peculiar and fatal nature.
Our mountains are entirely free from them.
With respect to religious privileges, morals, means of i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
education, and social intercourse, the west is at present,
and will be for some time to come, far inferior to the
As to relations and friends, which emigrants frequently
leave behind them, every one will judge for himself; but
surely to a disinterested and susceptable heart, this sacrifice is not inconsiderable. When persons of this cast of
character reflect upon the fleeting nature of time, its vicissitudes, and the need which they frequently feel of the
society and solace of their friends, they will wish to spend
with them the days of their pilgrimage, to participate
with them in the little joys of life, and to commune together upon the hopes of a better world.
In concluding my reflections upon the subject of emigration, I may observe that in no case is it necessary [51] for
the people of the east to emigrate to the western country.
There is in the former an ample field for labour; and the
reward of this labour is sufficient for every rational purpose of life. Whilst men complain of labour, they add to
it by speculating upon foreign means of enjoyment, when
at the same time they possess every source of happiness,
excepting gratitude and contentment. Many persons, by
extravagance, become embarrassed, and then censure the
times, and complain of their lot instead of applying to
industry and economy for relief. Economy will perform
wonders. Nothing is more true than the adage that a
penny saved is a penny earned. The state of things, for
several years past, has been teaching us a salutary lesson
upon this subject; and all can now live within their income without wounding their pride. In economising,
however, we must avoid parsimony, which soon leads to
avarice — the source of all crime, and all littleness.
I have already written much; but, according to my
journal, it is still February, I have progressed only within s*  i
F .y.
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
sixty miles of the Heights of Queenston, and the storms
of winter still rage.
In my course through the western parts of the state of
New York, I generally travelled within forty miles of Lake
Ontario. In this part of the country many of the people
entertain strange notions respecting supernatural agencies. Solitude, whilst it strengthens the mind, and fortifies the heart of the well-informed, renders the ignorant
timid and superstitious. The whisper of their forests, and
the echo of their hills, alarm their unenlightened imaginations. Those inhabitants of the west, of whom I am now
speaking, believe in witchcraft, and often suppose it the
source of disease both in man and beast. Whilst on the
borders of Ontario, I stopped for a few moments at a log
hut where there was a man in a convulsion [52] fit. During the operation of the malady, my attention was attracted
by the conversation of two young women upon the subject. One of them observed that if a garment of the man
should be taken off and thrown into the fire, the fit would
leave him, and never again return. The other assented
to the idea; but the prescription was not attended to.
Perhaps they were afraid of being bewitched themselves.
It is a very common idea too, in the remote parts of New-
York, that if a man should shoot an owl with his rifle,
it would be rendered so crooked as never to throw ball
true again.
I may here say a word of the back-woodsmen. They
are hardy, active, industrious, and in the employment of
the axe, wonderfully strong and dexterous. But, with
respect to manners, some of them are no less rude than
the wilds which they inhabit.
The upper part of the state of New York is, comparatively, a wilderness. There are here many Indian reserves.   They are solitary places; they are dark spots on i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
the face of civilization. The tawny inhabitants of these
gloomy forests generally establish themselves in the most
remote situations, and render the access to them indirect
and difficult. Whenever I entered their villages, they
seemed, by their manner towards each other, to say:
"This civil wretch has found out our retreat." There is
a shyness and wildness in then aspect, no less significant
than such a declaration. No cause of wonder is it, that
these persecuted beings look with a jealous eye upon the
descendants of those Europeans, who drove their ancestors
from the pleasant regions of the east. They see no end to
the avarice, the claims, or the progress of white men;
and view themselves between the horrors of civilization,
and the illimitable expanse of the Pacific ocean.
[53] Barbarous as are the Indians of North America,
they possess much greatness, and many virtues. Considering their prejudices against us, which prejudices are incident to their education, and by no means groundless, they
evince much forbearance, and even friendship towards us.
Near one of the Indian reserves, I met five of these children of nature. As I had not seen one for fifteen years
before, I was much interested in their appearance. In
approaching them I presented a grave but friendly aspect.
Their gravity at first exceeded mine, but they soon became
rather sociable. After some little conversation we parted,
not, however, until they had taken much notice of my
"varm drase." In the course of a few hours, I passed
what is"called an Indian opening. It was an exposed situation of many miles in extent; the weather was severe,
the snow deep, and the wind continually whirled it about
the unsheltered traveller.
Not knowing the extent of this opening, and fearing
that night might find me without fuel, or materials for a
tent, I exerted myself to reach in season, the adjoining
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
wood. By this means I became fatigued, and very much
in want of refreshment. I had no provisions with me,
and indeed no means of carrying any. I soon perceived,
in the edge of the forest, a small log hut; but poverty
resided there, and I could obtain only an ear of corn; this,
however, I found palatable and nutritious. Dyonysius1'
did not like the fare of the public tables, under the institutions of Lycurgus, because, as the cook said, it was not
seasoned with fatigue and hunger. Towards evening, as
I was travelling through a dark wood, I discovered what I
presumed to be an Indian trail, and, for the sake of adventure, concluded to follow it. It snowed fast, darkness
was approaching, and [54] the wilderness presented a
dreary aspect. Had not my heart been afraid of me, it
would have communicated a secret alarm to my imagination, and then I should have seen around me a thousand
ambuscades. But I had so often cried down to its contemptible obtrusiveness, that it feigned, at least, a tranquil
The snow was deep, and the track exceedingly serpentine; so that I seemed, occasionally, to be travelling back
to the point at which I commenced the adventure. It,
however, finally led me over a gradual descent into a
dark plain. The first evidence which I had of there
being human habitations here, was a few sticks of recently
cut wood piled above the snow. Soon after, I heard the
distant bay of dogs. At length I came in open view of a
large collection of wigwams. It was now, however, so
dark, and it snowed so fast, that I could only see obscurely the objects which presented themselves. But
upon going nearer, my attention was arrested by the
appearance of many Indians, going in their blankets,
from several of the huts to a long and low building, which
11 The tyrant.— Evans.
ill\ i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
I afterwards ascertained was their council house. Thinking that I should here have a good opportunity to see
many of the Indians together, I knocked at the door,
lifted the latch, and entered. I made a slight bow, and
took off my cap. They presented me, in return, a serious
and unmoved aspect, but offered me a seat. Soon after,
I thought that I perceived in them some degree of timidity.
They had, within a few days, been performing some religious ceremonies, and were, probably, unusually superstitious. They had been wearing masks, for the purpose of
driving the evil spirit from their village; and, perhaps,
they began to think that they had not affected their object.
I endeavoured, however, to render my society agreeable
[55] t° them. When I entered the council house, there
were about fifty or sixty persons there. The building
was about eighty feet long, and about twelve or fourteen
wide. Across the beams overhead were several poles,
hanging from which were some traces of mouldy corn;
and on each side of the building were benches for seats.
