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Early Western Travels 

Volume III 

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. ......... , , « 

Fr. Andre Michaux 

Travels West of the 

Made in 1793-96 by Andre Michaux; in 1802 by 

F. A. Michaux; and in 1803 by Thaddeus 

Mason Harris, M. A. 

Edited with Notes, Introductions, Index, etc., by 

Reuben Gold Thwaites 

Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Wisconsin 

Historical Collections," "Chronicles of Border Warfare," 

"Hennepin's New Discovery," etc. 

(Separate publication from "Early Western Travels: 1 748-1846," 
in which series this appeared as Volume III) 

Cleveland, Ohio 

The Arthur H. Clark Company 



* » « 

* * * 



Preface. The Editor u 


Journal of Travels into Kentucky; July 15, 1793-April 

11, 1796. Andre Michaux ...... 25 


Travels to the West of the Alleghany Mountains, 
in the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessea, and 
back to Charleston, by the Upper Carolines . . . un- 
dertaken inthe year 1802. September 24, 1801— March 
1, 1803. Francois Andre Michaux .... 105 


The Journal of a Tour into the Territory North- 
west of the Alleghany Mountains; made in the 
Spring of the Year 1803. April 7 — "beginning of July." 
Thaddeus Mason Harris, A.M. ..... 307 



I. Portrait of Francois Andre Michaux. From oil paint- 
ing in possession of American Philosophical So- 
ciety at Philadelphia .... Frontispiece 
II. Carte des Etats du Centre, de l'Ouest et du Sud des 
Etats-Unis, 1804 [From the original French edi- 
tion] 108 

III. Photographic facsimile of title-page to Francois Andre 

Michaux's Travels 109 

rV. Photographic facsimile of title-page to Harris's Journal 309 

V. Photographic facsimile of Map of Alleghany and 

Yohiogany Rivers; from Harris's Journal . -331 
VI. Photographic facsimile of Map of the State of Ohio, by 

Rufus Putnam; from Harris's Journal . .351 


We publish in this volume Andre Michaux's journal 
of his travels into Kentucky from 1793-96, Englished by 
us from the French version in the Proceedings of the 
American Philosophical Society; a reprint of the English 
version of Travels to the West oj the Alleghany Moun- 
tains, made in 1802 by his son, Francois Andre Michaux; 
and a reprint of Thaddeus Mason Harris's Journal oj a 
Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Moun- 
tains, made in the Spring oj the Year 1803 — omitting, 
however, as unnecessary to our present purpose, the 
appendix thereto. 

The Michauxs 

Andre Michaux, whose name is known to scientists of 
both hemispheres, was born at Satory, Versailles, in 
1746. Destined by his father for the superintendence of 
a farm belonging to the royal estate, Michaux early be- 
came interested in agriculture, even while pursuing 
classical studies. Upon the death of his young wife, 
Cecil Claye, which occurred at the birth of their son, 
Francois Andre (1770), he devoted himself to scientific 
studies in the effort to overcome his grief. These natur- 
aUy took the direction of botany, and Michaux became 
imbued with a desire to seek for strange plants in foreign 
countries. From 1779-81 he travelled in England, the 
Auvergne, and the Pyrenees; and later (1782-85), in 
Persia, botanizing, and studying the political situation of 
the Orient. He had intended to return to Persia, but 
while in France (1785) the government requested that he 

t c c 

II''' I * 

i 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

should proceed to North America in order to make a 
study of forest trees, and experiment with regard to their 
transplantation to France. Accordingly, in the autumn 
of 1785, he left France, taking with him his young son. 

Landing in New York he passed a year and a half in 
that vicinity, herborizing, and attempting a botanical 
garden. Finding the latitude of the Southern states, 
however, more suited to his enterprise, he removed in the 
spring of 1787 to Charleston. Purchasing a plantation 
about ten miles from the city, he entered with enthusiasm 
into the search for new plants and their culture upon his 
estate. In this year he explored the mountains of the 
Carolinas, and a twelve-month later made a difficult and 
hazardous journey through the swamps and marshes of 
Florida. The next year (1789) was occupied by a voy- 
age to the Bahamas, and another search among the 
mountains for plants of a commercial nature — notably 
ginseng, whose utility he taught the mountaineers. 

In 1794 he undertook a most difficult expedition to 
Canada and the arctic regions about Hudson Bay, and 
upon his return proposed to the American Philosophical 
Society at Philadelphia an exploration of the great West 
by way of the Missouri River. A subscription was begun 
for this purpose, and Jefferson drafted for him detailed 
instructions for the journey; 1 but his services were needed 
in another direction, and the Missouri exploration was 
abandoned for a political mission. 

The discontent of the Western settlers with regard to 
the free navigation of the Mississippi had reached an 
acute stage; the French minister to the United States 
had come armed with instructions to secure the co-opera- 

1 See documents in Original Journals o) Lewis and Clark (New York, 1904), 

1 793-1803] Preface 1 3 

tion of trans-Allegheny Americans for a raid upon the 
Spanish territory of Louisiana, aimed to recover that 
province for the power to which it had formerly belonged, 
and make it a basis for revolutionary movements in 
Canada, the West Indies, and ultimately all Spanish 
America. 2 This minister arrived in Charleston in Febru- 
ary, 1793, and selected Michaux as his agent to commu- 
nicate with the Kentucky leaders. An ardent republican, 
already in the pay of the French government, and friendly 
with influential men in government circles, Michaux 
seemed a most desirable as well as the most available 
agent possible. One characteristic was not, however, 
sufficiently considered. Whatever may have been his 
interest in the intrigue, whatever accounts thereof are 
through caution or prudence omitted from the journal 
here printed, one fact is evident — that Michaux was 
chiefly devoted to the cause of science ; these pages reveal 
that a rare plant or new tree interested him much more 
than an American general or a plot to subvert Spanish 

His first Kentucky journey was, from the point of view 
of the diplomats, but moderately successful. With the 
collapse of the enterprise — due to the imprudence of 
Genet, the firmness of Washington, the growing loyalty 
of the Westerners to the new federal government, and 
the change of leaders in France — Michaux returned to 
botanical pursuits, and his later journeys appear to have 
been undertaken solely in order to herborize. There are, 
however, some slight indications in the text that he enter- 
tained hope of continuing the enterprise, and of its ulti- 

2 See Turner, ' ' Origin of Genet's Projected Attack on Louisiana and the 
Floridas" in American Historical Review, July, 1897; [also documents in 
American Historical Association Report, 1896 and 1897. 

1 , 

1 4 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

mate success. His inquiries, in the Cumberland, for 
guides for the Missouri expedition, prove that he had by 
no means abandoned his purpose of undertaking that 
hazardous project. 

But these long Western journeys had exhausted his 
resources; for seven years he had had no remittance 
from the French government, and was now under the 
necessity of returning to Europe to attend to his affairs. 
Accordingly in 1796 he embarked for France, and was 
shipwrecked on the coast of Holland, losing part of his 
collections; but his herbarium was preserved, and is now 
in the Musee de Paris. He ardently desired to be sent 
back to America; but his government offered him no 
encouragement, and finally he accepted a post upon an 
expedition to New Holland, and in November, 1802, 
died of fever upon the island of Madagascar. 

His son, Francois Andre, entered into his father's pur- 
suits and greatly assisted him. While yet a lad, he ac- 
companied him on several arduous journeys in America; 
at other times remaining upon the plantation, engaged 
in the care of the transplanted trees. He returned to 
France some years before his father, in order to study 
medicine, and in the year of the latter' s death was com- 
missioned by the French minister of the interior to pro- 
ceed to the United States to study forests and agricul- 
ture in general. 

The journal of his travels was not originally intended 
for print; but the interest aroused in the Western region 
of the United States by the sale of Louisiana, induced its 
publication. The first French edition appeared in 1804, 
under the title, Voyage a Vouest des Monts Alleghany s, 
dans les Etats de POhio, et du Kentucky, et du Tennessee, 
et retour a Charleston par les Hautes-Carolines. Another 

i793- l8o 3l Preface 1 5 

edition appeared in 1808. The first was soon Englished 
by B. Lambert, and two editions with different publish- 
ers issued from London presses in 1805. The same year 
another translation, somewhat abridged, appeared in 
volume i of Phillip's Collection of Voyages. Neither of 
these translations is well executed. The same year, a 
German translation issued from the Weimar press. 

The younger Michaux continued to be interested in 
the study of trees, and spent several years in preparing 
the three volumes of Histoire des Arbres forestiers de 
VAmerique Septentrionale, which appeared in 1 810-13. 
This was translated, and passed through several English 
editions, with an additional volume added by Thomas 
Nuttall under the title of The North American Sylva. 

Michaux' s report on the naturalization of American 
forest trees, made to the Societe d'Agriculture du departe- 
ment de la Seine, was printed in 1809. 3 His "Notice 
sur les Isles Bermudas, et particulierement sur ITsle St. 
George" was published in Annates des Sciences naturelles 
(1806), volume viii. He also assisted in editing his 
father's work, Histoire des Chenes de VAmerique; and his 
final publication on American observations was Memoire 
sur les causes de la fievre jaune, published at Paris in 1852. 
Dr. Michaux died at Vaureal, near Pontoise, in 1855. 

In 1824 the younger Michaux presented to the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society at Philadelphia the note- 
books containing the diary of his father's travels in 
America — all save those covering the first two years 
(1785-87), which were lost in the shipwreck on the coast 
of Holland. The value of these journals has long been 
known to scientists; their larger interest, as revealing 
both political and social conditions in the new West, will 

3 See review in Monthly Anthology (Boston, 1810), viii, p. 280. 

1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

perhaps be first recognized upon this presentation of them 
in English form. Written "by the light of his lonely 
campfires, during brief moments snatched from short 
hours of repose, in the midst of hardships and often sur- 
rounded by dangers," their literary form is deficient, and 
frequent gaps occur, which doubtless were intended 
to be filled in at some future moments of leisure. This 
was prevented by the author's untimely death in the 
midst of his labors. For nearly a century the journals 
existed only in manuscript. In 1884 Charles S. Sargent, 
director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 
prepared the manuscript for the press, with explanatory 
notes chiefly on botanical matters. 4 It was published in 
the original French, in the American Philosophical 
Society Proceedings, 1889, pp. 1-145. 

From this journal of nearly eleven years' travel in 
America — from Florida on the south, to the wilds of 
the Hudson Bay country on the north, from Philadel- 
phia and Charleston on the Atlantic coast to the most 
remote Western settlements, and the Indian lands of the 
Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee — we have selected 
for translation and inclusion within our series, the por- 
tions that concern particularly the trans-Allegheny 
region. These relate to the expedition made to Kentucky 
by way of the Ohio (1793), with the return over the Wil- 
derness Road and through the Valley of Virginia; and the 
longer" journey (1795-96) from Charleston to 'Tennessee, 
thence through Kentucky to the Illinois, and back by a 
similar route with side excursions on the great Western 

* The notes in the journals of the elder Michaux signed C. S. S., are those of 
Sargent, found in the French edition and designed chiefly to elucidate botanical 

1 793-1803] Preface 17 

The journals of the elder Michaux "record the im- 
pressions of a man of unusual intelligence — a traveller 
in many lands, who had learned by long practice to use 
his eyes to good advantage and to write down only what 
they saw." A part of the value of these documents to a 
student of Western history consists in their accurate and 
succinct outline of the areas of colonization. The extent 
and boundaries of Michaux's travels enable us to map 
with considerable accuracy the limits of the settled 
regions — first, that from Pittsburg down the Ohio to 
just below Marietta; then, after passing a region without 
a town, between Gallipolis and Limestone (Maysville, 
Kentucky), the traveller enters the thickly occupied 
area of Kentucky, bounded on the south and west by 
the "barrens," into which emigration was beginning to 
creep. In the Illinois, Michaux's unfavorable comment 
upon the French habitants is in accord with that of other 
visitors of the same nationality; his travels therein show 
that the small French group were the only settlers, save a 
few venturesome Americans at Belief ontaine, and ' ' Corne 
de Cerf." In East Tennessee, the outpost was Fort 
Southwest Point, where the Clinch and Holston meet; 
thence, a journey of a hundred and twenty miles through 
"the Wilderness" brought one to the frontier post of the 
Cumberland settlements, at Bledsoe's Lick. Upon Mi- 
chaux's return, nearly a year later, the Cumberland fron- 
tier had extended, and Fort Blount had been built forty 
miles to the eastward as a protection for the ever-increas- 
ing number of travellers and pioneers. The western 
borders of Cumberland were also rapidly enlarging. 
Clarksville, on the Cumberland River at the mouth of the 
Red, had long been on the extreme border in this direc- 
tion; but Michaux found daring settlements stretching 

1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

out beyond, seizing the rich river bottoms and organizing 
a town as a nucleus for scattered planters. 

Michaux faithfully presents the conditions that con- 
fronted travellers in his day — the lack of inns, the stray- 
ing of horses with the consequent annoyance and delay, 
the inadequate means for crossing rivers, the frequent 
necessity for waiting until a sufficient body of travellers 
had collected to act as a guard through the uninhabited 
regions. He also traversed nearly all the routes by which 
emigration was pouring into the Western country — the 
Wilderness Road to Kentucky, the routes from North 
Carolina over the mountains to East Tennessee, the 
Wilderness Road of Tennessee (this last a narrow and 
dangerous link with the Cumberland settlements), the 
paths thither to Louisville, and the Indian trails thence to 
the Illinois; as well as the river routes — the Mississippi, 
the Ohio, and the Cumberland. 

Glimpses of the chief founders of the Western country 
are tantalizing by their meagreness. We should have 
valued more detailed accounts of conversations with 
Clark, Logan, and Shelby, concerning Nicholas's plan 
for securing the navigation of the Mississippi; of the 
attitude of Robertson, Blount, and Daniel Smith toward 
the French enterprise; and of the impression made at this 
early day by "a resident near the Cumberland River, 
Mr. Jackson." Particularly interesting is the record 
of the number of Frenchmen who became prominent 
and useful citizens of the West — Lucas at Pittsburg, 
Lacassagne at Louisville, Tardiveau, Honore, and 
Depauw at Danville and vicinity; apart from the settlers 
at Gallipolis, whose misfortunes our author deplores. 
It is hoped that this English version of the elder Michaux's 
journals may prove a contribution of importance to 

1 7 93- 1 803] Preface 1 9 

those interested in early conditions in the Mississippi 

Michaux's published works are, Histoire des Chines de 
VAmerique — which appeared in 1801, and is supposed 
to have been recast or corrected by other scientists — and 
Flora B or eali- Americana, written in Latin by Richard 
from the plants which Michaux had collected in America, 
and issued a year after the latter's death. 5 

The few years that intervened between the journeys of 
the elder and younger Michaux show the rapidity with 
which the West was changing. Conditions of travel had 
meantime been improved, and the development of re- 
sources was proceeding with bounds. The opening of 
the Mississippi had caused an immense growth in both 
the extent and means of Western commerce; the son 
describes ship-building upon the waters along which the 
father had passed in Indian canoes. The increase in 
the number, size, and appearance of the towns, and the 
additional comforts in the homes of the people, were indic- 
ative of a great and growing prosperity. 

The younger traveller describes the inhabitants with 
more particularity than his father. His observations 
upon the characteristics of the people, their occupations 
and recreations and their political bias, are those of an 
intelligent and sympathetic narrator, with a predisposi- 
tion in favor of the Western settlers. His remarks in 
chapter xii on the restlessness of the pioneers, their 
eagerness to push onward to a newer country, their im- 
patience with the growing trammels of civilization, show 
habits of close observation. His optimism with regard 
to the future of the country, in thinking that within 
twenty years the Ohio Valley would be ' ' the most popu- 

5 The references in Sargent's notes marked ' ' Michx.,' ' refer to this Flora. 

20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

lous and commercial part of the United States, and where 
I should settle in preference to any other," exhibits a 
large comprehension of the forces and elements of West- 
ern growth. 

The American popularity of the younger Michaux's 
journal, in its own time, proved his ability to interpret 
the ideas of our people, and the sympathetic interest of a 
cultured Frenchman in the democratizing processes of 
the New World. 

Thaddeus Mason Harris 

Thaddeus Mason Harris, author of the Journal oj a 
Tour into the Territory Northwest oj the Alleghany 
Mountains, was one of the coterie of liberal clergymen 
who occupied the New England pulpits in the early part 
of the nineteenth century. As a member of this group, 
Harris's observations of the Western country are of 
peculiar interest. He had the training of the typical 
New Englander — "plain living and high thinking." 
Born in Charlestown in 1768, his family were driven from 
their home at the battle of Bunker Hill, and three years 
later the father died of exposure contracted during his 
service in the Revolutionary army. As the eldest of the 
children, Thaddeus was sent to ' ' board around ' ' among 
the neighboring farmers, one of whom took sufficient 
interest in the promising lad to fit him for college. An 
accidental supply of money at a later period, accepted as a 
special interposition of Providence, made such an im- 
pression upon the young man's mind that he determined 
to enter the ministry. He was graduated from Harvard 
in 1787, in the same class with John Quincy Adams. 
After a year's teaching at Worcester, the position was 
tendered him of private secretary to the newly-chosen 
President Washington, but an attack of small-pox pre- 

1 793-1803] Preface 21 

vented its acceptance, and the place was filled by Tobias 

In 1789 our author was "approbated to preach," and 
the following year received his A.M. degree, delivering 
on the occasion the Phi Beta Kappa address. During 
the two succeeding years he served as the librarian of his 
alma mater, and was elected (1792) a resident member of 
the Massachusetts Historical Society. The year 1793 
saw Harris installed as pastor of the first church of Dor- 
chester — a relation which was continued through over 
forty years of faithful and acceptable service. A careful 
pastor, he exposed himself during the epidemic of yellow 
fever in 1802 to such an extent that he contracted the 
disease, and during his convalescence the Western journey 
was planned and undertaken as a means of recuperation. 
In this it was eminently successful, and upon his return 
to Dorchester Harris plunged anew into literary and phil- 
anthropic labors. Within the next few years he aided in 
founding the American Antiquarian Society, the Massa- 
chusetts Humane Society, the American Peace Society, 
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the 
Archaeological Society at Athens, and was chosen cor- 
responding member of the New York Historical Society. 
His addresses and sermons on different occasions found 
their way into print, until nearly sixty were published. 
Harvard honored itself by conferring upon him the degree 
of doctor of divinity in 181 3, and during his entire later 
life he acted as overseer in the college corporation. His 
eldest son, a well-known entomologist, served as Har- 
vard librarian for twenty-five years (1831-56). 

After a second severe illness (1833), Dr. Harris visited 
Georgia, and thereupon published a biography of Ogle- 
thorpe. In 1838 he resigned his pastorate and spent 

2 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

his remaining five years in congenial literary pursuits, 
serving for a time as the librarian of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society. He is described as a "little quaint 
old man, indescribably bent, but still wearing a hale 
aspect, who used to haunt the alcoves of the library at 
Harvard." After March, 1842, the place of the old 
scholar and reader in the college library was vacant. 

Dr. Harris made no contribution of permanent value 
to American literature, unless the present book may be 
so considered. Besides the works mentioned, he aided 
(1805) in putting forth an encyclopedia, and a Natural 
History of the Bible; the result of the last-named labor 
was pirated by an English firm, which issued it in several 
editions. The Journal of a Tour, which we here repub- 
lish, sold well, and was soon out of print. In recent 
years, the volume has brought a good price at antiquarian 
sales. In addition to the journal proper, Harris added a 
bulky appendix, entitled a ' ' Geographical and Historical 
Account of the State of Ohio," from material collected 
during his visit at Marietta, annexing thereto: a "Letter 
to the Earl of Hillsborough on the navigation of the 
Ohio (1770);" the "Act of Congress forming the State;" 
the "Constitution of the State;" an "Account of the 
destruction of the Moravian Settlements on the Muskin- 
gum;" "Wayne's Treaty;" and a number of papers 
connected with the formation of the Ohio Company of 
Associates, and the establishment of the Northwest Ter- 
ritory. This appendix we have omitted as not within 
the sphere of the present series, and as containing infor- 
mation which can readily be secured elsewhere. 

As an observer, two points characterize Harris's narra- 
tive — his enthusiasm for natural scenery, and the de- 
light shown in its description; and the dryness of his 

1793-1803] Preface 23 

statements with regard to the human life which he saw 
en route. Its chief value lies in the accuracy which he 
exhibits in data concerning the size of the towns, their 
prosperity and growth, their business interests, and stage 
of material development; in matters regarding the growth 
of ship-building and navigation, the number of manu- 
factories, and the general material prosperity of the 
region, Harris gives useful information. But as a picture 
of Western life, or as a sympathetic relation of human 
affairs in this region, the value is small. This arose in 
part from the New Englander's stout prejudices against 
conditions unfamiliar to him. His attitude toward the 
Western inhabitants is quite the contrary of that of the 
younger Michaux, and forms thereto an effective foil. 

As with previous volumes of this series, the Editor has 
had the active co-operation of Louise Phelps Kellogg in 
the preparation of notes. 

R. G. T. 

Madison, Wis., February, 1904. 

Journal of Andre Michaux, 1793 -1796 

Source: Englished from the original French, appearing in Amer- 
ican Philosophical Society Proceedings, 1889, pp. 91-101, 1 14-140. 


On the 15 th of July 1793, I took leave of Citizen Genet, 
Minister of the Republic of France to the United States 1 
and started from Philadelphia on the same date at ten 
o'clock at night to avoid the great heat, and to travel by 
Moonlight. The 16th, being in company with . . . 
humeau and . . . Leblanc, 2 we journeyed 40 miles. 

The 17th, passed by Lancaster and made 35 Miles. 

The 1 8th, passed by Carlisle . . . Miles and slept 
at Chipesbourg [Shippensburg]. 

The 19th we slept at Strasbourg . . . Miles. 

Sunday the 20th, we started from Strasbourg, a small 
town situate at the foot of the Mountains; one of our 
horses having fallen sick we traveled only 21 Miles; 
observed Magnolia acuminata, Azalea octandra, Kalmia 

1 Edmond Charles Genet (Genest) was born at Versailles about 1765. His 
father was a diplomat who was interested in English literature, and who wel- 
comed the American coterie in Paris to his home. Henrietta Genet, later 
Madame Campan, was first lady of honor to Queen Marie Antoinette; her 
brother was chosen at the early age of twenty-four, secretary — later, charge 
d'affaires — to the French embassy at St. Petersburg. His dispatches thence 
were of so republican a tone, that in 1792 he was commissioned minister of the 
new French republic, to Holland; but late in the same year was chosen for the 
mission to the United States, where he arrived April 8, 1793. His career in 
America is well known. After his commission was revoked, Genet became a 
naturalized American citizen, married a daughter of Governor Clinton of 
New York, and died at Jamaica, Long Island, in 1834. — Ed. 

2 Humeau and Le Blanc appear to have been agents of Genet, assisting in 
this revolutionary movement. Nothing is known of the former. Le Blanc 
was a citizen of New Orleans, well-affected to the French revolutionary cause. 
He was to have been made mayor of New Orleans, when that city should fall 
into the hands of the revolutionists. See American Historical Association 
Report, 1896, pp. 1049, 1050. — Ed. 

2 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

latijolia, Fagus castanea, Fagus pumila, Finns 2-}olia, 
3- folia, Strobus: Abies Canadensis; Quercus castaneaejolia 
etc. Juglans nigra. 

The 2 1 st of July started from Wells's tavern, crossed the 
Juniata river . . . and noticed Rhododendron maxi- 
mum, Hydrangea jrutescens, Trillium erectum; slept at 
Bedford. 21 Miles. 

The 22nd. Started from Bedford and breakfasted at a 
place 4 miles distant where the Pittsburg Road divides 
into two. We took the right hand road; the Rain com- 
pelled us to stop and sleep only twelve Miles from Bed- 
ford. 3 

The 23rd we made 24 Miles and passed the summit of 
the Alleganys. 

The 24th we made 25 Miles. 

The 25th we passed by Green' sburg and made 31 Miles. 

The 26th Rain; we made only . . . Miles. 

The 27th, we made 19 Miles and arrived in Pittsburgh. 
Total 32* Miles from Philadelphia. 

The 28th visited Mr. H. Brackenridge. 5 

The 29th herborised; recognized on the banks of the 
Monongahela, Dracocephalum Virginianum, 6 Bigno- 
nia radicans, Crotalaria alba? These plants grow on 

3 For a description of the left-hand or southern branch of the road, known 
as "The Old Glade," see Harris's Journal, post. — Ed. 

4 Evident error; perhaps 320 was intended. — C. S. S. 

The distance in reality by this route was somewhat less than this. — Ed. 

5 Hugh H. Brackenridge was at this time the most prominent lawyer in 
Pittsburg, whither he had come in 1781, after graduating at Princeton and 
serving as chaplain in the regular army. Brackenridge was a Scotch-Irish- 
man, and a Democrat in politics; therefore he sympathized with the uprising 
known as the Whiskey Rebellion, and wrote a work in its defense, although his 
influence had been exercised to moderate its excesses. Gallatin defeated him 
for Congress in 1794; but later he took his place upon the bench of the state 
supreme court, and served with great ability until his death in 1816. — Ed. 

8 Physoslegia Virginiana, Benth. — C. S. S. 

i793- I 79 6 J Andre Mic/iaux's Travels 29 

the banks of the river which are submerged when the 
waters are high. 

The 30th of the same, recognized a Plant of the Genus 
Ziziphora . . . Cunila pulegioides 1 floribus tetan- 
dris; Teucrium Canadense, Eupatorium aromaticum, 
Sigesbeckia . . .; Verbenae several species. 

The 1st of August, herborised and recognized Cassia 
Marylandica; Monarda didyma; Sanicula Marylandica; 
Triosteum perfoliatum; Sicyos angulata; Acer rubrum, 
saccharum; Campanula, . . . ; Cercis Canadensis; 
Menispermum Canadense; Actaea spicata; Tilia Ameri- 
cana; Urtica divaricata; Arum triphyllum; Celtis occi- 
dentalis; Panax quinquejolium; Staphylea trijoliata; Aza- 
rum Canadense; Rhus typhina, glabra, vernix; copallinum, 
radicans, toxicodendron; Clinopodium vulgare, incanum. 

The 2nd of August recognized Aristolochia sipho or 
macrophylla; Panax quinquejolium; Lobelia siphilitica; 
Convallaria many species; Veronica . . . Ozalis 

The 3rd and 4th of August herborised: Cacalia 2 
species, Phryma leptostachia; Leontice thalictroides; Lobelia 
siphilitica, inflata, cardinalis; Eupatorium perfoliatum, 
maculatum, odoratum et celestinum; Actea spicata; Podo- 
phyllum peltatum; Azarum Canadense; Hydro phyllum 
Canadense; Trillium cernuum; Panax quinquejolium; 
Aristolochia Sipho; Menispermum . . . ; Sambucus 
Canadensis jructu nigro; Sambucus . . . , jructu 
rubro joliis tomentosis; Tilia Americana; Laurus Sassa- 
fras, benzoin; Robinia pseudocacia, Juglans oblonga, 
Juglans hiccory; Plantanus occidentalis; Acer rubrum, 
saccharum; Ulmus . . . ; Hamamelis . . . , 
Cynoglossum 3 species; Vitis vulpina; Dioscorea jructu 

7 Hedeoma pulegiodes, Pers. — C. S. S. 

3 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

injero; Teucrium Canadense; Scrophularia Marylandica; 
Dracocephalum Virginianum; Dianthera . . . , So- 
phora joliis ternis stipulis lato-lanceolatis floribus coeruleis 
vexillo corolld breviore; Mimulus ringens; Bignonia radi- 
cans; Cercis Canadensis; Fagus sylvatica Americana; 
Circaea Canadensis; Urtica inermis; Erigeron Canadense; 
Cornus florida; Rubus odorata, Rubus occidentalis: Pen- 
thorum sedoides; Cephalantus occidentalis; Polygonum 
aviculare, hydropiper, amphibium, scandens; Sanguinaria 

On the 6th of August I saw on the bank of the Monon- 
gahela river opposite Pittsburgh a Coal mine at the en- 
trance of which there seems to be a thickness of 15 feet 
of that mineral without admixture; sometimes a ferru- 
ginous tint can be distinguished between the different 
layers. In several spots soft rocks are to be found which 
seem good for use as whet-stones for large tools; they 
seem to me to consist of a combination of sandy, clayey 
and ferruginous particles with particles of mica in very 
rare instances. 

The soil in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh is generally 
clayey, the calcareous rocks or stones of a brown color, 
consisting of much muddy clay. The soil between the 
two rivers on which Pittsburgh is built, is alluvial ; stones 
rounded and worn by the rolling of torrents have even 
been found in the earth, dug up while sinking wells at a 
depth of more than 30 feet. 

The 9th of August, when I was ready to start, the con- 
ductor of the Boat on which I had embarked my baggage 
came to tell me that he was waiting for the Boats destined 
to convey the troops, especially as the Boat seemed too 
deeply laden for that Season when the Waters are low; 
there was an appearance of Rain. 

1793-179 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 31 

The 10th the river seems to be falling. 

The nth, 12th and 13th we remained, awaiting the 

The 13th three Boats arrived from the Illinois belonging 
to Mr. Vigo. 8 They were manned by about 30 French 
Canadian or Illinois oarsmen. 

A Frenchman who has resided in America for 14 years 
and whose business consists in shipping supplies of flour 
to New Orleans, told me that he would give me Letters 
for Illinois addressed to the Commandant of the Post of 
St Louis. He is at present settled in Pittsbourgh and his 
name is Audrain. 9 This Audrain is said to be in partner- 
ship with one Louisiere or Delousiere who was exiled 
from France for having been concerned in the plot to 
deliver Havre to the combined English and Spanish 
fleets. This Louisiere is at present absent from Pitts- 
burgh. There is another Frenchman residing in Pitts- 
burgh, Mr Lucas de Pentareau, an excellent Democrat, 
now absent. He passes for an educated man with legal 
knowledge. 10 

8 Col. Francis Vigo was a Sardinian, who came to Louisiana in the Spanish 
army. Settling at St. Louis as a trader, he embraced the cause of American 
independence, rendering substantial aid in many ways to George Rogers 
Clark, in the latter's Illinois campaigns. Vigo took the oath of allegiance to 
the United States, and later settled at Vincennes, where he died in poverty in 
1836. His just claims upon the government were not settled until thirty years 
after his death. — Ed. 

9 A Spanish document of this period complains of Audrain as having mis- 
appropriated funds for his contracts, also charges him with being a radical 
republican, receiving all the patriots at his house, where dinners were given 
and toasts drunk to the downfall of monarchy. See American Historical 
Association Report, 1896, p. 1049. 

The commandant at St. Louis was Captain Don Zenon Trudeau, who held 
the office from 1792-99. — Ed. 

10 This Frenchman was known in Pittsburg as J. B. C. Lucas, and was 
appointed associate judge of Allegheny County in 1800. His Democratic 
principles were so strong that he brought about the impeachment of his col- 
league, Judge Addison, a well-known Federalist. — Ed. 

3 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Pittsburgh is situated at the confluence of the two rivers, 
Monongahela and Allegany; These two rivers unite and 
form the Ohio or Belle Riviere. There are a great many 
more houses on the Monongahela river than on the Alle- 
gany. The number of houses is about 250 and it increases 
considerably every year. The ditches are still to be seen 
that served as the entrenchment of the Fort built by the 
French and called Fort Duquesne. The English, since 
that time, had built another almost beside it at the angle 
formed by the junction of the two rivers. It was built 
of brick and the Americans are demolishing it to use the 
bricks in building the houses that are being erected every 
day at Fort Pitt. 11 

The Americans have a Fort of Palisades situated behind 
the town on the bank of the Allegany River; it serves as a 
Depot for the arrival of the troops that are being sent 
against the Savages and as a Magazine for the Munitions 
sent there from Philadelphia. 12 

Wednesday the 14th of August, started from Pitts- 
bourgh and slept at a distance of two miles only on the 
point of a small island on which I found Acer negundo, 
rubrum, saccharum; Evonimus capsulis glabris. 13 

The 15th recognized at 20 Miles from Pittsburgh Pavia 

11 The writer here uses the term ' ' Fort Pitt ' ' as the name of the town ; the 
brick fortification which was being demolished was the one known by that 
name, built by Stanwix in 1759-61. It stood between the rivers, below Third, 
West, and part of Liberty streets. A redoubt, built in 1764 as a part of these 
works, is still standing, and has been restored by the Pittsburg chapter of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution, whom it serves as a museum. See 
Frontier Forts 0} Western Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1896), ii, pp. 99-159. — Ed. 

12 Fort Fayette, a stockade erected in 1792 for protection against the Indians. 
It stood about a quarter of a mile above Fort Pitt, on the present Penn Street, 
at the crossing of Garrison Avenue. — Ed. 

13 E. atropurpureus, Jacq. — C. S. S. 

1 793-1 796] Andre Michaux' s Travels 33 

lutea, Panax quinque folium; A Bryonia plant monoica 
calyce $-fido, corolla 5 partita floribus masculis spicatis 
axillaribus floribus femineis quoque axillaribus germine 
instructo spinis innocuis. 1 * Our journey covered 28 

The 1 6th at 7 o'clock in the morning we crossed the 
boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia. The 
line is marked by cutting down the trees on a width of 
about . . . feet on the right and left of the Ohio or 
Belle Riviere and this place is 45 miles from Pittsbourgh. 
In the evening of the same day arrived at Buffalo Creek. 
79 Miles from Pittsburgh. 

The 17th passed by Willing [Wheeling] 92 Miles from 
Pittsburgh; 15 this place is inhabited by about 12 families 
as is also Buffalo Creek [Wellsburg]. Owing to the con- 
trary wind we traveled only 30 Miles. 

Sunday August 18th 1793, saw several flocks of wild 
Turkeys; wind contrary. 

The 19th we made 50 Miles. There are no settlements 
between Willing and Marietta, a small Town situate at 
the mouth of the Muskingum river. We slept at the 

M This is probably his Sicyos lobata (Echinocystis lobata of Torr. and Gray) 
which, according to the Flora, was detected by Michaux "in occidenlalibus 
Pensylvaniae, juxta fluvium Ohio." The "corolla 5 partita" is retained by 
Richard in his description. — C. S. S. 

"Wheeling was founded upon land taken up by Col. Ebenezer Zane in 
1770. During Lord Dunmore's War a stockade was built at this place, called 
Fort Fincastle; later, the name was changed in honor of Patrick Henry, first 
governor of the state of Virginia. Fort Henry was thrice besieged during the 
Revolution — in 1777, 1781, and 1782. Many romantic incidents are told 
of these events; most notable, that of the sortie for additional powder, success- 
fully executed by Elizabeth Zane. Colonel Zane laid out the place in town- 
lots in 1793; two years later, the Virginia legislature incorporated it. In 1797 
Wheeling became the seat of Ohio County; and early in the nineteenth century 
appeared likely to surpass Pittsburg in prosperity, and as an important empo- 
rium for Western trade. — Ed. 

34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

place called Fort Harmar, situate opposite Marietta on 
the right bank of the Muskingum river. 16 Dianthera 

The 20th we spent the day there. 

The 21st, we passed by Little Kanhaway, 17 Belpre, and 
Belleville 34 Miles. 

The 22nd we saw no settlements. Recognized Polym- 
nia canadensis; Acer rubrum foliis injerne glaucis; Acer 
negundo, Acer saccharum, Acer foliis rugosis nervis 
sublanuginosis; Annona triloba, Pavia lutea, Platanus 
occidentalis . 

The 23rd passed Great Kanhaway/ 8 4 miles before 
arriving at Galliapolis on the opposite bank. 

The 23rd we arrived at the settlement of Galliapolis 
situate on the left bank of the Belle riviere. The houses 
are all built of squared logs merely notched at the ends 
instead of being Mortised (Log-house). 19 

The 24th remained over, visited doctor Petit who in- 
spired me with the greatest respect by his good sense, his 
knowledge and his virtue. It seemed to me that humanity 
is the only thing that keeps him attached to that unfortu- 

16 The site for Fort Harmar was chosen by Gen. Richard Butler (1785), on 
his journey to Cincinnati to make peace with the Miami Indians. A detach- 
ment under Major Doughty began building the fort — named in honor of 
Gen. Josiah Harmar — in the autumn of this year; its completion in 1786 
afforded protection to the frontier inhabitants of Virginia. Two years later 
(1788), the Ohio Company of Associates — New England veterans of the 
Revolution — came out under the leadership of Gen. Rufus Putnam, and began 
the settlement of Marietta, "the Plymouth Rock of the West." — Ed. 

17 For the Little Kanawha, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series, 
note 98. — Ed. 

18 For the Great Kanawha and its historical associations, see Croghan's 
Journals, vol. i of this series, note 101; also Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio. — Ed. 

19 For the history of this French settlement on the Ohio, see Journal of 
F. A. Michaux, post. — Ed. 

I 793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux's Travels 35 

nate colony. 20 Out of the 600 persons who came there 
to settle, only about 150 remain. 

Sunday the 25th started from Galliapolis; at a distance 
of 35 Miles recognized Iresine celosioides on the banks of 
the belle riviere where they are submerged by the great 
inundations. Passed a small river called Gay [Guyan- 
dotte]. We saw no habitations; 40 Miles. 

The 26th, saw no habitations; passed the river Scioto 
. . . Miles. 21 

The 27th, saw a Settlement of several houses at the 
place called Three Islands, ten miles before arriving at 
Lime Stone; 22 these Settlements are considered the first 
belonging to Kentuckey. We reached Lime Stone toward 
evening. 23 

Limestone is considered the Landing place or Port of 
Kentuckey. Goods are landed there that are sent from 
Philadelphia for Danville, Lexington etc. A small town 
founded six years ago at a distance of 4 Miles on the 
Lexington road, is called Washington and is very flour- 
ishing being situate in very fertile land. 

20 Jean G. Petit was the most prominent man of this settlement, acting both 
as physician and judge. — Ed. 

21 For a description of the Scioto, and its early historical importance, see 
Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series, note 102; also Thwaites, On the Storied 
Ohio. — Ed. 

22 The Three Islands were noted landmarks in the early history of Ken- 
tucky. Kennedy and his company encamped there in 1773, but the settlement 
was in a dangerous location, as this was near an Indian crossing place. In 
1791, twenty men were told off to garrison the settlement. The upper island 
was near Brush Creek, in Ohio. Only one island remains at this place. — Ed. 

23 Limestone (now Maysville) was long the chief river post for Kentucky, 
but was not early settled owing to its exposure to Indian attacks. Bullitt and 
the McAfees were there in 1773; Simon Kenton settled farther up on Limestone 
Creek in 1776. The same year, George Rogers Clark landed at this place the 
powder provided by Virginia for the protection of the Kentucky settlements. 
The hrst blockhouse was built on the site of Limestone in 1783; four years 
later, the town was incorporated by the Virginia legislature. — Ed. 

36 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 28th, visited Colonel Alexander D. Orr. 24 

The 29th I left the two Companions who had come with 
me from Philadelphia. They continued their journey to 
Louisville while I went on by way of the inland Settle- 
ments. Colonel D. Orr offered me his Company to go 
with him to Lexington whither he proposed to go in a 
few days. 

The 30th and 31st herborised while waiting until horses 
could be procured for the journey to Lexington. Guilan- 
dina dioica; Fraxinus (quadrangular is); Gleditsia tria- 
canthos; Serratula praealta; Eupatorium aromaticum, 
Crepis Sibirica? etc. 

Sunday 1st of September 1793. Dined at Colonel 
Lee's. 25 

The 2nd dined with . . . Fox and prepared my 
baggage for departure. 

The 3rd the journey was put off until the Following 
day. The soil in the vicinity of Washington is clayey 
and blackish, very rich. The stones are of an opaque 
bluish calcareous Substance, full of petrifactions of sea-' 
shells. The bones of those monster animals supposed to 

24 Alexander D. Orr was representative in Congress for Kentucky, from its 
admission and through the fourth Congress (1792-97). A Virginian by birth 
(1765), he removed to Mason County at an early period, and had much in- 
fluence in his neighborhood, where he lived as a planter until his death, June 
31, 1835. Michaux's visit to Colonel Orr is probably significant of the fact 
that Orr was interested in the former's mission. — Ed. 

25 Gen. Henry Lee was one of the earliest settlers in Mason County. Com- 
ing to Kentucky as a surveyor in 1779, six years later he established Lee's 
Station, near Washington — one of the earliest in northeastern Kentucky. 
Lee was Kentucky delegate in the Virginia house of burgesses (1788), a member 
of the convention that adopted the federal constitution, and later member of 
the Danville conventions for organizing the State of Kentucky; his political 
influence, therefore, was important. Unlike many of the pioneers, he pros- 
pered in business and amassed a considerable fortune, dying on his estate in 
1845.— Ed. 

i793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux's Travels 37 

be Elephants are found in the neighborhood. 28 It is to 
be presumed that those bones belonged to marine Individ- 
uals, judging by the great abundance of debris of marine 
bodies collected in those places. 

The 4th started from Washington; passed by a place 
where the soil is impregnated with saline substances and 
whither the Buffaloes used to go in great numbers to lick 
the particles of Salt continually exuding from the surface 
of the Soil. There are at this spot springs whose water 
is bitter, putrid, blackish and full of mephitic air which 
frees itself at the slightest movement of the soil by the 
bubbles appearing on the surface of the spring as one 
approaches. The people living in the neighborhood 
erect ovens with kettles and extract Salt by the evapora- 
tion of the water. 27 We traveled 33 Miles. 

The 5th we made 27 miles and, at an early hour, 
reached Lexington, 28 the chief town amongst the Settle- 
ments of the State of Kentuckey. We passed a small 
Settlement, looked upon as a town and called Paris, the 
capital of Bourbon county. 29 It contains about 18 houses. 

26 For the history of Big Bone Lick, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, note 104. — Ed. 

27 This was either May's Lick, in Mason County, or the Lower Blue Licks, 
in Nicholas County. It is evident that the buffalo had nearly disappeared 
from this region, where less than thirty years before Croghan had found them 
in such vast numbers. Butricke {Historical Magazine, viii, p. 259) says that 
in 1768 they were scarce above the Scioto River. The last buffalo was killed 
in the Great Kanawha Valley, about twelve miles below Charleston, West 
Virginia, in 18 15. — Ed. 

28 There is some doubt thrown upon the commonly-accepted statement 
that the first cabin at Lexington was built in 1775, and the place named in 
honor of the opening battle of the Revolution, news of which had just been 
received. The permanent settlement was not made until 1779; the following 
year the town was made county seat of the newly-erected Fayette County, and 
itself incorporated in 1782. — Ed. 

29 Paris was laid out in 1786, the first court of Bourbon County being held 
there in 1787. Two years later, it was incorporated by the Virginia legislature 
as Hopewell; the present designation was adopted in 1790. — Ed. 

3 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

There are farming Establishments along the road and 
travelers now go without danger from Lime Stone to 
Lexington, a distance of Sixty six miles from one place 
to the other. 66 Miles. 

The 6th visited two persons residing in Lexington for 
whom I had Letters of introduction. 

The 7th herborised . . . 

Sunday 8th of September was obliged to remain being 
unable to hire a horse. 

The 9th left Lexington, went through portions of forest 
lands with very scattered Plantations. Crossed the 
Kentuckey river the banks of which are very close to one 
another; when the waters are low there is a height of 
more than 100 feet from the bank of the river to the level 
of the lands bordering on it and through which it runs. I 
am told that in flood-time it rises to a height of 40 feet 
in one day. On arriving there one would think himself 
between two ranges of very steep Mountains but in fact- 
it is merely a torrent or a river whose Bed has been deeply 
worn. The rocks on the banks are of a calcareous 
nature. Several shrubs and Plants, natives of Carolina, 
grow on the cliff with a southern exposure being secured 
and protected from cold by the favorable situation offered 
by the great depth of the bed of the river. 

The 10th arrived in Danville 30 and visited several per- 
sons for whom I had Letters: Colonel Barbee etc, Capt. 
Peter Tardivau, a witty man 31 etc. etc. 

30 Danville was laid off as a town by Walker Daniel in 1781, and rapidly 
rose to importance, being the centre of political activity and the seat of the 
conventions in which statehood for Kentucky was agitated (1785-92). After 
the admission of Kentucky as a state, Frankfort was chosen capital, and the 
importance of Danville declined. — Ed. 

31 Joshua Barbee was born in Virginia, and after serving in the Revolution 
removed to the vicinity of Danville, early in the Kentucky settlement. He 
was militia officer in 1791, a member of the political club of Danville, and o- 

i793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux' s Travels 39 

The nth, visited General Benjamin Logan whose 
house is situate 12 Miles from Danville. I confided to 
him the Commission entrusted to me; He told me he 
would be delighted to take part in the enterprise but that 
he had received a Letter a few days previously from J. 
Brown 32 which informed him that negotiations had been 
begun between the United States and the Spaniards 
respecting the navigation of the Mississipi and the Creek 
Indians; That a messenger had been sent to Madrid 33 
and that any one of the United States that would venture 

the state legislature. A man of wealth and prominence, his family became 
intimately associated with Kentucky history. He died in 1839. 

Pierre Tardiveau was a French merchant who had an extensive business in 
the West, and connections in Bordeaux. With his partner, Honore, he car- 
ried on trade with New Orleans, and made frequent trips thither. Tardiveau 
embarked in Genet's enterprise, and was appointed interpreter in chief by 
Michaux, who appears to have used him to communicate with agents in New 
Orleans. See Claiborne, Mississippi (Jackson, 1880), pp. 152, 153; also 
American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp. 952, 1026, 1096. Tardiveau 
removed to Louisiana when it came under American dominion. — Ed. 

32 John Brown, one of Kentucky's most prominent public men, was born at 
Staunton, Virginia, in 1757, and while a student at Princeton joined the Revo- 
lutionary army as aid to Lafayette. At the close of the war he removed to 
Kentucky, was its first representative to the old Congress (1787-89); then to 
Congress under the Constitution (1789-92), where he was employed in securing 
the admission of Kentucky as a state. Upon that event (1792), Brown was 
sent to the United States Senate, of which he remained a prominent member 
until 1805. He was a personal friend of Washington, Jefferson (with whom 
he studied law), and Madison, and when he died in 1837 was the last survivor 
of the Congress of the Confederation. Brown was cognizant of Michaux's 
plans, and evidently sympathized with them, having been interested in previous 
separatist movements for Kentucky. See Butler, Kentucky, and John Mason 
Brown, "Political Beginnings of Kentucky," Filson Club Publications No. 6. 
Brown gave letters of introduction to Michaux. See American Historical 
Association Report, 1896, pp. 982, 983, 1010. — Ed. 

33 Brown refers here to the embassy of Carmichael, and the negotiations 
entered into by him and Pinckney, the minister at Madrid, that ultimately led 
to the treaty of 1794. 

The Creek Indians lay south of the United States territory in West Florida, 
and were believed by the Westerners to be incited to attacks upon Americans 
by the Spanish authorities of this province and of Louisiana. — Ed. 

40 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

to act in a hostile manner against the Spaniards before 
the return of the first of December next, would be dis- 
approved by the federal Government; That he was going 
to start the following day for his Establishment of Boul- 
skine [Bullskin] Creek and that, after I should have con- 
ferred with General Clark, he hoped the latter would, in 
consequence of what I should communicate to him, make 
arrangements for further conferences together 34 etc. etc. 

The 12th returned to Danville. 

The 13th Visited (his Excellency) the Governor of the 
State of Kentuckey, Isaac Shelby; 35 visited the hills called 

34 Michaux went to what was known as St. Asaph's, or Logan's Station, in 
Lincoln County, to see the well-known pioneer and Indian fighter, Gen. Ben- 
jamin Logan. Next to Clark, Logan was, doubtless, the best known person in 
Kentucky, and had been chosen by Genet as second in command of the expe- 
dition. That he afterwards decided to enter upon this affair, seems evident 
from his letter to Clark of December 31, 1793, in American Historical Asso- 
ciation Report, 1896, p. 1026. Logan was a Scotch-Irishman, born in Virginia 
in 1743. When but fourteen his father died, and he was left as eldest son of 
the family. Having removed to Holston, he was out with Bouquet in 1764, 
and ten years later in Lord Dunmore's War. Locating his station in Kentucky 
in 1775, he brought out his family the following year, and sustained many 
Indian attacks as well as led several aggressive campaigns against the savages. 
As county lieutenant he was a safeguard for the new settlements, and was 
revered and respected by all his neighbors. Having served in the legislature 
and the convention that drew up the Kentucky constitution, he died at his 
home in Lincoln County in 1802. — Ed. 

35 There was no better-known character in the West, than Governor Shelby. 
Born in Maryland in 1750, the family were of pioneer stock, and early moved 
to Western Virginia, where young Shelby was sheriff (1771), and lieutenant 
under his father, Evan Shelby, at the Battle of Point Pleasant (1774). The 
next year he surveyed in Kentucky, and then returned to the Holston to engage 
in the Revolutionary struggles. To his forethought is attributed the success 
of the battle of King's Mountain, after which he served in the North Carolina 
legislature. Removing to Kentucky in 1783, Shelby was welcomed as a hero 
by the new community, and made the first governor of the State. He served a 
second term during the War of 181 2-15, reinforcing Harrison at a critical 
juncture for the Western division of the army. Refusing the portfolio of war, 
offered by Monroe in 181 7, Shelby retired to his farm in Lincoln County, where 
he died in 1826. Michaux carried letters to Shelby; see American Historical 
Association Report, 1896, pp. 983, 984. On Shelby's later attitude toward the 
expedition, see ibid, pp. 934, 1023, 1040, note. — Ed. 

I 793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux's Travels 41 

Knob Licks; 38 Saw several Plants especially in the salt 
lands enclosed in the interior of the territory of Ken- 
tuckey. Andromeda arborea. 

The 14th left Danville for Louisville, lodged with 
Cumberland 19 Miles from Danville. 

Sunday 15th of September 1793, 22 Miles from Dan- 
ville found a sort of Tragia, a monoecian Plant, fructifica- 
tion in the manner of the Euphorbias. Shortly before 
reaching Beardstown recognized the rocks and stones of 
calcareous substances possessing all the forms of the 
Madrepores. The tops of the Mountains (hills) one 
has to cross, 3 or 4 Miles before reaching Beardstown, 
consist entirely of these petrified madrepores. Recog- 
nized many Plants not found elsewhere: Fagara of the 
State of New York; Rhamnus {Carolinian) and Rhamnus 
. . . etc etc. The neighborhood would be very in- 
teresting for a Botanist to visit. Dined at Beardstown 37 
and slept 6 miles further. 31 Miles. 

The country between Beardstown and Louisville 
possesses no interest for a Botanist. 

The 1 6th arrived at Louisville having traveled by the 
new road. 38 29 Miles. In all 79 Miles from Danville. 

36 Knob Licks, Lincoln County, was formed as a settlement in 1776 by 
Governor Shelby. De Pauw, one of the French agents, resided here. See 
American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp. 977, 1002, 1023, 1102-1106. 
The Knobs were a peculiar formation of detached hillocks. — Ed. 

37 Beardstown (Bardstown) was an important settlement in early Kentucky 
history, established (1788) near the Salt River in what is now Nelson County, 
and named for the proprietor, David Baird. It is now a small village, although 
still the county seat. — Ed. 

38 For the founding of Louisville, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, note 106. The old road from Bardstown to Louisville went via the Salt 
Works (Shepherdsville, Bullitt County), and was reckoned at forty-five miles. 
See Speed, "Wilderness Road," Filson Club Publications (Louisville, 1886), 
p. 17. The new road was more direct, went across country from Bardstown, 
and joined the old about ten miles below Louisville. — Ed. 

42 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 17th of September visited General Clarke. I 
handed him the Letters from the Minister and informed 
him of the object of my Mission. He told me that he was 
very eager for the Undertaking but that, although he had 
written so long ago, he had received no answer and thought 
it had been abandoned. 39 I told him that his Letter had 
fallen into other hands and that the Minister had received 
it only indirectly after his arrival in Philadelphia. He 
informed me that a fresh circumstance seemed to oppose 
an obstacle to it. 40 

The 1 8th remained at Louisville and herborised. 

The 19th returned to visit General Clarke . . . 

The 20th started from Louisville, passed by General 
Clarke's 41 and passed on to sleep near Salt river. 

The 21st passed by Beardstown. Evonimus ramulis 
quadrangulis capsulis muricatis. 42 

Sunday September 22nd arrived once more at Dan- 
ville at 5 o'clock in the evening. Wrote to Minister 
Genet the same day by the Philadelphia Post. 43 

The 23rd I rested. 

The 24th started for Lexington and slept at the Ken- 
tuckey river crossing. 

The 25th found that my horse had wandered away. I 
slept at an inn where there was no Stable; my horse 

39 For the letters of Genet and Clark, see American Historical Association 
Report, 1896, pp. 967, 986. — Ed. 

40 In Clark's letter to Genet, he seems to indicate that this obstacle was the 
leaking out of the secret, by which intimations might reach the Spaniards. 
Possibly he refers to the Spanish mission which caused Logan's hesitation; 
see ante, note 33; also American Historical Association Report, 1896, p. 1007- 
1009. — Ed. 

41 The home of Clark's father, with whom he resided, was known as ' ' Mul- 
berry Hill," situated in the environs of Louisville. — Ed. 

42 E. Americanus, L. — C. S. S. 

43 On the early mail routes, see Speed, Wilderness Road, pp. 65-68. — Ed. 

1793-1796] Andre Mic/iaux's Travels 43 

jumped over the fence and I spent the whole day looking 
for him. 

While so engaged I saw on the sandy beaches: Iresine 
celosioides; Mollugo verticillata; On the rocks; Heuchera 
Americana; Asplenium rhyzophorum; Pteris nova; Parie- 
taria . . . ; Hydrangea arborescens. On the lime- 
stone mountains: Serratula 2 unknown species; Cuphea 
viscosa; Didynamia gymnosperma novum genus; Didy- 
namia angiosperma novum genus. On the bank of the 
Dickson river, Dirca palustris; Sophora floribus coerulis. 
In the shady forests etc: Acer foliis argenteis an rubrum? 
Acer saccharum; Fraxinus Joliolis subintegris, Fraxinus 
foliolis serratis ramis quadrangularis; Gleditsia triacan- 
thos; Guilandina dioica, Robinia pseudo-acacia; Evonimus 
ramulis subrotundis, capsulis laevibus. 

The 26th of September 1793, Rained all day; slept at a 
mile from Kentuckey river at the house of . . . 
Hogan 44 who was kind enough to lend me a horse for 
nothing to go in search of mine. 

The 27th arrived at Lexington distant only 20 Miles from 
the crossing of Kentuckey river called Hickman junction. 45 

The 5th of October started from Lexington. 

Sunday the 6th of the same arrived at Danville. The 
same day wrote to Citizen Minister Genet. 

The 7th took lodgings at Puvit's 46 and received my 
bagga ge. 

44 James Hogan was a pioneer of Kentucky who settled at Bryan's Station 
before 1779, and took a leading part in its defense against Indians (1781). He 
was granted (1785) by the Virginia legislature the right to maintain a ferry 
across the Kentucky River. — Ed. 

45 The principal ferry on the road from Danville to Lexington was at the 
mouth of Hickman's Creek, so named in honor of the first Baptist preacher in 
Kentucky, Rev. William Hickman. — Ed. 

48 See letter of this date, written by Michaux to Clark (American Historical 
Association Report, 1896, p. 1010), in which he gives his address at "M te 
Isham Prewitt, Jefferson County, near Danville." — Ed. 

44 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 10th Sent a Messenger to Louisville. 47 
The 13th Sunday returned to Lexington and came 
back on Sunday the 20th, to Danville. Not having re- 
ceived general Clark's answer I was unable to take ad- 
vantage of the Post to write to the Minister at Philadel- 

The 21st received General Clark's answer. 48 

The 10th of November 1793, Year 2 of the French 
Republic, left Danville for Philadelphia after visiting 
Colonel George Nicholas 49 near Danville. He laid stress 
upon the plan he had proposed to me the previous day 
regarding the Navigation of the Mississipi. Namely: 
That the Naval Forces of the Republic should seize the 
Mouth of the Mississipi, declare that the Country be- 
longed to them by right of Conquest and invite the Ameri- 
cans of the Western Country to take advantage of the 
freedom of Navigation. Then, if the Spaniards situated 
higher up the river molested the Vessels carrying the 
provisions conveyed by the Americans, the latter would 
have the right to repel Constraint and force by force. 

47 The original letter sent by this messenger is in the Wisconsin Historical 
Library (Draper MSS., 55 J 5), and is printed in American Historical Associa- 
tion Report, 1896, p. 1013. — Ed. 

48 This reply is given in American Historical Association Report, 1896, pp. 
1007-1009. The break in the manuscript of Michaux's diary is occasioned 
by the completion of one blank book and the commencement of another. — Ed. 

49 Nicholas was one of a famous coterie of Virginia constitutional lawyers. 
Born in 1743, the son of a distinguished lawyer, Robert Cary Nicholas, he 
served as captain in the Revolution, and at its close qualified for the bar. His 
services in the Virginia convention which adopted the federal constitution, 
were important. Shortly after its close he removed to Kentucky, and there 
aided in the adoption of its state constitution, which is reputed to have been 
drawn up by his hand. Upon the formation of the state government, he was 
chosen first attorney general. Nicholas adopted a moderate position in regard 
to Western politics; the scheme here outlined, seems characteristic. In 1799 
he was appointed law professor in Transylvania University, but died during 
the same year. — Ed. 

I 793~ I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 45 

Thus the Spanish Government would have no reason to 
complain of the United States having broken through 
inasmuch as the country would be reputed in the pos- 
session of the French Republic. 

Slept at Crab orchard distant from Danville 22 Miles. 

The nth of November 1793, started from Crab Or- 
chard in company with 12 persons who had assembled 
at that place to pass through the Woods inhabited and 
frequented by the Savages. The tract between Crab 
orchard and Houlston settlement is 130 Miles wide and 
is called The Wilderness. 50 Slept at Longford Station. 
10 Miles. 

The 12th slept at Modnell Station 28 Miles. 

The 13th slept at Middleton station. 28 Miles. 

The 14th crossed low, swampy places where the water 
was brown and stagnant. Six miles from Middleton 
Post and 18 miles before reaching the top of Cumberland 
Gap, saw a climbing fern covering an area of over six 
acres of ground near the road. 51 At this season when the 
Frost had produced ice from 3 to 4 lines thick, this plant 
was not at all injured by it. In this territory are two 
places, one called Flat lick and the other Stinking Creek. 

Saw near the Carcass of a Stag the . . . Raven 
(Corvus cor ax). Davissas station 2 miles to the 52 . . . 
Cumberland Gap 53 26 Miles. 

50 Michaux returned to Philadelphia by the well-known ' ' Wilderness Road,' ' 
the chief means of exit from Kentucky. Parties frequently waited at Crab 
Orchard — the western terminus in Lincoln County — until enough had gath- 
ered to act as protection against the Indians. See Speed, "Wilderness Road," 
Filson Club Publications, No. 2 (Louisville, 1886); also Hulbert, Historic 
Highways oj America, vol. vi. — Ed. 

61 Lygodium palmatum, Swz. — C. S. S. 

52 Three words are here frayed away in the manuscript of the Journal. — 

c s. s. 

53 Cumberland Gap, in southeastern Kentucky, emerging into Tennessee, 
was explored in 1750 by Dr. Thomas Walker, who named both mountains and 
river in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, son of George II. — Ed. 

46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 15th of November traveled through parts of very 
high Mountains in the midst of which we crossed Clinch 
river and slept at Houlston Station 54 in the house of one 
. . . 27 Miles. 

The 1 6th followed the bank of the Houlston river and 
slept at the house of . . . Amis Esquire, three Miles 
from Hawkin Court house. 55 26 Miles. 

Sunday the 1 7th the Rain compelled me to remain in a 
a small Cabin near the North fork of Houlston 25 Miles. 

The 1 8th my horse was so tired owing to the rapidity of 
the journey and the bad roads across the Wilderness that 

I was obliged to stop after a Journey of only eleven Miles. 

II Miles. 

The 19th started at daybreak. At the foot of the house 
where I lodged, the Kentuckey road divides, 56 the right 
one leads to Burke court house in North Carolina passing 
by the Mouth of Wataga river; the other leads to Abington 
court house, the first town of Virginia. As my horse was 
still tired, I made only 20 miles. 

The 20th I made 15 Miles \ arrived at Abington. 57 
The 21st I slept 22 Miles from Abington near Seven 
Miles Ford, the middle Branch of the Houlston. 

64 The Clinch and Holston rivers are upper waters of the Tennessee, in 
southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. The settlements in these 
valleys were among the first on the west-flowing streams. See map in Turner, 
"State Making in the Revolutionary Era," in American Historical Review, 
i, p. 74.— Ed. 

55 Both of these stations are mentioned in an early journal; see Speed, Wilder- 
ness Road, p. 21. The first was the seat for Hawkins County, Tennessee. — Ed. 

66 The forks of the road was at the junction of the north and south forks 
of the Holston River, near the present town of Kingsport, Sullivan County, 
Tennessee. — Ed. 

67 Abingdon, originally known as Wolf Hills, was one of the earliest settle- 
ments in the Valley of Virginia, and the seat of Washington County. It was 
established as a town in 1778. It is still the county seat, and a station on the 
Norfolk & Western Railway. — Ed. 

I 793" I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 47 

The 22nd of November 1793 crossed Seven Miles ford. 
The Holston river consists of three principal Branches, 
namely: North fork, Seven Miles fork and South fork 
of Holston river. 

In the space of six miles after crossing that little river, 
observed on the northern Hills bordering several small 
rivers the Pinus abies canadensis, Thuya occidentalism 
Rhododendron maximum and also Magnolia acuminata 
in places where the soil is very rich: Fagus chinquapin; 
clayey soil, ferruginous Quartz rocks, Slates rare and 
lime Stones sometimes interveined with white Quartz; 
grey Squirrel (forgot to mention that, in passing Abing- 
ton, saw a Tortoise 8 inches in diameter petrified in a 
black calcareous substance like the Rocks abounding in 
the territory) Our day's journey was 23 miles. 

The 23rd of November slept in the house of a German. 
During the night my horses strayed away. Between 
Abington and With Court house 58 among the Mountains 
Abies canadensis and Thuya occidentalis. 

Sunday the 24th, passed by With Court house and at 
about 18 Miles in the steep Mountains observed Pinus 
Strobus, Pinus foliis ternis (pitch pine) Pinus foliis 
geminis . . . , Pinus abies canadensis, Rhododen- 
dron maximum, Kalmia latijolia, Gaultheria procumbens, 
Epigea repens: In more arid places, Fagus chinquapin, 
Fagus castanea americana, Fagus sylvatica americana, 
Andromeda arborea, Hypericum Kalmianum. Among 
the damp rocks or those watered by the streams; Rocks of 
silex and also of agate slightly transparent. 

From Seven Miles ford to With Court house 36 Miles. 

68 Wytheville, near the centre of the county of that name, and its county 
seat. — Ed. 

48 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 25th crossed the ferry called Peper's ferry 59 on the 
New River and afterward crossed from the West to the 
East side of the Alleganies; slept on a branch of James 
river called Catawba which flows eastward while the 
New River flows West of the Mountains. 

The 26th continued on my way to Botetort Court house 
30 miles. 

The 27th passed by Botetort Court house 60 and by the 
south Branch of the James River 12 miles from Botetort. 

The 28th passed by Lexington 61 40 miles distant from 
Botetort and by the north branch of James river to one 
Mile from Lexington. Thuya occidentalism Pinus Strobus. 

The 29th of November, remained in Mac DowalFs 
house; 62 my horse's leg was so swelled that he could not 

The 30th journeyed 27 miles. 

Sunday the first of December 1793 passed by Stanton, 
a small and rather flourishing town situate 120 Miles 
from Richemont and 75 Miles from Botetort. 


69 The early route through the Virginia Valley crossed New River at Ingles's 
Ferry, a short distance west of Blacksburg, Montgomery County. A new 
road shortened the distance and crossed the New River about five miles farther 
up the stream, at a ferry operated by the pioneer family of Pepper. They 
are alluded to in the Draper MSS., Wisconsin Historical Library, i QQ 97. — Ed. 

60 Botetourt Court House, now Fincastle, the seat of Botetourt County 
(established in 1769), was laid off as a town in 1772 on land donated for the 
purpose by Israel Christian. It was named for the ancestral seat of Lord 
Botetourt, an early governor of Virginia. — Ed. 

61 Lexington was established by law in 1777 as county seat for Rockbridge, 
then newly-formed out of Augusta and Botetourt. See ante, note 28. — Ed. 

62 Col. James McDowell, who lived near Fairfield, Rockbridge County, 
was a descendant of the Scotch-Irish settler, Capt. John McDowell, who came 
to the valley as a surveyor in 1737, and was killed in the first Indian fight 
therein (1742). — Ed. 

63 The present roads through the Valley of Virginia follow the course de- 
scribed by Michaux, passing through the same towns. Staunton is one of the 
earliest towns of the region, having been settled in 1732 by John Lewis, a Scotch- 

1 793-1 796] Andre Mic /mux's Travels 49 

The 2nd passed by Rockyham or Rockytown 64 20 
miles distant from Stanton. 

The 3rd passed by Woodstock, 65 another small town 37 
Miles from Rockytown. Between Stanton and Wood- 
stock the country is mountainous, the soil rather fertile, 
of a clayey nature, with calcareous rocks called Blue 
limestone; Quercus rubra, alba; Fagus chinquapin and 
Pinus foliis geminis, conis squamis rigidis et aculeatis. 
Three miles before reaching that town, on the North of a 
Hill on the road, Thuya occidentalism Pinus foliis geminis, 
Juniper us Virginiana. 

The 4th started from Woodstock, passed by New- 
town. 66 

The 5th passed by Winchester, 67 35 Miles from Wood- 
stock, formerly called Miller' stown. 

Irishman, whose sons Andrew and Charles were among the most prominent 
borderers. Andrew commanded the Sandy Creek expedition in 1756; and at 
the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, where Charles was slain. Staunton was 
laid out as a town in 1748, at the ' ' Beverly Mill Place,' ' but was not established 
by act of legislature until 1761. — Ed. 

64 This town is generally known as Harrisonburg, from its founder, Thomas 
Harrison (1780). The county of Rockingham was erected in 1778, and held 
its first court at the house of Daniel Smith, which was two miles north of 
Harrisonburg. — Ed. 

65 The upper or northern portion of the Valley of Virginia was first settled 
by German emigrants from Pennsylvania. Woodstock was laid off as a town 
by Jacob Miller, and established by law in 1761. — Ed. 

66 Newtown, or Stephensburg, was founded by Lewis Stephens on the site 
of his father's first claim. Peter Stephens came to Virginia in 1732, with Joist 
Hite, an early settler of the northern portion of the Valley. His son estab- 
lished the town in 1758, it being called Newtown to distinguish it from the 
older Winchester. Newtown is now a small hamlet, without a post-office. — Ed. 

67 Winchester was built upon Lord Fairfax's grant in 1752. In 1738 there 
were two cabins at this place, which was then called ' ' Shawnee Springs,' ' and 
was the frontier outpost in that direction. The population was a mixture of 
Germans and Scotch-Irishmen. Col. James Wood is accredited with the 
foundation of the town of Winchester. — Ed. 

50 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 6th passed by Charlestown 68 22 Miles from Win- 
chester. Passed by Harspur ferry 69 across the Potomack 
river 8 miles from Charleston and entered Maryland. 

The 7th passed by Fredericktown 70 20 Miles from Har- 
spur ferry (Potomack river) and 50 miles from Winches- 

Sunday the 8th passed by Woodberry and Littletown 71 
35 Miles from Fredericktown. 

The 9th passed by Hanover, formerly MacAllister- 
town 72 42 miles from Fredericktown and by Yorktown 
18 Miles from MacAllistertown now Hanover town. 

The 10th passed by the Susquehanna river and entered 

68 Charlestown, in what was then Berkeley County, but now the seat for 
Jefferson County, West Virginia, was laid off (1786) upon his own land by 
Col. Charles Washington, brother of the general, and christened from his own 
Christian name. — Ed. 

89 Harper's Ferry takes its name from the first settler, Robert Harper, 
who formed part of the German emigration of 1734. Washington perceived 
the strategic importance of this place, and recommended it as the site of a 
national arsenal. — Ed. 

70 Frederick City, Maryland, was laid out in 1745 by Patrick Dulany, and 
named in honor of the sixth Lord Baltimore. The first house, however, was 
not erected on this site until 1 748, when it became the seat of the newly-erected 
Frederick County. Most of the early settlers were Germans, with an admix- 
ture of Scotch-Irish. At Frederick the road from Virginia crossed the National 
Road from Baltimore to Wheeling. — Ed. 

71 Woodsboro is a small village in Frederick County, Maryland. Littles- 
town, in Adams County, Pennsylvania, was laid out in 1765 by one of the early 
German settlers of the region, called Peter Klein (Little). It was frequently 
called Petersburg in the earlier days. It is now a small station on the Freder- 
icksburg branch of the Pennsylvania Railway. — Ed. 

