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

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Array       Early Western Travels
1748-1846  ^m
Early Western Travels
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," "Wisconsin
Historical Collections," "Chronicles of Border Warfare,"
"Hennepin's New Discovery," etc.
Volume IV
Cuming's Tour to the Western Country (1807-1809)
Cleveland, Ohio
The Arthur H. Clark Company
1904 Copyright 1904, by
Preface.    The Editor 7
Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country, through the
States of Ohio and Kentucky; a Voyage down the Ohio and
Mississippi Rivers, and a Trip through the Mississippi Territory, and part of West Florida.    Commenced at Philadelphia in the Winter of 1807, and concluded in 1809.   Fortes-
cue Cuming.
Copyright notice        .......   18
Author's Table of Contents .       .       .       .       .   19
Author's Preface        .......   23
Text 25
Facsimile of Original Title-page	  PREFACE TO VOLUME IV
We devote the fourth volume of our series of Western
Travels to the reprint of Fortescue Cuming's Sketches of a
Tour to the Western Country — the tour having been made
in 1807-1809, the publication itself issuing from a Pittsburg press in 1810.
Of Cuming himself, we have no information save such as
is gleaned from his book. He appears to have been an
Englishman of culture and refinement, who had travelled
extensively in other lands — notably the West Indies,
France, Switzerland, and Italy. It is certain that he journeyed to good purpose, with an intelligent, open mind, free
from local prejudices, and with trained habits of observation. Cuming was what one may call a good traveller —
he endured the inconveniences, annoyances, and vicissitudes of the road, especially in a new and rough country,
with equanimity and philosophic patience, deliberately
making the best of each day's happenings, thus proving
himself an experienced and agreeable man of the world.
The journeys narrated were taken during two succeeding
years. The first, in January, 1807, was a pedestrian tour
from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. Arriving in the latter city
on the second of February, after twenty-seven days upon
the road, the remainder of the winter, the spring, and the
early summer were passed at Pittsburg. On the eighteenth
of July following, our traveller took boat from Pittsburg,
and made his way down the Ohio to the Kentucky entrepdt
at Maysville — where he arrived the thirtieth of the month.
Mounting a horse, he made a brief trip through Kentucky
as far as Lexington and Frankfort, returning to Maysville ■—
8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
on the fifth of August. The following day, he crossed the
Ohio, and after examining lands in the vicinity, proceeded
partly on foot, partly by stage and saddle, over the newly-
opened state road of Ohio, through Chillicothe, Lancaster,
and Zanesville to Wheeling; thence back to Pittsburg,
where he arrived the evening of August 21.
The following year (1808), Cuming begins his narrative
at the point on the Ohio where he had left the river the
previous year—at Maysville, whence he embarked on the
seventh of May for Mississippi Territory. With the same
fulness of detail and accurate notation that characterize
his former narrative, Cuming describes the voyage down
the Ohio and the Mississippi until his arrival at Bayou
Pierre on the sixth of June, after a month afloat.
Starting from Bruinsbury, at the mouth of Bayou Pierre,
August 22, he took a horseback trip through the settlements of Mississippi Territory lying along the river and
some distance inland on its tributaries — Cole's Creek, St.
Catharine's Bayou, the Homochito, etc.— penetrating the
then Spanish territory of West Florida as far as Baton
Rouge, and returning by a similar route to Bruinsbury,
where he arrived the fifteenth of September.
At this point Cuming's tour is concluded. In order to
give completeness to the work, however, the first editor
added the journal of a voyage taken in 1799 "by a gentleman of accurate observation, a passenger in a New Orleans
boat." From just above Bayou Pierre, this anonymous
author departed on the ninth of February for New Orleans,
where he arrived on the twenty-third of the same month.
Embarking therefrom March 12, he reached Philadelphia
after a month's voyage via Havana and the Atlantic shore.
His narrative is far less effective than that of Cuming.
Like a well-bred man of affairs, Cuming never intrudes
his private business upon our attention; but incidentally we 1807-1809]
learn that his first Western journey from Pittsburg was undertaken at least in part to observe some lands in Ohio,
which he had previously purchased in Europe, and with
whose situation and location he was agreeably surprised.
The journey to Mississippi appears to have been undertaken with a view to making his home in that territory.
The place and date signed to the preface — "Mississippi
territory, 20th Oct. 1809"—would indicate that he had
decided upon remaining where he had found the social
life so much to his taste, and some of his former friends and
acquaintances had settled.
It is the natural impulse of almost every traveller to
record the events of a somewhat unusual tour. Cuming
wished, also, to afford information to Europeans and Eastern men of "a country, in its infancy, which from its rapid
improvement in a very few years, will form a wonderful
contrast to its present state." His attitude was sympathetic towards the new and raw regions through which he
travelled; nevertheless this fact does not appear to have
unduly affected his purpose of giving an accurate picture
of what he saw. He does not slur over the disadvantages,
nor extenuate any of the crudeness or vulgarity; but at the
same time portrays the possibilities of the new land, its
remarkable growth, its opportunities for development, and
the vigor and enterprise of its inhabitants.
In plain, dispassionate style, he has given us a picture of
American life in the West, at the beginning of the nineteenth
century, that for clear-cut outlines and fidelity of presentation has the effect of a series of photographic representations. In this consists the value of the book for students of
American history. We miss entirely those evidences of
amused tolerance and superficial criticism that characterize so many English books of bis day, recounting travels
in the United States — a state of mind sometimes developing
m i o Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
into strong prejudice and evident distaste, such as made
Dickens's American Notes a caricature of conditions in the
new country.
It is essentially a backwoods life to which Cuming introduces us, although not in the first stages of its struggle for
existence. Indian alarms are a thing of the past, a large
percentage of the land is cleared, the people have better
dwellings than in the log-cabin days, there is now rude
abundance and plenty, and the beginnings of educational
Opportunities, social intercourse, and the amenities of
civilized life. The pioneers themselves — Indian fighters
and skilful hunters — have become rare. Here and there
Cuming encounters a former Indian captive, like Andrew
Ellison, or a scout and ranger, like Peter Neiswonger; but
as a rule it is the second generation whom he meets, or
members of the second tide of emigrants that came in after
the Revolution — officers in the army, younger sons of the
better classes, who by energy and capacity bettered their
fortunes in the West, built for themselves good homes, laid
out towns, developed orchards, farms, and plantations, and
were living in that atmosphere of prosperity which heralded
the ultimate fortunes of the new land.
Nevertheless, the inheritances of the older days of struggle
and primitive society are still in evidence — the lack of
facilities at the small country inns, the coarseness and rudeness of the manner of living, the heavy drinking and boisterous amusements of the young, the fighting, the incivility
to travellers, the boorishness of manners. All these are
relics of the early days when the rough struggle with the
wilderness developed the cruder rather than the finer virtues of men. On the other hand, as we have already
pointed out, Cuming shows us the hopeful elements of this
new land: not only its wonderful material prosperity, its
democratic spirit and sense of fairness, but its adaptability, 1807-1809] Prefact 11
its hospitality for new ideas, the beginnings of the fine art
of good living, and eagerness to promote schools, churches,
and the organizations for the higher life.
Some of the particular features recorded by Cuming, that
are now obsolete, are the use of lotteries for raising money
for public purposes, and the prevalence of highway robbery
in the unsettled parts of the country. The restlessness of
the population is also worthy of note — the long journeys
for trivial purposes, the abandoned settlements in Kentucky
and Illinois.
Especially valuable for purposes of comparison, is Cuming's accurate account of the towns through which he passed
— their size and appearance, number and kind of manufactures, business methods and interests. Characteristic of the
period also, is the enterprise of the inhabitants — town-
sites laid out at every available position, speculation in
lands, and large confidence in the future of the region. In
that confidence Cuming appears fully to have shared.
Already, he tells us, food-stuffs were being exported to
Europe, the growth of the cotton industry promised large
returns, the richness of the soil and the resources and fertility of the land fostered high hopes.
In regard to social conditions, our author writes at a time
when the formerly uniform and homogeneous character of
the Western population was beginning to break up, especially in the slave states and territories, and when the professional classes and large land-owners were taking a leading
position in affairs. He notes particularly the importance
and assumption of leadership on the part of the lawyers.
The virulent excitement of political life is one of the features of his observations that his first editor attempted to
excuse and modify. It was doubtless true that the incidents attendant upon the arrest and trial of Burr had especially aroused the section through which Cuming passed.   It 12 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
is probable, however, that his portrayal of the animosity
of political divisions is substantially accurate; and that not
only did "politics run high" at the tavern and political
club, but it controlled the social coterie, and in early American society adjusted lines of relationship more strictly than
is evident today.
The areas which Cuming visited were those, with the
exception of Tennessee, in which were to be found the most
characteristic features of Western life. Western Pennsylvania and Northwestern Virginia comprised a homogeneous
population, living under similar conditions. Closely allied
was Kentucky, although it was beginning to be modified by
settled conditions, the prosperity of low, rich pasture lands,
and its distance from Eastern markets. In Ohio, however,
Cuming encountered the New England element — but
well mixed with Southerners on the Virginia bounty-lands,
French of the Gallipolis settlement, and New Jersey and
Middle States emigration to the region of the Miamis. His
narrative, continued down the Ohio, shows the scarcity of
population in Indiana and Illinois, and in Kentucky below
Louisville; also the frontier character of that region as far
down the Mississippi as the Natchez district. Here again,
Cuming meets with an area of settlement begun under the
British rule of West Florida, and continued under Spanish
authority, until a few years before his voyage. In Mississippi, he portrays to us the beginnings of plantation life —
the large estates, with gangs of negroes; the hospitality,
cultivation, and charm of the upper classes, jostled by the
rude waifs and strays that the river traffic wafted to their
landings. In spite of diversities, the characteristics of
Western life had much sameness — the mingling of the population, the shifting of people from all sections, and the
dependence upon the rivers as the great arteries of Western 1807-1809]
commerce, with its ultimate outlet by way of the Mississippi
and New Orleans.
Cuming's work was not immediately published after
writing. The manuscript passed into the possession of
Zadok Cramer, a Pittsburg printer who was particularly interested in Ohio and Mississippi navigation, for which he
published a technical guide called The Navigator, that ran
through numerous editions. Cramer annotated Cuming's
manuscript, adding thereto a considerable appendix of
heterogeneous matter — collected, as he says in his advertisement, '' from various sources while the press was going
on with the work, and frequently was I hurried by the compositors to furnish copy from hour to hour.'' This material,
much of it irrelevant and reprinted from other works, the
present Editor has thought best to omit. It ranges from a
description of the bridge at Trenton to Pike's tour through
Louisiana — embracing such diverse matter as "Of the
character of the Quakers," "Sculptures of the American
Aborigines," and "Particulars of John Law's Mississippi
The hope of Cramer that a second edition would soon be
called for, was not fulfilled. Put forth in 1810, the book
has never been reprinted until the present edition, which it is
believed will be welcomed by students of American history.
As in former volumes of the series, Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D., of the Wisconsin Historical Library, has
assisted in the preparation of the notes. The Editor desires,
also, to acknowledge his obligations to Mrs. Frances C.
Wordin, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, for valuable information concerning her grandfather, Dr. John Cummins, of
Bayou Pierre, Mississippi.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., April, 1904. w
II j
L Cuming's Sketches of a Tour to the Western
Reprint of the original edition (Pittsburgh, 1810).   The Appendix,
being composed of irrelevant matter, is herein omitted.
% ©apage
.\a w
BE it remembered, That on the first day of May, in the thirty-
fourth year of the Independence of the United States of America, A.D.
1810, Zadok Cramer, of the said district, hath deposited in this office,
the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the
words following, to wit:
Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country, through the States of Ohio
and Kentucky, a Voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and a
Trip through the Mississippi territory, and part of West Florida. Commenced at Philadelphia in the winter of 1807, and concluded m 1809.
By F. Cuming. With Notes and an Appendix, containing some interesting Facts, together with a notice of an Expedition through Louisiana.
In conformity to an act of the congress of the United States, intituled,
"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." And also to the act, entitled
"An act supplementary to an act, entitled 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 time therein mentioned," and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing,
engraving, and etching historical and other prints.''
D.CALDWELL,   clerk   of
the district of Pennsylvania. [iii] CONTENTS
Commencement of journey — Schuylkill bridge — Schuylkill river
— Downingstown — Brandywine creek — Pequea creek —
New Holland — Connestoga creek and bridge — Lancaster        25
Elizabethtown — Susquehannah river — Harrisburgh .        .        -    33
Connestoga massacre — Carlisle and Dickinson college        .        .    42
Shippensburgh — Strasburgh — Horse valley     .        .        .        -    49
Fannetsburgh — Juniata — Bloody run — Bedford     .        .        .    55
Allegheny mountains—Somerset — A murder   .        .        .        .61
Laurel and Chesnut hills — Greensburgh — Pittsburgh       .        .    70
Pittsburgh — Lawyers — Clergymen 76
CHAP, rx
Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers 87
Georgetown — Little Beaver creek 100
Steubenville — Charlestown 106
Warren — Wheeling—Canton in 20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
Little and Big Grave creeks — Monuments        .        .        -        .114
Muskingum — Marietta — Fortifications 120
Little Kenhawa — Blennerhasset's island 126
Little and Big Hockhocking — Bellville 130
Le Tart's falls—Graham's station 135
Point Pleasant — Battle — Dunmore's campaign        .        .        . 140
[iv] CHAP. XLX
Galliopolis — Green's bottom — Hanging rock  .... 147
Big Guiandot — Great Sandy — Snakes    .        .        .       .        . 153
French Grant — Little Sciota — Portsmouth      .        .       .       .156
chap, xxn
• Sciota — Alexandria — Salt-works 161
Brush creek — Manchester — Maysville 165
Washington, K. — May's and Blue licks — Salt furnaces     .        .170
Nicholasville — Millersburgh — Massacre .... 176
Lexington x%x
Leesburgh — Frankfort !8q
Paris — Frank Bird — Hospitality I96
L 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 21
Commence a journey from Maysville through the state of Ohio to
Pittsburgh 201
chap. xxx
Bainbridge — Arrival at Chilicothe 208
The Sciota — Chilicothe — Monuments 215
Hockhocking—New Lancaster — Zanesville     .... 219
Wills's creek — Cambridge — Beymer's    .       . .       . 226
St. Clairsville — Indian Wheeling 230
Little Wheeling — Alexandria or Hardscramble .       .       . 234
Washington, Penn. — Canonsburgh — Pittsburgh      .       .       . 238
Pittsburgh — Panorama around it 242
Descends the Ohio again — Columbia, Newport, Cincinnati, Port
Williams, Louisville, falls 255
Blue river — Horse machinery boat 261
Green river — Henderson — Cotton machine     .       .        -       .265
Wabash river, Shawanee town, Rocking cave      .... 269
Cumberland river, Tennessee, Fort Massac        .       .       -       - 273
i, New Madrid, Little Prairie 279 mm*
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
and customs
Fort Pike, Chickasaw Indians, Fort Pickering
Settlements of Arkensas and White river   .
Grand lake, Anecdote of a Carolinean
Walnut Hills, Fort M'Henry, Bayou Pierre
Commence a tour by land, Cole's creek, Greenville
Washington, Natchez, Mississippi territory
Homochito, Fort Adams, Pinkneyville
Enter West Florida, Thomson's creek
Baton Rouge, Spanish governour, Mrs. O'Brien's
- 318
- 326
- 33i
Remarks on the climate, soil, manners, face of the country, productions, &C ' 347
The description of the Mississippi continued from Bayou Pierre to
New Orleans — Thence a sea voyage to Philadelphia, by an- ~m
The writer of the following tour would not' trouble the
reader with a Preface, did not some circumstances render it
in a certain degree necessary.
It might be asked why he had not commenced the tour
with a particular description of Philadelphia. His reasons
for not doing so were, in the first place, Philadelphia is a city
so minutely described in every modern geographical publication, that few readers are unacquainted with its local situation between the rivers Delaware and Schuylkill, its regularity of plan, its rapid progress, &c. Whereas the country
through which the author travelled has been very little treated
of by tourists, of course is little known to strangers; though
an account of its appearance, its natural properties, its improvements, and the manners of its mixed population, perhaps merits a place on the shelves of the literati, as much as
the numerous tours and travels through Europe, Asia and
Africa with which they are loaded. Indeed, in one point of
view, such a book may be much more useful, as it may serve
for a record of the situation of a country, in its infancy,
which from its rapid improvement in a very few years, will
form a wonderful contrast to its present state, while the
trans-Atlantick travellers have to treat of countries either
arrived at the highest state of improvement, or of others
buried in the gloom of ignorance and barbarity, and
of course both stationary, and therefore not affording
any variety of consequence, during the two last centuries,
(in which time they have been the theme of so many
able pens) excepting the style of writing and manner of
description. ^mm
24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
In the second place — It was the author's wish to condense
as much into one cheap volume as he could make it contain,
and had he entered into minute descriptions of places the
best known, he would [have] had so much the less room for
the original matter, with which he intended to constitute
the bulk of the work.
It was intended to have put the work to the press in the
winter of 1807, the year in which the tour commenced, but a
series of disappointments essayed by the author, has unavoidably postponed it, and has given him an opportunity
of adding to the original plan, some account of the lower
parts of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and the countries
washed by them, particularly the Mississippi territory,
which has become of great importance to the United States,
and is not without its value to Europe, from its immense
supply of cotton to the European manufacturers.
[viii] As the intention of the author was the increase of
information, he makes no apology for the plainness of his
style, and he expects, on that account, to be spared any criticism. Should however any one think proper to bestow a
leisure hour in the remarking of his inaccuracies, or the
incorrectness of his language, he can have no possible
objection, as criticism of that kind always tends to general
Mississippi territory, 20th Oct. 1809. SKETCHES OF A TOUR
Commencement of journey — Schuylkill bridge — Schuylkill river — Downingstown — Brandywine creek — Pe-
quea creek — New Holland — Conestoga creek and
Bridge — Lancaster.
On 8th January 1807,1 left Philadelphia on foot, accompanying a wagon which carried my baggage. I preferred
this mode of travelling for several reasons. Not being
pressed for time I wished to see as much of the country as
possible; the roads were in fine order, and I had no incentive
to make me desirous of reaching any point of my intended
journey before my baggage. With respect to expence, there
was little difference in my travelling in this manner, or on
horseback, or in the stage, had I been unincumbered with
baggage; for the delay on the road, awaiting the slow pace
of a loaded wagon, which is not quite three miles an hour,
and not exceeding twenty-six miles on a winter's day, will occasion as great expence to a traveller in a distance exceeding
two such days' journey, as the same distance performed
otherwise in less than half the time, including the charge of
horse or stage hire.
The first object which struck me on the road, was the new
bridge over the Schuylkill which does honour to its inventor
for its originality of architecture, and its excellence of mechanism. There are two piers, the westernmost of which is a
work perhaps unexampled in hydraulick architecture, from
the depth to which it is sunk; the rock on which it stands
being forty-one feet nine inches below common [10] high
tides.   Both piers were built within cofferdams: the design 26
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
for the western was furnished by William Weston, esq. of
Gainsborough in England, a celebrated hydraulick engineer.
Eight hundred thousand feet of timber, board measure,
were employed in and about it. Mr. Samuel Robinson of
Philadelphia, executed the work of the piers under the directions of a president and five directors, who also superintended
the mason work done by Mr. Thomas Vickers, on an uncommon plan, which has answered the intention perfectly
well. The walls of the abutments and wings are perpendicular without buttresses, and supported by interior offsets.
The eastern abutment is founded on a rock, the western
on piles. There are near eight thousand tons of masonry,
in the western pier, many of the stones in it, as well as in
the eastern, weighing from three to twelve tons. Several
massive chains are worked in with the masonry, stretched
across the piers in various positions; and the exterior is
clamped and finished in the most substantial manner.
The frame of the superstructure was designed and erected
by Mr. Timothy Palmer of Newburyport in Massachusetts,
combining in its principles, that of ring posts and braces
with a stone arch. The platform for travelling rises only
eight feet from a horizontal line. The foot ways are five
feet in width, elevated above the carriage ways, and neatly
protected by posts and chains.
The whole of the bridge is covered by a roof, and the
sides closed in, to preserve the timber from the decay occasioned by exposure to the weather. The side covering is
done in imitation of masonry by sprinkling it with stone
dust, while the painting was fresh: this is a novel mode of
ornamenting and protecting the surfaces of wooden work
exposed to weather, which from its goodness and cheapness
will probably be brought into general use. The work of the
[n] roof and covering was done by Mr. Owen Biddle, house
carpenter in Philadelphia. >n
Cuming's Tour to the West
The bridge was six years in building, was finished in
1805, and cost in work and materials two hundred and
thirty-five thousand dollars. The scite was purchased
from the corporation of Philadelphia for forty thousand dollars.
This is the only covered wooden bridge we know of, excepting one over the Limmat in Switzerland, built by the
same carpenter who erected the so much celebrated bridge
of Schauffhausen, since destroyed, the model of which I
have seen, and I think this of Schuylkill deserves the preference both for simplicity and strength. It is 550 feet long,
and the abutments and wing walls are 750, making in all
1300 feet; the span of the middle arch is 195 feet, and that
of the other two 150 each; it is 42 feet wide; the carriage
way is 31 feet above the surface of the river, and the lower
part of the roof is 13 feet above the carriage way; the depth
of the water to the rock at the western pier is 42 feet, and at
the eastern 21 feet.—The amount of the toll, which is
very reasonable, was 14,600 dollars the first year after it was
finished, which must increase very much in a country so
rapidly improving. The proprietors are a company who
have built commodious wharves on each side of the river,
both for protection to the abutments of the bridge, and for
the use of the city.1
1 For a statistical account of the Schuylkill permanent bridge, the reader is
referred to a new and valuable work, the "Memoirs of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society,'' vol. i, and to Biddle's'' Young Carpenter's Assistant.''
As a specimen of the difficulties, and uncommon perseverance of the company
in building the Schuylkill bridge, we give the following instance: The British troops
when at Philadelphia had formed a bridge of boats over the Schuylkill, one of which
had been accidentally sunk in 1777, twenty-eight feet below common low water.
It occupied a part of the area of the western confer dam, with one end projecting
under two of the piles of the inner row, and had nearly rendered the erection
abortive. It was first discovered on pumping out the dam, in 1802; and was perfectly sound, after the lapse of 25 years. The iron work had not the least appearance of rust, or the wood (which was common oak) of decay. The taking this
boat to pieces, the straining the dam, and the leaks in consequence, were the chief
m 28 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
[12] The Schuylkill is a fine river nearly two hundred yards
broad at the bridge. It rises in the Cushetunk mountains
about a hundred and twenty miles to the N. W. of Philadelphia. It is navigable for flat boats from the populous
town of Reading about fifty miles above Philadelphia, but
its navigation is impeded by falls about eight miles above
the city, and by others about five miles above it, to which
latter ones the tide flows, from its conflux with the Delaware
four miles below Philadelphia. It supplies the city with
water, pumped by steam2 from a reservoir, with which [13]
the river communicates by a canal near the bridge, into a
cistern, from whence it is conveyed by pipes through the
streets and to the houses, plugs being fixed at convenient
distances for supplying the fire engines, for which there are
too frequent use, from the quantity of timber still used in
building, and from the fuel, which is chiefly wood.