There was no floor to the house, and at each end of it there
was, upon the ground, a large council fire. At a little distance from these, there were two parties engaged in a war-
dance. This is a custom which these Indians will not
relinquish. Some of them were naked, and many of them
covered with ornaments. They wore strings of trinkets
around their ankles, the object of which appeared to be to
produce music in dancing. They also had much jewelry
in their ears and noses. In their war dances, they imitate
every part of an engagement: the onset, retreat of the
enemy, pursuit, &c. Here the young warrior acquires
a martial spirit, and the love of fame; and here too the
aged veteran reminds his tribe of what he has done, and
of what his spirit tells him he could do again. During
the dances, I was much interested in the appearance of a lïitf
Early Western Travels
youth, a son of a chief, whose zeal for his nation caused
him, in the feigned pursuit of the enemy, to leap over
the prescribed circle of the dance, into the fire. An
old and decrepit chief too, here evinced no less devotion to his country. His appearance excited admiration
and pity. He was emaciated by disease, scarred in battle,
and bent with the weight of years. He evinced in his
efforts the greatest energy of spirit, whilst such was his decrepitude that he could not lift his eyes from the ground.
His trinkets rattled upon his aged limbs, and his wheezing
lungs sounded in his hollow trunk. Poor child of nature !
— Heaven careth for thee !
[56] The dances commenced with the beat of an old
kettle drum, and was ended by a rap with a club upon one
of the benches. At the conclusion of each dance one of
the chiefs addressed the company, and passed a piece of
tobacco as a token, which they understood much better
than myself.
In the course of an hour or two after I left this scene of
war, I entered one of the huts. Many came here to see
me, and seemed desirous to know from whence I came,
whither I was going, &c. A few of them could imperfectly speak English. An old chief attracted, by his ugliness, my particular attention. He was about sixty years
of age; his skin was coarse and shrivelled, his face was
covered with scars, one of his eyes was protuberant, bloodshot and sightless, and his hair was matted by thick red
paint, having the appearance of blood. Some of the men
were likely, the old women squallid, and the young ones
uninteresting.    The children, however, were pretty.
It is said that the Indians of North America treat their
wives with coldness and neglect; but I am of a different
opinion. Certain it is that their affection towards their
offspring is lively and tender. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
After taking some refreshment I laid down upon deer
skins, by a good fire, and slept well. I trusted to my dogs
for security. In the morning I feasted upon venison, and
conversed with several of the Indians upon a variety of
subjects, particularly upon the good will which ought to
prevail among mankind, without any reference to a difference of complexion. The Indians were very desirous of
obtaining my dogs, and would have given me a very high
price for them. I did not know but that they might wish
me out of the way, for the purpose of procuring them.
[57] The appearance of the village is* interesting. It is
situated upon a plain, and contains about one hundred
huts. Through the centre of the village runs a narrow
serpentine creek, which affords, in summer, an abundance of fish. On one side of the plain is a thicket of
bushes, and on the other a pleasant rise of land. The
name of the Creek is Tonewanto, and that of the tribe
Although in some little degree civilized, with respect to
arts, this tribe are still deplorably superstitious. Once a
year they sacrifice two white dogs to their deity, after
painting them, decorating them with ribbons, and dancing around them. The sacrifice consists in burning the
dogs, and scattering their ashes to the winds. The ceremonies generally continue fourteen days, and end in a
The Tondanwandeys worship the sun, and also bury
their dead in the morning, that the deceased persons may
have time before night to reach their relations in another
world.    In the grave they place the clothes, pipe, dish,
20 The modern name is Tonawanda Creek. It rises near the northern boundary of Wyoming County, New York, and enters Niagara River ten miles north
of Buffalo. The Indian village was part of a reservation containing seventy
square miles retained by the Seneca, when in 1797 they sold their lands to the
Holland Company.— Ed. *54
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
spoon, &c. of the deceased, thinking that they will be
wanted in a future state. Over the graves of their friends
these Indians make a hideous howl. This tribe detest
lying and stealing; and those who are innocent of these
crimes are supposed to go to their relations in a better
world, where there is a milder sky and plenty of game.—
Those, on the contrary, who are guilty of these offences,
wander from place to place, and seek their friends in vain.
These are their ideas of future rewards and punishments.
The Tondanwandeys are much troubled with the supposed existence of witchcraft; and not long since they
burned one of their women upon the suspicion of her possessing such power.
We need not go to the Islands of the Pacific Ocean for
singular manners and customs. We find [58] them here,
and it is evident that the manners and customs of all uncivilized countries are, in many particulars, very similar.
Some of them are dictated by nature, some arise from
accident, and some are the effect of tradition.
Notwithstanding the ignorance of the Tondanwandeys,
in one particular they leave civilized men far behind
them: they will not suffer any spirituous liquors to be
brought into their village. This is an instance of policy
and self-denial of which even Sparta might have been
The language of these Indians appears very much like
that of the savage tribes of the North West Coast of America. Most of their sounds are either guttural or nasal;
but principally the former. Their voice in conversation
is unpleasant; and particularly so in singing. The tones
of the women, however, are soft and agreeable.
The language of this tribe contains but a few simple
words; they therefore express new ideas by combinations
of terms, connected with such gestures, and other accom- i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
paniments of speech, as comport with the real or fancied
nature of the subject.
It is not uncommon for these Indians to travel fifty
leagues from home for the purpose of hunting. They employ the principal part of the summer in the chase. In
autumn they again engage in the business. This is their
most important season, on account of the greater relative
value of furs. During the winter they return home, laden
with peltry, smoaked flesh of various kinds, and the fat
of bears.   Last season they were very successful.
In hunting, Indians are exceedingly industrious and indefatigable; but in every other employment they are very
indolent. It is probably owing to the latter circumstance,
that they suffer their women to be the hewers of wood, and
the performers of other servile work among them. From
this practice has, [59] probably, arisen the idea, that
Indians treat their wives with severity.
The belief of the Tondanwandeys, relative to a future
state, is very simple and interesting. The death of friends
is one of the greatest trials of life; and is calculated to produce the happiest influence upon the human heart. It
alienates our affections from this world, and directs them
to the happy abode of departed spirits. The desire of
meeting our friends in a better state of existence renders
Heaven doubly dear to us; and combines at once the tenderness of affection, the hope of glory, and the fear of God.
The poor Indian fears nothing so much as the permanent
loss of his friends; and finding them in a better world constitutes, with him, the bliss of Heaven.