72 Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania, was laid out upon a tract granted 
by Lord Baltimore to John Digges in 1728. The proprietors of Maryland 
claimed this region, and Digges settled a number of German immigrants upon 
his tract of 10,000 acres, which was known as "Digges's Choice." A Scotch- 
Irishman, Richard McAllister, emigrated thither about 1749 and acquired 
great influence over the German settlers of the neighborhood, where he kept 
a store and tavern. He laid out the town and named it Hanover in 1763 or 
1764. — Ed. 

i793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michanx s Travels 51 

Pennsylvania eleven miles from Yorktown. 73 Passed 
Lancaster 1 2 miles from Harris ferry on the Susquehanna 
river and 24 miles from York. 74 

The nth of December 1793 traveled 30 Miles. 

Thursday the 12th, arrived in Philadelphia 66 miles 
from Lancaster. 

The 13th visited Citizen Genet, Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary of the French Republic. 

[ The 14th Visited Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Rittenhouse 75 

Sunday the 15th; Recapitulation of the journey, namely: 
From Danville to Lincoln .... 12 miles 
From Lincoln to Crab Orchard . 
From Crab Orchard to Langford Station 
From Langford to Modrell Station 
Modrell to Middleton Station 
Middleton to Cumberland Gap . 
Cumberland to Davisses Station 
Davisses to Houlston 
Houlston to Hawkin Court house 







73 Michaux is mistaken in placing the Pennsylvania boundary so far north, 
as he had entered that state before reaching Littlestown. This territory, how- 
ever, had been in dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland, but was settled 
by the running of Mason and Dixon's line in 1763. York was not settled on the 
lands of the Penn estate until 1741, when there were 2,000 settlers within the 
bounds of what is now York County. The town became an incorporated 
borough in 1785. — Ed. 

74 For the early history of Harris Ferry, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, note 73. — Ed. 

78 Dr. Daniel Rittenhouse was one of America's best known scientists. Born 
in Pennsylvania in 1732, his talent for mathematics early manifested itself, 
and he became a clock and instrument maker, and finally an astronomer of 
much repute. He held important positions in the new State of Pennsylvania, 
was its treasurer (1777-89), also first director of the United States mint. Ritten- 
house was employed to settle the boundary between Virginia and his own 
state, and during 1784-85 was in service in the field, directing the running of 
the line. He succeeded Franklin as president of the American Philosophical 
Society in 1790, retaining the office until his death in 1796. — Ed. 

5 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Hawkinto . . . Amis ... 3 miles 

Amis to North Fork of Houlston . . 25 

North fork to Carolina fork . . . 31 
From the fork to Abington formerly Washington 

Court House in Virginia 
From Abington to Seven Mile ford 
From seven Mile ford to With Courthouse 

From With Court house to Peper ferry . t>3 

From Peper ferry to Botetout Court house . 50 

From Boteton to James River South fork . 12 

From James river South fork to Lexington . 28 

From Lexington to Stanton . . . 35 

From Stanton to Rockytown ... 20 

From Rocky ham to Woodstock . . . 37 

From Woodstock to Winchester . . 35 

From Winchester to Charleston . . . 22 

From Charleston to Harpur ferry or Potomack 8 

From Potomack to Fredericktown . . 20 

From Fredericktown to Littletown . . 35 
From Littletown to Hanover formerly MacAlis- 

ter ...... . 7 

From Hanover to Yorktown . . . 18 

From York to Susquehanna, Harris ferry . 1 1 

From Susquehanna to Lancaster . . 12 

From Lancaster to Philadelphia . . 66 

Total 746 Miles 

From Danville to Lexington 33 Miles 

From Danville to Louisville 77 ... 84 

( c 

78 The manuscript is so frayed that the figures for these two distances are 
destroyed. The footing requires 60 M. for the two. — C. S. S. 

"Michaux remained in Philadelphia until February 9, 1794, chiefly occu- 
pied with his botanical pursuits, and in getting his accounts audited. Proceed- 

i793- J 79 6 ] Andre Mic /mux's Travels 53 

The 30th Germinal in the 3rd year of the French Re- 
public One and Indivisible (Sunday 19th of April 1795 
old style) started to go and herborise in the high Mountains 
of the Carolinas and afterward to visit the Western ter- 
ritories. Plants seen before arriving at Monk's corner: 
Heuchera . . . , Vicia 2 species, Smilax herbacea 
erecta, Melampodium? . . . Polygonum necessarian 
Silene Virginica, Phlox lanceolata then in flower, Vale- 
riana. Slept at 45 Mile House. 

The 10th Floreal (20th of April,) around forty five 
Mile house, Valeriana; 3 Miles before reaching Neilson's 
ferry Gnaphalium dioicuin, Uvularia ? On the said 20th 
of April a new tree of the Santee river, elm-leaved, fructus 
muricati capsula muricata, semen unicum subovatum. 78 

These seeds were then almost ripe; Celtis occidentalis 
flowers . . . 79 and lower male flowers. 

Slept 77 Miles from Charleston. 

The 2 1 st of April noticed on the Santee High-hills: 
Phlox with white flowers and Phlox with pink flowers, 
two different species, very small Phlox with lance shaped 
leaves; Saw in the neighborhood of Monk's corner Lupi- 
nus hirsutus in flower. Dined with D r . . . ; slept 
at Statesboroug. 

The 22nd passed by Cambden; five miles beyond, a new 
Kalmia; it was not yet in flower. Slept 10 Miles beyond 

ing south on horseback, he arrived at Charleston March 14, 1794, where he 
consulted with the French consul, Mangourit, concerning the Florida portion 
of the expedition against French territory. See American Historical Associa- 
tion Report, 1897, pp. 569-679. Upon the collapse of this project, Michaux 
undertook a botanizing tour to the mountains of North Carolina, from July 
14, to October 2, 1794. Upon his return, he had an attack of fever for "more 
than six weeks,' ' and passed the remainder of the winter in arranging his garden 
and classifying his plants. — Ed. 

78 Planera aquatica, Gmel. (P. Gmelini, Michx.). — C. S. S. 

79 A word here is illegible in the manuscript. — C. S. S. 

54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 23rd of April passed by Flat rock, by Hanging 
rock Creek and slept at Cane Creek, Lancaster county, 
in the house of a Mr May ; my horse strayed away during 
the night and following his traces it was found that he 
had passed by Mr Lee's. 

The 24th I was obliged to look for him all day. Mr 
Lee also sent his son and his negro to search for him. 
He procured me a Horse to go on my quest and after- 
ward invited me to lodge with him; he overwhelmed me 
with civilities. 80 

The 25th, the horse came to Mr Lee's house of his 
accord. Plants on the creek: Dodecatheon Meadia, 
Asarum Canadense, Claytonia Virginica, Erythronium 

Sunday 26th of April, started from Cane Creek, passed 
by Land'sford on the Catawba river. But the real road 
is from Cane Creek, ask for Colonel Crawford's house or 
Plantation on the Waxsaw, then pass MacClean Hands 
ferry on the Catawba; Thence straight to the Iron works 
called Hill's Iron Works operated by Colonel Hill. 81 

Thus from Cane Creek to Waxsaw . . . Miles; 
From Waxsaw to Iron Works, York county . . . 

The 27th passed Iron Works about 32 miles from Cane 

80 Probably this was Thomas Lee, son of a Revolutionary patriot, and 
usually a dweller in Charleston. In 1792, however, he married and afterwards 
lived for some time on his estate in the up-country. Born in Charleston in 
1769, he was admitted to the bar in 1790, and later was assistant judge (1804-16), 
and United States district judge (1823-39). He was one of the most prominent 
South Carolinians of his day. — Ed. 

81 These were the most important iron-works in the state; their owner had 
invented an improved water-blast, and had a forge, furnace, rolling mill, and 
nail factory. — Ed. 

i793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 55 

The 28th passed by Armstrong 82 ford on the south 
branch of the Catawba, 12 miles from Iron Works. 

The same day passed by the dwelling of Bennet Smith 
where there is a . . . Magnolia, 12 Miles from 
Armstrong ford. 

The 29th passed by Lincoln, 83 12 Miles from Bennet 
Smith's and 36 miles from Iron Works. 

Thursday 30th of April passed by the dwelling of Old 
man Wilson 84 9 miles from Lincoln and 6 Miles from 
Robertson's. Reached Morganton 85 30 Miles from Rob- 

The 1st of May spent the day at Morganton and her- 
borised in the neighborhood. 

The 2nd spent the day at Colonel Avery's, 86 4 miles 
from Morganton. 

82 Col. Martin Armstrong .was a Revolutionary soldier in command of the 
local militia, and much engaged in the war against the Tories. After the 
battle of King's Mountain, he took over the command from Benjamin Cleve- 
land. — Ed. 

83 Lincolnton is the seat of Lincoln County, which was originally part of Ty- 
ron. The name was changed in 1779 in honor of the patriot leader, Gen. 
Benjamin Lincoln. This entire region was a centre of agitation for indepen- 
dence; and in 1780 a fierce battle between Whigs and Tories was fought at 
Ramsour's Mills, near Lincolnton. — Ed. 

84 Probably this was Capt. Zaccheus Wilson, a Scotch-Irish resident of 
this region who migrated thither from Pennsylvania between 1740 and 1750. 
Wilson was an ardent patriot, a member of the Mechlenburg convention in 
1775, of the provincial congress of the state the following year, and a captain 
at King's Mountain in 1780. In 1796 he followed his brother David to Ten- 
nessee, where he lived until his death in 1823 or 1824. — Ed. 

85 Morganton is the oldest town in the mountainous district of North Caro- 
lina, having been founded during the Revolution, and named in honor of Gen. 
Daniel Morgan. The settlers of this region were largely Scotch-Irish, who had 
emigrated from Pennsylvania by way of the Valley of Virginia. — Ed. 

86 Col. Waightstill Avery was of New England origin, born in Connecticut 
in 1743. At the age of twenty-three he was graduated at Princeton, and after 
studying law in Maryland removed to North Carolina in 1769. He was very 
influential in the upper country, a member of the Mechlenburg convention of 
1775, and of the state provincial congress the following year. After a campaign 

5 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Sunday 3rd of May started for the Mountains; at a 
distance of 14 Miles from Burke is Wagely's house. 

The Lineville Mountains at whose foot this house is 
situated, abound in Magnolia auriculata. They were 
then in flower. From Wagely's to Captain Young's is 8 

The 4th of May left Young's. The distance to Ains- 
wort's is 2 Miles but by going to the right one reaches the 
foot of a very high Mountain 3 Miles from Young's. 
The summit is 5 Miles from Young's. 

From the summit of the Mountain at Young's to 
Bright's, called Bright's Settlement, the distance is 3 
Miles and from Bright's to Davin Port's 2 Miles, making 
10 Miles in all from Young's to Davin Port's. 87 

The 5th of May herborised in the vicinity of the dwell- 
ings of Davin Port and Wiseman. 

The 6th started for the Mountains, namely: Round 
[Roan] Mountain and Yellow Mountain; Toe River 
flows between these Mountains. All the Convallaria 
were in flower as well as the Podophyllum diphyllum and 

Sunday 10th of May 1795 returned from the Mountains 
to the dwelling of Davin Port. 

against the Cherokees, he was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with this 
tribe in 1777. During the war Colonel Avery was in active service as a militia 
officer; at its close he settled four miles from Morganton, calling his planta- 
tion "Swan Ponds." Five times Burke County sent him to the state legisla- 
ture, and in 1796 to the senate. Andrew Jackson challenged Avery to a duel 
in 1788, but later became his firm friend. He died about 182 1. — Ed. 

87 Michaux followed the well-known Bright's trace, by which communi- 
cation was maintained between the settlements of East Tennessee and those 
of Western North Carolina. Over this road came the men who won the victory 
at King's Mountain in 1780. Bright's place is now in the possession of the 
Avery family. Martin Davenport resided at a noted spring not far from Toe 
River, in Mitchell County, North Carolina. He was a well-known Whig; 
his son William became a man of prominence, several times representing his 
county in the state legislature. — Ed. 

i793 _I 79 6 ] Andre Mic /mux's Travels 57 

The nth herborised on the Mountains facing the 
dwelling. The distance to the summit of the Bleue 
Ridges at the part called Rompback is about 3 Miles; on 
the first Mountains are to be seen in very great abundance 
the Azalea joliis apice glandulosis, Azalea lutea. There 
is no other Azalea on the Hills surrounding the dwellings 
of Davin Port and Wiseman but this yellow-flowered 
species. That on the River banks is generally that with 
carnation flowers and that with white flowers. 88 

The 12th ascended the summit of the Blueridges, 
Rhododendron minus in flower, Cypripedium Luteum. 

The 13th of May started to continue my journey. At 
Noon arrived at the foot of Yellow Mountain 10 Miles. 
In the evening came to sleep at the house of John Miller 
12 Miles from the Mountain. Thus there are 22 Miles 
from Davin Port's to Miller's; at a distance of half a mile 
one commences to cross Doe River. 

The 14th followed and crossed Doe river 27 times. It 
is dangerous when the waters are high. Slept at the 
house of Colonel Tipton, 89 20 Miles from Miller's. 

The 15th passed by Johnsboroug 90 10 Miles from 
Colonel Tipton's dwelling and 84 Miles from Burke Court 
house. Slept at the house of Anthony Moore near Noley- 
chukey river. During the night my horse strayed away. 

88 Rhododendron arborescens, Torrey. — C. S. S. 

89 Col. John Tipton was one of the noted pioneers of Tennessee. Born in 
Virginia, he early removed to Eastern Tennessee, and was engaged in the 
defense of the frontier. Upon the inauguration of the state of Franklin, Tipton 
joined the North Carolina party, and a fierce factional struggle ensued, which 
culminated in the arrest of Colonel Sevier by Tipton's agency. Tipton lived 
east of Jonesborough, on Sinking Creek. — Ed. 

80 Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee, having been founded in 
1779 and named in honor of Willie Jones, Esq., an active patriot of Halifax, 
North Carolina, and a warm friend of the Western counties. Jonesborough 
was the first capital of Washington District, and is still the seat of Washington 
county. — Ed. 

5 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 1 6th, Sunday 17th, & 18th were spent in search- 
ing for my horse. 

The 19th bought another horse for the price of fifty 
Dollars from an inhabitant of Noley Chukey river named 
. . . Earnest, a neighbor of one Andrew Fox. The 
Magnolia tripetala abounds on the banks of Noley 

Wednesday 20th of May, passed by Green Court house 
27 Miles from John's Borough and the road to Kentuckey, 
taking the right hand and passing by . . . ferry on 
the Holston river. Continuing straight on the road leads 
to Knoxville. By going to the left a little before Green 
the road leads to Frenchbroad. 91 The distance from 
John Borough to Green Court house is 27 Miles. 

The 2 1 st passed by Bull's Gap 18 Miles from Green. 92 

The 22nd passed by Iron Works 93 30 Miles from Bull's 
gap. The distance to the river called Houlston river is 
only four miles. Two miles from Iron Works is a Rock 
of mineral, pieces whereof on being crushed and reduced 
to powder dye cotton red ; this mineral is boiled etc. 

The 23rd as my horse was injured I was obliged to 
remain a Mile from Iron Works on Mossy Creek at the 
house of one Newman. Near his house {% mile) is to 
be found the mineral that I take to be Antimony. 

Sunday 24th, arrived at Colonel King's on the Houl- 

81 Greene Court House is now Greeneville, seat of Greene County. From 
here two roads branch off, that to the right toward Cumberland Gap and Ken- 
tucky; that to the left through Newport and Sevierville, along the French 
Broad Valley. Michaux took, as he says, the right hand road, leaving it, how- 
ever, beyond Russelville, and continuing by this upper and less frequented 
road to Knoxville. — Ed. 

82 Bull's Gap is a pass in Bay's Mountain, between Jefferson and Greene 
counties, named probably for Captain Bull, an early pioneer. — Ed. 

83 This was one of the earliest forges in Tennessee; it was in Jefferson County, 
not far from Mossy Creek. — Ed. 

1 793~ I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 59 

ston river at the place called Macby ferry 94 15 Miles from 
Iron Works. 

The 25th crossed the ferry and arrived at Knoxville 15 
miles from Macby ferry, the residence of the Governor of 
the Western territories, no Miles from Johnsborough. 95 
Plants and Trees of the Territory of Knoxville and of the 
neighboring country: Quercus prinus saxosa; Quercus 
prinus humilis; Quercus rubra; Quercus proemorsa; Quer- 
cus tomentosa; Quercus pinnatifida; Quercus alba . . . 
Uhnus viscosa; Ulmus fungosa; Fraxinus . . . Dio- 
spiros Virginiana; Liquidambar styraciflua; Juglans nigra, 
alba or oblonga, hiccory pignut. Platanus occidentalis ; 
Nyssa aquatica; Fagus castanea americana; Fagus pumila; 
Fagus sylvatica americana; Magnolia acuminata; Betula 
alnus americanus; Cercis Canadensis; Cornus florida; 
Evonimus latijolius, Evonimus Americanus; Podophyllum 
peltatum; Jejjersonia; Sanguinaria Canadensis; Trillium 

Remained the whole week at Knoxville and herborised 
in the vicinity while awaiting a sufficiently numerous 
caravan to pass through the Wilderness. 

Sunday 31st of May received notice that twenty five 

94 McBee's Ferry, crossing the Holston in the northwestern corner of Knox 
County, was a well-known landmark of this region. — Ed. 

85 Knoxville was settled by James White in 1787, and at first called White's 
Station. In 1791 a town was laid out, named in honor of General Knox, 
which after the establishment of territorial government became the capital. 
The first governor of the territory was William Blount, who was born in North 
Carolina in 1749, and was active both in the War of the Regulators (1771), and 
in the Revolution. Blount was a member of the North Carolina legislature 
and later of the national constitutional convention. Washington appointed 
him governor of Southwest Territory, and on the admission of Tennessee as a 
state he was chosen first state senator. For intriguing with foreign emissaries 
he was impeached, and expelled from the Senate. The people, however, showed 
their confidence by choosing him to the state senate (1797). He died in Knox 
County in 1800. — Ed. 

60 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

armed travelers were on the point of arriving at Knox- 

Monday 1st of June 1795, old style, the journey was 
again put off. 

Thursday 4th of June started from Knoxville and slept 
15 miles away at captain Camel's at the place called 
Camel [Campbell] station. 

Friday the 5th, slept at the place called West Point on 
Clinch river, a Post of soldiers guarding the frontiers of 
the territory, 96 25 Miles from Camel station. 

The 6th started and crossed the river in a Scow or 
ferry connected with West point station. Our journey 
covered 10 miles. The Travelers consisted of 15 armed 
men and more than thirty women and children. 

Sunday 7th of June crossed the Mountains called Cum- 
berland Mountains, 22 Miles. 

The 8th continued our march in the Mountains 23 
Miles. Magnolia petalis basi purpureis. Q1 

Tuesday 9th of June 1795, alternately ascended and 
descended the Mountains. In the bottom lands Magno- 
lia tripetala in abundance, 25 Miles. 

The 10th arrived at the Cumberland River, 10 Miles, 
and slept beyond the 20th Mile. 

The nth arrived at Blodsoe Lick or Blodsoe station, 98 
20 Miles. 120 Miles in all of the Wilderness. 

88 Fort Southwest Point, as it was usually called, was erected in 1792 at 
the junction of Clinch and Holston rivers, near the present town of Kingston, 
as an outpost on the road to Western Tennessee, and a protection against the 
Cherokee Indians. As late as 1803 travellers found it safer to go in company 
through this wilderness. See journal of F. A. Michaux, post. — Ed. 

97 Probably M. macrophylla, Michx. In the Flora, it is described as only 
growing "in regionibus occidentalibus fluvio Tennassee trajectis." — C. S. S. 

88 Isaac Bledsoe was one of a party of hunters who discovered this lick 
(near Gallatin, in Sumner County) as early as 1771. He removed hither in 
1779 and founded a station; he was also one of the framers of the Cumberland 

I 793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux's Travels 61 

Slept at this place where there is food for men and 

Friday the 12th, came one mile to Colonel Winches- 
ter's; 99 slept there two nights to rest myself and my Horse. 

Sunday the 14th herborised. 

The 15th came to the house of a resident near Cumber- 
land River, Mr. Jackson; 100 soil fertile. Oaks, Quercus 
primes: Quercus rubra, Quercus glandibus magnis, capsuld 
includentibus, called Overcup White Oak. 101 Quercus 
tomentosa,™ 2 Quercus praemorsa. 25 Miles. 

The 1 6th arrived at Nashville 12 Miles. 

Total 197 Miles from Knoxville to Nashville, the capital 
of the Cumberland Settlements on the Cumberland 
river. 103 

Association, and a faithful adherent of Robertson. His brother, Col. Anthony 
Bledsoe, who had a reputation as a leader in the Holtson settlement, later 
removed to Cumberland, and was an able second in command on Indian expe- 
ditions, especially that against the Chickamaugas in 1787. He was killed by 
Indians at Bledsoe's Station in 1788. The spring at this place is now called 
' ' Castilian Springs.' ' — Ed. 

89 Gen. James Winchester, born in Maryland in 1752, served in the Revo- 
lution, after which he removed to Tennessee, and settled not far from Gallatin, 
in Sumner County. He served in the territorial and state militia, and in 1812 
was appointed brigadier-general in the regular army, superseding Harrison in 
command of the Western division. Captured at the River Raisin, he was 
exchanged in 1814, resigned the following year, and died at his home in Ten- 
nessee in 1826. — Ed. 

100 Michaux's remark indicates the obscurity of Andrew Jackson at this 
early period of his history. He then lived upon a plantation called Hunter's 
Hill, thirteen miles from Nashville, not having removed to the "Hermitage" 
(two miles beyond) until 1804. — Ed. 

101 Quercus macrocarpa, Michx. — here first mentioned. — C. S. S. 

102 Q. bicolor, Willd.— C. S. S. 

103 Nashville was founded by James Robertson, who in 1779 came overland 
from the settlements of Eastern Tennessee. Donelson's party, which went via 
the rivers, did not arrive until April of the following year. Being beyond the 
jurisdiction of any state, the settlers drew up a compact under which they lived 
until the organization (1783) of Davidson County as a part of North Carolina. 
The town, named for the patriot General Nash, was until 1784 called Nash- 

62 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 17th visited various persons, Daniel Smith, 104 
Colonel Robertson, 105 Captain Gordon, [G. M.] Deade- 
rick, Dr White, Thomas Craighead 106 etc. etc. 

Herborised on the following days. 

Trees of Nashville Territory : 

Quercus prinus; Quercus phellos latijolia; Quercus 
pinnatifida; Quercus foliis lyratis subtus tomentosis caly- 
cibus maximis margine laciniatis glandibus includentibus 
Vulgo; Over cup White Oak; 107 Quercus rubra; Quercus 
tomentosa; Acer saccharum, Acer negundo, Acer rubrum; 
Juglans nigra, oblonga, hiccory: Platanus occidentalis; 
Liquidamber styraciflua; Ulmus viscosa jungosa; 108 Car- 
pinus Ostrya americana; Rhamnus Alaternus latijolius, 
Rhamnus jrangula? 109 jrutex prunijer; Juniperus Vir- 
giniana. Banks of Cumberland river Philadelphus ino- 

borough. Nashville was incorporated in 1806. The legislature met at this 
city in 1812-16 and after 1826, but the city was not made the permanent capital 
until 1843. — Ed. 

104 See description of visit to Daniel Smith, brother-in-law of Andrew Jack- 
son, in Journal of F. A. Michaux, post. — Ed. 

105 Gen. James Robertson, the founder of West Tennessee, was born in 
Virginia in 1742, but removed to North Carolina at an early age, and was one 
of the first settlers of Watauga. In 1774 he took part in Dunmore's War, de- 
fended the Watauga fort in a siege in 1776, and three years later removed with 
a party to the Cumberland. This settlement was maintained only by heroic 
exertions, and the courage and wisdom of Robertson in his dealing with the 
Indians. In 1790, Washington appointed him brigadier-general and Indian 
commissioner. He died in the Chickasaw country in 1814. — Ed. 

108 These were all prominent early settlers of Cumberland. Captain Gor- 
don was commander in several Indian affrays, notably the Nickajack expedi- 
tion, and served under Jackson in 1813. Thomas Craighead was the first 
clergyman in Nashville, where he arrived in 1785 and built a school-house at 
Spring Hill. He was an especial friend of Andrew Jackson, whose wife was a 
member of his church (Presbyterian). — Ed. 

107 Q. lyrata, Nutt.— C. S. S. 

108 Ulmus fulva, Michx.— C. S. S. 

109 Rhamnus Caroliniana, Gray. — C. S. S. 

i793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 63 

dorus; Aristolochia siphotomentosa; 110 Mimosa erecta- 
herbacea; Mirabilis 111 clandestina seu umbellata seu parvi- 
flora; Hypericum Kalmianum grandiflorum. 112 

Soil of Nashville clayey, rocky, limestone Rocks some- 
what similar to the Kentuckey formation, position of the 
Rocks horizontal, occasionally Quartz Veins in the Rocks, 
abounding in marine petrifactions. 

Sunday 21st of June 1795, killed and skinned some 

Birds: Robin, Cardinal, Tetrao (grouse), Lanius Ty- 
rannus rare, Quantities of the Genus Muscicopa; few 
species of the Genus Picus: Wild Turkeys. Quadrupeds: 
Musk-rat, Beaver, Elk, dwarf Deer, Bears, Buffalos, 
Wolves, small grey Squirrels. 

Minerals: soil clayey. Limestone Rocks always in a 
horizontal position; impure Slate, flocks of schistus; 
Petrifactions of land and fresh-water shells. 

Monday 22nd of June 1795 (Old style) 4th of Messidor 
in the 3rd year of the Republic, started from Nashville 
for Kentuckey; passed by Mansko's Lick, 113 12 miles from 
Nashville; slept at Major Sharp's 1U 29 Miles from Nash- 

110 A. tomenlosa, Sims. — C. S. S. 

111 Oxybaphus tiyctagineus, Sweet. {Allionia nyctaginea, Michx.). — C. S. S. 

112 Probably Hypericum aureum, Bartram. — C. S. S. 

113 Mansco Lick was in the northeastern part of Davidson County, named 
for its discoverer, Kasper Mansco (Mansker), who was one of the party of 
Long Hunters in 1769. On his adventures, see Roosevelt, Winning of the 
West, i, pp. 147 ff . — Ed. 

114 Major Sharp had formerly lived in Washington County, Virginia, whence 
he had gone out to serve at the battle of King's Mountain. He removed to 
Kentucky soon after the Revolution, and later settled in the Barrens. His son, 
Solomon P. Sharp, born in 1780, became one of the most noted Kentucky 
lawyers and political leaders, serving in the thirteenth and fourteenth Con- 
gresses, a friend and adherent of Calhoun. He was assassinated in the midst 
of a brilliant career. — Ed. 

64 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 23rd crossed the Barren oaks and slept at [Drake's] 
Creek. There is no house in the interval. The Soil 
produces only black oaks. 30 Miles. 

The 24th passed by Big Barren River. The man who 
keeps the Ferry is well supplied with provisions. 115 The 
distance is 3 Miles from [Drake] Creek. 

Crossed the Barrens and slept on the ground without 
a fire and without allowing my horse to graze at large 
through fear of the Savages. 

The 25th passed by Little Barren River, the first house 
43 Miles from Big Barren River. Afterward passed by 
Green River 6 Miles from Little Barren River. 

The 26th passed by Roland [Rolling] fork, head of Salt 
River, 30 Miles from Green River. 

The 27th arrived at Danville 35 Miles from Roland old 

From Nashville to Danville, the oldest town in Ken- 
tuckey 117 Miles. 

Sunday 28th of June rested. 

The 29th skinned three striped Squirrels (Sciurus 

The 30th herborised. 

Wednesday 1st of July 1795 visited several residents. 

The 2nd continued rain. 

The 3rd put my old Collections in order. 

The 4th 

Sunday 5th of July 116 

Sunday 12th of July dined with the Governor of the 
State of Kentuckey, Isaac Shelby. 

Thursday 16th of July 1795 left Danville. 

116 This was Andrew McFadden, who settled a station and ferry at this 
point in 1785, and was a well-known character of that region. — Ed. 
116 A part of one leaf of the Journal is here left blank. — C. S. S. 

1 793-1 796] Andre Michaux's Travels 65 

The 17th passed by Beardston forty three Miles from 

The 1 8th arrived at Stanford's near Man's Lick. 117 

Sunday 19th remained to await my Baggage. 

The 20th remained, and being obliged to stay, watched 
the Process of manufacturing Salt. The Wells for get- 
ting the salt water are dug to a depth of about . . . 
feet. Muddy clay is met with to a depth of . . . feet. 
Then . . . feet of slatey rock. When the rock is 
pierced the salt water is found at a depth of more than 
. . . feet. This slate burns in the fire as if impreg- 
nated with bitumen or entirely made up of that substance. 
Bones of those great marine bodies that are rather fre- 
quently met with on the banks of the Ohio have been 
found in the impure clay that was dug up to reach the 
slatey rock. 

The 21st of July, arrived at Louisville, 40 Miles from 

The 22nd and 23rd remained and herborised. 

The 24th returned to Manslick, 16 Miles from Louis- 

The 25th returned to Louisville. 

Sunday 26th of July herborised. 

Plants in the neighborhood of Louisville: Quercus 
cerroides, 118 Quercus rubra; Quercus alba; Quercus prinus; 
Liriodendron; Fagus castanea, Fagus sylvatica; Rhus 
foliis alatis dioique; Hibiscus 1 ™ foliis hastatis calyce 
exterior e lacinis subulatis flore pallide roseo. 


117 Mann's Lick was a salt station before 1786; it was on the road from 
Shepherdsville to Louisville, on the southern border of Jefferson County. — Ed. 

118 Probably some form of Quercus alba, Michx. — C. S. S. 

119 Hibiscus militaris, Cav. (H. hastatus, Michx.). — C. S. S. 

120 Here follow to the end of this part of the Journal separate memoranda 
on loose sheets. — C. S. S. We omit these. — Ed. 

66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Saturday first of August made ready to leave for the 
Wabash and the Illinois. 

Sunday the 2nd I was invited to dine with a French- 
man named La Cassagne, 121 a resident of Louisville for 
more than 15 Years. 

Trees, shrubs and Plants of Louisville territory: 

Liriodendron tulipijera; Platanus occidentalis; Acer 
rubrum joins tnjerne argenteis; Fagus sylvatica ameri- 
cana; Quercus rubra; Quercus alba, Quercus praemorsa, 122 
Quercus prinus, Quercus cerroides; 122 Tilia americana; 
Juglans nigra, Juglans alba, Juglans hiccory, (Juglans 
pacane rare) ; Gleditsia triacanthos, Guilandina dioica. 

Sunday 9th of August 1795, started from Louisville 
and slept at Clarksville, 123 two miles from Louisville on 
the opposite Bank of the Ohio. 

The 10th we set out and arrived at Post Vincennes 
situate on the Wabash River on Thursday the 13th of 
August in the evening. 124 The distance is considered to 
be one hundred and twenty five Miles. On the day of 
our arrival we crossed a River about 20 miles before 
reaching Post Vincennes and although the Waters were 
then very low we were on the point of making a Raft for 
the Country is not inhabited along this Road. Of all the 

121 Michael Lacassagne was one of the richest and most prominent merchants 
of Louisville; he enjoyed the confidence of the community, and was a member 
of the Kentucky convention of 1787. — Ed. 

122 It is not clear what species are here referred to. Q. praemorsa is prob- 
ably Q. macrocarpa, and Q. cerroides some form of Q. alba, although later in 
the journal it is spoken of as an overcup oak. — C. S. S. 

123 Clarksville, named in honor of Gen. George Rogers Clark, was intended 
as the metropolis of the Illinois grant of 150,000 acres, which was made by the 
Virginia legislature in 1783 to the officers and soldiers of the Illinois regiment 
which had served with Clark. A board of trustees was established for the 
town, and a few of the former officers settled here; but the place did not thrive, 
and is now but a suburb of New Albany. — Ed. 

124 For the early history of Vincennes, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, note 113. — Ed. 

I 793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michauxs Travels 67 

Journeys I have made in America in the past 10 years 
this is one of the most difficult owing to the quantity of 
Trees overturned by storms, to the thick brushwood 
through which one is obliged to pass; to the numbers of 
Flies by which one is devoured, etc. 

The 14th, 15th and Sunday the 16th of August I was 
obliged to rest having arrived almost ill. My horse, 
while trying to jump over the trunk of a large fallen tree, 
fell and threw me a great distance and I suffered for 
several days from an injury to the lower part of the Chest 
on the left side because the trigger of my gun had struck 

The 1 7th spent a portion of the day herborising on the 
banks of the Wabash River. 

I continued herborising on the following days. 

The 18th of August 1795 

List of Plants observed on the Wabash : 

No. 1 — Verbena™ urticijolia caule erecto, paniculis 
divaricatis, bracteis flore brevioribus, floribus albis. 

No 2 — Verbena™ . . . , caule erecto, paniculis 
jastigiatis erectis, bracteis et calycibus pilosis, floribus 
purpureo-ceruleis . 

No 3 — Verbena 127 caule erecto, paniculis rectis joins 
ovatis, tomentosis, duplicato-serratis. 

No 4 — Verbena . . . 

No 5 — Verbena 129 caule repente, foliis pinnatifldis, 
bracteis longissimis. 

Silphium perjoliatum, Silphium connatum, Silphium 
laciniatum, Silphium grandijolium, Silphium trijoliatum, 
Silphium pinnatifidum. Andropogon muticum; Holcus? 

125 V. urticijolia, L — C. S. S. 
128 V. hastata, L. ? — C. S. S. 

127 V. stricta, Vent. (V. ringens, Michx.).— C. S. S. 

128 V. bracteosa, Michx.— C. S. S. 

68 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

. . . ; Poa . . . ; Quercus cerroides Chene frise, 
Overcup White Oak; Quercus latijolia Chene a latte 
Ram's Oak; Quercus . . . Polygonum aviculare stam- 
inibus 5, Stylis 3; Polygonum aviculare majus staminibus 
5, Stylis 3. Tri folium? pentandrum majus; Tri folium? 
pentandrum floribus purpureis; Sanicula 129 marylandica 
or [called] Racine a Becquel by the Illinois French and 
Sakintepouah by the Pians 130 Savages: A decoction of the 
root is a sovereign remedy for several diseases and for 
long-continued venereal diseases. 

Sunday 23rd of August 1795 started from Post Vin- 
cennes situated on the Wabash River for the Illinois on 
the Mississipi. We journeyed six Miles and camped 
on the bank of a Little River [Embarras]. I had no 
other company than a Savage and his wife. I had hired 
the Savage for ten Dollars and promised him two Dollars 
more to induce him to carry all my baggage on his horse. 

The 24th we made about 25 Miles; the Savage was ill 
and was obliged to stop more than three hours before 

The 25th crossed several Prairies. Observed a new 
species of Gerardta. 131 Stalk commonly simple, oval 
leaves opposite one another, sessile, axillary flowers pur- 
purine flowers. 

The 26th the Provision of meat was consumed. The 
Savage stopped very early, finding a favorable spot for 
hunting. Moreover heavy Rain fell about three o'clock 
in the afternoon. An hour after camping the Savage 
came back laden with a Bear cub and with the two hams 

m Spigelia? — C.S.S. 

130 The Piankeshaw tribe of Indians, a branch of the Miami nation that 
dwelt around Vincennes. — Ed. 

131 G. auriculala, Michx. — C. S. S. 

I 793~ I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 69 

of another and much older one. We boiled the kettle 
twice and had enough to satisfy us. We roasted what 

The 27th the Savage killed two Stags. We halted 
very early to dry the Skins and to eat, for the Savage and 
his wife ate five meals a day. Moreover, they regaled 
themselves with the marrow of the bones which they ate 
raw; for, being unable to carry away the meat, they con- 
tented themselves with a piece of the animal's loins. 

The 28th of August 1795. Just as I was eager to see 
Game the 1st and 2nd day, so was I afraid to see it then 
owing to the waste of time. I was all the more anxious 
to proceed that it rained every day. I had already been 
obliged once to dry at a fire my baggage that had been 
wet through especially four books of Botany and Mineral- 
ogy I had with me, as I had been unwilling to expose them 
to the hazards of the River and had sent by way of the 
Mississipi two Trunks containing grey Paper, Powder, 
Lead, Alum, Boxes for collecting Insects, and all the 
articles required for making Collections of Plants, Animals, 
Insects and Minerals. 

Sunday 30th of August arrived at the village of Kas- 
kaskia 132 situated two mile from the Mississipi river 

132 The French villages in Illinois resulted from the plans of La Salle; the 
earliest grew up about Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois River. In 1700, the 
Kaskaskia tribe of Indians removed to the river bearing their name, the Jesuit 
missionaries and traders followed, and the village at this place began. The 
inhabitants were chiefly descendants of the coureurs des bois, intermixed with 
Indian blood. The Jesuit plantation at Kaskaskia consisted of two hundred 
and forty arpents of land, well-cultivated and stocked with cattle, containing 
also a brewery. When the Jesuits were suppressed, the buyer, Beauvais, 
raised eighty-six thousand weight of flour from a single harvest. The French 
dominion came to an end in 1765 (see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series). 
Kaskaskia was captured from the English in 1778 by George Rogers Clark, 
and the American regime was instituted by John Todd, under appointment 
from Virginia. See Mason, Chapters from Illinois History (Chicago, 1901), 
pp. 250-279. — Ed. 

jo Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and half a mile from the Kaskaskia River. It is inhabited 
by former Frenchmen under the American Government. 
The number of families is about forty five. It is agree- 
ably situated but the number of inhabitants had decreased ; 
nothing is to be seen but houses in ruins and abandoned 
because the French of the Illinois country, having always 
been brought up in and accustomed to the Fur trade with 
the savages, have become the laziest and most ignorant 
of all men. They live and the majority of them are 
clothed in the manner of the Savages. They wear no 
breeches but pass between their thighs a piece of cloth 
of about one third of an ell [in length] which is kept in 
place before and behind above the hips by a belt. 

The 31st of August herborised. 

Tuesday the first of September continued my herbor- 
ising; also on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of the same. 

The 5th started for the village called Prairie du Rocher 
about 15 miles distant from Kaskaskia. 133 Passed by the 
village of St Philippe abandoned by the French and in- 
habited by three families of Americans. 134 This village 
is 9 Miles from Prairie du Rocher. 

The 6th arrived at Kaskia [Cahokia] 135 near the Missis- 
sipi . . . Miles from Prairie du Rocher. 

133 p ra i r i e d u Rocher was a small French village situated upon a grant made 
to Boisbriant (about 1725) by the Mississippi Company, and by him transferred 
to his nephew Langlois, who maintained seignioral rights therein until the 
establishment of American government. — Ed. 

134 St. Philippe was founded upon Regnault's grant. Pittman {Present 
State o] European Settlements on the Mississippi, London, 1770), says that when 
he visited it (1766) there were sixteen houses, a small church, and one inhabi- 
tant, dubbed "captain of the militia," who had twenty slaves, many cattle, and 
a mill. — Ed. 

135 Cahokia was probably the oldest settlement in the Illinois, although 
Kaskaskia disputes its priority. A mission of the Seminaire des Missions 
Etrangeres was founded among the Tamaroa and Cahokia Indians about 1698, 
and a French village sprang up around the place. In 17 14 there was a large 

1 793-1 796] Andre Michaux s Travels 71 

The 7th herborised and visited the neighborhood of 

The 8th started to return to Kaskaskia and arrived 
there on the 9th. 

The 10th continued herborising in the vicinity of Kas- 
kaskia Village until the 13th of the same month. 

Sunday the 13th of September crossed over with a sav- 
age guide to the south bank of the Kaskaskia River and 
continued to herborise there until the 18th of the same 

The 1 8th and 19th Rained continually. Put my Col- 
lections in order and gave my horse a rest. 

Sunday the 20th . . . 

Kaskaskia 45 families; Prairie du Rocher from 22 to 
24 families. St. Philippe 3 American families. Fort 
de Chartres in ruins. 136 Kaskias 120 families. Americans 
at Corne de Cerf and at Bellefontaine 137 35 families. St 
Louis flourishing 138 . . . Prairies and hills. 

accession of renegade coureurs des bois. See Wisconsin Historical Collections 
(Madison, 1902), xvi, pp. 331, 332. After the English acquired the Illinois, 
many inhabitants migrated from Cahokia to St. Louis. — Ed. 

136 Yort Chartres was the most considerable fortification built by the French 
in the western part of America. The original fort was constructed in 1720 by 
Boisbriant, commandant in Illinois for the Company of the Indies. In 1756, 
the stronghold was rebuilt in stone, being described as an irregular quadrangle 
with port-holes for cannon, houses, barracks, magazines, etc. For a contem- 
porary description, see Pittman, Settlements on the Mississippi, pp. 45, 46. 
After 1765, Fort Chartres was garrisoned by the English; but in 1772 the ero- 
sion by the river caused a portion to collapse, and the fort was abandoned. 
For its present condition, see Mason, Chapters from Illinois History, pp. 241- 
249. — Ed. 

137 The earliest American settlements in Illinois were made by soldiers of 
Clark's army. Bellefontaine, in the present Monroe County, was the centre 
for American life. More American families were reported a few years previous 
to this. Probably the Indian wars and the allurements of the Indian trade had 
caused some dispersal. — Ed. 

138 St. Louis was founded by Pierre Laclede in April, 1764. He had secured 
a license from the French governor of Louisiana to trade upon the upper Missis- 

J 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Friday 2nd of October started to go by land to the 
place where the Ohio falls into the Mississipi. Owing 
to the difficulty experienced in crossing the Kaskaskia 
river we traveled only 1 2 Miles. 

The 3rd and Sunday the 4th Rained and we crossed 
several prairies. Traveled about 27 Miles. 

The 5th passed more Prairies intersected by strips of 
Forest. My guide killed an Elk called Cerf by the 
Canadians and French of Illinois. This animal is much 
larger (twice as large) than the dwarf Deer of the United 
States of which there is an abundance also in the Illinois 
country and which the French of these countries call 
Chevreuil. Its antlers are twice the size of those of the 
European Stags. Below each of its two eyes is a cavi- 
ty which keeps closed but, by separating the two sides 
like eyelids, one can insert a finger to the depth of an 
inch. This cavity seems intended for the purpose of 
secreting some kind of humor. In fact on opening the 
cavity I found a substance of the form and consistency 
of a hare's dropping but of the size of an acorn. This 
animal has canine teeth in the upper and lower jaw like 
those of horses, called fangs. The hunters say that this 
animal is always very fat. In fact this one was exceed- 
ingly so. Traveled about 32 Miles. 

The 6th entered the forests and crossed several rivers. 
Traveled . . . miles. 

sippi and the Missouri. Upon arriving in the Illinois country, the previous 
November, he chose the site for his new settlement, and spent the winter at 
Cahokia making arrangements. Meanwhile the news of the transfer of Canada 
and the Illinois to the British had arrived. Under the impression that France 
had retained the left bank of the Mississippi, many Illinois settlers removed 
thither with Laclede. St. Louis nourished under Spanish dominion, but was 
known by its neighbors as "Pain Court" (Scant-bread) because its inhabitants 
devoted more time to fur- trading than to agriculture. It was not until trans- 
ferred to the United States (March, 1804) that the career of St. Louis as a city 
began. — Ed. 

1 793-1 796] Andre Michaux's Travels 73 

The 7th of October 1795 my guide killed a Buffalo 
which he considered to be about four years old. It 
seemed to weigh over nine hundred pounds. As it was 
not very fat my guide told me it was very common to see 
animals at that age weighing over twelve hundred pounds. 
It seemed larger than any Oxen in France and to surpass 
them in length and size. 

Thursday the 8th saw another Buffalo thirty toises from 
our Road. We stopped to look at it. It walked very 
slowly but after a couple of minutes it stopped and, 
recognizing us, ran away with extraordinary speed. On 
the same day arrived at Fort Cheroquis otherwise called 
Fort Massac by the Americans. 139 125 Miles. 

The 9th of October 1795 herborised on the bank of the 
Mississipi: Platanus Liquidamber Bonducs, pekan Nut- 
trees, hiccory Nut-trees, called by the French Noyers 
durs; prickly Nuts (by the French Noyer amer) round 
Nuts. White Oak, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra ramosis- 
sima, Quercus cerroides (by the French chene frise and by 
the Americans overcup White Oak) Quercus prinus, 
Quercus integrijolia 140 or Quercus joliis junioribus omni- 
bus et adultis semper integerrimis margine undulatis 
apice setaceis. This species of oak abounds in the 
Illinois Country. It loses its leaves later than the other 

139 For definition of Toise, see post, note 163. 

Fort Massac had been erected by the order of General Wayne in 1794, in 
order to check the expedition which Michaux went to Kentucky to promote. 
It was on the site of an old French post, which had been erected in 1757 by 
Aubry, governor of Illinois. He first named it Fort Ascension, and proceeded 
thence to reinforce Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio. After the evacua- 
tion of that fortress (1758), the Illinois troops dropped down to this place, and 
renamed it Fort Massac, in honor of the Marquis de Massiac, minister of marine. 
When the French surrendered the Illinois, the British neglected to fortify this 
place, although recommended to do so by their engineers. Accordingly Clark 
marched hither overland to his capture of Illinois. — Ed. 

140 Q. imbricaria, Michx.— C. S. S. 

74 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

species of Oak. The French inhabitants call it Chene a 
lattes. In Lower Carolina it is rather rare but keeps its 
leaves until the month of February or March. It seems 
to resemble the green Oak from which it differs in the 
shape of its acorns. 

Nyssa montana rather rare; Gleditsia triacanthos ; 
Robinia pseudoacacia (by the French fevier). The Gledit- 
sia triacanthos is called fevier epineux and the Guilandina 
dioica Gros fevier and the seeds Gourganes. Note. On 
the Illinois river is a species or variety of Guilandina 
dioica whose seeds are twice as big as those on the Banks 
of the Mississipi, Cumberland etc. Liana Rajanioides; 
Anonymos 141 ligustroides; Vitis 142 monosperma, this species 
is found along the Rivers and not in the interior of the 
forest ; I saw it on the Kaskaskia River, on the Mississipi 
in the vicinity of fort Massac, on the Tenasse river, but it 
completely covers the banks of the Cumberland river 
from its mouth to a distance of 45 Miles. 

Sunday nth of October 1795 started with a Guide to 
ascend the Cumberland (Shavanon) river 143 in a Canoe. 
The rain compelled us to return. 

Tuesday the 13th hired two men at a dollar a day each 
to ascend the Rivers of the Territory of the Cheroquis 
Savages. Started from fort Cheroquis or Fort Massac. 
The distance is six Miles to reach the mouth of the 
Tenassee River called by the French of Illinois Chero- 

141 Forestiera acuminata, Poir. (Adelia acuminata, Michx.). — C. S. S. 

142 Vitis riparia, Michx., or more probably, in part, at least, V. palmata, 
Vahl. (V. rubra, Michx. in herb), a species which is often monospermous, 
and which was discovered by Michaux in this region and merged by him with 
his V. riparia. — C. S. S. > 

143 The Cumberland River was usually known as the Shawnese River on 
early maps. Doubtless this Indian tribe had dwelt thereon when first met by 
white explorers. — Ed. 

I 793- I 79 6 3 Andre Michaux s Travels 75 

quis River. 144 This river is very great and very wide. 
After ascending it about six miles we saw the tracks of a 
Bear on the bank. We stopped and entered the wood 
when we came upon a she Bear with cubs. The dog 
pursued the Mother, the cubs climbed a tree; I killed one 
and the guides killed the two others. We passed the 
night at that place. 

The 14th very heavy Fog; we made only 5 Miles. 
Rain began to fall about noon. 

The 1 6th paddled or rowed about ten Miles owing to a 
heavy Wind that began by a storm the previous evening 
and continued a part of the day. We camped opposite 
an Island or Chain of Rocks running nearly across the 
River. Nevertheless there is a channel on the south 
Bank that is fairly deep and sufficient for the passage of 
large boats. 

Banks of the Cheroquis river (Tenassee): Platanus; 
Juglans pacana, Hiccori, pignut; Liquidambar; Quercus 
rubra, prinus; Anonymos carpinoides; Anonymos ligus- 
troides; 145 Betula austrolis grey-bark Birch, 146 which is 
found throughout America from Virginia to the Floridas; 
it differs from the Betula papyrijera; Bignonia catalpa; 
Ulmus; Fraxinus; Vitis rubra or monosperma; Gleditsia 
triacanthos; Diospiros; Smilax pseudochina; Bignonia 
crucigera, radicans; Rajania . . . Dioecia 8-dria; 
Populus Caroliniana, by the French Creoles Liard, and 
by the Americans Cotton tree. (Note: The Canada 
Poplar is called by the Canadians Tremble and by the 
English of Canada Quaking Aspen); Acer rubruni, sac- 

144 So called because it took its rise in the Cherokee territory. See Weiser's 
Journal, vol. i of this series, note 33. — Ed. 

145 Foresfiera ligustrina, Poir. {Adelia ligustrina. Michx.). — C. S. S. 
148 Betula nigra, L. (B. lanulosa, Michx.).— C. S. S. 

j 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

charinum, negundo: Anonymos ligustroides; Anonymos 
ulmoides. 147 

(The 22nd of June 1795, according to the Gazette the 
Agents of the French Republic were recognized by Presi- 
dent Washington 

Philip Joseph Letombe, Consul General 

Theodore Charles Mozard, Consul at Boston 

Jean Anthony Bern Rosier, Consul at New York 

Leon Delaunay, Pennsylvania 

Louis Etienne Duhait, Maryland) 148 

The 15th October 1795 herborised. 

The 1 6th descended the river and camped at the mouth 
of the Shavanon River called Cumberland river by the 
Americans eighteen Miles from fort Massac; killed a 
Canada Goose called by the French Canadians and 
Illinois French Outarde; killed two water-Hens an 
American kingfisher, an American pelican. 

The 17th ascended the River about ten Miles; there 
were numbers of wild Turkeys on the banks ; the Rowers 
and I killed five from the Canoe in passing, without land- 

The 1 8th continued on our way toward the upper part 
of the River. 

The 19th descended the river. 

Tuesday 20th of October 1795 returned to Fort Chero- 
quis or Fort Massac. 

Trees and Plants in the neighborhood on the Banks of 
the Ohio. 

147 Planera aquatica, Gmel. — C. S. S. 

148 The interpolation of these names in the journal at this point, would 
appear to indicate that the news of the appointments consequent upon the 
arrival of the new French minister, Adet (June i, 1795), had just reached 
Michaux; also that his interest in political affairs was still active, and that other 
motives may have led him to this country under feint of herborizing. — Ed. 

I 793- I 79 6 ] Andre Michaux s Travels jj 

Platanus occidentalism by the Americans Sycamore and 
by the Illinois French cotonnier; Populus, by the Ameri- 
cans Cotton tree and by the Illinois French, Liard; 
Celtis occidentalism by the Americans Hackberry tree and 
by the French Bois inconnu; Liquidambar styraciflua, 
by the French of Louisiana Copalm and by the Amer- 
icans . . . 

A Frenchman who traded among the Cheroquis Savages 
cured himself of the Itch by drinking for ten days a decoc- 
tion of Chips of that tree which he called Copalm and 
which is the true Liquidambar; Gleditsia triacanthos, fevier 
(bean-plant) by the French and sweet locust by the Ameri- 

Guilandina dioica . u9 

Sunday 25th of October 1795 Spiraea trijoliata is a 
purgative used by the Savages and by the Illinois French. 
They call it Papiconah. In the neighborhood of Fort 
Cheroquis is found also the Geranium called herbe or 
rather Racine a Becquet which is given for chronic Dis- 
eases during several weeks; Veronica virginica called by 
the French herbe a quatre feuilles (four-leaved grass) is 
often added. 

Sunday first of November I was obliged to defer my 
departure, my Horse not having been found. 

Friday the 6th my Horse was brought back to the Fort 
and I at once made ready to start for the Illinois. Started 
the same day and journeyed about 18 Miles. 

The 7 th the Rain began early in the morning and con- 
tinued all day. Remained camped under a Rock where I 
had stopped the previous day with my Guide. 

Sunday the 8th traveled through woods and Hills. 

The 9th, the same. 


A blank of five days in the Journal occurs here. — C. S. S. 

yS Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 10th arrived toward evening at the Prairies. 

The nth crossed the Prairies. 

The 12th toward evening Re-entered the Woods once 
more and slept 7 Miles from Kaskaskia river. 

The 13th arrived before breakfast at Kaskaskia about 
130 Miles from Fort Massac 

The 13th of November I rested. 

Sunday the 14th went out to hunt Canada Geese. 

The 15th put my Collections of seeds in order. 

The 1 6th same occupation. 

The 1 7th I went Hunting. 

Thursday 18th started for Prairie du Rocher 

The 19th Duck Hunting. 

The 20th Goose Hunting. 

Sunday 22nd paid visits. 

The 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th visited the 
Mountains of Rock bordering on the inhabited Country; 
Opossums, Raccoons, aquatic Birds etc. 

Sunday 29th of November went to the Village of St 
Philippe called the Little Village. 

The 30th visited Fort de Chartres. 

Tuesday the 1st of December started for Kaskaskias 
and remained there. 

The 2nd and 3rd of the same Made arrangements with 
Richard 150 to go by water to Cumberland. 

The 4th returned to Prairie du Rocher. 

The 5th prepared to start. Stuffed a white-headed 
wild Goose. 

The 6th started once more for Kaskaskias. 

The 7th confirmed once more in my opinion that the 
Second Bark of Celtis occidentalis (called in the Illinois 

160 A habitant named Pierre Richard is listed as a head of family at Kas- 
kaskia in 1783, and again in 1790. — Ed. 

1793-179 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 79 

country Bois connu and toward New Orleans Bois inconnu) 
is an excellent remedy for curing jaundice; a handful of 
the roots or leaves of Smilax sarsaparilla is added to it; 
it is used for about eight days as a decoction. 

The 8th of December 1795. The French Creoles call 
the species of Smilax found in the Illinois country, Squine. 
Only the thorny species grows there; it loses its leaves in 
the Autumn. The other species is herbaceous and 

The 9th of December. The root of Fagara as a decoc- 
tion is a powerful remedy for curing disease of the Spleen. 
I have no doubt that the root of Zanthoxilum clava-Her- 
cidi can be used for obstructions of the liver and Spleen. 

The 10th: Bignonia Catalpa, 151 by the French Creoles 
Bois Shavanon; Cercis canadensis, Bois noir (black 
wood); Liriodendron tulipijera, Bois jaune (yellow wood); 
Nyssa, Olivier (olive). In making Wheels for vehicles 
the workmen use the Wood of Padus Virginiana for the 
felloes, Elm for the Naves and white oak for the Spokes. 

The nth of December. Confirmed once more in my 
opinion that the root of Veronica Virginiana, vulgarly 
known as Her be a quatre feuilles (four-leaved grass), 
used as a decoction for a month, is effective for the cure 
of venereal Diseases. Four or five of the roots are 
boiled. As this beverage is purgative the strength of 
this Ptisan must be increased or reduced by putting more 
or less according to the effect it has on one. It is suffi- 
cient for the first days that the bowels be relaxed and 
looser than usual; it is not unusual that the bowels be 
moved 3 or 4 times the first day. 

I was informed at Illinois that Mackey a Scotchman 

151 This, doubtless, is C. speciosa, Warder, the only indigenous species in 
this region. — C. S. S. 

80 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and Even a Welshman, started at the end of July 1795 
from St Louis to ascend the Missouri in a 4 oared Barge. 
They are aided by a Company whereof Charles Morgan, 
a Creole from the Islands, is Manager. 152 

December the [12th] 1795. 

Sunday the 13th made my preparations for the journey 
to Cumberland. 

The 14th started for Cumberland; passed the Salt 
spring on Spanish territory. Observed Tagetoides. 
Learned the news of the peace between France and 
Spain. Slept six miles from the Salt spring. Observed 
on the banks of the Mississipi river Equisetum which the 
French Creoles call Prele. This Plant has here a cir- 
cumference of nearly one inch and the stalk is 4 feet high. 

The 15th passed Cape St Come 153 at the foot of which 
the Mississipi makes an angle. Fish is caught here in 
abundance; the distance from Kaskaskia is eighteen 
Miles. Camped at Girardeau 154 17 leagues from Kas- 

152 The principal fur-trading company at St. Louis had been formed in 
1794 by a union of all the traders at the suggestion of the governor, Trudeau; 
at its head as manager was placed Jacques Clanmorgan (Ch. Morgan is a 
misprint for Clanmorgan), who had for some time been in business in St. Louis, 
but did not sustain an honorable reputation. He, however, succeeded in inter- 
esting in his enterprises, a rich merchant of Canada, named Todd, and prob- 
ably the Scotchman and Welshman were his factors. See Billon, Annals of 
St. Louis (St. Louis, 1886), pp. 283 ff .— Ed. 

163 Cape St. Cosme has been corrupted into Cape Cinque Hommes, in 
Perry County, Missouri. It was originally named for Jean Francois de St. 
Cosme, a Canadian Seminary priest who made a voyage down the Mississippi 
in 1700, and was a missionary to the Illinois and Natchez. A few years later, 
he was assassinated on the lower Mississippi by a band of savages, upon whom 
Bienville later avenged his death. The term "Cap St. Cosme" is found on a 
map of 1758. — Ed. 

154 Cape Girardeau was settled in 1 794, the first house having been built 
by a Frenchman. The later settlement, however, was almost exclusively 
American; by 1803 there was a population of twelve hundred. — Ed. 

1 793-1 796] Andre Mic /mux's Travels 81 

The 1 6th continued for 6 hours with Hills and Rocks 
on the shores of the river, then low land. We camped 
at the place where the Belle Riviere [Ohio] falls into the 
Mississipi. On the opposite bank was camped Gover- 
nor Don Gayoso, Governor of Natchez and upper 
Louisiana. 155 He sent a Boat to find out who we were 
and, learning that I was a passenger, he came to see me. 
He told me the news of the Peace between France and 
Spain. He offered me his services. The distance from 
Cape Girardeau to the Mouth of the Belle Riviere is 
eighteen leagues and in all 35 leagues from Illinois. 

The 1 7th camped at a distance of about 7 leagues. 

The 1 8th arrived near Fort Massac; seven leagues. 

The 19th camped opposite the Mouth of the River 
Cheroquis or Tenasse. 

Sunday the 20th passed by la Pacaniere; this is an ex- 
tensive Swamp on the North West side bordered by 
Pekan Nut-trees situate opposite or rather a little before 
entering the Cumberland River. 

The same day Sunday 20th of December, entered the 
River Shavanon or Cumberland River the mouth of 
which is six long leagues from Fort Massac. Slept two 
leagues above the Mouth. 

The 2 1 st rowed about 8 leagues. 

The 22 nd rowed about 7 leagues, and slept at the great 
Eddy which is considered to be at a distance of forty five 
miles from the mouth. 158 

155 Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos was educated in England and married 
an American. During his governorship at Natchez he was employed by Caron- 
delet in intrigues with the inhabitants of Kentucky; he had come north at this 
time for a conference with Sebastian, and to communicate with Wilkinson. 
In 1797 he was made governor-general of Louisiana, and died two years later, 
after a dinner given at New Orleans in honor of Wilkinson. — Ed. 

1M The town of Eddyville, Lyon County, Kentucky, was founded at this 
eddy in 1799. — Ed. 

8 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The 23rd we camped above the Isle aux Saules (Willow- 
Island) ; rowed about 1 2 Miles or 4 leagues. 

The 24th remained in camp. Rained all day. The 
River which was very easy to navigate until today, rose 
considerably and flooded the woods. 

The 25th Rain continued to fall mixed with hail. Re- 
mained in Camp. 

The 26th Remained in camp on account of the rising 
of the river whose current was too strong. 

Sunday 27th of December 1795. rowed about 4 Miles 
only owing to the difficulty of rowing against the current 
of the river. Camped at the mouth of Little River. 

The 28th crossed to the opposite bank. The current 
was as rapid as on the previous days and compelled us to 
camp. White frost. 

The 29th it again Rained heavily. Remained in camp. 

The 30th the River having overflowed and flooded all 
parts of the woods, we shifted camp and returned to the 
Little river; we ascended it until we came to a Hill high 
enough to relieve us from the fear of being flooded. 

The 31st the weather became clear, the wind shifted 
to the North but the river continued to overflow its 
banks. Most of us went hunting wild Turkeys. 

Friday first of January 1796. Wind from the north; 
Frost; the River rose one inch during the night. 

In the vicinity of Little river, the Country has Hills 
scattered here and there. Soil clayey, very rich Mould, 
Rock consisting of Silex very slightly ferruginous. Blue 

Animals: Raccoons, dwarf Deer, Opossums, Buffaloes, 
Bears, grey Squirrels, Beaver, Otter, Musk-rats (these 
three species very rare). 

1793-179 6 ] Andre Michaux s Travels 83 

Birds: Ravens, Owls of the large species, Cardinals, 
blue Jays; green Parroquets with yellow heads of the 
small species; Jays with red heads and throats. 

Trees and Plants: Liriodendron; Liquidambar ; yellow 
chestnut Oak, red Oak; Annona; horn-bean. 

The 2nd of January, still remained in camp at the same 
spot. Weather cloudy. The River fell two inches only. 

Sunday the 3rd Heavy wind. Nyassa montana is 
called by the French Creoles Olivier Sauvage and by the 
Kentucky Americans Black Gum tree and by the Penn- 
sylvania Americans Tupelo. Having nothing to do I 
made ink with gall nuts which I gathered on the Oaks 
in the vicinity of the spot where we were camped. It was 
made in less than five minutes and will serve me as a 
sample. In the neighborhood of Little river Lirioden- 
dron; Liquidambar; Carpinus ostrya; Ulmus jungosa; 
Padus Virginiana minor; Laurus benzoin etc. 

The 4th rowed about 4 or 5 Miles. Camped near 
rather high Hills consisting of shifting soil and rolled 
boulders. Carpinus ostrya; Ulmus jungosa; Padus 
Virginiana minor; Philadelphus inodorus; Nyssa 
montana, by the Americans Black gum; Acer rubrum; 
Viscum parasite; Fagus Americana and Orobanche Vir- 
giniana a parasite on the roots of the Fagus Americana; 
Betula spuria 151 called by the French Bouleau batard. 

Tuesday 5th of January 1796 we rowed 7 Miles and 
camped opposite Diev Island 12 Miles from Little River. 

The 6th the snow that fell during the night had cooled 
the weather. Steep limestone Rocks from the place 
where we were camped continuing for about a Mile on 
the east bank. Rowed about 8 Miles. 

The 7th The River fell 19 inches during the night; 

157 B. nigra, L.— C. S. S. 

84 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

as the frost had lowered the water this led us to hope 
that it would be easier to row against the current of this 
river which is naturally hemmed in between Hills. Rowed 
about 8 Miles. 

The 8th the river fell 19 inches during the night. 
Passed by the Island of the boundary line between Cum- 
berland and Kentuckey. 

Plants on the Banks: Platanus occidentalis ; Betula 
australis or spuria; Acer rubrum; Ulmus Americana; 
Fraxinus; Salix on the low Islands; Anonymos ligustroides. 
Rowed about 10 Miles. 

The 9th the river fell nearly five feet during the night. 
We rowed about ten Miles. 

Sunday 10th of January the River fell 4 feet during the 
night. Continual Rain and Snow. Passed Yellow Creek 
16 Miles before reaching Clark's ville. Passed Blowming 
grove (?) 13 Miles before reaching Clark's ville. Rocks 
and Hills. Passed Dixon Island (?) 10 Miles before 
reaching Clark's ville and at present the most remote 
Settlement of Cumberland territory. This Settlement 
consists of fifteen families who established themselves 
there three months ago. The chief place of this settle- 
ment is called Blount's borough or Blount's ville. 

The nth Rained all the previous night and a portion of 
the day. Passed by a chain of Hills and by a rock called 
Red painted rock on the right side of the River that is to 
say on the north bank of the river 2 Miles from Clark's 
ville. Afterwards passed by the red river whose mouth 
is likewise on the north side and a quarter of a mile from 
Clark's ville. Finally arrived at Clark's ville. 158 

158 Clarksville was one of the oldest settlements of Cumberland, having 
first been occupied (1780) by the Renfroe and Turpin families. As an ad- 
vanced outpost it was attacked many times by Indians, the latest onslaught 
having occurred in 1794. The other settlements which Michaux mentions 

1793-179 6 ] Andre Mic /mux's Travels 85 

The 12th of January 1796, remained at Clark's ville 
on account of the river rising. 

The 13th Doctor Brown of Carolina who had come to 
found this new town Blount's borough 10 Miles above 
Clark's ville, was at the latter place. 155 


The 15th bought a horse at the price of one hundred 

The 1 6th departed; my horse ran away and I caught 
him 6 Miles from Clark's ville at the Mill, 10 Miles. 

Sunday the 17th dined 10 Miles from Nashville at 
Ebneston's a quarter of a Mile from the Mill at the house 
of an old Pennsylvanian, an educated man well informed 
as regards foreign news. 160 Slept at Crokes 18 Miles from 
Ebneston. The Widow Martin lives near there and her 
house is better for travelers. 

The 1 8th passed the Ridges, 15 Miles, without seeing 
any houses as far as White Creek. Old Stumps 161 lives 5 
miles from White Creek. 

The 19th started from Stump's and arrived at Nash- 
ville 5 Miles. 

Total from Clark's ville to Nashville 54 Miles by land 
and 70 Miles by water. 

were, as he says, of quite recent origin — incident upon the close of the Indian 
war (1795), and the inrush of settlers over the new wagon road made this same 
year to the Cumberland. — Ed. 

159 The entry for the 14th is omitted in the original publication. — Ed. 

160 Capt. John Edmeston was a well-known Indian fighter and leader of the 
militia. An expedition against the Chickasaws, organized by him in 1792, 
was forbidden by Robertson, because of negotiations pending with this warlike 
tribe. — Ed. 

161 "Old man" Frederick Stumps was a German, who early made improve- 
ments on White Creek, north of Eaton's Station. His flight of three miles to 
the latter station, with Indian pursuers close at his heels, was one of the tradi- 
tions of the settlement. — Ed. 







1 20 




43 2 

8 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

From St Louis to Kaskaskias ... 94 
From Kaskaskias to the place where the Ohio 

falls into the Mississipi 
From there to fort Massac 
From there to the mouth of the Cumberland 

river ....... 

From there to Clark's ville on the red river 
From there to Nashville .... 

Total 432 Miles 

(Prices at Nashville): Dinner 2 shillings, Breakfast 
or supper 1 shilling 4 pence; ^ Quart of Whiskey 1 
shilling. Hay and maize for Horse 2 shillings. The 
whole is six Shillings for one Dollar.) 

The 20th, 21st, and 22nd remained at Nashville. 

The 23rd started from Nashville and journeyed 29^ 
Miles; lodged with Major Sharp. 

Sunday the 24th of January 1796 arrived at a Creek at a 
distance of 29 Miles near which one Chapman keeps 
lodgings at 3^ Miles; MacFaddin on Big Brown 
[Barren] keeps a ferry and lodgings. Total 32*^ 

The 25th Rain and Snow. 

The 26th Started for Green river. The ground was 
covered with snow, the Roads rough and my horse fell 
lame. I was obliged to walk. I made 12 miles. I was 
unable to light a fire because the trees and wood were all 
frosted. I spent the night nearly frozen. About 2 
o'clock the Moon rose and I resolved to return to Mac- 
Faddin's where I arrived at 10 o'clock in the morning. 

The 27 th being overcome by cold and weariness, having 
traveled afoot, having eaten nothing since the morning 

1 7 93- 1 796] Andre Mi c /mux's Travels 87 

of the previous day and not having slept during the night, 
the toes of my right foot became inflamed. I bathed my 
feet in cold water several times during the following 
night and no sores resulted therefrom but for several days 
the toes were numb and as if deprived of sensation. 

The 28th I was compelled to go a distance of seven 
Miles to get my horse shod and I went to sleep at Mr. 
Maddison's whose plantation was close by. 

The 29th of January 1796 I started very early in the 
morning as I had 38 Miles to travel without coming to an 
inn or other habitation. I had been received with all the 
civility that can be expected from a man who has had a 
higher education than the other inhabitants of the 
country. This Mr Maddisson was a Virginian and a 
relative of the celebrated Madisson, Member of Congress. 
This gentleman was a true Republican in his principles 
and I spent a very interesting and very pleasant evening 
at his house. 162 His wife surpassed him in offering me 
every service that hospitality could suggest, which is 
seldom met with in America except in the case of persons 
better educated than the common people. That Lady 
suggested that I should wear heavy woollen socks over 
my shoes. She herself cut me out a pair and I was so 
surprised at the comfort I derived from them on the fol- 
lowing days that I resolved never to travel in the season 
of snow and frost without taking the precaution to have 

162 This was George Madison, brother of Bishop Madison of Virginia. 
Born about 1763, he served in the Revolution while yet a boy, and enlisting in 
the regular army was wounded at St. Clair's defeat (1791), and again the fol- 
lowing year. Shortly after this visit of Michaux, Madison was appointed 
state auditor, and removed to Frankfort, where he held the office for twenty 
ensuing years. In 1812 he served as major in the army, was captured at Raisin 
River, and sent as prisoner to Quebec. Upon his exchange, he was received 
in Kentucky with great rejoicing, and elected governor (1816), but died during 
the first year of his term. — Ed. 