The banks of the Schuylkill being hilly, afford charming
situations for country houses, in which the wealthy citizens
of Philadelphia find a secure retreat from the unhealthy
air of the town during the heats of summer. A good house,
a spacious green house, fine gardens and a demesne formerly
causes of an extra expenditure, by the company, of more than 4000 dollars, hardly
and perilously disbursed in pumping (which alone cost from 500 to 700 dollars
weekly) and other labour, during forty one days and nights in the midst of a most
inclement winter.   Mem. Phila. Ag. Soc.— Cramer.
J This water steam engine, otherwise called the waterworks, is a work of great
magnitude. It cost 150 thousand dollars, and is capable of raising about 4,500,000
gallons of water in 24 hours, with which the city is daily supplied through wooden
pipes. The.reservoir, into which the water is thrown, is capable of holding 20,000
gallons, and is of a sufficient height to supply the citizens with water in the upper
stories of their highest houses. The first stone of this building was laid on the 2d
May, 1799, and it was completed in 1801-2. The works belong to the city, and the
citizens pay a water tax equal to the expence of keeping the engine in motion, which
amounts to about 8,000 dollars annually. The building stands in the centre square,
and consequently spoils the view down Market street. The trees and houses adjacent, look as black and gloomy as those in Pittsburgh, arising from the smoke
of the mineral coal burnt in the works.— Cramer. 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
owned by the late Robert Morris, esq.* are a fine termination
to the view up the river from the bridge.
There is a turnpike road of sixty-six miles from Philadelphia to Lancaster, which my wagonner left at Downingstown
about half way, keeping to the right along a new road, which is
also intended for a turnpike road to Harrisburgh, and which
passes through New Holland, where he had some goods to
deliver. Downingstown is a village of about fifty middling
houses.4 The east branch of Brandywine creek crosses the
road here, as the west branch does about eight miles further.
—These two branches unite twelve or fourteen miles below,
and fall into the Delaware near Wilmington, about twenty
miles below their junction. The Brandywine is noted for a
battle fought on its banks near its confluence with the
Delaware, between the British army under Sir William
Howe and the American under General Washington,, who
endeavoured to oppose the progress of the enemy to Philadelphia, from the head of Chesapeak bay where they had
* This estate of Robert Morris, who died the
purchased in 1770, and had formed part of the
now within Fairmount Park. Morris, known as
Revolution,'' was an Englishman who, emigrating
ar before Cuming's tour, was
anor of Springetsbury. It is
e "financier of the American
Pennsylvania in 1747, became
a prominent merchant of Philadelphia. After serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress, and signing the Declaration of Independence, he was assigned
the difficult task of procuring funds for the war. To his support was due the
maintenance of an army in the field during the disastrous years of 1776 and 1777;
while his chief accomplishment was financing the campaign that led to the battle
of Yorktown. After retiring from the superintendency of finance in 1784, Morris
served in the Pennsylvania legislature (1786), the Constitutional Convention
(1787), and the United States Senate (1789-95)1 declining the position of Secretary
of the Treasury in Washington's cabinet.   In later life his affairs became involved,
and he spent four years (1798-1802) in a debtor's prison.   See Sui
Morris (New York, 1892).— Ed.
4 Downingtown, Chester County, took its name from Thomas D<
bought the location in 1739 and bequeathed it to his son. A mill had
lished on the Brandywine at this place as early as 1716, and the town
ently called Milltown or Downingtown until finally incorporated und
title in 1S59.— Ed.
, Robert
-J} go Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
landed. The conflict was obstinate, but the British being
in great force, the Americans [14] were obliged to retreat,
after heavy loss on both sides.
The Brandywine runs through a rich and well settled
country, and abounds with mills, where a vast quantity of
flour is manufactured for exportation.— Pequea creek which
falls into the Susquehannah, crosses the road about four
miles from the west branch of Brandywine. Five miles
further accompanying my wagonner, I turned to the left
from the Harrisburgh turnpike road, and in six miles more
came to New Holland, which is a long straggling town of one
hundred and fifty houses in one street, from whence it is seven
miles to Conestoga creek. From the hill just above, I was
struck with the romantick situation of a fine bridge over the
creek below, more particularly as I came upon it unexpectedly. The creek is about eighty yards wide, tumbling its
rapid current, over an irregular rocky bottom and disappearing round the foot of a wooded hill, almost as soon as
seen. The man who built the bridge lives on the opposite
side. The toll not answering his expectations, he would
have been a great sufferer, had not the state taken it off his
hands and reimbursed his expences; since when, the toll
has been taken off.— It is five miles from this bridge to
The face of the country between Philadelphia and Lancaster is hilly, and variegated with woods and cultivated
farms. It is extremely well inhabited and consists of almost
every variety of soil, from sandy and light, to a rich black
mould, which last quality is observable generally between
New Holland and Lancaster, except on the heights on each
bank of the Conestoga. The first settlers of all this tract
were English, Irish, and German, but the latter have gradually purchased from the others, and have got the best
lands  generally  into   their   possession.   They  [15]  are
L S07-I809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
frugal and industrious, are good farmers, and consequently
a wealthy people.
Lancaster is supposed to be the largest inland town in the
United States. It is in a healthy and pleasant situation,
on the western slope of a hill, and consists of two principal streets, compactly built with brick and stone, and
well paved and lighted, crossing each other at right
angles. There is a handsome and commodious courthouse
of brick in the centre, which, in my opinion is injurious to
the beauty of the town, by obstructing the vista of the principal streets. There are several other streets parallel to the
principal ones the whole containing about eight hundred
houses. The houses for publick worship are a German
Lutheran, a German Calvinist, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Moravian, a Quaker, and a Roman Catholick
church, amongst which the German Lutheran is the most
conspicuous from its size and handsome spire: it has also
an organ.—There is a strong jail built with stone, and a
brick market house. What in my opinion does most
honour to the town is its poor house, which is delightfully
situated near Conestoga creek about a mile from the town
on the right of the turnpike road towards Philadelphia. It
is a large and commodious building, and is supported partly
by the labour of those paupers who are able to work, and
partly by a fine farm, which is annexed to it. There are
several private manufacturies in Lancaster, amongst which
are three breweries and three tanyards, but it is principally
noted for its rifles, muskets, and pistols, the first of which are
esteemed the best made in the United States. The inhabitants are chiefly the descendants of the first German settlers,
and are a quiet, orderly people — They are estimated at
about four thousand five hundred.
This has been the seat of government of Pennsylvania
since 1799, but it is not rendered permanently [16] so by an 32 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
act of the legislature, which occasions attempts being made
annually at every session of that body to remove it.5 The
eastern members advocating Philadelphia on account of
its trade and population, and the western members endeavouring to have it placed as near to the centre of the
state as possible, which they contend will also shortly be
the centre of population, from the rapid manner in which the
country to the westward of the Allegheny mountains is
settling. I was present at a very animated debate, on the
subject in the house of representatives, during which much
good argument, mixed with several sprightly and keen
flashes of genuine wit, was used, but it all terminated, as it
has hitherto invariably done, in favour of Lancaster — Of
many situations proposed, Harrisburgh seemed to have the
greatest number of advocates.
Notwithstanding Lancaster is so populous and the seat of
government besides, it is but a dull town with respect to
society. The manners and taste of the inhabitants are not
yet sufficiently refined by education, or intercourse with
strangers, to make it a desirable situation for the residence
of a person who wishes to enjoy the otium cum dignitate.
An alteration in that respect will doubtless take place with
the rising generation, whose education, the easy circumstances of the present inhabitants, enable to pay a proper
attention to, particularly as they seem desirous to balance
their own deficiencies in literature and the polite accomplishments, by their attention to their children in those
particulars. There is no theatre, no assemblies, no literary
societies, nor any other publick entertainment, except occasionally an itinerant exhibition of wax-work, or a puppet-show: [17] but there are taverns without number, at
5 During the session of 1809-10 the legislature passed a law for the removal of
the seat of the state government to Harrisburgh in the year 1812, and appropriated
the sum of $30,000 for the erection of publick buildings in that place.— Cramer. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 33
some of which I have been informed, private gambling is
very customary.
There are horse races here annually, which last a week on
a course on the common to the westward of the town, which
like most other races in this country, are for the mere purposes of jockeying horses, and betting, and are not followed
by balls and other social meetings of both sexes, as at amusements of the same kind in Europe. Shooting with the rifle,
is a favourite amusement, at which they are very dexterous,
meeting at taverns at short distances from town, to shoot,
sometimes at a mark for wagers, and sometimes at turkeys
provided by the tavern keeper, at so much a shot, the turkey
being the prize of the killer of it — the distance is generally,
one hundred yards, and always with a single ball.
Indian bridges over Chickey creeks — Elizabeth-town —
Cheapness of living — Swatara creek and ferry — Middle-
ton— Susquehannah river — Chambers's ferry — Harrisburgh.
On Thursday 29th January I left Lancaster on foot, proceeding along the Harrisburgh road, at a steady pace of
about three miles and a half an hour. The weather was
remarkable fine, and the road in excellent order, and what
was remarkable for the season, a little dusty. About a mile
and a half from Lancaster, I past a turnpike toll gate, from
a little beyond which I got the last view of the steeples of
that town, and soon after I crossed a stone bridge over a
branch of Conestoga creek. The road continued [18] fine,
and the country rich, laid out in large farms, with good
dwelling houses of brick and stone, and immense barns.
Though hill and dale, woods and cultivated farms, presented
themselves alternately yet there was nothing very striking
in the scenery. 34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
The road continued fine, nine miles, to a rivulet called
Big Chickey, which I crossed over on an Indian bridge,
which is a high tree cut down so as to fall across the stream
from bank to bank, and then its branches lopped off.
The banks being high, and the bridge long and narrow, my
nerves were so discomposed when I reached the middle, that
I had like to have fallen off, but balancing and tottering, I at
length reached the end.
Two miles further I had to cross another Indian bridge
over Little Chickey creek, which I did boldly, without any
difficulty; which is one proof of the use of practice and
The road now became very bad, the turnpike intended
from Lancaster to Harrisburgh not being as yet finished any
further.8 The country also is not so highly improved as in
the neighbourhood of Lancaster, the inhabitants still residing
in their original small log houses, though they have generally
good and spacious stone barns.
After four hours walking, I arrived at Elizabethtown
eighteen miles from Lancaster,7 and stopped at the sign of
General Wayne, where for a five penny bit (six cents and a
quarter) I got a bowl of excellent egg punch, and a crust
of bread.
It is surprising that at so short a distance from Lancaster,
the necessaries of life should be at least a third cheaper,
which on enquiry I found them here.
This village contains about thirty tolerable houses — has
• This turnpike is now completed, I am informed, as far as Middleton, and
another extends from Lancaster to York, and is progressing on that route to Chambersburgh.— Cramer.
7 The site of Elizabethtown was secured by an Indian trader in 1746, who sold
it seven years later to Barnabas Hughes. The latter, a noted tavern-keeper, laid
out the town and named it in honor of his wife. On the highway between Lancaster and Harrisburg, Elizabethtown soon became an important stopping place, the
original log-cabin tavern having been extant until 1835.— Ed. 7!BI
1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 3 5
a meeting house, and a school, when a master [19] can be
got, which is not always the case, the place having now
been some months vacant, to whom the trustees ensure
twenty-five scholars, at two dollars each per quarter, which
being only two hundred dollars per annum, I would have
supposed insufficient for his support, if at the same time I
had not been informed that his board and lodging in the most
respectable manner, will not cost him above eighty dollars
a year, in this cheap and plentiful country.8
After resting about an hour, and not feeling at all fatigued,
at half past four, I proceeded for Middleton, eight miles
further, first loading one of the barrels of my gun with a
running ball, as I had to pass near where one Eshelman was
robbed and murdered last fall.
The road over Connewago hills was bad, and by the time
I arrived at the bridge over Connewago creek, three miles
from Elizabethtown, my left foot began to pain me, so that
I was forced to slacken my pace, which made it dark before
I arrived at Swatara creek, when the pain had much increased, which was occasioned by my stepping through the
ice up to my knees in a run which crossed the road, which
the darkness prevented my seeing.
The boat was at the other side of the creek, and the
German family at the ferry house let me kick my heels at
the door until I was quite chilled, before they invited me in,
which old Mrs. Smith did at last with a very bad grace, and
she almost scolded me for risking the dropping on her very
dirty floor, the spirits of turpentine, with which I was wetting the feet of my stockings to prevent my catching cold,
a phial of which I carried in my pocket for that purpose.
8 Cuming here describes one of the neighborhood or voluntary schools, organized
chiefly in the frontier districts, which afterwards (1834) became the basis of the
common school system of Pennsylvania. See Wickersham, History of Education
in Pennsylvania (Lancaster, 1886), pp. 178-182.—Ed.
i 36 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
In about half an hour, which appeared to me an age, the
boat returned, and I gladly left the dirty, boorish, inhospitable mansion, crossed the creek in a canoe, hauled over
by a rope extended from bank to bank, about 70 yards, and
in a few minutes after [20] I found myself in Mrs. Wentz's
excellent inn, the sign of general Washington in Middleton.
My foot being much blistered, I bathed it in cold water, and
then injudiciously opened the blisters with a lancet, and
spunged them with spirits of turpentine: I then got a good
supper and an excellent bed, but my foot pained me so
much as to prevent my sleeping, so I arose early, unrefreshed,
and breakfasted with my landlady, an agreeable, well bred
The view down the Susquehannah from Mrs. Wentz's
back piazza is very fine. The town contains about a hundred houses and is well and handsomely situated about
half a mile above the conflux of Swatara creek with Susquehannah river, the former of which forms a good harbour for boats, which it is in contemplation to join to the
Schuylkill by a canal, in order to give Philadelphia the
benefit of the navigation of the Susquehannah through its
long course above Middleton. If this is carried into effect,
it will draw to Philadelphia a vast quantity of produce, which
now goes to Baltimore.9
The Susquehannah is a noble river, here about a mile
wide, with fine sloping wooded banks, and abounds with
rock-fish, perch, mullet, eels, suckers, cat-fish and white
salmon, which last is described as a fine fish from seven to
fifteen pounds weight, but a distinct species from the red
salmon  of   the  northern  rivers.   Notwithstanding   their
9 Middletown was so named from being half way between Lancaster and Carlisle. It is older than Harrisburg, and was first known as "South End of Pax-
tang township." It flourished until 1796, when an enterprising merchant discovering that the Susquehanna could be navigated, trade was diverted hence to Baltimore.—Ed. Cuming's Tour to the West
plenty, Mrs. Wentz assured me that she was seldom gratified
with a dish of fish; for though there are many poor people
in the town and neighbourhood, who might make a good
living by fishing, she says they are too lazy to do any thing
more than will procure them some whiskey, in addition to a
miserable subsistence, which a very little labour will suffice
for in a country where work is so well paid for, and where
the necessaries of life are so abundant and cheap.
Was it not that the Susquehannah abounds with [21] falls,
shallows and rapids which impede the navigation, it would
be one of the most useful rivers in the world, as its different
branches from its different sources, embrace a wonderful
extent of country, settled, or rapidly settling, and abounding
in wheat and maize (Indian corn,) which most probably will
always be staples of the large and flourishing state of Pennsylvania.
The road to Harrisburgh leads parallel to the Susquehannah, in some places close to the river, and never more
distant from it than a quarter of a mile, along a very pleasant level, bounded on the right by a ridge of low, but
steep wooded bills, approaching and receding at intervals,
and affording a fine shelter from the northerly winds, to the
farms between them and the river; which perhaps is one
reason that the orchards are so numerous and so fine in
this tract.
I have rarely seen in any country, a road more pleasant
than this, either from its own goodness, or the richness and
variety of prospect. The Susquehannah on the left about
three quarters of a mile wide; sometimes appearing, and
sometimes concealed by orchards, groves or clumps of
wood. The fine wooded islands in the river. The mountains which terminate the ridge called the South mountain
(which crosses part of Virginia, and the southern part of
this state) rising abruptly from the margin of the river, in
il 38 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
which they are charmingly reflected, altogether form a
scenery truly delightful.
About three miles below Harrisburgh the mountains terminate, and the south bank of the river becomes more varied,
though still hilly; and here on an elevated promontory, with
a commanding view of the river, from above Harrisburgh to
below Middleton, is a large, and apparently fine stone house,
owned by general Simpson who resides in it on his farm,
and is proprietor of a ferry much frequented by the western
wagonners, as the road that way is [22] shorter by two miles,
than that by Harrisburgh.— He farms out the ferry on his
side for about three hundred dollars per annum, while on
this side the proprietor rents it at four hundred and seventy.
The value of this ferry called Chambers's, may serve to
convey some idea of the state of travelling in this country,
particularly if one reflects that there are many other well
frequented ferries where publick roads cross the river,
within thirty miles both above and below this one, and which
are all great avenues to the western country.
When two miles from the ferry I observed a long line of
sleds, horses, men, &c. crossing on the ice; which scene, at
that distance had a curious and picturesque appearance, as
the ice was glassy, and in consequence they appeared to be
moving on the surface of the water, in which their shadows
inverted and reflected as in a mirror, struck the eye with
very grotesque imagery.
Some labourers who were at work in a barn at the ferry
house, and of whom I was asking some questions relative
to the country, were much astonished at my double barrelled
gun, admiring its work and lightness, and calling it a curious
When within a mile and a half of Harrisburgh,10 the white
10 For the early history of Harrisburg, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this series, 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 39
 - -  " m
cupola of its court-house, and the roofs of the houses of the
town are seen peeping over the trees, and have a good effect.
At one o'clock I entered that town, turning to the left
over Paxton creek bridge. I stopt at the ferry-house, which
is also a tavern, but appearance of accommodation not being
very promising, I continued my walk along the bank of the
river, and stopt at another tavern, where I asked if I could
have a bed that night. A dirty looking girl at the stove
drawled but that she believed I might. I then asked for
some mulled wine. She said eggs were scarce, and she
could not get any. From these symptoms of [23] carelessness, I thought it best to try my fortune a little further; so
putting on my shot belt and taking my gun, I quietly walked
out in search of a place of more civil reception, and fortunately I entered Bennet's, the sign of the white horse, fronting the river, at the corner of the principal cross street,
which leads to the market place. I say fortunately, for I
found it an excellent, plentiful and well frequented house,
and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, two fine girls, his daughters by
a former wife, and a Mr. Fisher an assistant, and apparently
some relation, all attentive and studious to please.
After getting some refreshment I wrote some letters, and
carried them to the post-office. The office being shut, the
postmaster very civilly invited me into his parlour, to settle
for the postage, where seeing a large map of Pennsylvania,
I took the opportunity of tracing my journey, which the
postmaster observing, he very politely assisted me in it,
pointing out the most proper route. There were some
ladies in the room, apparently on a visit, and there was an
air of socialty and refinement throughout, which was very
Leaving the post-office I walked through the town. It
contains about two hundred and fifty houses, most of them
very good, some of brick, some of stone, and some of wood. j
40 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
The principal street runs nearly east and west, and has two
small market-houses in the centre, where the street is
widened purposely into a small square. Parallel to this
main street is a street charmingly situated on the bank of the
Susquehannah, open to the river on the side next it, and
tolerably well built on the other, having a wide foot way,
in some parts paved, and marked in its whole length by a
row of Lombardy poplars regularly planted, which serves
also to shade the houses from the scorching rays of the summers sun. This street, though at present wide enough, has
not been laid [24] out sufficiently so to provide against the
gradual encroachment of the river, on its steep gravelly
bank of about twenty feet high above the common level of
the water. The view from every part of this street is very
beautiful, both up and down the river, about five miles
each way — terminated upwards by the long ridge of the
Blue mountains, through a gap in which of about three
miles long, which is also open to the view, the river rolls its
rapid current, contracted there to less than half a mile
wide. While downwards the eye rests on the South mountain, impending over general Simpson's house, which in its
turn seems to overhang the river, from the high promontory
on which it is situated. Several islands add to the beauty
of the view, particularly one, on which is a fine farm of
nearly one hundred acres just opposite the town.
The court-house is near the market square on the principal cross street, and is a handsome plain brick building of
two lofty stories, with a cupola rising from the centre of
the roof, remarkable for its vane of copper gilt, representing
an Indian chief, as large as the life, with a bow in his left
hand, and a tomahawk in the act of cutting, in the right.
The house is about seventy feet by fifty, with two small
receding wings. The hall for the court is very neat, spacious
and convenient; doors opening from it into the record and ~m
Cuming's Tour to the West
prothonotary's offices in the wings. A fine easy double
staircase leads to the great room over the hall for the courts.
This room is now used as a temporary place of worship by
the English Presbyterians, until their own meeting house is
finished, which is of brick and in great forwardness. From
each corner of this room a door opens into the register
office, the library and two jury rooms.
There is as yet no other place of publick worship in Harrisburgh, except an old wooden house used as such, by a
congregation of German Lutherans.
[28, i. e., 25] This town which is now the capital of Dauphin
county was laid out twenty-three years ago by the late proprietor, Mr. Harris, whose father is buried near the bank of
the river, opposite the stone house he lived in, under a large
old tree, which, once during his life, concealed and saved
him from some Indians, by whom he was pursued.
I observed in the office of a Mr. Downie, a magistrate,
a newly invented patent stove, made of sheet iron, consisting of two horizontal parallel cylinders, about a foot
apart, one over the other and communicating by a pipe;
the upper one is heated by the smoke from the lower, which
contains the fuel. Mr. Downie informed me that it saved
much fuel.   The patentee lives here.
On returning to my inn, I found there a Mr. W. P , of
Pittsburgh, just arrived. In the course of the evening he
gave me much good information of the western country, accompanied by a friendly invitation to call on him in Pittsburgh, should I be detained there until his return from
Philadelphia, where he was now going. He had formerly
lived in Harrisburgh for some years after his arrival from
Ireland, his native country. The joyful eagerness with
which numbers of his old acquaintance flocked to Bennet's
to visit him, evinced his having been much esteemed and
V/fil 1
42 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
Harrisburgh ferry — Old Jameson — The Conestoga massacre — Militia riflemen — Carlisle and Dickenson college.