I continued at the Indian village until about noon of the
next day. Before leaving it, I purchased a pair of deerskin moccasons. It having snowed the preceding night,
my path through the wood was obliterated. After travelling a mile or two I became completely bewildered; and
imp, '3 4
Early Western Travels
although I had a pocket compass with me, I thought it
best to return to the village, and obtain some directions
from the Indians; but as it was still snowing fast, my track
in this direction could not, at length, be distinguished from
the impression made by masses of snow, falling from the
trees. I am unable to do justice to the solitude of my situation. It was profound and instructive. The force of
thought and luxury of sentiment, which the wilderness inspires, is indiscribable. Here man feels, at once, humble
and exalted. Silence, with a voice of thunder, maintains
the cause of virtue, and the human soul experiences the
tranquil ardour of immortal hopes.
Much exertion at length brought me to the place where,
the evening before, I noticed the Indian [60] path. Having
been plunging through the snow for some time, without
taking any notice of my dogs, I found, when I stopped to
rest, that one of them was missing. After waiting some
time for his arrival, I went back about two miles, and
found him lying in the snow. As soon as I had come
within a few rods of him, he arose and ran further from
me, but at the same time appeared desirous of convincing
me of his devotion, by smiles, and the wagging of his tail.
By his manner he seemed to say: I wish to be faithful, but
I am weary, and see no end to our travel. Lameness,
however, was the cause of his discouragement. It appeared, that one of his feet was frozen.
In the course of a day or two from this time, I arrived
in the neighbourhood of the Tuscarora Indians. They are
situated on a ridge of hills, leading to which there are several very romantic passes. I visited them early in the
morning. At this time the weather was very cold, and
there was no path through the deep snow excepting some
imperfect tracks made by themselves. In clambering up
these hills, walking on the narrow footing of their sides, i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
and supporting myself by the little bushes which had
grown from the veins of the rocks, my mind dwelt upon
Switzerland, and I almost imagined myself a Chamois
When I had come within view of the village, several
Indians were about their wigwams, but upon seeing
me, they all entered them, and shut the doors. The
Tuscaroras, as well as the Tondanwandeys, had been
sacrificing their dogs, and wearing their masks, and
their imaginations, no doubt, were rather lively. But
whatever may have been their impressions concerning me, they appeared, at first, very inhospitable. I
went to the door of one of the huts, into which I
saw several Indians enter, and knocked; [61] but all
was silence. Not wishing to be obtrusive, I then went
to another; and here, too, all was silence. I knew not
what to make of these appearances, and thought that
the Indians might be preparing to shoot me through the
door; but feeling that I had, in a state of nature, at least
an imperfect right to seek under one of their roofs a resting
place or a drink of water, I opened the door and walked
in. There were here several Indians, and they all appeared timid. By my manner, however, I soon convinced
them of my pacific disposition; and they, at length, became a little sociable.
There is a missionary among the Tuscaroras ; but I Understand that he meets with much opposition from them.
They, like other unchristianized men, point to the bad conduct of many of those, who have always possessed the light
of revelation.—This argument is plausible; and, to them,
it appears conclusive. In fact, however, it is very unsound. There are individuals among this tribe, who
threaten the most bloody destruction upon those of then-
nation, who shall embrace the christian religion.
I i58
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[Vol. 8
ft P
I may add, that we expect too much from savages, in
relation to this subject. Before we attempt to make
christians of them, we ought to make them rational men:
we ought first to persuade them to adopt the manners and
customs of civilization: we ought first to teach them the
elements of literature. By these means their minds would
become so enlarged and strengthened, as to enable them
to understand the most plain and simple truths of the gospel; and in understanding they would appreciate them.
In endeavouring to instruct savages in religion without
taking these previous steps, little or no success can rationally be expected. The narrowness of their views prevents
them from understanding the force of its precepts; and
therefore they will prefer [62] their own superstitions to
what they consider ours. Savages, with respect to this
subject, should be treated like little children; their letters
should first be taught them, and then their catechism:—
"God sees from whole to part;
But human soul, must rise from individual to the whole."
The Tuscarora Indians emigrated from North Carolina
very early in the seventeenth century, and were adopted
by the Oneidas.21 It is said that they were, originally, of
the same nation.
Soon after my little excursion to the Tuscaroras, I arrived at Lewistown; the place which made so great a figure
in the news-paper annals of the late war.22   It is a very
21 A brief account of the Tuscarora migration may be found in Long's Voyages, vol. ii of our series, note 12.— Ed.
22 The first building on the site of Lewiston was constructed by La Salle's
party in December, 1678. In spite of the protests of Governor Burnet of New
York, Joncaire established (1720) a small French trading post at this point,
' ' a kind of cabin of bark, where they displayed the king's colors." It was soon
replaced by a blockhouse inclosed by palisades; but after ^Fort Niagara was
rebuilt (1726), this post was allowed to fall into decay. Lewiston was surveyed (1798) for a village site by the Holland Company, and in 1800 contained
about ten families.    It was a port of entry from i8ir to 1863.— Ed.
h -, r i8i8]
Evan$s Pedestrious Tour
small village. Opposite to this place, across the river Niagara, are the heights of Queenstown. The portage, rendered necessary by the falls of Niagara, commences at
this part of the Straits; this being the head of ship navigation from Lake Ontario.
From Lewistown I proceeded down, along the east bank
of the river, to Fort Niagara.28 Colonel Pinkney, who
commanded there, is a man of a noble aspect and elegant
manners.24 From him and his lady I experienced a hospitable and kind reception. Whilst at the Fort I was surprised to find that the River Niagara and Lake Ontario
never freeze.   This is a fact of which I was ignorant.
On the opposite side of the Niagara, is the field where
Gen. Brock fell; and on this side is the monument of
Colonel Christie:—
"I have seen a tomb by a roaring stream,
The dark dwelling of a chief."
Colonel Christie was a truly brave and devoted soldier;
and General Brock, though a foe, was distinguished for
conduct, courage and humanity.25   [63] Fort Niagara is sit-
25 For the early history of Fort Niagara, see Long's Voyages, vol. ii of our
series, note 19.— Ed.
24 Ninian Pinckney, brother of the statesman William Pinckney, was born
at Baltimore (1776), and entered the United States army in 1799. Serving as
aide to General Wilkinson in 1813, he was promoted the following year to the
rank of lieutenant colonel. He also gained some fame as a writer, by publishing
(1809) Travels in the South of France, which "set all the idle world to going t*7
France to live on the charming banks of the Loire." He died at Baltimore in
1825.— Ed.
25 October 13, 1812, the American regular troops, Lieutenant-colonel
Christie commanding, crossed the Niagara River, and stormed and captured
Queenstown Heights, six miles from its mouth. General Brock, hastening
with reinforcements to the aid of the British, was killed and his troops driven
back. But the American militia refused to cross the river to support the regulars and the battle being renewed, the latter were finally surrounded and compelled to surrender. For a brief biography of General Brock, see Buttrick's
Voyages, ante, note 6.