8 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

a pair in my Porte Monteau. In the evening I came to a 
place three Miles from Green river and slept at the house 
of one Walter; I slept on the floor and my horse in the 
open air ; but I was accustomed to this. 

The 30th I crossed the Green river ferry in the morning. 
The cold was excessive and such as had not been felt for 
Many years. At 9 Miles I passed by Bacon Creek and the 
Cabin of a man but recently settled there and who was 
unprovided with everything, even Maize, needed for 
the sustenance of his household. At 22 Miles from 
Green River is the House of one Ragon and I hurried on 
to reach some better habitations before night. 26 Miles 
from Green River I perceived a House 200 toises 163 from 
the Road situate on the bank of a Creek. The inhabi- 
tant was a German who had been settled there only a 
year; he had a good stable, was well supplied with fodder 
of wheat, straw, and Maize leaves for my horse, and I ate 
Wheat bread for the first time since I had left Illinois. 
My supper consisted of bread and milk and I found my- 
self very well treated. The name of my host was George 
Cloes; a German by Birth; his house is situated on the 
South fork of Nolin river. 

Sunday the 31st passed by Huggins mill 164 on Nolin 
river (good lodgings) ; at a quarter of a Mile the road on 
the right hand leads to Beardston. At 2^ Miles the 
new cut road is straight. At 9 Miles passed by Rolling 
fork and 4 Miles further slept at Mr. Scoth's on Beech 

Monday 1st of February 1796 passed by Dr Smith's 

183 A toise is a French linear measure equivalent to 6.395 English feet. — Ed. 

164 This mill was at the site of the present town of Hodgenville, seat of Larue 
County. Abraham Lincoln was born about two miles south of this place, when 
Larue was still part of Hardin County — Ed. 


1796] Andre Michaux's Travels 89 

house 8 Miles from Beech fork and by Mackinsy 9 Miles 
from Beech fork. From Mac Kinsy to Long Lake 6 
Miles. From Longlake to Sheperdston on Salt river 4 
miles. 165 From Shepperdston to Standeford 9 Miles 
(good inn). From Standeford to Prince Old station 8 
Miles. From Prince to Louisville 6 Miles. 

The 2nd started from Prince's and arrived at Louis- 
ville. 3^2 Miles before arriving measured a Lirioden- 
dron tulipijera on the left hand road whose size was 
twenty two feet in circumference, making more than seven 
feet in diameter. (Correspondent of Monsieur La Cas- 
sagne and St. James Bauvais at New Orleans Monsieur 
Serpe Trader at New Orleans. 166 Correspondent of 
Monsieur La Cassagne at Philadelphia Geguir and 
Holmes, Merchants, Philadelphia. Prices: Dinner 1 
shilling 6 pence; Supper and Breakfast 1 shilling 6 pence; 
Lodging 9 shillings; }4 quart of Brandy 2 shillings 3 
pence; Horse per day on hay and maize 3 shillings 9 

The 3rd, 4th and 5th remained at Louisville, being 
occupied in gathering together the Collections I had left 
with one La Cassagne. 

The 6th I saw General Clarke and he informed me of 
the visit of Colonel Fulton who had come from France a 
few months previously. 167 

165 Shepherdsville, the seat of Bullitt County, was incorporated as a town in 
1793. Its site was at the falls of Salt River, and it was an important station in 
early Kentucky history. — Ed. 

166 Gayoso mentions one Sarpy, a rich merchant of New Orleans, as con- 
cerned in the plot against Louisiana (1793). Another merchant, Beauvais, was 
similarly involved. Consult American Historical Association Report, 1896, 
p. 1049. — Ed. 

187 Samuel Fulton, a native of North Carolina, who had lived for some time 
among the Creek Indians, was agent for Clark in settling his accounts with the 
French government. He arrived from France late in 1795, and Michaux's 

90 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Sunday the 7th breakfasted with General Clarke's 
Father whose house is 4 miles from Louisville. I wanted 
to obtain more ample information regarding Lieutenant- 
Colonel Foulton. I was told that he was to proceed to 
Philadelphia immediately after having gone to Georgia. 
That he was to embark for France and hoped to return 
to America at the end of this summer 1796. The same 
day, I started to return to Nashville. Slept at Stande- 
ford. 14 Miles from Louisville. (Supper 1 shilling, 
Bed 6 pence. Hay for the horse for the night 1 shilling. 
Maize 8 quarts 1 shilling 4 pence.) 

Monday 8th of February 1796. (Breakfast 1 shilling) 
Passed by Sheperdston 9 Miles from Standeford. Maize 
for horse 3 quarts, 9 Pence, Virginia money, as in all 
parts of Kentuckey and Cumberland.) Passed by Long 
lake, where Salt is made as well as at Sheperdston and 
slept at Mackinsy's 7 Miles from Longlake. 

In swampy places in the vicinity of Longlake: Quercus 
alba; Quercus cerroides; Fraxinus . . . ; Nyssa; Lau- 
rus benjoin; Sassafras; Mitchella repens; Fagus sylvatica 

On the hills: Pinus us Joliis geminis conis oblongis 
minoribus squamis aculeis retrocurvis. Saw planks of this 
tree at the house of an inhabitant; the wood seemed to me 
almost as heavy as that of the three leaved Pine of Caro- 
lina. Tar is also made of it in this part of Kentucky. 

The 9th I started very early in the morning from 
Mackinsy's. I had been very well received there that is 
to say he gave me a supper of boiled Pork; the same for 

testimony was relied upon to secure the affidavits necessary to obtain recom- 
pense from the French republic. See American State Papers, Indian Affairs, 
i, p. 463. Consult, also, American Historical Association Report, 1896, 
pp. 1047-1065. — Ed. 

198 Probably Pinus inops, Ait.— C. S. S. 

i793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux 's Travels 91 

breakfast. My horse fared very well on Maize fodder 
and in a Stable that was not muddy like all those in 
America when one lodges with Americans or with Irish. 

I paid 3 shillings, being 1 shilling 6 pence for my horse 
and as much for myself. I had paid 5 shillings for my 
lodging the previous night and had not been so well satis- 
fied. As the daughter of this house was the smartest 
of any I had ever seen in America I gave her a quarter 
of a Dollar and the old man offered me a stuffed Tongue 
but I thanked him, not being fond of salt meat. 

It began to rain an hour after I started but I was for- 
tunate enough to pass Beechford and Rollingford. 13 
Miles from Mackinsy's. 

I was obliged to stop at the house of an inhabitant a 
Mile and a half from the crossing and the Rain com- 
pelled me to pass the night there. 

In the neighborhood there is Liriodendron with yellow 
wood and in some parts Liriodendron with white wood. 
The inhabitants prefer the yellow variety. 

Wednesday 10th of February 1796, I had supped the 
previous evening on Tea made from the shrub called 
Spice-wood. A handful of young twigs or branches is 
set to boil and after it has boiled at least a quarter of an 
hour sugar is added and it is drunk like real Tea. There 
was no Milk at the time and I was told that Milk makes 
it much more agreeable to the taste. This beverage 
restores strength and it had that effect for I was very 
tired when I arrived. This shrub is the Lanrus Ben join 
Linn. The Illinois French call it Poivrier and the hunt- 
ers season their meat with some pieces of its wood. 

In the vicinity grows a plant 169 of the Orchis family 
whose leaf remains all winter. There are seldom two; 


Aplectrum hyemale, Nutt. — C. S. S. 

9 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the form is oval, furrowed, entire; the root bears two or 
three very viscous bulbs. It is used in the Country to 
mend broken crockery. It is called Adam and Eve. This 
plant is more common in the rich low lands of the terri- 
tory West of the Allegany Mountains. I have also seen 
it in Lower Carolina but it is very rare there. It is not 
rare in Illinois. 

Rain continued to fall all day and I was obliged to 
spend the night in a house near Nolin Creek because the 
river had overflowed its banks. 

The nth arrived at Huggins's 12 Miles from Rollin- 

The 12th passed through a Country covered with grass 
and Oaks which no longer exist as forests, having been 
burned every year. These lands are called Barren lands 
although not really sterile. The grasses predominate: 
Salix puniila, Quercus nigra and Quercus alba called 
Mountain White Oak. Gnaphalium dioicum also grows 
there in abundance. It is called by the Americans White 

The same day 12th of February 1796 passed by Bacon 
Creek, a new settlement 19 Miles from Huggins Mill and 
arrived at Green river 9 Miles from Bacon Creek. Slept 
3 Miles further on at the house of one Walter. 

The 13th of February traveled 37 Miles without seeing 
a House through the lands called Barren lands. The 
Salix pumila that grows there in abundance is the same 
as that which is very common in the Illinois prairies as 
one leaves Vincennes Post to go to Kaskaskia. Slept 
beyond the Big Barren river 

Sunday the 14th traveled about 30 Miles. In all the 
Houses the children were suffering from Hooping Cough. 
This disease probably results from a simple Cold but the 

1793-1796] Andre Michaux s Travels 93 

. , 

reprehensible system of living continually on salt and 
smoked meat fried in the pan produces those acrid 
humors that render expectoration more difficult. 

The 15th traveled 27 Miles and arrived at Nashville. 
Supper, bed and breakfast 2 shillings. 

The 1 6th started to go and visit Colonel Hays 170 a 
wealthy inhabitant to whom I had been recommended 
the previous year by Governor Blount, Governor of the 
Country known under the name of Western territories, 
South west of the Ohio. This Country, which is esti- 
mated to have 60 Thousand inhabitants, in consequence 
of the considerable annual immigration and of the rapid 
increase of population, has just been erected into a State 
governed by its own representatives under the new name 
of the State of Tennesee from the name of a very large 
river that runs through the whole Houlston Country, the 
Cumberland Country, the Country of the Cheroquis 
Indians and other adjacent countries. This large river 
falls into the Ohio 9 Miles above fort Massac. It was 
known by the French, who were the first to discover the 
Countries in the interior of North America, under the 
name of Cheroquis River and it is so designated on the 
French Maps. I met at Colonel Hays's several inhabi- 
tants of the neighborhood who came to confer upon cur- 
rent matters in connection with the election of new civil 
and military Officers. 

The 17th and 18th of February 1796 remained at 
Colonel Hays' on account of bad weather. 

The 19th concluded the bargain for the purchase of a 

170 Col. Robert Hays, a brother-in-law of Andrew Jackson, was born in 
North Carolina, and served in the Revolution, being captured at Charleston. 
He removed to Cumberland in 1784, was first United States marshal of Ten- 
nessee, muster-master-general for Jackson in 1813, and died at his home near 
Nashville in 1819. — Ed. 

94 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Horse to convey the baggage, Collections of Plants, 
Birds and other Things I had brought from Illinois and 
recently from Kentuckey. Returned the same day to 
sleep at Nashville. 

The 20th spent the entire day in getting my collections 
together and in packing them. Saw some French voy- 
ageurs who spend all their lives in the Trade with the 
Savages and asked the Terms on which I could obtain a 
Guide to go up the Missouri river. One of them named 
. . . told me he would willingly engage for a year for 
the sum of 500 dollars in furs that is to say 1000 dollars in 
money; another asked me 2000 dollars in money. 

Sunday the 21st prepared for my journey. 

The 22nd had my two horses shod. 

The 23rd started and after making two Miles was 
obliged to return on account of . . . 

The 25th started to return to Carolina and slept 10 
Miles away at the house of Colonel Mansko, a declared 
enemy of the French because, he said, they have killed 
their King. Although I had not dined I would not 
accept his supper believing that a Republican should not 
be under obligations to a fanatical partisan of Royalty. 
I was greatly mortified that the night and the rain should 
compel me to remain in his House. But I slept on my 
Deer skin and paid for the Maize he supplied me with 
to cross the Wilderness. 

The 26th 

Sunday 28th of February 1796 stopped ten miles from 
the river on account of the Rain and because the Creeks 
had overflowed their banks. 

The 29th in the evening crossed the Creeks and slept 
in the Wood near the road at a place where Reeds or 
Canes were growing in abundance. This species of 

I 793- I 79 6 l Andre Michaux' s Travels 95 

grass which grows abundantly in many places which have 
not been settled, is destroyed when completely eaten 
by Cattle; Swine also destroy it by rooting in the earth 
and breaking the roots. The stalk is sometimes as thick 
as a goose quill, but in the rich lands bordering on the 
rivers and between the mountains, some stalks are as 
much as 2 and even three inches in diameter; the height 
is sometimes from 25 to 30 feet. This grass is ramose 
but it seldom bears fruit in the territory of Kentuckey, 
in that of Tenesee or in that of the Carolinas. This 
grass begins in the southern and maritime portion of Vir- 
ginia. Further South as in the Carolinas, in the Floridas 
and in Lower Louisiana, this grass is found in abun- 
dance. 171 

Snow fell throughout the night and on the following 
morning my two Horses that had been tied had their legs 
swelled in consequence of the cold and of the continually 
muddy roads over which I had traveled the previous day. 

The 1st of March 1796 arrived at Fort Blount situated 
on the Cumberland River. 172 Snow continued to fall dur- 
ing a part of the day. 

The 2nd remained over in order to pull young Shoots 
of a new Sophora 173 I had remarked in the vicinity of 
Fleen's [Flinns] creek about 12 Miles from the Fort. 

171 Arundinaria macrosperma, Michx. — C. S. S. 

172 Fort Blount was not a pioneer stronghold, but one erected by the govern- 
ment shortly before Michaux's visit, for protection of the settlers against the 
Cherokees. It was on the north bank of Cumberland River, in the south- 
western part of Jackson County, about midway between the Eastern and West- 
ern Tennessee settlements. — Ed. 

173 Cladrastis tinctoria Raf., discovered here by Michaux, although not in- 
cluded in his Flora. A letter written by Michaux to Governor Blount suggest- 
ing the value of the wood of this tree as a dye wood, was, according to the younger 
Michaux, published in the Knoxville Gazette, on the fifteenth of March, 1769. 
[See his journal, post.] — C. S. S. 

9 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Snow covered the ground and I was unable to get any 
young Shoots but Captain Williams, the young [officer] 
stationed in the Fort cut down some trees and I found 
some good seeds. 

I also pulled up some roots of those trees to replant 
them in my garden in Carolina. 

The same day I had occasion to write to Governor 

The 3rd of March continued my journey; crossed 
Fleen's Creek several times. Saw again the small bul- 
bous umbelliferous plant I had remarked some days 
previously. Toward evening the road was less muddy. 

The 4th arrived at the Mountains called Cumberland 

The 5th passed several Creeks and Rivers on which is 
an abundance of a climbing Fern of the genus . . . 174 

The land through which these rivers flow is less fertile 
than the territory of Nashville or Cumberland settlement 
and two-leaved Pines are found there in abundance. 

Sunday 6th of March 1 796 arrived at West Point on the 
Clinch River. 

The 7th slept at a distance of 15 Miles near the junction 
of the Houlston river with that called Tenesee. 

The 8th arrived at Knoxville. 

The 9th Dined with Governor William Blount. 

The 10th took my lodgings in the house of Captain 
Loune near the Cumberland river. 175 

The nth herborised on the opposite bank bordered by 
steep rocks covered with Saxifrage, bulbous umbellijera 

174 Lygodium palmatum Swz. — C. S. S. 

175 The Looneys were a prominent family in the early history of East Ten- 
nessee. Captain David Looney was militia officer during the Revolution and 
the Indian wars. — Ed. 

i793- I 79 6 ] Andre Mic/iaux's Travels 97 

The 12th continued to herborise. 

Sunday the 13th, Visited Captain Richard, Command- 
ant of the garrison. 

The 14th herborised; saw in bloom, Anemone hepatica; 
Claytonia Virginica; Sanguinaria. 

Saw a new genus of Plant designated by Linnaeus 
Podophyllum diphyllum and discovered some years ago 
in Virginia while passing by Fort Chissel. This Plant is 
less rare in the fertile lands of Kentuckey and Cumber- 
land. It is found in the neighborhood of Knoxville. 
Dr Barton 176 called it Jeffersonia in a description he gave 
of this Plant after seeing the flower of the Shoots I had 
brought back to Philadelphia in the hands of the Botanist 
Bartram. 177 The time when the plant flowers in the 
neighborhood of Knoxville is about the 10th of March. 

The 15th received the Letter from Governor Blount in 
answer to that I had written him respecting the discovery 
of a new Sophora in the neighborhood of fort Blount. 
Started the same day and slept at a distance of 7 Miles. 
Paid 2 shillings 3 pence for Supper and for Maize and 
fodder for the Horses. Bundle of fodder 2 pence. 

The 1 6th of March 1796 slept a mile from Iron Works 
at the house of Mr Rice, Lawyer, 30 Miles from Knoxville. 

176 Dr. Benjamin S. Barton was one of the best known scientists and natu- 
ralists of his day, as well as a skilful physician. Born in Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania, he was educated in Europe and took up practice in Philadelphia. In 
1789, he was made professor of botany and natural history in the University of 
Pennsylvania; he was vice-president of the American Philosophical Society, and 
member of other learned organizations. He was designated to edit the scien- 
tific data of Lewis and Clark's expedition, but died before accomplishing this 
(1815).— Ed. 

177 William Bartram, son and co-worker of John Bartram, one of America's 
first naturalists, was born in Pennsylvania in 1739. He devoted his life to the 
study of botany, travelling extensively for the discovery of plants. His head- 
quarters were at the botanical gardens near Philadelphia. — Ed. 

98 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Observed in bloom: Ulmns viscosa, Acer rubrum S flower 
on one individual and ? flower on another tree. 

The 17th slept near Bull's gap 30 Miles from Iron 

The 1 8th passed by Lick creek and by Green court 
house 18 Miles from Bull's gap. 

The 19th passed by Johnsborough 25 Miles from 
Green [ville]. Several merchants are established at 
Johnsborough who obtain their goods from Philadelphia 
by land. 

Sunday the 20th started from Johnsborough. Saw in 
passing Mr Overton of Kentuckey, 178 Major Carter of 
Wataga 179 at whose house I had lodged several years 
previously with my son, and Colonel Avery. 

Sunday 20th of March 1796 saw in bloom Corylus 
americana, 2 flower having the Styles or Stigmas of a 
purpurine color. Ulmus viscosa geminis aureis floribus 
4-^-6-andris, stigmatibus purpureas. 

Acer rubrum $ flower on one individual and ? flower 
on another. Slept at Colonel Tipton's 10 Miles from 

The 2 1 st remarked that the Mountains were covered 
in several places with Sanguinaria, Claytonia and Ery- 

178 John Overton was one of the best-known jurists of Tennessee. Born in 
Virginia, he early emigrated to Kentucky, whence he removed to Nashville, 
about the time Jackson began his career. He became Jackson's partner and 
warm friend. From 1804-10 he was judge of the superior court, and of great 
service in adjusting land titles; the next five years (1811-16) Judge Overton 
served on the supreme bench of the state. He was one of the early proprietors 
of Memphis; and died near Nashville in 1833. — Ed. 

179 John Carter was the foremost man of the early Watauga settlement. 
Coming from North Carolina, he had the prestige of family and a superior 
education, and was chosen head of the new community, serving efficiently in 
many capacities. He was concerned in the State of Franklin movement, and 
was frequently called out at the head of the militia, on Indian expeditions. 
Carter County was named for him, and he had therein a large estate. — Ed. 

1793-179 6 ] Andre Michaux's Travels 99 

thronium with spotted leaves. These Plants were in 
bloom. Magnolia acuminata et auriculata; Rhododen- 
dran; Kalmia; Finns abies canadensis, Pinus strobus; 
Azalea etc. etc. grow in abundance at the foot of those 
Mountains. Arrived at Lime Stone cove and slept at 
Charles Collier's 18 Miles from Colonel Tipton's. 

The 22nd crossed Iron Mountain and arrived at night 
at David Becker's, 23 Miles without seeing a house. 

The 23rd started from Becker's on Cane Creek to 
Rider's 6 Miles; from Rider's to Widow Nigh's 7 Miles; 
from Nigh's to Samuel Ramsey's 2 Miles; from Ramsey's 
to David Cox's on Paper Creek 4 Miles and from Cox's 
to Young's 1 Mile; from Sam Ramsey's to Davinport's 
8 Miles. 180 Total 23 Miles. Slept at Davinport's. 
Remarked the Salix capreoides in flower on the banks of 
the streams. 

The 24th visited the high Mountains opposite Davin- 
port's house; pulled up several hundred Shoots: Azalea 
lutea fulva; Anonymos azaleoides. Rhododendron minus 

The 25th of March 1796. Saw in flower the Corylus 
comuta, 1 * 1 amentis 6 geminis quandoque solitariis squamis 
ciliatis; antheris apice ciliates, stylis coccineis. 

This species flowers about 15 days later than the species 
of Corylus americana found in all the Climates of North 

180 Michaux returned across the mountains by a different route from the 
one by which he went out. The northern or upper road over Yellow Moun- 
tain appears to have been the more frequented; the lower road, over the Iron 
Mountain range and down the Nolichucky, the more direct. See the younger 
Michaux's account (post) of the difficulties of this route, when he passed over 
it six years later. Limestone Cove was probably at the mouth of Limestone 
Creek, a tributary of the Nolichucky on the western or Tennessee side of the 
mountain. Cane and Paper Creeks are small tributaries of the Nolichucky, 
on the eastern or North Carolina grade of the mountains. — Ed. 

181 C. rostrata, Ait.— C. S. S. 

i oo Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

America even in lower Carolina in the neighborhood of 
Charleston. The Corylus cornuta is found only on the 
highest mountains and in Canada. Corylus americana 
amentis t> solitariis squamis externe tomentosis margine 
nudd; floris ? styhs coccineis. 

The 26th herborised and pulled Shoots of shrubs and 
fresh Shoots to transport them to the garden of the Repub- 
lic in Carolina. 

Sunday 27th of March . . . 

The 28th prepared and packed my Collection of fresh 
Mountain Plants. 

The 29th started from Davinport's and slept at the 
house of . . . Young. Violet with dentate reniform 
leaves, villous petiole and yellow flower in full bloom on 
the banks of streams and very cool places. 

The 30th continued my journey and by mistake took a 
road to the right leading to Wilkes [County]. Another 
Viole lutea scopus joliosus foliis hastatis in flower in cool 
places and also less damp places. This one is a little 
more tardy than the previous one. 182 

The 31st arrived at Colonel Avery's and slept at Mor- 
ganton or Burke Court house. 

Friday 1st of April 1796, started from Morganton. 
Slept at Robertson's, formerly Henry Waggner's, 30 
Miles from Morganton. 

The 2nd of April Epigea repens in full bloom as on 
previous days; on several individuals all the female 
flowers were without rudiments of Stamens while on 
other individuals all the flowers were hermaphrodites. 
Arrived at noon at the house of Christian Reinhart near 
Lincoln. Remained all day to pull shoots of the Spiraea 
tomentosa that grow in swampy spots. 

182 V. hastata, Michx — C. S. S. 

1793-179 6 ] Afidre Michaux's Travels ici 

Sunday 3rd of April arrived at Bennet Smith's 12 Miles 
from Lincoln; remained all day to pull shoots of a new 
Magnolia 183 with very large leaves, auriculate, oblong, 
glaucous, silky, especially the young leaves; the buds very 
silky; Flowers white Petals with a base of a purple color. 
Stamens yellow etc. Along the Creek on the bank of 
which this Magnolia grows I also saw the Kalmia latijolia, 
Viola lutea, foliis hastatis; Ulmus viscosa then in process 
of fructification ; Halesia; Stewartia pentagyna. 

The 4th started and crossed Tuck-a-segee ford on the 
Catawba 184 river 10 Miles from Bennet Smith's. Took 
the road to the left instead of passing by Charlotte and 
slept 11 Miles from Catawba river. 185 

The 5th of April 1796 at a distance of 12 Miles took 
once more the road leading from Cambden to Charlotte. 186 

Took Shoots of Calamus aromaticus that grows in 
damp places in the neighborhood of Charlotte and of 
Lincoln. Rhus pumila. Slept near Waxsaw Creek in 
South Carolina about 35 Miles from Tuck-a-Segee ford. 

The 6th at the house of Colonel Crawford near Waxsaw 
Creek : anonymous Plant with leaves quatemate, perfoliate, 
glabrous, entire. This same Plant grows in the Settle- 

183 M. macrophylla, Michx.— C. S. S. 

184 Tuckasegee Ford is between the present Gaston County and Mechlen- 
burg, about ten miles west of Charlotte. — Ed. 

185 Note: before passing the ford, I dined with . . . Alexander, a very 
respectable man from whom I have received many courtesies. — Michaux. 

It is impossible to determine from this allusion, which of the numerous 
Alexander family Michaux visited. The Alexanders of Mechlenburg were 
noted as patriotic, God-fearing, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who had a large 
share in the Revolutionary War in their country. Abraham presided at the 
Mechlenburg Convention (1775), of which Adam and John McKnitt Alexander 
were both members. — Ed. 

188 When one does not wish to pass by Charlotte in going to Lincoln, he must 
inquire twelve or fifteen miles before reaching these, for the route to the left 
which passes by Tuckasegee Ford. — Michaux. 

1-0-2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

ments of Cumberland and in Kentuckey. Frasera 
foetida. 1 * 7 

Passed by Hanging Rock; the distance from Waxsaw 
to Hanging Rock is 22 Miles. To go to Morganton or 
Burke Court house one should not pass by Charlotte, 
but take the Road to the left 3 j4 Miles from Hanging 

About 20 Toises after leaving the fork of the two roads 
(one of which leads to Charlotte) one sees the Anony- 
mous™* shrub with a red root which has the appearance of 
the Calycanthus. This shrub is the one I saw in the 
vicinity of Morganton. Slept near Hanging Rock. 

Thursday 7th of April 1796 arrived at Cambden; five 
or six Miles before arriving there pulled Shoots of a new 
Kalmia seen some years previously. The distance from 
Hanging Rock to Cambden is 26 Miles. 

Friday 8th of April started from Cambden, passed by 
State's borough 22 Miles from Cambden and slept at 
Manchester 30 Miles from Cambden. 

The 9th my Horses strayed away during the night, 
having broken the Fence within which they were placed. 

In the streams: Callitriche americana; fructificatio 
simplex, axillaris sessilis, Calyx 2-phyllus, stamen uni- 
cum; filamentum longum, latere geminis germen duplex? 
styli duo longitudine stam-'nis, stigmata acuta. 

Silene . . . calyx 5-ftdus cylindricus, corolla Petala 
5 (or 5 -partita usque ad basim) unguibus angustis, laciniis 
planis apice obtusis; Stamina 10 basi corolla inserta; 

187 It has been suggested that this may refer to F. Caroliniana, Walt. (F. 
Walteri, Michx.).— C. S. S. 

188 It is not at all clear what shrub Michaux refers to in this entry. Mr. 
Canby, to whom several of the doubtful points in the Journal have been referred, 
and whose knowledge of the plants of the Allegheny region is now unrivaled, 
suggests that Michaux may have found Darbya. There is nothing in his 
herbarium to indicate that he ever saw that plant, which was found, however, 
by M. A. Curtis not far fro m Morganton. — C. S. S. 

i793" I 79 6 ] Andre Michanx's Travels 103 

Germen oblongum. Styli ires; stigmata acuta; Capsula 
unilocularis, semina plura numerosa, /lores rosei. 1SQ 

Started in the afternoon and slept at 15 Miles having 
crossed 10 Miles of sand called Santee High Hills in the 
space of which observed Phlox; Silene . . . ; Dian- 
thus ... in flower; Lupinus perennis et pilosus 
in flower. 

Sunday 10th of April 1796 arrived at the Santee River 
at the place called Manigault ferry; before arriving there 
observed Verbena (aubletia?) and on the banks of the 
Santee, arbor Anonymous whose fruit (muricatis) covered 
with soft points, was almost ripe. 190 Manigault ferry is 
28 Miles from Manchester. 

Two miles further on one takes the road to the right 
called Gaillard road which is shorter than the ordinary 
road but muddy in winter. Slept at the house of the 
Widow Stuard 18 Miles from Manigault ferry. Tavern 
dirty and without a supply of fodder for Horses. 

The nth started very early; at a distance of 5 Miles 
remarked Lupinus perennis and Lupinus pilosus in 
flower. Distance from Charleston 40 to 43 Miles. Ar- 
rived at the garden of the Republic 37 Miles from the 
Widow Stuard's that is to say 47 Miles from Charleston. 

Recapitulation of the journey from Illinois to Charleston. 

From St Louis of the Illinois to Kaskias . 4 Miles 
To the village of St Philippe ... 45 
To the Prairie du Rocher ... 9 
To Kaskaskias ..... 45 
To the junction of the Mississipi and Belle Ri- 
vie re 95 

189 Probably Silene Pennsylvanica as suggested by Mr. Canby, or 5. Bald- 
■winii, as suggested by Mr. Meehan. In both of the species the petals are some- 
times rose colored. — C. S. S. 

190 Planera aquatica, Gmelin. — C. S. S. 


Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 

To Fort Massac 

45 Miles 

To the Junction of the Cumberland and Belle 

Riviere .... 

. a 


To Clark's ville on the red river 

. . 


To Nashville 

• . 


To Bloodshed's lick 191 . 



To Fort Blount on the Cumberland 

river . 


To West Point on the Clinch river 

• . 


To Knoxville on the Houlston river 

. a 


From Knoxville to Iron Works 

• . 


To Bull's gap 



To Green's ville 




To John's borough 




To Colonel Tipton's 




To Limestone cove 


. . 


To David Becker's beyond the Mountain called 

Iron mountain 

• • 


From Backer's to Young's 



To Morganton or Burke 



To Robertson's 



To Lincoln 

, . 

• • 


To Tuck a Segee 


• m 


To Wax Saw Creek 




To Hanging Rock . 




To Cambden . 

, • 



To Manchester 

, . 

. . 


To Manigault ferry 




To Charleston 






. 1 123 Miles 

374 1 ll 

1 leagues 

191 Bledsoe's Lick. A pioneer told Lyman C. Draper that this was often 
called "the Bloody Ground," because so many whites were there killed by 
Indians — note in Draper MSS., Wisconsin Historical Society, 3 XX 18. — Ed. 

Travels to the West of the Alleghany Mountains, 
by Francois Andre Michaux 

Reprint from London edition, 1805 

LOTiGITVliE J>u JfMRinmivs Pajus 

ZoxGircrtF. j>r MxJtwih? IJ£ i.'Iaut nxlvtx 










The most interesting Details on the present State of 





Particulars relative to the Commerce that exists hetpeen tlie above* 

mentioned States, and those situated East of the Mountains 

and Low' Louisiana, 



His Excellency M. CHAPTAL, Minister of the Interior, 






hsM by D. N. 5 HURT , Berwick Street, Soke 













The most interesting Details on the present State of 





Particulars relative to the Commerce that exists between tlte above* 

mentioned States, and those situated East of the Mountains 

and Low Louisiana, 



His Excellency M. CHAPTAL, Minister of the Interior, 






Fnated by D. N. SHURT, Berwick Street, Soh« ■ 






Departure from Bourdeaux. — Arrival at Charleston. — Re- 
marks upon the yellow fever. — A short description of the 
town of Charleston. — Observations upon several trees, 
natives of the old continent, reared in a botanic garden near 
the city ........ 117 


Departure from Charleston for New York. — A short description 
of the town. — Botanic excursions in New Jersey. — Re- 
marks upon the quercus tinctoria, or black oak, and the nut 
trees of that country. — Departure from New York for 
Philadelphia. — Abode . . . . . . 125 

[vi] CHAP. Ill 

Departure from Philadelphia to the western country. — Commu- 
nications by land in the United States. — Arrival at Lancas- 
ter. — Description of the town and its environs. — Departure. 
— Columbia. — Passage from Susquehannah, York, Dover, 
Carlisle. — Arrival at Shippensburgh. — Remarks upon the 
state of agriculture during the journey . . . 132 


Departure from Shippensburgh to Strasburgh. — Journey over 
the Blue Ridges. — New Species of rhododendrum. — Passage 
over the river Juniata. — Use of the cones of the magnolia 
acuminata. — Arrival at Bedford Court House. — Excesses 
to which the natives of that part of the country are ad- 
dicted. — Departure from Bedford. — Journey over Alle- 
ghany Ridge and Laurel Hill. — Arrival at West Liberty 
Town 141 

I I 2 Early Western Travels [Vol . 3 


Departure from West Liberty Town to go among the mountains 

in search of a shrub supposed to give good oil, a new species 
of azalea. — Ligonier Valley. — Coal Mines. — Greensburgh. 

— Arrival at Pittsburgh . . . . . . 149 

[vii] CHAP. VI 

Description of Pittsburgh. — Commerce of the Town and ad- 
jacent countries with New Orleans. — Construction of large 
vessels. — Description of the rivers Monongahela and Alle- 
ghany. — Towns situated on their banks. — Agriculture. — 
Maple sugar . . . . . . . .156 


Description of the Ohio. — Navigation of that river. — Mr. S. 
Craft. — The object of his travels. — Remarks upon the state 
of Vermont ........ 163 


Departure from Pittsburgh for Kentucky. — Journey by land to 
Wheeling. — State of agriculture on the route. — West Liber- 
ty Town in Virginia. — Wheeling . . . . 168 


Departure from Wheeling for Marietta. — Aspect of the banks 
of the Ohio. — Nature of the forests. — Extraordinary size of 
several kinds of trees . . . . . . 172 

[viii] CHAP. X 

Marietta. — Ship building. — Departure for Gallipoli. — Falling 
in with a Kentucky boat. — Point Pleasant. — The Great 
Kenhaway ........ 177 


Gallipoli. — State of the French colony Scioto. — Alexandria at 
the mouth of the Great Scioto. — Arrival at Limestone in 
Kentucky ......... 182 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 1 1 3 


Fish and shells of the Ohio. — Inhabitants on the banks of the 
river. — Agriculture. — American emigrant. — Commercial in- 
telligence relative to that part of the United States . 188 


Limestone. — Route from Limestone to Lexinton. — Washington. 

— Salt-works at Mays-Lick. — Millesburgh. — Paris . 195 


Lexinton. — Manufactories established there. — Commerce. — Dr. 

Samuel Brown ....... 199 

[ix] CHAP. XV 

Departure from Lexinton. — Culture of the vine at Kentucky. — 
Passage over the Kentucky and Dick Rivers. — Departure 
for Nasheville. — Mulder Hill. — Passage over Green River 206 


Passage over the Barrens, or Meadows. — Plantations upon the 
road. — The view they present. — Plants discovered there. — 
Arrival at Nasheville . . . . . . 215 


General observations upon Kentucky. — Nature of the soil. — 
First settlements in the state. — Right of property uncertain. 
— Population . . . . . . . 222 


Distinction of Estates. — Species of Trees peculiar to each of them. 

— Ginseng. — Animals in Kentucky . . . . 228 


Different kinds of culture in Kentucky. — Exportation of colonial 

produce. — Peach trees. — Taxes . . . . 237 

114 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

[x] CHAP. XX 

Particulars relative to the manners of the inhabitants of Ken- 
tucky. — Horses and cattle. — Necessity of giving them salt. 
— Wild Horses caught in the Plains of New Mexico. — Ex- 
portation of salt provisions ..... 243 


Nasheville. — Commercial details. — Settlement of the Natches 250 


Departure for Knoxville. — Arrival at Fort Blount. — Remarks 
upon the drying up of the Rivers in the Summer. — Planta- 
tions on the road. — Fertility of the soil. — Excursions in a 
canoe on the river Cumberland . . . . 255 


Departure from Fort Blount to West Point, through the Wilder- 
ness. — Botanical excursions upon Roaring River. — Descrip- 
tion of its Banks. — Saline productions found there. — Indian 
Cherokees. — Arrival at Knoxville . . . . 258 

[xi] CHAP. XXIV 

Knoxville. — Commercial intelligence. — Trees that grow in the 
environs. — Converting some parts of the Meadows into 
Forests. — River Nolachuky. — Greensville. — Arrival at 
Jonesborough . . . . . . . 265 


General observations on the state of Tennessea. — Rivers Cum- 
berland and Tennessea. — What is meant by East Tennessea 
or Holston, and West Tennessea or Cumberland. — Fiist 
settlements in West Tennessea. — Trees natives of that 
country ........ 271 


Different kinds of produce of West Tennessea. — Domestic manu- 
factories for cottons encouraged by the Legislature of this 
State. — Mode of letting out Estates by some of the Emi- 
grants ........ 276 

1802] F. A. Michauxs Travels 1 1 5 


East Tennessea, or Holston. — Agriculture. — Population. — Com- 
merce ......... 280 


Departure from Jonesborough for Morganton, in North Caro- 
lina. — Journey over Iron Mountains. — Sojourn on the 
mountains. — Journey over the Blue Ridges and Linneville 
Mountains. — Arrival at Morganton .... 283 


General observations upon this part of the Chain of the Alle- 
ghanies. — Salamander which is found in the torrents. — 
Bear hunting . 286 


Morganton. — Departure for Charleston. — Lincolnton. — Ches- 
ter. — Winesborough. — Columbia. — Aspect of the Country 
on the Road. — Agriculture, &c. &c. .... 290 


General observations on the Carolinas and Georgia. — Agricul- 
ture and produce peculiar to the upper part of these states 296 


Low part of the Carolines and Georgia. — Agriculture. — Popula- 
tion. — Arrival at Charleston 301 



Departure from Bourdeaux. — Arrival at Charleston. — 
Remarks upon the yellow fever. — A short description of 
the town of Charleston. — Observations upon several 
trees, natives of the old continent, reared in a botanic gar- 
den near the city. 

Charleston, in South Carolina, being the first place 
of my destination, I went to Bourdeaux as one of the 
ports of France that trades most with the southern parts 
of the United States, and where there are most commonly 
vessels from the different points of North America. I 
embarked the 24th of [2] September 1801, on board the 
John and Francis, commanded by the same captain with 
whom I returned to Europe several years ago. 1 A fortnight 
after our departure we were overtaken by a calm, within 
sight of the Acorian Islands. Saint George's and Graci- 
osa were those nearest to us, where we clearly distinguished 
a few houses, which appeared built with stone and chalk; 
and the rapid declivity of the land divided by hedges, 
which most likely separated the property of different 
occupiers. The major part of these islands abound with 
stupendous mountains, in various directions, and beyond 
which the summit of Pico, in a pyramidical form rises 
majestically above the clouds, which were then illumined 

1 The date given here is evidently wrong; the translation in Phillips's Voy- 
ages gives it as August 25, which corresponds with the arrival of Michaux in 
Charleston. — Ed. 

1 1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

by the rays of the setting sun. A gentle breeze springing 
up, we soon lost sight of that charming prospect, and on 
the 9th of October following entered the Charleston roads, 
in company with two other vessels which had left Bour- 
deaux, the one eighteen days, and the other a month before 

The pleasure that we felt on discovering the shore was 
very soon abated. The pilot informed us that the yellow 
fever *had made dreadful ravages at Charleston, and was 
still carrying off a great number of the inhabitants. This 
intelligence alarmed the [3] passengers, who were four- 
teen in number, the most of whom had either friends or 
relatives in the town. Every one was fearful of learning 
some disastrous news or other. The anchor was no 
sooner weighed than those who had never been accus- 
tomed to warm countries were escorted by their friends to 
the Isle of Sullivan. This island is situated about seven 
miles from Charleston. Its dry and parched-up soil is 
almost bereft of vegetation; but as it is exposed to the 
breeze of the open sea, the air is generally cool and pleas- 
ant. Within these few years, since that bilious and in- 
flammatory disorder, commonly known by the name of 
the yellow fever, shows itself regularly every summer at 
Charleston, a great number of the inhabitants and plant- 
ers, who took refuge in the town to escape the intermittent 
fevers which attack seven-tenths of those resident in the 
country, have built houses in that island, where they so- 
journ from the early part of July till the first frost, which 
usually takes place about the 15th of November. A few 
of the inhabitants keep boarding-houses, where they 
receive those who have no settled residence. It has 
been remarked that foreigners, newly arrived from 
Europe or the states of North America, and [4] who go 

1 802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 1 1 9 

immediately to reside in this island, are exempt from the 
yellow fever. 

However powerful these considerations were, they could 
not induce me to go and pass my time in such a dull and 
melancholy abode; upon which I refused the advice of my 
friends, and staid in the town. I had nearly been the 
victim of my obstinacy, having been, a few days after, 
attacked with the first symptoms of this dreadful malady, 
under which I laboured upward of a month. 

The yellow fever varies every year according to the 
intenseness of the heat; at the same time the observation 
has not yet been forcible enough to point out the charac- 
teristic signs by which they can discover whether it will 
be more or less malignant in the summer. The natives 
are not so subject to it as foreigners, eight-tenths of whom 
died the year of my arrival ; and whenever the former are 
attacked with it, it is always in a much less proportion. 

It has been observed that during the months of July, 
August, September, and October, when this disorder is 
usually most prevalent, the persons who leave Charleston 
for a few days only, are, on their return to town, much 
more susceptible of catching it [5] than those who staid at 
home. The natives of Upper Carolina, two or three 
hundred miles distant, are as subject to it as foreigners; 
and those of the environs are not always exempt from it: 
whence it results that during one third of the year all 
communications are nearly cut off between the country 
and town, whither they go but very reluctantly, and seldom 
or ever sleep there. The supply of provisions at that 
time is only made by the negroes, who are never subject 
to the fever. On my return to Charleston in the month 
of October 1802, from my travels over the western part of 
the country, I did not meet, on the most populous road, 

i 20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

for the space of three hundred miles, a single traveller 
that was either going to town or returning from it; and 
in the houses where I stopped there was not a person who 
conceived his business of that importance to oblige him 
to go there while the season lasted. 

From the 1st of November till the month of May the 
country affords a picture widely different; every thing 
resumes new life; trade is re-animated; the suspended 
communications re-commence; the roads are covered 
with waggons, bringing from all quarters the produce of 
the exterior; an immense number of carriages and single- 
horse chaises roll rapidly [6] along, and keep up a con- 
tinual correspondence between the city and the neigh- 
bouring plantations, where the owners spend the greatest 
part of the season. In short, the commercial activity 
renders Charleston just as lively as it is dull and melan- 
choly in the summer. 

It is generally thought at Charleston that the yellow 
fever which rages there, as well as at Savannah, every 
summer, is analogous to that which breaks out in the colo- 
nies, and that it is not contagious: but this opinion is not 
universally adopted in the northern cities. It is a fact, that 
whenever the disease is prevalent at New York and Phila- 
delphia, the natives are as apt to contract it as foreigners, 
and that they remove as soon as they learn that their neigh- 
bours are attacked with it. Notwithstanding they have a 
very valuable advantage that is not to be found at Charles- 
ton, which is, that the country places bordering on Philadel- 
phia and New York are pleasant and salubrious; and that 
at two or three miles' distance the inhabitants are in per- 
fect safety, though even the disorder committed the great- 
est ravages in the above-mentioned towns. 

I took the liberty to make this slight digression, for the 

1802] F. A. Michanx's Travels i 2 1 

information of those who might have to go to the [7] 
southern parts of the United States that it is dangerous 
to arrive there in the months of July, August, September, 
and October. I conceived, like many others, that the 
using of every means necessary to prevent the efferves- 
cence of the blood was infallibly a preservative against 
this disorder; but every year it is proved by experience 
that those who have pursued that mode of living, which 
is certainly the best, are not all exempt from sharing the 
fate of those who confine themselves to any particular 
kind of regimen. 

Charleston is situated at the conflux of the rivers Ashley 
and Cooper. The spot of ground that it occupies is 
about a mile in length. From the middle of the principal 
street the two rivers might be clearly seen, were it not for 
a public 'edifice built upon the banks of the Cooper, which 
intercepts the view. The most populous and commercial 
part of the town is situated along the Ashley. Several 
ill-constructed quays project into the river, to facilitate 
the trading vessels taking in their cargoes. These quays 
are formed with the trunks of palm trees fixed together, 
and laid out in squares one above the other. Experience 
has shown that the trunks of these trees, although of a 
very spungy nature, lie buried in the [8] water many 
years without decaying; upon which account they are 
generally preferred for these purposes to any other kind 
of wood in the country. The streets of Charleston are 
extremely wide, but not paved, consequently every time 
your foot slips from a kind of brick pavement before the 
doors, you are immerged nearly ancle-deep in sand. The 
rapid circulation of the carriages, which, proportionately 
speaking, are far more considerable here in number than 
in any other part of America, continually grinds this mov- 

122 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

ing sand, and pulverizes it in such a manner, that the 
most gentle wind fills the shops with it, and renders it 
very disagreeable to foot passengers. At regular dis- 
tances pumps supply the inhabitants with water of such a 
brackish taste, that it is truly astonishing how foreigners 
can grow used to it. Two-thirds of the houses are built 
with wood, the rest with brick. According to the last 
computation, made in 1803, the population, comprising 
foreigners, amounted to 10,690 whites and 9050 slaves. 

Strangers that arrive at Charleston, or at any town in 
the United States, find no furnished hotels nor rooms to 
let for their accommodation, no coffee-houses where they 
can regale themselves. The whole of this is replaced by 
boarding-houses, where every thing necessary [9] is 
provided. In Carolina you pay, at these receptacles, 
from twelve to twenty piastres per week. This enormous 
sum is by no means proportionate to the price of provis- 
ions. For example, beef very seldom exceeds sixpence a 
pound. Vegetables are dearer there than meat. Inde- 
pendent of the articles of consumption that the country 
supplies, the port of Charleston is generally full of small 
vessels from Boston, Newport, New York, and Phila- 
delphia, and from all the little intermediate ports, which 
are loaded with flour, salt provisions, potatoes, onions, 
carrots, beet-roots, apples, oats, Indian corn, and hay. 
Planks and building materials comprize another considera- 
ble article of importation; and although these different 
kinds of produce are brought from three to four hundred 
leagues, they are not so dear and of a better quality than 
those of their own growth. 

In winter the markets of Charleston are well stocked 
with live sea-fish, which are brought from the northern 
part of the United States in vessels so constructed as to 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 123 

keep them in a continual supply of water. The ships 
engaged in this kind of traffic load, in return, with rice 
and cottons, the greater part of which is re-exported into 
Europe, the freight [10] being always higher in the north- 
ern than in the southern states. The cotton wool that 
they keep in the north for their own consumption is more 
than sufficient to supply the manufacturies, being but 
very few : the overplus is disposed of in the country places, 
where the women fabricate coarse cottons for the use of 
their families. 

Wood is extravagantly dear at Charleston ; it costs from 
forty to fifty shillings 2 a cord, notwithstanding forests, 
which are almost boundless in extent, begin at six miles, 
and even at a less distance from the town, and the con- 
veyance of it is facilitated by the two rivers at the con- 
flux of which it is situated ; on which account a great num- 
ber of the inhabitants burn coals that are brought from 

As soon as ^recovered from my illness I left Charleston, 
and went to reside in a small plantation about ten miles 
from the town, where my father had formed a botanic 
garden. It was there he collected and cultivated, with 
the greatest care, the plants that he found in the long and 
painful travels that his ardent love for science had urged 
him to make, almost every year, in the different quarters 
of America. Ever animated with a desire of serving the 
country he was in, he conceived that the climate of South 
Carolina [11] must be favourable to the culture of several 
useful vegetables of the old continent, and made a memo- 
rial of them, which he read to the Agricultural Society 

2 The piastre was the Spanish dollar, then the common circulating coin in 
the United States, and the one whose value was adopted in our dollar. A 
South Carolina shilling was worth T \ of a dollar. — Ed. 

i 24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

at Charleston. A few happy essays confirmed him in 
his opinion, but his return to Europe did not permit 
him to continue his former attempts. On my arrival at 
Carolina I found in this garden a superb collection of 
trees and plants that had survived almost a total neglect 
for nearly the space of four years. I likewise found there 
a great number of trees belonging to the old continent, 
that my father had planted, some of which were in the 
most flourishing state. I principally remarked two 
ginkgo bilobas, that had not been planted above seven 
years, and which were then upward of thirty feet in 
height; several sterculia platanifolia, which had yielded 
seed upward of six years; in short, more than a hundred 
and fifty mimosa illibrissin, the first plant of which came 
from Europe about ten inches in diameter. I set several 
before my return to France, this tree being at that time 
very much esteemed for its magnificent flowers. The 
Agricultural Society at Carolina are now in possession of 
this garden : they intend keeping it in order, and cultivating 
the useful vegetables belonging to the old continent, 
which, [12] from the analogy of the climate, promise every 
success. 3 I employed the remainder of the autumn in 
making collections of seed, which I sent to Europe; and 
the winter, in visiting the different parts of Low Carolina, 
and in reconnoitring the places where, the year follow- 
ing, I might make more abundant harvests, and procure 
the various sorts that I had not been able to collect during 
the autumn. 

On this account I must observe, that in North America, 
and perhaps more so than in Europe, there are plants 

3 The services of the elder Michaux in introducing European plants into 
America, were considerable. He is said also to have been the first to teach the 
frontier settlers the value of ginseng. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michauxs Travels i 25 

that only inhabit certain places; whence it happens that a 
botanist, in despite of all his zeal and activity, does not 
meet with them for years; whilst another, led by a happy 
chance, finds them in his first excursion. I shall add, in 
favour of those who wish to travel over the southern part 
of the United States for botanical researches, that the 
epoch of the flower season begins in the early part of 
February; the time for gathering the seeds of herbaceous 
plants in the month of August; and on the 1st of October 
for that of forest trees. 

[13] CHAP. II 

Departure from Charleston for New York. — A short 
description of the town. — Botanic excursions in New 
Jersey. — Remark upon the Quercus tinctoria or Black 
Oak, and the nut trees of that country. — Departure from 
New York for Philadelphia. — Abode. 

In the spring of the year 1802 I left Charleston to go to 
New York, where I arrived after a passage of ten days. 
Trade is so brisk between the northern and southern 
states, that there is generally an opportunity at Charles- 
ton to get into any of the ports of the northern states you 
wish. Several vessels have rooms, tastefully arranged 
and commodiously fitted up, for the reception of passen- 
gers, who every year go in crowds to reside in the northern 
part of the United States, during the unhealthy season, 
and return to Charleston in the month of November fol- 
lowing. You pay for the passage from forty to fifty [14] 
piastres. Its duration varies according to the weather. 
It is generally about ten days, but it is sometimes pro- 
longed by violent gusts of wind which casually spring up 
on doubling Cape Hatras. 

New York, situated at the conflux of the rivers from 

126 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the east and north, is much nearer to the sea than Phila- 
delphia. Its harbour being safe, and of an easy access in 
all seasons, makes it very advantageous to the city, and 
adds incessantly to its extent, riches, and population. 
The town consists of more than 50,000 souls, among whom 
are reckoned but a very small number of negroes. Living 
is not so dear there as at Charleston; one may board for 
eight or ten piastres a week. 

During my stay at New York I frequently had an 
opportunity of seeing Dr. Hosack, who was held in the 
highest reputation as a professor of botany. He was at 
that time employed in establishing a botanical garden, 
where he intended giving a regular course of lectures. 
This garden is a few miles from the town: the spot of 
ground is well adapted, especially for plants that require 
a peculiar aspect or situation. Mr. Hosack is the physi- 
cian belonging to the hospital and prison, by virtue of 
which he permitted me to accompany him in one of his 
visits, and I had by that [15] means an opportunity of 
seeing those two establishments. The hospital is well 
situated, the buildings are extensive, the rooms lofty and 
well aired; but the beds appeared to me very indifferent; 
they are composed of a very low bedstead, edged with 
board about four inches wide, and furnished with a mat- 
tress, or rather a pallias, filled with oat straw, not very 
thick, coarse brown linen sheets, and a rug. The prison 
is remarkable for the decorum, the arrangement, the 
cleanliness that reigns there, and more especially for the 
willingness with which the prisoners seem to work at the 
different employments allotted for them. 

Each seemed to be tasked according to his abilities or 
profession; some were making shoes, and others manu- 
facturing cut-nails. These nails, made by the help of a 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels i 27 

machine, have no point, and cannot be used for the same 
purposes as others wrought in the usual way; notwith- 
standing, a great many people prefer them for nailing 
on roofs of houses. They pretend that these nails have 
not the inconvenience of starting out by reason of the 
weather, as it frequently happens with others ; as upon the 
roofs of old houses a great number of nails may be seen 
[16] which do not appear to have been driven in more 
than half or one-third of their length. 

During my stay at New York, I took a botanical 
excursion into New Jersey, by the river side, towards the 
north. This part of New Jersey is very uneven; the soil 
is hard and flinty, to judge of it by the grass which I saw 
in places pulled up. Large rocks, of a chalky nature, as 
if decayed, appeared even with the ground upon almost 
all the hills. Notwithstanding, we observed different 
species of trees; among others, a variety of the red oak, 
the acorn of which is nearly round ; the white oak, quercus 
alba; and, among the different species or varieties of nut 
trees, the juglans tomentosa, or mocker-nut, and the jug- 
lans minima, or pig-nut. In the low and marshy places, 
where it is overflowed almost all the year, we found the 
juglans-hickery, or shell-barked hickery; the quercus 
prinus aquatica, which belongs to the series of prunus, 
and is not mentioned in the " History of Oaks.' H The 
valleys are planted with ash trees, palms, cornus florida's 
poplars, and quercus tinctorial, known in the country by 
the name of the black oak. 

The quercus tinctoria is very common in all the [17] 
northern states; it is likewise found to the west of the 
Alleghany mountains, but is not so abundant in the low 

* The History of Oaks discovered in America by A. Michaux. — F. A. Mi- 


i 28 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

part of Georgia and the two Carolinas. The leaves of 
the lower branches assume a different form from those 
of the higher branches; the latter are more sharp and 
pointed. The plate given in the History of Oaks only 
represents the leaves of the lower branches, and the shape 
of them when quite young. Amid these numerous species 
and varieties of oaks, the leaves of which vary, as to form, 
according to their age, which generally confounds them 
with each other; notwithstanding, there are certain charac- 
teristic signs by which the quercus tinctoria may be always 
known. In all the other species the stalk, fibres, and 
leaves themselves are of a lightish green, and towards the 
autumn their colour grows darker, and changes to a red- 
dish hue; on the contrary, the stalk, fibres and leaves of 
the black oak are of a yellowish cast, and apparently very 
dry; again, the yellow grows deeper towards the approach 
of winter. This remark is sufficient not to mistake 
them; notwithstanding, there is another still more posi- 
tive, by which this species may be recognised in winter, 
when even it has lost its leaves; that is, by the bitter taste 
of its bark, and the yellow colour [18] which the spittle 
assumes when chewed. The bark of the quercus cinerea 
has nearly the same property; and, finding this, I made 
an observation of it to Dr. Bancroft, who was at Charles- 
ton in the winter of 1802. Upon the whole, it is impossi- 
ble to be mistaken concerning these two kinds of oaks; 
for the latter grows only in the dryest parts of the south- 
ern states. It is very rarely more than four inches in 
diameter, and eighteen feet in height; its leaves are lan- 
ceolated: on the other hand, the quercus tinctoria grows 
upwards of eighty feet in height, and its leaves are in 
several lobes, and very long. 
Among the species of acorns that I sent over from the 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 129 

northern states of America to France, and those which I 
brought with me in the spring of 1803, were some of the 
black oak, which have come up very abundantly in the 
nursery at Trianon. Mr. Cels has upwards of a hundred 
young plants of them in his garden. 

The species and variety of nut trees natural to the 
United States are also extremely numerous, and might be 
the subject of a useful and interesting monography; but 
that work would never be precisely accurate provided the 
different qualities of those trees are not studied in the 
country itself. I have [19] seen some of those nut trees 
which, by the leaves and blossom, appeared of the same 
species, when the shells and nuts seemed to class them 
differently. I have, on the contrary, seen others where 
the leaves and blossoms were absolutely different, and the 
fruit perfectly analogous. It is true there are some, where 
the fruit and blossom are systematically regular at the 
same time, but very few. This numerous species of nut 
trees is not confined to the United States; it is remarked 
in every part of North America from the northern extrem- 
ity of the United States as far as Mississipi; that is to 
say, an extent of more than eight hundred leagues from 
north to south, and five hundred from east to west. I 
brought over with me some new nuts of six different 
species, which have come up exceedingly well, and which 
appear not to have been yet described. 

I left New York the 8th of June 1802, to go to Phila- 
delphia ; the distance is about a hundred miles. The stages 
make this journey some in a day, others in a day and a 
half; the fare is five piastres each person. At the taverns 
where the stages stop they pay one piaster for dinner, half 
one for supper or breakfast, and the same for a bed. 
The space of ground that separates the two cities is com- 

130 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

pletely [20] cleared, and the farms are contiguous to each 
other. About nine miles from New York is a place called 
Newark, a pretty little town situated in New Jersey. 
The fields that encompass it are planted with apple trees; 
the cyder that is made there is accounted the best in the 
United States; however, I conceived it by far inferior to 
that of Saint Lo, Coutance, or Bayeux. Among the other 
small towns by the road side, Trenton seemed worthy of 
attention. Its situation upon the Delaware, the beauti- 
ful tract of country that surrounds it, must render it a 
most delightful place of abode. 

Philadelphia is situated upon the Delaware, a hundred 
miles distant from the sea; at this period the most exten- 
sive, the handsomest, and most populous city of the United 
States. In my opinion, there is not one upon the old con- 
tinent built upon so regular a plan. The streets cut each 
other at right angles, and are from forty to fifty feet in 
breadth, except the middle one, which is twice as broad. 
The market is built in this street, and is remarkable for its 
extent and extreme cleanliness; it is in the centre of the 
town, and occupies nearly one-third of its length. The 
streets are paved commodiously before the houses with 
brick; pumps erected on both sides, about [21] fifty 
yards distant from each other, afford an abundant supply 
of water; upon the top of each is a brilliant lamp. Several 
streets are planted with Italian poplars of a most beauti- 
ful growth, which makes the houses appear elegantly 

The population of Philadelphia is always on the in- 
crease; in 1749, there were eleven thousand inhabitants; 
in 1785, forty thousand; and now the number is com- 
puted to be about seventy thousand. The few Negroes 
that are there are free, the greatest part of whom go out 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels i 3 1 

to service. Provisions are not quite so dear at Philadel- 
phia as New York; on which account the boarding houses 
do not charge more than from six to ten piastres per week. 
You never meet any poor at Philadelphia, not a creature 
wearing the aspect of misery in his face; that distressing 
spectacle, so common in European cities, is unknown in 
America; love, industry, the want of sufficient hands, the 
scarcity of workmanship, an active commerce, property, 
are the direct causes that contend against the introduc- 
tion of beggary, whether in town or country. 

During my stay at Philadelphia, I had an opportunity 
of seeing the Rev. Dr. Collin, minister of the Swedish 
church, and president of the Philosophical [22] Society; 
Mr. John Vaughan, the secretary; Messrs. Piles, John and 
William Bartram. 5 These different gentlemen had for- 
merly been particularly acquainted with my father, and I 
received from them every mark of attention and respect. 
Mr. Piles has a beautiful cabinet of natural history. The 
legislature of Pensylvania have presented him with a 
place to arrange it in; that is the only encouragement he 
has received. He is continually employed in enriching it 
by increasing the number of his correspondents in Europe, 
as well as in the remote parts of the United States; still, 
except a bison, I saw nothing in his collection but what 
may be found in the Museum at Paris. 

6 Dr. Nicholas Collin was one of the most prominent members of the Philo- 
sophical Society, elected in 1789, dying in 183 1. It is a curious mistake of 
Michaux's to call him president, at a time when Jefferson held this position. 
Dr. Collin was often acting chairman, and had been chairman of the com- 
mittee for raising funds for the elder Michaux's proposed Western exploration 

Dr. John Vaughan was treasurer and librarian of the Society for many 

The Bartrams were famous botanists of Philadelphia, whom the elder 
Michaux frequently visited. See ante, p. 97, note 177. — Ed. 

132 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The absence of Mr. W. Hamilton deprived me of the 
pleasure of seeing him; notwithstanding, I went into his 
magnificent garden, situated upon the borders of the 
Schuylkill, about four miles from Philadelphia. His 
collection of exotics is immense, and remarkable for 
plants from New Holland; all the trees and shrubs of the 
United States, at least those that could stand the winter 
at Philadelphia, after being once removed from then- 
native soil; in short, it would be almost impossible to find 
a more agreeable situation than the residence of Mr. W. 
Hamilton. 6 

[23] CHAP. Ill 
Departure from Philadelphia to the Western Country. — 
Communications by land in the United States. — Arrival 
at Lancaster. — Description oj the town and its environs. 
— Departure. — Columbia. — Passage jrom Susquehan- 
nah, York, Dover, Carlisle. — Arrival at Shippens- 
burgh. — Remarks upon the state oj agriculture during 
the journey. 

The states of Kentucky, Tennessea, and Ohio com- 
prise that vast extent of country known in America by the 
name of the Western Country. Almost all the Europeans 
who have published observations upon the United States, 
have been pleased to say, according to common report, 
that this part of the country is very fertile; but they have 
never entered into the least particulars. It is true that, 
to reach these new settlements, one is obliged to travel 
over a considerable tract of uninhabited country, and 
that [24] these journies are tedious, painful, and afford 
nothing very interesting to travellers who wish to describe 

8 The gardens of William Hamilton were at this time the most famous in 
the United States. They now form part of Woodlawn cemetery, West Phila- 
delphia, where some rare trees planted by him still exist. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels i 3 3 

the manners of the people who reside in the town or most 
populous parts; but as natural history, and more espe- 
cially vegetable productions, with the state of agriculture, 
were the chief object of my researches; my business was 
to avoid the parts most known, in order to visit those 
which had been less explored; consequently, I resolved 
to undertake the journey to that remote and almost isolated 
part of the country. I had nearly two thousand miles 
to travel over before my return to Charleston, where I 
was to be absolutely about the beginning of October. 
My journey had likewise every appearance of being 
retarded by a thousand common-place obstacles, which 
is either impossible to foresee, or by any means prevent. 
These considerations, however, did not stop me; accord- 
ingly I fixed my departure from Philadelphia on the 27th 
of June 1802: I had not the least motive to proceed on 
slowly, in order to collect observations already confirmed 
by travellers who had written before me on that subject ; 
this very reason induced me to take the most expeditious 
means for the purpose of reaching Pittsburgh, situated 
at the extremity of Ohio; in consequence of which I took 
[25] the stage 7 at Philadelphia, that goes to Shippens- 
burgh by Lancaster, York, and Carlisle. Shippensburgh, 
about one hundred and forty miles from Philadelphia, is 
the fa rthest place that the stages go to upon that road. 8 

7 Till the year 1802, the stages that set out at Philadelphia did not go farther 
South than to Petersburg in Virginia, which is about three hundred miles from 
Philadelphia; but in the month of March of that year, a new line of correspond- 
ence was formed between the latter city and Charleston. The journey is about 
a fortnight, the distance fifteen hundred miles, and the fare fifty piastres. There 
are stages also between Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as well as between 
Charleston and Savannah, in Georgia, so that from Boston to Savannah, a 
distance of twelve hundred miles, persons may travel by the stages. — F. A. 

8 For historical sketch of Shippensburg, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, p. 238, note 76. — Ed. 

I 34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

It is reckoned sixty miles from Philadelphia to Lan- 
caster, where I arrived the same day in the afternoon. 
The road is kept in good repair by the means of turn- 
pikes, fixed at a regular distance from each other. Nearly 
the whole of the way the houses are almost close together; 
every proprietor to his enclosure. Throughout the United 
States all the land that is cultivated is fenced in, to keep 
it from the cattle and quadrupeds of every kind that the 
inhabitants leave the major part of the year in the woods, 
which in that respect are free. Near towns or villages 
these [26] enclosures are made with posts, fixed in the 
ground about twelve feet from each other, containing five 
mortises, at the distance of eight or nine inches, in which 
are fitted long spars about four or five inches in diameter, 
similar to the poles used by builders for making scaffolds. 
The reason of their enclosing thus is principally through 
economy, as it takes up but very little wood, which is 
extremely dear in the environs of the Northern cities; but 
in the interior of the country, and in the Southern states, 
the enclosures are made with pieces of wood of equal 
length, placed one above the other, disposed in a zig-zag 
form, and supported by their extremities, which cross and 
interlace each other; the enclosures appear to be about 
seven feet in height. In the lower part of the Carolines 
they are made of fir; in the other parts of the country, 
and throughout the North, they are comprised of oak 
and walnut-tree ; they are said to last about five and twenty 
years when kept in good repair. 

The tract of country we have to cross, before we get 
to Lancaster, is exceedingly fertile and productive; the 
fields are covered with wheat, rye, and oats, which is a 
proof that the soil is better than that between New York 
and Philadelphia. The inns are very [27] numerous on 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 135 

the road; in almost all of them they speak German. My 
fellow travellers being continually thirsty, made the stage 
stop at every inn to drink a glass or two of grog. This 
beverage, which is generally used in the United States, is a 
mixture of brandy and water, or rum and water, the pro- 
portion of which depends upon the person's taste. 

Lancaster is situated in a fertile and well-cultivated 
plain. The town is built upon a regular plan; the houses, 
elevated two stories, are all of brick; the two principal 
streets are paved as at Philadelphia. The population 
is from four to five thousand inhabitants, almost all of 
German origin, and various sects; each to his particular 
church; that of the Roman Catholics is the least numerous. 
The inhabitants are for the most part armourers, hat- 
ters, saddlers, and coopers; the armourers of Lancaster 
have been long esteemed for the manufacturing of rifle- 
barrelled guns, the only arms that are used by the inhabi- 
tants of the interior part of the country, and the Indian 
nations that border on the frontiers of the United States. 

At Lancaster I formed acquaintance with Mr. Mul- 
henberg, a Lutheran minister, who, for twenty years past, 
had applied himself to botany. He shewed [28] me the 
manuscript concerning a Flora Lancastriensis . The 
number of the species described were upwards of twelve 
hundred. Mr. Mulhenberg is very communicative, and 
more than once he expressed to me the pleasure it would 
give him to be on terms of intimacy with the French 
botanists; he corresponds regularly with Messrs. Wilde- 
now and Smith. 9 I met at Lancaster Mr. W. Hamilton, 

9 Gotthilf Heinrich Ernest Muhlenberg was a brother of General Muhien- 
burg of Revolutionary fame, and grandson of Conrad Weiser. He was bom in 
Pennsylvania in 1753, educated at Halle, Germany, and on his return to Ameri- 
ca in 1774 was ordained as a Lutheran clergyman. He served charges in New 
Jersey and Philadelphia until 1779, when he settled at Lancaster, where he 

136 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

whose magnificent garden I had an opportunity of seeing 
near Philadelphia. This amateur was very intimate 
with my father; and I can never forget the marks of 
benevolence that I received from him and Mr. Mulhen- 
berg, as well as the concern they both expressed for the 
success of the long journey I had undertaken. 

On the 27th of June I set out from Lancaster for Ship- 
pensburgh. There were only four of us in the stage, which 
was fitted up to hold twelve passengers. Columbia, 
situated upon the Susquehannah, is the first town that we 
arrived at; it is composed of about fifty houses, scattered 
here and there, and almost all built with wood; at this 
place ends the turnpike road. 

It is not useless to observe here, that in the United States 
they give often the name of town to a group of seven 
or eight houses, and that the mode of constructing them 
is not the same everywhere. At [29] Philadelphia the 
houses are built " with brick. In the other towns and 
country places that surround them, the half, and even 
frequently the whole, is built with wood; but at places 
within seventy or eighty miles of the sea, in the central 
and southern states, and again more particularly in those 
situated to the Westward of the Alleghany Mountains, 
one third of the inhabitants reside in log houses. These 
dwellings are made with the trunks of trees, from twenty 
to thirty feet in length, about five inches diameter, placed 
one upon another, and kept up by notches cut at their 
extremities. The roof is formed with pieces of similar 
length to those that compose the body of the house, but 
not quite so thick, and gradually sloped on each side. 

remained until his death in 1807. He was much interested in botany, and 
devoted all his leisure to that pursuit, being a member of the American Philo- 
sophical Society, and, as Michaux notes, in correspondence with many scien- 
tists. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 137 

Two doors, which often supply the place of windows, are 
made by sawing away a part of the trunks that form the 
body of the house; the chimney, always placed at one of 
the extremities, is likewise made with the trunks of trees 
of a suitable length; the back of the chimney is made of 
clay, about six inches thick, which separates the fire from 
the wooden walls. Notwithstanding this want of pre- 
caution, fires very seldom happen in the country places. 
The space between these trunks of trees is filled up with 
clay, but so very carelessly, that the [30] light may be 
seen through in every part; in consequence of which 
these huts are exceedingly cold in winter, notwithstanding 
the amazing quantity of wood that is burnt. The doors 
move upon wooden hinges, and the greater part of them 
have no locks. In the night time they only push them 
to, or fasten them with a wooden peg. Four or five days 
are sufficient for two men to finish one of these houses, 
in which not a nail is used. Two great beds receive the 
whole family. It frequently happens that in summer the 
children sleep upon the ground, in a kind of rug. The 
floor is raised from one to two feet above the surface of 
the ground, and boarded. They generally make use of 
feather beds, or feathers alone, and not mattresses. 
Sheep being very scarce, the wool is very dear; at the 
same time they reserve it to make stockings. The clothes 
belonging to the family are hung up round the room, or 
suspended upon a long pole. 