On Saturday 24th, I arose early, but the ferry-boat not
being ready, I partook of an excellent breakfast with my
friendly host and his family, and at ten o'clock I embarked
in a large flat, with the western mail and several passengers
and horses. The flat was worked by nine stout men, with
short setting poles shod and pointed with iron, to break the
ice and stick in the bottom. Only one set or pushed on the
upper side, while eight set on the lower side, to keep the
boat from being forced by the current against the ice, while
a tenth steered with a large oar behind. A channel for this
purpose had been cut through the ice, and was kept open
as loaded wagons could cross the river in a flat with more
safety than on the ice.
In twenty-two minutes we were landed on the western
shore of the Susquehannah in Cumberland county; and I
trudged on, my foot paining me very much, until half past
twelve o'clock, when I stopped at a tavern seven miles from
the ferry and got some refreshment. Here I found a tall
active old man of the name of Jameson, seventy-six years
of age, who had crossed the ferry with me, and had afterwards passed me on the road, on horseback. He had
accompanied his parents from the county Antrim in Ireland
when only six years old, had resided thirty-six years at
Paxton, near where Harrisburgh has since been built, (where
he had been on business) and had afterwards removed to a
part of Virginia about two hundred miles distant, where he
has a large farm and distillery. He insisted on treating me,
as he said, he liked to encourage the consumption of whiskey; of which, and the telling of old stories he was so fond,
that he appeared to forget he had so [27] long a journey before m
1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 43
him, until reminded by seeing some travellers pass on horseback, whom he hastened to overtake for the sake of their
company. He did not however neglect finishing his whiskey,
which he swallowed with great gout, and on mounting his
horse, cracked jokes about a buxom widow, at whose
tavern beyond Carlisle, he proposed sleeping that night.
Among other stories with which he had entertained me,
he told me the particulars of the massacre of the Indians
at Lancaster, and he took a good deal of pride to himself,
for having been one of the heroes who had assisted on that
memorably disgraceful expedition. In justice however to
the old man, I must observe that he related with pleasure
that the party he accompanied, arrived too late in Lancaster to assist in the carnage."
[28] As this is a circumstance not generally known, it may
not be amiss to introduce here a short account of it.—The
Conestoga Indians, as they were called, from their residence
near the banks of Conestoga creek, were the remains of a
tribe of the Six nations, who entered into a treaty with William Penn the first proprietor of the then province of Pennsylvania, towards the close of the seventeenth century, by
which they had a thousand acres of land assigned them in
11 The character here given of old Mr. Jameson, puts us in mind of an old man
of a similar character in Washington county, Pennsylvania, of the name of Foreman, who at this time is ninety-eight years of age. I had a curiosity in seeing this
old gentleman, and about two years ago called on him for the purpose of conversing a few minutes with him. I was fully paid the trouble, for I found him talkative and considerably worldly minded. Among other things he observed that
'The fashions of the day had injured society, and had lead astray the minds of
young men and young women from the paths of simple and rustick honesty they
used to walk in fifty or sixty years ago. That there was much hypocrisy in the
shew of so much religion as appeared at present. That people were too fond of
lying in their beds late in the morning, and drinking too much whiskey. That
he himself used to take a frolick now and then to treat his friends of a Saturday
night, after working hard all the week, but that he had not drank any spirituous
liquors for twenty-five years. That he had been always an early riser, having
been in the habit when he first settled where he now lives (having come from Virginia about thirty years ago) of going around to all his neighbours before or about
m *T
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
the manor of Conestoga for their residence. This treaty
had been frequently renewed afterwards, and was never
violated on either part until their extermination by the surrounding settlers. It is remarked that the Indians diminish rapidly, in proportion to the increase of European settlers in the neighbourhood of any of their towns. This was
very observable here, where from a tribe, they had decreased
in about seventy years, to seven men, five women, and eight
An Indian war had commenced through the intrigues of
the French, in the year 1754, at the commencement of which,
many of the frontier inhabitants being murdered or driven
in by the aborigines, aided by the French, a general panick
followed. The Conestoga Indians, notwithstanding their
weakness, their local situation, and their peaceable and innocent habits of supporting themselves by making of wicker
[29] baskets, brooms and other wooden ware, which they
sold to their white neighbours, as well as the skins of the
wild animals which they killed in hunting, became objects of
terror to the panick struck whites. To be an Indian, was
enough to excite both the passions of fear and revenge.
This poor defenceless remnant of a once powerful tribe, had
but just sent an address, according to their custom on the
day-light, to waken them up, and hid them good morning, and return home again
before his own family would be out of bed. I asked him why he never came to
Pittsburgh; he replied that he could ride there he supposed, but that he had no
business in that place, but that he should like to move to Kentucky or to the state
of Ohio, if he went any where. On speaking of his great age and the probable
number of years he might yet live, he seemed inclined to believe he would live at
least four years longer, (being then ninety-six) wishing as appeared to me, to make
out the round number of one hundred years. He is quite a small man, somewhat
emaciated, but erect in his carriage, can see tolerably well, and walks about the
house without a cane, milk and vegetables have been, through life, his principal
diet, and water his beverage. His present wife, being his second, is quite a smart
woman, and is about eighty-six years old. The old gentleman observed that he
had never to his recollection been sick, so as to have required the aid of a physician.' Happy old man thought I, thou hast been happy, and art still so! — Peace
to the remainder of thy lengthened days I — Cramer. ml
1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 45
occasion of every new governor, to John Penn, esq. who
then held that office; welcoming him on his arrival from
Britain, and praying a continuance of that favour and protection they had hitherto experienced; when at the dawn
of day of the 14th December 1763, the Indian village was
attacked by about sixty men well mounted and armed.
Only three men, two women and a boy were found at home,
the rest being out among the whites vending their little
wares. Those poor wretches were butchered and scalped
in the manner of the savages, by those more savage descendants of the civilized Europeans: Even the hoary locks of
the venerable and good old chief Shebaes, who had assisted
at the second treaty between the whites and Indians in
1701, and who had always since been the avowed friend of
the former, could not excite the mercy, much less the respect
of his barbarous assassins:—he was cut to pieces in his bed,
and scalped with the rest, and the huts were then committed to the flames. The magistrates of Lancaster collected the remaining Indians, and brought them into that
town, condoling with them on the late misfortune, and
promising them protection; with which intent they were put
into the jail, as the strongest building in the town.
Their merciless blood hounds not satiated with the blood
already spilt, and increased to the number of five hundred
well armed men, marched into Lancaster. No opposition
was made to them, though the first party which arrived did
not consist of [30] more than fifty, who without awaiting
any of the rest, forced the jail, dragged their victims into the
yard, and there immolated them, while clinging to their
knees, and supplicating mercy. In this manner they all,
men, women, and children, received the hatchet, amid the
exultations of their murderers, who after the tragedy, paraded the streets, huzzaing, and using every other mark of self-
approbation for the glorious deed they had achieved.   How 46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
weak must have been the government, which dared not attempt any publick investigation of an act so disgraceful to
humanity, and in such direct violation of the laws; but it is
a fact that not even the name of one of the perpetrators was
ever published; they were however generally known by the
appellation of Paxton boys, though the township of Paxton
was only one of many concerned.
At the tavern where I overtook Jameson, I saw some young
men in blue jackets with scarlet binding, the uniform of a
volunteer corps of militia riflemen. They had been with
their rifles in search of squirrels, but unsuccessfully, the
weather being too cold for those animals to come out of
their hollow trees.
Apropos of the rifle.—The inhabitants of this country
in common with the Virginians, and all the back woods
people, Indians as well as whites, are wonderfully expert
in the use of it: thinking it a bad shot if they miss the very
head of a squirrel, or a wild turkey, on the top of the highest
forest tree with a single ball; though they generally load with
a few grains of swan shot, with which they are equally sure
of hitting the head of the bird or animal they fire at.
Ten miles further brought me to Carlisle,18 at six o'clock
in the evening; the whole road from Harrisburgh [31] being
very fine and level, the houses and farms good, and the face
of the country pleasant. The view on the right is all the
way terminated by the Blue mountains — the longest north
eastern branch of the Allegheny ridge, from six to ten miles
I observed about a mile from Carlisle on the left, and
about a half a mile from the road, a large handsome stone
house belonging to a Mr. Jackson of Baltimore, which was
formerly owned by General Arden; and about half way
u For an account of Carlisle, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this series, p. 237,
note 75.— Ed. Cuming's Tour to the West
between it and the town, and also to the left of the road, the
large barrack, magazine, and depot of arms, built during
the revolutionary war. Dickenson college, a spacious stone
building with a cupola was directly before me, with the
town of Carlisle on the left of it extending to the southward
on an elevated plain: the whole having a very good effect on
the approach. The twilight shutting out further view, I
hastened through a tolerable compact street to Foster's, to
which I had been recommended as the best inn. I asked
if I could have a bed that night, and was answered
rudely, by an elderly man, in the bar who I took for the
landlord, after he had eyed me with a contemptuous
scrutiny — that I could not. The house appeared a little
would be stylish — and I was afoot — so not of consequence enough for Mr. Foster. I turned on my heel, and
entered the next tavern kept by Michael Herr, an honest
and obliging German, where I found nothing to make me
regret my being rejected as a guest at Foster's, except want
of bed linen, sheets not being generally used in this country
in the inns, excepting at English ones, or those of fashionable
resort. A very good bed otherwise, and an excellent supper,
with attentive treatment, well compensated for that little
After supper, I received both pleasure and information
from the conversation of a philosophick German gentleman, an inhabitant of Carlisle, who favoured [32] me with
his company, and who discoursed fluently on opticks,
pneumaticks, the French modern philosophy, and a variety
of literary topicks, evincing great reading, and a good
Before I retired to rest, I walked to the tavern, where the
wagons generally stop, and had the pleasure of finding,
that arrived, which carried my baggage, which I had not
seen since I left Lancaster. */
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
Carlisle is a post town, and the capital of Cumberland
county. It contains about three hundred houses of brick,
stone, and wood. The two principal streets cross each
other at right "angles, where there is a market-house, a neat
brick court-house and a large stone meeting-house. There
are besides in the town, a German, an Episcopalian, and a
Roman Catholick church. The streets are wide, and the
footways are flagged or coarsely paved. Dickenson college on the north, was founded in 1783, and was so named
in compliment to Mr. John Dickenson, formerly president
of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, and author
of the Pennsylvania Farmer's Letters, and other writings of
much merit. It has a principal," three professors, and
generally about eighty students. It has a philosophical
apparatus and a library, containing about three thousand
volumes. It has ^4000 in funded certificates, and the
state has granted it ten thousand acres of land: [33] On'the
whole it is esteemed a respectable seminary of learning, and
is extremely well situated for that purpose, in a healthy
and plentiful country, and about equidistant from the capital of the state, and the capital of the United States, one
hundred and twenty miles from each.1*
13 By a letter from Mr. Robert Lamberton, postmaster at Carlisle, it appears
Dickenson college was burnt down by accidental fire, February 3d, 1803, and rebuilt
in 1804. Doctor Nesbit, a Scotch gentleman of great learning, and much celebrated for his application to his studies, and particularly for the uncommon reten-
tiveness of .his memory, had been several years president of this college; he died
18th January, 1804. The Rev. Mr Atwater, from |Middlebury, Vermont, took
his place as principal at the last commencement, on Wednesday the 27th September, 1809, and from his known abilities and piety, we may safely calculate that the
college is again in a flourishing condition.— Cramer.
" Dickenson has had many well known alumni; but after the death of its first
president, Dr. Nesbit, a period of decline set in, lasting until 1833, when its founders, the Presbyterians, sold it to the Methodists, who have since maintained the
college.— Ed. fl&l
1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 49
Different roads to Shippensburgh — Foxes — South mountain and pine woods — Shippensburgh — Strasburgh —
North or Blue mountain — Horse valley and Skinner's
On the 25th January at 8 A.M. I left Carlisle, having
previously taken an egg beat up in a glass of wine. There
are two roads, one called the Mountrock road which goes
from the north end of the town, and the other called the Walnut-bottom road, which leads from the south end. They
run parallel to each other about three miles apart. I took
the latter, which is the stage road, as the wagon with my
baggage was to go that way, though I was informed that
the first led through a better country. I found mile-stones
on the right hand all the way to Shippensburgh, placed at
the expence of the proprietors of the lands on this road, to
prove it shorter than the other, they having before been computed at the equal length of twenty-one miles each; but
now this one is marked only nineteen. The first five miles
are through a very poor and stony country, thinly inhabited,
and covered, except on the cultivated parts of the few
miserable looking farms, with short, stunted, scrubby wood.
The next seven miles are through a better improved country,
and a better soil, with large farms [34] and good houses;
then there are three miles over the northern skirt of the South
mountain, through gloomy forests of tall pines, with here
and there a log cabin surrounded by a few acres of cleared
land, and abounding in children, pigs, and poultry. The
last four miles improve gradually to Shippensburgh.
At eleven o'clock I stopt and breakfasted at a large tavern
on the right, seven miles from Carlisle, I got coffee, bread
and butter, eggs and excellent honey in the comb, for which
I was charged only nineteen cents.   My landlord presented 5°
Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
me one of the largest and finest apples I had ever seen: it
was the produce of his own orchard, where he had several
trees of the same species, raised by himself from the pippin,
and neither grafted nor budded. He had the manners of a
New Englandman, being.desirous both of receiving and of
communicating information, but I soon gathered from him
that he was a native of that part of Pennsylvania, and of
English extraction. On my entrance he had laid down a
book, which taking up afterwards, I found to be a volume
of Robertson's Charles V.
As I proceeded from hence, two very beautiful red foxes
playfully crossed the road about a hundred yards before me;
they then recrossed it, and seeing me, made up a hill to the
right with incredible swiftness, leaping with ease a Virginia
worm fence above six feet high.
At half past four I arrived at Shippensburgh, which was
laid out for a town, about fifty years ago, and named after
the first proprietor and settler, the father of judge Shippen
of Philadelphia.15 It contains between 150 and 200 straggling houses, in one street, nearly a mile in length: with
nothing else interesting to recommend it to notice. I stopt
at Raume's, a German house about the middle of the town,
and apparently the best tavern in it. I bathed my feet in
cold water, and dressed the left one which was [35] much
blistered and very painful: Soon after which, my wagonner
Jordan, with three others in his company arriving, we all
sat down together, according to the custom of the country,
to a plentiful and good supper; after which, the wagonners
spread their mattresses and blankets round the stove in the
bar room, and I retired to a good bed, but without an upper
15 See note on Shippensburg in Post's Journals, vol. i of this series, p. 238, note 1807-1809] Cuming's Tom-to the West 51
Monday, 26th January, at half past ten; I proceeded
towards Strasburgh, in preference to keeping the stage road
to the left through Chambersburgh,'* as I shortened the
road eight miles in a distance of thirty-eight, to where the
two roads again met
The country to Strasburgh, eleven miles, is well inhabited,
and the soil is tolerably good; and the Blue mountains arc
full in front, extending to the right and left as far as the eye
can reach. Those mountains are not higher than the highlands on Hudson river above New York, about 2500 feet
perpendicular from the plain below, from which they rise
abruptly, and the road is seen winding up their side to a
small gap near the top, which separates from the main
ridge a pyramidal knob, which, apparently higher [36] than
the ridge, seems to hang directly over Strasburgh. I met on
the road, two wagons with six horses each, from Zanesville
in the state of Ohio, going to Philadelphia for goods:—
They had been a month on the road. At two miles from
Strasburgh, I past a direction post on the left pointing to
Cummins's mills, and at 1 o'clock I entered that town and
stopt at Bell's, the last tavern on the left As there was no
beer in the house, they had to send for it to Merkel's, a
" Chambersburgh is a thriving town, capital of Franklin ro., Pennsylvania, 161
miles cast of Pittsburgh, the mail route, and it beyond the Big Cove mountain.
The Philadelphia and Baltimore mail stages meet here, the former three times a
week, the latter twice a week, this circumstance, with other advantages, makes
it a tolerable lively place. It contains about 350 houses, has two paper mills, a
grist mill in the town, and several others within a short distance, all turned by a
spring which beads about Mo miles from the town. An original bank has been
lately established here, with a capital of a quarter of a million of dollars, Edward
Crawford, president, A. Colhoun, cashier. Two weekly papers are published here,
one of which is German. It has a number of mercantile bouses, and taverns in
plenty, some of which arc well kept, and principally by Germans. The stage-
master here is 3 Mr. Davis, formerly of M'Connellsiown — He is weO spoken of
for his attention and politeness to passengers, a very necessary qualification for a
stage-master.— Ckamm. r 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
German house. And here it may not be amiss to observe
that the German taverns on these roads, are generally better
provided with both liquors and provisions, than the English
or Irish, but their manners are not the most agreeable, they
being very inattentive to any of the wants of a traveller,
except the providing his meals, and the bringing him what
liquor he calls for.
It is twelve years since Strasburgh was laid out. It contains about fifty indifferent houses, and does not seem to be
At two o'clock, I began to ascend the North or Blue
mountains, immediately from Strasburgh.—After ascending
about a mile, I stopped and rested at a hut, the only dwelling
on the passage over the mountain. Proceeding from hence,
I was overtaken a little higher up by a man driving before
him his horse loaded with a bag of wheat. We entered into
conversation, and he entertained me with his exploits, in
killing bears,17 wolves, racoons, and foxes, [37] which abound
on these mountains, as well as deer, wild turkeys, pheasants,
and squirrels. I stopped occasionally, to observe the view
behind me, which though a good deal impeded by the trees,
is nevertheless very extensive, over a woody country, terminated by the long range of the South mountain, extending
17 In the New York Medical Repository, vol. 5, page 343-4, we find the following
curious facts concerning the mode of generation in the American bear.
"The singular departure from the common course of nature in the procreation
of the opossum and the shark, are already known; but the manner in which the
fcetus is matured by the female bear is not so generally understood. The following
information was given to Mr. Franklin, senator of the United States from North
Carolina, by the hunters. This animal hybernates, and, during the winter, retires
to hollow trees and caverns, but does not become torpid, or sink into the sleeping
state. Though found often in great numbers on the frontier settlements, and
frequently killed and eaten by the inhabitants, there has never been an instance
of a female killed in a pregnant condition, or big with young. The reason is that
almost immediately after conception, the foetus, while shapeless, and resembling
merely a small animated lump, is excluded from the womb.   Thus born, and ex- m
Cuming's Tour to the West
from the banks of the Susquehannah below Harrisburgh to
the S.W. as far as the eye can reach. Though extensive, it
is however an uninteresting prospect, as though I saw many
patches of cleared land, the town of Shippensburgh twelve
"miles distant, and Strasburgh directly under me;— wood with
its (at this season) brown, sombre hue, is the prevailing
feature. After ascending a mile and a half from Strasburgh,
I came to the top of the mountain, and looked down on the
other side into a dark narrow romantick vale called Horse
valley, with the two Skinner's good farms, still house and mill,
and Conodogwinnet [38] creek ghding through the middle
towards the N.E.; while the middle mountain, rose immediately opposite me, from the other side of the valley, the
summit of it apparently not a mile distant from where I
stood, though in reality it is three miles, so much is the eye
deceived by the depth of the intermediate vale.
At 4 o'clock, I stopped at Skinner's, where at my particular request, I was'gratified with hasty pudding or mush, as
it is called in this state, with plenty of good milk and apple
pye for supper. My host was born near Woodbridge in
Jersey, from whence his father had removed to this country
many years ago. There are now about twenty families
settled in the valley, which extends from the south end
posed to the open air, it has no connection with the teat like the opossum, nor with
an egg like the shark. There is no trace of a placenta nor umbilical vessels.
The growth of this rudiment of a future bear is supposed to be promoted by licking;
and the saliva of the dam, or some other fluid from her mouth, appears to afford it
nourishment. In the course of time, and under such management, the limbs
and organs are evolved, the surface covered with hair, and the young cub at length
rendered capable of attending its parent. Thus far the inquiries of the hunters
have gone. The facts are so curious, that the subject is highly worthy of further
investigation. And when the entire history of the process of generation in this
animal shall be known, new light will be shed upon one of the most obscure parts
of physiology. It is to be hoped that gentlemen whose opportunities are favourable
to the prosecution of this inquiry, will furnish the learned world shortly with the
whole of these mysterious phenomena."— Cramer.
; in 54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
twelve miles above Skinner's, to a gap in the Blue mountains
five miles below, through which the Conodogwinnet flows
from its source at the upper end of the valley, which it
waters in its whole length of seventeen miles, to join the
Susquehannah near Harrisburgh, forty miles distant.
One Wagstaff, formerly an English soldier, who had been
wounded and made a prisoner at the battle of Monmouth,
and now a farmer near Pittsburgh, and a lad returning
home to the same neighbourhood, after assisting to drive
a herd of a hundred and fifty hogs to Philadelphia, which
had employed him a month, put up here for the night, and I
was much amused with the anecdotes of the old soldier and
my host, who had also been a soldier on the patriotick side,
during the revolutionary war. They had been opposed
to each other in several battles, and reminded each other
of many incidents which happened at them. My landlord was a politician, but his system of politicks and his
general ideas were completely original. Amongst other
topicks, Col. Burr's present situation and intentions were
discussed, when our host gave it as his decided opinion,
that he had secured [39] the friendship and assistance of a
warlike and powerful nation of Indians, inhabiting a country
on the banks of the Missouri about 1500 miles in circumference, where is the celebrated mountain of salt. That
they fought on horseback and were armed with short
Spanish caribines; and that with their aid he meant to
conquer Mexico, and erect an empire independent of both
Spaniards and Americans.
Mrs. Skinner was confined to her bed in an advanced
stage of a consumption: I recommended her inhaling the
steam of melted rosin and bees-wax, and wrote directions
for her accordingly. When I retired to rest, I had once
more the luxury of clean sheets and a good bed.  ,
I 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West
Another traveller — The middle mountain — Fannetsburgh
— Good effect of hunger in destroying fastidiousness —
Tuscarora mountain and fine view — Ramsey's — Change
my mode of travelling — Hull's — Fall from my horse —
Sideling lull — Coyle's good tavern —Curious scene at
another tavern — Ray's hill — River Juniata — Bloody
run — Bedford.
On the morning of the 27th January, I took leave of
my friendly host Skinner, and passing his brothers about a
mile distant, I was joined by another pedestrian traveller,
who had left Strasburgh that morning, and had stopped here
to rest previous to ascending the middle mountain. He
walked on stoutly, and I limped after him, my foot paining
me very much. He was a plain countryman from Down-
patrick in the north of Ireland, who had formerly [40] resided
near Carlisle, from whence he had removed to the western
part of the state, where his health having suffered through a
general debility, he had returned two hundred miles to his
former residence for medical aid, had remained there since
the fall under a course of medicine and diet, and his health
being now re-established, he was again going to the western
When on the top of the middle mountain about two miles
from Skinner's, our eyes were regaled with a charming birds-
eye view of some fine cultivated farms in Path valley just
below us, with the village of Fannetsburgh of thirty houses in
the midst, watered by a fine mill stream called the Conogo-
cheaque in its southerly course towards the Potomack.