Colonel John Christie, born in New York City in 1786, was a graduate of
m i6o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
uated on the east bank of the river of this name, at its junction with Lake Ontario. This is a very important post.
The Fort was built by the French in 1751; and in 1759 it
was taken by the British General Johnson, after defeating
the French army near that place. The vicinity of the
Fort was, originally, the peculiar country of the Iroquois,
or Six Nations. As to the causes of Lake Ontario, never
freezing, it is evident that they must be local and peculiar.
Lake Erie, which is not so far north, freezes hard. This
circumstance shows, that congelation does not depend so
much upon latitude, as upon other circumstances. Abstractedly it is otherwise; but relative to peculiar local
causes the position is correct. In Hudson's Bay, the
weather in winter is intensely cold; yet this place is only in
the latitude of London. It is generally supposed to be
intolerably cold at the North Pole; but the fact may be
otherwise. The idea arises from an abstract survey of
the nature of latitude, and from connecting it with the
known temperature of a particular situation. It is
known to be very cold in that part of Greenland
which lies on the coast of Baffin's Bay; and the
inference drawn is, that the weather is much more so
at the North Pole. But, it may as well be said that
because it is cold on the river Piscataqua, it is much
more so on the river Thames; and yet here the fact contradicts the argument. In some places under the Equator, the weather is as mild in summer as it is in New England; why therefore, may it not be as warm in winter at the
North Pole, as in the latter place ? In point of analogy
the question is unanswerable. But there is a more direct
argument: in some situations under the equator, there is
Columbia College, and in 1808 gave up the study of law to enter the army.
For the courage and skill displayed in the battle of Queenstown he was advanced to the rank of colonel, March, 1813. He died the following July from
the effects of a wound received in the battle.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
perpetual snow. I am aware, however, that this depends
upon altitude. It is said that there is everlasting ice at the
North Pole; [64] but the assertion cannot be correct. The
surface of the North Pole consists either of land or ocean;
if land it cannot become ice, and if ocean it must continue
in a liquid state; for no ocean has ever been known to
freeze: the depth of its water, and its perpetual undulation
prevent such effect. Besides, in north latitudes as far as
eighty or eighty-two, sea fogs are known to prevail, and
these too prevent the congelation of the ocean.
The influence of the sun upon the various parts of the
earth, during its annual motion, is not yet fully understood; and the effect of local causes adverse from or cooperative with such influence is yet to be learned.26
As to the mountains of ice, which have been seen in
north latitudes, and which have been mentioned as evidence of the perpetual frost of the North Pole, they, probably, floated from some neighboring bays, such as Baffin's, Hudson's, &c. and were formed by the accumulation of several masses of ice, which were created on the
surface of these bays, and also by the additions of snow and
rain. This last idea seems to be sanctioned by the fact,
that from these mountains, as they are called, rivulets of
fresh water, produced by their gradual dissolution, have
been known to distil from their summit.
"Local and peculiar causes," with respect to climate,
do, in all probability, operate every where. It is, in many
cases, as cold in lower, as in higher latitudes. In the latitude of the Island of St. Joseph,27 it is as cold in winter, as
it is at Quebec.    One of the great causes of a diversity of
M It is the intention of the writer to attempt, as soon as he can make the
necessary arrangements, to penetrate to the North Pole, and to find a North-
West passage by land.— Evans.
27 This is an island of Ontario in the channel between Lakes Superior and
Huron.— Ed.
IP X 1    :
1 • Vf t
Early Western Travels
climate, beyond that which is produced by latitude, may
be found [65] in the difference between land and sea air;
and yet this cause may, in some cases, be so controuled by
an adverse cause, as to be rendered inoperative. Upon the
first idea, however, it may be warmer at the North Pole
than on the Arctic Circle; indeed, in the former place, the
weather may be quite moderate, even in winter. Another
circumstance in support of this supposition may be adduced : it is well known that the earth itself is productive
of heat. In the United States, its temperature is, perhaps,
from thirty to fifty degrees. At the North Pole, the surface of the globe must be, during a part of the year, heated
to a much greater degree; even allowing, as will be proper,
for the difference between the capacities of land and water,
to imbibe heat. At the Poles, the heat of their surface,
during those months in which the sun, as to them, does
not set, must be intense; and for this heat to evaporate,
would require a considerable time, even during the total
absence of the sun. In Russia, vegetation is so rapid, that
the work of sowing and reaping is frequently accomplished
in six weeks; and in the latitude of eighty, the heat in summer is so great as to melt the pitch in the seams of vessels,
to such a degree as to endanger their safety.
In advancing the foregoing theories, respecting local
and peculiar climate, for the purpose of throwing some
light upon the unfrozen state of Lake Ontario during the
winter season, I have, perhaps, taken too extensive a range;
but the subject is, in its nature, inexhaustible. My concluding reflections upon this topic, will have a more particular application to it.
Some of the causes of Lake Ontario never freezing are,
probably, the depth of its water, and its exposure to winds.
Frost is, in its nature, heavy; and therefore shallow water
gets chilled sooner, and [66] sooner freezes.   As soon as the Wik
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
surface of water becomes impregnated with frost, its weight
presses it to the bottom, and a new supply rises to take its
place. Thus, a revolution is continued, until the whole
mass becomes chilled to a certain degree, and then the surface congeals. The necessary quantity of cold in the mass,
to produce this effect upon the surface, is about thirty degrees. The depth of Lake Ontario is very great. Attempts to ascertain its depth have, in many places, been
in vain: various parts of the centre have been sounded with
a line of three hundred and fifty fathoms, without success.
It must require a great degree, and a long continuance of
cold, so to chill so deep a body of water, as to produce the
congelation of its surface.
As to the influence of wind, it produces, as has been
observed, an undulation of water, so as to prevent that
regular operation of frost, which is necessary to congelation. The land on the north east of Lake Ontario, is
low; and the Lake is frequently agitated by storms.
As another supposed cause of the unfrozen state of this
lake in the winter season, it may be presumed that there
are beds of salt at the bottom of this body of water, which
neutralize, in some measure, the elements of frost, as they
descend beneath the surface. There are numerous salt
springs on both sides of the Lake, and in its immediate
Further: there is reason to believe, that there are warm
springs in the bed of this lake. In the vicinity of it, on the
Canada side, hunters frequently meet with spots of ground,
about two or three acres in extent, the surface of which
is, in the winter, entirely free from snow; and yet these
spots are surrounded with snow to the depth of six or
eight feet. Upon these places the snow, when it falls, instantly [67] melts, both that which falls upon the ground,
and upon the trees.