At Columbia the Susquehannah is nearly a quarter of a 
mile in breadth. We crossed it in a ferry-boat. At that 
time it had so little water in it, that we could easily see 
the bottom. The banks of this river were formed by 
lofty and majestic hills, and the bosom of it is strewed 
with little islands, which [31] seem to divide it into several 

i 3 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

streams. Some of them do not extend above five or six 
acres at most, and still they are as lofty as the surrounding 
hills. Their irregularity, and the singular forms that 
they present, render this situation picturesque and truly 
remarkable, more especially at that season of the year, 
when the trees were in full vegetation. 

About a mile from Susquehannah I observed an 
annona triloba, the fruit of which is tolerably good, 
although insipid. When arrived at maturity it is nearly 
the size of a common egg. According to the testimony 
of Mr. Mulhenberg this shrub grows in the environs of 

About twelve miles from Columbia is a little town called 
York, the houses of which are not so straggling as many 
others, and are principally built with brick. The inhabi- 
tants are computed to be upward of eighteen hundred, 
most of them of German origin, and none speak English. 
About six miles from York we passed through Dover, com- 
posed of twenty or thirty log-houses, erected here and 
there. The stage stopped at the house of one M'Logan, 
who keeps a miserable inn fifteen miles from York. 10 
That day we travelled only thirty or forty miles. 

Inns are very numerous in the United States, and [32] 
especially in the little towns; yet almost everywhere, 
except in the principal towns, they are very bad, notwith- 
standing rum, brandy, and whiskey 11 are in plenty. In 

10 The town of Columbia was situated at what was known as Wright's 
Ferry, one of the oldest crossing places on the Susquehanna. 

Michaux's father was at York, July 18, 1789, and describes it as "a pretty 
enough little town situated at 59 miles from Fredericksburg (Md.). The 
country appears to me to be but little cultivated in the environs. The inhabi- 
tants are Germans as well as in Pennsylvania. They are generally very labori- 
ous and very industrious.' ' On his later journey he does not describe this place, 
see ante, p. 50. — Ed. 

11 They give the name of whiskey, in the United States, to a sort of brandy 
made with rye. — F. A. Michaux. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 139 

fact, in houses of the above description all kinds of spirits 
are considered the most material, as they generally meet 
with great consumption. Travellers wait in common till 
the family go to meals. At breakfast they make use of 
very indifferent tea, and coffee still worse, with small 
slices of ham fried in the stove, to which they sometimes 
add eggs and a broiled chicken. At dinner they give 
a piece of salt beef and roasted fowls, and rum and water 
as a beverage. In the evening, coffee, tea, and ham. 
There are always several beds in the rooms where you 
sleep; seldom do you meet with clean sheets. Fortu- 
nate is the traveller who arrives on the day they happen 
to be changed; although an American would be quite 
indifferent about it. 

Early on the 28th of June we reached Carlisle, situated 
about fifty-four miles from Lancaster. The town con- 
sists of about two hundred houses, a few of them built 
with brick, but by far the greatest part [33] with wood. 
Upon the whole it has a respectable appearance, from a 
considerable number of large shops and warehouses. 
These receptacles are supplied from the interior parts of 
the country with large quantities of jewellery, mercery, 
spices, &c. The persons who keep those shops purchase 
and also barter with the country people for the produce 
of their farms, which they afterwards send off to the sea- 
port towns for exportation. 

From M'Logan's inn to Carlisle the country is barren 
and mountainous, in consequence of which the houses are 
not so numerous on the road, being at a distance of two 
or three miles from each other; and out of the main road 
they are still more straggling. The white, red, and black 
oaks, the chesnut, and maple trees are those most com- 
mon in the forests. Upon the summit of the hills we ob- 

140 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

served the quercus banisteri. From Carlisle to Shippens- 
burgh the country continues mountainous, and is not 
much inhabited, being also barren and uncultivated. 

We found but very few huts upon the road, and those, 
from their miserable picture, clearly announced that their 
inhabitants were in but a wretched state; as from every 
appearance of their approaching [34] harvest it could only 
afford them a scanty subsistence. 

The coach stopped at an inn called the General Wash- 
ington, at Shippensburgh, kept by one Colonel Ripey, 
whose character is that of being very obliging to all 
travellers that may happen to stop at his house on their 
tour to the western countries. Shippensburgh has 
scarcely seventy houses in it. The chief of its trade is 
dealing in corn and flour. When I left this place, a bar- 
rel of flour, weighing ninety-six pounds, was worth five 

From Shippensburgh to Pittsburgh the distance is 
about an hundred and seventy miles. 12 The stages going 
no farther, a person must either travel the remainder of 
the road on foot, or purchase horses. There are always 
some to be disposed of; but the natives, taking advantage 
of travellers thus situated, make them pay more than dou- 
ble their value; and when you arrive at Pittsburgh, on 
your return, you can only sell them for one half of what 
they cost. I could have wished, for the sake of economy, 
to travel the rest of the way on foot, but from the obser- 

12 Michaux travelled to Pittsburg by way of the Pennsylvania state road 
which was laid out and built 1785-87, following in the main the road cut for 
Forbes's army in 1758. This was the most important thoroughfare to the West, 
until the Cumberland national road was built; and even afterwards a large 
share of the traffic went this way. For a description of travel about this period 
see McMaster, History of People of United States (New York, 1895), vol. iv, 
chap. 33; and Albert, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (Phila- 
delphia, 1882), chap. 35. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 141 

vations I had heard I was induced to buy a horse, in con- 
junction with an American officer with whom I came 
in the stage, and who was also going to Pittsburgh. 
We agreed to ride alternately. 

[35] CHAP. IV 
Departure from Ship pen sburgh to Strasburgh — Journey 
over the Blue Ridges — New species of Rhododendrum 
— Passage over the river Juniata — Use 0} the Cones 
of the Magnolia Acuminata — Arrival at Bedford 
Court House — Excesses to which the Natives of that 
part of the Country are addicted — Departure from 
Bedford — Journey over Alleghany Ridge and Laurel 
Hill — Arrival at West Liberty Town. 

On the morning of the 30th of June we left Shippens- 
burgh, and arrived at twelve o'clock at Strasburgh, being 
a distance of ten miles. This town consists of about 
forty log-houses, and is situated at the foot of the first 
chain of Blue Ridges. The tract of country you have 
to cross before you get there, although uneven, is much 
better ; and you have a view of several plantations tolerably 
well [36] cultivated. After having taken a moment's 
repose at Strasburgh, we pursued our journey notwith- 
standing the heat, which was excessive, and ascended the 
first ridge by an extremely steep and rocky path. We 
reached the summit after three quarters of an hour's 
difficult walking, and crossed two other ridges of nearly 
the same height, and which follow the same direction. 
These three ridges form two little valleys, the first of 
which presents several small huts built on the declivity; 
in the second, which is rather more extensive, is situated 
a town called Fenetsburgh, composed of about thirty 
houses, which stand on both sides of the road ; the plan- 

1 4 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

tations that surround them are about twenty in number, 
each of which is composed of from two to three 
hundred acres of woody land, of which, from the 
scarcity of hands, there are seldom more than a few 
acres cleared. In this part of Pensylvania every individ- 
ual is content with cultivating a sufficiency for himself 
and family; and according as that is more or less numer- 
ous the parts so cleared are more or less extensive ; whence 
it follows, that the larger family a man has capable of 
assisting him, the greater independence he enjoys; this 
is one of the principal [37] causes of the rapid progress 
that population makes in the United States. 

This day we travelled only six-and-twenty miles, and 
slept at Fort Littleton, about six miles from Strasburg, 
at the house of one Colonel Bird, who keeps a good inn. 
From Shippensburgh the mountains are very flinty, and 
the soil extremely bad ; the trees of an indifferent growth, 
and particularly the white oak that grows upon the sum- 
mit, and the calmia lati folia on the other parts. 

The next day we set out very early in the morning to 
go to Bedford Court House. From Fort Littleton to the 
river Juniata we found very few plantations; nothing but 
a succession of ridges, the spaces between which were filled 
up with a number of little hills. Being on the summit of 
one of these lofty ridges, the inequality of this group of 
mountains, crowned with innumerable woods, and over- 
shadowing the earth, it afforded nearly the same picture 
that the troubled sea presents after a dreadful storm. 

Two miles before you come to the river Juniata, the 
road is divided into two branches, which meet again at 
the river side. The right leads across the mountains, 
and the left, which we took, appeared to [38] have been, 
and may be still the bed of a deep torrent, the ground 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 143 

being wet and marshy. The banks were covered with 
the andromeda, vaccinium, and more particularly with a 
species of rhododendrum, that bears a flower of the clear- 
est white ; the fibres of the stamina are also white, and the 
leaves more obtuse, and not so large as the rhododendrum 
maximum. This singular variation must of course admit 
its being classed under a particular species. I discovered 
this beautiful shrub a second time on the mountains of 
North Carolina. Its seeds were at that time ripe, and I 
carried some of them over with me to France, which came 
up exceedingly well. The river Juniata was not, in that 
part, above thirty or forty fathoms broad, and in conse- 
quence of the tide being very low, we forded it; still, the 
greatest part of the year people cross it in a ferry-boat. 
Its banks are lofty and very airy. The magnolia acumi- 
nata is very common in the environs; it is known in the 
country by the name of the cucumber tree. The inhabi- 
tants of the remote parts of Pensylvania, Virginia, and 
even the western countries, pick the cones when green to 
infuse in whiskey, which gives it a pleasant bitter. This 
bitter is very much esteemed in the country as a preven- 
tive against intermittent [39] fevers; but I have my doubts 
whether it would be so generally used if it had the same 
qualities when mixed with water. 

From the crossing of the river Juniata to Bedford Court 
House, the country, although mountainous, is still better, 
and more inhabited, than that we travelled over from 
Shippensburgh. The plantations, although seldom in 
sight of each other, are near enough to give a more ani- 
mated appearance to the country. We arrived at Bed- 
ford in the dusk of the evening, and took lodgings at an 
inn, the landlord of which was an acquaintance of the 
American officer with whom I was travelling. His house 

144 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

was commodious, and elevated one story above the ground 
floor, which is very rare in that part of the country. The 
day of our arrival was a day of rejoicing for the country 
people, who had assembled together in this little town 
to celebrate the suppression of the tax laid upon the 
whiskey distilleries; rather an arbitrary tax, that had dis- 
affected the inhabitants of the interior against the late 
president, Mr. Adams. 13 The public houses, inns, and 
more especially the one where we lodged, were filled with 
the lower class of people, who made the most dreadful 
riot, and committed such horrible excesses, that [40] 
is almost impossible to form the least idea of. The 
rooms, stairs, and yard were strewed with drunken men; 
and those who had still the power of speech uttered 
nothing but the accents of rage and fury. A passion for 
spirituous liquors is one of the features that characterise 
the country people belonging to the interior of the United 
States. This passion is so strong, that they desert their 
homes every now and then to get drunk in public houses; 
in fact, I do not conceive there are ten out of a hundred 
who have resolution enough to desist from it a moment 
provided they had it by them, notwithstanding their 
usual beverage in summer is nothing but water, or sour 
milk. They care very little for cyder, which they find 
too weak. Their dislike to this wholesome and pleasant 
beverage is the more distressing as they might easily 
procure it at a very trifling expense, for apple trees of 
every kind grow to wonderful perfection in this country. 
This is a remark which I have made towards the east 
as well as the west of the Alleghany Mountains, where I 

13 Michaux refers here to the excise tax that led to the "Whiskey Rebellion" 
in this part of Pennsylvania. Its repeal was one of the first financial measures 
of Jefferson's administration, and had occurred at the session of Congress in 
the spring of 1802. — Ed. 

1802] i 7 . A. Michaux's Travels 145 

have known lofty trees spring up from kernels, which 
bore apples from eight to nine inches in circumference. 

At Bedford there are scarce a hundred and twenty 
houses in the whole, and those but of a miserable [41] 
appearance, most of them being built of wood. This 
little town, like all the rest on that road, trades in all 
kinds of corn, flour, &c. which, with salt provisions, are 
the only articles they sell for exportation. During the 
war, in the time of the French revolution, the inhabitants 
found it more to their advantage to send their corn, &c. 
to Pittsburgh, there to be sent by the Ohio and Mississippi 
to New Orleans, or embark them for the Carribbees, 
than to send them to Philadelphia or Baltimore; notwith- 
standing it is not computed to be more than two hundred 
miles from Bedford to Philadelphia, and a hundred and 
fifty from Bedford to Baltimore, whilst the distance from 
Bedford to New Orleans is about two thousand two 
hundred miles; viz. a hundred miles by land to Pittsburgh, 
and two thousand one hundred miles by water from 
Pittsburgh to the mouth of the Mississippi. It is evident, 
according to this calculation, that the navigation of the 
Ohio and Mississippi is very easy, and by far less expen- 
sive, since it compensates for the enormous difference 
that exists between those two distances. The situation 
of New Orleans, with respect to the Carribbees, by this 
rule, gives this town the most signal advantage over all 
the ports eastward of the United States; and in propor- 
tion as [42 ] the new western states increase in population, 
New Orleans will become the centre of an immense com- 
merce. Other facts will still rise up to the support of this 

On the following day (the 1st of July) we left Bedford 
very early in the morning. The heat was excessive; the 

146 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

ridges that we had perpetually to climb, and the little 
mountains that rise between these ridges, rendered the 
journey extremely difficult; we travelled no more than 
six-and-twenty miles this day. About four miles from 
Bedford the road divides into two different directions; we 
took the left, and stopped to breakfast with a miller who 
keeps a public house. We found a man there lying upon 
the ground, wrapt up in a blanket, who on the preceding 
evening had been bitten by a rattle-snake. The first 
symptoms that appeared, about an hour after the acci- 
dent, were violent vomitings, which was succeeded by a 
raging fever. When I saw him first his leg and thigh 
were very much swelled, his respiration very laborious, 
and his countenance turgescent, and similar to that of a 
person attacked with the hydrophobia whom I had an 
opportunity of seeing at Charite. I put several questions 
to him; but he was so absorbed that it was impossible to 
obtain [43] the least answer from him. I learnt from some 
persons in the house that immediately after the bite, the 
juice of certain plants had been applied to the wound, 
waiting the doctor's arrival, who lived fifteen or twenty 
miles off. Those who do not die with it are always very 
sickly, and sensible to the changes of the atmosphere. 
The plants made use of against the bite are very numer- 
ous, and almost all succulent. There are a great many 
rattle-snakes in these mountainous parts of Pensylvania; 
we found a great number of them killed upon the road. 
In the warm and dry season of the year they come out 
from beneath the rocks, and inhabit those places where 
there is water. 

On that same day we crossed the ridge which takes 
more particularly the name of Alleghany Ridges. The 
road we took was extremely rugged, and covered with 

1802] F. A. Mi c /mux's Travels 147 

enormous stones. We attained the summit after two 
hours painful journey. It is truly astonishing how 
the vehicles of conveyance pass over so easily, and with 
so few accidents this multitude of steep hills or ridges, 
that uninterruptedly follow in succession from Shippens- 
burgh to Pittsburgh, and where the spaces between each 
are filled up with an infinity of small mountains of a less 

[44] Alleghany Ridge is the most elevated link in Pen- 
sylvania; on its summit are two log-houses, very indiffer- 
ently constructed, about three miles distant from each 
other, which serve as public houses. These were the only 
habitations we met with on the road from Bedford; the 
remaining part of the country is uninhabited. We stopped 
at the second, kept by one Chatlers, tolerably well sup- 
plied with provisions for the country, as they served us 
up for dinner slices of ham and venison fried on the hearth, 
with a kind of muffins made of flour, which they baked 
before the fire upon a little board. 

Notwithstanding a very heavy fall of rain, we went to 
sleep that day at Stanley Town, a small place, which, 
like all those in that part of Pensylvania, is built upon a 
hill. It is composed of about fifty houses, the half of 
which are log-houses; among the rest are a few inns, and 
two or three shops, supplied from Philadelphia; the dis- 
tance is about seven miles from Chatler's; the country 
that separates them is very fertile, and abounds with 
trees of the highest elevation; those most prevalent in 
the woods are the white, red, and black oaks, the beech, 
tulip, and magnolia acuminata. 

The horse we bought at Shippensburgh, and which [45] 
we rode alternately, was very much fatigued, in conse- 
quence of which we travelled but very little farther than 

148 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

if we had been on foot; in the mean time the American 
officer, my companion, was in haste to arrive at Pitts- 
burgh, to be present at the fete of the 4th of July in com- 
memoration of the American independence. In order 
to gain a day, he hired a horse at Stanley Town, with 
which we crossed Laurel Hill, a distance of four miles. 
The direction of this ridge is parallel with those we had 
left behind us; the woods which cover it are more tufted, 
and the vegetation appears more lively. The name 
given to this mountain I have no doubt proceeds from 
the great quantity of calmia latifolia, from eight to ten 
feet high, which grows exclusively in all the vacant 
places, and that of the rhododendrum maximum, which 
enamel the borders of the torrents; for the inhabitants 
call the rhododendrum laurel as frequently as the calmia 
latifolia. Some describe the latter shrub by the name of 
the colico-tree, the leaves of which, they say, are a very 
subtle poison to sheep, who die almost instantaneously 
after eating them. At the foot of Laurel Hill begins the 
valley of Ligonier, in which is situated, about a quarter of 
a mile from the mountain, West Liberty Town, composed 
[46] of eighteen or twenty log-houses. The soil of this 
valley appears extremely fertile. It is very near this place 
that the French, formerly masters of Canada, built Fort 
Ligonier, as every part of the United States west of the 
Alleghany Mountains depended on Canada or Louisiana. 14 

14 Michaux is in error in saying that the French built Fort Ligonier. He 
was probably misled by the name. It was named for Sir John Ligonier, com- 
mander-in-chief of the land-forces of Great Britain (1751), and erected on 
Loyalhanna Creek, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, during the advance 
of Forbes's army (1758). Fort Ligonier was thrice attacked, once after Grant's 
defeat (October 12, 1758), and in the following June by a party of French and 
Indians. During Pontiac's War, it endured a long siege, being relieved in 
August, 1763. This outpost served to protect the frontier during the Revolu- 
tion, after which it was no longer garrisoned. General St. Clair made his later 
home at this place, dying here in 1818. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 149 

[47] CHAP. V 

Departure from West Liberty Town to go among the 
Mountains in search of a Shrub supposed to give good 
Oil, a new Species of Azalea. — Ligonier Valley. — 
Coal Mines. — Greensburgh. — Arrival at Pittsburgh. 

On my journey to Lancaster Mr. W. Hamilton had 
informed me that at a short distance from West Liberty 
Town, and near the plantation of Mr. Patrick Archibald, 
there grew a shrub, the fruit of which he had been told 
produced excellent oil. Several persons at New York 
and Philadelphia had heard the same, and entertained a 
hope that, cultivated largely, it might turn to general 
advantage. In fact, it would have been a treasure to 
find a shrub which, to the valuable qualities of the olive- 
tree, united that of enduring the cold of the most northern 
countries. Induced by these motives, I left my [48] 
travelling companion to go amongst the mountains in 
quest of the shrub. About two miles from West Liberty 
Town I passed by Probes's Furnace, a foundry estab- 
lished by a Frenchman from Alsace, who manufactures 
all kinds of vessels in brass and copper; the largest con- 
tain about two hundred pints, which are sent into Ken- 
tucky and Tennessea, where they use them for the prepa- 
ration of salt by evaporation; the smaller ones are des- 
tined for domestic uses. They directed me at the foundry 
which road I was to take, notwithstanding I frequently 
missed my way on account of the roads being more or 
less cut, which lead to different plantations scattered 
about the woods; still I met with the greatest civility 
from the inhabitants, who very obligingly put me in my 
road, and on the same evening I reached Patrick Archi- 
bald's, where I was kindly received after having imparted 
the subject of my visit. One would think that this man, 

150 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

who has a mill and other valuables of his own, might live 
in the greatest comfort; yet he resides in a miserable 
log-house about twenty feet long, subject to the inclem- 
ency of the weather. Four large beds, two of which 
are very low, are placed underneath the others in the 
day-time" and drawn out of an evening [49] into the 
middle of the room, receive the whole family, composed 
of ten persons, and at times strangers, who casually en- 
treat to have a bed. This mode of living, which would 
announce poverty in Europe, is by no means the sign of 
it with them; for in an extent of two thousand miles and 
upward that I have travelled, there is not a single family 
but has milk, butter, salted or dried meat, and Indian 
corn generally in the house; the poorest man has always 
one or more horses, and an inhabitant very rarely goes on 
foot to see his neighbour. 

The day after my arrival I went into the woods, and in 
my first excursion I found the shrub which was at that 
moment the object of my researches. I knew it to be the 
same that my father had discovered fifteen years before 
in the mountains of South Carolina, and which, in despite 
of all the attention he bestowed, he could not bring to any 
perfection in his garden. 15 Mr. W. Hamilton, who had 
received a few seeds and plants of it from that part of 
Pensylvania where I then was, had not been more suc- 
cessful. The seeds grow so soon rancid, that in the 
course of a few days they lose their germinative faculty, 
and contract an uncommon sharpness. This shrub, 
which seldom rises above five feet in [50] height is diocal. 
It grows exclusively on the mountains, and is only found 
in cool and shady places, and where the soil is very fertile. 

16 Professor R. A. Harper, of the University of Wisconsin, thinks this plant 
may have been some variety of 'sumac (rhus). — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels i 5 1 

Its roots, of a citron colour, do not divide, but extend 
horizontally to a great distance, and give birth to several 
shoots, which very seldom grow more than eighteen 
inches high. The roots and the bark rubbed together, 
produce an unpleasant smell. I commissioned my land- 
lord to gather half a bushel of seed, and send it to Mr. 
William Hamilton, giving him the necessary precaution 
to keep it fresh. — On the banks of the creek where Mr. 
Archibald's mill is erected, and along the rivulets in the 
environs, grows a species of the azalea, which was then 
in full blossom. It rises from twelve to fifteen feet. Its 
flowers, of a beautiful white, and larger than those of the 
other known species, exhale the most delicious perfume. 
The azalea coccinea, on the contrary, grows on the sum- 
mit of the mountains, is of a nasturtium colour, and blows 
two months before. 

Ligonier Valley is reckoned very fertile. Wheat, rye, 
and oats are among its chief productions. Some of the 
inhabitants plant Indian corn upon the summit of the 
mountains, but it does not succeed well, the country 
being too cold. The sun is not [51] seen there for three 
quarters of an hour after it has risen. They also culti- 
vate hemp and flax, and each gathers a sufficient quantity 
of it to supply his domestic wants; and as all the women 
know how to spin and weave, they supply themselves and 
family, by this means, with linen. The price of land is 
from one to two piastres an acre. The taxes are very 
moderate, and no complaints are ever made against 
them. In this part of the United States, as well as in all 
mountainous countries, the air is very wholesome. I 
have seen men there upward of seventy-five years of age, 
which is very rare in the Atlantic states situated south of 
Pennsylvania. During my travels in this country the 

I 5 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

measles were very prevalent. At the invitation of my 
host I went to see several of his relatives and friends that 
were attacked with it. I found them all drinking whiskey, 
to excite perspiration. I advised them a decoction of the 
leaves of the viscous elm, with the addition of a spoonful 
of vinegar to a pint, and an ounce of sugar of maple. In 
consequence of the country being poor, and the popula- 
tion not very numerous, there are but few medical men 
there; and in cases of necessity they have to go twenty 
or thirty miles to fetch them. 

[52] On the 4th of July I left Archibald's, and posted 
on toward Greensburgh, which is about eleven miles 
from it. I had not gone far before I had to cross Ches- 
nut Ridge, a very steep hill, the summit of which, for an 
extent of two miles, presents nothing but a dry and chalky 
soil, abounding with oaks and chesnut trees, stunted in 
their growth: but as I advanced toward Greensburgh 
the aspect of the country changes, the soil becomes better. 
The plantations, although surrounded with woods, are 
not so far apart as in the valley of Ligonier. The houses 
are much larger, and most of them have two rooms. 
The land better cultivated, the enclosures better formed, 
prove clearly it is a German settlement. With them every 
thing announces ease, the fruit of their assiduity to labour. 
They assist each other in their harvests, live happy among 
themselves, always speak German, and preserve, as 
much as possible, the customs of their ancestors, formerly 
from Europe. They live much better than the American 
descendants of the English, Scotch, and Irish. They are 
not so much addicted to spirituous liquors, and have 
not that wandering mind which often, for the slightest 
motive, prompts them to emigrate several [53] hundred 
miles, in hopes of finding a more fertile soil. 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 153 

Prior to my arrival at Greensburgh 18 I had an oppor- 
tunity of remarking several parts of the woods exclusively 
composed of white oaks, or quercus alba, the foliage of 
which being a lightish green, formed a beautiful contrast 
with other trees of a deeper colour. About a mile from 
the town, and on the borders of a tremendous cavity I 
perceived unequivocal signs of a coal mine. I learnt at 
Greensburgh and Pittsburgh that this substance was so 
common and so easy to procure, that many of the inhabi- 
tants burnt it from economical motives. Not that there 
is a scarcity of wood, the whole country being covered 
with it, but labour is very dear; so that there is not a pro- 
prietor who would not consent to sell a cord of wood for 
half the sum that coals would cost, provided a person 
would go a mile to fell the trees, and take them home. 

Greensburgh contains about a hundred houses. The 
town is built upon the summit of a hill on the road from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The soil of the environs is 
fertile; the inhabitants, who are of German origin, culti- 
vate wheat, rye, and oats with great success. The flour 
is exported at Pittsburgh. 

[54] I lodged at the Seven Stars with one Erbach, who 
keeps a good inn. 17 I there fell into company with a 
traveller who came from the state of Vermont, and 
through necessity we were obliged to sleep in one room. 
Without entering into any explanation relative to the in- 

16 Greensburg was the successor to Hannastown, a place at the crossing of 
Forbes's road, and the Indian trail to Kiskiminitas Creek. The latter was 
made the county seat at the erection of Westmoreland in 1773; but in 1782 was 
totally destroyed by an Indian raid. In 1786, Greensburg was laid out, about 
three miles southwest, as the seat of Westmoreland County; and here the first 
court was held in January, 1787. — Ed. 

17 Horbach's inn was the stopping place for the mail, its proprietor being a 
contractor. It was situated on the corner of Main and East Pittsburg streets, 
Greensburg. — Ed. 

I 5 4 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

tention of our journey, we communicated to each other 
our remarks upon the country that we had just travelled 
over. He had been upward of six hundred miles since 
his departure from his place of residence, and I had been 
four hundred since I left New York. He proposed ac- 
companying me to Pittsburgh. I observed to him that I 
was on foot, and gave him my reasons for it, as it is very 
uncommon in America to travel in that manner, the poorest 
inhabitant possessing always one, and even several horses. 

From Greensburgh to Pittsburgh it is computed to be 
about thirty-two miles. The road that leads to it is very 
mountainous. To avoid the heat, and to accelerate my 
journey, I set out at four in the morning. I had no trou- 
ble in getting out of the house, the door being only on the 
latch. At the inns in small towns, on the contrary, they 
are extremely careful in locking the stables, as horse- 
stealers are by no means uncommon in certain parts of the 
[55] United States; and this is one of the accidents to 
which travellers are the most exposed, more especially in 
the southern states and in the western countries, where 
they are sometimes obliged to sleep in the woods. It 
also frequently happens that they steal them from the 
inhabitants; at the same time nothing is more easy, as 
the horses are, in one part of the year, turned out in the 
forests, and in the spring they frequently stray many 
miles from home; but on the slightest probability of the 
road the thief has taken, the plundered inhabitant vigor- 
ously pursues him, and frequently succeeds in taking him ; 
upon which he confines him in the county prison, or, 
which is not uncommon, kills him on the spot. In the 
different states the laws against horse-stealing are very 
severe, and this severity appears influenced by the great 
facility the country presents for committing the crime. 

I had travelled about fifteen miles when I was over- 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 155 

taken by an American gentleman whom I had met the 
preceding evening at Greensburgh. Although he was 
on horseback, he had the politeness to slacken his pace, 
and I accompanied him to Pittsburgh. This second 
interview made us more intimately acquainted. He in- 
formed me that his intention [56] was to go by the side of 
the Ohio. Having the same design, I entertained a 
wish to travel with him, and more so, as he was not an 
amateur of whiskey; being compelled, by the heat of the 
weather, frequently to halt at the inns, which are tolerably 
numerous, I had observed that he drank very little of that 
liquor in water, and that he gave a preference to sour 
milk, whenever it could be procured. 18 In that respect 
he differed from the American officer with whom I had 
travelled almost all the way from Shippensburgh. 

About ten miles from Greensburgh, on the left, is a 
road that cuts off more than three miles, but which is 
only passable for persons on foot or on horseback. We 
took it, and in the course of half an hour perceived the 
river Monongahela, which we coasted till within a short 
distance of Pittsburgh. A tremendous shower obliged 
us to take shelter in a house about a hundred fathoms 
from the river. The owner having recognized us to be 
strangers, informed us that it was on that very spot that 
the French, in the seven years' war, had completely de- 
feated General Braddock; and he also showed us several 
trees that are still damaged by the balls. 19 

We reached Pittsburgh at a very early hour, when [57] 
I took up my residence with a Frenchman named Marie, 

18 These last sentences result from a faulty translation of the French. Mi- 
chaux stated that the gentleman's intention was to descend the Ohio, and that 
he was not fond of whiskey. — Ed. 

18 For a description of the present appearance of Braddock's battle-field, 
see Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio (New York, 1897, and Chicago, 1903), p. 
17; also "A Day on Braddock's Road," in How George Rogers Clark won the 
Northwest (Chicago, 1903). — Ed. 

156 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

who keeps a respectable inn. What pleased me most 
was my having accomplished my journey, as I began to 
be fatigued with travelling over so mountainous a country ; 
for during an extent of about a hundred and eighty miles, 
which I had travelled almost entirely on foot, I do not 
think I walked fifty fathoms without either ascending or 

[58] CHAP. VI 
Description of Pittsburgh. — Commerce of the Town and 
adjacent Countries with New Orleans. — Construction 
of large Vessels. — Description of the Rivers Mononga- 
hela and Alleghany. — Towns situated on their Banks. — 
Agriculture. — Maple Sugar. 

Pittsburgh is situated at the conflux of the rivers 
Monongahela and Alleghany, the uniting of which forms 
the Ohio. The even soil upon which it is built is not 
more than forty or fifty acres in extent. It is in the form 
of an angle, the three sides of which are enclosed either 
by the bed of the two rivers or by stupendous mountains. 
The houses are principally brick, they are computed to be 
about four hundred, most of which are built upon the 
Monongahela; that side is considered the most commer- 
cial part of the town. As a great number of the houses 
are separated from each other by large spaces, the [59] 
whole surface of the angle is completely taken up. On 
the summit of the angle the French built Fort Duquesne, 
which is now entirely destroyed, and nothing more is 
seen than the vestige of the ditches that surrounded it. 20 

20 Fort Duquesne, built in the summer of 1754 by the French commander 
Contrecceur, and named for the governor of New France, was situated directly 
in the point or angle made by the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. It was 
strengthened, and strongly garrisoned, during the four years which the French 
possessed it; and was evacuated and burned by its commandant, DeLignery, 
on the approach of Forbes's army in November, 1758. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 157 

This spot affords the most pleasing view, produced by the 
perspective of the rivers, overshadowed with forests, and 
especially the Ohio, which flows in a strait line, and, to 
appearance, loses itself in space. 

The air is very salubrious at Pittsburgh and its en- 
virons; intermittent fevers are unknown there, although 
so common in the southern states, neither are they tor- 
mented in the summer with musquitoes. A person may 
subsist there for one-third of what he pays at Philadelphia. 
Two printing-offices have been long established there, 
and, for the amusement of the curious, each publish a 
newspaper weekly. 21 

Pittsburgh has been long considered by the Americans 
as the key to the western country. Thence the federal 
forces were marched against the Indians who opposed the 
former settlement of the Americans in Kentucky, and on 
the banks of the Ohio. However, now the Indian 
nations are repulsed to a considerable distance, and re- 
duced to the impossibility [60] of hurting the most remote 
settlers in the interior of the states; besides, the western 
country has acquired a great mass of population, inso- 
much that there is nothing now at Pittsburgh but a feeble 
garrison, barracked in a fort belonging to the town, on 
the banks of the river Allighany. 22 

However, though this town has lost its importance as a 
military post, it has acquired a still greater one in respect 
to commerce. It serves as a staple for the different sorts 
of merchandise that Philadelphia and Baltimore send, 

21 These newspapers were the Pittsburgh Gazette, founded in 1786; and the 
Commonwealth, a Democratic journal begun about the time of Michaux's 
visit. — Ed. 

72 Michaux here refers to the Indian wars of the Northwest, culminating 
in the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1795, followed by the treaty of Greenville in 
1796. — Ed. 

158 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

in the beginning of spring and autumn, for supplying the 
states of Ohio, Kentucky, and the settlement of Natches. 

The conveyance of merchandise from Philadelphia to 
Pittsburgh is made in large covered waggons, drawn by 
four horses two a-breast. The price of carrying goods 
varies according to the season; but in general it does not 
exceed six piastres the quintal. They reckon it to be 
three hundred miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and 
the carriers generally make it a journey of from twenty to 
twenty-four days. The price of conveyance would not 
be so high as it really is, were it not that the waggons fre- 
quently return empty; notwithstanding they sometimes 
bring back, on their return to Philadelphia or [61] Balti- 
more, fur skins that come from Illinois or Ginseng, which 
is very common in that part of Pensylvania. 

Pittsburgh is not only the staple of the Philadelphia 
and Baltimore trade with the western country, but of the 
numerous settlements that are formed upon the Monon- 
gahela and Alleghany. The territorial produce of that 
part of the country finds an easy and advantageous con- 
veyance by the Ohio and Mississippi. Corn, hams and 
dried pork are the principal articles sent to New Orleans, 
whence they are re-exported into the Carribbees. They 
also export for the consumption of Louisiana, bar-iron, 
coarse linen, bottles manufactured at Pittsburgh, whiskey, 
and salt butter. A great part of these provisions come 
from Redstone, a small commercial town, situated upon 
the Monongahela, about fifty miles beyond Pittsburgh. 23 

23 As early as 1752, the Ohio Company had built a storehouse, called the 
"Hangard," at the mouth of Redstone Creek, and it was described by the 
French officer who (1754) explored that region and burned the English de- 
fenses. After the capture of Fort Duquesne (1758), Bouquet sent Colonel 
James Burd to build a fort at this place, which was named Fort Burd; but it 
was long popularly known as Redstone Old Fort, because of the remains of 
moundbuilding Indians to be seen at this point. The fort was abandoned 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 159 

All these advantages joined together have, within these 
ten years, increased ten-fold the population and price of 
articles in the town, and contribute to its improvements, 
which daily grow more and more rapid. 

The major part of the merchants settled at Pittsburgh, 
or in the environs, are the partners, or else the factors, 
belonging to the houses at Philadelphia. [62] Their 
brokers at New Orleans sell, as much as they can, for 
ready money; or rather, take in exchange cottons, indigo, 
raw sugar, the produce of Low Louisiana, which they 
send off by sea to the houses at Philadelphia and Balti- 
more, and thus cover their first advances. The barge- 
men return thus by sea to Philadelphia or Baltimore, 
whence they go by land to Pittsburgh and the environs, 
where the major part of them generally reside. Although 
the passage from New Orleans to one of these two ports 
is twenty or thirty days, and that they have to take a 
route by land of three hundred miles to return to Pitts- 
burgh, they prefer this way, being not so difficult as the 
return by land from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, this last 
distance being fourteen or fifteen hundred miles. How- 
ever, when the barges are only destined for Limeston, 
in Kentucky, or for Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio, the 
bargemen return by land, and by that means take a 
route of four or five hundred miles. 

The navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi is so much 
improved of late that they can tell almost to a certainty 
the d istance from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, which 

during Pontiac's War (1763), but appears to have been garrisoned by the time 
of Lord Dunmore's War (1774). It was the rendezvous for Clark's men in 
1778, and in 1791 the assembly place for fomenters of the Whiskey Rebellion. 
In 1785 the town of Brownsville was incorporated, and for many years con- 
tinued to be an important starting point for Western emigration. See Thwaites, 
On the Storied Ohio, for descriptions of this movement, and of the region in 
general. — Ed. 

160 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

they compute to be two thousand one hundred miles. 
The barges in the spring season [63] usually take forty or 
fifty days to make the passage, which two or three persons 
in a pirogue™ make in five and-twenty days. 

What many, perhaps, are ignorant of in Europe is, 
that they build large vessels on the Ohio, and at the 
town of Pittsburgh. One of the principal ship yards is 
upon the Monongahela, about two hundred fathoms 
beyond the last houses in the town. The timber they 
make use of is the white oak, or quercus alba; the red oak, 
or quercus rubra; the black oak, or quercus tinctoria; a 
kind of nut tree, or juglans minima; the Virginia cherry- 
tree, or cerasus Virginia; and a kind of pine, which they 
use for masting, as well as for the sides of the vessels 
which require a slighter wood. The whole of this timber 
being near at hand, the expense of building is not so 
great as in the ports of the Atlantic states. The cordage 
is manufactured at Redstone and Lexinton, where there 
are two extensive rope-walks, which also supply ships 
with rigging that are built at Marietta and Louisville. 
On my journey to Pittsburgh in the month of July 1802, 
there was a three-mast vessel 25 of two [64] hundred and 
fifty tons, and a smaller one of ninety, which was on the 
point of being finished. These ships were to go, in the 
spring following, to New Orleans, loaded with the pro- 
duce of the country, after having made a passage of two 
thousand two hundred miles before they got into the 
ocean. There is no doubt but they can, by the same rule, 
build ships two hundred leagues beyond the mouth of the 
Missouri, fifty from that of the river Illinois, and even 

24 An Indian boat. — F. A. Michatjx. 

25 1 have been informed since my return, that this ship, named the Pitts- 
burgh, was arrived at Philadelphia. — F. A. Michatjx. 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 1 6 i 

in the Mississippi, two hundred beyond the place whence 
these rivers flow; that is to say, six hundred and fifty 
leagues from the sea; as their bed in the appointed space 
is as deep as that of the Ohio at Pittsburgh; in consequence 
of which it must be a wrong conjecture to suppose that the 
immense tract of country watered by these rivers cannot 
be populous enough to execute such undertakings. The 
rapid population of the three new western states, under 
less favourable circumstances, proves this assertion to be 
true. 26 Those states, where thirty years ago there was 
scarcely three hundred inhabitants, are now computed to 
contain upwards of a hundred thousand; and although 
the plantations on the roads are scarcely four miles dis- 
tant from each other, it is very rare to find one, even 
among [65] the most flourishing, where one cannot with 
confidence ask the owner, whence he has emigrated; or, 
according to the trivial manner of the Americans, "What 
part of the world do you come from ?" as if these immense 
and fertile regions were to be the asylum common to all 
the inhabitants of the globe. Now if we consider these 
astonishing and rapid ameliorations, what ideas must we 
not form of the height of prosperity to which the western 
country is rising, and of the recent spring that the com- 
merce, population and culture of the country is taking by 
uniting Louisiana to the American territory. 

The river Monongahela derives its source in Virginia, 
at the foot of Laurel Mountain, which comprises a part 
of the chain of the Alleghanies; bending its course toward 
the west, it runs into Pennsylvania, and before it reaches 
Alleghany it receives in its current the rivers Ch6at and 
Youghiogheny, which proceed from the south west. 

26 Kentucky was erected into a state in 1792, Tennessee in 1796, and Ohio 
in 1802. — Ed. 

1 6 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The territory watered by this river is extremely fertile; 
and the settlements formed upon the banks are not very 
far apart. It begins to be navigable at Morgan Town, 
which is composed of about sixty houses, and is situated 
upon the right, within a hundred miles of its embouchure. 21 
Of all the little towns built upon [66] the Monongahela, 
New Geneva and Redstone have the most active com- 
merce. The former has a glass-house in it, the produce of 
which is exported chiefly into the western country; the 
latter has shoe and paper manufactories, several flour 
mills, and contains about five hundred inhabitants. At 
this town a great number of those who emigrate from the 
eastern states embark to go into the west. It is also 
famous for building large boats, called Kentucky boats. 
used in the Kentucky trade; numbers are also built at 
Elizabeth Town, 28 situated on the same river, about 
twenty-three miles from Pittsburgh — the Monongahela 
Farmer was launched there, a sailing vessel of two hundred 

Alleghany takes its source fifteen or twenty miles from 
lake Eria; its current is enlarged by the French Creek, 
and various small rivers of less importance. The Alle- 
ghany begins to be navigable within two hundred miles 
of Pittsburgh. The banks of this river are fertile; the 

27 Morgantown, West Virginia, was settled originally in 1758 by the ill- 
fated Deckers, who were massacred the following year; but not until 1768 was 
it a permanent settlement established by the Morgan brothers. The town was 
incorporated in 1785. It is now the seat of West Virginia University. — Ed. 

28 The settlement of Southwestern Pennsylvania — the Monongahela and 
Youghiogheny valleys — was largely by emigrants from Virginia and the South- 
east. Elizabeth was founded by Stephen Bayard of Maryland, a Revolutionary 
officer who came West after the war and formed a partnership with Major 
Isaac Craig of Pittsburg. The site of the town was originally called New Store. 
Bayard gave it the present name in 1787, in honor of his wife. It was from 
this point that many travellers took boats for the Ohio journey. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 163 

inhabitants who have formed settlements there export, 
as well as those of Monongahela, the produce of their 
culture by the way of the Ohio and Mississippi. On the 
banks of this river they begin to form a few small towns; 
among the most considerable are Meadville, situated two 
[67] hundred and thirty miles from Pittsburgh; Franklin, 
about two hundred; and Freeport, scarcely one; each of 
which does not contain above forty or fifty houses. 

Let the weather be what it will, the stream of the 
Alleghany is clear and limped; that of the Monongahela, 
on the contrary, grows rather muddy with a few days 
incessant rain in that part of the Alleghany Mountains 
where it derives its source. 

The sugar-maple is very common in every part of 
Pennsylvania which the Monongahela and Alleghany 
water. This tree thrives most in cold, wet, and moun- 
tainous countries, and its seed is always more abundant 
when the winter is most severe. The sugar extracted 
from it is generally very coarse, and is sold, after having 
been prepared in loaves of six, eight, and ten pounds each, 
at the rate of seven-pence per pound. The inhabitants 
manufacture none but for their own use; the greater part 
of them drink tea and coffee daily, but they use it just 
as it has passed the first evaporation, and never take the 
trouble to refine it, on account of the great waste occa- 
sioned by the operation. 

[68] CHAP. VII 

Description of the Ohio. — Navigation of that river. — Mr. 
S. Craft. — The object of his travels. — Remarks upon 
the State of Vermont. 

The Ohio, formed by the union of the Monongahela 
and Alleghany rivers, appears to be rather a continuance 

164 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

of the former than the latter, which only happens obliquely 
at the conflux. The Ohio may be, at Pittsburgh, two 
hundred fathoms broad. The current of this immense 
and magnificent river inclines at first north west for about 
twenty miles, then bends gradually west south west. It 
follows that direction for about the space of five hundred 
miles ; turns thence south west a hundred and sixty miles ; 
then west two hundred and seventy-five; at length runs 
into the Mississippi in a south-westerly direction, in the 
latitude of 36 deg.46 min. about eleven hundred miles from 
Pittsburgh, and nearly [69] the same distance from Orleans. 
This river runs so extremely serpentine, that in going down 
it, you appear following a track directly opposite to the 
one you mean to take. Its breadth varies from two 
hundred to a thousand fathoms. The islands that are 
met with in its current are very numerous. We counted 
upward of fifty in the space of three hundred and eighty 
miles. Some contain but a few acres, and others more 
than a thousand in length. Their banks are very low, 
and must be subject to inundations. These islands are a 
great impediment to the navigation in the summer. The 
sands that the river drives up form, at the head of some of 
them, a number of little shoals; and in this season of the 
year the channel is so narrow from the want of water, that 
the few boats, even of a middling size, that venture to go 
down, are frequently run aground, and it is with great 
difficulty that they are got afloat; notwithstanding which 
there is at all times a sufficiency of water for a skiff or a 
canoe. As these little boats are very light when they 
strike upon the sands, it is very easy to push them off into 
a deeper part. In consequence of this, it is only in the 
spring and autumn that the Ohio is navigable, at least 
as far as Limestone, about a hundred and twenty [70] 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 165 

miles from Pittsburgh. During those two seasons the 
water rises to such a height, that vessels of three hundred 
tons, piloted by men who are acquainted with the river, 
may go down in the greatest safety. The spring season 
begins at the end of February, and lasts three months; 
the autumn begins in October, and only lasts till the first 
of December. In the mean time these two epochs fall 
sooner or later, as the winter is more or less rainy, or the 
rivers are a shorter or a longer time thawing. Again, 
it so happens, that in the course of the summer heavy 
and incessant rains fall in the Alheghany Mountains, 
which suddenly swell the Ohio: at that time persons may 
go down it with the greatest safety; but such circum- 
stances are not always to be depended on. 

The banks of the Ohio are high and solid; its current 
is free from a thousand obstacles that render the naviga- 
tion of the Mississippi difficult, and often dangerous, when 
they have not skilful conductors. On the Ohio persons 
may travel all night without the smallest danger; instead 
of which, on the Mississippi prudence requires them to 
stop every evening, at least from the mouth of the Ohio 
to Naches, a space of nearly seven hundred and fifty 

[71] The rapidity of the Ohio's current is extreme in 
spring; at the same time in this season there is no necessity 
for rowing. The excessive swiftness it would give, by 
that means, to the boat would be more dangerous than 
useful, by turning it out of the current, and running it 
upon some island or other, where it might get entangled 
among a heap of dead trees that are half under water, and 
from which it would be very difficult to extricate them; 
for which reason they generally go with the current, 
which is always strong enough to advance with great 

1 66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

celerity, and is always more rapid in the middle of the 
stream. The amazing rapidity of the Ohio has an in- 
fluence on the shape of the boats that navigate upon it, 
and that shape is not calculated to accelerate their pro- 
gress, but to stem the current of the stream. All the 
boats or barges, whether those in the Kentucky or Mis- 
sissippi trade, or those which convey the families that go 
into the eastern or western states, are built in the same 
manner. They are of a square form, some longer than 
others; their sides are raised four feet and a half above 
the water ; their length is from fifteen to fifty feet ; the two 
extremities are square, upon one of which is a kind of 
awning, under which the passengers shelter themselves 
[72] when it rains. I was alone upon the banks of the 
Monongahela, when I perceived, at a distance, five or six 
of these barges, which were going down the river. I could 
not conceive what these great square boxes were, which, 
left to the stream, presented alternately their ends, sides, 
and even their angles. As they advanced, I heard a 
confused noise, but without distinguishing any thing, on 
account of their sides being so very high. However, on 
ascending the banks of the river, I perceived in these 
barges several families, carrying with them their horses, 
cows, poultry, waggons, ploughs, harness, beds, instru- 
ments of agriculture, in fine, every thing necessary to 
cultivate the land, and also for domestic use. These 
people were abandoning themselves to the mercy of the 
stream, without knowing the place where they should 
stop, to exercise their industry, and enjoy peaceably the 
fruit of their labour under one of the best governments 
that exists in the world. 

I sojourned ten days at Pittsburgh, during which I 
several times saw the Chevalier Dubac, formerly an 

180a] F. A. Michaux's Travels 167 

officer in the French service, who, obliged, on account 
of the revolution, to emigrate from France, at first went 
to settle at Scioto, but very soon after [73] changed 
his residence, and went to Pittsburgh, where he is now 
in trade. He has very correct ideas concerning the west- 
ern country; he is also perfectly acquainted with the 
navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi, having several 
times travelled over New Orleans, and gives, with all 
possible complaisance, to the few of his fellow-country- 
men who go into that country, instructions to facilitate 
their journey, and prevent the accidents that might 
happen to them. 

During my stay at Pittsburgh I formed a most particular 
acquaintance with my fellow-traveller Mr. Samuel Craft, 
an inhabitant of the state of Vermont, whom I met, for 
the first time, at Greensburgh. I learnt of him, among 
other things, that in this state, and those contiguous to it, 
the expences occasioned by clearing the land are always 
covered by the produce of pearl-ashes, extracted from 
the ashes of trees which they burn; and that there are 
even persons who undertake to clear it on the sole condi- 
tion of having the pearl-ashes. This kind of economy, 
however, does not exist in the other parts of North 
America; for in all the parts of the east, from New 
York westward, the trees are burnt at a certain loss. It 
is true that the inhabitants of New England, which, 
properly speaking, comprehends all the [74] states east 
of New York, are acknowledged to be the most enter- 
prising and industrious of all the Americans, especially 
those who understand domestic economy the best. 

Mr. Craft then imparted to me the intent of his journey, 
which was to be convinced that what he had seen pub- 
lished upon the extraordinary salubrity and fertility of 

1 6 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the banks of the river Yazous was correct, and in that 
case to acquire for himself and a few friends several acres 
of land, and to go and settle there with two or three 
families in his neighbourhood who were rather embar- 
rassed. The motive for his emigration to so remote a 
country was founded, in the first place, on the length of 
the winters, which in the state of Vermont are as severe 
as in Canada, and which shackle the activity of its inhabi- 
tants more than one third of the year; and in the next 
place, upon the cheapness of the country's produce: in- 
stead of which, in those parts watered by the river Yaz- 
ous, 29 the temperature of the climate and the fertility of 
the soil are favourable to the cultivation of cotton, indigo, 
and tobacco, [75] the produce of which is a great deal 
more lucrative than that of the northern part of the 
United States, and the sale of which is assured by their 
exportation to New Orleans, where they can go and come 
by the river in less than a fortnight. 

[76] CHAP. VIII 

Departure from Pittsburgh for Kentucky. — Journey by 
land to Wheeling. — State oj agriculture on the route. — 
West Liberty Town in Virginia. — Wheeling. 

Mr. Craft and I agreed to go together to Kentucky 
by the Ohio, preferring that way, although longer by a 
hundred and forty miles, to that by land, which is more 
expensive. However, as the season of the year being 
that when the waters are at the lowest, to gain time, and 
to avoid a considerable winding which the river makes 
on leaving Pittsburgh, we were advised to embark at 
Wheeling, a small town situated upon the Ohio, eighty 

29 The river Yazous runs into the Mississippi between the thirty-second and 
thirty-third degree of latitude. — F. A. Michattx. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 1 69 

miles lower down the river, but not so far by land. 30 On 
the 14th of July, in the evening, we set out on foot, and 
crossed the Monongahela at John's Ferry, situated on 
the opposite bank, at the bottom of Coal-Hill, a very 
lofty mountain which borders the river to a vast [77] 
extent, insomuch that it conceals the view of all the 
houses at Pittsburgh built on the other side. 

After having coasted along the borders of the Ohio about 
a mile and a half, we entered the wood, and went to 
sleep at an indifferent inn at Charter Creek, where there 
was but one bed destined for travellers: whenever it 
happens that several travellers meet together, the last 
that arrive sleep on the floor, wrapped in the rug which 
they always carry with them when they travel into the 
remote parts of the United States. 

The following day we made upwards of twenty miles, 
and went to lodge with one Patterson. On this route the 
plantations are two or three miles distant from each other, 
and more numerous than in the interior of the country, 
which is a general observation of all travellers. The 
inhabitants of this part of Pennsylvania are precise in 
their behaviour, and very religious. We saw, in some 
places, churches isolated in the woods, and in others, 
pulpits placed beneath large oaks. Patterson holds a 
considerable and extensive farm, and a corn-mill built 
upon a small river. He sends his corn to New Orleans. 
The rivers and creeks are rather scarce in this part of 
Virginia, on which account they are obliged to [78] have 
recourse to mills which they turn by horses; but the flour 
that comes from them is consumed in the country, not 

30 An early trader on the Ohio, speaking of the return journey, says, "As soon 
as we got to Wheeling, we went on foot to Pittsburgh, it being less fatiguing and 
costing less time to walk 57 miles, the land distance, than to pole and 
paddle 90 miles, the distance by the river." — Cist's A dvertiser, November, 
1849. — Ed. 

170 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

being susceptible of entering into trade. Nobody has 
ever yet thought of constructing windmills, although 
there are on the top of several of the hills places sufficiently 
cleared, that offer favourable situations. 

On the 1 6th of July we arrived at Wheeling, very much 
fatigued. We were on foot, and the heat was extreme. 
Our journey was rendered more difficult from the nature 
of the country, which is covered with hills very close 
together, to some of which we were almost half an hour 
before we could reach the summit. About six miles from 
Patterson's we found the line of demarkation that sepa- 
rates Pennsylvania from Virginia, and cuts the road at 
right angles. This line is traced by the rubbish that is 
piled up on lofty eminences, consisting of all the large 
trees, in a breadth of forty feet. Twelve miles before 
our arrival at Wheeling we passed by Liberty Town, a 
small town consisting of about a hundred houses, built 
upon a hill. 31 The plantations are numerous in the 
environs, and the soil, although even, is extremely fer- 
tile. The produce of the lands vary: they produce from 
fifteen to twenty bushels of corn [79] per acre, when they 
are entirely cleared, and only twelve to fifteen when the 
clearing away is not complete, that is to say, when there 
are many stumps remaining; for in clearing they begin 
by cutting the trees within two feet of the ground, and 
after that dig up the stumps. It is proper to observe 
that the inhabitants give only one tillage, use no manure, 

31 The boundary line between Virginia and Pennsylvania was the cause of 
much disturbance, each colony claiming the region south of the Ohio. The 
Monongahela Valley was settled largely from Virginia, and on several occasions 
the conflict of jurisdiction nearly led to a border war. The settlers them- 
selves desired a new state. The controversy was finally settled by an agreement 
between the states in 1780, although the lines were not finally run until 1785. 
See Turner, "Western State Making in the Revolutionary Era," in American 
Historical Review, i, pp. 81-83. 

West Liberty was established as a town November 29, 1787. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 171 

and never let the soil lie idle. The value of this land is 
according to its quality. The best, in the proportion of 
twenty to twenty-five acres cleared, for a lot of two or 
three hundred, is not worth more than three or four 
piastres per acre. The taxes are from a half-penny to a 
penny per acre. The hands being very scarce, labour is 
dear, and by no means in proportion with the price of 
produce ; the result of which is, that in all the middle and 
southern states, within fifty miles of the sea, each pro- 
prietor clears very little more than what he can cultivate 
with his family, or with the reciprocal aid of some of his 
neighbours. This is applied more particularly to the 
western country, where every individual may easily pro- 
cure land, and is excited to labour by its incomparable 

Within a mile and a half of West Liberty Town the 
road passes through a narrow valley about four miles 
long, the borders of which, elevated in [80] many places 
from twenty-five to thirty feet, present several beds of 
coal from five to six feet thick, growing horizontally. 
This substance is extremely common in all that part of 
Pennsylvania and Virginia; but as the country is nothing 
but one continued forest, and its population scarce, these 
mines are of no account. On the other hand, were they 
situated in the eastern states, where they burn, in the 
great towns, coals imported from England, their value 
would be great. 

The trees that grow in this valley are very close to- 
gether, and of large diameter, and their species more 
varied than in any country I had seen before. 

Wheeling, situated on one of the lofty banks of the 
Ohio, has not been above twelve years in existence: it 
consists of about seventy houses, built of wood, which, 
as in all the new towns of the United States, are separated 

172 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

by an interval of several fathoms. This little town is 
bounded by a long hill, nearly two hundred fathoms 
high, the base of which is not more than two hundred 
fathoms from the river. In this space the houses are 
built, forming but one street, in the middle of which is 
the main road, which follows the windings of the river 
for a distance of more than two hundred miles. From 
fifteen to twenty large [81] shops, well stocked, supply 
the inhabitants twenty miles round with provisions. 
This little town also shares in the export trade that is 
carried on at Pittsburgh with the western country. Num- 
bers of the merchants at Philadelphia prefer sending their 
goods there, although the journey is a day longer: but 
this trifling inconvenience is well compensated by the 
advantage gained in avoiding the long winding which 
the Ohio makes on leaving Pittsburgh, where the numer- 
ous shallows and the slow movement of the stream, in 
summer time, retard the navigation. 

We passed the night at Wheeling with Captain Rey- 
mer, who keeps the sign of the Waggon, and takes in 
boarders at the rate of two piastres a- week. The accom- 
modation, on the whole, is very comfortable, provisions 
in that part of the country being remarkably cheap. A 
dozen fowls could be bought for one piastre, and a hun- 
dred weight of flour was then only worth a piastre and a 

[82] CHAP. IX 
Departure from Wheeling jor Marietta. — Aspect of the 
Banks of the Ohio. — Nature of the Forests. — Ex- 
traordinary size of several kinds of Trees. 

On the 18th of July in the morning we purchased a 
canoe, twenty-four feet long, eighteen inches wide, and 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 173 

about as many in depth. These canoes are always made 
with a single trunk of a tree; the pine and tulip tree are 
preferred for that purpose, the wood being very soft. 
These canoes are too narrow to use well with oars, and in 
shallow water are generally forced along either with a 
paddle or a staff. Being obliged at times to shorten our 
journey by leaving the banks of the river, where one is 
under shade, to get into the current, or to pass from one 
point to another, and be exposed to the heat of a scorching 
sun, we covered our canoe a quarter of its length with a 
piece of cloth thrown [83] upon two hoops. In less than 
three quarters of an hour we made up our minds to con- 
tinue our journey by water; notwithstanding we were 
obliged to defer our departure till the afternoon, to wait 
for provisions which we might have wanted by the way; 
as the inhabitants who live in different parts upon the 
banks of the river are very badly supplied. 

We left Wheeling about five in the afternoon, made 
twelve miles that evening, and went to sleep on the right 
bank of the Ohio, which forms the boundary of the 
government, described by the name of the North West 
territory of the Ohio, and which is now admitted in the 
union under the denomination of the State of Ohio. 
Although we had made no more than twelve miles we 
were exceedingly fatigued, not so much by continually 
paddling as by remaining constantly seated with our legs 
extended. Our canoe being very narrow at bottom, 
obliged us to keep that position; the least motion would 
have exposed us to being overset. However, in the course 
of a few days custom made these inconveniences disap- 
pear, and we attained the art of travelling comfortably. 

We took three days and a half in going to Marietta, 
about a hundred miles from Wheeling. Our [84] second 

1 74 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

day was thirty miles, the third forty, and on the fourth 
in the morning we reached this little town, situated at the 
mouth of the great Muskingum. The first day, wholly 
taken up with this mode of travelling, so novel to us, 
and which did not appear to me to be very safe, I did not 
bend my attention further; but on the following day, 
better used to this kind of navigation, I observed more 
tranquilly from our canoe, the aspect that the borders 
of this magnificent river presented. 

Leaving Pittsburgh, the Ohio flows between two ridges, 
or lofty mountains, nearly of the same height, which we 
judged to be about two hundred fathoms. Frequently 
they appeared undulated at their summit, at other times 
it seemed as though they had been completely level. 
These hills continue uninterruptedly for the space of a 
mile or more, then a slight interval is observed, that some- 
times affords a passage to the rivers that empty them- 
selves into the Ohio; but most commonly another hill of 
the same height begins at a very short distance from the 
place where the preceding one left off. These moun- 
tains rise successively for the space of three hundred 
miles, and from our canoe we were enabled to observe 
them more distinctly, as they were more or less distant 
[85] from the borders of the river. Their direction is 
parallel to the chain of the Alleghanies; and although 
they are at times from forty to a hundred miles distant 
from them, and that for an extent of two hundred miles, 
one cannot help looking upon them as belonging to these 
mountains. All that part of Virginia situated upon the 
left bank of the Ohio is excessively mountainous, cov- 
ered with forests, and almost uninhabited, where I 
have been told by those who live on the banks of the 
Ohio, they go every winter to hunt bears. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 175 

They give the name of river-bottoms and flat-bottoms 
to the flat and woody ground between the foot of these 
mountains and the banks of the river, the space of which 
is sometimes five or six miles broad. The major part 
of the rivers which empty themselves into the Ohio have 
also these river-bottoms, which, as well as those in ques- 
tion, are of an easy culture, but nothing equal to the fer- 
tility of the banks of the Ohio. The soil is a true vege- 
table humus, produced by the thick bed of leaves with 
which the earth is loaded every year, and which is speedily 
converted into mould by the humidity that reigns in 
these forests. But what adds still more to the thickness 
of these successive beds of vegetable [86] earth are the 
trunks of enormous trees, thrown down by time, with 
which the surface of the soil is bestrewed in every part, 
and which rapidly decays. In more than a thousand 
leagues of the country, over which I have travelled at 
different epochs, in North America, I do not remember 
having seen one to compare with the latter for the vegeta- 
tive strength of the forests. The best sort of land in 
Kentucky and Tenessea, situated beyond the mountains 
of Cumberland, is much the same; but the trees do not 
grow to such a size as on the borders of the Ohio. Thirty- 
six miles before our arrival at Marietta we stopped at 
the hut of one of the inhabitants of the right bank, who 
shewed us, about fifty yards from his door, a palm-tree, 
or platanus occidentalis, the trunk of which was swelled 
to an amazing size; we measured it four feet beyond the 
surface of the soil, and found it forty-seven feet in cir- 
cumference. It appeared to keep the same dimensions 
for the height of fifteen or twenty feet, it then divided into 
several branches of a proportionate size. By its exter- 
nal appearance no one could tell that the tree was hollow ; 

176 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

however I assured myself it was by striking it in several 
places with a billet. Our host told us that if we would 
spend the day with him he would [87] shew us others as 
large, in several parts of the wood, within two or three 
miles of the river. This circumstance supports the obser- 
vations which my father made, when travelling in that 
part of the country, that the poplar and palm are, of all 
the trees in North America, those that attain the greatest 

"About fifteen miles," said he, "up the river Mus- 
kingum, in a small island of the Ohio, we found a palm- 
tree, or platanus occidentalism the circumference of which, 
five feet from the surface of the earth, where the trunk 
was most uniform, was forty feet four inches, which 
makes about thirteen feet in diameter. Twenty years 
prior to my travels, General Washington had measured 
this same tree, and had found it nearly of the same dimen- 
sions. I have also measured palms in Kentucky, but I 
never met with any above fifteen or sixteen feet in circum- 
ference. These trees generally grow in marshy places. 

"The largest tree in North America, after the palm, 
is the poplar, or liriodendron tulipijera. Its circumfer- 
ence is sometimes fifteen, sixteen, and even eighteen feet: 
Kentucky is their native country; between Beard Town 
and Louisville we [88] saw several parts of the wood 
which were exclusively composed of them. The soil is 
clayey, cold and marshy; but never inundated. 

"The trees that are usually found in the forests that 
border the Ohio are the palm, or platanus occidentalism 
the poplar, the beach-tree, the magnolia acuminata, the 
celtis occidentalism the acacia, the sugar-maple, the red 
maple, the populus nigra, and several species of nut-trees ; 
the most common shrubs are, the annona triloba, the 
evonimus latijolius, and the laurus bensoin.' 

) j 

1802] F. A. Michauxs Trave/s 177 

[89] CHAP. X 

Marietta. — Ship building. — Departure for Gallipoli. — 
Falling in with a Kentucky Boat. — Point- Pleasant. — 
The Great Kenhaway. 

Marietta, the chief of the settlements on the New 
Continent, is situated upon the right bank of the Great 
Muskingum, at its embouchure in the Ohio. This town, 
which fifteen years ago was not in existence, is now com- 
posed of more than two hundred houses, some of which 
are built of brick, but the greatest part of wood. There 
are several from two to three stories high, which are 
somewhat elegantly built; nearly all of them are in front 
of the Ohio. The mountains which from Pittsburgh run 
by the side of this river, are at Marietta some distance from 
its banks, and leave a considerable extent of even ground, 
which will facilitate, in every respect, the enlarging of the 
town upon a [90] regular plan, and afford its inhabitants 
the most advantageous and agreeable situations; it will 
not be attended with the inconveniences that are met 
with at Pittsburgh, which is locked in on all sides by 
lofty mountains. 

The inhabitants of Marietta were the first that had 
an idea of exporting directly to the Carribbee Islands the 
produce of the country, in a vessel built in their own 
town, which they sent to Jamaica. The success which 
crowned this first attempt excited such emulation among 
the inhabitants of that part of the Western Country, that 
several new vessels were launched at Pittsburgh and 
Louisville, and expedited to the isles, or to New York 
and Philadelphia. The ship yard at Marietta is situated 
near the town, on the Great Muskingum. When I was 
there they were building three brigs, one of which was of 
two hundred and twenty tons burthen. 

178 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The river Muskingum takes its source toward Lake 
Eria; it is not navigable for two hundred miles from its 
mouth in the Ohio, where it is about a hundred and sixty 
fathoms broad. 32 The country that it runs through, and 
especially its banks, are extremely fertile. 

Near the town of Marietta are the remains of several 
[91] Indian fortifications. When they were discovered, 
they were full of trees of the same nature as those of the 
neighbouring forests, some of which were upwards of three 
feet diameter. These trees have been hewn down, and 
the ground is now almost entirely cultivated with Indian 

Major- General Hart, with whose son I was acquainted 
at Marietta, gave, in the Columbia Magazine for the 
year 1787, Vol. I. No. 9, a plan and a minute description 
of these ancient fortifications of the Indians: the transla- 
tion of which is given in his Travels in Upper Pennsylvania. 
This officer, of the most distinguished merit, fell in the 
famous battle that General St. Clair 33 lost in 1791, near 
Lake Eria, against the united savages. When I was at 
Marietta, General St. Clair was Governor of the State of 
Ohio, a post which he occupied till this state was admitted 
in the union. His Excellency coming from Pittsburgh 
and going to Chillicotha, alighted at the inn where I 
lodged. As he was travelling in an old chaise, and with- 

32 The translation here is faulty. It should be, " it is navigable for only two 
hundred miles," etc. — Ed. 

33 General Arthur St. Clair was a native of Scotland, who came to America 
during the French and Indian War, and settled in Western Pennsylvania. 
He served with much success in the Revolution, and in 1787 was president of 
the Congress of the Confederation. He was appointed by Washington first 
governor of the Northwest Territory, and served in that capacity 1788-1802. 
He was unpopular because of the military defeat here mentioned, and his 
Federalist principles. On his dismissal, in 1802, he retired to his home in 
Pennsylvania, and died there in obscurity in 1818. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 179 

out a servant, he did not at first attract my attention. In 
the United States, those who are called by the wish of their 
fellow-citizens to exercise these important functions do 
not change their dress, continue dwelling in their own 
houses, [92] and live like private individuals, without 
showing more ostentation, or incurring more expense. 
The emoluments attached to this office varies in every 
state; that of South Carolina, one of the richest of the 
union, gives its governor 4280 piastres, while the Gover- 
nor of Kentucky receives no more than twelve or fifteen 
hundred. The inhabitants of the State of Ohio are 
divided in opinion concerning the political conduct of 
General St. Clair. With respect to talents, he has the 
reputation of being a better lawyer than a soldier. 

On the eve of my departure I met a Frenchman at 
Marietta, who is settled on the banks of the Great Mus- 
kingum, about twenty miles from the town. I regretted 
much my inability to accept the invitation that he gave 
me to go and see him at his plantation, which would have 
given me time to make more extensive observations in 
that part of the Western Country. 

On the 21st of July we set out from Marietta for Gal- 
lipoli, which is a distance of about a hundred miles. We 
reached there after having been four days on the water. 
The inhabitants of the country, by putting off from the 
shore in the night time, would have made that passage in 
two days and a half [93] or three days. According to the 
calculation that we made, the mean force of the stream 
was about a mile and a half an hour; it is hardly to be 
perceived in those parts where the water is very deep; 
but as you get nearer the isles, which, as I have said before, 
are very numerous, the bed of the river diminishes in 
depth, so that frequently there is not a foot of water out of 

i 8 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the main channel. Whenever we came near those shal- 
lows the swiftness of the current was extreme, and the 
canoe was carried away like an arrow, which led us to 
observe that it was only as we distanced the islands that 
the bed increases in depth, and that the stream becomes 
less rapid. 

On the day of our departure we joined, in the eve- 
ning, a Kentucky boat, destined for Cincinnati. This 
boat, about forty feet long and fifteen broad, was loaded 
with bar iron and brass pots. There was also an emi- 
grant family in it, consisting of the father, mother, and 
seven children, with all their furniture and implements 
of husbandry. The boatmen, three in number, granted 
us, without difficulty, permission to fasten our canoe to 
the end of their boat, and to pass the night with them. 
We intended, by that means, to accelerate our journey, 
by not putting up [94] at night, as we had before been 
accustomed to do, and hoped to spend a more comforta- 
ble night than the preceding one, during which we had 
been sadly tormented by the fleas, with which the greater 
part of the houses where we had slept, from the moment 
of our embarkation, had been infested. However our 
hopes were frustrated ; for so far from being comfortable, 
we were still more incommoded. In the course of my 
travels it was only on the banks of the Ohio that I ex- 
perienced this inconvenience. 