The scenery here reminded me of some of the vales of
Switzerland, but appetite for breakfast urging me on towards
the village below, I did not bestow much time in contemplating it.
_ ^ 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
I now proved that "hunger is a good sauce," for I made
a hearty meal at M'Callum's, spite of a dirty room, a sickly
woman, and bad tea, which last even when good, I disapprove of, especially for breakfast, but having always had
coffee hitherto, without ordering it, I had neglected doing
so now, and I was too hungry and too scrupulous of giving
trouble to direct or await a change. This was the second
sickly landlady I had seen amongst these mountains, which
has impressed me with an idea, that the air is too keen and
trying for delicate constitutions.
When I returned into the bar room, from the breakfast
parlour, if a small dirty room with a bed in it deserves that
appellation, I found a traveller in it, who had two horses
at the door, the use of one of which he had offered to my
fellow pedestrian (who, as he carried provision in a knapsack, had not breakfasted with me,) on condition of his
being at the expence of feeding him on the road. He was
[41] just declining the offer as I entered, so I embraced it
gladly, and the young man agreed to take me up as soon as
he should overtake me on the road, as he had to await his
brother who was to accompany him, and I expressed a
wish to walk before over the Tuscarora mountain, both to
enjoy the scenery, and to avoid the danger of riding over
it three miles, with the road in many parts like glass, from
the freezing of the snow after a partial thaw. I set off with
my former companion, who I had regaled with a gill of
whiskey, but as I occasionally stopped to admire the beauties of nature in that mountainous and romantick district,
he not being equally struck with them, preferred making
the best of his way, so walked on before, and separated
from me without ceremony, which I was not sorry for,
as it left me more at liberty and leisure to proceed as I
As I ascended, the views of the valley behind were very m
1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West
fine, through and over the large heavy pines which cover
the face of the mountain; but when near the top, the prospect to the southward was really sublime, of the valley in its
whole length that way, finely cultivated and watered, bounded by distant pyramidal mountains, isolated and unconnected with either of the ridges divided by the valley in a
long vista, about two miles wide. From the summit of the
Tuscarora ridge, the view to the westward, though extensive,
was cheerless and gloomy, over a broken and mountainous
or rather hilly country, covered with forests, chiefly of the
dark and sombre pine, which would have rendered me
quite dispirited, if I had not anticipated a speedy journey
through it on horseback.
At the western foot of the mountain I stopped at Ramsey's,
an innkeeper, farmer, saddler and distiller, who has a
fine farm, and a good house (I mean literally, but not as a
tavern) — It was noon, Mr. Ramsey with a stranger, seated
himself to dinner, while [42] his wife in the patriarchal mode,
very common in this country, attended table. I contented
myself with a tumbler of egg punch, which I had just swallowed, as my horsemen rode past, calling out that they would
await me at the distillery, where I accordingly joined them,
drank a dram of new whiskey with the hospitable distiller, mounted my mare, threw away my cudgel, and
trotted off briskly with my new companions.
The road was good, but the country broken, thinly inhabited and poor; pine woods on each hand — a red gravelly
soil, and a wretched looking log hut at every two or three
miles with a few acres cleared round it, but the stumps, or
girdled trees still standing. We stopped to feed our horses
at one, about six miles from Ramsey's, which was the residence of an old man named Hull, who had removed here
from Lancaster a few years ago. The large fire, cleanliness, and air of plenty, which I found within, was the more
1 ^ 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
enjoyed, from the contrast with the wretched appearance
On remounting, my mare started, and a bag of rye and
corn for provender which was on the saddle under me,
falling off, I fell with it. One of my companions checked
his horse suddenly and threw himself off to assist me, and I
was under both horses' feet for some seconds; but seizing
the forefeet of the horse from which I apprehended the greatest danger, I pulled them towards me, threw him down, and
at the same time scrambling from under him, I providentially escaped with only a slight bruise on my left leg, and a
rent in my pantaloons. My gun which was loaded, and
which I carried slung at my back, was thrown some distance
from me without injury.
We soon after overtook my late foot companion, who I
believe now regretted that he had not prevented my ride,
as he seemed a good deal fatigued. We advised him to
bargain for a ride with a packer with [43] two light horses,
who we had past a little way behind, and we pushed on to
a mountain called Sidelmg-hill, eight miles from Hull's;
which we ascended a mile, and then put up for the night, at
a very good tavem, kept by Daniel Coyle, who also owns
a fine farm between the ridges of the mountain.
I got an excellent supper alone, my fellow travellers carrying their provisions with them: I had also a good bed
with sheets, but the pain of my blistered foot, which had been
augmented by hanging from the saddle in riding, prevented
my closing my eyes to sleep until three o'clock, when as
exhausted nature was just beginning to induce a temporary
oblivion of pain, James Wilson the oldest of my fellow
travellers called us to horse, as he said, we must this day
make a journey of upwards of forty miles. His brother
William, who like myself had never travelled that road 1807-3
Cuming's Tour to the West
before, was obliged to acquiesce, though unwillingly, so
rather than lose my horse I complied also, and we were on
the road in half an hour after.
After riding four miles on a continued ridge of Sideling-
hill, we stopped at a log tavern to pick up the old soldier
Wagstaff, whose stories had amused me so much at Skinner's in Horse valley, and who was a neighbour of Wilson's.
He had the hog-driving lad still with him, and one horse
between them which they rode alternately.
It was not yet day, and the scene in the tavern was, to me,
truly novel. It was a large half finished log house, with no
apparent accommodation for any traveller who had not
his own bed or blanket. It was surrounded on the outside
by wagons and horses, and inside, the whole floor was so
filled with people sleeping, wrapped in their blankets round
a large fire, that there was no such thing as approaching it
to get warm, until some of the travellers who had awoke at
our entrance,'went out to feed their horses, after doing which,
they returned, drank whiskey under [44] the name of bitters,
and resumed their beds on the floor — singing, laughing,
joking, romping, and apparently as happy as possible. So
much for custom.
About four miles from hence, we descended the western
side of Sideling-hill mountains, here called Rays-hill, at the
foot of which we forded the river Juniata, a beautiful
stream, about sixty yards wide, which after meandering in a
wonderful manner through this mountainous part of the
country upwards of 200 miles, through a space of not more
than 100 of a direct line, falls into the Susquehannah about
twenty miles above Harrisburgh; in all which distance it is
navigable for large flat boats, of which considerable numbers are employed transporting the abundant produce of
those remote regions to the Susquehannah, and down that 6o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
river to Baltimore, from whence it finds its way to Europe,
destined to assist in feeding those countries, which gave
birth to the ancestors of the cultivators of this.
After crossing the Juniata, we pursued our road through
a broken country, very hilly, with the river almost always in
sight, sometimes on one hand and sometimes on the other, as
its bends approached or receded from the road, and sometimes
directly under us at the foot of terrifick precipices, down
one of which, about twenty years ago, a wagon was carried
by the horses, falling 3 or 400 feet perpendicular — The
wagonner and horses were killed, and the wagon was dashed
to pieces.
At three miles and a half from the ford, we stopped to
feed our horses at a small log tavern, where was a large
family, with three or four very pretty girls, who forfeited
the admiration they would otherwise have commanded, by
being covered with the itch, which made me cautious how
I ordered any thing to eat or drink, although I could have
done justice to a good breakfast.
The same kind of country continues to Bedford, [45] the
road leading through two remarkable defiles between the
mountains, which as well as the river sometimes approach
and sometimes recede, the country gradually improving
both in population and quality of soil as we advanced.
At three miles from where we fed our horses, we passed
through a village of a dozen houses, called Bloody run, in
memory of a massacre by the Indians of about 250 militia,
while escorting a convoy of provisions to the western frontier,
soon after Braddock's defeat near Pittsburgh.18
18 Jones, History of Juniata Valley (Philadelphia, 1856) gives a different origin
for the term '' Bloody Run.'' He derives it from the attempt of the inhabitants, in
the spring of 1765, to arrest a convoy that was being sent by the Pennsylvania
authorities to Pittsburg with presents for the Indians. An English officer reporting
the action, said that the creek "ran with blood." For the effect of this affair on
the pacification of the Indians, see New York Colonial Documents, vii, p. 716. For
the history of Bedford, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this series, p. 240, note 81.— Ed. S07-I809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
Three miles further, we passed a hamlet of three or four
houses, called Snake-spring, from an immense number of
snakes discovered there in a hole and killed: And in four
miles more, at n o'clock, we entered Bedford, crossing two
bridges half a mile from the town, one over Crooked creek,
and the other over the west or Raystown branch, which
uniting a little below, form the Juniata.
We put up at Fleming's and fed the horses while I breakfasted. When ready to proceed, I mounted, but found my
mare so lame, that I was obliged to remain behind, while
my companions endeavoured to get her along by driving
her before them.
Bedford — Travellers and travelling — Whiskey preferred
to victuals and necessaries — Obliging disposition of inhabitants — A musical and social judge — Departure in
the   stage — The   Allegheny   mountains — Somerset —
Good inn — A murder — visit to the gaol.
Making a virtue of necessity, I consoled myself under
my disappointment, by restoring to my constitution the
equilibrium of rest, which it was deprived [46} of last night,
by the anguish of my foot, and the impatience of the elder
Wilson; I accordingly went to bed, and enjoyed an hour's
refreshing repose, after which I arose and sauntered about
the house until supper was announced, which I partook of
with my civil and attentive host and hostess Mr. and Mrs.
Soon after supper, five travellers from the N. W. part of
the state, arrived on horseback, with whom I conversed
until bed time. They were on their way to Baltimore, and
were plain Irishmen, uninformed of any thing beyond then-
own business, which appeared to be that of packers, or
travelling merchants, who vend groceries and various merchandize through the country. w
62 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
The travelling on these roads in every direction is truly
astonishing, even at this inclement season, but in the spring
and fall, I am informed that it is beyond all conception.
Apropos of travelling — A European, who had not experienced it, could form no proper idea of the manner of it
in this country. The travellers are, wagonners, carrying
produce to, and bringing back foreign goods from the different shipping ports on the shores of the Atlantick, particularly Philadelphia and Baltimore; — Packers with from one
to twenty horses, selling or trucking their wares through the
country; — Countrymen, sometimes alone, sometimes in
large companies, carrying salt from M'Connelstown, and
other points of navigation on the Potomack and Susquehannah, for the curing of their beef, pork, venison, &c.; —
Families removing further back into the country, some with
cows, oxen, horses, sheep, and hogs, and all their farming
implements and domestick utensils, arid some without; some
with wagons, some with carts and some on foot, according
to their abilities: — The residue, who made use of the best
accommodations on the roads, are country merchants, [47]
judges and lawyers attending the courts, members of the
legislature, and the better class of settlers removing back.
AU the first four descriptions carry provisions for themselves
and hdrses, live most miserably, and wrapped in blankets,
occupy the floor of the bar rooms of the taverns where they
stop each night, which the landlords give them the use of,
with as much wood as they choose to burn, in consideration of the money they pay them for whiskey, of which they
drink great quantities, expending foolishly, for that which
poisons them, as much money as would render them comfortable otherwise. — So far do they carry this mania for
whiskey, that to procure it, they in the most niggardly manner
deny themselves even the necessaries of life; and, as I was
informed by my landlord Fleming, an observing and rational 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 6 7
 — f.
man, countrymen while attending the courts (for they are
generally involved in litigation, of which they are very fond)
occupy the bar rooms of the taverns in the country towns,
for several days together, making one meal serve them each
day, and sometimes two, and even three days — but drinking whiskey without bounds during the same time. The
latter description of travellers — the merchants, lawyers,
&c. travel as in other countries — making use of and paying
for their regular meals, beds, &c.
The pain of my foot having been much alleviated, by an
application of bran and vinegar all night, the next morning
after my arrival in Bedford, I walked out into the town, and
having occasion to call at some tradesmen's shops, and at another excellent tavern where the stage from the eastward
stops, as that from the westward does at Fleming's, I was
much gratified with the civility and desire to please, which
I observed throughout, which impressed me much in
favour of the place, and the impression was heightened
by another circumstance that forenoon. I had sat down
to write, and while engaged at it, the bar [48] keeper,
who had been amusing himself with an octave flute, of which
I had made a pocket companion, opened the door, and introduced a gentleman of the middle age, who I supposed to
be a traveller; but he soon undeceived me, by telling me that
he had been informed I was fond of musick, and that I had
a German flute with me, which was also his instrument,
and he had taken the liberty of calling on me to inform me,
that there was a musical society in Bedford, of which he was
a member, and that he would convene it that evening for my
amusement, if I would assist them by taking a part. I excused myself on account of the pain of my foot, and also on
my flute being an octave. He then hoped a glass of punch
would be acceptable, which I declined, saying, I never
drank spirits of any description.   There was something 6 a. Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
perhaps ungracious in my refusal of his proffered civilities,
for he appeared hurt, and made a movement to depart, but
I made my peace, and prevailed on him to give me half an
hour of his company, by observing that although I was a bad
fellow with respect to the bottle, I nevertheless enjoyed very
much the society of the well bred and well informed, and
t felt myself much obliged to him for his polite attention. He
proved to be a man of good theoretick information, but with
little practical worldly knowledge. From a desire to appear
to merit the compliment I had paid him, he was particularly
studious of his language, measuring each word, and weighing every sentence before he gave it utterance; — prefacing
each speech with "If I may be permitted to hazard an
opinion," — "According to my local ideas," and other
set phrases to fill up the vacuum, while considering what he
should next say on the subject under discussion.   We talked
fof the country — of robberies — murders and accidents, and
at last he bade me good morning; setting me down, no
doubt, as a poor devil without soul, who would [49] not
drink spirits.   On his taking leave, "my name, Sir, said he
is S it would perhaps be an unwarrantable liberty to
ask yours,'' "Not at all, Sir, mine is .''   Mrs. Fleming
afterwards told me that he was one of the associate judges
of the county, "a very clever and fine spoken man," but
rather over fond of the universal enemy; — that he had
lost considerable property, but that his wife's fortune being
secured to herself, enabled him to still enjoy some of the
comforts of life.
This afternoon my wagonner arrived, and went on, appointing to be in Pittsburgh on the Friday or Saturday evening of next week.
Bedford the capital of a county of the same name, is very
romantically situated — being hemmed in on all sides by
low mountains covered with woods except on the north,
I -i8o9]
Cuming's Tour to the West
towards which point is a long vista, so that it has not unaptly
been compared to a barber's bason, with the rim cut out
on one side for the chin. It was considered as a frontier
only about twenty years ago; when some of the stoccado
which had defended it when it had a garrison, was still to
be seen.19 It now contains about 80 houses, of brick, stone
and logs. It has a court-house, a gaol, and school-house,
and I was informed that a house is used as a place of worship
for any Christian sect, and that sometimes a travelling
minister of one or other of the various divisions into which,
to its disgrace, Christianity is split, stops to remind the inhabitants of their religious duties.20
[50] Apropos of religion.— Asking for a book last night,
my landlord sent me Richard Brother's prophecies, with
which farrago of enthusiastick madness, I read myself to
sleep. The town is supplied with water from a spring half
a mile distant, by means of wooden pipes, which conduct it to
a reservoir in the centre: And some chalybeate springs
strongly impregnated with sulphur, have lately been discovered in the neighbourhood; to which, according to
custom, whether with justice or otherwise, great medicinal
virtues are attributed.21   This town was incorporated in
19 Part of the log building, which formed the garrison here, and which was
erected by the troops of Geo. III. king of Great Britain, still exists, and has been
newly weatherboarded lately, and now forms a kitchen to a tavern.— Cramer.
20 In the summer of 1809, the foundation of a new Presbyterian church was laid
in Bedford opposite the court-house for the Rev Mr Boyd's congregation, a young
clergyman of handsome talents, and who had settled here a short time before.—
21 It is perhaps worth while for the sake of a curious and important fact, to mention the extraordinary effects of the water on a gentleman who had visited this
spring in the summer of 1809, and who before he left it, discharged from his bowels
a living monster, described by some who saw it, as a lizard, by others a crab, with
legs, claws, &c. and of considerable size.—The unhappy man had been ill for
several years, without being able to get any relief by the aid of skilful physicians.
Immediately after this, he began to recover, and is now in a fair way of regaining his
Of the four classes of mineral waters known, the water of this spring unites the
m 66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
1794, and is governed by two burgesses, a constable, a
town clerk and three assistants.
[51] The 31st day of January at 4 in the morning, I left
qualities of at least three of them, viz. The saline, the sulphurous, and the martial-
bat of the second it is lightly tinctured. Its usual effects on people in health, are
those of an immediate and powerful diurelick, a gentle cathartick, with a consider,
able increase of perspiration, and sometimes a slight emetick, this last happening but
very seldom. The water may be drank in great quantities with safety, from two to
thirty half pints, being the usual quantity in the course of an hour before breakfast.
Some indeed drink fifty half pints, while others are considerably incommoded by
drinking a gill, which was the case with Mrs. Snyder, wife of governor Snyder,
whose death was lately announced. She was at the spring, August 1809, but her
case, which was of the consumptive kind, was too far gone to admit of recovery. Not
being able to take the water, she tarried but a few days, and returned to Lancaster
with her companion, Miss	
The following Latin poem written by James Ross, teacher of the languages in
the Philadelphia academy, formerly of Chambersburgh, and author of an excellent
grammar, with its translation in prose by the Rev. Mr. Willson, teacher of the languages in Bedford, descriptive of this spring, and the quality of its waters, &c
trill be read with pleasure.
Hos versiculos symbolum amicitia? inscribit,
Monte decurrens, velut amnis, alto,
Fons, loquax nunquam, tacitus recedis,
Abditus terris, catebrasque celans
Fluminis unda.
Non alis campos virides vel agros;
Non greges pascis, vitulosque vaccas;
Non tuse ripa? generant leones
Dente furentes.
Sed tuas undas celebrant Puelte,
Femuhe et Matres, Puerique Sponsi,
Has Senes undas adamant Anusque
Ore bibentes.
Hisque gaudentes Homines levabunt
Pectoris morbos, capitis dolores;
Aurium sensus, laterumque pcenas
Saepe lavando.
Has bibant isti quibus est podagra;
Has quibus tussis mala, nee fuganda
Artibus, cura aut Medici periti;
Namque levabunt. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 67
Bedford in the stage with three gentlemen and a young
girl passengers. It had snowed all night, [52] and the
ground was covered some inches deep, so we had .to proceed
Quin et afflicti, ac oculisque lumbis
Has bibant undas, stomacho dolentes;
Pauperes, dites, recreentque corpus
Saepe bibendo.
Has bibant undas vacui, salubres;
Nil nocent salus Puerisve Nymphis:
Pauperes multi hax, simul atque dites,
Dicere possunt.
Bedfordia?, (Pennsylvanorum) quarto)
Kal. Septembres, A.D. 1809.       )
Bedford Gazette.
To John Anderson, M. D. the following Verses are inscribed, as a token of Friendship, by the Author James Ross
From the base of a lofty mountain issuing, O fountain, thy profusion of waters,
thou sendest forth in silence, from thy fountain, deep in earth's womb embowled,
them mingling with the stream, which murmurs below, thou loosest. No verdant
plains, nor verdant fields are nourished by thy stream irriguous. Nor flocks, nor
younglings of the herd dost thou with food supply. To no prowling beasts of
prey, do thy shady, thy romantick banks, afford shelter or refuge. Hence, blooming
virgins gay, matrons old, and aged sires, and youths lately in wedlock joined:
greatly delight to saunter along thy streams; and, in the cool refreshing shade, to
quaff thy healing waters.
While, with heartfelt satisfaction, the valetudinarian, in the waters of this fountain, laves himself, the diseases of the breast — the pains of the head — the distresses of the side — and deafness, which prevents the ear from drinking in the rich
melodies of musick, all shrink from the healing efficacy of the healthful element.
Let those drink whom the gout torments, and those whom the distressing cough
annoys, diseases, which yield not to the art or care of the physician, however learned.
In drinking, they certain aid shall find. The humble cottager, and wealthy lord,
however weakened by disease shall re-invigorate their systems, by drinking these
waters. Tender eyes shall regain their strength — lost powers of digestion shall
again return — and the enfeebled loins, with new strength be girded. Let the
sons of leisure, and votaries of amusement, on these health preserving waters regale
themselves. The vigorous young man, and the rosy cheeked, from them receives
no harm.   Rich and poor innumerous, can well attest the truths I sing.
Ibid.— Cramer. r
68 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
slowly to break the road, crossing the West branch of the
Juniata twice in the first three miles. As day dawned, the
country appeared to be in general rather better settled and
cultivated than on the eastern side of Bedford, but it was
still very hilly, and wood was the prevailing feature. At
half past 10, we had reached the foot of the Allegheny
[53I ridge, where we breakfasted; and here I found one of
the advantages of travelling in the stage, was to be charged
a sixteenth of a dollar more per meal, than if one travelled
in any other way.
We were now in Somerset county, and having changed
stages, horses, and drivers, we ascended by a very easy
road of one mile to the top of the highest ridge of land in
the United States, to the eastward of which all the rivers
flow to the eastward, to empty themselves into the Atlantick
ocean, while to the westward, they flow westerly to unite
with the Mississippi, which is their common aqueduct to the
gulph of Mexico.22
The face of the country before us now changed for the
better; not being broken as to the eastward, but fine extensive levels and slopes, well inhabited and cultivated; and
the ridges of hills, though long, not so steep, and finely
clothed with heavy wood. This was the general appearance of the country, until we arrived at Somerset, the capital of the county, 14 miles from the top of the Allegheny
This is a new town, having been laid out and built within
twenty years: It contains about seventy tolerably good
houses, with a court-house, where upstairs, is the present
place of worship, common to all sects like Bedford, until a
church, which is to be in common also, is erected, for which
22 The Allegheny Ridge is in fact but twenty-five hundred feet in height. The
White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Cumberland Mountains of North
Carolina and Tennessee exceed it in altitude.— Ed. 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
the town has petitioned the assembly to enable them to
raise $3000 by lottery.
We stopped at Webster's excellent, comfortable, and well
furnished inn, where we found good fires, a good supper,
and a series of the Baltimore Daily Advertiser.