(Mf I 64
Early Western Travels
I may add, that there are in several parts of N. America,
particularly in the Missouri Territory, springs, the heat of
which is about one hundred and fifty degrees. Such
springs may exist in the bed of Lake Ontario, and if so,
they would go far to prevent the influence of frost.
Whilst at Fort Niagara, several little anecdotes occurred
which, perhaps, are not worth mentioning; they may, however, afford a momentary interest, and thereby reward me
for exposing myself to the imputation of egotism and
When I arrived at the Fort, I was much weather-beaten;
and, according to the sea-phrase, it was high time for me
to put into some harbor and repair damages. Just before
reaching this post, I understood that Colonel Pinkney
commanded there; and notwithstanding the roughness of
my appearance, I wished to become acquainted with him.
I have always thought it both proper and politic for a.
gentleman, in a strange place, if he makes himself known
at all, to introduce himself to men of the first consideration; and after this step, to leave them to take the lead in
every thing respecting their cultivation of his acquaintance^
Under such circumstances, if the persons to whom he introduces himself are gentlemen, he will be treated well,
and they will consider his confidence in them a compliment; but if they should not treat him with due respect
and attention, he may well pride himself in his superiority,,
and pity their false views of true greatness.
Upon entering the Fort, I met an Irish soldier, who
seemed to possess all the characteristic hospitality and
friendship of his countrymen. He, by my request, very
readily conducted me to the Colonel's [68] quarters; and,,
no doubt taking me for a man of his own cloth, said:
"in forth ye shall want for nothing hare; I can geve ye a
good bade, ' ' &c.   I repeatedly thanked the honest fellow, i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
and excused myself by saying that I should stop only an
At the Colonel's quarters, I requested his waiter to inform him, that a stranger wished for the privilege of introducing himself. The waiter, being a spruce lad of
seventeen, no doubt thought much better of himself than
of me: it being not easy for one in common life, and of but
little experience, to perceive a gentleman under so rough
a garb as was mine. The servant probably represented
me to the colonel as being either an Indian, or some old
hunter from the Canada shore. The first idea might well
exist: as, having travelled many days in the eye of a high
wind, my complexion had become very dark. But,
however this may have been, the servant returned with
an answer, which rather moved my yankee spirit: the
colonel wished to know whether I could not inform him,
;-through the waiter, of what I wanted. I replied, emphatically, no; and added, tell colonel Pinkney again, that
a stranger wishes for the privilege of introducing himself.
Before the servant's return, the Irishman had obtained
a brother Pad to come and see the man in fur. After
staring at me for a minute, the new-comer said—"sare,
ar ye last?" I looked at him with a steady aspect, and
replied, emphatically, lost?-lost? The fellow dropped
his eyes and drew back, his comrade, at the same time,
declaring, in true Irish lingo, "by St. Patrick, ye'd batre
mind what ye're abouti— that mon has got more sanse in
his latle fanger than we've in both of oure hades. ' ' This
unexpected compliment was no less gratifying to my vanity than contributive to my amusement.
In a moment after, the colonel's waiter returned; [69] and,
in rather a surly manner, said, "you may go in now. ' ' I
approached the parlour door, which was nearly shut; and
here placing myself upon its threshold, and gently push-
IV i66
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
ing the door fully open, I made my bow —; at the same
time taking off my cap, and bringing my rifle to an order.
Whilst in this situation, I said, Sir, I have the misfortune
to be an entire stranger to you; but I have taken the liberty to introduce myself. The colonel received and entertained me in a very liberal and polite manner; and even
invited me to sojourn with him for some days. Having,
however, conversed with him, upon a variety of topics, for
about a half hour, I arose, told him my name, place of residence, destination, &c. and bade him farewell.
Opposite to Fort Niagara, on the Canada side of the
river, is the town of Newark. It is a considerable settlement, and contains some handsome buildings. Just above
this place on the same side of the Niagara, is situated Fort
George.28 From Lewistown to Lake Ontario the river
Niagara may well be termed beautiful: it is about one third
of a mile wide, is deep enough to float the largest ships, and
its current moves silently about three miles an hour. The
banks of the river present a pleasant appearance; and the
Heights of Queenstown afford an interesting view Of the
adjacent country. The distance from Lewistown to fort
Niagara is about seven miles. Above the latter are the
famous five-mile meadows.29   They are very small; but
\Â !
28 For an account of Fort George, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 7.
The village of Newark was about a quarter of a mile from this fort. It was
settled by Loyalists immediately after the Revolution, and was then called
West Niagara. When, in 1792, the province of Upper Canada was created, it
was made the capital, and Governor Simcoe took up his residence there, changing the name to Newark. The Americans captured it (May, 1813), and held
the place until the following December. Before leaving, Brigadier-general
McClure ordered it to be burned, and all the houses, to the number of one hundred and fifty, were laid in ashes. When it was rebuilt after the war, the
name Niagara was adopted.— Ed.
29 Bordering the river, five miles above Fort Niagara, is a flat more than
sixty feet lower than the surrounding territory. Here the British landed on
the night of December r8, 1813, and the following day surprised and captured
Fort Niagara.— Ed.
ill m
=*- i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
little objects become great when connected with great
events; and, upon the same principle, little men create
for themselves temples of fame, which the weight of a fly
might crush.
Upon leaving the fort I proceeded back to Lewistown ;
and, after dark, pursued my way towards Niagara Falls.
Sometimes, when not near any habitation, [70] I travelled
from day-light to twelve o'clock at night. My object in
taking this course, was, so to shorten the nights, as to
render my situation during them more secure, and less
uncomfortable. So heavy, frequently, was the travelling,
that with great exertion I could not, during this period,
progress more than twenty miles. During my walk from
the fort, along the bank of the river, I reflected upon the
battle of Queenstown, the subsequent devastations of the
enemy upon this part of our inland frontier, and the impolicy of our so generally employing militia. The next
day I made a minute of my ideas upon the subject, and
now introduce them with some additions. I am aware,
however, that in taking this step, I shall oppose a national
prejudice; but I do it because, however much a man may
wish for the good opinion of his fellow-citizens, he ought
to regard the interests of his country more. In every thing
excepting in the too general employment of militia, our
government has, in a greater or less degree, profited by
experience. But in this particular, we seem to have been
unduly influenced by our too general idea of a standing
army:—an idea which at once calls forth ten thousand
vague apprehensions, and condemns, without the ceremony of a hearing, every suggestion of reason. We are
not children; and it is high time to put aside bug-bears.
Our prejudices against standing armies are natural, and,
in some respects, salutary; but in fleeing from the water,
let us not run into the fire. Fact is sometimes less unpleas- 168
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 8
ant than apprehension. Are we ignorant, that we have already, always have had, and always shall have a standing
army ? By a standing army, I mean a force raised for a
permanent purpose, and having no exclusive relation to a
state of war. Such a force, under the existing disposition
of man, is essential to the security of every [71] government, however peaceful may be its policy. The only question upon this subject, is,— how large our regular army
ought to be ? Here we are to guard against many evils,
which might proceed from either extreme:—from a very
large, or a very small standing army.