We were on the point of leaving them about two in 
the morning, when the boat ran aground. Under these 
circumstances we could not desert our hosts, who had 
entertained us with their best, and who had made us 
partake of a wild turkey which they had shot the preced- 
ing evening on the banks of the river. We got into the 
water with the boatmen, and by the help of large sticks 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 1 8 i 

that we made use of as oars succeeded in pushing the 
vessel afloat, after two hours' painful efforts. 

In the course of the night we passed the mouth of the 
Little Kenhaway y which, after having watered that part 
of Virginia, empties itself into the Ohio, on its right 
bank. Its borders are not inhabited for more than 
fifteen or twenty miles from its embouchure. [95] The 
remainder of the country is so mountainous that they 
will not think of forming settlements there this long time. 
About five miles on this side the mouth of this little river, 
and on the right bank of the Ohio, is situated Bellepree, 
where there are not more than a dozen houses; but the 
settlements formed in the environs increase rapidly. 
This intelligence was given us at a house where we stopped 
after having left the Kentucky boat. 

On the 23d of July, about ten in the morning, we 
discovered Point Pleasant, situated a little above the 
mouth of the Great Kenhaway, at the extremity of a 
point formed by the right bank of this river, which runs 
nearly in a direct line as far as the middle of the Ohio. 
What makes the situation more beautiful is, that for 
four or five miles on this side the Point, the Ohio, four 
hundred fathoms broad, continues the same breadth 
the whole of that extent, and presents on every side the 
most perfect line. Its borders, sloping, and elevated 
from twenty-five to forty feet, are, as in the whole of its 
windings, planted, at their base, with willows from 
fifteen to eighteen feet in height, the drooping branches 
and foliage of which form a pleasing contrast to the 
sugar maples, red maples, and ash trees, situated imme- 
diately [96] above. The latter, in return, are overlooked 
by palms, poplars, beeches, magnolias of the highest 
elevation, the enormous branches of which, attracted 

1 8 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

by a more splendid light and easier expansion, extend 
toward the borders, overshadowing the river, at the same 
time completely covering the trees situated under them. 
This natural display, which reigns upon the two banks, 
affords on each side a regular arch, the shadow of which, 
reflected by the crystal stream, embellishes, in an ex- 
traordinary degree, this magnificent coup aVceil. 

The Ohio at Marietta presents a perspective some- 
what similar, perhaps even more picturesque than the 
one I have just described, through the houses of this little 
town, that we perceived five or six miles off, the situation 
of which is fronting the middle of the river, going up. 

The Great Kenhaway, more known in the country 
under that denomination than by that of the New River, 
which it bears in some charts, takes its source at the 
foot of the Yellow Mountain in Tennessea, but the mass 
of its waters proceed from one part of the Alleghany 
Mountains. The falls and currents that are so fre- 
quently met with in this river, for upward [97] of four 
hundred miles, will always be an obstacle to the expor- 
tation, by the Ohio and the Mississippi, of provisions 
from the part of Virginia which it waters. Its banks 
are inhabited, but less than those of the Ohio. 

[98] CHAP. XI 
Gallipoli. — State of the French colony Scioto. — Alexan- 
dria at the mouth 0} the Great Scioto. — Arrival at 
Limestone in Kentucky. 

Gallipoli is situated four miles below Point Pleasant, 
on the right bank of the Ohio. At this place assembled 
nearly a fourth part of the French, who, in 1789 and 1790, 
left their country to go and settle at Scioto : but it was not 
till after a sojourn of fifteen months at Alexandria in 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels i 8 3 

Virginia, where they waited the termination of the war 
with the savages, that they could take possession of the 
lands which they had bought so dearly. They were 
even on the point of being dispossessed of them, on ac- 
count of the disputes that arose between the Scioto Com- 
pany and that of the Ohio, of whom the former had 
primitively purchased these estates; but scarcely had 
they arrived upon the soil that was destined for [99] them 
when the war broke out afresh between the Americans 
and Indians, and ended in the destruction of those unfor- 
tunate colonies. There is no doubt that, alone and desti- 
tute of support, they would have been all massacred, had 
it not been for the predilection which all the Indian nations 
round Canada and Louisiana have for the French. 
Again, as long as they did not take an active part in 
that war, they were not disturbed: but the American 
army having gained a signal advantage near the embou- 
chure of the Great Kenaway, and crossed the Ohio, the 
inhabitants of Gallipoli were united to it. From that 
time they were no longer protected, nor could they stir 
out of the inclosure of their village. Out of two that had 
strayed not more than two hundred yards, one was scalped 
and murdered, and the other carried a prisoner a great 
distance into the interior. When I was at Gallipoli they 
had just heard from him. He gained his livelihood very 
comfortably by repairing guns, and exercising his trade 
as a goldsmith in the Indian village where he lived, and 
did not express the least wish to return with his country- 

The war being terminated, the congress, in order to 
indemnify these unfortunate Frenchmen for the [100] 
successive losses which they had sustained, gave them 
twenty thousand acres of land situated between the 

184 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

small rivers Sandy and Scioto, seventy miles lower than 
Gallipoli. These twenty thousand acres were at the 
rate of two hundred and ten acres to every family. Those 
among them who had neither strength nor resolution 
enough to go a second time, without any other support 
than that of their children, to isolate themselves amidst 
the woods, hew down, burn, and root up the lower parts 
of trees, which are frequently more than five feet in 
diameter, and afterward split them to inclose their fields, 
sold their lots to the Americans or Frenchmen that were 
somewhat more enterprising. Thirty families only went 
to settle in their new possessions. Since the three or four 
years that they have resided there they have succeeded, 
by dint of labour, in forming for themselves tolerable 
establishments, where, by the help of a soil excessively 
fertile, they have an abundant supply of provisions; at 
least I conceived so, when I was there. 

Gallipoli, situated on the borders of the Ohio, is com- 
posed solely of about sixty log-houses, most of which being 
uninhabited, are falling into ruins; the rest are occupied 
by Frenchmen, who breathe out a [101] miserable exis- 
tence. Two only among them appear to enjoy the small- 
est ray of comfort: the one keeps an inn, and distills 
brandy from peaches, which he sends to Kentucky, or 
sells it at a tolerable advantage: the other, M. Burau, 
from Paris, by whom I was well entertained, though unac- 
quainted with him. Nothing can equal the perseverance 
ui" f Hs Frenchman, whom the nature of his commerce 
obliges continually to travel over the banks of the Ohio, 
and to make, once or twice a year, a journey of four or 
five hundred miles through the woods, to go to the towns 
situated beyond the Alleghany Mountains. I learnt from 
him that the intermittent fevers, which at first had added 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 185 

to the calamities of the inhabitants of Gallipoli, had not 
shown itself for upwards of three years. That, however, 
did not prevent a dozen of them going lately to New 
Orleans in quest of a better fortune, but almost all of 
them died of the yellow fever the first year after their 

Such was the situation of the establishment of Scioto 
when I was there. Though they did not succeed better, 
it is not that the French are less persevering and indus- 
trious than the Americans and Germans; it is that among 
those who departed for Scioto not a tenth part were fit 
for the toils they [102] were destined to endure. How- 
ever, it was not politic of the speculators, who sold land 
at five shillings an acre, which at that time was not worth 
one in America, to acquaint those whom they induced to 
purchase that they would be obliged, for the two first 
years, to have an axe in their hands nine hours a day; or 
that a good wood-cutter, having nothing but his hands, 
would be sooner at his ease on those fertile borders, but 
which he must, in the first place, clear, than he who, 
arriving there with two or three hundred guineas in his 
purse, is unaccustomed to such kind of labour. This 
cause, independent of the war with the natives, was more 
than sufficient to plunge the new colonists in misery, and 
stifle the colony in its birth. 34 

34 Michaux has here given a good account of the unfortunate French colony 
founded on the banks of the Ohio, nearly opposite the mouth of the Great 
Kanawha. The Scioto Company was an offshoot of the Ohio Company 
formed by Manasseh Cutler and his associates. In May, 1788, the Scioto 
Company employed Joel Barlow, "the patriot poet of the Revolution," to go 
to Paris and sell lands for them. The buyers were, as Michaux remarks, 
unsuited to pioneer life; the company overcharged them, and then ensued litiga- 
tion in which the settlers lost the titles to their lands. The log-houses men- 
tioned by Michaux were built for the settlers on their arrival in October, 1790, 
but the severity of the climate, Indian hostilities, and frontier hardships, deci- 
mated their ranks. The present town has been built up by the energy of 

I 86 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

On the 25th of July we set out from Gallipoli for 
Alexandria, which is about a hundred and four miles dis- 
tant, and arrived there in three days and a half. The 
ground designed for this town is at the mouth of the 
Great Scioto, and in the angle which the right bank of 
this river forms with the north west border of the Ohio. 
Although the plan of Alexandria has been laid out these 
many years, nobody goes to settle there; and the number 
of its houses is not more than twenty, the major part of 
which are [103] log-houses. Notwithstanding its situa- 
tion is very favourable with regard to the numerous set- 
tlements already formed beyond the new town upon the 
Great Scioto, whose banks, not so high, and more marshy, 
are, it is said, nearly as fertile as those of the Ohio. The 
population would be much more considerable, if the in- 
habitants were not subject, every autumn, to intermittent 
fevers, which seldom abate till the approach of winter. 
This part of the country is the most unwholesome of all 
those that compose the immense state of Ohio. The 
seat of government belonging to this new state is at 
Chillicotha, which contains about a hundred and fifty 
houses, and is situated sixty miles from the mouth of the 
Great Scioto. A weekly newspaper is published there. 35 

At Alexandria, and the other little towns in the west- 
ern country, which are situated upon a very rich soil, 

American and German settlers, and in 1893 but three descendants of the French 
settlers lived there. For further accounts, see Winsor, Westward Movement 
(Boston, 1897), PP- 4° 2 -4°7> 498; "Centennial of Gallipolis," in Ohio Archajo- 
logical and Historical Society Publications, iii; and Thwaites, On the Storied 
Ohio. — Ed. 

35 Chillicothe, on the site of the famous Indian village, was laid out in 1796 
by General Massie as an American town. It was in the heart of the Virginia 
military district, and was chiefly settled by Southerners. It was the seat of 
government for Ohio until 181 6. The weekly newspaper was the Scioto Gazette, 
begun at this place in 1800 by Nathaniel Willis, grandfather of the poet N. P. 
Willis.— Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 187 

the space between every house is almost entirely covered 
with stramonium. This dangerous and disagreeable 
plant has propagated surprisingly in every part where 
the earth has been uncovered and cultivated within twelve 
or fifteen years ; and let the inhabitants do what they will, 
it spreads still wider every year. It is generally sup- 
posed to have made its appearance at James-Town in 
Virginia, whence it derived [104] the name of James- 
weed. Travellers use it to heal the wounds made on 
horses' backs occasioned by the rubbing of the saddle. 

Mullein is the second European plant that I found very 
abundant in the United States, although in a less pro- 
portion than the stramonium. It is very common on the 
road leading from Philadelphia to Lancaster, but less 
so past the town; and I saw no more of it beyond the 
Alleghany Mountains. 

On the 1st of August we arrived at Limestone in Ken- 
tucky, fifty miles lower than Alexandria. There ended 
my travels on the Ohio. We had come three hundred 
and forty-eight miles in a canoe from Wheeling, and had 
taken ten days to perform the journey, during which we 
were incessantly obliged to paddle, on account of the 
slowness of the stream. This labour, although painful, 
at any rate, to those who are unaccustomed to it, was 
still more so on account of the intense heat. We also 
suffered much from thirst, not being able to procure any 
thing to drink but by stopping at the plantations on the 
banks of the river; for in summer the water of the Ohio 
acquires such a degree of heat, that it is not fit to be 
drank till it has been kept twenty-four hours. This ex- 
cessive heat is occasioned, on the one hand, by the [105] 
extreme heat of the climate in that season of the year, 
and on the other, by the slow movement of the stream. 

I 88 Early Western Travels / [Vol. 3 

I had fixed on the 1st of October to be the epoch of 
my return to Charleston in South Carolina, and I had 
nearly a thousand miles to go by land before I could 
arrive there, in executing the design I had formed of 
travelling through the state of Tennessea, which length- 
ened my route considerably. Pressed for time, I relin- 
quished the intention I had formed of going farther down 
the Ohio, and took leave of Mr. Samuel Craft, who pur- 
sued by himself, in a canoe, his journey to Louisville, 
whence, after having come down the Ohio and Mississippi, 
he was to proceed up the river Yazous to go to Natches, 
and then return by land to the state of Vermont, where he 
expected to be about the middle of November following, 
after having made, in six months, a circuit of nearly four 
thousand miles. 

[106] CHAP. XII 
Fish and shells 0} the Ohio — Inhabitants on the Banks of 
the river — Agriculture — American Emigrant — Com- 
mercial Intelligence relative to that part of the United 

The banks of the Ohio, although elevated from twenty 
to sixty feet, scarcely afford any strong substances from 
Pittsburgh; and except large detached stones of a grey- 
ish colour and very soft, that we observed in an extent 
of ten or twelve miles below Wheeling, the remainder part 
seems vegetable earth. A few miles before we reached 
Limestone we began to observe a bank of a chalky nature, 
the thickness of which being very considerable, left no 
room to doubt but what it must be of a great extent. 

Two kinds of flint, roundish and of a middling size, 
furnished the bed of the Ohio abundantly, especially as 
we approached the isles, where they are accumulated 

1802] F. A. Mic /mux's Travels 189 

[107] by the strength of the current; some of a darkish 
hue, break easily; others smaller, and in less quantities, 
are three parts white, and scarcely transparent. 

In the Ohio, as well as in the Alleghany, Monongahela, 
and other rivers in the west, they find in abundance a 
species of Mulette which is from five to six inches in 
length. They do not eat it, but the mother-o'-pearl which 
is very thick in it, is used in making buttons. I have 
seen some at Lexinton which were as beautiful as those 
they make in Europe. This new species which I brought 
over with me, has been described by Mr. Bosc, under the 
name of the Unio Ohiotensis. 

The Ohio abounds in fish of different kinds; the most 
common is the cat-fish, or silurus jelis, which is generally 
caught with a line, and weighs sometimes a hundred 
pounds. The first fold of the upper fins of this fish are 
strong and pointed, similar to those of a perch, which he 
makes use of to kill others of a lesser size. He swims 
several inches under the one he wishes to attack, then 
rising rapidly, he pierces him several times in the belly; 
this we had an opportunity of observing twice in the 
course [108] of our navigation. This fish is also taken 
with a kind of spear. 

Till the years 1796 and 1797 the banks of the Ohio 
were so little populated that they scarcely consisted of 
thirty families in the space of four hundred miles; but 
since that epoch a great number of emigrants have come 
from the mountainous parts of Pennsylvania and Vir- 
ginia, and settled there ; in consequence of which the plan- 
tations now are so increased, that they are not farther 
than two or three miles distant from each other, and 
when on the river we always had a view of some of them* 

The inhabitants on the borders of the Ohio, employ 

190 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the greatest part of their time in stag and bear hunting, 
for the sake of the skins, which they dispose of. The 
taste that they have contracted for this kind of life is 
prejudicial to the culture of their lands ; besides they have 
scarcely any time to meliorate their new possessions, 
that usually consist of two or three hundred acres, of 
which not more than eight or ten are cleared. Never- 
theless, the produce that they derive from them, with the 
milk of their cows, is sufficient for themselves and fami- 
lies, which are always very numerous. The houses that 
they inhabit [109] are built upon the borders of the river, 
generally in a pleasant situation, whence they enjoy the 
most delightful prospects; still their mode of building 
does not correspond with the beauties of the spot, being 
nothing but miserable log houses, without windows, and 
so small that two beds occupy the greatest part of them. 
Notwithstanding two men may erect and finish, in less 
than three days, one of these habitations, which, by their 
diminutive size and sorry appearance, seem rather to 
belong to a country where timber is very scarce, instead of 
a place that abounds with forests. The inhabitants on the 
borders of the Ohio do not hesitate to receive travellers 
who claim their hospitality; they give them a lodging, 
that is to say, they permit them to sleep upon the floor 
wrapped up in their rugs. They are accommodated 
with bread, Indian corn, dried ham, milk and butter, 
but seldom any thing else; at the same time the price of 
provisions is very moderate in this part of the United 
States, and all through the western country. 

No attention is paid by the inhabitants to any thing 
else but the culture of Indian corn; and although it 
is brought to no great perfection, the soil being so full 
of roots, the stems are from ten to twelve feet [no] high, 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 191 

and produce from twenty to thirty-five hundred weight of 
corn per acre. For the three first years after the ground 
is cleared, the corn springs up too strong, and scatters 
before it ears, so that they cannot sow in it for four or 
five years after, when the ground is cleared of the stumps 
and roots that were left in at first. The Americans in 
the interior cultivate corn rather through speculation to 
send the flour to the sea-ports, than for their own con- 
sumption; as nine tenths of them eat no other bread but 
that made from Indian corn; they make loaves of it from 
eight to ten pounds, which they bake in ovens, or small 
cakes baked on a board before the fire. This bread is 
generally eaten hot, and is not very palatable to those 
who are not used to it. 

The peach is the only fruit tree that they have as yet 
cultivated, which thrives so rapidly that it produces fruit 
after the second year. 

The price of the best land on the borders of the Ohio 
did not exceed three piastres per acre; at the same time 
it is not so dear on the left bank in the States of Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky, where the settlements are not looked 
upon as quite so good. 

The two banks of the Ohio, properly speaking, not 
having been inhabited above eight or nine years, [in] 
nor the borders of the rivers that run into it, the Ameri- 
cans who are settled there, share but very feebly in the 
commerce that is carried on through the channel of the 
Mississippi. This commerce consists at present in 
hams and salted pork, brandies distilled from corn and 
peaches, butter, hemp, skins and various sorts of flour. 
They send again cattle to the Atlantic States. Trades- 
people who supply themselves at Pittsburgh and Wheel- 
ing, and go up and down the river in a canoe, convey 

192 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

them haberdashery goods, and more especially tea and 
coffee, taking some of their produce in return. 

More than half of those who inhabit the borders of 
the Ohio, are again the first inhabitants, or as they are 
called in the United States, the first settlers, a kind of men 
who cannot settle upon the soil that they have cleared, 
and who under pretence of finding a better land, a more 
wholesome country, a greater abundance of game, push 
forward, incline perpetually towards the most distant 
points of the American population, and go and settle 
in the neighbourhood of the savage nations, whom they 
brave even in their own country. Their ungenerous mode 
of treating them stirs up frequent broils, that brings on 
bloody wars, in which they generally fall victims; [112] 
rather on account of their being so few in number, than 
through defect of courage. 

Prior to our arrival at Marietta, we met one of these 
settlers, an inhabitant of the environs of Wheeling, who 
accompanied us down the Ohio, and with whom we 
travelled for two days. Alone in a canoe from eighteen 
to twenty feet long, and from twelve to fifteen inches 
broad, he was going to survey the borders of the Missouri 38 
for a hundred and fifty miles beyond its embouchure. 
The excellent quality of the land that is reckoned to be 
more fertile there than that on the borders of the Ohio, 
and which the Spanish government at that time ordered 
to be distributed gratis, the quantity of beavers, elks, and 
more especially bisons, were the motives that induced 
him to emigrate into this remote part of the country, 

38 The banks of this river are now inhabited by the Americans, for forty 
miles beyond its embouchure in the Mississippi; the number of thofe who are 
fettled there is computed to be about three thoufand, and it increafes daily 
by the repeated emigrations that are made from Kentucky and the Upper 
Carolinas. — F. A. Michaux. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 193 

whence after having determined on a suitable spot to 
settle there with his family, he was returning to fetch 
them from the borders of the Ohio, which obliged him 
to take a journey of fourteen or fifteen hundred [113] 
miles, his costume, like that of all the American sports- 
men, consisted of a waistcoat with sleeves, a pair of pan- 
taloons, and a large red and yellow worsted sash. A 
carabine, a tomahawk or little axe, which the Indians 
make use of to cut wood and to terminate the existence of 
their enemies, two beaver-snares, and a large knife sus- 
pended at his side, constituted his sporting dress. A rug 
comprised the whole of his luggage. Every evening he 
encamped on the banks of the river, where, after having 
made a fire, he passed the night; and whenever he con- 
ceived the place favourable for the chace, he remained 
in the woods for several days together, and with the pro- 
duce of his sport, he gained the means of subsistence, 
and new ammunition with the skins of the animals that 
he had killed. 

Such were the first inhabitants of Kentucky and Ten- 
nessea, of whom there are now remaining but very few. 
It was they who began to clear those fertile countries, 
and wrested them from the savages who ferociously dis- 
puted their right; it was they, in short, who made them- 
selves masters of the possessions, after five or six years' 
bloody war: but the long habit of a wandering and idle 
life has prevented their enjoying the fruit of their labours, 
and profiting by [114] the very price to which these lands 
have risen in so short a time. They have emigrated to 
more remote parts of the country, and formed new set- 
tlements. It will be the same with most of those who 
inhabit the borders of the Ohio. The same inclination 
that led them there will induce them to emigrate from it. 

194 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

To the latter will succeed fresh emigrants, coming also 
from the Atlantic states, who will desert their possessions 
to go in quest of a milder climate and a more fertile soil. 
The money that they will get for them will suffice to pay 
for their new acquisitions, the peaceful delight of which 
is assured by a numerous population. The last comers 
instead of log-houses, with which the present inhabitants 
are contented, will build wooden ones, clear a greater 
quantity of the land, and be as industrious and persever- 
ing in the melioration of their new possessions as the 
former were indolent in every thing, being so fond of 
hunting. To the culture of Indian corn they will add 
that of other grain, hemp, and tobacco; rich pasturages 
will nourish innumerable flocks, and an advantageous 
sale of all the country's produce will be assured them 
through the channel of the Ohio. 

The happy situation of this river entitles it to be looked 
upon as the centre of commercial activity between [115] 
the eastern and western states. By it the latter receive 
the manufactured goods which Europe, India, and the 
Caribbees supply the former; and it is the only open 
communication with the ocean, for the exportation of 
provisions from the immense and fertile part of the United 
States comprised between the Alleghany Mountains, the 
lakes, and the left banks of the Mississippi. 

All these advantages, blended with the salubrity of 
the climate and the beauty of the landscapes, enlivened 
in the spring by a group of boats which the current whirls 
along with an astonishing rapidity, and the uncommon 
number of sailing vessels that from the bosom of this vast 
continent go directly to the Caribbees; all these advan- 
tages, I say, make me think that the banks of the Ohio, 
from Pittsburgh to Louisville inclusively, will, in the 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 195 

course of twenty years, be the most populous and com- 
mercial part of the United States, and where I should 
settle in preference to any other. 

[116] CHAP. XIII 

Limestone. — Route from Limestone to Lexinton. — Wash- 
ington. — Salt-works at Mays-Lick. — Millesburgh. — 

Limestone, situated upon the left bank of the Ohio, 
consists only of about thirty or forty houses constructed 
with wood. This little town, built upwards of fifteen years, 
one would imagine to be more extensive. It has long 
been the place where all the emigrants landed who came 
from the Northern States by the way of Pittsburgh, and is 
still the staple for all sorts of merchandize sent from 
Philadelphia and Baltimore to Kentucky. 

The travellers who arrive at Limestone by the Ohio 
find great difficulty in procuring horses on hire, to go to 
the places of their destination. The inhabitants there, 
as well as at Shippensburgh, take this undue advantage, 
in order to sell them at an [117] enormous price. As I 
intended staying some time at Lexinton, which would 
greatly enhance my expenses, I resolved to travel there 
on foot ; upon which I left my portmanteau with the land- 
lord of the inn where I stopped, which he undertook for a 
piaster to send me to Lexinton, and I set off the same 
day. It is reckoned from Limestone to Lexinton to be 
sixty-five miles, which I went in two days and a half. 
The first town we came to was Washington, which was 
only four miles off. 37 It is much larger than Limestone, 

37 The route from Limestone to Lexington was the road whereby most of 
the travel by way of the Ohio came into Kentucky. It passed through the pres- 
ent county of Mason, along the western corner of Fleming, crossed the Licking 

196 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and contains about two hundred houses, all of wood, and 
built on both sides of the road. Trade is very brisk 
there; it consists principally in corn, which is exported 
to New Orleans. There are several very fine plantations 
in the environs, the land of which is as well cultivated 
and the enclosures as well constructed, as at Virginia 
and Pennsylvania. I went seven miles the first evening, 
and on the following day reached Springfield, composed 
of five or six houses, among the number of which are two 
spacious inns, well built, where the inhabitants of the 
environs assemble together. Thence I passed through 
Mays-Lick, where there is a salt-mine. I stopped there 
to examine the process pursued for the extraction of salt. 
The [118] wells that supply the salt water are about twenty 
feet in depth, and not more than fifty or sixty fathoms 
from the river Salt-Lick, the waters of which are some- 
what brackish in summer time. For evaporation they 
make use of brazen pots, containing about two hundred 
pints, and similar in form to those used in France for 
making lye. They put ten or a dozen of them in a row 
on a pit four feet in depth, and a breadth proportionate 
to their diameter, so that the sides lay upon the edge of 
the pit, supported by a few handfuls of white clay, which 
fill up but very imperfectly the spaces between the ves- 
sels. The wood, which they cut in billets of about three 
feet, is thrown in at the extremities of the pit. These 
sort of kilns are extravagant, and consume a prodigious 
quantity of wood ; I made an observation of it to the people 

River in Nicholas County, and the South Fork of the same at Hinkston's Ferry, 
thence passed through Bourbon and Fayette counties to Lexington. 

Washington was first settled by Simon Kenton, the well-known pioneer 
hunter, in 1784; it was laid out as a town in 1786; and was the seat of Mason 
County from 1788-1848. With the introduction of railroads, its importance 
declined. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux 's Travels 197 

.employed in the business, to which they made answer, 
that they did not know there was any preferable mode; 
and they should follow their own till some person or other 
from the Old Country (meaning Europe) came and 
taught them to do better. The scarcity of hands for 
the cutting down and conveyance of the wood, and the 
few saline principles that the water contains when dis- 
solved, occasions the salt to be very dear; they sell it at 
from four to [119] five piasters per hundred weight. It is 
that scarcity which induces many of them to search for 
salt springs. They are usually found in places described 
by the name of Licks where the bisons, elks, and stags 
that existed in Kentucky before the arrival of the Europ- 
eans, went by hundreds to lick the saline particles with 
which the soil is impregnated. There are in this state 
and that of Tenessea a set of quacks, who by means of a 
hazle wand pretend to discover springs of salt and fresh 
water; but they are only consulted by the more ignorant 
class of people, who never send for them but when they 
are induced by some circumstance or other to search over a 
spot of ground where they suspect one of those springs. 

The country we traversed ten miles on this side Mays- 
Lick, and eight miles beyond, did not afford the least 
vestige of a plantation. The soil is dry and sandy; the 
road is covered with immense flat chalky stones, of a 
bluish cast inside, the edges of which are round. The 
only trees that we observed were the white oak, or quer- 
cus alba, and nut-tree, or juglans hickery, but their stinted 
growth and wretched appearance clearly indicated the 
sterility of the soil, occasioned, doubtless, by the salt 
mines that it contains. 

[120] From Mays-Lick I went to Millesburgh, com- 
posed of fifty houses; I went there to visit Mr. Savary, who 

198 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

had been very intimately acquainted with my father, and 
by his invitation I left my inn and went to lodge at his 
house. 38 Mr. Savary is one of the greatest proprietors 
in that part of the country ; he possesses more than eighty 
thousand acres of land in Virginia, Tenessea and Ken- 
tucky. The taxes that he pays, although moderate, are 
notwithstanding very burthensome to him; more so, as 
it is with the greatest difficulty he can find purchasers for 
his land, as the emigrations of the eastern states, hav- 
ing taken a different direction, incline but very feebly 
towards Kentucky. 

Near Millesburgh flows a little river, from five to 
six fathoms broad, upon which two saw-mills are erected. 
The stream was then so low that I crossed it upon large 
chalky stones, which comprised a part of its bottom, and 
which at that time were above water. In winter time, on 
the contrary, it swells to such a degree that it can scarcely 
be passed by means of a bridge twenty-five feet in height. 
The bridges thrown over the small rivers, or creeks, that 
are met with frequently in the interior of the country, more 
especially in the eastern states, are all formed of the [121] 
trunks of trees placed transversely by each other. These 
bridges have no railings; and whenever a person travels 
on horseback, it is always prudent to alight in order to 
cross them. 

On this side Lexinton we passed through Paris, a 
manor-house for the county of Bourbon. This small 
town, in the year 1796, consisted of no more than eigh- 

38 May's Lick was named for John May of Virginia, its original owner, 
who was killed by Indians when descending the Ohio in 1 790. 

Millersburg was settled by John Miller about 1784, on lands that he had 
located in 1775 on Hinkston Creek, in Bourbon County. It is still a small 
town and the present seat of Kentucky Wesleyan University, founded in 1817. 

Henry Savary was an enterprising Frenchman who kept one of the first 
stores in Millersburg. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 199 

teen houses, and now contains more than a hundred and 
fifty, half of which are brick. It is situated on a de- 
lightful plain, and watered by a small river, near which 
are several corn mills. Every thing seems to announce 
the comfort of its inhabitants. Seven or eight were 
drinking whiskey at a respectable inn where I stopped 
to refresh myself on account of the excessive heat. After 
having replied to different questions which they asked me 
concerning the intent of my journey, one of them in- 
vited me to dine with him, wishing to introduce me to 
one of my fellow-countrymen arrived lately from Bengal. 
I yielded to his entreaties, and actually found a French- 
man who had left Calcutta to go and reside at Ken- 
tucky. He was settled at Paris, where he exercised the 
profession of a school-master. 

[122] CHAP. XIV 

Lexinton. — Manufactories established there. — Commerce. 

— Dr. Samuel Brown 

Lexinton, the manor-house for the county of Fayette, 
is situated in the midst of a flat soil of about three hun- 
dred acres, like the rest of the small towns of the United 
States that are not upon the borders of the sea. This 
town is traced upon a regular plan, and its streets, suffi- 
ciently broad, cut each other at right angles. The want of 
pavement renders it very muddy in winter time, and rainy 
weather. The houses, most of which are brick, are dis- 
seminated upon an extent of eighty or a hundred acres, 
except those which form the main street, where they are 
contiguous to each other. This town, founded in 1780, 
is the oldest and most wealthy of the three new western 
states; it contains about three thousand inhabitants. 
Frankfort, the seat of government in Kentucky, which is 

200 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

upwards of twenty [123] miles distant from it, is not so 
populous. 39 We may attribute the rapid increase o 
Lexinton to its situation in the centre of one of the most 
fertile parts of the country, comprised in a kind of semi- 
circle, formed by the Kentucky river. 

There are two printing-offices at Lexinton, in each of 
which a newspaper is published twice a week. Part of 
the paper is manufactured in the country, and is dearer 
by one-third than in France. 40 That which they use for 
writing, originally imported from England, comes by the 
way of Philadelphia and Baltimore. Two extensive rope 
walks, constantly in employ, supply the ships with rigging 
that are built upon the Ohio. On the borders of the little 
river that runs very near the town several tan-yards are 
established that supply the wants of the inhabitants. I 
observed at the gates of these tan-yards strong leathers of 
a yellowish cast, tanned with the black oak; in conse- 
quence of which I saw that this tree grew in Kentucky, 
although I had not observed it between Limestone and 
Lexinton; in fact, I had seen nothing but land either 
parched up or extremely fertile; and, as I have since ob- 
served, this tree grows in neither, it is an inhabitant of the 
mountainous parts, where the soil is gravelly and rather 

[124] The want of hands excites the industry of the 
inhabitants of this country. When I was at Lexinton 
one of them had just obtained a patent for a nail machine, 

39 The name of Kentucky's capital is said to be taken from that of a pioneer, 
Stephen Frank, who was killed on this spot in 1780. The site was first sur- 
veyed in 1773 for the McAfees, but the place was not incorporated until 1786. 
It was made the seat of government in 1793. — Ed. 

40 The first two newspapers were the Kentucke Gazette, founded by John 
Bradford in 1787 — the pioneer paper of the West; and the Kentucky Herald, 
founded by James H. Stewart in 1795. See Perrin, "Pioneer Press of Ken- 
tucky," in Filson Club Publications (Louisville, 1887), No. 3. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 201 

more complete and expeditious than the one made use 
of in the prisons at New York and Philadelphia; and a 
second announced one for the grinding and cleaning of 
hemp and sawing wood and stones. This machine, 
moved by a horse or a current of water, is capable, ac- 
cording to what the inventor said, to break and clean 
eight thousand weight of hemp per day. 

The articles manufactured at Lexinton are very passa- 
ble, and the speculators are ever said to make rapid for- 
tunes, notwithstanding the extreme scarcity of hands. 
This scarcity proceeds from the inhabitants giving so 
decided a preference to agriculture, that there are very 
few of them who put their children to any trade, wanting 
their services in the field. The following comparison will 
more clearly prove this scarcity of artificers in the western 
states: At Charleston in Carolina, and at Savannah in 
Georgia, a cabinet-maker, carpenter, mason, tinman, 
tailor, shoemaker, &c. earns two piastres a day, and can- 
not live for less than six per week; at New York and 
Philadelphia he has but one piaster, and it [125] costs 
him four per week. At Marietta, Lexinton and Nashe- 
ville, in Tenessea, these workmen earn from one piaster 
to one and a half a day, and can subsist a week with the 
produce of one day's labour. Another example may tend 
to give an idea of the low price of provisions in the western 
states. The boarding-house, where I lived during my 
stay at Lexinton, passes for one of the best in the town, 
and we were profusely served at the rate of two piastres 
per week. I am informed that living is equally cheap in 
the states of New England, which comprise Connecticut, 
Massachusets, and New Hampshire; but the price of 
labour is not so high, and therefore more proportionate 
to the price of provisions. 

202 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Independent of those manufactories which are estab- 
lished in Lexinton, there are several common potteries, 
and one or two powder-mills, the produce of which is con- 
sumed in the country or exported to Upper Carolina and 
Low Louisiana. The sulphur is obtained from Philadel- 
phia and the saltpetre is manufactured in the country; 
the materials are extracted from the grottos, or caverns, 
that are found on the declivity of lofty hills in the most 
mountainous part of the state. The soil there is ex- 
tremely rich in nitrous particles, which is evidently due 
to [126] the chalky rock, at the expense of which all these 
excavations are formed, as well as for vegetable sub- 
stances, which are casually thrust into their interior. 
This appears to demonstrate that the assimilation of 
animal matters is not absolutely necessary, even in the 
formation of artificial nitrous veins, to produce a higher 
degree of nitrification. Saltpetre of the first preparation 
is sold at about sixpence halfpenny per pound. Among 
the various samples I have seen, I never observed the 
least appearance of marine salt. The process that is 
used is as defective as their preparation of salt; I only 
speak relative to the extraction of the saltpetre, not hav- 
ing seen the powder-mills. I shall conclude by observing* 
that it is only in Kentucky and Tenessea that saltpetre 
is manufactured, and not in the Atlantic States. 

The majority of the inhabitants of Lexinton trade with 
Kentucky; 41 they receive their merchandize from Phila- 
delphia and Baltimore in thirty-five or forty days, includ- 
ing the journey of two days and a half from Limestone, 
where they land all the goods destined for Kentucky. 
The price of carriage is from seven to eight piastres per 

a This is a mistranslation; it should be, "the majority of the inhabitants of 
Kentucky trade with Lexington merchants." — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 203 

hundred weight. Seven-tenths of the manufactured arti- 
cles consumed in Kentucky, as well as in the other parts 
of the [127] United States, are imported from England; 
they consist chiefly in coarse and fine jewellery, cutlery, 
ironmongery, and tin ware; in short, drapery, mercery, 
drugs, and fine earthenware, muslins, nankeens, tea, 
&c. are imported directly from India to the United States 
by the American vessels; and they get from the Carrib- 
bees coffee, and various kinds of raw sugar, as none but 
the poorer class of the inhabitants make use of maple 

The French goods that are sent into this part of the 
country are reduced to a few articles in the silk line, such 
as taffetas, silk stockings, &c. also brandies and mill- 
stones, notwithstanding their enormous weight, and the 
distance from the sea ports. 

From Lexinton the different kinds of merchandize 
are despatched into the interior of the state, and the 
overplus is sent by land into Tenessea. It is an easy 
thing for merchants to make their fortunes; in the first 
place, they usually have a twelvemonth's credit from the 
houses at Philadelphia and Baltimore, and in the next, 
as there are so few, they are always able to fix in their 
favour the course of colonial produce, which they take 
in exchange for their goods: as, through the extreme 
scarcity of specie, most of these transactions are done by 
way of barter; the merchants, [128] however, use every 
exertion in their power to get into their possession the 
little specie in circulation; it is only particular articles 
that are sold for money, or in exchange for produce the 
sale of which is always certain, such as the linen of the 
country, or hemp. Payments in money always bear a 
difference of fifteen or twenty per cent to the merchant's 

204 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

profits. All the specie collected in the course of trade is 
sent by land to Philadelphia; I have seen convoys of this 
kind that consisted of fifteen or twenty horses. 42 The 
trouble of conveyance is so great that they give the prefer- 
ence to Bank bills of the United States, which bear a dis- 
count of two per cent. The merchants in all parts take 
them, but the inhabitants of the country will not, through 
fear of their being forged. I must again remark, that 
there is not a single species of colonial produce in Ken- 
tucky, except gensing, that will bear the expense of car- 
riage by land from that state to Philadelphia; as it is 
demonstrated that twenty-five pounds weight [129] would 
cost more expediting that way, even going up the Ohio, 
than a thousand by that river, without reckoning the 
passage by sea, although we have had repeated examples 
that the passage from New Orleans to Philadelphia or 
New York is sometimes as long as that from France to 
the United States. 

The current coin in the states of Kentucky and Ten- 
nessea has the same divisions as in Virginia. They 
reckon six shillings to the dollar or piastre. The hundreds 
which nearly correspond with our halfpence, although 
having a forced currency, do not appear in circulation. 
The quarters, eighths, and sixteenths of a piastre form the 
small white money. As it is extremely scarce, it is sup- 
plied by a very indifferent method, but which appears 
necessary, and consists in cutting the dollars into pieces. 
As every body is entitled to make this division, there are 
people who do it for the sake of gain; at the same time 
in the retail trade the seller will generally abate in his 

42 The distance from Lexinton to Philadelphia, by way of Pennsylvania, 
is about six hundred and fifty miles. Those who have occasion to go there on 
business, generally set out in autumn, and take three weeks or a month to per- 
form the journey. — F. A. Michaux. 

1802] F. A. Mic /mux's Travels 205 

articles for a whole dollar, than have their full worth 
in six or eight pieces. 

I have heard from several persons very well informed, 
that during the last war, corn being kept up at an exorbi- 
tant rate, it was computed that the exportations from 
Kentucky had balanced the price [130] of the importa- 
tions of English goods from Philadelphia and Baltimore, 
by the way of the Ohio : but since the peace, the demand 
for flour and salt provisions having ceased in the Carib- 
bees, corn has fallen considerably; so that the balance of 
trade is wholly unfavourable to the country. 

During my stay at Lexinton I frequently saw Dr. Sam- 
uel Brown, from Virginia, a physician of the college of 
Edinburgh, and member of the Philosophical Society, to 
whom several members of that society had given me letters 
of recommendation. A merited reputation undeniably 
places Dr. S. Brown in the first rank of physicians set- 
tled in that part of the country. Receiving regularly the 
scientific journals from London, he is always in the chan- 
nel of new discoveries, and turns them to the advantage 
of his fellow-citizens. It is to him that they are indebted 
for the introduction of the cow-pox. He had at that 
time inoculated upward of five hundred persons in Ken- 
tucky, when they were making their first attempts in New 
York and Philadelphia. Dr. Brown also employs him- 
self in collecting fossils and other natural productions, 
which abound in this interesting country. I have seen 
at his house several relics of very large unknown fish, 
caught in the [131] Kentucky River, and which were 
remarkable for their singular forms. The analysis of 
the mineral waters at Mud-Lick was to employ the first 
leisure time he had. These waters are about sixty miles 
from Lexinton; they are held in great esteem, and the 

206 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

most distinguished personages in the country were drink- 
ing them when I was in the town. The Philosophical 
Transactions and the Monthly Review, published at 
New York by Dr. Mitchel, are the periodical works where- 
in Dr. Brown inserts the fruit of his observation and re- 
search. 43 

I had also the pleasure of forming an acquaintance 
with several French gentlemen settled in that part of 
the country: Mr. Robert, to whom I was recommended 
by Mr. Marbois, jun. then in the United States; and 
Messrs. Duhamel and Mentelle, sons of the members 
of the National Institution of the same name. The 
two latter are settled in the environs of Lexinton; the 
first as a physician, and the second as a farmer. I 
received from them that marked attention and respect so 
pleasing to a foreigner at a distance from his country and 
his friends; in consequence of which I now feel myself 
happy in having this means of publicly expressing my 
warmest gratitude. 

[132] CHAP. XV 
Departure from Lexinton. — Culture of the vine at Ken- 
tucky. — Passage over the Kentucky and Dick Rivers. — 
Departure for Nasheville. — Mulder Hill. — Passage 
over Green River. 

I set out on the 10th of August from Lexinton to Nashe- 
ville, in the state of Tennessea; and as the establishment 
formed to naturalize the vine in Kentucky was but a 

43 Dr. Samuel Brown was a younger brother of John Brown, first delegate 
from Kentucky to the Continental Congress. He was born in Virginia, in 1769, 
educated at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and took a medical course at Edinburgh. 
One of the first physicians of Kentucky, he was professor of medicine in 
Transylvania College, 1799 -1806, and again in 181 9. He later removed to 
Huntsville, Alabama, where he died in 1830. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 207 

few miles out of my road, I resolved to go and see it. 
There is no American but what takes the warmest in- 
terest in attempts of that kind, and several persons in 
the Atlantic states had spoken to me of the success which 
had crowned this undertaking. French wines being one 
of the principal articles of our commerce with the United 
States, I wished to be satisfied respecting the degree of 
prosperity which this establishment might have ac- 
quired. [133] In the mean time, from the indifferent man- 
ner which I had heard it spoken of in the country I sus- 
pected beforehand that the first attempts had not been 
very fortunate. 

About fourteen miles from Lexinton I quitted the 
Hickman Ferry road, turned on my left, and strolled 
into the woods, so that I did not reach the vineyard till 
the evening, when I was handsomely received by Mr. 
Dufour, who superintends the business. He gave me an 
invitation to sleep, and spend the following day with him, 
which I accepted. 

There reigns in the United States a public spirit that 
makes them greedily seize hold of every plan that tends 
to enrich the country by agriculture and commerce. 
That of rearing the vine in Kentucky was eagerly em- 
braced. Several individuals united together, and formed 
a society to put it in execution, and it was decreed that a 
fund should be established of ten thousand dollars, divided 
into two hundred shares of fifty dollars each. This 
fund was very soon accomplished. Mr. Dufour, the 
chief of a small Swiss colony which seven or eight years 
before had settled in Kentucky, and who had proposed 
this undertaking, was deputed to search for a proper 
soil, to procure vine plants, and to do every thing he 
[134] might think necessary to insure success. The spot 

208 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

that he has chosen and cleared is on the Kentucky river, 
about twenty miles from Lexinton. The soil is excellent 
and the vineyard is planted upon the declivity of a hill 
exposed to the south, and the base of which is about two 
hundred fathoms from the river. 

Mr. Dufour intended to go to France to procure the 
vine plants, and with that idea went to New York; but 
the war, or other causes that I know not, prevented 
his setting out, and he contented himself with collecting, 
in this town and Philadelphia, slips of every species that 
he could find in the possession of individuals that had 
them in their gardens. After unremitted labour he made 
a collection of twenty-five different sorts, which he 
brought to Kentucky, where he employed himself in cul- 
tivating them. However the success did not answer the 
expectation; only four or five various kinds survived, 
among which were those that he had described by the 
name of Burgundy and Madeira, but the former is far 
from being healthy. The grape generally decays before 
it is ripe. When I saw them the bunches were thin and 
poor, the berries small, and every thing announced that 
the vintage of 1802 would not be more [135] abundant 
than that of the preceding years. The Madeira vines 
appeared, on the contrary, to give some hopes. Out 
of a hundred and fifty or two hundred, there was a third 
loaded with very fine bunches. The whole of these vines 
do not occupy a space of more than six acres. They are 
planted and fixed with props similar to those in the en- 
virons of Paris. 

Such was then the situation of this establishment, in 
which the stockholders concerned themselves but very 
little. It was again about to experience another check 
by the division of Mr. Dufour's family, one part of which 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 209 

was on the point of setting out to the banks of the Ohio, 
there to form a settlement. These particulars are suffi- 
cient to give, on the pretended flourishing state of the 
vines in Kentucky, an idea very different to that which 
might be formed from the pompous account of them 
which appeared some months since in our public 

I profited by my stay with Mr. Dufour, to ask him 
in what part of Kentucky the numerous emigration of 
his countrymen had settled, which had been so much 
spoken of in our newspapers in 1793 and 1794- His 
reply was, that a great number of the Swiss had actually 
formed an intention to settle there; but [136] just as 
they were setting out, the major part had changed their 
mind, and that the colony was then reduced to his family 
and a few friends, forming, in the whole, eleven persons. 

I did not set out from the vineyard till tne second day 
after my arrival. Mr. Dufour offered, in order to short- 
en my journey, to conduct me through the wood where 
they cross the Kentucky river. I accepted his proposal, 
and although the distance was only four miles we took 
two hours to accomplish it, as we were obliged to alight 
either to climb up or descend the mountains, or to leap 
our horses over the trunks of old trees piled one upon 
another. The soil, as fertile as in the environs of Lexin- 
ton, will be difficult to cultivate, on account of the great 
inequality of the ground. Beech, nut, and oak trees, 
form chiefly the mass of the forests. We crossed, in the 
mean time, the shallows of the river, covered exclusively 
with beautiful palms. A great number of people in the 
country dread the proximity of these palms; they con- 
ceive that the down which grows on the reverse of the 
leaves, in spring, and which falls off in the course of the 

2 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

summer, brings on consumptions, by producing an 
irritation of the lungs, almost insensible, but continued. 

[137] In this season of the year the Kentucky River 
is so low at Hickman Ferry that a person may ford it with 
the greatest ease. 

I stopped a few minutes at the inn where the ferry-boat 
plies when the water is high, and while they were giving 
my horse some corn I went on the banks of the river to 
survey it more attentively. Its borders are formed by an 
enormous mass of chalky stones, remarkably peaked, 
about a hundred and fifty feet high, and which bear, 
from the bottom to the top, evident traces of the action 
of the waters, which have washed them away in several 
parts. A broad and long street, where the houses are 
arranged in a right line, will give an idea of the channel 
of this river at Hickman Ferry. It swells amazingly in 
spring and autumn, and its waters rise at that time, in a 
few days, from sixty to seventy feet. 

I met, at this inn, an inhabitant of the country who 
lived about sixty miles farther up. This gentleman, 
with whom I entered into conversation, and who appeared 
to me to enjoy a comfortable existence, gave me strong 
invitations to pass a week with him at his house; and as 
he supposed that I was in quest of a spot to form a settle- 
ment, which is usually the intention of those who go to 
Kentucky, he offered [138] his services to shew me a 
healthy soil, wishing very much, he said, to have an inhabi- 
tant of the old country for a neighbour. It has often 
happened to me, in this state as well as in that of Ten- 
nessea, to refuse similar propositions by strangers whom 
I met at the inns or at the houses where I asked a lodg- 
ing, and who invited me, after that, to spend a few days 
in their family. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 211 

About a mile from Kentucky I left the Danville road, 
and took that of Harrod's Burgh, 44 to go to General 
Adair, 45 to whom Dr. Ramsey of Charleston had given 
me a letter of recommendation. I arrived at his house 
the same day. I crossed Dick's River, which is not half 
so broad as the Kentucky, but is extremely pleasant at 
this season of the year. Its bed is uniformly hollowed 
out by nature, and seems cased with stone. Part of the 
right bank, opposite to the place where they land, dis- 
covers a beautiful rock of a chalky substance, more than 
two hundred and fifty feet in height. The stratum forms 
one continued mass, which does not present the smallest 
interval, and which is only distinguished by zones and 
parallels of a bluish cast, the colour of which contrasts 
with the whiteness of the towering pile. On leaving its 
summit, numerous furrows, hollowed [139] in the rock, 
very near together, and which seem to run ad infinitum, 
are seen at different heights. These furrows have visibly 
been formed by the current of the river, which at distant 
epochs had its bed at these various levels. Dick's River, 
like the Kentucky, experiences, in the spring, an extra- 
ordinary increase of water. The stratum of vegetable 

44 Harrodsburg, seat of Mercer County, is the oldest town in the state, the 
first cabin being built there by James Harrod in 1774, and the fort in 1775. 
In June, 1776, a convention was held at this place, which chose George Rogers 
Clark a delegate to the Virginia legislature. He secured the appointment of Har- 
rodsburg as county town for the newly-erected Kentucky County. Until about 
1785, therefore, Harrodsburg was the seat of government, but it declined in 
importance before its neighbor Danville. — Ed. 

* 5 General John Adair was a South Carolinian who, after distinguished 
Revolutionary services, emigrated to Kentucky about 1786, and settled in Mer- 
cer County. He was a leader of Kentucky volunteers in St. Clair's campaign 
(1791); and served with distinction in the War of 1812-15, commanding the 
Kentucky detachment at the battle of New Orleans. From 1820-24, he was 
governor of the state, and was a Kentucky member of both the national House 
of Representatives and the Senate, dying in 1840 at his Kentucky home. — Ed. 

212 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

earth which covers the rock does not appear to be more 
than two or three feet thick. Virginia cedars are very 
common there. This tree, which is fond of lofty places 
where the chalky substance is very near to the superficies 
of the soil, thrives very well; but other trees, such as the 
black oak, the hickery, &c. are stinted, and assume a 
miserable appearance. 

General Adair was absent when I arrived at his planta- 
tion. His lady received me in the most obliging manner, 
and for five or six days that I staid with her I received 
every mark of attention and hospitality, as though I had 
been intimately acquainted with the family. 

A spacious and commodious house, a number of black 
servants, equipages, every thing announced the opulence 
of the General, which it is well known is not always, 
in America, the appendage of those honoured with that 
title. His plantation is situated [140] near Harrods- 
burgh in the county of Mercer. Magnificent peach or- 
chards, immense fields of Indian wheat, surround the 
house. The soil there is extremely fertile, which shews 
itself by the largeness of the blades of corn, their ex- 
traordinary height, and the abundance of the crops, that 
yield annually thirty or forty hundred weight of corn per 
acre. The mass of the surrounding forests is composed 
of those species of trees that are found in the better sort 
of land, such as the gleditia acanthus, guilandina dioica, 
ulmus viscosa, morus-rubra, corylus, annona triloba. In 
short, for several miles round the surface of the ground 
is flat, which is very rare in that country. 

As I could not defer my travels any longer, I did not 
accept of Mrs. Adair's invitation, who entreated me to 
stay till her husband's return; and on the 20th of August 

r8o2] F. A. Michaux's Travels 2 1 3 

I set out in order to continue my route toward Nashe- 
ville, very much regretting not having had it in my power 
to form an acquaintance with the General. 

My first day's journey was upward of twenty miles, 
and in the evening I put up at the house of one Hays, 
who keeps a kind of inn about fifty miles from Lexinton. 
Harrodsburgh, which I passed [141] through that day, 
at present consists only of about twenty houses, irregularly 
scattered, and built of wood. Twelve miles farther I 
regained, at Chaplain Fork, the road to Danville. In 
this space, which is uninhabited, the soil is excellent, but 
very unequal. 

The second day I went nearly thirty miles, and stopped 
at an inn kept by a person of the name of Skeggs. Ten 
miles on this side is Mulder-Hill, a steep and lofty moun- 
tain that forms a kind of amphitheatre. From its sum- 
mit the neighbouring country presents the aspect of an 
immense valley, covered with forests of an imperceptible 
extent, whence, as far as the eye can reach, nothing but 
a gloomy verdant space is seen, formed by the tops of the 
close-connected trees, and through which not the vestige 
of a plantation can be discerned. The profound silence 
that reigns in these woods, uninhabited by wild beasts, 
and the security of the place, forms an ensemble rarely 
to be met with in other countries. At the summit of 
Mulder-Hill the road divides, to unite again a few miles 
farther on. I took the left, and the first plantation that 
I reached was that of Mr. Macmahon, formerly professor 
of a college in Virginia, who came very lately to reside in 
this part of the country, where he officiates as a clergy- 

[142] Skeggs' s inn, where I stopped after having left 

2 j 4 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Mulder-Hill, was the worst station that I took from 
Limestone to Nasheville. It was destitute of every kind 
of provision, and I was obliged to sleep on the floor, 
wrapped up in my rug, without having been able to pro- 
cure a supper. As there was no stable in this plantation, 
I turned my horse into a peach orchard for pasture. 
The fences that inclosed it were broken down, and fear- 
ing he would escape in the night, I put a bell on his neck, 
such as travellers carry with them when compelled to 
sleep in the woods. The peaches at that time were in 
full perfection, and I perceived that my horse had been 
feeding on them, from the immense quantity of kernels 
lying under three or four trees. This was very easy for 
him, as the branches, loaded with fruit, hung nearly to 
the ground. 

About eight miles hence I forded Green River, which 
flows into the Ohio, after innumerable windings, and 
runs through a narrow valley not more than a mile in 
breadth. At the place where I crossed it it had not three 
[feet ?] of water in an extent from fifteen to twenty fathoms 
broad ; but in the spring, the only epoch when it is naviga- 
ble, the water rises about eighteen feet, as may be judged 
by the roots of the [143] trees that adorn its banks, and 
which are stripped naked by the current. Beyond the 
river we regain the road, which for the space of two miles 
serpentines in that part of the valley which is on the left 
bank. The soil of these shallows is marshy and very 
fruitful, where the beech tree, among others, flourishes in 
great perfection. Its diameter is usually in proportion 
to its height, and its massy trunk sometimes rises twenty- 
five or thirty feet from the earth divested of a single 
branch. The soil occupied by these trees is considered 
by the inhabitants as the most difficult to clear. 

180a] F. A. Michaux' 's Travels 2 1 5 

[144] CHAP. XVI 

Passage over the Barrens, or Meadows. — Plantations 
upon the Road. — The View they present. — Plants dis- 
covered there. — Arrival at Nasheville. 

About ten miles from Green River flows the Little 
Barren, a small river, from thirty to forty feet in breadth; 
the ground in the environs is dry and barren, and pro- 
duces nothing but a few Virginia cedars, two-leaved 
pines, and black oaks. A little beyond this commence 
the Barrens, or Kentucky Meadows. I went the first 
day thirteen miles across these meadows, and put up at 
the house of Mr. Williamson, near Bears- Wallow. 

In the morning, before I left the place, I wanted to 
give my horse some water, upon which my host directed 
me to a spring about a quarter of a mile from the house, 
where his family was supplied; I wandered [145] about 
for the space of two hours in search of this, when I dis- 
covered a plantation in a low and narrow valley, where 
I learnt that I had mistaken the path, and was obliged 
to return to the place from whence I came. The mis- 
tress of the house told me that she had resided in the Bar- 
rens upwards of three years, and that for eighteen months 
prior to my going there she had not seen an individual; 
that, weary of living thus isolated, her husband had been 
more than two months from home in quest of another 
spot, towards the mouth of the Ohio. Such was the 
pretence for this removal, which made the third since 
the family left Virginia. A daughter about fourteen 
years of age, and two children considerably younger, 
were all the company she had; her house, on the other 
hand, was stocked abundantly with vegetables and corn. 

This part of the Barrens that chance occasioned me 
to stroll over, was precisely similar to that I had traversed 

2 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the day before. I found a spring in a cavity of an orbic- 
ular form, where it took me upwards of an hour to get 
half a pail of water for my horse. The time that I had 
thus employed, that which I had lost in wandering 
about, added to the intense heat, obliged [146] me to 
shorten my route: in consequence of which I put up at 
Dripping Spring, about ten miles from Bears-Wallow. 

On the following day, the 26th, I went twenty-eight 
miles, and stopped at the house of Mr. Jacob Kesly, 
belonging to the Dunker sect, which I discovered by 
his long beard. About ten miles from Dripping Spring 
I forded Big-Barren River, which appeared to me one 
third broader than Green River, the plantation of one 
Macfiddit, who plies a ferry-boat when the waters are 
high; and another, belonging to one Chapman. About 
three miles farther are the two oldest settlements on the 
road, both of them having been built upwards of fourteen 
years. When I was at this place, a boat laden with salt 
arrived from St. Genevieve, a French village situated upon 
the right bank of the Mississippi, about a hundred miles 
beyond the mouth of the Ohio. 

My landlord's house was as miserably furnished as 
those I had lodged at for several days preceding, and 
I was again obliged to sleep on the floor. The major 
part of the inhabitants of Kentucky have been there too 
short a time to make any great improvements; they have 
a very indifferent supply of any thing except Indian corn 
and forage. 

[147] On the 27th of August I set off very early in the 
morning; and about thirteen miles from Mr. Kesley's I 
crossed the line that separates the State of Tennessea 
from that of Kentucky. There also terminates the Bar- 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 217 

rens; and to my great satisfaction I got into the woods. 49 
Nothing can be more tiresome than the doleful uniformity 
of these immense meadows where there is nobody to be 
met with ; and where, except a great number of partridges, 
we neither see nor hear any species of living beings, and 
are still more isolated than in the middle of the forests. 

The first plantation that I reached on entering Ten- 
nessea belonged to a person of the name of Checks, of 
whom I entertained a very indifferent opinion, by the 
conversation that he was holding with seven or eight of 
his neighbours, with whom he was drinking whiskey. 
Fearing lest I should witness some murdering scene or 
other, which among the inhabitants of this part of the 
country is frequently the end of intoxication, produced 
by this kind of spirits, I quickly took my leave, and put 
up at an inn about three miles farther off, where I found 
every accommodation. The late Duke of Orleans' son 
lodged at this house a few years before. 47 On the [148] 
day following I arrived at Nasheville, after having trav- 
elled twenty-seven miles. 

The Barrens, or Kentucky Meadows, comprise an ex- 
tent from sixty to seventy miles in length, by sixty miles 
in breadth. According to the signification of this word, 
I conc eived I should have had to cross over a naked space, 

48 Michaux passed from General Adair's, through Mercer and Marion 
counties, and over the range of Muldrow's Hills, which until about 1785 formed 
the southern boundary of Kentucky settlement. The "barrens," lying south 
and west, were so called from their lack of trees. The road led through Green, 
Barren, and Allen counties, and entered Tennessee in Sumner County, about 
forty miles northeast of Nashville. — Ed. 

47 The sons of the Duke of Orleans, Louis-Philippe and his two young 
brothers, came to the United States and travelled extensively in 1797, visiting 
the Southern and Western states, the Great Lakes, and New England. Finally 
passing through the Mississippi Valley, they embarked at New Orleans for 
Europe. — Ed. 

2 1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

sown here and there with a few plants. I was confirmed 
in my opinion by that which some of the country people 
had given me of these meadows before I reached them. 
They told me that in this season I should perish with 
heat and thirst, and that I should not find the least shade 
the whole of the way, as the major part of the Americans 
who live in the woods have not the least idea that there is 
any part of the country entirely open, and still less that 
they could inhabit it. Instead of finding a country as it 
had been depicted to me, I was agreeably surprised to see 
a beautiful meadow, where the grass was from two to 
three feet high. Amidst these pasture lands I discovered 
a great variety of plants, among which were the gerardia 
flava, or gall of the earth; the gnaphalium dioicum, or 
white plantain; and the rudbekia purpurea. I observed 
that the roots of the latter plant participated in some de- 
gree with the sharp taste of the leaves of the spilanthus 
[149] oleracca. When I crossed these meadows the 
flower season was over with three parts of the plants, 
but the time for most of the seeds to ripen was still at a 
great distance; nevertheless I gathered about ninety 
different species of them which I took with me to France. 

In some parts of the meadows we observed several 
species of the wild vine, and in particular that called by 
the inhabitants summer grapes, the bunches are as large, 
and the grapes of as good a quality as those in the vine- 
yards round Paris, with this difference, that the berries 
are not quite so close together. 

It seems to me that the attempts which have been made 
in Kentucky to establish the culture of the vine would 
have been more successful in the Barrens, the soil of 
which appears to me more adapted for this kind of cul- 
ture than that on the banks of the Kentucky; the latter 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 219 

is richer it is true, at the same time the nature of the 
country, and the proximity of the forests render it much 
damper. This was also my father's opinion; he thought 
that [of] the different parts of North America that he had 
travelled through, during a sojourn of twelve years, the 
States of Kentucky and Tennessea, and particularly 
the Barrens, were the parts in which the vine might [150] 
be cultivated with the greatest success. His opinion 
was founded in a great measure upon the certainty that 
the vegetable stratum in the above states lies upon a 
chalky mass. 

The Barrens are circumscribed by a wood about three 
miles broad, which in some parts joins to surrounding 
forests. The trees are in general very straggling, and 
at a greater distance from each other as they approach 
the meadows. On the side of Tennessea this border 
is exclusively composed of post oaks, or quercus oblusiloba, 
the wood of which being very hard, and not liable to rot, 
is, in preference to any other, used for fences. This ser- 
viceable tree would be easy to naturalize in France, as it 
grows among the pines in the worst of soil. We ob- 
served again, here and there, in the meadow, several black 
oaks, or quercus nigra; and nut trees, or juglans hickery, 
which rise about twelve or fifteen feet. Sometimes they 
formed small arbours, but always far enough apart from 
each other so as not to intercept the surrounding view. 
With the exception of small willows, about two feet 
high, selix longirostris, and a few shumacs, there is not 
the least appearance of a shrub. The surface of these 
meadows is generally very even ; towards Dripping Spring 
I observed [151] a lofty eminence, slightly adorned with 
trees, and bestrewed with enormous rocks, which hang 
jutting over the main road. 

220 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

It appears there are a great number of subterraneous 
caverns in the Barrens, some of which are very near the 
surface. A short time before I was there, several pieces 
of the rocks that were decayed, fell with a tremendous 
crash into the road near Bears-Wallow, as a traveller 
was passing, who, by the greatest miracle escaped. We 
may easily conceive with what consequences such acci- 
dents must be attended in a country where the planta- 
tions are so distant from each other, and where, perhaps, 
a traveller does not pass for several days. 

We remarked in these meadows several holes, widened 
at the top in the shape of funnels, the breadth of which 
varies according to their depth. In some of these holes, 
about five or six feet from the bottom, flows a small vein 
of water, which, in the same proportions as it fills, loses 
itself through another part. These kind of springs never 
fail; in consequence of which several of the inhabitants 
have been induced to settle in their vicinity; for, except 
the river Big-Barren, I did not see the smallest rivulet or 
creek; nor did I hear that they have ever attempted to dig 
[152] wells; but were they to make the essay, I have no 
doubt of their success. According to the observations 
we have just made, the want of water, and wood adapted 
to make fences, will be long an obstacle to the increase 
of settlements in this part of Kentucky. Notwithstanding, 
one of these two inconveniences might be obviated, by 
changing the present mode of enclosing land, and sub- 
stituting hedges, upon which the gleditsia triacanthos, one 
of the most common trees in the country, might be used 
with success. The Barrens at present are very thinly 
populated, considering their extent; for on the road where 
the plantations are closest together we counted but eigh- 
teen in a space of sixty or seventy miles. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 221 

Some of the inhabitants divide land of the Barrens in 
Kentucky into three classes, according to its uality. 
That which I crossed, where the soil is yellowsh and 
rather gravelly, appeared to me the best adapted for the 
culture of corn. That of Indian wheat is almost the only 
thing to which the inhabitants apply themselves; but as 
the settlements are of a fresh date, the land has not been 
able to acquire that degree of prosperity that is observed 
on this side Mulder Hill. Most of the inhabitants who go 
to settle in the country, incline upon the skirts, or along 
[153] the Little and Big Barren rivers, where they are at- 
tracted by the advantage that the meadows offer as pas- 
ture for the cattle, an advantage which, in a great measure, 
the inhabitants of the most fertile districts are deprived of, 
the country being so very woody, that there is scarcely 
any grass land to be seen. 

Every year, in the course of the months of March or 
April, the inhabitants set fire to the grass, which at that 
time is dried up, and through its extreme length, would 
conceal from the cattle a fortnight or three weeks longer 
the new grass, which then begins to spring up. This 
custom is nevertheless generally censured ; as being set on 
fire too early, the new grass is stripped of the covering that 
ought to shelter it from the spring and frosts, and in 
consequence of which its vegetation is retarded. The 
custom of burning the meadows was formerly practised by 
the natives, who came in this part of the country to hunt ; 
in fact, they do it now in the other parts of North America, 
where there are savannas of an immense extent. Their 
aim in setting fire to it is to allure the stags, bisons, &c. 
into the parts which are burnt, where they can discern 
them at a greater distance. Unless a person has seen 
these dreadful conflagrations, it is impossible to form 

222 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

[154] the least idea of them. The flames that occupy 
generally an extent of several miles, are sometimes driven 
by the wind with such rapidity, that the inhabitants, even 
on horseback, have become a prey to them. The Ameri- 
can sportsmen and the savages preserve themselves from 
this danger by a very ingenious method ; they immediately 
set fire to the part of the meadow where they are, and 
then retire into the space that is burnt, where the flame that 
threatened them stops for the want of nourishment. 

[155] CHAP. XVII 
General observations upon Kentucky. — Nature oj the soil. — 
First settlements in the state. — Right oj property uncer- 
tain . — Population . 

The state of Kentucky is situated 36 deg. 30 min. and 
39 deg. 30 min. north latitude, and 28 deg. and 89 deg. 
west longitude; its boundaries to the northwest are the 
Ohio, for an extent of about seven hundred and sixty 
miles, to the east of Virginia, and to the south of Ten- 
nessea; it is separated from Virginia by the river Sandy 
and the Laurel Mountains, one of the principal links of 
the Alleghanies. The greatest length of this state is 
about four hundred miles, and its greatest breadth about 
two hundred. This vast extent appears to lie upon a 
bank of chalky stone, identic in its nature, and covered 
with a stratum of vegetable earth, which varies in its 
composition, and is from ten to fifteen feet thick. The 
[156] boundaries of this immense bank are not yet pre- 
scribed in any correct manner, but its thickness must 
be very considerable, to judge of it by the rivers in the 
country, the borders of which, and particularly those of 
the Kentucky and Dick rivers, which is one branch of it, 

1802] F. A. Mtchaux' s Travels 223 

rise, in some parts, three hundred feet perpendicular, 
where the chalky stone is seen quite bare. 

The soil in Kentucky, although irregular, is not moun- 
tainous, if we except some parts contiguous to the Ohio 
and on this side Virginia. The chalky stone, and abun- 
dant coal mines which lie useless, are the only mineral sub- 
stances worthy of notice. Iron mines are very scarce 
there, and, to the best of my remembrance, but one was 
worked, which is far from being sufficient for the wants 
of the country. 

The Kentucky and Green rivers empty themselves 
into the Ohio, after a course of three hundred miles; 
they fall so low in summer time, that they are forded a 
hundred and fifty miles from their embouchure; but in the 
winter and spring they experience such sudden and strong 
increases that the waters of the Kentucky rise about forty 
feet in four-and-twenty hours. This variation is still 
more remarkable in the secondary rivers which run into 
it; the latter, [157] though frequently from ten to fifteen 
fathoms broad, preserve such little water in summer, that 
there is scarcely one of them which cannot be crossed 
without wetting the feet; and the stream of water that 
serpentines upon the bed of chalky rock is at that time 
reduced to a few inches in depth ; in consequence of which 
we may look upon the Kentucky as an immense bason, 
which, independent of the natural illapse of its waters 
through the channel of the rivers, loses a great part of 
them by interior openings. 

The Atlantic part of the United States in that respect 
affords a perfect contrast with Kentucky, as on the other 
side of the Alleghanies not the least vestige of chalky 
stone is seen. The rivers, great and small, however dis- 

224 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

tant from their source, are subject to no other change in 
the volume of their waters but what results from a more 
or less rainy season; and their springs, which are very- 
numerous, always supply water in abundance ; this applies 
more particularly to the southern states, with which I am 
perfectly acquainted. 