Since I had come over the three mountains between
Strasburgh and Ramsay's, the principal subject of conversation along the road, was concerning the murder by two
Frenchmen of a Mr. David Pollock, on the 23d of this
month, on Allegheny mountain. [54] They had shot him,
and when he fell in consequence from his horse, they dragged
him off the road into the wood, and stabbed him with a
knife in several places. He was soon after discovered dead
by a company of packers, who had seen two men but a
little while before, and had heard soon after, the reports of
a double barrelled gun carried by one of them. This, and
the meeting of a horse with a saddle and saddle-bags, and
no rider, gave them a suspicion, and induced them to search
in the wood, following the tracks of men from the road into
the wood, to the body. After returning to the road they
again saw the two men whom they suspected come out of the
woods before them. They pursued them, but lost sight
of them at a turning in the road, where they again took into
the woods. The packers rode on to the next house and
gave an alarm, which soon mustered the inhabitants of the
neighbourhood, who arming themselves, went in pursuit
of the murderers. One of them resisting, when discovered,
was shot, and the other apprehended, and lodged in Somer-
I had been informed that the prisoner neither spoke, nor
understood English, and that since his apprehension, he
had no interpreter with him, except a German farmer, who
understood French but badly. Impelled by humanity, I
asked my landlord to accompany me to visit him.   He was jo Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
a poor, ignorant, abject, pusillanimous wretch of the name
of Noel Hugue, and had lately arrived in America from
Marseilles, where he had been a traiteur or cook. He
denied the murder or any knowledge of it, but his story was
inconsistent and dissatisfactory. On my informing him of
the motives of my visit, he was very grateful. I advised
j him to write to any persons at New York or Philadelphia,
where he had staid some time after his arrival, who might
have it in their power to send him any testimonial of character; [55] and, as I thought his case desperate, to write to his
friends or connections in France, and that the court before
which he would be tried, or whatever lawyer was charged
with his defence, would forward his letters. On my return
to the inn a Mr. Leiper, a young gentleman just called to the
bar, requested me to accompany him to the gaol, to interpret between him and the prisoner, as he intended voluntarily to undertake his defence, although it was so unpopular
as not to be unattended with personal danger, in the irritated
state of mind of the country. I complied with his request,
but from the interview, I had no reason to expect his humane
attempt would be, or ought to be successful.28
Proceed   on   journey — Political   parties — Laurel-hill —
Chesnut-hills — Greensburgh — Bad road — Fine prospect — Pittsburgh.
The ist February at 4 A. M. I left Somerset in a sleigh, a
good deal of snow having fallen the day before. One of
the gentlemen and the little girl having quitted the stage,
my companions now were only a Mr. M'Kinley, of West
29 This man was hung at Somerset after April court, 1807. He positively
denied to the last of having any knowledge of the crime for which he was about to
suffer death. He also declared his companion, who was shot in taking him, innocent, and as having no knowledge of the circumstance of the death of Pollock.—
& Cuming's Tour to the West
Liberty near Wheeling in Virginia, one of the representatives
in the state assembly, returning home from Richmond, and
a Mr. Archer of Centreville in Ohio, returning home also,
from a circuitous voyage and journey to New Orleans [56]
and Baltimore; during which he had visited the Havanna,
and New Providence in the Bahamas.— As we all possessed
some information different from each other, we beguiled
our journey by conversation pleasantly enough, except
when politicks were introduced, on which, my fellow travellers being of opposite sentiments, I was sometimes under the
necessity of starting some new subject, to prevent their being
wrought up to an irritation of temper, which not only prevented cool argument, but sometimes in spite of my endeavours to the contrary, arose to such a height as to nearly
approach to personalities.
Politicks, throughout the whole of this country, seems to
be the most irritable subject which can be discussed. There
are two ruling or prevailing parties; one, which styles itself
Federal, founded originally on the federal league or constitution which binds the states to each other; in contradistinction to a party which attempted to prevent the concurrence of the states to the present constitution, and after
it was agreed to, made some fruitless attempts to disorganize it, and was called Antijederal. The opposite party
is one which has since sprung up and styles itself the Demo-
cratick Republican. Since the federal constitution has
been established, the first party exists no longer except in
name. That which assumes it, stickles for the offices of
government being executed with a high hand, and is therefore accused of aristocratick and even of monarchick sentiments by its opponents, who in their turn are termed factious, and disorganizers, by the federalists. They nickname
each other Aristocrats and Democrats, and it is astonishing
to what a height their mutual animosity is carried.   They
1 y2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
are not content with declaiming against each other in congress, or in the state legislatures, but they introduce the
subject even at the bars of the judicial courts, and in the
pulpits of the places of religious worship. In some places,
[57] the males who might otherwise be on terms of friendship with each other, are, merely on account of their diversity of sentiment on politicks, avowed and illiberal enemies;
and the females carry the spirit of party into their coteries,
so far as to exclude every female whose husband is of a
different political opinion, however amiable, and ornamental
to society she may be. The most illiberal opinions are
adopted by each party, and it is sufficient with a federalist
that another man is a republican, to pronounce him capable
of every crime; while the republican takes care not to allow
the federalist the smallest of the attributes of virtue.—Their
general difference of opinion, at last becomes particular, and
a mistaken point of honour frequently hurries the one or the
other maniack into a premature grave.—The political wheel
is kept in constant motion by those two parties, who monopolize it to themselves, to the exclusion of the moderate, well
disposed, and best informed part of the community; who
quietly pursue their several avocations, lamenting at, yet
amused by the bickerings, disputes and quarrels of the
turbulent and ambitious leaders of the parties, and their
ignorant, prejudiced and obstinate tools — satisfied with
the unexampled prosperity they enjoy as a people and a
nation — and equally watchful perhaps to guard against
tyranny or licentiousness, with the violent and avowed opponents of both.
After travelling seven miles through the glades, a rather
barren and thinly settled plain, we crossed a bridge over
Laurel hill creek, a mile beyond which we began to ascend
Laurel hill, which we continued to do two miles further to
Evart's tavern, where we breakfasted.   Six miles more,- 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 73
brought us to the beginning of the descent westerly, there
being several settlements on each side the road between the
ridges of the mountain in that distance. From this point we
had an extensive view as far west as the eye could [58] reach,
over and beyond Chesnut hills. After descending two
miles, we crossed Indian creek at the foot of the mountain. I
now remarked that the woods were much thicker, and the
trees' larger and taller, than the same species to the eastward. A mile from Indian creek, Mr. M'Kinley pointed
out one of the finest farms between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, owned by one M'Mullen, an Irishman.
At 10 A. M. we changed horses and our sleigh for a stage-
wagon, two miles from M'Mullen's, at M'Ginnis's, perhaps
the dirtiest tavern on the whole road. We then continued
ten miles over a very broken hilly country, with rich valleys,
crossing a high ridge called Chesnut hills, from whence
the western country is spread out under the view, like an
immense forest, appearing flat from the height we were
at, though it is in fact, as we found it, very hilly. We
crossed the river Sewickly, a fine mill stream, by a bridge,
ten miles from M'Ginnis's, and eight miles further we arrived at Greensburgh, the capital of Westmoreland county,
which we had entered at the eastern foot of Laurel hill.
Greensburgh is a compact, well built, snug little town,
of about a hundred houses, with a handsome court-house, a
Presbyterian meeting-house, and a market-house.24
On entering Habach's tavern, I was no little surprised to
see a fine coal fire, and I was informed that coal is the principal fuel of the country fifty or sixty miles round Pittsburgh.
It is laid down at the doors here for six cents a bushel.
After supper we were joined by a Mr. Holly, a doctor,
and another gentleman, residents of the town, according
24 For an account of Greensburgh, see Michaux's Travels, vol. iii of this series,
1 iy
1; m
V* ft
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
to the custom of the country, where the inhabitants are in
habits of collecting what information they can from travellers. We had a long political discussion, originating on the
subject of Col. Burr's projects; and amongst the six present,
there [59] were no two who agreed in sentiment. Indeed, in
this country every man thinks for himself, or at least he
imagines he does, and would suppose himself insulted, was
another to attempt openly to bias his opinion; but notwithstanding this supposed liberty of sentiment, superior talents
when united to ambition, seldom fail of drawing the mass
after them. The conversation of this evening was both
amusing and instructive; some of the party, particularly Mr.
Holly, a New England man, being possessed of very good
information, and the arguments were conducted with cool,
dispassionate reasoning.
About 8 o'clock, the landlord, who was a German, came
into the room and offered to light us to bed: My fellow
travellers complied, but I told him I should sit up two hours
longer. The old man repeated my words, "two hours,"
shrugged up his shoulders and went off, while I literally
kept my word, amused by a series of three or four of the
last Baltimore Federal Gazettes. On going to bed, and
finding the bed clothes very light, I added the covering of
another bed in the room to mine, which I left so in the morning as a hint to the house.
At five o'clock next morning, we resumed our journey,
and found very little snow on the road, though there was so
much on the mountains behind us.
The aspect of the country is similar to what it is between
the Laurel hills and Greensburgh. Hills running in ridges
from north to south, heavily wooded with white oak, walnut,
sugar tree and other timber natural to the climate; and the
valleys narrow, but rich and all settled.
At eight miles from Greensburgh, we passed on our right 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
an excellent house and fine farm of a Col. Irwin, one of the
assistant judges; and three miles further we stopped to
change horses and breakfast at [60] Stewart's, where we
were charged only a quarter of a dollar each.
We soon after entered Allegheny county. The weather
was cold and clear, and very pleasant for the season, but
the country afforded no variety, being still, hill, dale, woods,
and scattering farms. At nine miles from Stewart's, we
descended a very long and steep hill, by a shocking road,
crossed Turtle creek at the bottom, which runs to the southward to join the river Monongahela, 12 miles above its
confluence with the Allegheny; we then ascended another
hill by an equally bad and dangerous road. It is astonishing that in so fine and so improving a country more attention is not paid to the roads. A turnpike is projected from
Pittsburgh to Harrisburgh, which I am clearly of opinion,
might be kept in repair by a reasonable toll; — and then
wagons with goods may travel between the two places in a
third less time than they do now, and without the present
great risks of breaking down, and the mails may be delivered
at the post-offices one half sooner.
. When about seven miles from Pittsburgh, we had a picturesque view of the Monongahela on the left, which was
soon hid again by the intervening hills; and when within
three miles of that town, the view was beautiful over the
fine low cultivated level, or bottom, as it is called, which
skirts the river Allegheny from thence to Pittsburgh, which
is seen at the confluence of that river with the Monongahela;
beyond which, the high and steep coal hill crowned by a
farm house most romantically situated, seems to impend
directly over the glass manufactory, on the bank of the
river opposite the town.
The last two miles was along the fine level above mentioned, passing on the right, between the road and the 11
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
Allegheny, the handsome seat of Mr. John Woods, a respectable lawyer;25 and immediately after, [61] we passed
Fort Fayette, a stockaded post on the right26—entered
Pittsburgh, and put up at Wm. M'Cullough's excellent inn.
Unprepossessing appearance of Pittsburgh — Causes —
Comfortable situation — Abundance of coal — M'Cullough's inn — Confinement there by indisposition — Attention of some of the inhabitants — Memoirs of an uncommon character—Apollonian society — Dramatick societies
— Lawyers — Clergymen — State of society injured by
politicks and other causes — Physicians.
The appearance of Pittsburgh in the winter, is by no
means pleasing, notwithstanding its fine situation, as, none
of the streets being paved except Market-street,27 they are
so extremely miry, that it is impossible to walk them without
wading over the ankle, except during frosty weather, which
rarely continues many days successively, from its lying so
low, and being so well sheltered, by the surrounding hills.
This, though unpleasant now, is in reality in favour of the
place, as when the streets are all paved, that inconvenience
will be obviated, and the advantage of shelter from the
bleak wintry winds will still remain, without its being followed by an exclusion of fresh air during the summer, as the
rivers, at that season act as ventilators, a refreshing breeze
always drawing up or down one of them, increasing [62]
26 John Woods was one of the two first lawyers in Pittsburg, being admitted to
the bar from Allegheny County in 1786. He represented the city in Congress
from 1815-17.— Ed.
29 For Fort Fayette, »
2' Since the above was
Front and Third streets
Chancery lane paved from the it
to pave others this season, 1810.-
i  Travels, vol. iii of this si
» P- 32.
written the greater part of Wood street has been paved,
from Market to Wood, Diamond alley gravelled, and
:r to Second street, and preparations are making
Cramer. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West yy
with the elevation of the sun until noon, and then gradually
subsiding into a calm towards sunset; while at a little distance from those air conductors (the rivers) even in high
situations, an oppressive heat not ratified by the most gentle
zephyr, prevails during the same time.
Another cause of the unprepossessing appearance of
Pittsburgh, proceeds from the effect of one of the must useful
conveniences and necessaries of life, which it enjoys in a
pre-eminent degree; namely, fuel, consisting of as fine coal
as any in the world, in such plenty, so easily wrought, and
so near the town, that it is delivered in wagons drawn by
four horses, at the doors of the inhabitants, at the rate of
five cents per bushel.
A load of forty bushels which costs only two dollars, will
keep two fires in a house a month, and in consequence,
there are fewjiouses, even amongst, the poorest of the inhabitants, where at least two fires are not used — one for cooking, and another for the family to sit at. This great consumption of a coal abounding in sulphur, and its smoke
condensing into a vast quantity of lampblack, gives the
outside of the houses a dirty and disagreeable appearance —
even more so than in the most populous towns of Great
• Britain, where a proportionably great quantity of coal is
used; which must be caused by a difference of quality, which
appears in the grate to be in favour of the coal of this country.
The winter being too far advanced for boats to descend
the Ohio, I preferred remaining in Pittsburgh, until I should
have an opportunity of continuing my journey to the westward by water, to going on immediately by land, as I wished
to see the banks of that celebrated river, as far as it lay in my
I therefore became a weekly boarder and lodger at M'Cul-
lough's, which though an inn much frequented by travellers,
I found to be as quiet, as regular, [63] and as orderly, as any 1
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
private lodging house; the beds equally cleanly, the table
more plentiful, and the charge as moderate. As M'Cul-
lough lays himself out to accommodate travellers, or regular
lodgers, he applies himself solely to that, and discourages
every thing which might subject his house to the noise,
revelry, and confusion of a tavern. His wife an amiable
and obliging woman, and three daughters, fine and good
girls just grown up, attend to the business of the house, and
the accommodation of their guests, so well, that a man must
be fastidious to a fault, who would not be perfectly satisfied
with such quarters.
The streets being extremely dirty, and my foot still paining
me much from the consequence of its being blistered on my
journey between Lancaster and Middleton, I confined myself to the house for several days after my arrival, going out
only once during that time, to call on general O'Hara28 and
Mr. Abner Barker on business. Confinement is at anytime unpleasant; but at an inn, however good the accommodation, in a strange place, without a single acquaintance,
and suffering continued torture from an inflammation in a
limb, the pain of which would have prevented my enjoying
a book, even had there been a library within my reach, was
to me excessively so.
A few neighbouring gentlemen hearing that a stranger
29 General James O'Hara embarked in the Indian trade near Fort Pitt about
1773. On the outbreak of the Revolution, he enlisted in the ninth Virginia regiment, but was soon employed as quartermaster, also serving in that capacity in
the Whiskey Insurrection (1793), and Wayne's Campaign against the Indians
(1794). His business talents and enterprise were employed in building up the new
town of Pittsburg, where at its inception he had purchased much land. In 1797,
he built the first glass manufactory west of the AUeghenies; about the same time
he made arrangements to transport salt by water from Onondaga, New York,
greatly cheapening the price of that necessity. In 1804, O'Hara was made director
of the branch of the Bank of Pennsylvania established at Pittsburg; and on his
death (1819) left a large estate to his heirs. General O'Hara was generous and
patriotic as well as enterprising. He was a friend of Washington, and served
as elector when the latter was chosen president in 1788.— Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 79
was at M'Cullough's confined by indisposition, did me the
favour of calling on me, and the attentions of doctor Andrew
Richardson, Mr. James Mountain, a learned practitioner at
the bar, and Messrs. Anthony Beelen and Nicholas Cunningham respectable merchants, prevented my being able
to charge Pittsburgh with an absolute want of hospitality.
The two former offered me the use of their judiciously
selected libraries, when I should become sufficiently convalescent to go out, and the perusal of any of their books in
the interim, and the first supplied [64] me with the Philadelphia and Baltimore newspapers as they arrived by post, twice
A few evenings after my arrival, the daughters of my host
had a numerous party of young people of both sexes to
spend the evening and practice vocal musick under the
directions of a Mr. Tyler who had taught them. They
displayed taste and harmony enough to do honour to their
venerable teacher, and I was tempted to join the sounds of
my flute to the sweet treble of some of the young ladies.
This led to a degree of confidence to me from Mr. Tyler,
who on retiring to bed in the same room, imparted to me
his little history, which though not replete with incident,
was singular and affecting, exhibiting generous benevolent
simplicity, a victim to vice and ingratitude. He was an
Englishman, and had been one of the choristers of a cathedral in England from whence he had emigrated to America,
when a young man. He had exercised his talent in teaching
sacred musick, in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, until
he had acquired a sufficiency to purchase a farm in the
neighbourhood of Carlisle, where he and his wife settled.
They were childless — an infant foundling which they
chanced to see, impressed them with the idea of supplying
themselves with what nature had denied them. They took
the boy home, adopted him as their son, and spared neither
: pSJ J
80 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
pains nor expence to give him the best education the country
afforded. He grew up a most promising youth, and bid
fair to reward them for their parental cares, by smoothing
their decline of life, with a return of those attentions which
they had lavished on him from his helpless childhood. The
lad was a good accomptant, and was placed with a storekeeper in Carlisle, until he was supposed by his benefactors
sufficiently versed in business, to manage for himself.
Tyler then expended the savings of many years industry to
furnish for him a respectable country store. The young
[65] man commenced business with the fairest prospects, but
he had unfortunately contracted habits of drinking and
gambling. His business was neglected, one loss followed
another, but he had the art of still imposing on the unsuspecting simplicity of his buridly partial and generous patron,
until he prevailed on him to be his security for larger sums
than his remaining stock of goods would pay. He then
absconded, his creditors sued the old man, who to save
himself from prison was obliged to dispose of his farm, and
after paying the debts of the ungrateful prodigal, with the
very small sum which remained to him, he and his wife last
year at upwards of sixty years of age each, crossed the
mountains, at an inclement season, and purchased a small
tract of land about seVen miles from Pittsburgh, on which
he has since erected a cottage, and where he has cleared and
cultivated a few acres, and to enable himself to make his
payments, he has taught sacred vocal musick in this town
and the surrounding country these two successive winters.
His enthusiasm for vocal harmony, and his innocent unsuspecting simplicity, untainted during a long life, by worldly
craft, and still believing the mass of mankind as honest and
virtuous as himself, notwithstanding the trying proof he
had experienced of its baseness, rendered him a singular
and original character; I say original, for I much question,
It 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
whether any person into whose hands these sheets may fall,
can turn his eye inwardly, and exclaim with a conscience
void of offence and selfishness, I too am a general philanthropist, like the good old English singing master.
Several musical amateurs are associated here under the
title of the Apollonian Society. I visited it by invitation at
the house of Mr. F. Amelung the acting President, and was
most agreeably surprised to hear a concert of instrumental
musick performed by about a dozen gentlemen of the town,
with a degree [66] of taste and execution, which I could not
have expected in so remote a place. I was particularly astonished at the performance on the violin of Mr. Gabler,
a German, employed at Gen. O'Hara's glass house, and who
is one of the society. His natural talents for musick were so
great, that he could not bear the trammels of a scientifick
acquisition of it, and therefore never learned a note, yet he
joins a correct extempore harmony, to the compositions of
Hayden, Pleyel, Bach, Mozart and the other celebrated
composers, particularly in their lively movements; he is
not quite so happy in his accompaniments of Handel, or of
grand or solemn musick generally. His execution of Waltz's
is in a sweet and tasty style, and he has composed by ear
and committed to memory several pieces, which impress
the hearer with regret, that they must die with their author.
Indeed he now (when too late) regrets himself, that he had
not in his youth, and when he had great opportunities,
added science to natural taste.
The Apollonian society is principally indebted for its
formation to the labours of Mr. S. H. Dearborn,29 a New
England man, who came here about a year ago, to exercise
the profession of a portrait painter, and being a very versatile genius, and having some knowledge of, and taste for
29 Son of Mr. Benjamin Dearborn, of Boston, much celebrated for his mechani-
8 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
musick, he soon discovered all the respectable people who
were harmoniously iriclined, and succeeded in associating
them into a regular society, which meets one evening every
week, and consists not only of those who can take parts,
but also of many of the most respectable inhabitants of
the town, who do not play, but who become members, for
the sake of admission for themselves and families to the
periodical concerts.
There are also two dramatick societies in Pittsburgh, [67]
one composed of the students of law, and the other of respectable mechanicks. They occasionally unite with each
other in order to cast the pieces to be performed with more
effect The theatre is in the great room of the upper story
of the courthouse, which from its size, and having several
other contiguous apartments which serve for green room,
dressing rooms, &c. is very well adapted to that purpose.
It is neatly fitted up under the direction of Mr. Dearborn,
whose mechanical genius has rendered him a useful associate of the disciples of Thespis; whether as machinist,
dresser, scene painter and shifter or actor; particularly
in the part of the garrulous Mrs. Bulgruddery in John
Bull, which he performs with much respectability. Mr. W.
Wilkins80 excels in genteel comedy; Mr. Johnston does
justice to the part of an Irishman; Mr. Haslet to that of a
Yorkshire farmer or country squire; Mr. Linton in low
comedy is the Edwin of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Van Baun would
be an ornament to any established theatre, either in the
sock or the buskin, he being equally excellent in Octavian
80 William Wilkins, at this time but a young lawyer, afterwards became distinguished in American political circles. He served as state and federal judge
from 1820-28; three years later he was elected to the United States Senate; and in
1834, was sent by President Jackson as minister to Russia. Wilkins was in Congress again in 1842; and when TJpshire and Gilmer were killed (1844), President
Tyler appointed him Secretary of Wax.— Ed. 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
as in Fribble. The female characters being sustained by
young men, are deficient of that grace and modest vivacity,
which are natural to the fair sex, and which their grosser
lords and masters vainly attempt to copy. On the whole
however, the dramatick societies, exhibit in a very respectable manner, a rational entertainment to the inhabitants
of Pittsburgh about once monthly through the winter.
They have hitherto confined themselves to the comick
walk, but I have no doubt, that if they appear in the buskin,
they will do equal credit to tragedy.
Some of the gentlemen of the bar resident here, are very
respectable in the profession of the law. Mr. Ross, formerly a senator, and set up in unsuccessful opposition to
Mr. M'Kean, for governor of the state, is an orator of the
first abilities — bis oratory [68] being clear, inteUigible and
■ impressive.81 Mr. Mountain, to deep learning, adds careful
investigation of the cause of his client, and is apt and happy
in his quotations. Mr. W. Wilkins is by nature an orator.