By a very large standing army, the counsels of the nation might be too much influenced by the private interest
and feelings of military men; unpatriotic ambition might
employ this force to the worst of purposes; its maintenance
would be inconsistent with rational economy; and an unnecessary part of our population would, comparatively,
be kept in idleness.
But, both security and true economy require, that we
should have an established, permanent, and well organized force, sufficiently numerous, and ready at a moment's warning to meet, with success, the invaders of our
land; or to reduce, with promptitude, our Indian enemies.
These are the first objects of such an establishment; the
others are,—to furnish a national standard of military tactics; to make, in a short time, real soldiers of our militia,
when a sudden necessity for a great army shall call them
into actual service; and lastly, by mingling both kinds of
force, to afford the militia support and confidence in the
hour of battle.
As to our militia, they should be instructed for the sole
purpose of enabling them more effectually to defend their
own fire-sides, and of furnishing a nursery for the ranks
of our regular army,  whenever enlistments into them
Mf/( i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
shall be necessary. Courageous as our militia are, they
are not, generally speaking, an efficient force; and by employing them as a substitute for regular troops, we unnecessarily increase expence, sacrifice valuable lives,
and expose at once, the safety and the reputation of the
[72] I have a very high opinion of the courage of my
countrymen; but courage without discipline always, excepting in cases of bad conduct on the part of the enemy,
results in general confusion, and individual sacrifice. By
employing militia in actual service, we throw away the best
and most productive part of our population. If the nation could see the dreadful aggregate of our militia, who
have fallen victims to the dangers and diseases of the
camp, merely because they were militia, there would be a
general mourning; and the nation would forever abandon,
in relation to this subject, its present policy. It is a system dictated by false ideas of economy, by a too general
eulogy of our militia, and by groundless fears with respect
to a regular force.
Our militia have, at times, performed wonders; but they
have likewise often been the cause of defeat and disgrace.
We ought not unnecessarily to employ militia in actual
service. To do so is to be careless of our population; and
our population is our wealth. Great-Britain cannot support her subjects; she may well, therefore, sacrifice them
in unnecessary wars. Her territory is comparatively small ;
whilst ours is almost unlimited. None of our citizens
should be sent into the field of battle without the confidence and conduct, which discipline gives. Our militia,
as I have said before, are the most valuable and productive part of our population; and they are sent into the field
under the most unfavourable circumstances. Many of
them have never slept a night from under their maternal Mm
fi ,
Early Western Travels
roof. They have heard their fathers speak of other times,
and their youthful hearts pant for the service of their country; but when the novelties of the camp, the music and the
parade of military life cease to inspire them, they lose, for
a time, much of their enterprize [73] and spirit. This very
circumstance disposes them to disease; and this very circumstance tends to render disease fatal. They are entirely unaccustomed to the habits and employments of a
camp; and their health is greatly exposed, by means of the
number of troops collected, by being encamped in insalubrious situations, and by modes of living, to which they are
entirely unaccustomed. In a time of peace, new recruits
may be located in small numbers, in healthy situations,
and the habits of the raw soldier be gradually changed.
But a militia force is not efficient. Discipline is, generally speaking, absolutely necessary to success. It produces in battle a sense of general, and in some measure
of individual security. The soldier in an engagement
knows, that he must take his chance, and he is willing to
take it; but it is because he has a confidence in the general
security of the army, that he stands his ground : for let him
know that there will be a rout of his party, and he will at
once become sensible of the extraordinary risque which he
must run, and will endeavour to save himself by flight.
In proportion to the discipline of an army will be the
general and individual confidence of the troops. Besides, there is a great difference between individual and
general courage. Individual courage is less common than
is supposed. A party of men may fight pretty well in
company, when, as individuals, they would, under similar
circumstances, act a cowardly part; it is a sense of mutual
support, which checks their fears, and furnishes them with
Where there is discipline,— where every individual feels
Sh lu i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
that he is supported by all the rest,— this gives him confidence; and confidence is force.
Among militia the cowardice of a few will disorganize
the whole; and when broken and hard pushed, [74] it is
impossible for them to rally. But regular troops, when
broken, can, in ordinary cases, readily form again; and,
although their ranks may be thinned by the fire of the
enemy, they are immediately filled, order is maintained,
the army, though reduced, is still an army; and, although
overpowered, they fight, not like a rabble, but like true
soldiers. Their manouvres too, upon which the result of
an engagement much depends, are performed promptly,
and in order. Indeed, a soldier, in a well disciplined army,
is a mere machine; he is a part of a perfect whole, has no
will of his own, and moves only by the direction of his
commanders. Had our force, at the attack upon the city
of Washington, been of such a class, what a glorious defence would have been made !80 They would have planted
themselves before it, and in the name of every thing dear,
and sacred, and terrible, would have resisted its unprincipled invaders.
Our militia, as has been observed, sometimes perform
wonders; but these are exceptions to a general rule; and
exceptions are a poor ground for the establishment of a
general principle. In a pell-mell contest, militia will fight
with effect, because the mode of fighting is, on both sides,
of the same kind. Here our militia would prevail over
that of any other nation.    And were our troops always
" August 17, 1814, a British force under Major-general Ross landed at the
mouth of the Potomac and marched leisurely toward Washington. The city
was entirely without defense. Two thousand men having been collected from
the surrounding country and a thousand regulars assembled, the British were
met (August 24) at Bladensburg — five miles northeast of Washington. Resistance was brief, the Maryland militia fled, followed by the remainder of the
troops. Ross entered Washington without further opposition, and burned the
public buildings.— Ed. 172
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k j
■   ',* r.
■iii ÏA/
well disciplined, they would always, excepting in cases of
accident, overcome the regular troops opposed to them.
These effects would arise from the people of this country
possessing more animal vigour, and more moral force than
any other people.
Our militia may soon be made good soldiers, because
they are intelligent, and have already received some military instruction. I speak of them in comparison with the
militia of other countries. Much discipline, and the scenes
and avocations of the [75] camp should be familiar to soldiers, before they are brought into the field. By teaching
them their first lessons, at the point of the bayonet, immense sacrifices are made, both of reputation and of blood.
The expence too of maintaining a militia force, is much
greater than that of supporting a regular army. The former must be more numerous than the latter; and, of course,
their wages and provisions must amount to more.