According to the succinct idea that we have just given 
of Kentucky, it is easy to judge that the inhabitants are 
exposed to a very serious inconvenience, [158] that of 
wanting water in the summer; still we must except those 
in the vicinity of great rivers and their principal channels, 
that always preserve water enough to supply their domes- 
tic wants ; thence it results that many estates, even among 
the most fertile, are not cleared, and that the owners 
cannot get rid of them without the greatest difficulty, as 
the emigrants, better informed now a days, make no 
purchases before they have a correct statement of locali- 

Kentucky is that of the three states situated west of the 
Alleghanies which was first populated. This country 
was discovered in 1770, by some Virginia sportsmen, 
when the favourable accounts they gave of it induced 
others to go there. No fixed establishment, however, 
was formed there before 1780. At that time this immense 
country was not occupied by any Indian nation; they 
went there to hunt, but all with one common assent made 
a war of extermination against those who wished to 
settle there. Thence this country derives the name of 
Kentucky, which signifies, in the language of the natives, 
ike Land of Blood. When the whites made their appear- 
ance there, the natives showed still more opposition to 
their establishment; they carried for a long [159] time 
death and desolation, and dispatched, after their usual 

1802] F. A. Mlchaux's Travels 225 

mode, their prisoners in the most cruel torments. This 
state of things lasted till 1783, at which time the American 
population having become too strong for them to pene- 
trate to the centre of the establishment, they were re- 
duced to the necessity of attacking the emigrants on their 
route; and, on the other hand, they were deserted by the 
English in Canada, who had abetted and supported them 
in the war. 

In 1782 they began to open roads for carriages in the 
interior of the country; prior to this there were only 
paths practicable for persons on foot and horseback. 
Till 1788 those who emigrated from the eastern states 
travelled by way of Virginia. In the first place, they 
went to Block House, situated in Holston, westward of 
the mountains; and as the government of the United 
States did not furnish them with an escort, they waited 
at this place till they were sufficiently numerous to pass in 
safety through the Wilderness, an uninhabited space of a 
hundred and thirty miles, which they had to travel over 
before they arrived at Crab Orchard, the first post occu- 
pied by the whites. 48 The enthusiasm for emigrating 
to Kentucky was at that time carried to [160] such a 
degree in the United States, that some years upwards 
of twenty thousand have been known to pass, and many 
of them had even deserted their estates, not having been 
able to dispose of them quick enough. This overflow 
of new colonists very soon raised the price of land in 
Kentucky, from two-pence and two-pence halfpenny per 
acre, it suddenly rose to seven or eight shillings. The 
stock-jobbers profited by this infatuation, and, not con- 
tent with a moderate share of gain, practised the most 
illegal measures to dispose of the land to great advantage. 

48 For an account of this road, see ante, p. 45. — Ed. 

226 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

They went so far as to fabricate false plans, in which 
they traced rivers favourable for mills and other uses; in 
this manner many ideal lots, from five hundred to a hun- 
dred thousand acres, were sold in Europe, and even in 
several great towns of the United States. 

Till the year 1792, Kentucky formed a part of Virginia; 
but the distance from Richmond, the seat of government 
belonging to this state, being seven hundred miles from 
Lexinton, occasions the most serious inconveniences to 
the inhabitants, and their number rising considerably 
above that required to form an independent state, they 
were admitted into the union in the month of March fol- 
lowing. The [161] state of Virginia, on giving up its 
pretensions to that country, consented to it only on cer- 
tain conditions ; it imposed on the convention at Kentucky 
an obligation to follow, in part, its code of laws, and par- 
ticularly to keep up the slave-trade. 

Prior to the year 1782, the number of inhabitants at 
Kentucky did not exceed three thousand; it was about a 
hundred thousand in 1790, and in the general verifica- 
tion made in 1800, it amounted to two hundred thousand. 
When I was at Lexinton in the month of August 1802, 
its population was estimated at two hundred thousand, 
including twenty thousand negro slaves. Thus, in this 
state, where there were not ten individuals at the age of 
twenty-five who were born there, the number of the in- 
habitants is now as considerable as in seven of the old 
states; and there are only four where the population is 
twice as numerous. This increase, already so rapid, 
would have been much more so had it not been for a par- 
ticular circumstance that prevents emigrants from going 
there; I mean the difficulty of proving the right of property. 
Of all the states in the union it is that wherein the rights 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 227 

of an individual are most subject to contest. I did not 
stop at the house of one inhabitant who was persuaded of 
[162] the validity of his own right but what seemed dubi- 
ous of his neighbour's. 

Among the numerous causes which have produced this 
incredible confusion with respect to property, one of the 
principal may be attributed to the ignorance of the sur- 
veyors, or rather to the difficulty they experienced, in the 
early stage of things, in following their professions. The 
continual state of war in which this country was at that 
time obliged them frequently to suspend their business, 
in order to avoid being shot by the natives, who were 
watching for them in the woods. The danger they ran 
was extreme, as it is well known a native will go upwards 
of a hundred miles to kill a single enemy; he stays for 
several days in the hollow of a tree to take him by sur- 
prise, and when he has killed him, he scalps him, and 
returns with the same rapidity. From this state of things, 
the result was that the same lot has not only been measured 
several times by different surveyors, but more frequently 
it has been crossed by different lines, which distinguish 
particular parts of that lot from the lots adjacent, which, 
in return, are in the same situation with regard to those 
that are contiguous to them; in short, there are lots of a 
thousand acres where a hundred [163] of them are not 
reclaimed. Military rights are still looked upon as the 
most assured. One very remarkable thing is, that many 
of the inhabitants find a guarantee for their estates that 
are thus confused; as the law, being always on the bide 
of agriculture, enacts that all improvements shall be reim- 
bursed by the person who comes forward to declare him- 
self the first possessor; and as the estimation, on account 
of the high price of labour, is always made in favour of 

228 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the cultivators, it follows that many people dare not claim 
their rights through fear of considerable indemnifications 
being awarded against them, and of being in turn ex- 
pelled by others, who might attack them at the moment 
when they least expected it. This incertitude in the 
right of property is an inexhaustible source of tedious and 
expensive law-suits, which serve to enrich the professional 
gentlemen of the country. 

[164] CHAP. XVIII 
Distinction of Estates. — Species 0} Trees peculiar to each 

0} them. — Ginseng. — Annuals in Kentucky. 

In Kentucky, as well as in Pennsylvania, Virginia and 
Carolina, the estates are divided into three classes, for 
the better assessment of the taxes. This division with 
respect to the fertility of the land is relative to each of 
these states; thus in Kentucky, for example, they would 
put in the second class estates, which, east of the moun- 
tains, would be ranked in the first, and in the third, those 
which in Georgia and Low Carolina would be the sec- 
ond. I do not mean, however, to say by this that there 
are not some possessions in the eastern states as fertile 
as in the western; but they are seldom found except 
along the rivers and in the vallies, and do not embrace so 
considerable a tract of country as in [165] Kentucky, 
and that part of Tennessea situate west of the Cumber- 
land Mountains. 

In these two states they appreciate the fertility of the 
land by the different species of trees that grow there; 
thus when they announce the sale of an estate, they take 
care to specify the particular species of trees peculiar 
to its various parts, which is a sufficient index for the 
purchaser. This rule, however, suffers an exception 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 229 

to the Barrens, the soil of which, as I have remarked, is 
fertile enough, and where there are notwithstanding here 
and there Scroby oaks, or quercus nigra, shell-barked 
hickeries, or juglans hickery, which in forests charac- 
terise the worst of soil. In support of this mode of appre- 
ciating in America the fecundity of the soil by the nature 
of the trees it produces, I shall impart a remarkable 
observation that I made on my entering this state. In 
Kentucky and Cumberland, 49 independent of a few trees 
natives of this part of these countries, the mass of the 
forests, in estates of the first class, is composed of the 
same species which [166] are found, but very rarely, east 
of the mountains, in the most fertile soil ; these species are 
the following, cerasus Virginia, or cherry-tree; juglans 
oblonga, or white walnut; pavia lutea, buck-eye; jraxinus 
alba, nigra, cerulea, or white, black, and blue ash; celtis 
joliis villosis, or ack berry ; ulmus viscosa, or slippery elm ; 
quercus imbricaria, or black-jack oak; guilandina disica, 
or coffee tree; gleditsia triacanthos, or honey locust; and 
the annona triloba, or papaw, which grows thirty feet in 
height. These three latter species denote the richest 
lands. In the cool and mountainous parts, and along the 
rivers where the banks are not very steep, we observed 
again the quercus macrocarpa, or over-cup white oak, 
the acorns of which are as large as a hen's egg; the acer 
sacharinum, or sugar-maple; the fagus sylvatica, or 
beech; together with the planus occidentalis, or plane: 
the liriodendrum tulipifera, or white and yellow poplar; 
and the magnolia acuminata, or cucumber-tree, all three 
of which measure from eighteen to twenty feet in cir- 

49 In the United States they give the name of Cumberland to that part of 
Tennessea situated to the west of the mountains of the same name. — F. A. 

230 Ea rly Western Travels [Vol. 3 

cumference; the plane, as I have before observed, at- 
tains a greater diameter. The two species of poplar, 
i. e. the white and yellow wood, have not the least exter- 
nal character, neither in their leaves nor flowers, by 
which they may be [167] distinguished from each other; 
and as the species of the yellow wood is of a much greater 
use, before they fell a tree they satisfy themselves by a 
notch that it is of that species. 

In estates of the second class are the jagus castanea, or 
chestnut tree; quercus rubra, or red oak; quercus tinctoria, 
or black oak; laurus sassafras, or sassafras; diospiros Vir- 
ginia, or persimon; liquidambar styraciflua, or sweet gum; 
nyssa villosa, or gum tree, a tree which, in direct oppo- 
sition to its name, affords neither gum nor resin. Those 
of the third class, which commonly are dry and moun- 
tainous, produce very little except black and red oaks, 
chestnut oaks of the mountains, quercus prinus montana, 
or rocky oak pines, and a few Virginia cedars. 

The juglans pacane is found beyond the embouchure 
of the rivers Cumberland and Tennessea, whence they 
sometimes bring it to the markets at Lexinton. This 
tree does not grow east of the Alleghany Mountains. 
The lobelia cardinalis grows abundantly in all the cool 
and marshy places, as well as the lobelia sphilitica. The 
latter is more common in Kentucky than in the other 
parts of the United States that I travelled over. The 
laurus [168] bensoin, or spice wood, is also very numer- 
ous there. The two kinds of vaccinium and andromeda, 
which form a series of more than thirty species, all very 
abundant in the eastern states, seem in some measure 
excluded from those of the western and the chalky region, 
where we found none but the andromeda arborea. 

In all the fertile parts covered by the forests the soil is 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 231 

completely barren; no kind of herbage is seen except a 
few plants, scattered here and there; and the trees are 
always far enough apart that a stag may be seen a hun- 
dred or a hundred and fifty fathoms off. Prior to the 
Europeans settling, the whole of this space, now bare, 
was covered with a species of the great articulated reed, 
called arundinaria macros perma, or cane, which is in the 
woods from three to four inches diameter, and grows 
seven or eight feet high; but in the swamps and marshes 
that border the Mississippi it is upward of twenty feet. 
Although it often freezes in Kentucky, from five to six 
degrees, for several days together, its foliage keeps always 
green, and does not appear to suffer by the cold. 

Although the ginseng is not a plant peculiar to Ken- 
tucky, it is still very numerous there. This induces 
[169] me to speak of it here. The ginseng is found in 
America from Lower Canada as far as the state of Georgia, 
which comprises an extent of more than fifteen hundred 
miles. It grows chiefly in the mountainous regions of 
the Alleghanies, and is by far more abundant as the 
chain of these mountains incline south west. It is also 
found in the environs of New York and Philadelphia, as 
well as in that part of the northern states situated between 
the mountains and the sea. It grows upon the declivity 
of the hills, in the cool and shady places, where the soil is 
richest. A man cannot pull up above eight or nine pounds 
of fresh roots per day. These roots are always less than 
an inch diameter, even after fifteen years' growth, if by 
any means we can judge of it with certitude by the num- 
ber of impressions that are to be seen round the upper 
part of the neck of the root, produced by the stalks that 
succeed each other annually. The shape of these roots 
is generally elliptical; and whenever it is biforked, which 

232 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

is very rare, one of the divisions is always thicker and 
longer than the other. The seeds of the ginseng are of a 
brilliant red, and fastened to each other. Every foot 
seldom yields more than two or three. They are very 
similar in shape and size to the wild [170] honey suckle. 
When they are disencumbered of the substance that en- 
velopes them they are flat and semicircular. Their 
taste is more spicy, and not so bitter as the root. A 
month or two after they are gathered they grow oily; and 
it is probable to the rancidity which in course of time the 
seed attains we must attribute the difficulty there is in 
rearing them when they are kept too long. They are 
full ripe from the 15th of September to the 1st of October. 
I gathered about half an ounce of them, which was a 
great deal, considering the difficulty there is in procuring 

It was a French missionary who first discovered the 
ginseng in Canada. When it was verified that this plant 
was the same as that which grows in Tartary, the root 
of which has such valuable qualities in the eyes of the 
Chinese, it became an article of trade with China. For 
some time after its discovery the root was sold for its 
weight in gold; but this lucrative trade was but of short 
duration. The ginseng exported from America was so 
badly prepared, that it fell very low in price, and the 
trade almost entirely ceased. However, for some time 
past it has been rather better. Though the Americans 
have been so long deprived of this beneficial trade, it can 
[171] only be attributed to the want of precaution that 
they used either in the gathering or preparation of the 
ginseng. In Chinese Tartary this gathering belongs 
exclusively to the emperor; it is done only by his orders, 
and they proceed in it with the greatest care. It com- 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 233 

mences in autumn, and continues all the winter, the epoch 
when the root has acquired its full degree of maturity 
and perfection ; and by the means of a very simple process 
they render it almost transparent. 

In the United States, on the contrary, they begin 
gathering of ginseng in the spring, and end at the decline 
of autumn. Its root, then soft and watery, wrinkles in 
drying, terminates in being extremely hard, and loses 
thus a third of its bulk, and nearly half its weight. These 
causes have contributed in lowering its value. It is 
only gathered in America by the inhabitants whose usual 
occupations afford them leisure, and by the sportsmen, 
who, with their carabine, provide themselves, for this 
purpose, with a bag and a pickaxe. The merchants 
settled in the interior of the country purchase dried gin- 
seng at the rate of ten pence per pound, and sell it again 
from eighteen pence to two shillings, at the seaports. 
I have never heard particularly what quantity [172] of it 
was exported annually to China, but I think it must 
exceed twenty-five to thirty thousand pounds weight. 
Within these four or five years this trade has been very 
brisk. Several persons begin even to employ the means 
made use of by the Chinese to make the root transparent. 
This process, long since described in several works, is still 
a secret which is sold for four hundred dollars in Ken- 
tucky. The ginseng thus prepared is purchased at six or 
seven dollars per pound, by the merchants at Phila- 
delphia, and is, they say, sold again at Canton for fifty 
or a hundred, according to the quality of the roots- 
Again, the profits must be very considerable, since there 
are people who export it themselves from Kentucky to 

They have again, in Kentucky, and the western coun- 

234 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

try, the same animals that inhabit those parts east of the 
mountains, and even Canada: but a short time after the 
settling of the Europeans several species of them wholly 
disappeared, particularly the elks and bisons. The 
latter, notwithstanding, were more common there than 
in any other part of North America. The non-occupa- 
tion of the country, the quantity of rushes and wild peas, 
which supplied them abundantly with food the whole 
year round; and [173] the licks (places impregnated with 
salt, as I have before mentioned) are the causes that kept 
them there. Their number was at that time so con- 
siderable, that they were met in flocks of a hundred and 
fifty to two hundred. They were so far from being 
ferocious, that they did not fear the approach of the 
huntsmen, who sometimes shot them solely for the sake of 
having their tongue, which they looked upon as a delicious 
morsel. At four years old they weigh from twelve to 
fourteen hundred weight; and their flesh, it is said, is 
preferable to that of the ox. At present there are scarcely 
any from Ohio to the river Illinois. They have nearly 
deserted these parts, and strayed to the right bank of the 

The only species of animals that are still common in 
the country are the following, viz. the deer, bear, wolf, 
red and grey fox, wild cat, racoon, opossum, and three 
or four kinds of squirrels. 

The animals to which the Americans give the name of 
wild cat is the Canadian lynx, or simply a different 
species; and it is through mistake that several authors 
have advanced that the true wild cat, as they look upon 
to be the original of the domestic species, either existed 
in the United States, or more northerly. 

The racoon, or ursus lotor, is about the size of a [174] 

i8o2] F. A. Michaux's Travels 235 

fox, but not so tall and more robust. Taken young, it 
very soon grows tame, and stays in the house, where it 
catches mice similar to a cat. The name of lotor is 
very appropriate, as the animal retires in preference in the 
hollow trees that grow by the side of creeks or small rivers 
that run through the swamp ; and in these sorts of marshes 
it is most generally found. It is most common in the 
southern and western states, as well as in the remote parts 
of Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is very destructive in 
the corn fields. The usual method of catching this animal 
is with dogs, in the dead of the night, as it is very rarely 
to be seen in the day time. Its skin is very much esteemed, 
throughout the United States, by the hat manufacturers, 
who purchase them at the rate of two shillings each. 

Nearer toward the houses the inhabitants are infested 
with squirrels, which do also considerable damage to the 
corn. This species sciurus corolinianus, is of a greyish 
colour, and* rather larger than those in Europe. The 
number of them is so immense, that several times a day 
the children are sent round the fields to frighten them 
away. At the least noise they run out by dozens, and 
take shelter upon the trees, whence they come down the 
very moment after. [175] As well as the bears in North 
America, they are subject to emigrations. Toward the 
approach of winter they appear in so great a number, 
that the inhabitants are obliged to meet together in order 
to destroy them. An excursion for this purpose, every 
now and then, is looked upon as pleasure. They go 
generally two by two, and kill sometimes thirty or forty 
in a morning. A single man, on the contrary, could 
scarcely kill one, as the squirrel, springing upon the 
branch of a tree, keeps turning round successively to put 
himself in opposition to the gunner. I was at one of 

236 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

these sporting parties, where, for dinner, which is gen- 
erally taken in some part of the wood appointed for the 
rendezvous, they had above sixty of them roasted. Their 
flesh is white and exceedingly tender, and this method of 
dressing them is preferable to any other. 

Wild turkies, which begin to grow Very scarce in the 
southern states, are still extremely numerous in the west. 
In the parts least inhabited they are so very tame, that 
they may be shot with a pistol. In the east, on the con- 
trary, and more particularly in the environs of the sea- 
ports, it is very difficult to approach them. They are 
not alarmed at a noise, [176] but they have a very piercing 
sight, and as soon as they perceive the gunner they fly 
with such swiftness that it is impossible for a dog to over- 
take them for several minutes; and when they see them- 
selves on the point of being taken, they escape by resum- 
ing their flight. Wild turkies usually frequent the 
swamps and the sides of creeks and rivers, whence they 
only go out morning and evening. They perch upon the 
tops of the loftiest trees, where, notwithstanding their 
size, it is not always easy to perceive them. When they 
are not frightened, they return upon the same trees for 
several weeks together. 

For the space of eight hundred leagues east of Missis- 
sippi there is only this one species of the wild turkey. 
They are much larger than those that we have in our 
farm-yards. In autumn and winter they chiefly feed on 
chesnuts and acorns. At that time some are shot that 
weigh from thirty to forty pounds. The variety of do- 
mestic turkies proceeds originally from this species of 
wild turkies; and when it has not been crossed with the 
common species, it preserves the primitive colour of its 
plumage, and that of the feet, which are of a deep red. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 237 

Though ever since the year 1525 our domestic turkies were 
naturalized [177] in Spain, whence they were introduced 
into Europe, it is probable that they are natives of some 
of the more southern parts of America, where there may 
be, I have no doubt, a different species from that found 
in the United States. 

[178] CHAP. XIX 
Different kinds of culture in Kentucky. — Exportation of 
colonial produce. — Peach trees. — Taxes 

In the state of Kentucky, like those of the southern 
parts, nearly the whole of the inhabitants, isolated in the 
woods, cultivate their estates themselves, and particularly 
in harvest time they assist each other; while some, more 
independent, have their land cultivated by negro slaves. 

They cultivate, in this state, tobacco, hemp, and differ- 
ent sorts of grain from Europe, principally wheat and 
Indian corn. The frosts, which begin very early, are 
unfavourable to the culture of cotton, which might be a 
profitable part of their commerce, provided the inhabi- 
tants had any hopes of success. It is by the culture of 
Indian corn that all those who form establishments com- 
mence; since for the few [179] years after the ground is 
cleared the soil is so fertile in estates of the first class, 
that the corn drops before it ears. Their process in hus- 
bandry is thus: after having opened, with the plough, 
furrows about three feet from each other, they cut them 
transversely by others at an equal distance, and set seven 
or eight grains in the points of intersection. When they 
have all come up, only two or three plants are left in the 
ground; a necessary precaution, in order to give free 
scope for the vegetation, and to insure a more abundant 
harvest. Toward the middle of the summer the leaves 

238 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

from the bottom of the stalk begin to wither, and suc- 
cessively those from the top. In proportion as they dry 
up they are carried away carefully, and reserved as a 
winter sustenance for horses, which prefer that kind of 
forage to the best hay. 

In estates of the first class, that yield annually, Indian 
corn grows from ten to twelve feet high, and produces, in 
a common year, forty to fifty English bushels per acre, 
and sixty to seventy-five in abundant years. Some have 
been known, the second and third year after the land has 
been cleared, to yield a hundred. The bushel, weighing 
about fifty to fifty-five pounds, never sells for more than a 
[180] quarter of a dollar, and sometimes does not bring 
half the money. 

The species of corn that they cultivate is long and flat 
in point of shape, and generally of a deep yellow. The 
time of harvest is toward the end of September. A 
single individual may cultivate eight or ten acres of it. 
The culture of corn is one of the most important of the 
country; much more, however, with regard to exporta- 
tion than as an object of consumption. The county of 
Fayette, of which Lexinton is the chief town, and the 
surrounding counties, are those that supply the most. 
Good estates produce from twenty-five to thirty bushels 
per acre, weighing about sixty pounds, although they 
never manure the ground, nor till it more than once. 

The harvest is made in the commencement of July. 
The corn is cut with a sickle, and threshed the same as in 
other parts of Europe. The corn is of a beautiful colour, 
and I am convinced, through the excellence of the soil, 
that the flour will be of a superior quality to that of 
Philadelphia, which, as it is well known, surpasses in 
whiteness the best that grows in France. 

1802] F. A. Michaux 's Travels 239 

The plough which they make use of is light, [181] 
without wheels, and drawn by horses. It is the same in all 
the southern states. 

The blight, the blue flower, and the poppy, so common 
in our fields among the corn, have not shewn themselves 
in North America. 

The harvest of 1802 was so plentiful in Kentucky, that 
in the month of August, the time that I was at Lexinton, 
corn did not bring more than eighteen pence per bushel, 
(about two shillings per hundred weight). It had never 
been known at so low a price. Still this fall was not only 
attributed to the abundance of the harvest, but also on 
account of the return of peace in Europe. They are 
convinced, in the country, that at this price the culture 
of corn cannot support itself as an object of commerce; 
and that in order for the inhabitants to cover their ex- 
pense the barrel of flour ought not to be sold at New 
Orleans for less than four or five dollars. 

In all the United States the flour that they export is 
put into slight barrels made of oak, and of an uniform 
size. In Kentucky the price of them is about three- 
eighths of a dollar, (fifteen pence). They ought to con- 
tain ninety-six pounds of flour, which takes five bushels 
of corn, including the expenses of grinding. 

[182] The freightage of a boat to convey the flour to 
Low Louisiana costs about a hundred dollars. They 
contain from two hundred and fifty to three hundred 
barrels, and are navigated by five men, of whom the 
chief receives a hundred dollars for the voyage, and the 
others fifty each. They take, from Louisville, where 
nearly the whole embarkations are made, from thirty to 
thirty-five days to go to New Orleans. They reckon it 
four hundred and thirty-five miles from Louisville to the 

240 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

embouchure of the Ohio, and about a thousand miles 
thence to New Orleans, which makes it, upon the whole, 
a passage of fourteen hundred and thirty-five miles; and 
these boats have to navigate upon the river a space of 
eight or nine hundred miles without meeting with any 
plantations. A part of the crew return to Lexinton by 
land, which is about eleven hundred miles, in forty or 
forty-five days. This journey is extremely unpleasant, 
and those who dread the fatigues of it return by sea. 
They embark at New Orleans for New York and Phila- 
delphia, whence they return to Pittsburgh, and thence go 
down the Ohio as far as Kentucky. 

An inspector belonging to the port of Louisville in- 
serted in the Kentucky Gazette of the 6th of August [183] 
1802, that 85,570 barrels of flour, from the 1st of January 
to the 30th of June following, went out of that port to 
Low Louisiana. More than two thirds of this quantity 
may be considered as coming from the state of Kentucky, 
and the rest from Ohio and the settlements situated upon 
the rivers Monongahela and Alleghany. The spring and 
autumn are principally the seasons in which this exporta- 
tion is made. It is almost null in summer, an epoch at 
which almost all the mills are stopped for the want of 
water. Rye and oats come up also extremely well in 
Kentucky. The rye is nearly all made use of in the 
distilling of whiskey, and the oats as food for horses, to 
which they give it frequently in little bunches from two 
to three pounds, without being threshed. 

The culture of tobacco has been greatly extended 
within these few years. The temperature of the climate, 
and the extraordinary fertility of the soil gives, in that 
respect, to this state, a very great advantage over that of 
Virginia ; in consequence of which tobacco and corn form 
the principal branch of its commerce. It exports an- 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 241 

nually several thousand hogsheads, from a thousand to 
twelve hundred pounds each. The price of it is from 
two to three dollars per hundred weight. 

[184] Hemp, both raw and manufactured, is also an 
article of exportation. In the same year, 1802, there has 
been sent out of the country, raw 42,048 pounds, and 
2402 hundred weight, converted into cables and various 
sorts of cordage. 

Many of the inhabitants cultivate flax. The women 
manufacture linen of it for their families, and exchange 
the surplus with the trades-people for articles imported 
from Europe. These linens, though coarse, are of a good 
quality; yet none but the inferior inhabitants use them, 
the others giving a preference to Irish linens, which com- 
prise a considerable share of their commerce. Although 
whiter, they are not so good as our linens of Bretagne. 
The latter would have found a great sale in the western 
states, had it not been for yielding Louisiana; since it is 
now clearly demonstrated that the expense of conveying 
goods which go up the river again from New Orleans to 
Louisville is not so great as that from Philadelphia to 

Although the temperature of the climate in Kentucky 
and other western states is favourable to the culture of 
fruit trees, these parts have not been populated long 
enough for them to be brought to any great perfection. 
Beside, the Americans are by no means so industrious 
or interested in this kind of [185] culture as the Euro- 
pean states. They have confined themselves, at present, 
to the planting of peach and apple trees. 

The former are very numerous, and come to the great- 
est perfection. There are five or six species of them, 
some forward, and others late, of an oval form, and much 
larger than our garden peaches. All the peaches grow 

242 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

in the open field, and proceed from kernels without being 
either pruned or grafted. They shoot so vigorously, that 
at the age of four years they begin to bear. The major 
part of the inhabitants plant them round their houses, 
and others have great orchards of them planted crosswise. 
They turn the hogs there for two months before the fruit 
gets ripe. These animals search with avidity for the 
peaches that fall in great numbers, and crack the stones 
of them for the kernels. 

The immense quantity of peaches which they gather 
are converted in brandy, of which there is a great con- 
sumption in the country, and the rest is exported. A few 
only of the inhabitants have stills; the others carry their 
peaches to them, and; bring back a quantity of brandy 
proportionate to the number of peaches they carried, 
except a part that is left for the expense of distilling. 
Peach brandy sells [186] for a dollar a gallon, which is 
equal to four English quarts. 

In Kentucky the taxes are assessed in the following 
manner: they pay a sum equivalent to one shilling and 
eight-pence for every white servant, six-pence halfpenny 
for every negro, three-pence for a horse, two shillings per 
hundred acres of land of the first class, cultivated or not, 
seventeen-pence per hundred of the second class, and 
sixpence halfpenny per hundred of the third class. Al- 
though these taxes are, as we must suppose, very moderate, 
and though nobody complains of them, still a great number 
of those taxable are much in arrears. This is what I per- 
ceived by the numerous advertisements of the collectors 
that I have seen pasted up in different parts of the town 
of Lexinton. Again, these delays are not peculiar to the 
state of Kentucky, as I have made the same remark in 
those of the east. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 243 

[187] CHAP. XX 

Particulars relative to the manners of the inhabitants 0} 

Kentucky. — Horses and Cattle. — Necessity of giving 

them salt. — Wild Horses caught in the Plains 0) New 

Mexico. — Exportation oj salt provisions. 

For some time past the inhabitants of Kentucky have 

taken to the rearing and training horses; 50 and by this 

lucrative branch of trade they derive considerable profit, 

on account of the superfluous quantity of Indian corn, 

oats, and other forage, of which they are deficient at 

New Orleans. 

Of all the states belonging to the union, Virginia is 
said to have the finest coach and saddle-horses, and those 
they have in this country proceed originally from them, 
the greatest part of which was brought by the emigrants 
who came from Virginia [188] to settle in this state. The 
number of horses, now very considerable, increases daily. 
Almost all the inhabitants employ themselves in train- 
ing and meliorating the breed of these animals; and so 
great a degree of importance is attached to the meliora- 
tion, that the owners of fine stallions charge from fifteen 
to twenty dollars for the covering of a mare. These 
stallions come from Virginia, and, as I have been told, 
some were at different times imported from England. 
The horses that proceed from them have slim legs, a 
well-proportioned head, and are elegantly formed. With 
draught-horses it is quite different. The inhabitants pay 
no attention with respect to improving this breed; in 
consequence of which they are small, wretched in ap- 
pearance, and similar to those made use of by the peasan- 

50 As evidence of the interest of the early Kentuckians in the raising of horses, 
it is noted that the first legislative assembly for Transylvania, meeting at Boones- 
borough in 1775, passed an "act for preserving the breed of horses." — Ed. 

244 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

try in France. They appeared to me still worse in Georgia 
and Upper Carolina. In short, I must say that through- 
out the United States there is not a single draught-horse 
that can be in any wise compared with the poorest race of 
horses that I have seen in England. This is an assertion 
which many Americans may probably not believe, but 
still it is correct. 

Many individuals profess to treat sick horses, but none 
of them have any regular notions of the veterinary [189] 
art; an art which would be so necessary in a breeding 
country, and which has, within these few years, acquired 
so high a degree of perfection in England and France. 

In Kentucky, as well as in the southern states, the horses 
are generally fed with Indian corn. Its nutritive quality 
is esteemed double to that of oats; notwithstanding some- 
times they are mixed together. In this state horses are 
not limited as to food. In most of the plantations the 
manger is filled with corn, they eat of it when they please, 
leave the stable to go to grass, and return at pleasure to 
feed on the Indian wheat. The stables are nothing but 
log-houses, where the light penetrates on all sides, the in- 
terval that separates the trunks of the trees with which 
they are constructed not being filled up with clay. 

The southern states, and in particular South Carolina, 
are the principal places destined for the sale of Ken- 
tucky horses. They are taken there in droves of fifteen, 
twenty and thirty at a time, in the early part of winter, 
an epoch when the most business is transacted at Caro- 
lina, and when the drivers are in no fear of the yellow 
fever, of which the inhabitants of the interior have the 
greatest apprehension. [190] They usually take eighteen 
or twenty days to go from Lexinton to Charleston. This 
distance, which is about seven hundred miles, makes a 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 245 

difference of twenty-five or thirty per cent in the price of 
horses. A fine saddle-horse in Kentucky costs about a 
hundred and thirty to a hundred and forty dollars. 

During my sojourn in this state I had an opportunity 
of seeing those wild horses that are caught in the plains 
of New Mexico, and which descend from those that the 
Spaniards introduced there formerly. To catch them 
they make use of tame horses that run much swifter, and 
with which they approach them near enough to halter 
them. They take them to New Orleans and Natches, 
where they fetch about fifty dollars. The crews belong- 
ing to the boats that return by land to Kentucky fre- 
quently purchase some of them. The two that I saw 
and made a trial of were roan coloured, of a middling size, 
the head large, and not proportionate with the neck, the 
limbs thick, and the mane rather full and handsome. 
These horses have a very unpleasant gait, are capricious, 
difficult to govern, and even frequently throw the rider 
and take flight. 

The number of horned cattle is very considerable in 
Kentucky; those who deal in them purchase them [191] 
lean, and drive them in droves of from two to three 
hundred to Virginia, along the river Potomack, where 
they sell them to graziers, who fatten them in order to 
supply the markets of Baltimore and Philadelphia. 
The price of a good milch cow is, at Kentucky, from 
ten to twelve dollars. The milk in a great measure 
comprises the chief sustenance of the inhabitants. The 
butter that is not consumed in the country is put into 
barrels, and exported by the river to the Carribbees. 

They bring up very few sheep in these parts; for, 
although I went upwards of two hundred miles in this 
state, I saw them only in four plantations. Their flesh 

246 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

is not much esteemed, and their wool is of the same 
quality as that of the sheep in the eastern states. The 
most that I ever observed was in Rhode Island. 

Of all domestic animals hogs are the most numerous; 
they are kept by all the inhabitants, several of them feed 
a hundred and fifty or two hundred. These animals 
never leave the woods, where they always find a sufficiency 
of food, especially in autumn and winter. They grow 
extremely wild, and generally go in herds. Whenever 
they are surprised, or attacked by a dog or any other 
animal, they either [192] make their escape, or flock to- 
gether in the form of a circle to defend themselves. They 
are of a bulky shape, middling size, and straight eared. 
Every inhabitant recognizes those that belong to him by 
the particular manner in which their ears are cut. They 
stray sometimes in the forests, and do not make their 
appearance again for several months; they accustom 
them, notwithstanding, to return every now and then to 
the plantation, by throwing them Indian corn once or 
twice a week. It is surprising that in so vast a country, 
covered with forests, so thinly populated, comparatively 
to its immense extent, and where there are so few destruc- 
tive animals, pigs have not increased so far as to grow 
completely wild. 

In all the western states, and even to the east of the 
Alleghanies, two hundred miles of the sea coast, they are 
obliged to give salt to the cattle. Were it not for that, 
the food they give them would never make them look 
well; in fact, they are so fond of it that they go of their 
own accord to implore it at the doors of the houses every 
week or ten days, and spend hours together in licking the 
trough into which they have scattered a small quantity 
for them. This want manifests itself most among the 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 247 

horses; [193] but it may be on account of their having it 
given them more frequently. 

Salt provisions form another important article of the 
Kentucky trade. The quantity exported in the first six 
months of the year 1802 was seventy- two thousand bar- 
rels of dried pork, and two thousand four hundred and 
eighty-five of salt. 

Notwithstanding the superfluity of corn that grows in 
this part of the country, there is scarcely any of the in- 
habitants that keep poultry. This branch of domestic 
economy would not increase their expense, but add a 
pleasing variety in their food. Two reasons may be as- 
signed for this neglect; the first is, that the use of salt 
provisions, (a use to which the prevalence of the scurvy 
among them may be attributed,) renders these delicacies 
too insipid; the second, that the fields of Indian corn 
contiguous to the plantations would be exposed to con- 
siderable damage, the fences with which they are inclosed 
being only sufficient to prevent the cattle and pigs from 

The inhabitants of Kentucky, as we have before stated, 
are nearly all natives of Virginia, and particularly the 
remotest parts of that state; and exclusive of the gentle- 
men of the law, physicians, and a small [194] number of 
citizens who have received an education suitable to their 
professions in the Atlantic states, they have preserved 
the manners of the Virginians. With them the passion 
for gaming and spirituous liquors is carried to excess, 
which frequently terminates in quarrels degrading to 
human nature. The public-houses are always crowded, 
more especially during the sittings of the courts of justice. 
Horses and law-suits comprise the usual topic of their 
conversation. If a traveller happens to pass by, his horse 

248 Early Western Travels [Vol. 

is appreciated; if he stops, he is presented with a glass of 
whiskey, and then asked a thousand questions, such as, 
Where do you come from ? where are you going ? what is 
your name ? where do you live ? what profession ? were 
there any fevers in the different parts of the country you 
came through? These questions, which are frequently 
repeated in the course of a journey, become tedious, but it 
is easy to give a check to their inquiries by a little ad- 
dress; their only object being the gratification of that 
curiosity so natural to people who live isolated in the 
woods, and seldom see a stranger. They are never dic- 
tated by mistrust; for from whatever part of the globe 
a person comes, he may visit all the ports and principal 
towns of the United States, stay [195] there as long as he 
pleases, and travel in any part of the country without ever 
being interrogated by a public officer. 

The inhabitants of Kentucky eagerly recommend to 
strangers the country they inhabit as the best part of the 
United States, as that where the soil is most fertile, the 
climate most salubrious, and where all the inhabitants 
were brought through the love of liberty and indepen- 
dence ! In the interior of their houses they are generally 
very neat; which induced me, whenever an opportunity 
offered, to prefer lodging in a private family rather than 
at a public house, where the accommodation is inferior, 
although the charges are considerably higher. 

The women seldom assist in the labours of the field; 
they are very attentive to their domestic concerns, and 
the spinning of hemp or cotton, which they convert into 
linen for the use of their family. This employment alone 
is truly laborious, as there are few houses which contain 
less than four or five children. 

Among the various sects that exist in Kentucky, those 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 249 

of the Methodists and Anabaptists are the most numerous. 
The spirit of religion has acquired a fresh degree of 
strength within these seven or eight [196] years among 
the country inhabitants, since, independent of Sundays, 
which are scrupulously observed, they assemble, during 
the summer, in the course of the week, to hear sermons. 
These meetings, which frequently consist of two or three 
thousand persons who come from all parts of the country 
within fifteen or twenty miles, take place in the woods, 
and continue for several days. Each brings his provis- 
ions, and spends the night round a fire. The clergymen 
are very vehement in their discourses. Often in the 
midst of the sermons the heads are lifted up, the imagina- 
tions exalted, and the inspired fall backwards, exclaim- 
ing, "Glory! glory!" This species of infatuation hap- 
pens chiefly among the women, who are carried out of 
the crowd, and put under a tree, where they lie a long 
time extended, heaving the most lamentable sighs. 

There have been instances of two or three hundred of 
the congregation being thus affected during the perfor- 
mance of divine service; so that one-third of the hearers 
were engaged in recovering the rest. Whilst I was at 
Lexinton I was present at one of these meetings. The 
better informed people do not share the opinion of the 
multitude with regard to this state of ecstacy, and on this 
account they are [197] branded with the appellation of 
bad folks. Except during the continuance of this preach- 
ing, religion is very seldom the topic of conversation. 
Although divided into several sects, they live in the 
greatest harmony; and whenever there is an alliance 
between the families, the difference of religion is never 
considered as an obstacle; the husband and wife pursue 
whatever kind of worship they like best, and their chil- 

250 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

dren, when they grow up, do just the same, without the 
interference of their parents. 

Throughout the western country the children are kept 
punctually at school, where they learn reading, writing, 
and the elements of arithmetic. These schools are sup- 
ported at the expense of the inhabitants, who send for 
masters as soon as the population and their circum- 
stances permit; in consequence of which it is very rare 
to find an American who does not know how to read and 
write. Upon the Ohio, and in the Barrens, where the 
settlements are farther apart, the inhabitants have not 
yet been able to procure this advantage, which is the 
object of solicitude in every family. 

[198] CHAP. XXI 
Nasheville. — Commercial details. — Settlement of the 


Nasheville, the principal and the oldest town in this 
part of Tennessea, is situate upon the river Cumberland, 
the borders of which, in this part, are formed by a mass 
of chalky stone upwards of sixty feet in height. Except 
seven or eight houses that are built of brick, the rest, to 
the number of about a hundred and twenty, are con- 
structed of wood, and distributed upon a surface of 
twenty-five or thirty acres, where the rock appears almost 
bare in every part. They cannot procure water in the 
town without going a considerable way about to reach the 
banks of the river, or descending by a deep and danger- 
ous path. When I was at Nasheville one of the inhabi- 
tants was endeavouring to pierce the rock, in order to 
make a well; but at that time he [199] had only dug a few 
feet, on account of the stone being so amazingly hard. 

This little town, although built upwards of fifteen years, 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 251 

contains no kind of manufactory or public establishment ; 
but there is a printing-office which publishes a newspaper 
once a week. They have also began to found a college, 
which has been presented with several benefactions for 
its endowment, but this establishment was only in its 
infancy, having but seven or eight students and one pro- 
fessor. 51 

The price of labour is higher in this town than at Lexin- 
ton, and the same disproportion exists between this price 
and that of provisions. There appeared to be from fifteen 
to twenty shops, which are supplied from Philadelphia 
and Baltimore, but they did not seem so well stocked as 
those at Lexinton, and the articles, though dearer, are of 
an inferior quality. The cause of their being so dear 
may be in some measure attributed to the expense of car- 
riage, which is much greater on account of the amazing 
distance the boats destined for Tennessea have to go up 
the Ohio. In fact, after having passed by Limestone, 
the place where they unload for Kentucky, and which 
is four hundred and twenty miles from Pittsburgh, they 
have still to make a passage up the river of six [200] hun- 
dred and nineteen miles to reach the mouth of the river 
Cumberland, and a hundred and eighty miles to arrive 
at Nasheville, which, in the whole, comprises a space of 
one thousand five hundred and twenty-one miles from 

51 The first newspaper published in Western Tennessee was the Tennessee 
Gazette, begun in 1797; its name was changed to the Nashville Clarion, in 1800. 

One of the acts of Robertson, founder of Nashville, was to secure from the 
North Carolina legislature, in 1785, a bill for the "promotion of learning in 
Davidson County." A tract of land was granted, and the school organized 
as Davidson Academy; this became Cumberland College in 1806. The year 
of Michaux's visit, a plan was made for the erection of a building, which was 
not completed until 1807, and now forms part of Vanderbilt University. 

Michaux seems to be in error in calling Moses Fisk the president of this 
college; he solicited funds to keep the Academy in Nashville, but James Craig- 
head was president until 1809. — Ed. 

252 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Philadelphia, of which twelve hundred are by water. 
Some merchants get their goods also from New Orleans, 
whence the boats go up the Mississippi, the Ohio, and 
Cumberland. This last distance is about twelve hundred 
and forty-three miles; viz. a thousand miles from New 
Orleans to the embouchure of the Ohio, sixty-three miles 
from thence to Cumberland, and a hundred and eighty 
from this river to Nasheville. 

There are very few cultivators who take upon them- 
selves to export the produce of their labour, consisting 
chiefly of cotton; the major part of them sell it to the 
tradespeople at Nasheville, who send it by the river to 
New Orleans, where it is expedited to New York 
and Philadelphia, or exported direct to Europe. These 
tradesmen, like those of Lexinton, do not pay always in 
cash for the cotton they purchase, but make the cultiva- 
tors take goods in exchange, which adds considerably to 
their profit. A great quantity of it is also sent by land to 
Kentucky, where each family is supplied with it to manu- 
facture articles for their domestic wants. 

[201] When I was there in 1802 they made the first 
attempt to send cottons by the Ohio to Pittsburgh, in 
order to be thence conveyed to the remote parts of Penn- 
sylvania. I met several barges laden with them near 
Marietta; they were going up the river with a staff, and 
making about twenty miles a day. Thus are the remotest 
parts of the western states united by commercial inter- 
ests, of which cotton is the basis, and the Ohio the tie of 
communication, the results of which must give a high 
degree of prosperity to this part of Tennessea, and insure 
its inhabitants a signal advantage over those of the Ohio 
and Kentucky, the territorial produce of which is not of a 
nature to meet with a great sale in the country or the ad- 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 253 

joining parts, and which they are obliged to send to New 

I had a letter from Dr. Brown, of Lexinton, for Mr. 
William Peter Anderson, a gentleman of the law at Nashe- 
ville, who received me in the most obliging manner; I am 
also indebted to him for the acquaintance of several other 
gentlemen; among others was a Mr. Fisk, of New Eng- 
land, president of the college, with whom I had the pleas- 
ure of travelling to Knoxville. 52 The inhabitants are very 
engaging in their manners, and use but little ceremony. 
[202] On my arrival, I had scarcely alighted when several 
of them who were at the inn invited me to their plantations. 

All the inhabitants of the western country who go by 
the river to New Orleans, return by land, pass through 
Nasheville, which is the first town beyond the Natches. 
The interval that separates them is about six hundred 
miles, and entirely uninhabited; which obliges them to 
carry their provisions on horseback to supply them on the 
road. It is true they have two or three little towns to 
cross, inhabited by the Chicasaws; but instead of re- 
cruiting their stock there, the natives themselves are so 
indifferently supplied, that travellers are obliged to be 
very cautious lest they should wish to share with them. 
Several persons who have been this road assured me, 
that for a space of four or five hundred miles beyond the 
Natches the country is very irregular, that the soil is very 
sandy, in some parts covered with pines, and not much 
adapted to any kind of culture; but that the borders of 

52 This was Moses Fisk, of Massachusetts, who graduated from Harvard in 
the same class with Daniel Webster. A man of considerable fortune, he came 
to Cumberland in the period after the Revolution, and was instrumental in 
the educational and industrial development of this section. In 1805 he settled 
at Hillham, Overton County, which he hoped to make an important city, and 
built many turnpike roads about it. He was trustee of Davidson Academy, 
and founded at Hillham an academy for young women. — Ed. 

254 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the river Tennessea are, on the contrary, very fertile, and 
even superior to the richest counties in Kentucky and 

The settlement of the Natches, which is described by 
the name of the Mississippi Territory, daily acquires 
[203] a fresh degree of prosperity, notwithstanding the 
unhealthiness of the climate, which is such that three- 
fourths of the inhabitants are every year exposed to inter- 
mittent fevers during the summer and autumn; neverthe- 
less, the great profits derived from the cotton entice an 
immense number of foreigners into that part. The 
population now amounts to five thousand whites and three 
thousand negro slaves. 53 

53 Natchez was a prominent frontier town of the Southwest, which had had 
a long and varied history. In 1715 the French of Louisiana established a 
trading post at this place, and in 17 16 Fort Rosalie was built. Thirteen years 
later occurred the massacre of the garrison and inhabitants by the Natchez 
Indians. While a fort was rebuilt at this place, there seems to have been 
no settlement during the remainder of the French occupation. When this 
territory passed into the hands of the English (1763) liberal land grants were 
made, and Fort Panmure was erected on the site of Fort Rosalie; emigration 
from the Southern states and the East then came into this region, especially 
from New Jersey and Connecticut. After the beginning of the Revolution, an 
attempt was made to secure the neutrality of the Natchez people, if not their 
co-operation with the American cause. But the brutality of Captain Willing, 
sent on this mission in 1778, alienated the inhabitants and kept them loyal 
to Great Britain. On the outbreak of war between England and Spain (1779) 
the Spanish governor Gayoso made an expedition into West Florida, and cap- 
tured Natchez with other British posts. The inhabitants rebelled and seized 
Fort Panmure; but on the downfall of Pensacola, they were obliged to flee. 
The Spaniards took possession by treaty in 1783, and under their regime, at 
the close of the American Revolution, a large immigration took place. Land 
speculation and intrigues ran riot. The Yazoo grants occupied this territory 
in part. The United States claimed the Natchez district as within her bound- 
aries. In the treaty of 1795 with Spain, this claim was conceded, and a 
commission was appointed to run a boundary line. In 1798 Mississippi Terri- 
tory was organized, Natchez being included therein. In the early days of the 
Mississippi traffic, the commercial importance of the place was second only to 
New Orleans. The Natchez trace, of which Michaux speaks, was one of the 
most travelled roads of the Western country. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 255 

The road that leads to the Natches was only a path 
that serpentined through these boundless forests, but the 
federal government have just opened a road, which is on 
the point of being finished, and will be one of the finest 
in the United States, both on account of its breadth and 
the solidity of the bridges constructed over the small 
rivers that cut through it; to which advantages it will 
unite that of being shorter than the other by a hundred 
miles. Thus we may henceforth, on crossing the western 
country, go in a carriage from Boston to New Orleans, 
a distance of more than two thousand miles. 

[204] CHAP. XXII 
Departure jor Knoxville. — Arrival at Fort Blount. — Re- 
marks upon the drying up oj the Rivers in the Summer. — 
Plantations on the Road. — Fertility oj the Soil. — Ex- 
cursions in a Canoe on the River Cumberland. 
On the 5th of September I set out from Nasheville for 
Knoxville, with Mr. Fisk, sent by the state of Tennessea 
to determine in a more correct manner, in concert with 
the commissaries of Virginia, the boundaries between the 
two states. We did not arrive till the 9th at Fort Blount, 
built upon the river Cumberland, about sixty miles from 
Nasheville; we stopped on the road with different friends 
of Mr. Fisk, among others, at the house of General 
Smith, one of the oldest inhabitants in the country, where 
he has resided sixteen or seventeen years. It is to him 
they are indebted for the best map of this state, which is 
found in the Geographical Atlas, published by Matthew 
Carey, bookseller, at Philadelphia. He confessed to 
me, notwithstanding, that this map, [205] taken several 
years ago, was in many respects imperfect. The General 
has a beautiful plantation cultivated in Indian wheat 

256 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and cotton ; he has also a neat distillery for peach brandy, 
which he sells at five shillings per gallon. In his leisure 
hours he busies himself in chemistry. I have seen at his 
house English translations of the works of Lavoisier and 
Fourcroy. 54 

We likewise saw, en passant, General Winchester, who 
was at a stone house that was building for him on the 
road; this mansion, considering the country, bore the 
external marks of grandeur; it consisted of four large 
rooms on the ground floor, one story, and a garret. The 
workmen employed to finish the inside came from Balti- 
more, a distance of nearly seven hundred miles. The 
stones are of a chalky nature; there are no others in all 
that part of Tennessea except round flints, which are 
found in the beds of some of the rivers which come origi- 
nally from the mountainous region, whence they have 
been hurried by the force of the torrents. On the other 
hand there are so very few of the inhabitants that build 
in this manner, on account of the price of workmanship, 
masons being still scarcer than carpenters and joiners. 

Not far from the General's house runs a river, [206] 
from forty to fifty feet wide, which we crossed dry-footed. 
Its banks in certain places are upwards of twenty-five 
feet high, the bottom of its bed is formed with flag stones, 
furrowed by small grooves, about three or four inches 
broad, and as many deep, through which the water 
flowed; but on the contrary the tide is so high in winter, 
that by means of a lock, they stop a sufficient quantity to 
turn a mill, situated more than thirty feet in height. 

54 General Daniel Smith, born in Virginia about 1740, migrated to Tennessee 
at an early age, and was first secretary of the territory south of the Ohio 
(1790-96), United States senator (1798-99 and 1805-09), and major general 
of militia. He was one of the most prominent of the early pioneers, a man of 
education and wealth, and his home in Sumner County was the seat of wide 
hospitality. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Mic /mux's Travels 257 

We had now passed several of these rivers that we 
could have strided over, but which, during the season, are 
crossed by means of ferry-boats. 

A few miles from General Winchester's plantation, and 
at a short distance from the road, is situated a small town, 
founded within these few years, and to which they have 
given the name of Cairo, in memory of the taking of 
Cairo by the French. 

Between Nasheville and Fort Blount the plantations, 
although always isolated in the woods, are nevertheless, 
upon the road, within two or three miles of each other. 
The inhabitants live in comfortable log houses; the major 
part keep negroes, and appear to live happy and in 
abundance. For the whole of this space the soil is but 
slightly undulated at times very even, and in general 
excellent; in consequence of [207] which the forests look 
very beautiful. It is in particular, at Dixon's Spring, 
fifty miles from Nasheville, and a few miles on this side 
Major Dixon's, where I sojourned a day and a half, that 
we remarked this great fertility. We saw again in the 
environs a considerable mass of forests, filled with those 
canes or reeds I have before mentioned, and which grow 
so close to each other, that at the distance of ten or twelve 
feet a man could not be perceived was he concealed there. 
Their tufted foliage presents a mass of verdure that diverts 
the sight amid these still and gloomy forests. I have 
before remarked that, in proportion as new plantations 
are formed, these canes in a few years disappear, as the 
cattle prefer the leaves of them to any other kind of 
vegetables, and destroy them still more by breaking the 
body of the plant while browzing on the top of the stalks. 
The pigs contribute also to this destruction, by raking up 
the ground in order to search for the young roots. 

258 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Fort Blount was constructed about eighteen years ago, 
to protect the emigrants who came at that time to settle 
in Cumberland, against the attacks of the natives, who 
declared a perpetual war against them, in order to drive 
them out; but peace having been concluded with them, 
and the population being [208] much increased, they 
have been reduced to the impossibility of doing them 
farther harm, and the Fort has been destroyed. There 
now exists on this spot a beautiful plantation, belonging 
to Captain William Samson, with whom Mr. Fisk usually 
resides. During the two days that we stopped at his 
house, I went in a canoe up the river Cumberland for 
several miles. This mode of reconnoitring the natural 
productions still more various upon the bank of the rivers, 
is preferable to any other, especially when the rivers are 
like the latter, bounded by enormous rocks, which are so 
very steep, that scarcely any person ventures to ascend 
their lofty heights. In these excursions I enriched my 
collections with several seeds of trees and plants peculiar 
to the country, and divers other objects of natural history. 

[209] CHAP. XXIII 
Departure from Fort Blount to West Point, through the 
Wilderness. — Botanical excursions upon Roaring River. 
— Description 0} its Banks. — Saline productions found 
there. — Indian Cherokees. — Arrival at Knoxville. 

On the nth of September we went from Fort Blount to 
the house of a Mr. Blackborn, whose plantation, situated 
fifteen miles from this fortress, is the last that the whites 
possess on this side the line, that separates the territory 
of the United States from that of the Indian Cherokees. 
This line presents, as far as West Point upon the Clinch, 
a country uninhabited upward of eighty miles in breadth, 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 259 

to which they give the name of the Wilderness, and of 
which the mountains of Cumberland occupy a great part. 
As Mr. Fisk was obliged to go to the court of justice, 
which is held a few miles from thence in the county [210] 
of Jackson; we deferred crossing the Wilderness for a 
few days, and I profited by his absence to go and see 
Roaring River, one of the branches of the Cumberland. 
This river, from ten to fifteen fathoms broad, received 
its name from the confused noise that is heard a mile dis- 
tant, and which is occasioned by falls of water produced 
by the sudden lapse of its bed, formed by large flat stones 
contiguous to each other. These falls, from six, eight, 
to ten feet high, are so near together, that several of them 
are to be seen within the space of fifty to a hundred 
fathoms. We observed in the middle of this river, great 
stones, from five to six feet in diameter, completely round, 
and of which nobody could form the least idea how they 
could have been conveyed there. 

The right bank of Roaring River rises in some places 
from eighty to a hundred feet, and surmounted at this 
height by rocks that jet out fifteen or twenty feet, and 
which cover again thick beds of ferruginous schiste, 
situated horizontally. The flakes they consist of are so 
soft and brittle, that as soon as they are touched, they 
break off in pieces of a foot long, and fall into a kind of 
dust, which, in the course of time, imperceptibly under- 
mines the rocks. Upon the flakes of schiste that are least 
exposed to the air [211] and water, we observed a kind of 
white efflorescence, extremely thin, and very similar to snow. 

There exists again upon the banks of this river, and 
in other parts of Cumberland, immense caverns, where 
there are masses of aluminous substances, within so 
small a degree of the purity necessary to be employed in 

26 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

dyeing, that the inhabitants not only go to fetch it for 
their own use, but export it to Kentucky. They cut it 
into pieces with an axe; but nobody is acquainted there 
with the process used on the Old Continent to prepare 
the different substances, as it is found in trade. 

Large rivulets, after having serpentined in the forests, 
terminate their windings at the steep banks of this river, 
whence they fall murmuring into its bed, and form mag- 
nificent cascades several fathoms wide. The perpetual 
humidity that these cascades preserve in these places 
gives birth to a multitude of plants which grow in the 
midst of a thick moss, with which the rock is covered, 
and which forms the most beautiful verdant carpet. 

All these circumstances give the borders of Roaring 
River a cool and pleasing aspect, which I had never wit- 
nessed before on the banks of other rivers. A [212] 
charming variety of trees and shrubs are also seen there, 
which are to be met with no where else. We observed 
the magnolia auriculata, macrophilla, cordata, acuminata, 
and tripetala. The fruit of these trees, so remarkable 
for the beauty of their flowers and superb foliage, were in 
the highest perfection. I gathered a few seeds to multi- 
ply them in France, and to add to the embellishment of 
our gardens. These seeds grow rancid very soon. I 
endeavoured to remedy this inconvenience by putting 
them into fresh moss, which I renewed every fortnight till 
my return to Carolina, where I continued the same pre- 
cautions till the epoch of my embarking for Europe. I 
have since had the satisfaction to see that my pains were 
not fruitless, and that I succeeded by this means in pre- 
serving their germinative faculty. 

Major Russel, with whom I went to lodge after I had 
taken my leave of Mr. Blackborn, and where Mr. Fisk 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 261 

rejoined me, furnished us very obligingly with necessary 
provisions for the two days journey through the territory 
of the Cherokees. Notwithstanding the harmony that 
at present subsists between the whites and these Indians, 
it is always more prudent to travel five or six in a party. 
Nevertheless as we were at a considerable distance from 
the usual place of rendezvous, where the travellers put up, 
we resolved [213] to set out alone, and we arrived happily 
at West Point. This country is exceedingly mountain- 
ous, we could not make above forty-five miles the first 
day, although we travelled till midnight. We encamped 
near a small river, where there was an abundance of grass ; 
and after having made a fire we slept in our rugs, keeping 
watch alternately in order to guard our horses, and make 
them feed close by us for fear of the natives, who some- 
times steal them in spite of all the precaution a traveller 
can take, as their dexterity in that point exceeds all that 
a person can imagine. During this day's journey we saw 
nothing but wild turkies, thirty or forty in a flight. 

The second day after our departure we met a party of 
eight or ten Indians, who were searching for grapes and 
chinquapins, a species of small chesnuts, superior in 
taste to those in Europe. As we had only twenty miles 
to go before we reached West Point, we gave them the 
remainder of our provisions, with which they were highly 
delighted. Bread is a great treat for them, their usual 
food consisting of nothing but venison and wild fowl. 

The road that crosses this part of the Indian territory 
cuts through the mountains in Cumberland; it is as 
broad and commodious as those in the environs of Phila- 
delphia, in consequence of the amazing number [214] 
of emigrants that travel through it to go and settle in the 
western country. It is, notwithstanding, in some places 

262 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

very rugged, but nothing near so much as the one that 
leads from Strasburgh to Bedford in Pennsylvania. 
About forty miles from Nasheville we met an emigrant 
family in a carriage, followed by their negroes on foot, 
that had performed their journey without any accident. 
Little boards painted black and nailed upon the trees 
every three miles, indicate to travellers the distance they 
have to go. 

In this part of Tennessea the mass of the forests is 
composed of all the species of trees that belong more 
particularly to the mountainous regions of North America, 
such as oaks, maples, and nut trees. Pines abound in 
those parts where the soil is the worst. What appeared 
to me very extraordinary was, to find some parts of the 
woods, for the space of several miles, where all the pines 
that formed at least one fifth part of the other trees were 
dead since the preceding year, and still kept all their 
withered foliage. I was not able to learn the causes that 
produced this singular phenomenon. I only heard that 
the same thing happens every fifteen or twenty years. 

At West Point is established a fort, pallisadoed round 
with trees, built upon a lofty eminence, at the [215] con- 
flux of the rivers Clinch and Holston. The fedral gov- 
ernment maintain a company of soldiers there, the aim 
of which is to hold the Indians in respect, and at the same 
time to protect them against the inhabitants on the fron- 
tiers, whose illiberal proceedings excite them frequently 
to war. The objects of these insults were to drive them 
from their possessions ; but the government has prevented 
this fruitless source of broils and wars, by declaring that 
all the possessions occupied by the Indians within the 
boundaries of the United States, comprise a part of their 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 263 

The following trait will give an idea of the ferocious 
disposition of some of these Americans on the frontiers. 
One of them belonging to the environs of Fort Blount, 
had lost one of his horses, which had strayed from his 
plantation and penetrated some distance into the Indian 
territory. About a fortnight after it was brought to him 
by two Cherokees; they were scarcely fifty yards from 
the house when the owner perceiving them, killed one 
upon the spot with his carabine; the other fled and car- 
ried the news to his fellow-countrymen. The murderer 
was thrown into prison; but was afterwards released for 
the want of evidence, although he stood convicted in the 
eyes [216] of every one. During the time he was in 
prison the Indians suspended their resentment, in hopes 
that the death of their fellow-countryman would be re- 
venged; but scarcely were they informed that he was set 
at liberty when they killed a white, at more than a hundred 
and fifty miles from the place where the first murder had 
been committed. To the present moment we have never 
been able to make the Indians comprehend that punish- 
ment should only fall upon the guilty; they conceive that 
the murder of one or more of their people ought to be 
avenged by the death of an equal number of individuals 
belonging to the nation of that person who committed 
the deed. This is a custom they will not renounce, more 
especially if the person so murdered belongs to a distin- 
guished family, as among the Creeks and Cherokees there 
exists a superior class to the common of the nation. 
These Indians are above the middling stature, well pro- 
portioned, and healthy in appearance, notwithstanding 
the long fasting they frequently endure in pursuit of 
animals, the flesh of which forms their chief subsistence. 
The carabine is the only weapon they make use of; they 

264 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

are very dexterous with it, and kill at a very great dis- 
tance. The usual dress of the men consists of a shirt, 
a VEuropeene, which [217] hangs loose, and of a slip of 
blue cloth about half a yard in length, which serves them 
as breeches; they put it between their thighs, and fasten 
the two ends, before and behind, to a sort of girdle. They 
wear long gaiters, and shoes of stag skins prepared. 
When full dressed they wear a coat, waistcoat, and hat, 
but never any breeches. The natives of North America 
have never been able to adopt that part of our dress. 
They have only on the top of their heads a tuft of hair, 
of which they make several tresses, that hang down the 
sides of the face, and very frequently they attach quills 
or little silver tubes to the extremities. A great number 
of them pierce their noses, in order to put rings through, 
and cut holes in their ears, that hang down two or three 
inches, by the means of pieces of lead that they fasten to 
them when they are quite young. They paint their 
faces red, blue, or black. 

A man's shirt and a short petticoat form the dress of 
the women, who wear also gaiters like the men; they let 
their hair grow, which is always of a jet black, to its 
natural length, but they never pierce their noses, nor 
disfigure their ears. In winter, the men and women, 
in order to guard against the cold, wrap themselves in a 
blue rug, which they always [218] carry with them, and 
which forms an essential part of their luggage. 

Near the fort is established a kind of warehouse where 
the Cherokees carry ginseng and furs, consisting chiefly 
of bear, stag, and otter skins. They give them in ex- 
change for coarse stuffs, knives, hatchets, and other arti- 
cles that they stand in need of. 

I learnt at West Point, of several persons who make 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 265 

frequent journies among the Cherokees that within these 
few years they take to the cultivating of their possessions, 
and that they make a rapid progress. Some of them have 
good plantations, and even negro slaves. Several of the 
women spin and manufacture cotton stuffs. The federal 
government devotes annually a sum to supply them with 
instruments necessary for agriculture and different trades. 
Being pressed for time I could not penetrate farther into 
the interior of the country, as I had intended, and I did 
not profit by the letters of recommendation that Mr. W. 
P. Anderson had given me for that purpose to the garri- 
son-officers in the fort. 

They reckon thirty-five miles from West Point to 
Knoxville. About a mile from West Point we passed 
through Kingstown, composed of thirty or forty log 
houses; after that the road runs upwards of eighteen 
[219] miles through a rugged and flinty soil, although 
covered with a kind of grass. The trees that occupy this 
extent grow within twenty or thirty yards of each other, 
which makes it seem as though this district changes from 
the appearance of a meadow to that of a forest. After 
this the soil grows better, and the plantations are not so 
far apart. 

[220] CHAP. XXIV 
Knoxville. — Commercial intelligence. — Trees that grow 
in the environs. — Converting some parts of the Mead- 
ows into Forests. — River Nolachuky. — Greensville. — 
Arrival at Jonesborough. 

Knoxville, the seat of government belonging to the 
state of Tennessea, is situate upon the river Holston, in 
this part nearly a hundred and fifty fathoms broad. The 
houses that compose it are about two hundred in number, 

266 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and chiefly built of wood. Although founded eighteen 
or twenty years ago, this little town does not yet possess 
any kind of establishment or manufactory, except two 
or three tan yards. Trade, notwithstanding, is brisker 
here than at Nasheville. The shops, though very few in 
[221] number, are in general better stocked. The trades- 
people get their provisions by land from Philadelphia, 
Baltimore, and Richmond in Virginia; and they send 
in return, by the same way, the produce of the country, 
which they buy of the cultivators, or take in barter for 
their goods. Baltimore and Richmond are the towns 
with which this part of the country does most business. 
The price of conveyance from Baltimore is six or seven 
dollars per hundred weight. They reckon seven hundred 
miles from this town to Knoxville, six hundred and forty 
from Philadelphia, and four hundred and twenty from 

They send flour, cotton and lime to New Orleans by 
the river Tennessea; but this way is not so much fre- 
quented by the trade, the navigation of this river being 
very much encumbered in two different places by shal- 
lows interspersed with rocks. They reckon about six 
hundred miles from Knoxville to the embouchure of the 
Tennessea in the Ohio, and thirty-eight miles thence to 
that of the Ohio in the Mississippi. 

[222] We alighted at Knoxville at the house of one 
Haynes, the sign of the General Washington, the best 
inn in the town. Travellers and their horses are accom- 
modated there at the rate of five shillings per day; though 
this is rather dear for a country where the situation is by 
no means favourable to the sale of provisions, which they 
are obliged to send to more remote parts. The reason 
of things being so dear proceeds from the desire of grow- 

1802] F. A. Michaux 's Travels 267 

ing rich in a short time, a general desire in the United 
States, where every man who exercises a profession or art 
wishes to get a great deal by it, and does not content him- 
self with a moderate profit, as they do in Europe. 

There is a newspaper printed at Knoxville 55 which 
comes out twice a week, and written and published by 
Mr. Roulstone, a fellow-countryman and friend of my 
travelling companion, Mr. Fisk. It is very remarkable 
that most of the emigrants from New England have an 
ascendancy over the others in point of morals, industry, 
and knowledge. 

[223] On the 17th of September I took leave of Mr. 
Fisk, and proceeded towards Jonesborough, about a 
hundred miles from Knoxville, and situate at the foot 
of the lofty mountains that separate North Carolina from 
the state of Tennessea. On leaving Knoxville the soil 
is uneven, stony and very indifferent, of which it is an 
easy thing to judge by the quantity of pines, or pinus 
mitis, that are in the forests. We also found there an 
abundance of Chinquapin oaks, or quercus prinus Chin- 
quapin, that seldom grow above three feet high, some of 
which were that year so loaded with acorns that they were 
bent to the ground. The sorel-tree, or andromeda arbo- 
rea, is also very common. This tree, that rises about 
forty feet in the mountains, would be one of the most 
splendid ornaments for our gardens, on account of its 
opening clusters of white flowers. Its leaves are very 
acid, and many of the inhabitants prefer them to shumac 
for dyeing cottons. 

I crossed the river Holston at Macby, about fifteen miles 

55 The newspaper referred to by Michaux was established by George Roul- 
stone at Rogersville in 1791; later it was removed to the capital, and called the 
Knoxville Gazette. — Ed. 

268 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

from Knoxville; here the soil grows better, [224] and the 
plantations are nearer together, although not immediately 
within sight of each other. At some distance from 
Macby the road, for the space of two miles, runs by the 
side of a copse, extremely full of young suckers, the high- 
est of which was not above twenty feet. As I had never 
seen any part of a forest so composed before, I made an 
observation of it to the inhabitants of the country, who 
told me that this place was formerly part of a barren, or 
meadow, which had naturally clothed itself again with 
trees, that fifteen years since they had been totally 
destroyed by fire, in order to clear the land, which is a 
common practice in all the southern states. This exam- 
ple appears to demonstrate that the spacious meadows 
in Kentucky and Tennessea owe their birth to some great 
conflagration that has consumed the forests, and that 
they are kept up as meadows by the custom that is still 
practised of annually setting them on fire. In these con- 
flagrations, when chance preserves any part from the 
ravages of the flame, for a certain number of years they 
are re-stocked with trees; but [225] as it is then extremely 
thick, the fire burns them completely down, and reduce^ 
them again to a sort of meadow. We may thence con- 
clude, that in these parts of the country the meadows 
encroach continually upon the forests. The same has 
probably taken place in Upper Louisiana and New 
Mexico, which are only immense plains, burnt annually 
by the natives, and where there is not a tree to be 

I stopped the first day at a place where most of the 
inhabitants are Quakers, who came fifteen or eighteen 
years since from Pennsylvania. The one with whom 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 269 

I lodged had an excellent plantation, and his log-house 
was divided into two rooms, which is very uncommon 
in that part of the country. Around the house magnifi- 
cent apple-trees were planted, which, although produced 
from pips, bore fruit of an extraordinary size and luxuri- 
ance in taste, which proves how well this country is 
adapted for the culture of fruit trees. Here, as well as in 
Kentucky, they give the preference to the peach, on 
account of their [226] making brandy with it. At the 
same house where I stopped there were two emigrant 
families, forming together ten or twelve persons, who 
were going to settle in Tennessea. Their ragged clothes* 
and the miserable appearance of their children, who were 
bare-footed and in their shirts, was a plain indication 
of their poverty, a circumstance by no means uncommon 
in the United States. At the same time it is not in the 
western country that the riches of the inhabitants consist 
in specie ; for I am persuaded that not one in ten of them 
are in possession of a single dollar; still each enjoys him- 
self at home with the produce of his estate, and the money 
arising from the sale of a horse or a few cows is always 
more than sufficient to procure him the secondary articles 
that come from England. 