His person, action, and gesture are favourable to him — his
words flow at will in a style of manly and bold oratory which
commands attention.— He has no occasion to study his
periods, they form themselves — he enters in earnest into
the cause of his client, and rarely fails to give it its full
weight—but perhaps he sometimes works himself up into
too great warmth of language, which may be occasioned by
the glowing impulse of youth operating on a fertile fancy —
31 James Ross was one of the most eminent of Pittsburg's early lawyers. Born
in 1761, he was admitted to the bar in 1791, and three years later chosen to fill
out Gallatin's term in the United States Senate, wherein by re-election he served
until 1803. Ross was a staunch Federalist, and ran three times unsuccessfully
upon that ticket for governor of Pennsylvania, twice (1799 and 1802) against
McKean. Although a Federalist, he had sufficiently imbibed Western views to
advocate, while a senator, the forcible seizure of New Orleans from the Spaniards.
After retiring from politics (1803), he practiced law until his death in 1847, being
considered the leader of the Pittsburg bar.— Ed.
>* Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
he apparently not exceeding twenty-five years of age. Mr.
Addison,82 Mr. Semple, Mr. Woods, Mr. Baldwin, and
Mr. Collins88 are spoken of as very able practitioners, but
as I had not the pleasure of witnessing their exertions at the
bar, I cannot take it upon me to describe their talents, even
was I adequate to it.
There are five societies of Christians, which have each
an established minister — Mr. Steele84 the pastor of one of
the Presbyterian societies, possesses all that liberality of
sentiment and Christian charity inculcated by the divine
founder of his religion, and dignifies the pulpit by his clear
and pleasing exposition of the scriptures. Mr. Taylor the
Episcopal minister, is an able mathematician, a liberal
philosopher, and a man of unaffected simplicity of manners.
His discourses from the pulpit are good moral lectures, well
adapted to the understanding of his hearers. He is an
assistant teacher in the academy. Of Mr. Boggs,86 the
minister of the other Presbyterian society, [69] or of Mr.
Black, the minister of a large society of a sect of Presbyterians called covenanters, I am not adequate to speak, not
having yet heard either officiate. Mr. Sheva,88 pastor of
a congregation of German Lutherans, is a man of liberal
morality, and a lively social companion.   There are here
82 Since dead.— Cramer.
33 Cuming has here given a summary of the noted members of the Pittsburg bar
at the time of his visit. Steel Semple made a specialty of land cases, and had great
influence with juries. Henry Baldwin was afterwards distinguished in politics,
serving in Congress 1817-23; seven years later he was appointed to the supreme
court of the United States, wherein he served until his death in 1846. Thomas
Collins was an able and successful lawyer, with high social connections. For a
sketch of Judge Addison, see Harris's Journal, vol. iii of this series, p. 363, note
84 Mr. Steele died March 22, 1810.— Cramer.
35 Removed to near Fredericksburgh, Virginia.   His place has been filled by the
Rev. Mr. Hunt, who officiates to the second Presbyterian congregation.— Cramer.
38 Removed to St. Louis, Louisiana.— Cramer. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 85
several Roman Catholicks,87 Methodists,88 and Anabaptists
— who have as yet no established place of worship, but
who occasionally meet to profit by the exhortations of some
of their spiritual directors, who travel this way. On the
whole, the religious sects appear to be more free here than
in most places I have visited, from those illiberal and antichristian prejudices, which render Christianity the scoff of
even the ignorant Indians, whom we term savages.
But though difference of religious opinions does not cause
any animosity here, politicks have reduced society to a
most deplorable state. There are two parties, which style
themselves Federal republicans, and Democratick republicans, but who speaking of each other, leave out the word
republican, and call each other Federalists and Democrats.
I have already described their opinions, which are argued
with more warmth, and are productive of more rancour and
violence in Pittsburgh than perhaps in any other part of
America.89 There are very few neutrals, [70] as it requires
a bold independence of sentiment, to prevent a person from
attaching himself to one or other party, and besides, to a
man who has not resources for the employment of time
within himself, the alternative of not being of one or other
— H
87 The Catholicks have lately erected a small but handsome brick church of
one story at the north east end of Liberty street, the ground for which, I understand,
was gratuitously presented to them by Gen. O'Hara. The inside work of the
church is yet in an unfinished state.— Cramer.
38 The Methodists are now engaged in collecting a voluntary subscription for
either the building, or the purchase of a house for the use of their society.— Cramer.
88 Our author was here at a time when politicks ran high the colouring he has
given the rancour, in consequence, among the inhabitants, may be a little too deep.
Be this as it may, party politicks, or at least, political rancour, has subsided, and
the citizens generally, mtermingle in social societies, and interchange the various
offices of friendship and of trade without interruption, however they may differ in
political sentiment, or be opposed to each other in the election of the various candidates to publick office. Conceiving, perhaps, that a moderate difference of
political opinion, is a natural consequence of our political institutions, and a requisite
to their existence in the purity in which they were at first established.— Cramer. 86
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
party is insupportable, as he is shunned equally by both,
and in this populous town fives with respect to society, as
though he were in a desert. This may be one cause that
Pittsburgh is not celebrated for its hospitality, another,
(which is equally applicable to most new settled towns,)
is that it is inhabited by people who have fixed here for the
express purpose of making money. This employs the
whole of their time and attention, when they are not occupied by politicks, and leaves them no leisure to devote
to the duties of hospitality. Another cause, which one
would scarcely suspect, is pride. Those who from the adventitious circumstance of having settled here at an early
period, and purchased, or became possessed of landed
property, when from its very low value, it was obtained in
the most easy manner, for a mere trifle, now find themselves
rich suddenly, from its rapid increase in value. Those who
came after them, had not the same opportunities, and of
course were not so fortunate. Wealth acquired suddenly,
generally operates on the ignorant, to make them wish to
seem as if they had always been in the same situation; and
in affecting the manners and appearance of the great, they
always overact their part, and assume airs of superiority
[71] even over the really well born and well bred part of the
community, who have been reduced from a more affluent
situation, by misfortune, or who have not been so fortunate
as themselves in acquiring what stands the possessor in lieu
of descent, and all the virtues and accomplishments. This
accounts for the pride which generally pervades the fortunate first settlers, but it is carried to such extravagant excess, that I have been credibly informed that some of the
females of this class have styled themselves and their families
the Well bom, to distinguish them from those not quite so
wealthy, forgetting that some among them could not tell
who had been their ancestors in the second generation.
Id Cuming's Tour to the West
This is all matter of ridicule and amusement to a person
possessed of the least philosophy. There is also a very
numerous class, which assumes a certain air of superiority
throughout this whole country — I mean the lawyers.
They (even their students and pupils) arrogate to themselves
the title or epithet of esquire, which the uninformed mass of
the people allow them; and as, by intrigue, they generally
fill all the respectable offices in the government as well as the
legislature, they assume to themselves a consequence to
which they are in no other way entitled.
The profession of physick is also on a very respectable footing in this town. There being four established physicians.
— Doctors Bedford, Richardson,40 Stevenson, and Mowry,41
all of considerable practice, experience, and reputation.42
I shall defer an account of the situation, history and
present state of Pittsburgh, until I have finished [72] my
tour to the westward, when I shall have obtained more
information on so important a subject.
Departure from Pittsburgh—The Allegheny, Monongahela,
and Ohio rivers — Brunot's island — unfortunate death
of two gentlemen — Baldwin's mill — Neville's island —
Middletown — Logstown — Beaver creek — Beaver town
— Fort M'Intosh.
On the 18th July, 1807, accompanied by my intelligent
and valuable friend A , I departed from Pittsburgh, in
*° Died, August 1809.— Cramer.
a Of these early Pittsburg physicians, Dr. Nathaniel Bedford came out as a
surgeon in the British army, and located here in 1765; his colleague, Dr. Stevenson,
arrived about the same time and later served as a Revolutionary soldier. Dr.
Mowry entered the office of Bedford as an apprentice (1786), attended lectures
under Dr. Rush at Philadelphia, and attained high rank in his profession.— Ed.
a There are three others established here lately, a German, a French, and an
English physician, the latter of whom is of the Friends' society, of the name of
Pennington, considerably advanced in years. He came to this place in the fall of
1809, and is said to be skilful.— Cramer.
~TS 1
Early Western Travels
[Vol. !
a batteau, or flat bottomed skiff, twenty feet long, very
light, and the stern sheets roofed with very thin boards, high
enough to sit under with ease, and long enough to shelter
us when extended on the benches for repose, should we be
benighted occasionally on the river, with a side curtain of
tow cloth as a screen from either the sun or the night air.
We had a pair of short oars, or rather long paddles, for one
person to work both, and a broad paddle to steer with;
and a mast, and a lug or square sail to set when the wind
should favour us; we had a good stock of cold provisions
and liquors. The river being neither flooded, nor very low,
was just in that state, to promise a pleasant passage to its
navigators. The current running between two and three
miles an hour, allowed time to examine every thing worthy
of curiosity, and the water was sufficiently high to prevent
delays through grounding on any of the numerous flats,
which impede the navigation of the first two hundred miles,
during the principal part of the summer and fall, and yet
not so high as to prevent our being able to see and remark
all the shoals or rocks of any consequence, which gave us an
opportunity [73] of proving Mr. Cramer's Navigator which
we had with us, of correcting it in a few places, and of
adding to it a sketch of the river, in its very winding course,
between Pittsburgh and Limestone or Maysville, in Kentucky.48
In a quarter of an hour after embarking on the Monongahela we passed its confluence with the Allegheny, and entered
the Ohio formed by the other two.
The Allegheny rises between two and three hundred
miles following its different meanders, N. E. of Pittsburgh.
u The Navigator or Trader's useful Guide to Navigating the Monongahela,
Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers . . . was published by Zadok Cramer at
Pittsburg — the same house that produced Cuming's Western Tour. Cuming
doubtless had the fifth edition, issued in 1806. The work was useful and popular,
and ran through twelve editions.— Ed. 1807-1809I Cuming's Tour to the West
Its current runs about three miles an hour except in floods,
when it is sometimes impelled at the rate of six or seven.
Its banks were uninhabited except by the aborigines, and a
line of distant posts fortified by the French, to preserve the
communication by this route between Canada and Louisiana,
previous to the conquest of the former country by the British
in 1759; also to prevent the extension of the Anglo American
settlements to the westward of this river; and to command
the friendship and trade of the Indians; and to prevent as
much as possible the English from participating with them
in those advantages. Within the last twenty years, the
Indians disliking the extension of the American settlements
into their neighbourhood, have abandoned this whole tract
of country, and have retired to Sandusky, about three hundred miles further west, with the exception of a tribe under
a celebrated chief called the Cornplanter, which has a town
and settlement near the Allegheny about 120 miles from
Pittsburgh,44 and which is gradually falling into an agricultural life.45
" The former villages of the Shawnees and Delawares in the vicinity of Pitts-
e removed at the close of the French and Indian War to the neighborhood
s for many years a much
of the Muskingum.
Cornplanter, the chief of a large band of Senecas, v
dreaded hostile. He is known to have been with the French at Braddock's defeat;
later, influenced by the British agents, he took part in the massacre at Wyoming
and in many border raids. Brodhead led out an expedition in 1779. which burned
the towns of this chieftain; and at the close of the Revolution, becoming impressed
with the growing power of the Americans, the wily warrior professed peace, assisted
in securing the treaties of Fort Stanwix (1784) and Fort Harmar (1789), and had
an interview with Washington in 1790. His professions secured him a large reservation in the present county of Warren, Pennsylvania, where he lived quietly until
his death in 1836.—Ed.
«In 1708, the Quakers of Philadelphia sent out a committee of three or five,
men and women, among the Cornplanters Indians, with implements of husbandry,
to instruct the poor natives in the arts of agriculture and comfortable living. In
these, with much good example, industry, and perseverance they have succeeded
wonderfully in bringing their red brethren to a considerable advanced stat, o
civilization, to a knowledge of agriculture, the mechamck arts, and a practice of
the social virtues.   I had the pleasure of conversing with Joel Swam, c
e of the 9°
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
[74] The Europe-American settlements (as I call them
from their consisting principally of emigrants from Britain,
Ireland, and Germany, particularly the two latter) now
extend not only to the banks of the Allegheny, but crossing
iles <
members of the
extended several
cattle, horses, and hog
to make their own plot
not long since, who observed, that the farms of the natives
. both banks of the Allegheny river, well stocked with
That one or two of the Indians had already learnt how
irons, axes, hoes, &c. while others were learning to make
tubs and buckets, and that he expected to learn an ingenuous boy to make spinning
wheels the ensuing year, for which he was then hunting irons. That a tanyard
was about to be sunk for the purpose of learning them the art of tanning; That
the Indian women had spun and wove about seventy yards of flaxen linen that year,
1808, and was able to knit their own stockings. That they, the committee, had got
both men and women to quit the habit of drinking whiskey, or any other kind of
ardent spirits, either at home or abroad —This circumstance has been frequently
witnessed among those who came down to Pittsburgh with skins, trading, and who
uniformly refuse whiskey when offered to them by those to whom they sell their
skins, shaking their heads, saying, too scos, too scos, meaning, not good, repeating
in broken English, "may be scos, good, for white man, but too scos, bad, for Indian.' *
The Quakers of Baltimore, under the same Christian, and highly laudable
spirit, sent out in 1805, a deputation among the Shawaneese, Delawares, and
Wyandots, and such other tribes as they could find it practicable to visit, to see
what might be wanting to forward the interests and happiness of the natives, to
some of whose tribes they had forwarded a few articles of farming utensils in 1798,
particularly to those situated on the banks of the Tuskarowas river; since which,
ploughs, hoes, axes, &c. have been forwarded to Fort Wayne as presents to the
Indians on the Wabash, where considerable clearings and improvements have been
made under the particular direction of Philip Dennis, agent of the Friends'
The Western Missionary society are also laudably engaged in this Christian
like work, and we hope and flatter ourselves, that much good will be done, and the
poor natives be advanced to a state of rational life. The Rev. Joseph Badger
resides on the Sandusky, where no doubt his indefatigable industry will be turned
to the best advantage for the welfare of the Indians in that quarter. He has one
farm already stocked with cattle, &c. a tolerable crop was raised last year — and a
school is kept to teach the children the English language. Divine service is also
held among them frequently, where men, women, and children attend, to receive
the instruction of their worthy pastor. Mr. Badger was among us not long ago, and
he gives a flattering account of the aptness of the Indian children, and their willingness and desire for learning, and states that they do not want for capacity.—
This subject opens a wide field for the humane and philosophick citizen, and we
hone the minds of many will be drawn to pay it that attention it so richly
merits.— Cramer. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 91
that river, the country has become [75] populous, and many
thriving towns have been erected throughout the whole
country south of lake Erie, not only in Pennsylvania, but in
the adjoining new state of Ohio, which latter has been
settled in that tract, by emigrants from the state of Connecticut,48 to whom Pittsburgh is indebted for a good supply
of cheese47 not inferior to English.
The navigation of the Allegheny is easy for boats called
keels from fifty to seventy feet long, sharp at both ends,
drawing little water, carrying a good burthen, and calculated to be set against the stream, so as to surmount it from
eight to twenty miles a day in proportion to the strength of
the current operating against them. The water of this
river is uncommonly clear, occasioned by its gravelly bottom
and the rapidity of its current; and the fish are harder, firmer,
and more delicious, than those caught in the Monongahela,
which rising in the Laurel mountain in Virginia, pursues
a northern course about two hundred miles, (the last half
of which is through a rich and populous country) until it
unites with the Allegheny at Pittsburgh. Flowing generally
through a more level country than the Allegheny, its current
[76] is much more placid, but its waters are always muddy,
from which circumstance it derives its name, which in the
Indian dialect signifies muddy from the mouldering in of
banks.   Both it and the Alleghany abound in fish, of which
46 This refers to the Western Reserve, often called New Connecticut.   By the
as of her charter, Connecticut "claimed the land west of her boundaries tc
; upon her •
of 3.250.C
(1796) at Cleveland.   In 1800 this r<
and finally incorporated in the state of Ohio.— Ed.
:ssion of this claim to Congress (1786), she reserved a
n the shores of Lake Erie, in which settlement was begun
s surrendered to the United States,
make from two to three ton
get at our market twelve c<
thing for some of our New Connecticut farmers to
f good cheese in one season, for which they generally
■ per pound.— Cramer. 92
Early Western Travels
the white salmon, the perch, the pike and the catfish are most
esteemed; there are however several other species.48
The Ohio into which we had now entered, takes its name
from its signifying bloody in the Indian tongue, which is
only a modern appellation bestowed on it about the beginning of the last century by the five nations, after a successful
war, in which they succeeded in subjugating some other
tribes on its banks.49 It was called by the French La belle
Riviere, which was a very appropriate epithet, as perhaps
throughout its long course it is not exceeded in beauty by any
other river. It was always known before as a continuation
of the Allegheny, though it more resembles the Monongahela, both in the muddiness of its waters, and its size: the
latter being about five hundred yards wide, whereas the
former is only about four hundred yards in breadth opposite
Leaving the glass house on the left, we passed on the
same hand Saw-mill run, a mill stream with a long wooden
bridge crossing it to Elliot's mills, the bridge forming a
handsome object in the view. Elliot has here a delightful
spring, bubbling its cool pelucid water from the side of the
rocky bason which receives it, from which it is conveyed by
a pipe through his spring-house, the roof of which joins the
shed which covers the spring.
We passed Robinson's point on the right with a fine
level, or bottom, as I shall in future according to [77] the
language of the country call all the flats between the hills
and the banks of the river.   This bottom well settled and
<s Such as the sucker, sturgeon, buffaloe, missouri, eel, herring, and sometimes
the flat soft shelled turtle are caught — The branches of the Allegheny, especially
French creek, abound in fine trout.— Cramer.
48 Cuming is following the Navigator in his signification of the term '' Ohio,''
which in its turn quotes from Brackenridge's Gazette Publications (Carlisle, 1806).
Both are incorrect, as philologists now agree that the word Ohio signifies '' beauti
ful sf
-Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West
cultivated, extends to about four miles below Pittsburgh,
having Brunot's island opposite its lower extremity. This
island contains near three hundred acres of a most luxuriant
soil, about half of which has been cleared by Dr. Brunot,
a native of France, who adds hospitality and sociality to
the abundance which he derives from his well cultivated
farm.60 He has judiciously left the timber standing on the
end of the island nearest Pittsburgh, through which, and a
beautiful locust grove of about twelve acres, an avenue from
his upper landing is led with taste and judgement about half
a mile to his house, which is a good two story cottage, with
large barns, and other appropriate offices near it, and an
excellent garden and nursery. He has fenced the farm
in such a way, as to leave a delightful promenade all round
it, between the fences, and the margin of the river, which he
has purposely left fringed with the native wood about sixty
yards wide, except where occasional openings are made
either for landings, or views, the latter of which are very
fine, particularly that of M'Kee's romantick rocks opposite,
impending over the narrow rapid which separates them from
the island. M'Kee's fine farm between the rocks and the
mouth of Chartier creek, and the creek itself, which meanders through a great part of the rich and plentiful county
of Washington, affording also fine subjects for the landscape
60 Dr. Felix Brunot was a foster brother of Lafayette. Embarking in the
latteris enterprise to aid the American colonists, he served efficiently in the Revolution, especially at the battle of Brandywine. At the close of the war he settled
at Annapolis, Maryland; but in i797 removed to Pittsburg, where he developed the
island estate which Cuming describes. Dr. Brunot died in 1838; his descendants
have been equally public-spirited — his grandson, Felix Brunot, being an eminent
Pittsburg philanthropist.— Ed.
81 The original owner of the farm from which McKee's Rocks took their name
was the notorious Tory Indian agent, Alexander McKee. This tract he bought of
Bouquet in 1764, and lived upon his property until the outbreak of the Revolution.
McKee had (1772) been appointed by Sir William Johnson, deputy for Indian ii!
w i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. .
On entering the channel to the right of Brunot's island, I
could not avoid a sensation of melancholy, from its reminding me of the death of my valued friend George Cochran,
esq. of Natchez, who about three years ago was drowned here
together with a Mr. M'Farlane of Elizabethtown, by the
skiff, in which they were going from the shore to a brig belonging to the latter, being carried by the current [78] against
the brig's cable, and overset. In his death, his friends had
cause to lament the loss of a warm hearted, benevolent,
generous, and properly conducted man in every sense of the
word, and the world was deprived of one of those characters,
which is occasionally but rarely allowed it, to prevent that
general obloquy to which it would otherwise be subjected
from the natural depravity of mankind.
I was not acquainted with Mr. M'Farlane, but from the
manner in which I have heard him spoken of by those who
were, he merited a longer enjoyment of this probationary
life. They were found two days after, a few miles below,
brought to Pittsburgh, and interred in two adjoining graves,
in the burying ground of the new Presbyterian meeting-house.
affairs, and was listed by Lord Dunmore (1775) as one whose loyalty to the British
could be relied upon. He became, therefore, an object of suspicion to his neighbors, and General Hand, commandant at Fort Pitt, placed him upon parole. The
night of March 28, 1778, McKee with Matthew Elliot and Simon Girty, broke his
parole and fled to the British at Detroit. There he was rewarded with a captaincy,
and employed in leading Indian raiding parties against the American settlements.
After Hamilton's capture (1778) he was made Indian agent for the Western department, and throughout the Revolution, and the entire period of Indian wars,
his influence with the savages was exerted to maintain their enmity to the Americans. After the battle of Fallen Timbers (1794), Wayne burned the store-house
and goods of McKee at the Maumee Rapids, the renegade having himself retired
to Detroit, where he received a letter of commendation from the governor-general
of Canada, and promotion in the British service. When the latter evacuated
Detroit (1796), McKee retired to Sandwich, where he continued his official duties
until his death (January 14, 1799). His services had been rewarded by large
grants of land on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, upon which his descendants established themselves. His Pittsburg property passed into the hands of a
brother, whose descendants were living thereon in 1847.— Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 95
Passing his garden, we gave and received an adieu from
Dr. Brunot, and the recollection of a social and agreeable
day, which I enjoyed with a party at his house on the 4th
of this month, when he had a few friends to commemorate
that anniversary of a new era in the annals of history, the
Independence of the United States of America, aided to
dispel those gloomy, selfish ideas, which we who remain behind can seldom avoid indulging, when we think on our
being for ever deprived of society which was dear to us —
even though we have every reason to be certain that they
were prepared for whatever fate may await them in futurity,
and though we know that longer continuance here, might
have subjected the subject of our regret to some of those
casualties in the affairs of men, which might have embittered
their future life.