Our military establishment should, to say the least, be
sufficiently large to enable us to move, whenever necessary, a well organized, well disciplined, and efficient force
against our savage neighbours. Such a kind of force is
the only proper one to meet the fatigues and dangers of Indian warfare. It is time for the nation to be heart-sick of
inefficient military efforts, defeat and massacre. The Indians may be conquered; but the genius of a Jackson,
thousands of Tennesseeans, much time, and a vast ex-
pence should not, in this country, be requisite to overthrow a few hundred Seminoles.31   A well organized, and
81 This is hardly a fair illustration. The difficulty was, that the Seminole
stronghold was on Spanish territory, and it was Jackson's boldness in invading
neutral territory, pursuing the Indians into the swamps, and seizing the Spanish
posts, that ended the war. He entered Florida late in March, 1818; after five
days' march, he reached and destroyed the Indian village, Fowltown; took possession of St. Marks, April 6, and then marched one hundred and seven miles
across a swampy wilderness to Suwanee — the town of the Seminole chief Bowlegs. The Indians had been warned and had retreated, but he burned the
village, and the war was ended as far as the Seminoles were concerned.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
well appointed force of one thousand men could effect
such an object in thirty days after leaving the proper place
of rendezvous.— I say one thousand men, because a large
force is more decidedly efficient than a small one. Militia,
under ordinary circumstances, are put into the utmost
confusion by the whoop, and yell, and onset, of Indians;
and then a total butchery of them ensues. But let a regular force be employed, and order and firmness will resist
the most furious, and unexpected attack; and the next
moment they will march on to victory. Our celebrated
fourth regiment at the battle of Tippecanoe proves this
position.82 But for them, this engagement would have resulted like those of Braddock and St. Clair.
The honour and the safety of the nation, demand [76] an
ample and well organized military establishment. With
the love of liberty, and every other circumstance in our
favour, we have often, by only an equal force, been defeated; and this effect arose from our want of discipline.
The nation must have such a force as can be depended
upon:— such a force as will fear a departure from discipline more than the bayonet of the enemy. Such a force
can be obtained only by offering to our best population,
both officers and soldiers, such compensation and advantages as will, not only induce them to engage in the service
of their country, but such as will be in themselves so fully
adequate, as to render the service respectable. A considerable part of the expence of such an establishment, might
be defrayed by employing the troops in making roads, and
in other internal improvements. This business would
keep them from idleness, inure them to labour, and render
81 When on the morning of November 7, 1811, the Indians attacked General
Harrison's camp and thus opened the battle of Tippecanoe, the militia were for
a time thrown into confusion, while the Fourth United States Infantry under
command of George Rogers Clark Floyd, stood their ground. After the campaign was ended the latter more than hinted that had it not been for them the
whole force would have been massacred.— Ed.
*a !74
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[Vol. 8
them acquainted with those implements, which are employed in pioneering, and in fortification.
The present administration are, no doubt, disposed to
promote the respectability and safety of the nation; and
the opposition have always been in favour of a considerable military and naval establishment. The experience
gained by our last contest with Great-Britain cost us much;
and it ought not to be forgotten. Both political parties in
this country agree, that in peace we ought to be prepared
for war. That I do, however, consider war between nations, seldom necessary, and a practice which places
human nature upon the most humiliating ground, will
fully appear when I reach, in the course of my tour,
those fields of carnage which forcibly speak to the
lone traveller.
The rapids of the river Niagara commence at a little distance above the celebrated falls, and terminate near the
narrows opposite to Lewiston. Between [77] these two
places the distance is about seven miles.
That I might have a full view of the scenery in the vicinity of the falls, I travelled, during the evening of my leaving Fort Niagara, only two miles beyond Lewistown.
Early the next morning I moved on, glowing with anticipation. The lofty and rude banks of this part of the
river, the deafning clamour of the falls, and the huge
clouds of vapour which arose from them, inspired me with
a new and indiscribable emotion. The day too was dark,
windy, and wild. Yet the sun shone bright;—but the
darkness did not comprehend it.
Owing, perhaps, to the excitement occasioned by these
circumstances, I expected too much. I confess that I
was disappointed, both with respect to the height of the
falls, and the quantity of water propelled over them in a
given time.   There is, however, in their eternal roar, i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
a nameless solitude.   For ages this roar has been ceaseless; and it seems to speak of perpetual duration.
The rapids just above the falls, excited much interest.
Dark, furious, and perplexed, they rush on as though eager
for destruction. Here the imagination suddenly becomes
aroused, and with a sombre, yet vivid glance, surveys the
opposite, and renowned plains of Chippewa and Bridge-
water ;ss— then returning to the rapids, it hears, in the
voice of their fury, the half-drowned vow of the warrior,
and sees, in their mist, his falling steed, and brandished
falchion. The trees near the falls were all prostrated by
the weight of congealed vapour; and seemed to worship,
most devoutly, the Great Author of this grand spectacle.
A lovely, yet fearful rainbow, arched the river below; and
numerous gulls, were obscurely seen sailing through the
thick exhalations which filled the whole space to [78] the
Canada side.— Charon and his boat only were wanted to
complete the scene.
How impressive is the grand in nature ! It withdraws
the human mind from the trifling concerns of time, and
points it to its primeval dignity, and lofty destinies.
There are three divisions of the falls; and they are
occasioned by two islands situated in the river. The
whole describes a crescent. One of the islands is about
four hundred yards wide, and the other about ten yards.
Perhaps the whole width of the islands and falls,
including the curvatures of the latter, is three quarters of
a mile. The height of the principal falls is about one
hundred and fifty feet;   and the descent of the rapids,
33 Major-general Brown having crossed Niagara River (July 3, 1814) and
captured Fort Erie, General Riall marched to attack him. The two forces met
(July 5) on the plains of Chippewa, midway between Forts George and Erie,
and after a sharp skirmish the British retreated to Queenstown. The importance of. the battle was overshadowed by that of Lundy'sLane, which occurred
the same month.— Ed.
\ I 176
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above the largest of them, is about sixty feet. One can
hardly avoid personifying this rush of water; meeting, as
it does, huge rocks and trees lying in every direction, and
seeking, with a wild and furious velocity, a passage to
the falls. Breaking and foaming, the rapids take a thousand courses, and with a restive spirit, seek the abyss
below. The obstructions of the rapids appear to dispute their passage; and the whole scene is fury, uproar
and destruction. The vapour, arising from the rapids,
adds to the sublimity of the scene, by the obscurity with
which it clothes their tremendous concussions.
The icicles, pending from the sides of the banks contiguous to the falls, are, in the winter season, so tinged
with the sulphurious particles which are mingled with
their strata, as to present, when stricken by the rays of
the sun, a scintillating and bluish glare.