The following day I passed by the iron-works, situate 
about thirty miles from Knoxville, where I stopped some 
time to get a sample of the native ore. The iron that 
proceeds from it they say is of an excellent quality. The 
road at this place divides into [227] two branches, both 
of which lead to Jonesborough ; but as I wanted to survey 
the banks of the river Nolachuky, so renowned in that 
part of the country for their fertility, I took the right, 
although it was rather longer, and not so much frequented- 

270 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

About six or seven miles from the iron-works we found 
upon the road small rock crystals, two or three inches 
long, and beautifully transparent. The facets of the 
pyramids that terminate the two extremities of the prism 
are perfectly equal with respect to size, they are loose, 
and disseminated in a reddish kind of earth, and rather 
clayey. In less than ten minutes I picked up forty. 
Arrived on the boundaries of the river Nolachuky, I did 
not observe any species of trees or plants that I had not 
seen elsewhere, except a few poplars and horse-chesnuts, 
which bore a yellow blossom. Some of these poplars 
were five or six feet in diameter, perfectly straight, and 
free from branches for thirty or forty feet from the 

On the 21st I arrived at Greenville, which contains 
scarcely forty houses, constructed with square [228] 
beams something like the log-houses. They reckon 
twenty-five miles from this place to Jonesborough. In 
this space the country is slightly mountainous, the soil 
more adapted to the culture of corn than that of Indian 
wheat, and the plantations are situated upon the road, 
two or three miles distant from each other. 

Jonesborough, the last town in Tennessea, is composed 
of about a hundred and fifty houses, built of wood, and 
disposed on both sides the road. Four or five respecta- 
ble shops are established there, and the tradespeople 
who keep them have their goods from Richmond and 
Baltimore. All kinds of English-manufactured goods 
are as dear here as at Knoxville. A newspaper in folio 
is published at this town twice a week. Periodical sheets 
are the only works that have ever been printed in the 
towns or villages situate west of the Alleghanies. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 271 

[229] CHAP. XXV 

General observations on the State 0} Tennessea. — Rivers 
Cumberland and Tennessea. — What is meant by East 
Tennessea or Holston, and West Tennessea or Cumber- 
land. — First settlements in West Tennessea. — Trees 
natives oj that country. 

The state of Tennessea is situated between 35 and 36 
deg. 30 min. latitude, and 80 and 90 deg. 30 min. longi- 
tude. It is bounded north by Kentucky, south by the 
territories belonging to the Indian Cherokees and Chac- 
taws, west by the Ohio, and east by the Alleghany Moun- 
tains, which separate it from Virginia and North Caro- 
lina. Its extent in breadth is nearly a hundred and three 
miles [230] by three hundred and sixty in length. Prior 
to the year 1796, the epoch of its being admitted into the 
Union, this country comprised a part of North Carolina. 
The two principal rivers are the Cumberland and Ten- 
nessea, which flow into the Ohio eleven miles distant from 
each other, and are separated by the chain of mountains 
in Cumberland. 

The river Cumberland, known to the French Canadians 
by the name of the river Shavanon, derives its source in 
Kentucky, amidst the mountains that separate it from 
Virginia. Its course is about four hundred and fifty 
miles. It is navigable, in winter and spring, for three 
hundred and fifty miles from its embouchure; but in sum- 
mer, not above fifty miles from Nasheville. The river 
Tennessea, named by the French Canadians the Chero- 
kee River, is the most considerable of all those that empty 
themselves into the Ohio. It begins at West Point, where 
it is formed by the junction of the rivers Clinch and Hoi- 

272 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

ston, which derive their source in that part of the Alle- 
ghany Mountains situated in Virginia, each of [231] 
which are more than a hundred fathoms broad at their 
embouchure. Both are navigable to an immense dis- 
tance, and particularly the Holston, which is so for two 
hundred miles. The river French Broad, one of the 
principal branches of the Holston, receives its waters from 
the Nolachuky, is about twenty fathoms broad, and is 
navigable in the spring. Thus the Tennessea, with the 
Holston, has, in the whole, a navigable course for near 
eight hundred miles:" but this navigation is interrupted 
six months in the year by the muscle shoals, a kind of 
shallows interspersed with rocks, which are met with 
in its bed two hundred miles from its embouchure in the 
Ohio. From West Point the borders of this great river 
are yet almost entirely uninhabited. The signification 
of the name of Tennessea, which it bears, is unknown 
to the Cherokees and Chactaws that occupied this country 
before the whites. Mr. Fisk, who has had several con- 
versations with these Indians, never heard any precise 
account; in consequence of which it is most likely that 
this name has [232] been given to it by the nation that the 
Cherokees succeeded. 56 

The Cumberland Mountains are but a continuation of 
Laurel Mountain, which itself is one of the principal links 
of the Alleghanies. These mountains, on the confines of 
Virginia, incline more toward the west, and by the direc- 
tion which they take, cut obliquely in two the state of 
Tennessea, which, in consequence, divides East and West 
Tennessea into two parts, both primitively known by the 
names of Hhe Holston and Cumberland settlements, 

M The derivation of the word ' ' Tennessee ' ' is variously given : as from a 
village of the Cherokee Indians, "Tanase;" a Cherokee word meaning "curved 
spoon;" or from the Taensa Indians of the Natchesan family, who lived in 
Louisiana within historic times. — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 273 

and which afford each a different aspect, both by the 
nature of the country, and by the productions that grow 

West Tennessea comprises two-thirds of this state. 
The greater part of it reposes upon a bank of chalky 
substance of the same nature, the beds of which are hori- 
zontal. The stratum of vegetable earth with which it 
is covered appears generally not so thick as in Kentucky, 
and participates less of the clayey nature. It is usually, 
in point of colour, of [233] a dark brown, without the 
least mixture of stony substances. The forests that 
cover the country clearly indicate how favourable the soil 
is for vegetation, as most of the trees acquire a very large 
diameter. Iron mines are also as scarce there as in Ken- 
tucky; and provided any new ones were discovered, they 
would have been worked immediately, since the iron that is 
imported from Pennsylvania is at such an enormous price. 

The secondary rivers which in this part of Tennessea 
run into Cumberland are almost completely dry during 
the summer; and it is probable enough, that when the 
population grows more numerous, and the plantations are 
formed farther from their banks, the want of water will 
be more severely felt in this part than in Kentucky. 
There are, notwithstanding, several large rivulets or 
creeks that issue from excavations that are found at the 
foot of the mountains, in different parts of the country: at 
the same time it has been remarked that these kind of 
sources never fail, although the water is not so deep in 
summer. [234] Just at the mouth of these subterraneous 
passages they are sometimes accompanied with a current 
of air strong enough to extinguish a light. I observed 
this particularly myself at the spring of the rivulet called 
Dixon's Spring, and of another situated about four miles 
from Nasheville. 

274 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

It was in 1780 that the whites first made the attempt 
to travel over the Cumberland Mountains, and to settle 
in the environs of Nasheville; but the emigrants were not 
very numerous there till the year 1789. They had to 
support, for several years, a bloody war against the Indian 
Cherokees, and till 1795 the settlements at Hoist on and 
Kentucky communicated with those in Cumberland by 
caravans, for the sake of travelling in safety over so ex- 
tensive a tract of uninhabited country that separated them; 
but for these five or six years past, since peace has been 
made with the natives, the communications formed be- 
tween the countries are perfectly established; and al- 
though not much frequented, they travel there with as 
much safety as in any other part of the Atlantic states. 

[235] This country having been populated after that of 
Kentucky, every measure was taken at the commencement 
to avoid the great confusion that exists concerning the 
right of property in the latter state; at the same time the 
titles are looked upon as more valid, and not so subject 
to dispute. This reason, the extraordinary fertility of 
the soil, and a more healthy climate, are such great in- 
ducements to the emigrants of the Atlantic states, that 
most of them prefer settling in West Tennessea than in 
Kentucky. They reckon there, at present, thirty thou- 
sand inhabitants, and five or six thousand negro slaves. 

With a few exceptions the various species of trees and 
shrubs that form the mass of the forests are the same as 
those that I observed in the most fertile parts of Ken- 
tucky. The gleditsia triacanthos is still more common 
there. 57 Of this wood the Indians made their bows, 
before they adopted the use of fire-arms. 

67 The gleditsia triacanthus, or honey locust, is common to a large part of 
the United States.— Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 275 

We found particularly, in these forests, a tree which, 
by the shape of its fruit and the disposition of its leaves, 
appears to have great affinity with the [236] sophora 
japonica, the wood of which is used by the Chinese for 
dyeing yellow. My father, who discovered this tree in 
1796, thought that it might be employed for the same 
use, and become an important object of traffic for the 
country. He imparted his conjectures to Mr. Blount, 
then governor of this state, and his letter was inserted 
in the Gazette at Knoxville on the 15th of March 1796. 
Several persons in the country having a great desire to 
know whether it were possible to fix the beautiful yellow 
which the wood of this tree communicated to the water 
by the simple infusion, cold, I profited by my stay at 
Nasheville to send twenty pounds of it to New York, the 
half of which was remitted to Dr. Mitchell, professor of 
chemistry, and the other addressed to Paris, to the Board 
of Agriculture, attached to the Minister of the Interior, 
in order to verify the degree of utility that might be de- 
rived from it. This tree very seldom rises above forty 
feet, and grows, in preference, on the knobs, species of 
little hills, where the soil is very rich. Several of the in- 
habitants have [237] remarked that there is not in the 
country a single species of tree that produces so great an 
abundance of sap. The quantity that it supplies exceeds 
even that of the sugar maple, although the latter is twice 
its bulk. The epoch of my stay at Nasheville being that 
when the seeds of this tree were ripe, I gathered a small 
quantity of them, which I brought over with me, and 
which have all come up. Several of the plants are at the 
present moment ten or fifteen inches high. It is very 
probable that this tree may be reared in France, and that 
it will endure the cold of our winters, and more so, as, 

276 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

according to what I have been told, the winters are as 
severe in Tennessea as in any parts of France. 

West Tennessea is not so salubrious as Holston and 
Kentucky. A warmer and damper climate is the cause 
of intermittent fevers being more common there. Emi- 
grants, for the first year of their settling there, and even 
travellers, are, during that season, subject to an exanthe- 
metic affection similar to the itch. This malady, with 
which I began to be attacked [238] before I reached Fort 
Blount, yielded to a cooling regimen, and repeated bath- 
ings in the rivers Cumberland and Roaring. This dis- 
order is very appropriately called in the country the 
Tennessean itch. 

[239] CHAP. XXVI 

Different kinds of produce of West Tennessea. — Domestic 
manufactories for cottons encouraged by the legislature 
of this state. — Mode of letting out estates by some of the 

West Tennessea, or Cumberland, being situated under 
a more southerly latitude than Kentucky, is particularly 
favourable to the growth of cotton; in consequence of 
which the inhabitants give themselves up almost en- 
tirely to it, and cultivate but little more corn, hemp, and 
tobacco than what is necessary for their own consump- 

The soil, which is fat and clayey, appears to be a recent 
dissolving of vegetable substances, and seems, [240] till 
now, less adapted for the culture of corn than that of 
Indian wheat. The harvests of this grain are as plentiful 
as in Kentucky; the blades run up ten or twelve feet high; 
and the ears, which grow six or seven feet from the earth, 
are from nine to ten inches in length, and proportionate 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 277 

in size. It is cultivated in the same manner as in other 
parts of the western country. 

The crows, which are a true plague in the Atlantic 
states, where they ravage, at three different periods, the 
fields of Indian wheat, which are obliged to be sown 
again as many times, have not yet made their appearance 
in Tennessea ; but it is very probable that this visit is only 
deferred, as they do, annually, great damage in Ken- 

I must also observe here that the grey European rats 
have not yet penetrated into Cumberland, though they 
are very numerous in other parts of the country, particu- 
larly in those settlements belonging to the whites. 

The culture of cotton, infinitely more lucrative [241] 
than that of corn and tobacco, is, as before observed, the 
most adhered to in West Tennessea. There is scarcely 
a single emigrant but what begins to plant his estate with 
it the third year after his settling in the country. Those 
who have no negroes cultivate it with the plough, nearly 
in the same manner as Indian wheat, taking particular 
care to weed and throw new earth upon it several times 
in the course of the season. Others lay out their fields 
in parallel furrows, made with the hoe, from twelve to 
fifteen inches high. It is computed that one man, who 
employs himself with this alone, is sufficient to cultivate 
eight or nine acres, but not to gather in the harvest. 
A man and a woman, with two or three children, may, 
notwithstanding, cultivate four acres with the greatest 
ease, independent of the Indian wheat necessary for 
their subsistence; and calculating upon a harvest of three 
hundred and fifty pounds weight per acre, which is very 
moderate according to the extreme fertility of the soil, 
they will have, in four acres, a produce of fourteen hun- 

278 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

dred pounds of [242] cotton. Valuing it at the rate of 
eighteen dollars per hundred weight, the lowest price to 
which it had fallen at the epoch of the last peace, when I 
was in the country, gives two hundred and fifty-two dol- 
lars; from which deducting forty dollars for the expenses 
of culture, they will have a net produce of two hundred 
and twelve dollars; while the same number of acres, 
planted with Indian wheat, or sown with corn, would 
only yield at the rate of fifty bushels per acre ; and twenty- 
five bushels of corn, about fifty dollars, reckoning the 
Indian wheat at thirteen pence, and the corn at two shil- 
lings and two pence per bushel; under the supposition 
that they can sell it at that price, which is not always the 
case. This light sketch demonstrates with what facility a 
poor family may acquire speedily, in West Tennessea, a 
certain degree of independence, particularly after having 
been settled five or six years, as they procure the means of 
purchasing one or two negroes, and of annually increasing 
their number. 

The species of cotton which they cultivate here is [243] 
somewhat more esteemed than that described by the 
name of green-seed cotton, in which there is a trifling 
distinction in point of colour. 

The cottons that are manufactured in West Tennessea 
are exceedingly fine, and superior in quality to those I 
saw in the course of my travels. The legislature of this 
state, appreciating the advantage of encouraging this kind 
of industry, and of diminishing, by that means, the im- 
portation of English goods of the same nature, has given, 
for these two years past, a premium of ten dollars to the 
female inhabitant who, in every county, presents the best 
manufactured piece; for in this part, as well as in Ken- 
tucky, the higher circles wear, in summer time, as much 

1802] F. A. Micfiaux's Travels 279 

from patriotism as from economy, dresses made of the 
cottons manufactured in the country. At the same time 
they are convinced that it is the only means of preserving 
the little specie that is in the country, and of preventing 
its going to England. 

The price of the best land does not yet exceed five dol- 
lars per acre in the environs of Nasheville, and [244] 
thirty or forty miles from the town they are not even worth 
three dollars. They can at that price purchase a planta- 
tion completely formed, composed of two to three hundred 
acres, of which fifteen to twenty are cleared, and a log- 
house. The taxes in this state are also not so high as in 

Among the emigrants that arrive annually from the 
eastern country at Tennessea there are always some who 
have not the means of purchasing estates; still there is no 
difficulty in procuring them at a certain rent; for the 
speculators who possess many thousand acres are very 
happy to get tenants for their land, as it induces others 
to come and settle in the environs ; since the speculation of 
estates in Kentucky and Tennessea is so profitable to the 
owners, who reside upon the spot, and who, on the arrival 
of the emigrants, know how to give directions in cultiva- 
tion, which speedily enhances the value of their posses- 

The conditions imposed upon the renter are to clear 
and inclose eight or nine acres, to build a log-house, and 
to pay to the owner eight or ten bushels [245] of Indian 
wheat for every acre cleared. These contracts are kept 
up for seven or eight years. The second year after the 
price of two hundred acres of land belonging to a new 
settlement of this kind increases nearly thirty per cent.; 
and this estate is purchased in preference by a new emi- 

280 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

grant, who is sure of gathering corn enough for the sup- 
plies of his family and cattle. 

In this state they are not so famed for rearing horses 
as in Kentucky; yet the greatest care is taken to improve 
their breed, by rearing them with those of the latter state, 
whence they send for the finest mare foals that can be 

Although this country abounds with saline springs, 
none are yet worked, as the scarcity of hands would ren- 
der the salt dearer than what is imported from the salt- 
pits of St. Genevieve, which supply all Cumberland. It 
is sold at two dollars per bushel, about sixty pounds 

[246] CHAP. XXVII 
East Tennessea, or Holston. — Agriculture. — Population. — 


East Tennessea, or Holston, is situated between the 
loftiest of the Alleghany and Cumberland Mountains. It 
comprises, in length, an extent of nearly a hundred and 
forty miles, and differs chiefly from West Tennessea in 
point of the earth's being not so chalky, and better wa- 
tered by the small rivers issuing from the adjacent moun- 
tains, which cross it in every part. The best land is upon 
their borders. The remainder of the territory, almost 
everywhere interspersed with hills, is of a middling 
quality, and produces nothing but white, red, black, 
chincapin, [247] and mountain oaks, &c. intermixed 
with pines; and, as we have before observed, except the 
quercus macrocarpa, the rest never grow, even in the most 
fertile places. 

Indian wheat forms here also one of the principal 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 281 

branches of agriculture; but it very seldom comes up 
above seven or eight feet high, and a produce of thirty 
bushels per acre passes for an extraordinary harvest. 
The nature of the soil, somewhat gravelly, appears more 
adapted for the culture of wheat, rye, and oats; in con- 
sequence of which it is more adhered to than in Cumber- 
land. That of cotton is little noticed, on account of the 
cold weather, which sets in very early. One may judge, 
according to this, that Holston is in every point inferior 
in fertility to Cumberland and Kentucky. 

To consume the superfluity of their corn the inhabi- 
tants rear a great number of cattle, which they take 
four or five hundred miles to the seaports belonging to 
the southern states. They lose very few of these animals 
by the way, although they have to [248] cross several 
rivers, and travel through an uninterrupted forest, with 
this disadvantage, of the cattle being extremely wild. 

This part of Tennessea began to be inhabited in 1775, 
and the population is -so much increased, that there is 
now computed to be about seventy thousand inhabitants, 
including three or four thousand negro slaves. In 1787 
they attempted to form themselves into an independent 
state, under the name of the Franklin State; but this 
project was abandoned. 58 It is still very probable, and 
has already been in question, that East and West Ten- 
nessea will ultimately form two distinct states, which will 
each enlarge itself by a new addition of part of the terri- 
tory belonging to the Cherokee Indians. The natives, it is 
true, will not hear the least mention of a cession being 
made, objecting that their tract of country is barely 

58 For an account of the movement for the State of Franklin, see Turner, 
"Western State Making," American Historical Review, i, pp. 256-261. — Ed. 

282 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

sufficient to furnish, by hunting, a subsistence for their 
families. However, sooner or later they will be obliged 
to yield. The division of Tennessea cannot be long before 
it takes place, whether under [249] the consideration of 
convenience, or the enterprising disposition of the Ameri- 
cans. It is commanded, on the one hand, by the bounda- 
ries that Nature herself has prescribed between the two 
countries, in separating them by the Cumberland Moun- 
tains; and on the other, by their commerce, which is 
wholly different, since Cumberland carries on its trade by 
the Ohio and Mississippi, while Holston does most by 
land with the seaports belonging to the Atlantic states, 
and has very little to do with New Orleans by the river 
Tennessea, and scarcely any with Cumberland and Ken- 
tucky. Under this consideration, Holston is, of all parts 
in the United States that are now inhabited, the most 
unfavourably situated, being on every side circumscribed 
by considerable tracts of country that produce the same 
provisions, and which are either more fertile or nearer to 
the borders of the sea. 

What has been said relative to the manners of the in- 
habitants of Kentucky will apply, in a great measure to 
Tennessea, since they come, as the former [250] do, 
from North Carolina and Virginia: still the inhabitants 
of Tennessea do not yet enjoy that degree of indepen- 
dence which is remarked among those of Kentucky. 
They appear also not so religious, although, in the mean 
time, they are very strict observers of Sundays. We 
found but very few churches in Tennessea. Itinerant 
preachers wander, in summer, through the different 
countries, and preach in the woods, where the people col- 
lect together. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 283 


Departure from Jonesborough for Morganton in North 
Carolina. — Journey over Iron Mountains. — Sojourn on 
the mountains. — Journey over the Blue Ridges and 
Linneville Mountains. — Arrival at Morganton. 

On the 21st of September 1802 I set out from Jones- 
borough to cross the Alleghanies for North Carolina. 
About nine miles from Jonesborough the road divides 
into two branches, which unite again fifty-six miles 
beyond the mountains. The left, which is principally 
for carriages, cuts through Yellow Mountain, and the 
other through Iron [252] Mountain. I took the latter, 
as I had been informed it was much the shortest. I only 
made nineteen miles that day, and put up at one Cayerd's 
at the Limestone Cove, where I arrived benumbed with 
cold by the thick fog that reigns almost habitually in the 
vallies of these enormous mountains. 

Seven miles on this side Cayerd's plantation, the road, 
or rather the path, begins to be so little cut that one can 
scarce discern the track for plants of all kinds that cover 
the superficies of it; it is also encumbered by forests of 
rhododendrum, shrubs from eighteen to twenty feet in 
height, the branches of which, twisting and interwoven 
with each other, impede the traveller every moment, 
insomuch that he is obliged to use an axe to clear his 
way. The torrents that we had continually to cross 
added to the difficulty and danger of the journey, the 
horses being exposed to fall on account of the loose 
round flints, concealed by the ebullition of the waters with 
which the bottom of these torrents are filled. 

I had the day following twenty-three miles to [253] 
make without meeting with the least kind of a plantation. 

284 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

After having made the most minute inquiry with regard 
to the path I had to take, I set out about eight o'clock in 
the morning from the Limestone Cove, and after a jour- 
ney of three hours I reached the summit of the mountain, 
which I recognized by several trees with "the road" 
marked on each, and in the same direction to indicate 
the line of demarcation that separates the state of Ten- 
nessea from that of North Carolina. The distance from 
the Limestone Cove to the summit of the mountain is 
computed to be about two miles and a half, and three 
miles thgnce to the other side. The declivity of the two 
sides is very steep, insomuch that it is with great difficulty 
a person can sit upon his horse, and that half the time 
he is obliged to go on foot. Arrived at the bottom 
of the mountain, I had again, as the evening before, to 
cross through forests of rhododendrum, and a large torrent 
called Rocky Creek, the winding course of which cut 
the path in twelve or fifteen directions; every time I was 
obliged to alight, or go [254] up the torrent by walking 
into the middle for the space of ten or fifteen fathoms, in 
order to regain on the other bank the continuation of the 
path, which is very rarely opposite, and of which the en- 
trance was frequently concealed by tufts of grass or 
branches of trees, which have time to grow and extend 
their foliage, since whole months elapse without its being 
passed by travellers. At length I happily arrived at the 
end of my journey. I then perceived the imprudence I 
had committed in having exposed myself without a guide 
in a road so little frequented, and where a person every 
moment runs the risk of losing himself on account of the 
sub-divisions of the road, that ultimately disappear, and 
which it would be impossible to find again, unless by 
being perfectly acquainted with the localities and dispo- 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 285 

sition of the country, where obstacle upon obstacle oppose 
the journey of the traveller, and whose situation would in 
a short time become very critical from the want of pro- 

On the 23d I made twenty-two miles through a [255] 
country bestrewed with mountains, but not so lofty as 
that which I had just passed over, and arrived at the 
house of one Davenport, the owner of a charming planta- 
tion upon Doe river, a torrent about forty feet in breadth, 
and which empties itself into the Nolachuky. I had 
learnt the evening before, of the person with whom I had 
lodged, that it was at Davenport's my father had resided, 
and that it was this man who served him as a guide across 
the mountains when on his travels to discover their pro- 
ductions. I was at that time very far from thinking that 
at the same time when this worthy man was entertaining 
me about his old travelling companion, I lost a beloved 
father, who died a victim of his zeal for the progress of nat- 
ural history upon the coast of the island of Madagascar ! 

I staid a week at Davenport's, in order to rest myself 
after a journey of six hundred miles that I had just made, 
and during this interval I travelled over the Blue Ridges 
that encompass his plantation. On the 2d of October 
1802 I set out on my journey [256] again, and proceeded 
towards Morganton, a distance of thirty-five miles. 
About four miles from Doe river I re-passed the chain of 
the Blue Ridges. Its summit is obtained by a gentle 
declivity, which is much longer and more rapid on the 
eastern side, without being impracticable for carriages. 
The journey over this mountain is computed to be about 
four miles and a half. 

About five miles from the Blue Ridges are the Linne- 
ville Mountains, not quite so lofty as the latter, but steeper, 

286 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

and more difficult to ascend. The road that cuts through 
them is encumbered westward with large, flat stones, 
which impede the traveller on his route. From the sum- 
mit of these mountains, which is not overstocked with 
trees, we discovered an immense extent of mountainous 
country covered with forests, and at their base only three 
small places cleared, which form as many plantations, 
three or four miles distant from each other. 

From the Linneville Mountains to Morganton it is 
computed to be twenty-five miles, where I arrived [257] 
on the 5th of October. In this interval the country is 
slightly mountainous, and the soil extremely bad; at the 
same time we did not find more than four or five planta- 
tions on the road. About a mile on this side the town we 
crossed the northern arm of the river Catabaw, in this part 
nearly fifty fathoms broad, although the source of this river 
is only fifty miles. The rains that had fallen in the moun- 
tains had produced a sudden increase of water, and the 
master of the ferry-boat conceiving it would not last long, 
had not thought proper to re-establish his boat, so that 
I was obliged to ford. One of his children pointed out 
to me the different directions that I had to take in order 
to avoid the immense cavities under water. 

[258] CHAP. XXIX 

General observations upon this part 0} the Chain of the 
Alleghanies. — Salamander which is found in the tor- 
rents. — Bear hunting. 

In Pennsylvania and Virginia the Alleghanies present 
themselves under the form of parallel furrows, but vary- 
ing in their length. They are mostly near together, and 
form narrow vallies; but sometimes the interval that 
separates them is from twenty to thirty miles in length; 

1802] F. A. Mic/iaux's Travels 287 

again these spaces are filled with a multitude of hills of a 
lesser elevation, confusedly scattered, and in no wise 
affecting the direction of the principal chains. On the 
confines of North Carolina and Tennessea the Alle- 
ghanies are, [259] on the contrary, isolated mountains, 
and only contiguous by their base; they embrace also in 
diameter an extemTof country less considerable, and which 
is not computed to be more than seventy miles. The 
furrow that bears more particularly the name of the Alle- 
ghany Ridge in Pennsylvania, and that of Blue Ridge in 
North Carolina, is the only one that, continuing uninter- 
ruptedly, divides the rivers that run into the Atlantic 
Ocean from those that swell the current of the Ohio. 
The height of this chain is still infinitely less than that 
of the neighbouring mountains. It is here that the Alle- 
ghanies, which cross the United States for the space of 
nine hundred miles, have the highest elevation. This 
is the opinion of most of the inhabitants, who, from the 
mountainous part of Pennsylvania and Virginia, have 
emigrated on the confines of North Carolina, and who 
know the respective heights of all these mountains. 
That of the first rank is called Grandfather Mountain, 
the next Iron Mountain, and thus in succession Yellow 
Mountain, Black Mountain, and Table [260] Mountain, 
which are all situate upon the western rivers. On the 
top of Yellow Mountain, the only one that is not stocked 
with trees, all the abovementioned may be seen. 

We may again remark, in support of the preceding 
observation, that from the 10th to the 20th of September 
the cold is so keenly felt upon the mountains that the 
inhabitants are obliged to make a fire, which is not the 
case upon any of those in Virginia, although they are 
situated more northerly by several degrees : and besides I 

288 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

have since seen in my father's notes that he had observed 
trees and shrubs upon the Yellow and Grandfather 
Mountains that he did not meet with again till he reached 
Low Canada. 

As the only ideas given concerning the height of the 
Alleghanies are the result of observations taken in Vir- 
ginia, we see, according to that short exposition, that we 
have but an inaccurate account; this induced me to point 
out the highest mountains where their true elevation might 
be ascertained. They are about three hundred and sixty 
miles from Charleston, in [261] South Carolina, and five 
hundred and fifty from Philadelphia. 

The mineral kingdom is very little diversified in these 
mountains. The mines which have hitherto been found 
are chiefly those of iron. They are worked with success, 
and the iron which they derive from it is of an excellent 

In the mountainous parts of Pennsylvania and Vir- 
ginia the land, frequently dry and flinty, is of an indiffer- 
ent nature. Here, on the contrary, the soil far from being 
flinty, is perpetually moist, and very fertile. We may 
judge of it by the vegetable strength of the trees, among 
which -we observed the red and black oak, the sugar- 
maple, the ash, the yellow-blossomed chesnut, or the 
magnolia acuminata and auriculata, and the common 
chesnut, which grows to a prodigious height. The side 
of these mountains that looks north is sometimes covered 
exclusively with the kalmia latijolia, or calico-tree, from 
twelve to fifteen feet high. They frequently occupy 
spaces of from two to three hundred acres, [262] which 
at a distance affords the aspect of a charming meadow. 
It is well known that this shrub excels every other in point 
of blossom. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 289 

In the great woods the superficies of the soil is covered 
with a species of wild peas, that rises about three feet from 
the earth, and serves as excellent fodder for the cattle. 
They prefer this pasturage to any other, and whenever 
they are driven from it they pine away, or make their 
escape to get to it again. 

These mountains begin to be populated rapidly. The 
salubrity of the air, the excellence of the water, and more 
especially the pasturage of these wild peas for the cattle, 
are so many causes that induce new inhabitants to settle 

Estates of the first class are sold at the rate of two 
dollars, and the taxes are not more than a half-penny 
per acre. Indian corn, wheat, rye, oats, and peach 
trees, are the sole objects of culture. 

In the torrents we found a species of salamander, called 
by the inhabitants the mountain alligator; [263] many of 
which are upwards of two feet in length. 59 It was in Doe 
river that my father caught the one which is described in 
The New Dictionary of Natural History, published by 

The inhabitants of these mountains are famed for 
being excellent hunters. Towards the middle of autumn 
most of them go in pursuit of bears, of which they sell the 
skins, and the flesh, which is very good, serves them in a 
great measure for food during that season. They prefer 
it to all other kinds of meat, and look upon it as the only 
thing they can eat without being indisposed by it. They 
make also of their hind legs the most delicious hams. In 
autumn and winter the bears grow excessively fat; some 
of them weigh upward of four hundred weight. Their 

69 The protonopsis horrida, or a similar variety limited to the Alleghanies — 
protonopsis jusca. The former is generally called the ' ' hellbender.' ' — Ed. 

290 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

grease is consumed in the country instead of oil. They 
hunt them with great dogs, which, without going near 
them, bark, teaze, and oblige them to climb up a tree, 
when the hunter kills them with a carabine. A beautiful 
skin sells for a dollar and a half or two dollars. The 
black bear of North [264] America lives chiefly on roots, 
acorns and chesnuts. In order to procure a greater 
quantity of them, he gets up into the trees, and as his 
weight does not permit him to climb to any height, he 
breaks off the branch where he has observed the most 
fruit by hugging it with one of his fore paws. I have seen 
branches of such a diameter that these animals must be 
endowed with an uncommon strength to have been able 
to break them by setting about it in this manner. In the 
summer, when they are most exposed to want victuals, 
they fall upon pigs, and sometimes even upon men. 

[265] CHAP. XXX 

Morganton. — Departure jor Charleston. — Lincolnton. — 
Chester. — Winesborough. — Columbia. — Aspect of the 
Country on the Road. — Agriculture, &c. &°c. 

Morganton, the principal town of the county of Burke, 
contains about fifty houses built of wood, and almost 
all inhabited by tradesmen. One warehouse only, sup- 
ported by a commercial house at Charleston, is estab- 
lished in this little town, where the inhabitants, for 
twenty miles round, come and purchase mercery and 
jewellery goods from England, or give in exchange a part 
of their produce, which consists chiefly of dried hams, 
butter, tallow, [266] bear and stag skins, and ginseng, 
which they bring from the mountains. 

From Morganton to Charleston it is computed to be 
two hundred and eighty-five miles. There are several 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 291 

roads to it, which do not vary in point of distance above 
twenty miles. Travellers take that where they think of 
finding the best houses for accommodation: I took the 
one that leads through Lincolnton, Chester, and Colum- 
bia. The distance from Morganton to Lincolnton is 
forty-five miles. For the whole of this space the soil is 
extremely bad, and the plantations, straggling five or six 
miles from each other, have but a middling appearance. 
The woods are in a great measure composed of different 
kinds of oaks, and the surface of the ground is covered 
with grass, intermixed with plants. 

Lincolnton, the principal town of the county of Lin- 
coln, is formed by the junction of forty houses, surrounded 
by the woods like all the small towns of the interior. 
Two or three large shops, that do the same kind of busi- 
ness as that at Morganton, are established [267] there. 
The tradesmen who keep them send the produce of their 
country to Charleston, but they find it sometimes answer 
their purpose better to stock themselves with goods from 
Philadelphia, although farther by six hundred miles. 
Some expedite them by sea to Carolina, whence they go 
by land to Lincolnton. The freight, a little higher from 
England to Charleston, and the enormous advance which 
the merchants lay on their goods, appear the only motives 
that make them give the preference to those of Philadel- 

At Lincolnton they print a newspaper in folio, that 
comes out twice a week. The price of subscription is 
two dollars per year; but the printer, who is his own edi- 
tor, takes, by way of payment, for the ease of his country 
subscribers, flour, rye, wax, &c. at the market price. 
The advertisements inserted for the inhabitants of the 
country are generally the surest profit to the printers. 

292 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The foreign news is extracted from the papers that are 
published at the sea ports. The federal government, of 
which the constant aim is [268] to propagate among the 
people instruction, the knowledge of the laws, grants the 
editors of periodical papers, throughout the whole extent 
of the United States, the right to receive, free of postage, 
the newspapers that they wish to exchange among them- 
selves, or those which are addressed to them. 

The county of Lincoln is populated, in a great meas- 
ure, by Germans from Pennsylvania. Their plantations 
are kept in the greatest order, and their lands well culti- 
vated. Almost all have negro slaves, and there reigns 
much more independance among them than in the fami- 
lies of English origin. One may form a correct idea of 
the industry of some of them by the appearance of the 
plantation where I stopped, situated upon a branch of 
the Catabaw River. In eight hundred acres, of which 
it is composed, a hundred and fifty are cultivated in 
cotton, Indian corn, wheat, and oats, and dunged an- 
nually, which is a great degree of perfection in the pres- 
ent state of the agriculture of this part of the country. 
Independant of this, he has built in his yard several [269] 
machines, that the same current of water puts in motion ; 
they consist of a corn mill, a saw mill, another to separate 
the cotton seeds, a tan-house, a tan-mill, a distillery to 
make peach brandy, and a small forge, where the inhabi- 
tants of the country go to have their horses shod. Seven 
or eight negro slaves are employed in the different de- 
partments, some of which are only occupied at certain 
periods of the year. Their wives are employed under 
the direction of the mistress in manufacturing cotton and 
linen for the use of the family. 

The whole of my landlord's taxes, assessed upon his 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 293 

landed property, and these different kinds of industry, 
did not amount annually to more than seven dollars; 
whilst under the presidency of J. Adams they had in- 
creased to fifty; at the same time his memory is not held 
in great veneration in Upper Carolina and the Western 
States, where the political opinion is strongly pronounced 
in the sense of opposition, and where nobody durst confess 
himself publicly attached to the federal party. 

[270] In all the towns that I travelled through every 
tanner has his tan mill, which does not cost him above ten 
dollars to erect. The bark is put into a wooden arch, 
twelve or fourteen feet in diameter, the edges of which 
are about fifteen inches high, and it is crushed under the 
weight of a wheel, about one foot thick, which is turned 
by a horse, and fixed similar to a cyder-press. For this 
purpose they generally make use of an old mill-stone, or 
a wooden wheel, formed by several pieces joined together, 
and furnished in its circumference with three rows of 
teeth, also made of wool, about two inches long and 
twelve or fifteen wide. 

From Lincolnton to Chester court house in the state 
of South Carolina, it is computed to be about seventy 
miles. For the whole of this space the earth is light and 
of an inferior quality to that situated between Morganton 
and Lincolnton, although the mass of the forests is com- 
posed of various species of oaks; in the mean time the 
pines are in such abundance there, that for several miles 
the ground is covered [271] with nothing else. Planta- 
tions are so little increased there, that we scarcely saw 
twenty where they cultivate cotton or Indian wheat. 
We passed by several that had been deserted by the own- 
ers as not sufficiently productive: for the inhabitants of 
Georgia and the two Carolinas, who plant nothing but 

294 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

rice, choose frequently rather to make new clearings than 
to keep their land in a state of producing annually, by 
regular tillage, as they do in Europe, and even in New 
England and Pennsylvania. The considerable extent of 
this country, compared with the trifling population, gives 
rise to these changes which take place after fifteen or 
twenty successive harvests. 

Chester contains about thirty houses, built of wood; 
among the number are two inns and two respectable 
shops. In the principal county towns of the Western and 
Southern States, they have neither fairs nor markets. 
The inhabitants sell the produce of their culture to shop- 
keepers settled in the small towns, or what is more usual 
in the south, they convey them in waggons to the sea 

[272] From Chester the country grows worse in every 
respect. The traveller no longer meets reception at 
plantations; he is obliged to put up at inns, where he is 
badly accommodated both in point of board and lodging, 
and pays dearer than in any other part of the United 
States. The reputation of these inns is esteemed accord- 
ing to the quantity and different kinds of spirits that 
they sell, among which French brandies hold always the 
first rank, although they are often mixed with water for 
the third or fourth time. 

They reckon fifty-five miles from Chester to Columbia; 
twenty-five miles on this side we passed through Wines- 
borough, composed of about a hundred and fifty houses. 
This place is one of the oldest inhabited in Carolina, and 
several planters of the low country go and spend the sum- 
mer and autumn there. Fifteen miles on this side Wines- 
borough the pine barrens begin, and thence to the sea 
side the country is one continued forest composed of pines. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 295 

Columbia, founded within these twenty years, is the 
seat of government for the state of South Carolina. 
[273] It is built about two hundred fathoms from the 
Catabaw River, upon an uniform spot of ground. The 
number of its houses does not exceed two hundred; they 
are almost all built of wood, and painted grey and yellow; 
and although there are very few of them more than two 
stories high, they have a very respectable appearance. 
The legislature, formed by the union of the delegates of 
different counties that send them in a number proportion- 
ate to their population, meet there annually on the first of 
December, and all the business is transacted in the same 
month; it then dissolves, and, except at that time, the 
town derives no particular advantage from being the 
seat of government. 

The inhabitants of the upper country, who do not 
approve of sending their provisions to Charleston, stop 
at Columbia, where they dispose of them at several re- 
spectable shops established in the town. 

The river Catabaw, about twenty fathoms broad, is 
only navigable during the winter; the rest of the year its 
navigation is stopped by large rocks that intercept [274] 
its course. They have been, nevertheless, at work for 
these several years past in forming a canal to facilitate 
the descent of the boats, but the work goes on very slowly 
for the want of hands, although the workmen are paid 
at the rate of a dollar per day. 

Columbia is about a hundred and twenty miles from 
Charleston; for the whole of this space, and particularly 
from Orangeburgh, composed of twenty houses, the 
road crosses an even country, sandy and dry during the 
summer; whilst in the autumn and winter it is so covered 
with water that in several places, for the space of eight 

296 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

or ten miles, the horses are up to their middles. Every 
two or three miles we meet with a miserable log-house 
upon the road, surrounded with little fields of Indian corn, 
the slender stalks of which are very seldom more than 
five or six feet high, and which, from the second harvest, 
do not yield more than four or five bushels per acre. 
In the mean time, notwithstanding their sterility, this land 
is sold at the rate of two dollars per acre. 

The extreme unwholesomeness of the climate is [275] 
clearly demonstrated by the pale and livid countenances 
of the inhabitants, who, during the months of September 
and October, are almost all affected with tertian fevers, 
insomuch that at this period of the year Georgia and the 
Lower Carolinas resemble, in some measure, an extensive 
hospital. Very few persons take any remedy, but wait 
the approach of the first frosts, which, provided they live 
so long, generally effect a cure. The negroes are much 
less subject to intermittent fevers than the whites; and it 
is seldom that in the great rice plantations there is more 
than one fifth of them disabled on this account. 

[276] CHAP. XXXI 

General observations on the Carolinas and Georgia. — 
Agriculture and produce peculiar to the upper part of 
these states. 

The two Carolinas and Georgia are naturally divided 
into the upper and lower country, but the upper em- 
braces a greater extent. Just at the point where the 
maritime part is terminated the soil rises gradually till 
it reaches the Alleghany Mountains, and presents, upon 
the whole, a ground rather irregular than mountainous, 
and interspersed with little hills as far as the mountains. 
The Alleghanies give birth to a great number of creeks or 

1802] F. A. Michaux s Travels 297 

small rivers, the junction of which forms the rivers Pidea, 
Santea, [277] Savannah, and Alatamaha, which are 
hardly navigable above two hundred miles from their 
embouchure. In the upper country the most fertile lands 
are situated upon the borders of these creeks. Those 
that occupy the intermediate spaces are much less so. 
The latter are not much cultivated; and even those who 
occupy them are obliged to be perpetually clearing them, 
in order to obtain more abundant harvests; in consequence 
of which a great number of the inhabitants emigrate into 
the western country, where they are attracted by the ex- 
treme fertility of the soil and low price of land ; since that 
of the first class may be purchased for the same money 
as that of the second in Upper Carolina; and, as we have 
already said, the latter is scarcely to be compared to 
that which in Kentucky and Cumberland is ranked in 
the third. 

In the upper country the mass of the forests is chiefly 
composed of oaks, nut trees, maples, and poplars. Ches- 
nut trees do not begin to appear in these states for sixty 
miles on this side the mountains. [278] It is only in the 
remote parts that the inhabitants manufacture maple 
sugar for their use. 

Through the whole of the country the nature of the 
soil is adapted for the growth of wheat, rye, and Indian 
corn. Good land produces upward of twenty bushels of 
Indian wheat per acre, which is commonly worth about 
half a dollar per bushel. A general consumption is made 
of it for the support of the inhabitants since, except those 
who are of German origin, there are very few, as we have 
before remarked, that make use of wheaten bread. The 
growth of corn is very circumscribed, and the small 
quantity of flour that is exported to Charleston and 

298 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Savannah is sold fifteen per cent, cheaper than that im- 
ported from Philadelphia. 

The low price to which tobacco is fallen in Europe, 
within these few years, has made them give up the cul- 
ture of it in this part of the country. That of green-seed 
cotton has resumed its place, to the great advantage of the 
inhabitants, many of whom have since made their fortunes 
by it. The separation [279] of the seed from the felt 
that envelopes them is a tedious operation, and which 
requires many hands, is now simplified by a machine for 
which the inventor has obtained a patent from the federal 
government. The legislature of South Carolina paid 
him, three years since, the sum of a hundred thousand 
dollars, for all the inhabitants belonging to the state to have 
the privilege of erecting one. This machine, very sim- 
ple, and the price of which does not exceed sixty dollars, 
is put in motion by a horse or by a current of water, and 
separates from the seed three or four hundred pounds of 
cotton per day; while by the usual method, a man is not 
able to separate above thirty pounds. This machine, it is 
true, has the inconvenience of shortening by haggling it; 
the wool, on that account, is rather inferior in point of 
quality, but this inconvenience is, they say, well compen- 
sated by the saving of time, and more particularly work- 
manship. 60 

It is very probable that the various species of fruit trees 
that we have in France would succeed very well [280] 
in Upper Carolina. About two hundred miles from the 
sea-coast the apple trees are magnificent, and in the county 
of Lincoln several Germans make cyder. But here, as 
well a s in Tennessea, and the greatest part of Kentucky, 

60 For the invention of the cotton-gin, and its effect on the growth of cotton 
culture, see Hammond, "Cotton Industry," in American Economic Associa- 
tion Publications, i (new series). — Ed. 

1802] F. A. Michaux 's Travels 299 

they cultivate no other but the peach. The other kinds 
of trees, such as pears, apricots, plumbs, cherries, almonds, 
mulberries, nuts, and gooseberries, are very little known, 
except by name. Many of the inhabitants who are 
independent would be happy to procure some of them, 
but the distance from the sea-ports renders it very dim- 
cult. The major part of the inhabitants do not even 
cultivate vegetables; and out of twenty there is scarcely 
one of them that plants a small bed of cabbages; and 
when they do, it is in the same field as the Indian wheat. 

In Upper Carolina the surface of the soil is covered 
with a kind of grass, which grows in greater abundance 
as the forests are more open. The woods are also like a 
common, where the inhabitants turn out their cattle, 
which they know again by their [281] private mark. 
Several persons have in their flocks a variety of poll oxen, 
which are not more esteemed than those of the common 
species. In the whole course of my travels I never saw 
any that could be compared to those I have seen in 
England, which beyond doubt proceeds from the little 
care that the inhabitants take of them, and from what 
these animals suffer during the summer, when they are 
cruelly tormented by an innumerable multitude of ticks 
and muskitos, and in the winter, through the want of 
grass, which dries up through the effect of the first frosts. 
These inconveniences are still more sensible, during the 
summer, in the low country, through the extreme heat 
of the climate. The result is, that the cows give but little 
milk, and are dry at the end of three or four months. 
In the environs of Philadelphia and New York, where 
they bestow the same care upon them as in England, they 
are, on the contrary, as fine, and give as great a quantity 
of milk. 

300 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The horses that they rear in this part of the [282] 
southern states are inferior to those of the western. The 
inhabitants keep but very few sheep, and those who have 
a dozen are accounted to have a great number. 

The commercial intercourse of the Upper Carolines 
and Georgia is carried on, in a great measure, with 
Charleston, which is not much farther than Wilmington 
and Savannah. The inhabitants go there in preference, 
because the commerce is more active, and the sales more 
easy. The articles they carry there consists chiefly in 
short cotton, tobacco, hams, salt butter, wax, stag, and 
bear skins, and cattle. They take, in return, coarse iron 
ware, tea, coffee, powder sugar, coarse cloths, and fine 
linen, but no bar iron, the upper country abounding in 
mines of that metal, and those which are worked sufficing 
the wants of the inhabitants. They also bring salt from 
the sea-ports, since there are no salt pits in any part of 
the Atlantic states. The carriage of these goods is made 
in large waggons with four wheels, drawn by four or six 
horses, that travel [283] about twenty-four miles a day, 
and encamp every evening in the woods. The price of 
conveyance is about three shillings and four-pence per 
hundred weight for every hundred miles. 

Although the climate of the Upper Carolinas is infin- 
itely more wholesome than that of the lower parts, it is 
not, in the mean time, at two hundred miles, and even 
two hundred and fifty, from the ocean, that a person is 
safe from the yellow fever. 

Eight-tenths of the inhabitants of this part of the coun- 
try are in the same situation as those of Tennessea and 
Kentucky. They reside, like the latter, in log-houses 
isolated in the woods, which are left open in the night as 
well as the day. They live in the same manner with re- 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 301 

gard to their domestic affairs, and follow the same plans 
of agriculture. Notwithstanding there are many of them 
whose moral characters, perhaps, are not so unspotted 
as those of the western inhabitants, it is probably altered 
by associating with the Scotch and Irish who come every 
year in great numbers to settle in the country, and [284] 
who teach them a part of their vices and defects, the usual 
attendants on a great population. The major part of 
these new adventurers go into the upper country, where 
they engage to serve, for a year or two, those persons who 
have paid the captain of the ship for their passage. 

[285] CHAP. XXXII 

Low -part of the Carolines and Georgia. — Agriculture. — 
Population. — Arrival at Charleston 

The low country of the two Carolinas extends from 
the borders of the sea for a hundred and twenty or a hun- 
dred and fifty miles, widening as it gets towards the south. 
The space that this extent embraces presents an even 
and regular soil, formed by a blackish sand, rather deep 
in parts, in which there are neither stones nor flints; in 
consequence of which they seldom shoe their horses in 
that part of the United States. Seven-tenths of the 
country are [286] covered with pines of one species, or 
pinus palustris, which, as the soil is drier and lighter, grow 
loftier and not so branchy. These trees, frequently twenty 
feet distant from each other, are not damaged by the fire 
that they make here annually in the woods, at the com- 
mencement of spring, to burn the grass and other plants 
that the frost has killed. These pines, encumbered with 
very few branches, and which split even, are preferred to 
other trees to form fences for plantations. Notwith- 
standing the sterility of the land where they grow, they 

302 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

are sometimes interspersed with three kinds of oaks; viz. 
the quercus nigra, the quercus catasbcei, and the quercus 
obtusiloba. The wood of the two first is only fit to burn, 
whilst that of the other is of an excellent use, as I have 
before remarked. 

The Pine Barrens are crossed by little swamps, in the 
midst of which generally flows a rivulet. These swamps, 
from ten to forty fathoms broad, are sometimes more than 
a mile in length, and border on others, more spacious and 
marshy, near the rivers. [287] Each have different de- 
grees of fertility, clearly indicated by the trees that grow 
there exclusively, and which are not to be found in the 
upper country. Thus the chesnut oak, or quercus 
prinus palustris, the magnolia grandiflora, the magnolia 
tripetala, the nyssa biflora, &c. flourish only in swamps 
where the soil is of a good quality, and continually cool, 
moist, and shady. In some parts of these same swamps, 
that are half the year submerged, where the earth is 
black, muddy, and reposes upon a clayey bottom, the 
acacia-leaved cypress, the gleditsia monosperme, the 
lyric oak, and the bunchy nut-tree, the nuts of which are 
small, and break easily between the fingers. The aquatic 
oak, the red maple, the magnolia glauca, the liquidambar 
stiracyflua, the nyssa villosa, the Gordonia lasyanthus, 
and the laurus Caroliniensis, cover, on the contrary, ex- 
clusively the narrow swamps of the Pine Barrens. 

The Spanish beard, tillandsia asneoides, a kind of moss 
of a greyish colour, which is several feet in length, and 
which grows in abundance upon the [288] oaks and other 
trees, is again a plant peculiar to the low country. 

In those districts where there are no pines, the soil is 
not so dry, deeper, and more productive. We found 
there white oaks, or quercus alba, aquatic oaks, or quercus 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 303 

aquatica, chesnut oaks, or quercus prinus palustris, and 
several species of nut-trees. The whole of these trees 
are here an index of the greatest fertility, which does not 
take place in the western country, as I have before ob- 

The best rice plantations are established in the great 
swamps, that favour the watering of them when con- 
venient. The harvests are abundant there, and the rice 
that proceeds from them, stripped of its husk, is larger, 
more transparent, and is sold dearer than that which is 
in a drier soil, where they have not the means or facility 
of irrigation. The culture of rice in the southern and 
maritime part of the United States has greatly diminished 
within these few years; it has been in a great measure 
replaced by that of cotton, which affords greater profit to 
the planters, [289] since they compute a good cotton har- 
vest equivalent to two of rice. The result is, that many 
rice fields have been transformed into those of cotton, 
avoiding as much as possible the water penetrating. 

The soil most adapted for the culture of cotton is in 
the isles situate upon the coast. Those which belong to 
the state of Georgia produce the best of cotton, which is 
known in the French trade by the name of Georgia cot- 
ton, fine wool, and in England by that of Sea Island cot- 
ton. The seed of this kind of cotton is of a deep black, 
and the wool fine and very long. In February 1803 it 
was sold at Charleston at is. 8d. per pound, whilst that 
which grows in the upper country is not worth above 
seventeen or eighteen pence. The first is exported to 
England, and the other goes to France; but what is very 
remarkable is, that whenever by any circumstance they 
import these two qualities into our ports, they only admit 
of a difference of from twelve to fifteen per cent. The 

304 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

cotton planters have particularly to dread the frosts 
that set in very early, and that frequently [290] do great 
damage to the crops by freezing one half of the stalks, so 
that the cotton has not an opportunity to ripen. 

In all the plantations they cultivate Indian corn. The 
best land brings from fifteen to twenty bushels. They 
plant it, as well as the cotton, about two feet and a half 
distance, in parallel furrows from fifteen to eighteen 
inches high. The seed of this kind of Indian corn is 
round, and very white. When boiled it is preferable to 
that cultivated in the middle and western states, and in 
Upper Carolina. The chief part of what they grow is 
destined to support the negroes nine months in the year; 
their allowance is about two pounds per day, which they 
boil in water after having pounded it a little; the other 
three months they are fed upon yams. They never give 
them meat. In the other parts of the United States they 
are better treated, and live nearly upon the same as their 
masters, without having any set allowance. Indian corn 
is sold at Charleston for ten shillings per bushel, about 
fifty-five pounds weight. 

[291] Thus rice, long cotton, yams, and Indian wheat, 
are the only cultures in the maritime part of the southern 
states; the temperature of the climate, and the nature of 
the soil, which is too light or too moist, being in no wise 
favourable for that of wheat or any kind of grain. 

Through the whole of the low country the agricultural 
labours are performed by negro slaves, and the major 
part of the planters employ them to drag the plough ; they 
conceive the land is better cultivated, and calculate be- 
sides that in the course of a year a horse, for food and 
looking after, costs ten times more than a negro, the 
annual expense of which does not exceed fifteen dollars. 

1802] F. A. Michaux's Travels 305 

I shall abstain from any reflexion concerning this, as 
the opinion of many people is fixed. 

The climate of Lower Carolina and Georgia is too warm 
in summer to be favourable to European fruit-trees, and 
too cold in winter to suit those of the Carribbees. The 
fig is the only tree that succeeds tolerably well; again, the 
figs turn sour a few days after [292] they have acquired 
the last degree of maturity, which must doubtless be 
attributed to the constant dampness of the atmosphere. 

In the environs of Charleston, and in the isles that 
border the coast, the orange-trees stand the winter in the 
open fields, and are seldom damaged by the frosts; but at 
ten miles distance, in the interior, they freeze every year 
even with the ground, although those parts of the country 
are situate under a more southerly latitude than Malta 
and Tunis. The oranges that they gather in Carolina 
are not good to eat. Those consumed there come from 
the island of St. Anastasia, situate opposite St. Augustin, 
the capital of East Florida ; they are sweet, very large, fine 
skinned, and more esteemed than those brought from 
the Carribbees. About fifty years ago the seeds were 
brought from India, and given to an inhabitant of this 
island, who has so increased them that he has got an 
orchard of forty acres. I had an opportunity of seeing 
this beautiful plantation when I was at Florida in 1 788. 

[293] In the general verification of the United States, 
published in 1800, the population of North Carolina, 
comprising negro slaves, amounted to four hundred and 
seventy-eight thousand inhabitants, that of Georgia to 
one hundred and sixty-three thousand, and that of South 
Carolina to three hundred and forty-six thousand. Not 
having been able to see the private extracts of the two 
former states, I am unacquainted with the proportion 

306 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

that there is between the whites and blacks, and the 
difference that exists between the population of the low 
and high countries; however an idea may be formed by 
the verification of South Carolina, where they reckon in 
the low country, comprising the town of Charleston, 
thirty-six thousand whites and a hundred thousand 
negroes, and in the high country one hundred and sixty- 
three thousand whites and forty- six thousand negroes. 

I arrived^at Charleston on the 18th of October 1802, 
three months and a half after my departure from Phila- 
delphia, having travelled over a space of [294] nearly 
eighteen hundred miles. I staid at Carolina till the 1st 
of March 1803, the epoch when I embarked for France 
on board the same ship that had taken me to America 
eighteen months before, and arrived at Bourdeaux on the 
26th of March 1803. 


Journal of a Tour . . . Northwest of the Alle- 
ghany Mountains, by Thaddeus Mason Harris, 
A. M. 

Reprint from Boston edition, 1805; the Journal proper, omitting 

the Appendix thereto 




Territory Northwejl of the Alleghany 
Mountains ; 

Made in the Spring of the Year 1803. 




&tatt Of 4Di)io* 

Itfuftrated with Original Maps and Views, 



Member of the Maflachufetts Hiftorical Society. 

" Profuit ct varios mores, hominumque locorumque 

Explorafle fitus, multas cum peregrinavit 

Aut vidifle ipfum uxbes, aut narrantibus illas 

Ex aliis noviffe." Vi D jb., poet. 

Bofton : 



Dijtrict of Majjachujetts, to wit. 

BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the firft day of February, in the 
twenty-ninth year of the Independence of the United States of Ameri- 
ca, Thaddeus Mason Harris, of the faid Diftrict, hath depofited 
in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author, 
in the words following, to wit: — ' ' The Journal of a Tour into the Ter- 
ritory Northwef t of the Alleghany Mountains ; made in the Spring of 
the year 1803. With a geographical and historical Account of the 
State of Ohio. By Thaddeus Mason Harris, A.M. Member of 
the Maffachufetts Hiftorical Society. — Illuftrated with 1. An original 
Map of the Alleghany, Monongahela, and Yohiogany Rivers. 2. A 
Map of the State of Ohio, by the Hon. Rufus Putnam, Efq. Surveyor 
General of the United States, made from actual Surveys. 3. A Map 
of the Tract appropriated by Congrefs for Military Services; on 
which the Sections are laid down and marked by Numbers, &c. 4. 
A Ground Plat of the City Marietta. 5. A View of the Ancient 
Mounds and Fortifications on the Mufkingum.' ' 

In Conformity to the Act of the Congrefs of the United States, enti- 
tled, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by fecuring the 
Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors 
of fuch Copies, during the Times therein mentioned;" and alfo to an 
Act, entitled, ' ' An Act fupplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for 
the Encouragement of Learning, by fecuring the Copies of Maps, 
Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of fuch Copies, 
during the Times therein mentioned; and extending the Benefits 
thereof to the Arts of Defigning, Engraving, and Etching, Hiftorical 
and other Prints.' ' 

N. GOO DALE, Clerk 0} the Dijtrict of Majjachujetts. 

A true Copy of Record. Atteft: 

N. Goodale, Clerk. 




Permit me, dear Sir, to infcribe to you the following 
pages, in grateful acknowledgment of the hofpitality and 
kindnefs you fhowed me while at Marietta, and of the 
readinefs with which you anfwered my inquiries refpect- 
ing the State of Ohio. 

I am fenfible that the geographical fketches I have 
given of that Territory will appear very imperfect to you, 
who have fo intimate an acquaintance with every part 
of it; but to others they may convey information more 
particular and correct than has been hitherto publifhed. 

As the founder and father of the State, you will feel 
interefted in the details I have given; and, I hope, will 
not be wholly difappointed [iv] with my attempt to de- 
fcribe a part of our country fo rapidly increafing in popu- 
lation and importance. 

Relying on your candor, and encouraged by the very 
nattering manner in which you have feconded my pro- 

1 General Rufus Putnam (born in Massachusetts, 1738) served in the French 
and Indian War, and later with distinction in the Revolution. He is best known 
to history as the superintendent of the Ohio Company and the founder of the 
soldier-colony at Marietta. Self-educated, and rising to prominence by force 
of will and character, his accomplishments in engineering and surveying, and 
his services to Western development, were valuable. Washington appointed 
him surveyor-general for the United States (1793), which position he held for 
ten years, when removed as a Federalist by Jefferson. His interests during all 
the later years of his life were bound up with those of Ohio and the Marietta 
settlement. At his death (1824) he was (with the exception of Lafayette) 
the last surviving general officer of the Revolutionary army. — Ed. 

3 1 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

pofals for this publication, I am led to flatter myfelf that, 
while you condefcend to take the work under your patro- 
nage, you will confider it as the offering of one whofe ad- 
arefs on this occafion proceeds from the pure motive of 
veneration for a character fo worthily diftinguifhed, and 
from the honeft ambition of being known as your friend. 



Having long laboured under wafting ficknefs, which 
obliged me for a time to relinquifh the duties of my minis- 
try; my mind, naturally feeble and timid, funk under its 
depreffions and yielded to defpondency. To divert its 
attention, by directing its regards to objects remote from 
its corroding cares, and to benefit my bodily health by 
means of exercife and change of climate, my phyficians 
urged my taking a journey. 

A much efteemed neighbour, Mr. Seth Adams, was 
about making an excurfion into the Territory North- 
west of the Ohio, and propofed my accompanying him 
thither. My brother in law, Mr. John Drx, kindly 
offered to be my attendant, and affifted me in fummoning 
refolution for the undertaking. 

On the 29 th of March, 1803, we fet out on the tour. 
We took the poft road from Bofton, through New- York 
and Philadelphia, to Lancafter; and thence, through 
Carlifle and Shippenfburgh, to Strafburgh at the foot of 
the [vi] Alleghany Mountains. Here commence the ex- 
tracts from my journal. 

For the gratification of my family and a few friends, I 
kept a record of the occurrences each day afforded, and 
fome particulars of the feveral towns through which we 
paffed. I was advifed, on my return, to communicate 
the Geographical articles to the public; and I have con- 
fented, from a willingnefs to contribute my mite, however 
infignificant, to the common ftock of the topographical 
knowledge of our country. 

3 1 4 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

I am aware that many of the remarks and obfervations 
may appear defultory or trivial: but fome indulgence is 
due to them from the circumftances under which they 
were made. They were firft fketched down, as oppor- 
tunity prefented, in a pocket-book with a lead pencil; 
and at evening tranfcribed into my diary. They confift 
of fuch reflections as were made upon the places and the 
profpects immediately under my eye, and of fuch infor- 
mation as could be collected from intelligent individuals 
with whom I had the opportunity of converfing. The 
whole is the fruit of thofe moments of leifure, (refcued 
from a fatiguing journey) which the languor and pain of a 
miferable ftate of health would permit me to employ. 

I hope the freedom with which I have expatiated on 
the defcription of foreft and mountain [vii] fcenery will 
not be unpleafing to thofe who have never had the privi- 
lege of beholding the grand and prominent features of 
nature, or of penetrating its fequeftered glooms. For 
myfelf, I have always been an admirer of the fublime and 
beautiful in creation; and the immediate effect upon my 
feelings, produced by umbrageous forefts, and by con- 
templating extended profpects from lofty mountains, was 
of fo pleafurable and exalted a kind, that I wifhed to 
retain the impreffion to myfelf, and, as well as I could, 
communicate it to others, by a defcription taken on the 

' ' A state of convalefcence (fays a fine writer 2 ) appears 
to me to be that of all others, which is moft open to, and 
which indulges moft in, the melancholy and awful im- 
preffions: and the tranfitions from the fublime to the 
pleafing, and from the founds of difcordance to thofe of 
melody, have their alternate and fympathetic effects, and 

2 Beckford. Hiftory of Jamaica, vol. i. p. 191. — Harris. 

1803] Harris's Journal 3 1 5 

have confequently their attractions. Every object de- 
lights the eye, and every murmur of the grove is in unifon 
with the foul. The con valef cent has his hopes, his 
wifhes, and his fears; but the remembrance of ficknefs 
melts them down to resigned patience, and humble expec- 

[viii] An apology is neceffary for the delay of the publi- 
cation. This has been partly occafioned by waiting for 
the return of the fubfcription papers, and partly by the 
length of time neceffary to complete the engravings and 
the impreffion. 

To the candor of the Public, 

I fubmit my work ; 

to the 

providence and favour of Almighty God, 

I commend my beloved Family; 

and to the hopes, 

not of the pref ent, 


of the future life, 

I refign myfelf . 

Dorchester > 
Jan. 1805. ) 


Journey over the Alleghany Mountains into the 

State of Ohio 

"Sylvae umbrofae, montes excelfi, fertilefque valles, varias praebent 
amoenitates ad Viatorem delectandum" 


Thursday, April 7, 1803 

Having ridden this morning from Shippenfburgh, a 
diftance of eleven miles, we (topped at Strasburg to 
breakfaft. 3 

As we approached the Alleghany Mountains, their form 
and magnificence became more and more diftinct. We 
had, for feveral days paft, feen their blue tops towering 
into the fky, alternately hidden and difplayed by rolling 
and fhifting clouds. Now, we afcertained that fome of 
them were quite covered with trees; but that the rocky 
and bleak tops of others were naked, or fcantily fringed 
with low favins. 

These ftupendous mountains feemed to ftretch before 
us an impaf fable barrier; but, at times, we could fee the 
narrow winding [12] road by which we were to afcend, 
though it apprized us of the fatigue and difficulty to be 
encountered in the undertaking. Our apprehenfions, 
however, were fomewhat abated by information that, the 
way, though more fteep, was not fo rough, nor much more 
difficult than the Connewago Hills we had already paffed. 

Strasburg is a pleafant poft-town in Franklin County, 
Pennfylvania. It is fituated at the foot of the Blue 

3 Harris travelled westward by the Pennsylvania State Road, the great 
thoroughfare to the Western country. It was completed about 1785, and passed 
west from Carlisle through Shippensburg, Strasburg, and Bedford. Beyond 
Bedford the road forked, and Harris took the lower, or Glade Road. Michaux 
had gone out the preceding year by the northern branch, also reaching Carlisle 
by a different route. For a more detailed description than Michaux gives, see 
Cuming, Sketcfies of a Tour of the Western Country (Pittsburg, 1810), which 
will be republished as vol. iv of the present series. — Ed. 

320 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Mountain, the firft of the great range of the Alleghanies. 
It contains about eighty houfes, principally built of hewn 
logs, with the interftices between them filled with flat 
ftones and mortar. They ftand on a main ftreet, which 
runs from north to fouth. On the eafterly fide of the 
ftreet, a little back of the houfes, is a fine fpring of excel- 
lent water, iffuing from feveral fountains, over which are 
fmall buildings erected for the purpofe of preferving milk, 
butter, and provifions, during the heats of fummer. So 
copious is the iffue of water, that it foon forms a confider- 
able and never failing brook, which, within the diftance 
of half a mile, carries a mill. This ftream is the wefterly 
branch of Conedogwinnet Creek, which [13] falls into 
the Sufquehannah oppofite to Harrifburgh. 

The inhabitants of this village are fubject to fevere 
rheumatic complaints, in confequence of the fudden 
changes of the weather in this vicinity to the mountain. 

Near this place is shewn a large fiffure in the fide of the 
mountain, occafioned by the burfting of a water-fpout. 
The excavation is deep. Trees, and even rocks, were 
diflodged in its course. 

The firft mountain, which is three miles over, was not 
fo difficult to pafs as we had apprehended. It is fteep, 
but there are fome convenient refting places; and the 
wefterly fide is rendered eafy of defcent by very judicious 
improvements in the condition and turnings of the road. 
The furface is very rocky; and the trees towards the top 
are fmall, and but thinly fcattered. The ftone which 
moftly prevails on its furface is granite, more or lefs per- 
fect. At the foot is a beautiful and fertile valley, about 
half a mile wide, and fifteen miles long; irrigated by fine 
fprings, whofe ftreams uniting form the pretty brook that 
meanders through the fields and meadows of this en- 
chanting place. 

1803] Harris 's J 'ournal 321 

[14] We f topped here awhile, to let our horfes reft, and 
to bafk in the pleafant funfhine. Having been chilled 
with the air on the fummit of the mountain, we were 
pleafed with inhaling the warm breeze of the valley. 

The contraft, between the verdant meads and fertile 
arable ground of this fecluded fpot, and the rugged 
mountains and frowning precipices by which it is envi- 
roned, gives the profpect we have contemplated a mixture 
of romantic wildnefs and cultivated beauty which is 
really delightful. 

Hence we croffed the jecond mountain, four miles over, 
and f topped to dine at Fannetsburg, a little village on a 
graceful eminence fwelling from the bofom of the vale. 
The houfes are all built of wood, moftly of hewn logs, 
except our Inn, which is a handfome edifice of lime-ftone. 

In the afternoon we croffed the third ridge, which is 
three miles and an half over; in fome places fteep and 
difficult of afcent; and, paffing part of the valley below, 
reached a place called Burnt Cabins to lodge. The 
fettlement in this place is named from the deftruction of 
the firft buildings erected here, at the time of the defeat 
of Col. [15] Wafhington, at the Little Meadows in 1753. 4 

4 Harris is mistaken in his derivation of the term "Burnt Cabins." Little 
Meadows is nearly a hundred miles west of this place. Burnt Cabins took its 
name from the dispossession of the settlers by the Pennsylvania authorities in 
1750. About ten years previous, groups of Scotch-Irish had begun to push 
over the Susquehanna into the attractive basin of the Juniata, which was still 
unpurchased Indian territory. The aborigines were so incensed that a depu- 
tation went to Philadelphia to protest, and an Indian war appeared imminent. 
The government sent out a commission headed by Secretary Peters, and in- 
cluding George Croghan and Conrad Weiser as members, to drive off the in- 
truders and burn their cabins. The official report is found in Pennsylvania 
Colonial Records, v, pp. 440-449. The settlers themselves aided in the work, 
and Peters remarked, "It may be proper to add, that the Cabbins or Log 
Houses which were burnt were of no considerable Value, being such as the 
Country People erect in a Day or two, and cost only the Charge of an Entertain- 
ment [i.e., a log-rolling]." An Indian war was thus averted. The locality 
has retained its name of Burnt Cabins to the present day. — Ed. 