The course of the river is generally about N. N. W. from
Pittsburgh to Beaver, about twenty-eight miles. We continued to descend it, our attention occupied by frequent
changes of prospect, caused by its winding course. From
the point below Brunot's island, is a fine vista of the river
with hills on the right and [79] a bottom on the left; a very
high hill in front cultivated on the top, Baldwin's mill on
the right three miles distant, reflected by the water to double
its size; the well frequented road to Beaver on the same
hand, and farms and farm houses in view of each other;
the scenery enlivened by multitudes of fish sporting near
the surface of the glassy element. Baldwin's mill-house is
well built of stone over a dam in the river, which conveys
the water to the wheel, from whence it runs out under the
arch which supports the house.
We had passed a small island of about three acres, called
Cow island, separated from Neville's or Long island by a
channel of one hundred and fifty yards. This latter takes
its name of Long from its extending six miles down the II
96 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
river from opposite Baldwin's mill, it is narrow, but its
soil being of the first quality, it might be divided into several
good farms; there is however but one on it as yet, cultivated
for the proprietor, major Craig of Pittsburgh, who has on
the middle of the island a large but very plain wooden
farm house of two stories, and about sixty feet long.82
We here overtook a covered flat, with two families of
the name of Frazey, migrating from the neighbourhood of
Elizabethtown in New Jersey, to Cincinnatti in Ohio. They
had embarked at Redstone on the Monongahela.58 The
father of one of the families was dangerously ill with a
nervous fever and deranged in his intellects.
Hog island on the left just below Neville's island, is
very small, and immediately below it also on the left we
passed Middletown, lately laid out, containing ten houses
including barns, and opposite to it, a Mr. White's finely
situated house.
From a point two miles below Middletown, the river
opening gradually into a long reach, has a fine effect to
62 Major Isaac Craig was one of the most prominent of the early citizens of
Pittsburg. Coming from Ireland to America in 1766, he settled at Philadelphia
as a carpenter, and being commissioned first lieutenant of marines (1775) took
part in the expedition to the West Indies. His command was later transferred to
the infantry and then to the artillery branch of the service, wherein Craig was
wounded at Brandywine, and performed gallant services in Sullivan's Indian Campaign. Having taken command of Fort Pitt in 1780, he was ordered the next year
to reinforce George Rogers Clark with stores and artillery for an expedition to
Detroit. This proving abortive, Craig continued at Pittsburg, strengthening its
defenses, and securing it against attack. In 1783, he bought the first land sold
within the city of Pittsburg, and shortly formed a partnership for general business
with Colonel Bayard, a Revolutionary officer. During the Indian campaigns
Craig acted as military storekeeper, forwarding provisions to Wayne, and erecting
defensive works at Pittsburg (Fort Fayette), Wheeling, and Presqu' Isle; but as
a noted Federalist he was removed (1802) by Jefferson from official position.
Major Craig also aided in preparations for the War of 1812-15, but at its close
retired to Neville's Island (his wife's property) and resided thereon until his death
in 1826.— Ed.
63 For a sketch of Redstone, see Michaux's Travels, vol. iii of this series, p. 158, 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 97
the eye. A little below the point, a charmingly situated
farm on the right exciting our inquiry, [80] we were informed
that it was squire Ways. The squire however, was badly
lodged, if he had no better house than the small log hovel
we saw on the bank. Deadman's island a little below is
small, covered with aquatick shrubs and plants, and so low,
that it must always be inundated in moderate risings of the
river, which is not here more than a hundred and fifty yards
wide, and in general not exceeding two hundred. The banks
on each side abound with partridges whose responsive calls
are continually heard, interrupted by the buzz of multitudes
of large horse flies, which probably attracted by the odour
of our provisions, seemed much more pleased with our boat
than we were with them.
Eight miles below Middletown, we passed Logstown on
the left: This is a scattering hamlet, of four or five log cabins,
in the neighbourhood of which, on the opposite side of the
river, a considerable tribe of Indians resided, until after the
reduction of Fort Du Quesne, now Pittsburgh, by general
Forbes in 1758.54
From Logstown a mile and a half to Crow's island which
is small, the banks are very pleasant, rising gradually from
■ the water's edge, and having a fine bottom on the right.
Here we met two large keel boats loaded with cotton in
bales, from Nashville in Tennessee bound to Pittsburgh,
out twenty-six days. They had nine men in each — one
steering, six poling, and two resting.
Half a mile from hence on the right, is a good log house
with a sign of a white horse, kept by James Knox; in passing,
it, a young woman answered several questions we asked her
very civilly; which I mention as a rare circumstance, as the
inhabitants of the banks of the Ohio, have too generally
64 For a sketch of Logstown, see Weiser's Journal, vol. i of this series, p. 24, note II
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
acquired a habit, of either not deigning an answer to the
interrogatories of the numerous river travellers, or of giving them a short and boorish one, or of turning [81] their
questions into ridicule; which proceeds from the impertinent manner in which they are generally hailed and addressed by the people in the boats.
Two miles lower we passed a good house and a saw-mill
in a beautiful rural situation on the left bank, and here we
met a decent looking man, polling a skiff against the current:
He was going to Pittsburgh and had come upwards of
twenty miles since morning.
At half past four in the afternoon we were abreast of
Big Beaver creek or river on the right, five miles below the
saw mill. It empties through a level, and is about fifty
yards wide at its mouth, with a gentle current.
Some boys on the beach mischievously misinformed us
respecting the proper landing, to the town of Beaver, which
is but a little way beyond the creek, instead of which we
rowed a mile lower down, and then had to set our skiff across
a bar, which extends above a mile in front of the right bank.
After landing, we had to climb a precipice to a log cabin,
on the top and edge of the cliff, near two hundred feet above
the surface of the river: Here we got directions for our
path, and after a walk of half a mile, we reached the town
of Beaver.
It stands on a stony plain on the top of the high cliff which
conceals it from the river, and contains about thirty indifferent houses, much scattered, on three parallel streets. There
is a stone gaol not quite finished, which was the only publick
building we noticed.55 The inhabitants not finding water
at a convenient depth, have, in preference to digging very
deep wells, led it by wooden pipes from a hill near a mile
65 A small brick market-house has been since built, and after many trials, a
well sunk from which the inhabitants are supplied with water.— Cramer. Cuming's Tour to the West
from the town, and have placed publick wooden fountains
in the streets at convenient distances.
[82] We were shewn the scite of Fort M'Intosh, of which
no vestige remains except the hearth of the officers' fire
place: It is on the edge of the cliff commanding the river.
Altogether, Beaver seems to be very badly situated on the
high plain, when it ought to have been placed at the confluence of Beaver creek with the Ohio, where there is a bottom with room enough for a town, and an excellent landing,
and where are now two good looking houses with tavern
signs. The neighbouring high situation notwithstanding
its inconveniences, was probably preferred, on account of
the superior salubrity of the air.66
On entering Beaver, we refreshed ourselves with six
cents worth of whiskey and water at general Lacock's tavern.
He is one of the representatives in the assembly of the state,
and has both considerable influence and abilities. I had
heard him in the house of representatives when I was at
Lancaster in the winter, and was much entertained by the
wit and humour he displayed in the course of a debate on
fixing a permanent seat of government.57   We had not
60 With regard to the Indian towns at the mouth of the Big Beaver, see Weiser's
Journal, vol. i of this series, p. 26, note 22.
The present town of Beaver was laid out in 1792, and eight years later made
the county town for the newly-erected Beaver County. Fort Mcintosh was a
Revolutionary post erected (1778) by General Lachlin Mcintosh, who had been
chosen to succeed General Hand at Fort Pitt. It was the first military post in the
Indian territory beyond the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. An important Indian
treaty was held at this place in 1784; but four years later the fort was demolished,
the erection of lower posts on the Ohio having rendered it superfluous.— Ed.
6' The career of General Abner Lacock is illustrative of the ability and force
of character that rendered so many pioneers eminent. Of Virginia birth, he had
but slight education, migrating to Washington County, Pennsylvania, at an early
age. When the town of Beaver was erected he bought some of the first lots, and
served as justice of the peace as well as tavern-keeper. His entry into general
politics was signalized (1801) by election to the Pennsylvania assembly, and in
1808 he was chosen state senator. National affairs claimed him when elected
United States Senator (1813), in which position he championed internal improve- M,
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
the pleasure of seeing the general now, and proceeded from
his house to Mr. Wilson's, one of the best in the place, conformably to a promise I had given him in Pittsburgh. Mrs.
Wilson, a very pretty woman, told us that her husband was
absent in Philadelphia: — We left our names, walked across
the street to Hemphill's tavern, got some information respecting the country; and then returned to our boat, meeting on
our way the constable crying at publick sale, a poor horse
attached for debt, for which the last bid was thirteen dollars
twenty-five cents. It is seven years since Beaver was laid
out for a town.
[83]   CHAPTER X
Thunder storm — Hospitable reception at Potts's — Georgetown — Little Beaver creek — State division line — Fau-
cetstown — Croxton's — Squire Brown's.
A ferry two miles below Beaver is a handsome situation,
beyond which the banks are high on both sides, and the river
does not exceed one hundred and fifty yards wide.
About half past seven, it began to rain with heavy thunder
and sharp lightning. We huddled into the stern under the
awning, and I sculled with one oar to keep the boat in the
channel, in hopes of getting to Georgetown; but the storm
increasing, we judged it more prudent to stop at nine o'clock
where we saw a light on the left bank. We were received
very hospitably in their small log house by Mr., and Mrs.
Potts.68 Our landlady gave us bread and milk, which after
changing our wet clothes, we supped on sumptuously. We
then made some milk punch, which our landlord partook
of with us with great gout, entertaining us with some good
ments and popular education. Having incurred the resentment of Jackson by
his services on the committee to investigate the Seminole War, his retirement
ensued; whereupon he returned to Beaver, whose citizen he remained until his
death in 1837.— Ed.
" The creek at this place is still known as Potts Rim.— Ed. Cuming's Tour to the West
songs, and long stories about his travels. Time thus passed
away while the storm pelted without, and it was not until
eleven o'clock that we stretched ourselves on the floor,'
with our feet to the fire, and enjoyed a good nap, resisting
the kind importunities of the Potts's to take their own bed,
their other one being filled with their five children. And
here I must remark that throughout this whole country,
wherever you see a cabin, you see a swarm of children.
At six o'clock on Sunday morning the 19th July, we left
Potts's, after having recompensed them for their hospitality.
This was ten miles below Beaver, and two and a half above
Georgetown. There are three small islands in that distance called First, Second, and Grape island.
[84] I landed at Georgetown on the left, which contains
about thirty houses in a fine situation, on a narrow plain
extending from the high river bank, to the hills which surround it like an amphitheatre. Though it is a post town,
and a considerable thoroughfare of travellers, it is nevertheless on the decline, there being only twenty-five houses
inhabited.69 A shower coming on, I took shelter in the
house of a very communicative elderly man, whose wife
was young and very handsome, though an half blood Indian.
Little Beaver creek80 nearly opposite to Georgetown, is a
58 Georgetown was founded in 1793 by Benoni Dawson of Maryland, who
named it in honor of the city of that name, now in the District of Columbia. It
is "a prosperous-looking, sedate town, with tidy lawns running down to the edge
of the terrace.''    See Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio (Chicago, 1903).— Ed.
60 This is a valuable stream for water works, though wildly and romantically
hemmed in by vast hills on both sides. There are two grist mills, a saw mill, and
a large paper mill, all within two miles of its mouth; the latter has been lately
erected, and is owned by Jacob Bowman of Brownsville, John Bever of Georgetown, and John Coulter, who resides at the mill. Over this creek, about a mile
from its mouth, a new toll bridge was erected in the summer and fall of 1809, on the
road leading from Washington county to New Lisbon, Canton, Worster, &c. state of
Ohio. About a mile above Little Beaver, in the bed of the Ohio, and near the
north western side, a substance bubbles up, and may be collected at particular
times on the surface of the water, similar to Seneca oil.   When the water is not too kit
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
handsome little river, about thirty yards wide; half a mile
below which, we saw the division line between Pennsylvania
and Virginia on the left, [85] and between the former and
Ohio on the right, which were cleared of wood forty feet
wide in their whole length some years ago; a new growth
of trees, bids fair to obliterate very shortly these temporary
Near this on the left bank opposite a small island, is a
curious stratum of slate, covering a substratum of coal,
which also shews itself.
A mile below this is Custard's island, a mile long, opposite
the lower end of which on the left, is the very pleasantly
situated house and farm of Mr. Stewart, in passing which
we were asked by some people at the landing, if we had seen
a man polling up a skiff yesterday on his way to Pittsburgh,
and they pointed out his house on the opposite bank, which
he had left yesterday; which was matter of astonishment to
us, how the man we hailed in this skiff above Beaver, could
have surmounted so many ripples and rapids in so short a
time; it evinced uncommon strength, activity, and perseverance.
high, it can be strongly smelt while crossing the river at Georgetown: It is presumed to rise from or through a bed of mineral coal embowelled under the bed of
the river. The virtues of the Seneca oil are similar to those of the British oil, and
supposed to be equally valuable in the cures of rheumatick pains, &c.—Large
quantities of the Seneca oil is collected on Oil creek, a branch of the Allegheny
river, and sold at from one dollar and a half to two dollars per gallon. The mode
of collecting it is this; the place where it is found bubbling up in the creek is surrounded by a wall or dam to a narrow compass, a man then takes a blanket, flannel,
or other woollen cloth, to which the oil adheres, and spreading it over the surface
of the enclosed pond, presses it down a little, then draws it up, and running the
cloth through his hands, squeezes out the oil into a vessel prepared for the purpose;
thus twenty or thirty gallons of pure oil can be obtained in two or three days by one
man.— Cramer.
el The boundary is now marked by a stone monument. On the historic controversy concerning this boundary, see Michaux's Travels, vol. iii of this series
p. 170, note 31.—Ed. 1807-18
s Tour to the West
A mile and a half below Stewart's, we passed Faucets-
town, a hamlet of five or six houses and a ferry, from whence
is a road thirty miles to Warren in Ohio. Here I observed
some seines for fishing, made by fastening bushes together
with the tough and flexible stalks of the wild grape, with
which this whole western country abounds.
Two miles below Faucetstown, on the right, is a remarkable rocky cliff, three hundred feet perpendicular, from
which to Baker's island of a mile in length, is two miles,
and from thence about a mile further, we passed on the right,
Yellow creek,62 a handsome little river thirty yards wide,
with Mr. Pettyford's good stone house well situated on its
left bank.68
[86] From Yellow creek the appearance of the soil and
country is better than above it, and the river is very beautiful, being in general about a quarter of a mile wide, interspersed with several islands, which add much to its beauty;
some being partly cultivated and partly in wood, some
wholly in wood, and some covered with low aquatick shrubs
and bushes; and all fringed with low willows, whose yellowish green foliage, contrasted with the rich and variegated
verdure of the gigantick forest trees, the fields of wheat and
Indian corn, and the dwarf alders, other shrubbery and
reeds of the inundated islands, which they surround, mark
their bounds as on a coloured map. First Neasley's cluster
of small islands, two miles below Yellow creek; then Black's
island a mile and a half long, two miles below them, and
lastly, Little island close to the west end of Black's, joined
62 A few miles up this creek are several valuable salt springs; at two of which
quantities of excellent salt is made.— Cramer.
63 For the historic incidents connected with Yellow Creek and Baker's bottom,
see Croghan's Journal, vol. i of this series, p. 127, note 93, and Thwaites, On the
Storied Ohio.— Ed. io4
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
by a sand bar to the right shore, where Jacob Neasley has a
good two story wooden house, with a piazza.64
Four miles further we stopped at Wm. Croxton's tavern,
the sign of the Black Horse, on the Virginia side, and got
a bowl of excellent cider-oil. This is stronger than Madeira
and is obtained from the cider by suffering it to freeze in the
cask during the winter, and then drawing off and barrelling
up the spirituous part which remains liquid, while the aqueous is quickly congealed by the frost. Croxton and his
wife had a youthful appearance, notwithstanding they had
eight children, seven of whom were living.
He was born in this neighbourhood, lived here during
the last Indian war, and cultivated a bottom opposite,
through which flows a rivulet called Croxton's run, which
turns a grist and saw mill.65 On the United States appropriating the N. W. territory, now the state of Ohio, he lost
all that property by its being purchased by others, before he
became informed of the necessity of his securing his tenure
by obtaining a grant from the government. He complained
[87] of a toothache, from the torture of which I relieved him,
by burning the nerve with a hot knitting needle, which
however did not prevent him from charging us for our cider.
On the opposite bank a mile below Croxton's, a Mr.
White of Middleton in Virginia, is building a fine house of
hewn stone; and a mile further on the same side, we admired
the romantick situation of a farm house, with a garden tastily
filled with a profusion of flowers; opposite to which on the
Virginia side, is a remarkable cliff near the top of the high
M This group of islands is still known as Kneistb/s Cluster. See Thwaites, On
the Storied Ohio.
Jacob Kneistly (or Nessly) was of Swiss origin and emigrated to this region
from Pennsylvania about 1785.— Ed.
M Croxton's Run was the scene of one of the last Indian fights in this vicinity
(1787). Fourteen hunters were attacked here by a party of wandering Shawnees,
and four of the whites killed.— Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 105
river hill, occasioned by a large piece of the hill having
broken off and fallen down.
Four miles below Croxton's we passed Brown's island,'
containing three hundred and fifty acres of first rate land,
on the right, and opposite the lower end of it on the left
we stopped for the night at Brown's, who is a magistrate,
and has a noble farm and a house very pleasantly situated
on a high bank; with a steep slope to the river.
We found the squire weighing sugar, which he had sold
to Mr. Sumrall of Pittsburgh, who owns some regular
freighting keel boats, who with one of them was now on
his return from Cumberland river, and had also stopped here
for the night.
The negroes, cattle, offices, and the appearance of every
thing here, indicated the greatest abundance of the produce
of this plentiful country. Neither the old squire nor his
wife, ever knew confinement by accident or bad health,
until about two months ago, when by a fall from her horse,
she dislocated her hip, and broke one of her knees. Her
son restored the limbs to their places, and she employed no
surgeon, but is curing herself gradually, though slowly, by an
embrocation of camphorated spirit.
After supping with the old gentleman, near his old wife's
bed side, on apple pye, bread, butter and milk, he kissed
her, and then shewed us to a room [88] with four beds in it,
one of which he occupied himself, and gave us possession
of another, which we were not allowed to possess in peace,
as its indigenous inhabitants, indignant at our intrusion,
assailed us all night with such fury, as to drive us from
their quarters at the first dawn of day. The old man had
entertained us until a late hour, by narrating to us his situation, and that of his family. His children have all good
farms, and he intends making no will, that they may inherit
equally, (according to the very equitable law of this country 106 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
respecting intestate inheritance) whatever he may die
possessed of, which he gave us to understand was very
considerable.— One daughter is married to a Mr. Madan,
an Irishman, to whom he gave a farm with her, which
Madan sold for a thousand dollars five years ago, and
removed to St. Genevieve on the Mississippi, where he is
now a land surveyor with an income of two thousand dollars
per annum. Two years ago, squire Brown, notwithstanding
his age, about seventy, paid his daughter a visit, a distance
of a thousand miles.
Though he does not keep a tavern, he knows how to
charge as if he did, we having to pay him half a dollar for
our plain supper, plainer bed, and two quarts of milk we
took with us next morning; which was very high in a country
where cash is very scarce, and every thing else very abundant.
Remarkable bend in the river — Steubenville — Ornamented  seats  and  farms — Charlestown — Bakewell's,  and
other manufacturies — A versatile professional character
— Buffalo creek.
At 6 o'clock on Monday, 20th July, we proceeded on our
voyage, and three miles below Brown's passed a point or
rather a peninsula on the left, formed by a remarkable turn
in the river, which takes a direction due east for two miles;
its general course from Big Beaver to Baker's island having
been west, and from thence south. On the peninsula is a
well cleared and beautifully situated farm, and there is a
remarkable heap of loose rocks on the opposite shore, where
a small creek falls into the Ohio, with a neat stone cottage
at its mouth. At the end of the easterly reach is a good
two story stone house of a Mr. Kelly, just under a hill on the
Ohio side, with a fine bottom opposite. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 107
At a little before eight o'clock we stopped at Steubenville,
the capital of Jefferson county in Ohio, seven miles from
Brown's. This town has been settled about eight years,
chiefly by emigrants from the state of Jersey. It contains
one hundred and sixty houses, including a new gaol of hewn
stone, a court house of square logs (which it is said is to be
soon replaced by a new one66 of better materials), and a
brick presbyterian church. There are four or five different
sects of christians in this town, but no established minister,
except a Mr. Snodgrass to the presbyterians, and a Mr.
Doddridge, who comes from [90] Charlestown in Virginia,
every other Sunday, to officiate to the episcopalians in the
court house, which is occasionally used for the same purpose by the other sects.
There is a land office here for the sale of the publick
lands, from which large sums in Spanish dollars are sent
annually to the treasury of the United States in Washington.
Perhaps this is one cause of the town having increased so
rapidly. Another may be its very handsome situation.
The first street, which is parallel to the river, is on a narrow
flat, sufficiently raised above the river floods; while the
rest of the town is about twenty feet perpendicular above it,
on an extensive plain, rising gradually with a gentle slope
to the foot of the hills which surround it in a semicircle like
an amphitheatre, about a mile distant. On one of those a
Mr. Smith has a house and farm which seems to impend
over the south end of the town, from an elevation of four
hundred feet perpendicular from the bed of the river.
Mr. Bazil. Wells, who is joint proprietor of the soil with Mr.
James Ross of Pittsburgh, has a handsome house and finely
68 A handsome brick court house has since been erected, and the inside work
nearly completed. An original bank was established at Steubenville in 1809, by a
law of the state, with a capital of 100,000 dollars, with power to increase it to 500,000
dollars.    Bazaleel Wells president, W. R. Dickinson, cashier.— Cramer. io8
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
improved garden and farm on the bank of the Ohio, a quarter of a mile below the town.87
We remained about an hour in Steubenville, (which is
named in honour of the late major general baron Steuben,
the founder of the present American military tacticks): We
then pursued our course down the river, passing at half a
mile a point on the left, where is a tavern with a fine extensive bottom behind it; and four and a hah miles further,
we left Mingo bottom island (very small) on the left; half
a mile below which on the right is Mr. Potter's handsome
square roofed house, and a quarter of a mile lower down is
Mr. Pratt's neat frame cottage, ornamented like Potter's
with weeping willows and Lombardy poplars. A mile and
a quarter from hence we passed two small creeks called
Cross creeks, one on [91] each hand, and a mile and a half
below them, on turning a point on the left, we saw Charlestown, half a league before us, on the Virginia side, making
a handsome appearance, with the white spire of the court
house, and several good looking private houses, which are
distinctly seen from the river, on account of the situation
being on a lower bank than that of Steubenville.