A more particular account of the falls is deemed unimportant. I have endeavoured to give such a description
as comported with my ideas and feelings, whilst in view
of them. These falls are, no doubt, a great natural curiosity; and they will excite in all [79] much admiration
and awe. But many of the descriptions which travellers
have given of them, are erroneous in point of fact, and
ridiculous in point of imagery. An English writer says,
that their "noise and vapour would scarcely be equalled
by the simultaneous report and smoke of a thousand
cannon." It is true, that the roar of the falls can at times
be heard for thirty miles, or perhaps further; and that
their exhalations have been seen at the distance of ninety
miles; but these circumstances exist only under peculiar
states of the atmosphere, and the causes of them produce,
upon the spot, a much less comparative effect. The
falls, however, are indeed tremendous; and they constitute the only visible discharge of four vast inland seas.
h I i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
Tradition says, that the falls of Niagara have, for a
great length of time, been receding;—that they were
originally situated at the foot of the rapids near Lewis-
town, a distance of seven miles from their present position.84 This idea is no doubt correct. Masses of rock
must, from time to time, have been shaken from the top
and sides of the falls, by the continual abrasion of the
rapids. It is to be presumed, that the falls will continue
to move up towards Lake Erie; lessening the waters of
the upper lakes, and increasing those of the lower, in
proportion as the descent of the bed of the river above
the present situation of the falls may be greater, and the
obstructions in it less. In the course of many centuries,
the falls will, probably, reach Lake Erie itself; in which
case the upper lakes may be partially drained, and Lake
Ontario be overflown. It has been asserted, that this lake
fills once in seven years. As to the time, this must be a
whim; but there is reason to believe that the lake occasionally fills, because its sources are numerous and great,
its discharge is not very ample, and high north-east winds,
which frequently prevail here, retard the [80] progress of
the water towards the river St. Lawrence.
I may here more particularly notice Lake Ontario. Its
length is about one hundred and seventy miles, and its
breadth about sixty miles. It contains a great many
islands, nearly all of which are situated at the easterly
end of the lake. The principal islands are Amherst,
Wolf, Gage, and Howe. The land on the north-east
coast of this lake is low, and in some places marshy;
near Lake Champlain, however, the country is somewhat
84 It is held that Niagara Falls have receded seven miles from their position when first known, the average yearly recession being from four to six
feet.— Ed.
i» §
:• i\m 178
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One of the islands in the river Niagara, of which I have
spoken as contributing to a division of the falls, is called
Goat Island. It belongs to Judge Porter, and contains
about eighty acres.85 Its soil is excellent, and its timber
valuable. From the main land to this island a bridge has
recently been built; and I understand, that a hotel is
soon to be erected on the island, for the accommodation
of those who may visit the falls.
The whole length of the river Niagara is about thirty-
eight miles. Its width is various. From Lewistown to
the falls it is very narrow, its banks high, and its bed consists of solid limestone. Above the falls the river, in
some places, is three miles wide, and contains several
large islands. Here its banks are low. At the ferry,
about two miles from Lake Erie, the river is only about
one mile wide; and near the falls it again contracts, and
thereby so compresses the water as greatly to increase its
velocity. The average depth of the river is from twenty-
five to thirty feet. The rapidity of its current, from the
ferry to within a short distance of the falls, is about
six miles an hour; but just above the former its motion
is much quicker. The navigation of the river, above the
falls, is very dangerous.
The principal of the islands just mentioned are
[8r] Navy, Grand, and Buck-horn.   The growth of tim-
36 Augustus Porter, brother of General Peter Porter, was born at Salisbury,
Connecticut, in 1769. When twenty years of age, he left home for western
New York, becoming a surveyor in the Phelps and Gorham Tract, and later
in the Holland Purchase. In 1806, he removed with his family to Niagara
Falls, where he continued to reside until his death in 1825. In association
with three others, he formed the Portage Company, which leased from the
state for fifteen years the exclusive privilege of transporting property across the
portage between Lewiston and Schlosser. He was the first judge of Niagara
County, opening his first term at Buffalo in 1808. The unusual length of his,
Ufe enabled him to see the country, through which he had travelled for days |
without meeting a white man, develop into a populous agricultural and commercial region.— Ed. i8i8]
Evans's Pedestrious Tour
ber upon them is principally hard wood, and their soil is of
a superior quality.   Grand island is fifteen miles in length.
From the falls of Niagara I proceeded to Buffalo.
The distance from the former place to Black Rock, is
about twenty-two miles.86 The way to it is through a
gloomy wood, between the trees of which one may occasionally see the river. Here the aspect was dreary. The
snow was still very deep; the weather cold, windy and
wild; the river presented a green appearance, was partially covered with masses of ice, and violently agitated by
the spirit of an approaching storm. In this situation I met
three Indians. We were thinking of a shelter.—We passed
each other, only with a mute and sympathetic glance.
In the vicinity of the Lakes Ontario and Erie deeper
snows fell, during the last winter, than had ever been
known there; and the severity of the cold was without a
parallel. Many people on the Lakes, and in the woods
were frozen to death. A hunter, who went into the wood
for an afternoon, was so frozen as to render necessary the
amputation of his feet; and it was not uncommon, in the
upper part of the state of New-York, to see men, in consequence of the frost, moving upon crutches.
It may be well for me here to mention some additional
facts, in relation to the country through which I have
passed since leaving Vermont. The face of it, from the
Green Mountains to Niagara River, is rather level than
mountainous; there are, however, many high and steep
hills. On both sides of the Mohawk north and south,
and from sixty to one hundred miles west from Albany,
there are a number of considerable hills. In the vicinity
of these, particularly near Scoharie, the soil is of an
inferior [82] quality.   West of this to Lake Ontario is an
. M For a brief account of Black Rock and Buffalo, see Buttrick's Voyages,
ante, notes 4 and 9.— Ed. If
Early Western Travels
extensive level, interspersed with gradual and gentle swells.
Some of the slopes are extensive, and result in spacious
flats, many of which are very rich. This is particularly
the case on the Genessee. The north-easterly part of the
State is hilly, and even mountainous; but some portions
of this section of the country, especially near Black River,
is very fertile. West of the Genessee, and more decidedly
so in the vicinity of Buffalo, the soil is not remarkably
good ; but on both sides of the river, along Lake Ontario,
the land is much better. In various other parts of the
state the soil is almost inexhaustibly rich; but, as is the
case in all extensive tracts of country, there are here some
poor lands. Generally speaking, the state is of immense
force in point of agriculture; and the means of conveying
it to market are ample. North and South, the Hudson,
possessing a deep stream and gentle current, extends
from New-York, the great maratime depo of the state,
to the mountains between Lake Champlain and the St.
Lawrence. From about the centre of this river, north
and south, the Mohawk reaches to within a very short
distance of Lake Ontario; and between Lake Champlain and Lake Erie, east and west, there are a great many
small lakes and rivers, which tender their waters to the
public spirit of the state. It is the object of New York
to draw to herself the trade of Vermont