At eleven we landed in Charlestown,68 went to the inn
where the mail stage between Pittsburgh and Wheeling
stops, and ordered dinner, during the preparation of which,
we amused ourselves with walking through the town. It
was laid out about fourteen years ago, and now contains
67 Steubenville was founded (1797) upon the site of Fort Steuben, one of the
earliest blockhouses built in Ohio by the Federal government (1786-87).
Bezaleel Wells was the son of Alexander Wells, a well-known West Virginia
pioneer who founded the town of Wellsburg, dying there in 1813. The son was
considered the best surveyor in the region, and laid out and speculated in town lots
at Canton, Ohio, as well as at Steubenville.— Ed.
68 The present town of Wellsburg, West Virginia, was first laid out (1791)
under the name of Charlestown, in honor of Charles Prather, its earliest proprietor.
In 1816 its name was changed by action of the legislature.— Ed.
w*^ 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 109
about eighty houses of various materials — brick, stone and
wood, principally in one street parallel to the Ohio. Tn
the middle is a convenient little court house of stone, with
a small, fight cupola spire. The gaol is behind it, and in
front is the pillory,69 on a plan differing from any I ever saw
elsewhere: A large, round wooden cover, like an immense
umbrella, serving as a shade for the criminal in the stocks,
or for a platform for one in the pillory to stand on, or for a
shelter from sun or rain to the inhabitants who meet on
business in front of the court house, the place generally
used as a sort of exchange in the small towns in this country.
A Col. Connel, who is a farmer, and clerk of the county
courts of Brooke county, has a very large but unfinished
house of hewn stone near the court house. The academy
is a good brick building on the ascent of the hill behind the
town, and was a good school until broken up by some political division among the inhabitants, which induced Mr.
Johnston, the last master, to remove to Beaver [92] in
Pennsylvania, where he now keeps the county clerk's
Mr. Bakewell from England, who has been established
here about two years, politely shewed us his manufactury
of pottery and queensware. He told us that the business
would answer very well, could workmen be got to be depended upon; but that those he has hitherto employed, have
always quit his service before the term of the expiration of
their contracts, notwithstanding any law to the contrary; and
69 The pillory punishment, a few years ago, prevailed throughout several of the
states, but has been wisely abolished by all but Virginia.— Cramer.
70 Mr. David Johnston was removed from his office in Beaver county after the
election of Mr. Snyder as governor. Before he went to Charlestown he taught in
the Canonsburgh college, and was elected in that county, Washington, to a seat in
the Pennsylvania legislature. He now teaches a private school in Brownsville.—
Cramer. I
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 4
two of them have actually set up small manufacturies in
Charlestown, one of queensware in opposition to him, and
the Other of tobacco pipes. Bakewell's ware is very good,
but not so fine, nor so well glazed as that manufactured in
England, owing probably to the difference of materials, as
the process is the same.
Mr. Doddridge who officiates alternately here and at
Steubenville, to the episcopal congregations, first practised
law, then physick, and now adds the trade of a tanner to
the profession of divinity.71
The wells here are dug forty to fifty feet deep before water
is come at, but that inconvenience might be easily remedied
by conveying water to the town in pipes from the surrounding
hills, which will doubtless be the case, should it ever become
a manufacturing town; which a few more inhabitants of
equal spirit and enterprize with Bakewell would soon effect.
Buffalo creek falls into the Ohio at the south end of the
town, after a course of forty or fifty miles through Washington county in Pennsylvania, and [93] the narrow tongue
of Virginia in which Charlestown is situated. It had a
wooden bridge about forty yards in length across the mouth
of it, on the post road to Wheeling, which was carried away
last spring by a flood.72
71 Cuming here refers to Rev. Dr. Joseph Doddridge, whose Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania (Wells-
burgh, 1824; second edition, Albany, 1876) is a mine of antiquarian lore. Doddridge, the son of a well-known pioneer, was born (1769) in Bedford County,
Pennsylvania; but at an early age his father removed to Washington County and
the family experienced backwoods life. Young Doddridge was first a Methodist
itinerant, but later ordained in the Protestant Episcopal church. He also studied
medicine under Dr. Rush in Philadelphia, and settled at Wellsburg, where he was
a useful and influential citizen. His brother Philip was a well-known Virginia
lawyer and statesman. See West Virginia Historical Magazine.-Januaiy, 1902, on
the Doddridges.— Ed.
72 This b
e been rebuilt.— Cramer. Cuming's Tour to the West
New town and settlement of Warren — Roland's ferry —
Comfortable situation, the effect of industry — Wheeling
— Walk by moon-light — New state road — Wheeling
island — Canton.
We proceeded after dinner from Charlestown, three and
a half miles to a ferry, and two miles further, we passed a
point and a tavern on the right, a mile and a half below
which on the same hand, is the straggling town and fine
settlement of Warren, laid out by Mr. Kimberly, the proprietor, five years ago, but it is only within two years that
it has began to assume the appearance of a town. It contains thirty-eight dwelling houses, charmingly situated on
an extensive bottom, the largest I had noticed since leaving
Pittsburgh, with Indian Short creek emptying into the Ohio
at its southern extremity.
Three miles lower, we passed Pike island, which is about
three quarters of a mile long, and seems capable of cultivation, though perhaps rather low. Opposite to it is the
boundary line between Jefferson and Belmont counties in
Two miles further, at six o'clock we landed at Roland's
ferry, on the left, and found Roland and his son employed
building a boat on the bank. He had removed from Pittsburgh last April, and now rents [94] a small farm from Mr.
Woods, the county surveyor, who has a handsome house in
sight, a little remote from the river where he resides, another
on the bank a little lower down, and a cottage amongst the
woods on the highest neighbouring hill, intended for a
banqueting house during summer, and commanding an
extensive prospect. At Roland's invitation, we walked to his
cottage a little distant from the river bank.   His wife and a 112 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
very fine girl his eldest daughter were spinning cotton,
while a younger one was attending the ferry, who though a
delicate and pretty girl, paddled the skiff backwards and
forwards as well as a man could do. He has been very
industrious, as besides having built several skiffs since his
removal, he had planted and cultivated twelve acres of the
finest corn I ever saw, some of it now twelve feet high, just
beginning to ear. He had also a large garden well stocked
with useful roots and vegetables.
At seven we left Roland's, and three miles and a half
below, passed between the north end of Wheeling island on
the right, and the principal part of the town of Wheeling
on the left,78 which is situated on so high a cliff, with the
avenues from the river so steep, that on account of the apparent difficulty of getting our baggage carried up, we preferred going on to where the cliff was considerably lower,
landing just under Sprigg's tavern near the ship-yards, a.
little above the confluence of Wheeling creek with the Ohio,
This being a great thoroughfare, on account of its situation where the great post roads from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the northern part of Virginia unite, and cross the
river, on the route through the states of Ohio and Kentucky,
to Tennessee and New Orleans, we found several travellers
of various descriptions in the house, and after partaking
with them of a good supper, we went out to saunter until bed
time through the town, into which we had to [95] ascend a
steep but short hill. It appeared very lively, the inhabitants being about their doors, or in the street, enjoying
the fresh air of a clear moonlight evening, while two flutes
were playing en duo the simple but musical Scots ballad of
Roy's wife of Aldwalloch, the prime part very tastily exe-
73 On the early history of Wheeling and its importance as a terminus for overland travel from Redstone and Fort Pitt, see Michaux's Travels, vol. iii of this
series, p. 33, note 15; also Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio.— Ed.
:<K 1807-1809]
'Cuming's Tour to the West
cuted. Yet notwithstanding appearances, our impression
of the town was not the most favourable, nor after tolerable
beds and a good breakfast next morning, had we reason to
alter our opinion when we examined it by day light.
It contains one hundred and twenty houses of all descriptions from middling downwards, in a street about half a mile
long, parallel to the river, on a bank of about one hundred
feet perpendicular, which the face of the cliff almost literally
is, of course the avenues to the landings are very steep and
inconvenient. The court-house of stone with a small
belfry, has nothing in beauty to boast of. The gaol joins
it in the rear.
It is probable that Mr. Zanes, the original proprietor, now
regrets that he had not placed the town on the flat below,
at the conflux of the Wheeling and Ohio, where Spriggs's
inn and the ship-yards now are, instead of cultivating it as
a farm until lately, when a resolve of congress to open a new
publick state road from the metropolis through the western
country, which will come to the Ohio near the mouth of
Wheeling creek, induced him to lay it out in town lots, but
I fear he is too late to see it become a considerable town to
the prejudice of the old one, notwithstanding its more advantageous situation.— The present town does not seem
to thrive, if one may judge by the state of new buildings,
two only of which I saw going forward in it. The stores also
appeared rather thinly stocked with goods, and the retail
prices are high. When the new road is finished, it will
doubtless be of great use to Wheeling, as it will be a more
direct route to the western states, [96] than any of the others
hitherto used, and besides there are no material impediments
to the navigation of the Ohio with the usual craft, below
that town in the driest seasons, when the river is at the low-
The surrounding country in sight is hilly and broken, II
114 Early Western Travels [Vol. 4
but I am informed that it is very rich and plentiful at a short
distance from the river.
Wheeling island in front of the town, is about a mile
long, and half a mile wide in its broadest part. It is very
fertile, and is all cultivated as a farm by Mr. Zanes. The
post and stage road to Chilicothe in Ohio, goes across it,
which occasions two ferries, an inconvenience which will be
remedied by the new state road crossing by one ferry
below the island.
Indian Wheeling creek, a fine mill stream joins the Ohio
from the N. W. opposite the middle of the island, and Mr.
Zanes has lately laid out a new town there named Canton,
which has now thirteen houses, but from its proximity to
Wheeling, it never can become considerable.74
Little Grave creek — Remarkable Indian monument —
Floating store — Big Grave creek — Captina island and
creek — Baker's station — Cressop's — Fish creek — Bid-
die's — John Well's — A rustick chorister — Uncommon
On the 21st July at eight A. M. we left Wheeling, observing nothing very interesting, until we reached Little
Grave creek, eleven miles below at [97] half past eleven
o'clock. The creek, which is very small, puts in from the
Virginia side, and there is a ferry house at the mouth of it,
where we landed, and had a pleasant walk on a very good
wagon road of half a mile to Tomlinson's, the proprietor
"The use of the terms Indian Wheeling Creek, Indian Kentucky, etc. for
streams flowing into the Ohio from its northern and western side is a reminiscence
of the days when the Ohio was a boundary between the white settlements and
Indian territory. The Indian title to these lands was not extinguished, and the
danger of attack from this side of the river was not removed until after the Treaty
of Greenville (179s).
The town laid out opposite Wheeling was not the nucleus of the well-known
Canton (Stark County), Ohio; but a place that perished, according to Cuming's
prediction.— Ed.
JL 1807-1809]
Cuming's Tour to the West
of the surrounding soil. He has'been settled here thirty
years, but always forted until the conclusion of the Indian
war by General Wayne. He then attempted to establish
a town on the opposite side of the creek from his house; but
it remains without augmentation, with only eleven cottages and cabins. The neighbouring country however is
improving, though slowly. Mr. Tomlinson has a very good
two story brick house, almost finished, fine apple and peach
orchards, and a good farm.75
Mrs. Tomlinson obligingly permitted one of her sons to
guide us to what is called the Indian grave, which is a short
quarter of a mile to the southward of the house. It is a
circular mound, like the frustum of a cone, about one hundred and eighty yards in circumference round the base,
sixty round the flat on the top, and about seventy feet perpendicular height. In the centre of the flat top is a shallow
hollow, like the filled up crater of an old volcano, which
hollow or settle is said to have been formed within the
memory of the first neighbouring settlers, and is supposed
by them to be occasioned by the settling of the earth on the
decayed bodies.
The whole mount appears to be formed of clay, and from
its regularity, is evidently a work of art, though I am not
of opinion that it has been a general or publick cemetery,
. but either a mausoleum raised over, and in memory of some
great Indian chief, a temple for religious worship, or the
scite of a fortification, or citadel to serve as a place of retreat
from a superior foe. About three years ago, the neighbours
perforated the north side, at about half the elevation, digging
in horizontally about twelve feet, without any [98] other
satisfaction to their curiosity, than the finding of part of a
human jaw bone, the bone rough and honeycombed, but
76 For a sketch oTJoseph Tomlinson, a well-known pioneer, see Harris's Journal,
vol. iii of this series, p. 360, note 40. The expression "forted" means that he lived
within a stockade stronghold until the close of the Indian wars.— Ed.
J Early Western Travels
the teeth entire, and the surrounding clay of a white chalky
There are four or five small mounds all within a few
hundred yards of the great one, each about thirty feet diameter, much lower in proportion than it, all rounded over the
tops, and like the great one, shewing their antiquity by the
size of the trees, plants, and shrubs which cover them, and
having more than it the appearance of tumuli.
The bark of the trees which crown this remarkable monument, is covered by the initials of visitors cut into it, wherever
they could reach — the number of which, considering the
remote situation, is truly astonishing.76
On returning to our boat we found a floating store at the
landing. It was a large square flat, roofed and fitted with
shelves and counter, and containing a various assortment
of merchandize, among which were several copper stills,
of which much use is now made throughout the whole western country for distilling peach and apple brandy, and rye
whiskey.— The store had two owners, who acted both as
boatmen and merchants, and who freely invited us to partake of a dram with them. They had loaded their flat
at Wheeling, and were dropping down the river, stopping
occasionally wherever they could find a market for their
At about one o'clock we proceeded on our voyage, {
on the right Mr. Dilly's large frame house and fine farm,
round which the river takes a great bend to the westward.77
76 On the subject of Indian mounds, see for recent scientific conclusions, Lucien
Carr, "Mound Builders," in Smithsonian Institution Report, 1891 (Washington,
1893), pp. 503-599; also American Bureau of Ethnology 12th Annual Report
(Washington, 1894).— Ed.
77 Dillon's Bottom is nearly opposite Moundsville. Just beyond, at the bend
which Cuming mentions, was situated Round Bottom, which Colonel Crawford
surveyed for Washington, in 1771. Cresap made a tomahawk claim to the same
land, and there was a long litigation over the matter, which was not finally adjusted
until 1839, when the suit was decided in favor of Washington's claim. See Washington's Works (Ford ed., New York, 1889), iii, pp. 392, 408.— Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 117
About five miles and a hah below Little Grave creek,
after passing Big Grave creek,78 (which is as [99] inconsiderable as its namesake notwithstanding its distinguishing
adjective) and Captina island (very small) and after having
stopped for a few minutes at one Baker's, who answered
our questions with savage moroseness, we passed Captina
creek on the right, emptying into the Ohio through an
extensive bottom, with three mills and several settlements
on it.
A mile lower, on the left is Baker's station, which has the
appearance of an old settlement.79
About three miles below Captina creek we stopped on the
left at Mr. Cressop's fine farm. He was on the plantation
overseeing his labourers, but Mrs. Cressop received us
politely. She is young and very handsome, and her employments of rocking her infant in its cradle while she exercised her needle, did not diminish any thing of her beauty
or respectability. She is sister in law to Mr. Luther Martin,
a celebrated lawyer of Baltimore.80
78 On Big Grave Creek occurred the ambuscade (September 27, 1777) in which
Captain William Foreman and twenty Virginia militiamen were slain on their
way to the relief of Fort Wheeling.— Ed.
7* The family of Bakers here mentioned is not to be confused with that of
Joshua Baker, at whose settlement opposite Yellow Creek occurred the massacre
of Logan's family. John Baker was a Prussian who emigrated to America in
1755, removed to the Shenandoah Valley, later to Dunkard's Creek, and (1781)
to Washington County, Pennsylvania. While there he learned of a projected
Indian attack on the fort at Wheeling, and sent his son Henry, a youth of eighteen,
to deliver the warning. Henry was captured by the Indians, carried to the Sandusky towns, and only saved at the intercession of Simon Girty. Upon his release
three years later, he found that his father had again removed, and fortified Baker's
Station near Captina Creek. At the close of the Indian wars, Henry Baker mar-
• ried, and moving up the river purchased a farm including Captina Island, where
Cuming found him.— Ed.
80 Mrs. Cresap was a Miss Ogle, whom Michael Cresap had married a few
years previous. Michael Cresap, jr., was but an infant when his father, Captain
Michael Cresap, died. The latter is well-known in border annals. As early as
1771 he had begun sending out squatters from his home in Oldtown, Maryland, to
take up Ohio lands; but he himself did not settle in this vicinity until the spring of m
Early Western Travels
Mr. Cressop owns a thousand acres of land here in one
body, most of it first rate bottom, his cottage is well furnished,
and he has a neat and good garden.
A little lower we passed Woods's fine island, about a mile
long, and stopped just beyond it at Biddle's tavern on the
left, at the conflux of Fish creek81 and the Ohio, a mile and
a half below Cressop's. Biddle keeps a ferry over Fish
creek, which is a fine deep stream, fifty yards wide, running
thirty miles through the country, but having no mills on it
Mr. and Mrs. Biddle are kind and hospitable, decent in
their manners, and reasonable in their charges. He is a
tenant of Mr. Robert Woods, whose house and extensive
improvements we had passed at Roland's ferry near Wheeling.
Biddle pays a rent of one hundred dollars per annum, for
which he has a right to cultivate and build wherever he
pleases on Woods's land, Mr. Woods paying him per valuation for the buildings. The house he now resides in cost
him six hundred dollars, [100] which he has been repaid.
He has cleared and cultivated the land for some distance
round the house, and he has ten acres in corn on the island,
which contains fifty acres of the first quality of soil above
the highest flood marks, the rest being liable to inundation.
At nine o'clock, we landed on the left at John Wells's,
seven miles from Biddle's.   It was a fine night.   Eight or
i774> when he immediately became involved in the troubles leading to Lord Dun-
more's War. He was commissioned captain of the local militia (June 10, 1774),
and joined McDonald's expedition to the Muskingum towns. The following year
Cresap was again in Maryland, and raised a company for the Continental army,
dying in New York on his way to join Washington at Cambridge. Of his children
the eldest daughter married Luther Martin, the well-known Maryland statesman
and jurist. The youngest son, Michael, settled on his father's Ohio lands, and
became a wealthy and respected citizen.— Ed.
81 For the incidents connected with the early history _^f Fish Creek, see
Harris's Journal, vol. iii of this series, p. 350, note 37.— Ed. 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 119
nine young men who had been reaping for Wells during the
day, were stretched out at their ease on the ground, round
the door of the cabin, listening to the vocal performance
of one of their comrades, who well merited their attention,
from the goodness of his voice, his taste, execution, variety
and humour. We enjoyed a rural supper, while Ustening
to the rustick chorister, then resisting our friendly host's
invitation to accept of a bed, and provided with a light and
some milk for next morning's breakfast, we retired to our
skiff, threw out a night line to fish, and endeavoured to compose ourselves to sleep under our awning. We were much
disturbed throughout the night by gnats and musquitoes,
attracted probably by our light, before extinguishing of
which, we killed a winged animal of the fly kind, the largest
of the species I had ever seen. It was about three inches
long, with four gauzy wings, and a most formidable display of forceps on each side the mouth, like those of a
scorpion, for which reason it might be named not improperly
a winged scorpion, though it is probably not venomous
like it.
Wells and his wife are a young couple who removed last
spring to this place, from his father's, an opulent farmer,
eighteen miles lower down the river. They are kind and
obliging, and better informed than one might expect, from
their limited opportunities of acquiring knowledge in so
remote a situation. Mrs. Wells, though a delicately formed
woman, and with [101] twin boys only six weeks old, both
of whom she nurses, seemed neither to have, nor to require
any assistance in her domestick employments, yet both
plenty and order were observable throughout her cabin.
Though we were much incommoded here by musquitoes,
yet I must observe, that comparatively with the country
to the eastward of the Allegheny mountains, particularly
near the sea coast, in the vicinity of salt marshes, we found Early Western Travels
[VoJ. 4
very few of, those troublesome insects, in our descent of the
Ohio, and though we occasionally heard the unwelcome
hum of a few solitary ones, we never once saw or heard a
swarm of them: we were however sometimes at night, when
sleeping in our skiff, infested by gnats or sand flies, but not
in such numbers as we might have expected on a river in the
warmest season of the year.
Fishing creek — Apathy of relatives for a dying man —
Long reach — Charles Wells's — Remarkable petrifaction
— Squire Green's — Little Muskingum river — Marietta
— Muskingum river — Ingenuous mode of ferrying —
Vestiges of Indian fortification.
At half past four on Wednesday 2 2d July, we loosed from
the bank, and drifted down the stream: The banks on both
sides low, and the bottoms very extensive.
At eight we were abreast of Fishing creek on the left
seven miles below Wells's. It is about the size of Fish
creek, and has a saw mill on it, and at its mouth, one Morgan
has a farm beautifully situated.
[102] At half past eight we overtook Frazey's boat which
we had passed on the 18th, and which had floated past us
during the night. The sick man had had fits yesterday,
yet neither his wife, his son, nor his brother seemed much
affected with his situation, but spoke of it very carelessly,
though they did not expect him to five twenty-four hours
longer. He had been some years in a declining state, and
perhaps they thought that his death would be convenient
both to them and to himself.
Three miles and a half below Fishing creek, we left
Peyton's island on the left. It is about a mile and a half
long, and is cultivated and inhabited.— From hence, the
Long reach in its whole length of eighteen miles, the islands 1807-1809] Cuming's Tour to the West 121
on the left, the projecting points on the right, and the forest
covered and.unequal hills on each side, form a most beautiful coup d'ceil.
Four miles and a half lower, we had passed Williamson's
island, which is above two miles long, and we stopped
just below it on the left bank, at Charles Wells's, the sign
of the buck. He is father to John Wells, at whose house
we had supped last night: He has a fine farm, good buildings and a large tract of land which he bought from a Mr.
Caldwell two or three years ago. We here got a good dinner,
the charge was reasonable, and the family obliging.
Mr. Wells shewed us a remarkable petrifaction of part
of a beech tree, found about twenty miles from his house,
at the other side of the river in the state of Ohio, in a northerly direction. The tree was found torn up by the root,
which with part of the trunk, was covered by a pool of
stagnate water, and completely petrified, while the part of
the trunk and the limbs which were out of the water, were
still in their original state of wood, but dry, and partly
rotten. We wished to purchase this petrification from
Mr. Wells, but he was too much of a naturalist himself to
part [103] with such a curiosity for a sum which would have
been a temptation to a person of a different taste.82
82 The following account of uncommon petrifactions from Georgia and Kentucky, we copy from the New York Medical Repository, vol. ii, page 4r5
"Two rare extraneous fossils have been