322 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The temporary buildings of the firft fettlers in the wilds 
are called Cabins. They are built with unhewn logs, the 
interftices between which are ftopped with rails, calked 
with mofs or ftraw, and daubed with mud. The roof is 
covered with a fort of thin ftaves fplit out of oak or afh, 
about four feet long and five inches wide, faftened on by 
heavy poles being laid upon them. ' ' If the logs be hewed ; 
if the interftices be ftopped with f tone, and neatly plaf tered ; 
and the roof compofed of fhingles nicely laid on, it is called 
a log-honje.'' ' A log-houfe has glafs windows and a chim- 
ney; a cabin has commonly no window at all, and only 
a hole at the top for the fmoke to efcape. After faw-mills 
are erected, and boards can be procured, the fettlers pro- 
vide themfelves more decent houfes, with neat floors and 

Friday, April 8 

A ride of thirteen miles this morning brought us to the 
foot of another mountain, called Sideling Hills, eight 
miles over. This is not like the others, a diftinct ridge, 
but a fucceffion of ridges, with long [16] afcent and defcent 
on the main fides, and intermediate rifings and fhort 
vallies between. 

It was a fine clear morning when we began to afcend. 
As we advanced, the profpect widened and became very 
interefting. The deep and gloomy valley below was a 
vaft wildernefs, fkirted by mountains of every hue and 
form; fome craggy and bare, and others wooded to the 
top: but even this extenfive wild pleafed me, and gave 
fcope to boundlefs reflection. 

Quitting the elevated region to which we had reached, 
we defcended about half a mile, and then rofe another and 
more lofty gradation. Hence the view was f till more 
diverfified and magnificent, crowded with mountains upon 

1803] Harris's "Journal 323 

mountains in every direction; between and beyond which 
were feen the blue tops of others more diftant, mellowed 
down to the fofteft fhades, till all was loft in unifon with 
the clouds. 

As we defcended, we beheld the mifts rifing from the 
deep vallies, and the clouds thickening around. It was 
cold and bluftering, and we expected an immediate tem- 
peft and rain: but, as we mounted the third ridge, the 
clouds broke away over [17] our heads; and, as they dif- 
perf ed, the fun would f hine between and give a gliding radi- 
ance to the opening fcene. We foon got beyond the 
clouded region, and faw the mifty volumes floating down 
to the vallies and encircling the lower hills; fo that, 
before we reached the fummit, we had the pleafure of 
looking abroad in an unclouded fky. 

"Here could we furvey 

The gathered tempefts rolling far beneath, 
And ftand above the ltorm.' ' 

The whole horizon was fringed with piles of diftant 
mountains. The intermediate vallies were filled with 
clouds, or obf cured with thick mifts and fhade: but the 
lofty fummits, gilded with the blaze of day, lighted up 
under an azure heaven, gave a furprifing grandeur and 
brilliancy to the whole fcene. 

The defcent is in many places precipitous and rocky. 
At the bottom we croffed the Juniata in a ferry-boat. 
Climbing the fteep banks of the river, our rout was along 
a range of hills exhibiting a fuccesfion of interefting land- 
fcape. In many parts we were immerfed in woods; then 
again we came into open ground, and faw the winding [18] 
river juft below us, and the fides and tops of the moun- 
tains foaring above. Sometimes we rode, for a confider- 
able diftance, on the banks of the river; then we quitted 
it to mount a hill, and here again, 

324 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

' ' The bordering lawn, the gaily flowered vale, 
The river's cryftal, and the meadow's green, 
Grateful diverfity, allure the eye." 

Such tranfitions yield fome of the fweeteft recreations 
which the varied profpect of nature can afford. 

An accident in breaking our carriage, delayed us fo 
long, that it was evening before we arrived at our Inn. 
We rode thirty miles this day. 

Saturday, April 9 

While our carriage is repairing we reft at Capt. 
Graham's, who refides in a delightful valley, belonging to 
Providence townfhip, in Briftol County. 5 His neat and 
commodious dwelling is principally built with lime-ftone, 
laid in mortar. The rooms and chambers are fnug, and 
handfomely furnifhed; and the accommodations and en- 
tertainment he provides are the beft to be met with be- 
tween Philadelphia and Pittfburgh. 

[19] A fine lawn fpreads before the houfe, bordered on 
one part by a meandering ( brook, and on the other by the 
Juniata river, from the margin of which rife the fteep 
fides of Mount Dallas. The trees of other times add 
hoary greatnefs to its brow, and the clouds which reft in 
mifty fhades upon its head give it a frowning and gloomy 

The Juniata rifes from two principal fprings on the 
Alleghany mountains; one of which is very near the top, 
and pours a copious ftream. It receives, alfo, fupplies 
from many fmall rills in its courfe, and working out a bed 
between the mountains, paffes through a gap in the Blue 
ridge, and empties into the Sufquehannah, fifteen miles 
above Harrifburg. 

6 This is a misprint for Bedford County, in which East and West Providence 
townships are situated. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's "Journal 325 

Back of us the woods with which one of the mountains 
was clothed was on fire. During the darknefs of the 
night, the awfulnefs and sublimity of this fpectacle were 
beyond defcription ; terror mingled with it, for, as we were 
at no great diftance, we feared that the fhifting of the wind 
would drive the flames upon us. 

[20] Monday, April 11 

We refume our journey; crofs the two branches of the 
Juniata, and arrive at Bedford, the chief town of Bed- 
ford County in Pennfylvania, to breakfaft. It is regu- 
larly laid out, and there are feveral houfes on the main 
ftreet built with bricks; even the others, which are of 
hewn logs, have a diftinguifhing neatnefs in their appear- 
ance. The Court Houfe, Market Houfe, and Record 
Office, are brick; the Gaol is built of ftone. The inhabi- 
tants are fupplied with water brought in pipes to a large 
refervoir in the middle of the town. On the northerly 
fkirt of the town flows Rayfton creek, a confiderable 
branch of the Juniata. 

Bedford was made an incorporate town in 1795. 
The officers of police are two Burgeffes, a Conftable, a 
Town Clerk, and three Affiftants. Their power is limited 
to preferve the peace and order of the place. 

Upon quitting the plain, we left a fertile foil clothed 
with verdure, and a warm and pleafing climate; but, as 
we afcended the mountain, the foil appeared more bar- 
ren, and the weather became colder. Yet here and there 
we met with a little verdant fpot [21] around a fpring, or 
at the bottom of a fmall indenture in the fides of the 
mountain. Climbing hence, the profpect widened. Deep 
vallies, embowered with woods, abrupt precipices, and 
cloud-capt hills, on all fides met the view. 

326 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

In thefe mountainous fcenes nature exhibits her bold- 
eft features. Every object is extended upon a vaf t fcale ; 
and the whole affemblage impreffes the fpectator with 
awe as well as admiration. 

After many a wearifome afcent, we arrived at Sey- 
bour's, on the top of the Alleghany; and, having ridden 
thirty-one miles, were fufhciently tired to accept even of 
the miferable accommodations this Inn afforded for the 

Tuesday, April 12 

On leaving our lodging on "the higheft of hills," we 
had to defcend through fix miles of rugged paths, over 
precipices, and among rocks, and then along a miry val- 
ley, with formidable afcents in view. 

The Alleghany, which we had now croffed, is about 
fifteen miles over. 

We defcried at a diftance the towering ridges of moun- 
tains, beyond many an intermediate height; fome en- 
circled with [22] wreaths of clouds, and others pointed 
with fire kindled by the hunters, or involved in curling 
volumes of fmoke. 

We were the principal part of the day paffing the val- 
ley, and mounting Laurel Hill, which is about three 
miles in direct afcent, and lodged at Behmer's near the 
top, after a journey of twenty-four miles. 

As the woods were on fire all around us, and the smoke 
filled the air, we feemed to have ridden all day in a chim- 
ney, and to fleep all night in an oven. 

Wednesday, April 13 
This mountain has its name from the various fpecies of 
Laurel with which it is clothed; (Rhododendron Maxi- 
mum, Kalmia Latijolia, &c.) There were feveral varie- 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 327 

ties now in flower, which made a moft elegant appear- 

Our road, which at beft muft be rugged and dreary, was 
now much obftructed by the trees which had fallen acrofs 
it; and our journey rendered hazardous by thofe on each 
fide which trembled to their fall. We remarked, with 
regret and indignation, the wanton deftruction of thefe 
noble forefts. For more than fifty miles, to the weft and 
north, the mountains were burning. [23] This is done 
by the hunters, who fet fire to the dry leaves and decayed 
fallen timber in the vallies, in order to thin the under- 
growth, that they may traverfe the woods with more eafe 
in purfuit of game. But they defeat their own object; 
for the fires drive the moofe, deer, and wild animals into 
the more northerly and wefterly parts, and deftroy the 
turkies, partridges, and quails, at this feafon on their 
nefts, or just leading out their broods. An incalculable 
injury, too, is done to the woods, by preventing entirely 
the growth of the trees, many of which being on the 
acclivities and rocky fides of the mountains, leave only the 
moft dreary and irrecoverable barrennefs in their place. 

We took breakfaft at Jones' mill, fix miles from the top 
of Laurel Hill; dined at Mount Pleasant, eleven miles 
farther; and riding five miles in the afternoon, reached 
M'Kean's to lodge. 

We left Fort Ligonier, built by Gen. Forbes in 1758, 
to our right, and croffed the Chesnut Ridge, a very 
rough and rocky mountain, the laft of the great range, on 
the Glade road. In dry feafons this is confidered as much 
better than what is called [24] "Braddock's road;" but, 
after heavy rains, it is almost impaffable. 

By the rout we took over the mountains the whole dif- 
tance from Strafburg is one hundred and eighteen miles. 

328 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The road is very rugged and difficult over the moun- 
tains; and we were often led to comment upon the arduous 
enterprize of the unfortunate General Braddock, by whom 
it was cut. Obliged to make a pafs for his army and 
waggons, "through unfrequented woods and dangerous 
defiles over mountains deemed impaf fable," 6 the toil 
and fatigue of his pioneers and foldiers muft have been 
indefcribably great. But it was here that his precurfor, 
the youthful Washington, gathered jome of his earliejt 
laurels. 1 

During the whole of this journey there are but a few 
fcattered habitations, of a very ordinary appearance. 
The lands, except in the vallies, are of an indifferent qual- 
ity, and offer but little encouragement to the cultivator. 

The Alleghany mountains, which we had now paffed, 
confift of feveral nearly parallel ridges, rifing in remote 
parts of [25] New- York and New-Jerfey, and running a 
fouthwefterly courfe till they are loft in the flat lands of 
Weft- Florida. They have not a continued top, but are 
rather a row or chain of diftinct hills. There are frequent 
and large vallies dif joining the feveral eminences; fome of 
them fo deep as to admit a paffage for the rivers which 
empty themfelves into the Atlantic Ocean on the Eaft, 
and into the Gulph of Mexico on the South. It is only 

• See Gen. Braddock's letter to Sir T. Robinfon, June 5th, 1755. — Harris. 

7 Harris's allusions to the various roads are confusing and misleading. 
The road (Pennsylvania State) which he left to the north, passing through 
Ligonier and Greensburg, followed in the main the route cut (1758) for Forbes's 
army. Braddock's Road lay much to the south of this, going out from Fort 
Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac. The question of the availability 
of these two roads was a point at issue during Forbes's campaign. See Hul- 
bert, Historic Highways of America (Cleveland, 1903), vols, iv, v. Harris 
took neither Forbes's Road, nor Braddock's (later the line of the Cumberland 
National Road), but what was locally known as the "Old Glade Road," a 
branch of Forbes's Road, leaving the latter four miles beyond Bedford, and 
crossing to the Youghiogheny through Somerset and Mount Pleasant. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 329 

in particular places that thefe ridges can be croffed. 
Generally the road leads through gaps, and winds around 
the fides of the mountains; and, even at thefe places, is 
fteep and difficult. 

The rocks and cliffs of the mountains are principally 
grit, or free-ftone; but in feveral places, particularly 
towards the foot, the flate and lime-ftone predominate. 
Through the Glades, the flaty fchift and lime-ftone is 
abundant. On Laurel Hill, and the mountains weftward 
of that, the foffil coal (Lithanthrax) abounds, and lies 
fo near the furface that it is difcoverable in the gullies of 
the road, and among the roots of trees that have been over- 
thrown by the wind. 

[26] Thursday, April 14 

Now that we have croffed all the mountains, the gradual 
and eafy flope of the ground indicates to us that we are 
approaching thof e vaf t f avannas through which flow ' ' the 
Weftern waters." The plain expands on all fides. The 
country affumes a different afpect; and even its decora- 
tions are changed. The woods are thick, lofty, and ex- 
tremely beautiful, and prove a rich foil. A refrefhing 
verdure clothes the open meadows. The banks of the 
brooks and river are enamelled with flowers of various 
forms and hues. The air, which before was cold and 
raw, is now mild and warm. Every breeze wafts a 
thoufand perfumes, and fwells with the gay warblings 
of feathered chorifters. 

"Variae, circumque fupraque, 

Affuetae ripis volucres et fluminis alveo, 
/Ethera mulcebant cantu, lucroque volabant.' ' 

The painted birds that haunt the golden tide, 
And flutter round the banks on every fide, 
Along the groves in pleafing triumph play, 
And with foft mufic hail the vernal day. 

330 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

The long and tedious journey we had paffed, through 
lonefome woods and over rugged ways, contributed not 
a little, perhaps, [27] to enhance the agreeablenefs of the 
profpect now before us. Certainly there is fomething 
very animating to the feelings, when a traveller, after 
traverfing a region without culture, emerges from the 
depths of folitude, and comes out upon an open, pleafant, 
and cultivated country. For myfelf I muft obferve, that 
the novelty and beauty of the romantic profpects, to- 
gether with the genial influence of the vernal feafon, were 
peculiarly reviving to my bodily frame for a long time 
weakened by ficknefs, and exhilarating to my mind worn 
down by anxiety and care. 

We were now upon the banks of the Yohiogany River, 
which we croffed at Budd's ferry. 8 

The name of this river is fpelt, by fome writers Yoho- 
gany, and by others Yoxhiogeni; by General Braddock 
it was written Yaughyaughanef but the common pro- 
nunciation is Yokagany, and the inhabitants in thefe parts 
call it il the Yok river." It rifes from fprings in the 
Alleghany mountain, which foon unite their ftreams in 
the valley, or, as it is called, "the great meadows," below. 
The point where the [28] north branch from the north- 
ward, the little croffing from the foutheaft, and the great 
fouth branch, form a junction, three miles above Laurel 

8 The Old Glade Road, also locally known as the Jones's Mill Road, received 
legislative appropriations during the early part of the nineteenth century, and 
was quite as popular as its northern rival, the State Road. It crossed the 
Youghiogheny at what is now known as West Newton, Westmoreland County. 
The term Budd's Ferry is found upon a map of 1792; but in the early part of 
the century it was usually spoken of as Robbstown, from the- name of the first 
proprietor. The road is now known as the "Wellersburg and West Newton 
plank."— Ed. 

9 Letter to Sir T. Robinfon, June 5, 1755. — Harris. 


1803] Harris's ^Journal 333 

Hill, is called "the Turkey foot." 10 With the acceffion 
of fome fmaller runs, it becomes a very confiderable and 
beautiful river. Purfuing a northwefterly courfe, as it 
paffes through a gap in Laurel Hill, it precipitates itfelf 
over a ledge of rocks which lie nearly at right angles to 
the courfe of the ftream, and forms a noble cafcade, called 
"the Ohiopyle Falls." Dr. Rittenhoufe, who has pub- 
lifhed a defcription of thefe falls, accompanied with an 
engraving, found the perpendicular height of the cata- 
ract to be " about twenty feet, and the breadth of the river 
two hundred and forty feet. 11 For a confiderable dif- 
tance below the falls, the river is very rapid, and boils 
and foams vehemently, occafioning a continual mift 
to arife from it. The river at this place runs to the fouth 
weft, but prefently winds round to the northweft, and 
continuing this general courfe for thirty or forty miles, 
it lofes its name by uniting with the Monongahela, which 
comes from the fouthward, and contains perhaps twice 
as much water.' ' 

[29] The navigation of this river is obftructed by the 
falls and the rapids below for ten miles ; but thence to the 
Monongahela, boats that draw but three feet of water may 
pafs freely, except in dry feafons. 

The land in the vicinity of the river is uneven; but in 

10 The Youghiogheny is said to owe its name to the Kanawha Indians, and 
to signify "four streams;" that is, the three branches — Laurel Hill Creek, the 
northern; Castleman's River, the middle, or southeast fork; and the South 
fork — unite to form the fourth or main stream of the river. The point of 
intersection was appropriately named Turkey's Foot, and at the site is the 
present town of Confluence, Somerset County. — Ed. 

11 The name of these falls in the Youghiogheny River probably signifies 
"beautiful cascade." At present the total descent is thirty-six feet, and the 
direct fall sixteen. The cascade is utilized for water-power at the present 
Falls City, Fayette County. For sketch of Rittenhouse, see Michaux's Travels, 
ante, p. 51. — Ed. 


1803] Harris's journal 333 

Hill, is called "the Turkey foot." 10 With the acceffion 
of fome fmaller runs, it becomes a very confiderable and 
beautiful river. Purfuing a northwefterly courfe, as it 
paffes through a gap in Laurel Hill, it precipitates itfelf 
over a ledge of rocks which lie nearly at right angles to 
the courfe of the ftream, and forms a noble cafcade, called 
1 ' the Ohiopyle Falls.' ' Dr. Rittenhoufe, who has pub- 
lifhed a defcription of thefe falls, accompanied with an 
engraving, found the perpendicular height of the cata- 
ract to be " about twenty feet, and the breadth of the river 
two hundred and forty feet. 11 For a confiderable dif- 
tance below the falls, the river is very rapid, and boils 
and foams vehemently, occafioning a continual mift 
to arife from it. The river at this place runs to the fouth 
weft, but prefently winds round to the northweft, and 
continuing this general courfe for thirty or forty miles, 
it lofes its name by uniting with the Monongahela, which 
comes from the fouthward, and contains perhaps twice 
as much water." 

[29] The navigation of this river is obftructed by the 
falls and the rapids below for ten miles; but thence to the 
Monongahela, boats that draw but three feet of water may 
pafs freely, except in dry feafons. 

The land in the vicinity of the river is uneven; but in 

10 The Youghiogheny is said to owe its name to the Kanawha Indians, and 
to signify "four streams;" that is, the three branches — Laurel Hill Creek, the 
northern; Castleman's River, the middle, or southeast fork; and the South 
fork — unite to form the fourth or main stream of the river. The point of 
intersection was appropriately named Turkey's Foot, and at the site is the 
present town of Confluence, Somerset County. — Ed. 

11 The name of these falls in the Youghiogheny River probably signifies 
"beautiful cascade." At present the total descent is thirty-six feet, and the 
direct fall sixteen. The cascade is utilized for water-power at the present 
Falls City, Fayette County. For sketch of Rittenhouse, see Michaux's Travels, 
ante, p. 51. — Ed. 

334 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

the vallies the foil is extremely rich. The whole region 
abounds with coal, which lies almoft on the furface. 

We garnifhed our bouquet to day with the beautiful 
white flowers of the Blood root, (Sanguinaria Canadenjis) 
called by the Indians ' ' Puccoon : ' ' they fomewhat ref em- 
ble thofe of the Narciffus. This plant grows in mellow 
high land. The root yields a bright red tincture, with 
which the Indians ufed to paint themfelves, and to colour 
fome of their manufactures, particularly their cane baf- 
kets. — The root poffeffes emetic qualities. — Tranfplanted 
into our gardens, this would be admired as an ornamental 
flower, while the roots would furnifh artifts with a brilliant 
paint or dye, and perhaps be adopted into the Materia 
Medica as a valuable drug. 

At Elizabethtown, about eighteen miles from Pittfburg, 
we croffed the Monongahela. 12 Having collected par- 
ticular information [30] refpecting this river and the 
Alleghany, and an account of the fettlements upon their 
banks, I infert it in this place. 13 

The Monongahela takes its rife at the foot of Laurel 
Hill in Virginia, about Lat. 38 30' N. Thence meander- 
ing in a north by eaft direction it paffes into Pennsylvania, 
and at laft, uniting its waters with thofe of the Alleghany 
at Pittfburg, forms the noble Ohio. 

The fettlements on both fides of this river are fine and 
extenfive, and the land is good and well cultivated. 
Numerous trading and family boats pafs continually. 
In the fpring and fall the river feems covered with them. 
The former, laden with flour, whifkey, peach-brandy, 
cider, bacon, iron, potters' ware, cabinet work, &c. all 

12 For note on Elizabethtown, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, ante, p. 162. 
— Ed. 

13 Partly from a little pamphlet, publifhed at Pittfburg, called "The Ohio 
Navigator," with fuch other remarks as my own obfervation and, inquiries 
could fupply. — Harris. 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 335 

the produce or manufacture of the country, are deftined 
for Kentucky, and New Orleans, or the towns on the 
Spanifh fide of the Miffifippi. The latter convey the 
families of emigrants, with their furniture, farming 
utenfils, &c. to the new fettlements they have in view. 
Thefe boats are generally called ' ' Arks ; ' ' and are f aid to 
have been invented by Mr. [31] Krudger, on the Juniata, 
about ten years ago. They are fquare, and flat-bottomed ; 
about forty feet by fifteen, with fides fix feet deep; cov- 
ered with a roof of thin boards, and accommodated with 
a fire-place. They will hold from 200 to 500 barrels of 
flour. They require but four hands to navigate them; 
carry no fail, and are wafted down by the current. 

The banks of the river oppofite to Pittfburg, and on 
each fide for fome diftance, or rather the high hills whofe 
feet it laves, appear to be one entire body of coal. This 
is of great advantage to that flourifhing town; for it 
fupplies all their fires, and enables them to referve their 
timber and wood for fhip building and the ufe of mechan- 

Morgantown, which is one hundred and feven miles 
from Pittfburg, may be confidered as the head of navi- 
gation on the Monongahela. 14 

This is a flourifhing town, pleafantly fituated on the 
eaft fide of the river. It contains about fixty dwelling- 
houfes, a Court-houfe, and ftone Gaol. It is the fhire 
town for the counties of Harrifon, [32] Monongalia, 
Ohio, and Randolph, in Virginia. 

Eight miles below this town the Cheat River enters; 
three or four miles within the Pennfylvania line. "It is 
200 yards wide at its mouth, and 100 yards at the Dun- 
kard's fettlement fifty miles higher; and is navigable for 

M For the early history of Morgantown, see F- A. Michaux's Travels, ante, 
p. 162. — Ed. 

3 3 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

boats except in dry feafons. There is a portage of 
thirty-feven miles from this river to the Potomac at the 
mouth of Savage river." 15 16 

Two miles lower down it receives the waters of Dun- 
karoVs Creek on the weft fide ; and ten miles lower George'' s 
Creek joins it on the eaft. Juft below the mouth of this 
creek is fituated New Geneva, a thriving poft-town, a 
place of much bufinefs, and rendered famous by the 
glafs-works in its vicinity, which not only fupply the 
neighbourhood with window-glafs, bottles, &c. but fend 
large quantities down the river. There is alfo a paper- 
mill, and a manufactory for mufkets, in the place. Arks, 
and other boats are built here. 17 

A little below, and on the other fide of the river, lies 
Greensburgh, fo called in honor of the late General 
Greene. It is a neat little village. 18 

[33] Within the diftance of twenty-three miles from 
this enter Big Whitely Creek, Little Whitely, Brown's run, 

15 Jefferfon's Notes on Virginia. — Harris. 

18 The citation from Jefferson's Notes on Virginia ends with the word 
"seasons." Jefferson does, however, discuss the portage from the Cheat to 
the Potomac, which he says "will be from 15 to 40 miles, according to the 
trouble which shall be taken to approach the two navigations." A canal 
connecting these two water-systems was a favorite project of both Jefferson and 
Washington; the latter at one time estimated that it would not need to exceed 
twenty miles in length. — Ed. 

17 New Geneva was originally laid out by Albert Gallatin, who came to 
America in 1780, and four years later bought a farm at the junction of George's 
Creek with the Monongahela. The name of the town was given in honor of its 
founder's birthplace, and through his influence a number of Swiss emigrants 
settled at this place. The glass works were established by Gallatin (1795) in 
conjunction with two German partners, the Kramers brothers. Gallatin's 
country house near New Geneva was entitled ' ' Friendship Hill,' ' and thereat 
he entertained Lafayette on his last visit to America. — Ed. 

18 This is not to be confused with Greensburg, the county-seat for Westmore- 
land. Greensburg (now Greensboro), here mentioned, is on the Monongahela 
in Greene County, nearly opposite New Geneva, and was laid out by Galla- 
tin's friend and compatriot, Badollet. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's "Journal 337 

Middle run, CaVs run, Muddy Creek, and Ten mile run. 
Near the latter is Fredericktown, a pretty village on the 
weft fide of the river. 

Seven miles lower down, immediately above the mouth 
of Dunlap's Creek, on the eaft fide, is Bridgeport, a 
fmall thriving town, connected with Brownfville by a 
neat bridge 260 feet long. 

Brownsville, formerly called "Redftone old fort," 
is a poft-town, belonging to Fayette County in Pennfyl- 
vania. Though extremely pleafant, and commanding 
a moft extenfive and interefting profpect of the river, 
the creeks, and the fine country around, it feems rather 
difadvantageoufly fituated on account of the fteep de- 
clivity of the hill on which it is principally built. It con- 
tains about one hundred and fifty houfes, and five hundred 
inhabitants. There is a Roman Catholic church here, 
and four Friends' meeting-houfes in the vicinity. 

An extenfive paper-mill on Redjtone Creek, a rope- 
walk, a brewery, feveral valuable manufactories, and 
within a few miles of the town twenty-four faw, grift, oil, 
and [34] fulling mills, render this a place of much bufi- 
nefs. The trade and emigration down the river employ 
boat-builders very profitably. About one hundred boats 
of twenty tons each are faid to be built here annually. 

On the fouth fide of Redftone Creek formerly ftood 
Byrd's Fort. 19 

About nineteen miles below is Williamsport, a grow- 
ing fettlement, on the direct road from Philadelphia to 

Twelve miles lower is Elizabethtown, on the fouth- 
eaft fide of the river, containing about fixty houfes. At 

18 For the early history of Brownsville, and the erection of Fort Burd, see 
F. A. Michaux's Travels, ante, p. 159; also, Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio. — Ed. 

338 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

this place much bufinefs is done in boat and fhip build- 
ing. The "Monongahela Farmer," and other veffels of 
confiderable burden, were built here, and, laden with the 
produce of the adjacent country, were fent to the Weft- 
India iflands. 20 

Eight miles farther is McKeesport, fituated juft below 
the junction of the Yohiogany with the Monongahela. 
Many boats are built here for tranfportation and the ufe 
of thofe who emigrate to the weftern country. The place 
is growing in bufinefs, and moft probably will rife into 
confiderable importance. 

[35] Having received the Yohiogany, and waters from 
feveral creeks, the river winds its courfe, with replenifhed 
ftream, till it unites with the Alleghany below Pittfburg, 
where it is about four hundred yards wide. 

Braddock's Field is at the head of Turtle Creek, feven 
miles from Pittfburg. Here that brave, but unfortunate 
General engaged a party of Indians, was repulfed, him- 
felf mortally wounded, and his army put to flight, July 

9, I755- 21 

The Alleghany River, by the Delaware Indians 

called "Alligewifipo," 22 rifes on the weftern fide of the 
mountain from which it derives its name. Its head is near 
Sinemahoning Creek, a boatable ftream that falls into 
the Sufquehannah; to which there is a portage of twenty- 
two miles. Another branch tends towards Le Boeuf, 
whence is a portage of only fifteen miles to Prefq' Ifle, 

20 Many sailing vessels were built upon the Monongahela from 1810-11. In 
the latter year the first steamboat was launched at Pittsburg, and sailing vessels 
were soon superseded. — Ed. 

21 The site of Braddock's field is now occupied by the manufacturing town 
which takes its name from the unfortunate British general. See Thwaites, 
On the Storied Ohio. — Ed. 

22 Lofkiel's Hiftory of Moravian miffions in America. — Harris. 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 339 

one of the fineft harbours on Lake Erie. This diftance is 
a continued chefnut-bottom fwamp, except about one 
mile from Le Boeuf, and two miles from Prefq' Ifle; 
and the road between thefe two places, fome years ago, 
for nine miles, was made by a kind of caufeway of logs. 23 
There has been [36] lately an Act of the Affembly of 
Pennfylvania for forming a turnpike over it. 

Presq' Isle, which owed its name to the form of a 
large point of land jutting into the Lake, and by its curva- 
ture making a very commodious harbour capable of ad- 
mitting veffels drawing nine feet of water, is now called 
Erie; having been laid out a few years fince by the Legif- 
lature of the State upon a large fcale, and made the fhire 
town of Erie county. Commanding an extenfive trade 
through the Lakes, and then down the Alleghany, Ohio, 
and Miffifippi, the fituation of this place was confidered 
as very important, and great encouragement was given 
to fettlers. But a prevailing fever for fome time retarded 
the fettlement. It is faid, however, that this obftacle is 
now nearly, if not entirely removed; and that the place 
rapidly increafes in population and importance. 

A post-office is eftablifhed here, which receives the 
mail from Philadelphia once every fecond week. 

Le Boeuf, now called Waterford, is a growing fet- 
tlement at the head of the north branch of French Creek. 
A poft-ofhce is, alfo, kept here. 

[37] The old French fort Le Boeuf, was about two 
miles eaft from Small Lake. This was formerly one of 
the weftern pofts, but is now evacuated. 24 

23 For the early history of Presqu' Isle, and the road built thence by the 
French expedition of 1753, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this series, p. 101, 
note 62. — Ed. 

24 For the history of Fort Le Boeuf, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, p. 102, note 65. — Ed. 

34° Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Forty-eight miles lower down on French Creek is 
Meadville, a thriving poft-town, and the feat of justice 
for the counties of Warren and Crawford, to the latter 
of which it belongs. It contains about one hundred 
houfes, and feveral ft ores; and is a place of confiderable 
bufinefs. 25 

Immediately below the mouth of French Creek, at the 
place where it unites with the northeafterly branch of the 
Alleghany river, is Franklin, a poft-town, containing 
about fifty houfes, and feveral ftores. It is the fhire town 
for Venango county. The river is here two hundred 
yards wide. 

Near this was the antient poft Venango, and on the 
fcite of this town was erected Fort Franklin in the year 
1787, to defend the frontiers of Pennfylvania from the 
depredations of the neighbouring Indians. 

About one hundred miles lower down, as the river runs, 
or one hundred and ninety-eight from Erie, is Freeport, 
on the mouth of Buffalo Creek, and oppofite [38] to 
Kiskimenetas, a confiderable branch of the Alleghany 
river. The head waters of this branch are Little Cone- 
maugh and Stone Creek, which rife from the foot of the 
Alleghany mountain, and pafs in a N.N.W. direction 
through gaps in the Laurel Hill and Chefnut Ridge. 
After their junction the principal ftream is called Cone- 
matjgh River. But, having received Black Lick from 
the N. E. and, feventeen miles from its mouth, Loyal- 

25 Meadville was the earliest settlement in northwest Pennsylvania, west of 
the Allegheny River. About 1 788 a party came out from Wyoming Valley, led 
by David Mead, who afterwards was judge and major-general of militia for 
the district. The settlement was almost exterminated during the Indian 
wars, and its inhabitants obliged to take refuge at Fort Franklin. Neverthe- 
less, Meadville was laid out as a town in 1793. It is the seat of Allegheny 
College, founded in 181 5. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's "Journal 341 

hannon Creek from the S. S. E. it is called the Kiskimene- 
tas River. It is navigable for batteaux forty or fifty 
miles, and good portages are found between it and the 
Juniata and Potomac rivers. A batteau is a flat-bot- 
tomed boat, wideft in the middle, and tapering to a point 
at each end, of about 1500 weight burden; and is managed 
by two men with paddles and fetting-poles. 

At the mouth of Sandy Creek, a, veffel of 160 tons burden 
was lately launched, took in her cargo, and failed for the 

The principal creeks and tributary ftreams with which 
the Alleghany river is replenifhed, are delineated on the 
Map, I believe with a good degree of accuracy; but a 
particular account of each it was not in [39] my power to 
obtain. The junction of this river with the Monongahela 
at Pittfburg has been already mentioned. 

The Alleghany is remarkable for the clearnefs of its 
waters and the rapidity of its current; and the frefhets in 
it are greater and more fudden than thofe of its connubial 
ftream. 26 It feldom happens that it does not mark its 
courfe acrofs the mouth of the Monongahela, with whofe 
turbid and fluggifh waters it forms a very obfervable 
contraft. It is curious, alfo, in the time of the fpring 
floods to fee the Alleghany full of ice, and the Mononga- 
hela entirely free. Thefe floods are occafioned by the 
diffolution of the immenfe bodies of ice and fnow 
accumulated during winter in thofe northern regions 
through which the river paffes, and by the heavy falls of 
rain at the fetting in and breaking up of winter. 

26 The word frejhet, fays the late Dr. Belknap, means a river fwollen by 
rain or melted fnow, in the interior country, rifing above its ufual level, fpread- 
ing over the adjacent low lands, and rufhing with an accelerated current to 
the fea. — Hift. of New Hampfhire, v. 3. preface. — Harris. 

34 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Friday, April 15 

We this morning arrived at Pittsburg, a poft-town in 
Pennfylvania, and the capital [40] of Alleghany County. 
It is built at the point of land formed by the junction of 
the two rivers; and is in N. Lat. 40 26' 15", and Longi- 
tude (in time) 5 hours, 19 minutes, and 53 feconds W. of 

Immediately on the point was erected the old French 
garrifon Du Quejne, built by M. de la Jonquier at the 
command of the Marquis du Quefne, Governor of Canada, 
in 1754. 27 General Forbes, who took it Nov. 25, 1758, 
built a new fort, which he called "Fort Pitt," in honor of 
the Earl of Chatham; adjacent to the former, but higher 
up the Monongahela. ! It was formerly a place of fome 
confequence in the annals of frontier fettlements; but 
fell into decay upon its being given up by its founders. 
Being included in one of the manors of the Penn family, it 
was fold by the proprietaries, and is now laid out in houfe- 
lots as a part of the town of Pittfburg, which was built in 
the year 1765. 

The local fituation of this place is fo commanding that 
it has been emphatically called ' ' the key to the Weftern 
Territory;" and it has rapidly increafed in population, 
bufinefs, and profperity within a few years paft. It con- 
tains upwards of four hundred [41] houfes, feveral of 
them large and handfomely built of brick; forty-nine are 
occupied as ftores and fhops. There are three congrega- 
tions; an Epifcopalian, a Prefbyterian, and a Seceder. 
The number of inhabitants is about two thoufand. 

There are two printing-offices, each of which iffue a 
weekly news-paper; and many mechanics, who carry on 

27 For a brief notice of Fort Duquesne, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, ante, 
p. 156, note 20. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's "Journal 343 

moft of the manufactures that are to be met with in any 
other part of the United States. Two glafs-houfes have 
been lately erected, and are wrought to great advantage. 28 
They make window-glafs, bottles, &c. This is an eftab- 
lifhment of the firft importance to this part of the country; 
for the tranfportation of thefe brittle articles from Phila- 
delphia over the mountains has been attended with much 
hazard, as well as expenfe. Articles of cabinet work are> 
alfo, made at Pittfburg of their native woods, which fup- 
ply many of the fettlements on both fides of the Ohio and 
Miffifippi. The furniture made of the black walnut, 
wild cherry, and yellow birch, is very ftrong and handfome, 
and admits of a beautiful polifh. The tinplate manu- 
factory, that for cutting nails, and the fmiths' fhops for 
making axes and [42] farming utenfils, rind a ready and 
extenfive market for all their articles. 

Dry goods in general are fold nearly as cheap as at 
Baltimore; other goods, are, on account of the carriage, 
which is four dollars fifty cents from Baltimore and five 
dollars pr. 100 lbs. from Philadelphia, proportionably 
higher. The merchants here, as well as thofe of the 
weftern country, receive their goods from Philadelphia 
and Baltimore; but a fmall part of the trade being given 
to New- York and Alexandria. The terms of credit are 
generally from nine to twelve months. The produce 
which they receive of the farmers is fent to New Orleans; 
the proceeds of which are remitted to the Atlantic States, 
to meet their payments. 

Most of the articles of merchandize brought in wag- 
gons over the mountains in the fummer feafon, and 
deftined for the trade down the river, are ftored at this 

28 For the two Pittsburg newspapers, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, ante 
p. 157, note 21. The glass works were built by General James O'Hara. — E ? 

344 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

place, to be ready for embarkation. With thefe a great 
many trading boats are laden, which float down the river, 
{topping at the towns on its banks to vend the articles. 
In a country, fo remote from commerce, and of fo great 
extent, where each one refides [43] on his own farm, and 
has neither opportunity nor convenience for vifiting a 
market, thefe trading boats contribute very much to the 
accommodation of life, by bringing to every man's houfe 
thofe little neceffaries which it would be very troublefome 
to go a great diftance to procure. 

At and near this place, fhip-building is an object of 
great attention. Several veffels are now on the ftocks; 
and three have been launched this fpring, from 160 to 
275 tons burden. 

The principal navigation of the Ohio river is during the 
floods of the fpring and autumn. The fpring feafon com- 
mences at the breaking up of the ice in the Alleghany, 
which generally happens about the middle of February, 
and continues for eight or ten weeks. The fall feafon is 
occafioned by the autumnal rains in October, and lafts 
till about the beginning of December, when the ice begins 
to form. But the times of high-water can fcarcely be 
called periodical; for they vary confiderably as the feafon 
is dry or rainy, and with the later fetting in or breaking 
up of winter. Sometimes, alfo, the falling of heavy 
fhowers on the mountains, during the fummer, will fo 
[44] fwell the fources of the Monongahela as to fupply a 
temporary fufliciency of water for the purpofe of naviga- 

In the time of the frefhets the Ohio rifes from fifteen to 
thirty feet, and fometimes even higher; overflowing its 
banks to a very confiderable diftance. The rife is gen- 
erally fudden, often ten feet in twenty-four hours. The 

1803] Harris's ^Journal 345 

increafe is not regular. At times the water will fall four 
or five feet, and then rise again. The flood maintains 
its greateft height about a week or ten days, and then 
gradually fubfides, till the river is reduced to its ufual 
depth. By fpreading over the flat lands a rich coating of 
leaves, decayed vegetables, and loam, wafhed down by 
the rain from the fides of the hills, thefe inundations 
greatly promote the fertility of the soil. 

Fort Fayette, built a few years fince, is within the 
limits of the town of Pittfburg. It is erected on the banks 
of the Alleghany. At prefent a garrifon is kept there, 
which, for the moft part, is made head-quarters of the 
United States army. 29 

The high ground back of the fort, called "Grant's 
hill," commands a moft extenfive profpect, taking in a 
view of the two rivers [45] for feveral miles above and 
below their junction. 30 

The inhabitants ufe the water of the river here and 
down the Ohio for drink and cookery, even in preference 
to the fpring water from the hills; for as yet they have not 
practifed the digging of wells. At firft we were furprifed 
at this preference ; but they affured us that the river water 
was more wholefome and generally much more palatable. 
We were foon convinced that this muft be the cafe: for, 
though the river water receives a great deal of decayed 
wood, leaves, &c. from the creeks and runs that empty 
into it, they are foon depofited on the fhallows, and the 
deeper places are very clear and fine. Even the turbid 

39 For a sketch of Fort Fayette, see Michaux's Travels, ante., p. 32. — Ed. 

30 Grant's Hill is so named from the defeat (Sept. 11, 1758) of a detachment 
of Highlanders under Major Grant by a party of French and Indians from 
Fort Duquesne. Grant, who had been sent out by Bouquet, commanding the 
van of Forbes's army, to reconnoitre, incautiously approached too near the 
enemies' stronghold, was surrounded, and driven back with many losses. — Ed. 

346 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

water of the margin of the ftream becomes pellucid by 
ftanding in an open veffel over night, depofiting its 
feculencies at the bottom. But the fpring water, iffuing 
through fiffures in the hills, which are only maffes of coal, 
is fo impregnated with bituminous and fulphureous parti- 
cles as to be frequently naufeous to the tafte and preju- 
dicial to the health. 

We obferved feveral people near Pittfburg affected 
with a tumour on the throat [46] like a wen. Inquiring 
into the caufe of it, we were informed that they imputed it 
to fome effect of the climate under the brows of the high 
mountains where they refide, and added that even dogs 
and fome other animals were fubject to it. Indeed we 
faw a couple of goats who had this uncomfortable appen- 
dage to their necks. 

The Seneca Indian Oil in fo much repute here is 
Petroleum; a liquid bitumen, which oozes through fiffures 
of the rocks and coal in the mountains, and is found 
floating on the furface of the waters of feveral fprings in 
this part of the country, whence it is fkimmed off, and 
kept for ufe. From a ftrong vapour which arifes from it 
when firft collected, it appears to combine with it ful- 
phureous particles. It is very inflammable. In thefe 
parts it is ufed as a medicine; and, probably, in external 
applications with confiderable fuccefs. For chilblains 
and rheumatifm it is confidered as an infallible fpecific. 
I fuppofe it to be the bitumen which Pliny defcribes under 
the name of Naptha, Lib. II. ch. 105. 

[47] Tuesday, April 19 

Crossed the ferry over the Monongahela, oppofite the 
glafs-houfes, and purfued our journey. 
The country is very mountainous and broken, and the 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 347 

road extremely rough and difficult. We were told that 
our's was the firft private carriage that had ever paffed it, 
having been but lately opened, and ufed only by ftrong 
waggons and carts. 

We dined at Cannonsburg, a poft-town, pleafantly 
fituated on rifing ground near the north fide of the weft 
branch of Chartier's Creek. It is 18 miles S.W. from 
Pittfburg, and 9 miles N. E. from Wafhington. It con- 
tains about 100 houfes, and has two congregations, and 
meeting-houfes; a Prefbyterian and a Seceder. It has 
been fettled but twelve years, and already puts on the ap- 
pearance of a long cultivated region. There is an Academy 
here in a very flourifhing ftate; and the laft feffion of 
the Affembly a charter was granted for a College." 

At Washington, the chief town of a county of the 
fame name in Pennfylvania, fituated on another branch 
of Chartier's Creek, we f topped to lodge. 

[48] A Court-house and a large building for public 
offices, of brick; and a Gaol and an Academy, of ftone, 
with a large number of handfomely built dwelling-houfes, 
give this town a very refpectable appearance. It feems 
to be a place of confiderable bufinefs, and of thriving 
manufactories and trade. 32 

31 Canonsburg was named for its first settler, Colonel John Canon, who 
took up the land under a Virginia warrant in 1773. Colonel Canon was a man 
of note in Western Pennsylvania — justice of the peace, commander of the 
militia, and representative in the assembly. 

Jefferson College, to which Harris refers, owes its beginnings to Colonel 
Canon, who in 1791 donated the lot and advanced money for building the first 
structure. After long years of rivalry, Jefferson College was finally consoli- 
dated (1869) with that of Washington, at the town of that name, under the 
joint title of Washington and Jefferson College. Canonsburgh Academy 
occupies the former college buildings. — Ed. 

32 The town of Washington, when laid out in 1 780, was entitled Bassett 
Town. The name was changed when it was chosen as the seat of Washington 
County. — Ed. 

348 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

Wednesday, April 20 

Passed through Alexandria, a fmall town in Wafh- 
ington County, Pennfylvania, on the Virginia line. It 
contains between fifty and fixty dwelling-houfes, and has 
a large and decent houfe for public worfhip. 33 It is fix- 
teen miles S. W. from Wafhington, and the fame diftance 
N. E. from Wheeling. 

We dined at Shepherd's Mills on Wheeling Creek, hav- 
ing winded along a moft romantic valley between high 
mountains, and repeatedly croffed [feventeen times in 
about five miles] the beautiful ftream running through it. 34 

The proprietor of thefe mills refides in one of the beft 
built and handfomeft ftone houfes we faw on this fide 
of the mountains. 35 

Quitting this fecluded vale, we paffed over a high 
chain of mountains, whence we [49] overlooked the town 
of Wheeling, and enjoyed fine and extenfive views of a 
hilly and well-wooded country, interfected by the river 
Ohio. — We then defcended into the town. 

Wheeling is a poft-town, in Ohio County, Virginia, 
healthily and pleafantly fituated on the Hoping fides of a 
hill gracefully rifing from the banks of the Ohio. It is 
laid out principally on one ftreet; and moft of the houfes 

33 Alexandria, or West Alexander, was laid out by Robert Humphreys in 
1796 Humphreys, who had been a Revolutionary soldier, serving under 
Lafayette, took up the land on a Virginia military certificate, and named the 
town in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Martha Alexander. — Ed. 

34 Little Wheeling Creek. — Harris. 

35 This was the house of Moses Shepherd, son of Colonel David Shepherd » 
one of the most prominent of the pioneer officers of Western Virginia. The 
latter came West in 1773, and built a blockhouse and fort at the junction of 
Big and Little Wheeling Creeks, where the village of Elm Grove is now situated. 
Colonel Shepherd was county-lieutenant during the Indian wars, assisted at 
both sieges of Wheeling, joined Brodhead's expedition, and was of great use 
in protecting the frontier. The house mentioned by Harris is said to be still 
standing. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 349 

are handfome, feveral being built with brick, and fome 
with faced ftone. 36 

It is twelve miles S. W. of Weft Liberty, and fifty-four 
miles from Pittfburg; three hundred and thirty-two miles 
from Philadelphia, and twelve miles above Grave Creek. 

It is increafing very rapidly in population and in pros- 
perous trade; and is, next to Pittfburg, the moft confider- 
able place of embarkation to traders and emigrants, any 
where on the weftern waters. During the dry feafon 
great quantities of merchandize are brought hither, de- 
figned to fupply the inhabitants on the Ohio river and the 
waters that flow into it; as boats can go from [50] hence, 
when they cannot from places higher up the river. 

Boat-building is carried on at this place to a great 
extent; and feveral large keel boats and fome veffels have 
been built. 

Opposite the town is a moft beautiful ifland in the 
river, containing about four hundred acres. Interfperfed 
with buildings, highly cultivated fields, fome fine or- 
chards, and copfes of wood, it appears to great advan- 
tage from the town, and forms a very interefting part of 
the profpect. After the eyes have been f trained in viewing 
the vaft amphitheatre of country all around, or dazzled 
with tracing the windings of the river, they are agreeably 
refted and refrefhed by the verdure and beauty of Wheel- 
ing Ifland. 

At Wheeling we left our carriage, and took paffage 
down the river in a keel boat. 

Just below the town ftands an old Fort, at the point of 

38 For the early history of Wheeling, see Michaux's Travels, ante, p. $$, 
note 15. There were two routes from Pittsburg to Wheeling; one more direct, 
but rougher, passing through West Liberty, was taken by the younger Michaux 
(q. v.) the year prevous; the stage route, by way of Canonsburg, Washington, 
and Alexandria was that chosen by Harris. — Ed. 

3 50 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

land formed by the junction of Big Wheeling Creek and 
the Ohio river. 

The paffage down the river was extremely entertaining, 
exhibiting at every bend a change of fcenery. Sometimes 
we were in the vicinity of dark forefts, which threw a 
folemn f hade over us as we glided by ; f ometimes we paffed 
along overhanging [51] banks, decorated with blooming 
fhrubs which timidly bent their light boughs to fweep the 
paffing ftream; and fometimes around the fhore of an 
ifland which tinged the water with a reflected landfcape. 
The lively carols of the birds, which "fung among the 
branches," entertained us exceedingly, and gave life and 
pleafure to the woodland fcene. The flocks of wild geefe 
and ducks which fwam upon the ftream, the vaft number 
of turkies, partridges, and quails we faw upon the fhore, 
and the herds of deer or fome other animals of the foreft 
darting through the thickets, afforded us conftant amufe- 

From Fifh Creek, on the Virginia fhore, 37 the country is 
flat on the banks of the river; and, on the oppofite fide, 
generally broken and rough, without much bottom-land; 
the mountains and hills moftly rifing contiguous to the 
edge of the river. But, below the iflands called "The 
Three Brothers,' ' the bottom-lands on the N. W. fide are 
extenfive and rich. 

Here fine cultivated plains and rifing fettlements 

37 Fish Creek was on the "Warrior Branch," a great Indian highway lead- 
ing from the Ohio into Tennessee. The locality is interesting for its connec- 
tion with the early life of George Rogers Clark, who explored the neighbor- 
hood as early as 1772, and passed the succeeding winter in a log cabin about 
a mile above Fish Creek. Clark was a leader among the young men on the 
frontier, and held a school for them at the cabin of his friend Yates Conwell, 
built directly at the mouth of Fish Creek. The two years passed here were 
valuable in the experience thus gained of frontier life, which made his later 
career so marked a success. — Ed. 


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1803] Harris's 'Journal 353 

charm the eye amidft the boundlefs profpect of defolate 
wilds. When we fee the land cleared of thofe enormous 
trees [52] with which it was overgrown, and the cliffs 
and quarries converted into materials for building, we 
cannot help dwelling upon the induftry and art of man, 
which by dint of toil and perfeverance can change the 
defert into a fruitful field, and fhape the rough rock to 
ufe and elegance. When the folitary wafte is peopled, 
and convenient habitations arife amidft the former re- 
treats of wild beafts; when the filence of nature is fuc- 
ceeded by the buzz of employment, the congratulations of 
fociety, and the voice of joy; in fine, when we behold com- 
petence and plenty fpringing from the bofom of dreary 
forefts, — what a leffon is afforded of the benevolent in- 
tentions of Providence ! 

Having been part of three days upon the river, we ar- 
rived at Marietta, in the State of Ohio, on Saturday 
morning, April 23d. 

The fecond week after our arrival, in confequence of 
three or four rainy days, the water in the Ohio rofe fifteen 
feet, and gave opportunity for feveral veffels, which were 
waiting for a flood, to fet fail. Accordingly on May 4th 
the fchooner "Dorcas and Sally,' ' of 70 tons, built at 
Wheeling and rigged at Marietta, dropped down the 
[53] river. The following day there paffed down the 
fchooner "Amity," of 103 tons, from Pittfburg, and the 
fhip "Pittfburg," of 275 tons burden, from the fame 
place, laden with feventeen hundred barrels of flour, with 
the reft of her cargo in flat-bottomed boats. In the eve- 
ning the brig ' ' Mary Avery,' ' of 130 tons, built at Marietta, 
fet fa il. 38 

38 Michaux says (ante, p. 177) that the inhabitants of Marietta were the 
first to conduct an exchange with the West Indies by means of vessels built at 
their own docks. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 353 

charm the eye amidft the boundlefs profpect of defolate 
wilds. When we fee the land cleared of thofe enormous 
trees [52] with which it was overgrown, and the cliffs 
and quarries converted into materials for building, we 
cannot help dwelling upon the induftry and art of man, 
which by dint of toil and perfeverance can change the 
defert into a fruitful field, and fhape the rough rock to 
ufe and elegance. When the folitary wafte is peopled, 
and convenient habitations arife amidft the former re- 
treats of wild beafts; when the filence of nature is fuc- 
ceeded by the buzz of employment, the congratulations of 
fociety, and the voice of joy; in fine, when we behold com- 
petence and plenty fpringing from the bofom of dreary 
forefts, — what a leffon is afforded of the benevolent in- 
tentions of Providence ! 

Having been part of three days upon the river, we ar- 
rived at Marietta, in the State of Ohio, on Saturday 
morning, April 23d. 

The fecond week after our arrival, in confequence of 
three or four rainy days, the water in the Ohio rofe fifteen 
feet, and gave opportunity for feveral veffels, which were 
waiting for a flood, to fet fail. Accordingly on May 4th 
the fchooner "Dorcas and Sally," of 70 tons, built at 
Wheeling and rigged at Marietta, dropped down the 
[53] river. The following day there paffed down the 
fchooner "Amity," of 103 tons, from Pittfburg, and the 
fhip "Pittfburg," of 275 tons burden, from the fame 
place, laden with feventeen hundred barrels of flour, with 
the reft of her cargo in flat-bottomed boats. In the eve- 
ning the brig ' ' Mary Avery,' ' of 130 tons, built at Marietta, 
fet fa il. 38 

38 Michaux says {ante, p. 177) that the inhabitants of Marietta were the 
first to conduct an exchange with the West Indies by means of vessels built at 
their own docks. — Ed. 

354 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

These afforded an interefting fpectacle to the inhabi- 
tants of this place, who faluted the veffels as they paffed 
with three cheers, and by firing a fmall piece of ordnance 
from the banks. 

While at this place I collected feveral particulars re- 
fpecting the Hiftory and Geography of the State of Ohio, 
from General Putnam, Judge Gilman, Judge Wood- 
bridge, and others, who obligingly anfwered my many 
inquiries. 39 The information thus obtained, together 
with that which refulted from various vifits to neighbour- 
ing towns and excurfions into the interior country, I have 
arranged by itfelf . 

39 Judge Joseph Gilman was a native of New Hampshire, where he had 
served as chairman of the committee of safety during the troubled times of the 
Revolution. He was one of the Ohio associates and removed to Marietta in 
1789. Governor St. Clair appointed him probate judge, judge of the court of 
common pleas, etc., until (1796) he was chosen one of the three judges of the 
territory, an office which he filled acceptably until the organization of the state 
of Ohio (1803), when he again became a local justice. Judge Gilman died at 
Marietta in 1806 at the age of seventy. 

His collaborator, Judge Dudley Woodbridge, was a Connecticut man, 
graduate of Yale College, and educated for the bar. The Revolution inter- 
rupted his legal studies, which he later resumed, and after removal to Ohio he 
was one of the first justices of the new state. His son, William, became promi- 
nent in politics, and was governor of Michigan. — Ed. 



"What an excellent remedy, or, at leaft, what a palliative, for the fufferings 
of the head and heart, is travelling. Alternate wearinefs and reft leave no 
room for any train of ideas, and every thing confpires to render us as happy as 
if our fufferings were ended." 

Duke de la Rochefaucalt Liancottct's Travels. 

Vol. I. p. 173. 



I soon found that the genial influences of a mild and 
falubrious climate, aided by habitual exercife, daily im- 
proved my bodily ftrength; while my mind, relieved of 
its cares, was conftantly occupied and amufed with the 
new and interefting fcenery and the wonderful antiquities 
in this neighbourhood; and my fpirits were foothed and 
cheered by the kind attentions of hofpitality and friend- 

Thus led to indulge fome encouraging profpects of 
reftoration to health, my thoughts turned towards my dif- 
tant home, which I had never expected to revifit. Taking 
an affectionate leave of my brother, who inclined to fettle 
in the State of Ohio, and of my much efteemed friends 
at Marietta, accompanied by Mr. Adams, I fet out home- 
wards on Monday morning, June 6th. 

[58] I quitted with regret a place where I had paffed 
a few weeks fo pleafantly. I fhall ever retain a grateful 
fenfe of the hofpitality with which I was received, and of 
the refpect and attention with which I was honored by 
the inhabitants of Marietta and Belle pre. 

As we preferred traverfing the woods to afcending the 
river in a boat, we returned to Wheeling on horfeback. 

The induftrious habits and neat improvements of the 
people on the weft fide of the river, are ftrikingly con- 
trafted with thofe on the eaft. Here, in Ohio, they are 
intelligent, induftrious, and thriving; there, on the back 
fkirts of Virginia, ignorant, lazy, and poor. Here the 

358 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

buildings are neat, though fmall, and furnifhed in many 
inftances with brick chimnies and glafs windows; there 
the habitations are miferable cabins. Here the grounds 
are laid out in a regular manner, and inclofed by ftrong 
pofts and rails; there the fields are furrounded by a rough 
zigzag log fence. Here are thrifty young apple orchards; 
there the only fruit that is raifed is the peach, from which 
a good brandy is dijtilled ! 

[59] I had often heard a degrading character of the 
Back settlers; and had now an opportunity of feeing 
it exhibited. The abundance of wild game allures them 
to be huntfmen. They not only find fport in this purfuit, 
but fupply of provifions, together with confiderable profit 
from the peltry. They neglect, of courfe, the cultiva- 
tion of the land. They acquire rough and favage man- 
ners. Sloth and independence are prominent traits in 
their character; to indulge the former is their principal en- 
joyment, and to protect the latter their chief ambition. 

Another caufe of the difference may be that, in the 
back counties of Virginia, every planter depends upon his 
negroes for the cultivation of his lands; but in the State 
of Ohio, where jlavery is not allowed, every farmer tills 
his ground himself. To all this may be added, that 
moft of the "Back-wood's men," as they are called, are 
emigrants from foreign countries, but the State of Ohio 
was fettled by people from New-England, the region 
of Industry, Economy, and steady habits. 

[60] The wildernefs through which we rode often pre- 
fented moft delightful profpects, particularly as we ap- 
proached the bank of the river, which opened and enlarged 
the view. 

We frequently remarked that the banks are higher at 
the margin, than at a little diftance back. I account for 

1803] Harris's Journal 359 

it in this manner. Large trees, which are brought down 
the river by the inundations, are lodged upon the borders 
of the bank; but cannot be floated far upon the champaign, 
becaufe obftructed by the growth of wood. Retaining 
their fituation when the waters fubfide, they obftruct and 
detain the leaves and mud, which would elfe recoil into 
the ftream, and thus, in procefs of time, form a bank 
higher than the interior flats. 

Tuesday, June 7 

There is fomething which impreffes the mind with awe 
in the fhade and filence of thefe vaft forefts. In deep 
folitude, alone with nature, we converfe with God. 

Our courfe through the woods was directed by marked 
trees. As yet there is no road cut. 

There is but little underwood; but on the fides of the 
creeks, and near the river, [61] the papaw (Annona 
glabra,) the fpice bufh, or wild pimento (Laurus benzoin,) 
and the dogberry (cornus Florida,) grow in the greateft 

We often stopped to admire the grapevines in thefe 
forefts, which twine among and fpread a canopy over the 
fummits of the higheft trees. Some are nine inches in 
diameter. They ftretch from the root, which is often 
thirty and forty feet from the trunk of the tree, and afcend 
in a ftraight line to the firft high limb, thirty and even 
fixty feet from the ground. How they have reached fuch 
an height, without the help of intermediate branches, is 

On the upper beach of one of the iflands we faw a large 
flock of Turkey Buzzards, attracted there by a dead car- 
cafs that had floated down the river, and lodged upon the 
bar. Thefe birds did not fly upon our approach. 

360 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

We reached Tomlinson, a fmall fettlement near Grave 
Creek, to lodge. 40 We propofe {pending tomorrow here 
in viewing the furprizing forts and the "Big Mound," in 
this vicinity. 

[62] Wednesday, June 8 

' ' Behind me rises huge a reverend pile 
Sole on this defert heath, a place of tombs, 
Wafte, defolate; where Ruin dreary dwells, 
Brooding o'er fightlefs fkulls and crumbling bones.' ' 

We went out this morning to examine the antient monu- 
ments about Grave Creek. The town of Tomlinfon is 
partly built upon one of the fquare forts. Several mounds 
are to be feen. I think there are nine within a mile. 
Three of them, which ftand adjoining each other, are of 
fuperior height and magnitude to thofe which are moft 
commonly to be met with. In digging away the fide of 
one of thefe, in order to build a ftable, many curious ftone 
implements were found; one refembled a fyringe; there 
were, alfo, a peftle, fome copper beads of an oval fhape, 
and feveral other articles. One of the mounds in Col. 
Bygg's garden was excavated in order to make an ice- 
houfe. 41 It contained a vaft number of human bones, a 

40 Joseph Tomlinson was the son of a Scotch-Irish emigrant who had settled 
in Maryland, where the former was born in 1745. He explored this region as 
early as 1770, but made a permanent location in 1772. The first town that 
Tomlinson attempted to establish (1795), he named Elizabethtown for bis 
wife. It was later merged in Moundsville, West Virginia, of which Tomlinson 
was also proprietor and founder. — Ed. 

a The Biggs family was an important one in the pioneer annals of Western 
Virginia. The father migrated from Maryland, and about 1770 settled on 
Short Creek above Wheeling. There were six sons noted as Indian fighters 
of whom General Benjamin Biggs was best known, having served in Lord 
Dunmore's War and that of the Revolution, and acting as brigadier-general of 
Ohio County militia during the later Indian wars. His papers form part of the 
Draper Manuscripts Collection, belonging to the Wisconsin Historical Society. 
Probably the Colonel Biggs mentioned by Harris was Joseph, he having bought 
one of the first lots in Elizabeth (now Moundsville). 

1803] Harris's 'Journal 361 

variety of ftone tools, and a kind of ftone fignet of an oval 
fhape, two inches in length, with a figure in relievo refem- 
bling a note of admiration, furrounded by two raifed rims. 
Capt. Wilfon, who prefented the ftone to my companion 
Mr. Adams, obferved that it was exactly the figure of 
[63] the brand with which the Mexican horfes were 
marked. 42 One of the mounds was furrounded by a 
regular ditch and parapet, with only one entrance. The 
tumulus was about twelve feet high, and the parapet five. 

The "Big grave" as it is called, is a moft aftonifhing 
mound. We meafured the perpendicular height, and it 
was fixty-feven feet and a half. By the meafurement of 
George Millar, Efq. 43 of Wheeling, it is fixty-eight feet. 
Its fides are quite fteep. The diameter of the top is fifty- 
five feet: but the apex feems to have caved in; for the 
prefent fummit forms a bafon, three or four feet in depth. 
Not having a furveyor's chain, we could not take the cir- 
cumference, but judged that its bafe covered more than 
half an acre. It is overgrown with large trees on all fides. 
Near the top is a white oak of three feet diameter; one 
ftill larger grows on the eaftern side about half way 
down. The mound founds hollow. Undoubtedly its 
contents will be numerous, curious, and calculated to 
develop in a farther degree the hiftory of the antiquities 
which abound in this part of our country. 

[64] As there are no excavations near the mound, and 
no hills or banks of earth, we infer that it muft have been 

Joseph Biggs took part as a boy in the siege of Fort Henry, at Wheeling; 
defended a besieged blockhouse in Ohio, opposite Wheeling, in 1791; and finally 
died in Ohio about 1833. He claimed to have been in seventeen Indian fights 
in and about the neighborhood of Wheeling. — Ed. 

42 This fingular marking-ftone is now depofited in Mr. Turell's Cabinet 
of Curiofities in Bofton. — Harris. 

43 George Millar had one of the first potteries of this region at Wheeling, 
and served as mayor of the town (1806-7). — Ed. 

362 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

principally formed of fods fkimmed from the furface, or of 
earth brought from a great diftance. The labour of col- 
lecting fuch a prodigious quantity muft have been incon- 
ceivably great. And when we confider the multitude of 
workmen, the length of time, and the expenfe, requifite to 
form fuch a ftupendous mound ; when we reflect upon the 
fpirit of ambition which fuggefted the idea of this monu- 
ment, of great but fimple magnificence, to the memory of 
fome renowned prince or warrior, we cannot but regret 
that the name and the glory it was defigned to perpetuate 
are gone — lost in the darkness of the grave ! 44 

Thursday, June 9 

The route from Tomlinfon to Wheeling was very 
romantic. Sometimes we paffed through fhaded vales 
of towering trees, and fometimes on a winding road along 
the f teep fides of a precipice, at the bottom of which flowed 
the beautiful Ohio. The paffage is circuitous and narrow, 
and guarded from the fteep defcent to the river by a 
flight parapet of logs or f tones. If [65] you look below, 
you fear that the ftumbling horfe will precipitate you 
among crags and trees to the river's edge; while from 
above, loofened rocks feem to threaten to crufh you by a 

On thefe declivities grow the mountain rafpberry 
(Rnbus montanus floridus,) in great plenty. It is a hand- 
fome buf h ; and the flower, which is of a pale pink colour, 
and of the fize and appearance of that of the fweet-briar, 
or hedge rofe, gives it a very ornamental appearance. 
We were told that the fruit is large, and exceedingly de- 

44 For recent study of Indian mounds, consult Smithsonian Institution 
Report, 1891 (Washington, 1893); also American Bureau of Ethnology, Twelfth 
Annual Report (Washington, 1894). — Ed. 

1803] Harris's Journal 363 

Friday, June 10 

Leave Wheeling, and proceed homewards in our car- 
riage. Lodge at Donegala, in Wafhington County, 
Pennfylvania. 45 

Saturday, June 1 1 

Pass through Wafhington and arrived at Browns- 
ville to fpend the Sabbath. The remarks I made upon 
the fituation of this place have been transferred to the 
preceding account of the fettlements on the Monongahela 

[66] Monday, June 13 

Dined, and fpent the afternoon at Uniontown, in 
company with the worthy Judge Addison, Judge Rob- 
erts, and the Judges, lawyers, and gentlemen of the cir- 
cuit Court of Fayette County. 46 

Uniontown is the fhire town of the County. It is a 
very pleafant and thriving place, fituated near Redftone 
Creek, and principally built upon one ftraight ftreet, the 
fide walks of which are neatly paved with large flat ftones. 
It contains about one hundred and twenty houfes, many 

45 Harris returned from Wheeling by a road which followed the route later 
taken by the National or Cumberland Road from Wheeling to Uniontown, in 
Fayette County. See Searight, The Old Pike: A History of the National Road 
(Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 1894) for the building and continuation of this 
road, as well as the Congressional debates thereon. 

The town of Donegala has vanished from the map; it was probably at or 
near the present Claysville, in Donegal Township, Washington County. — Ed. 

48 Judge Alexander Addison was a Scotchman who first entered the ministry; 
afterwards studying for the bar, he became the first law judge in western Penn- 
sylvania. His opposition to the Whiskey Rebellion, and prosecution of its 
leaders, and his strong Federalist attitude, made him many enemies among the 
Western settlers, at whose instance he was impeached and removed from the 
bench in 1802. Addison was succeeded by Judge Samuel Roberts, who had 
been born and educated in Philadelphia. Admitted to the bar in 1793, he was 
a successful lawyer when placed upon the bench (1803), where he remained 
until his death in 1820 — Ed. 

364 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

of them well built, and fome quite handfome. The public 
buildings are a meeting-houfe, and a ftone Gaol. There 
is a printing-office in the town which iffues a weekly news- 
paper. Several manufactures are carried on in the place, 
and much bufinefs done in the mercantile line to very 
great advantage. Though the town has been fettled but 
fifteen years, it is, next to Pittfburg and Wheeling, the 
moft flourifhing town through which we paffed on the 
weftern fide of the mountains. Near it are fome valuable 
merchant-mills; and in the county are eighteen furnaces 
and iron works, and feveral diftilleries. 47 

[67] Towards evening we purfued our journey as far 
as Connelsville, where we flept. This town has been 
fettled eight years. It is pleafantly fituated on the 
Yohiogany; and contains about eighty houfes, and four 
hundred inhabitants. 48 

Tuesday, June 14 
Through woody and rugged ways we paffed the Ches- 
nut Ridge, and Laurel Hill, and reached Somerset to 
lodge: a diftance of thirty-three miles. This is a pretty 
place, the fhire town of the County of the fame name. 
It has been fettled eight years; contains about fifty houfes, 
feveral of them well built; fome merchants' f tores, fhops 
of artifts, a meeting-houfe, and a handfome Court-houfe 
and Gaol built with ftone. 

47 The site of Uniontown was first occupied in 1767 by two Scotch-Irishmen, 
who were bought out by Henry Beeson, whose blacksmith forge and mill early 
attracted settlers. A blockhouse was built here in 1774, and two years later a 
town was laid out, known as Beesontown. This did not flourish until after the 
Revolution, when the present name of Uniontown gradually came into use. 
The place was incorporated in 1796, and made the seat of Fayette County. — Ed. 

48 Connellsville, at the head of navigation of the Youghiogheny, was set- 
tled by sons-in-law of Colonel William Crawford, for one of whom the town 
was named, when laid out in 1793. It prospered because of its mills and 
navigation interests, and in 1806 was incorporated as a borough. — Ed. 

1803] Harris's Journal 365 

Finding the afternoon too far fpent to admit of another 
ftage, we concluded to pafs the night here. After a re- 
paft at the inn, we walked out to view the place, and in- 
hale the cool breezes of declining day. The fun was 
juft finking below the weftern mountains, and fringed 
their tops with a rich variety of fiery hues, which died 
away into the moft delicate tints of purple. We ftood 
contemplating this fcene of admirable [68] beauty, till the 
grey fhades of evening fhut it out from the view. 

Wednesday, June 15 

Beginning now to afcend the fteep fides of the Alle- 
ghany, the road is rough and tirefome, and the profpect 
affumes a wilder and more romantic appearance at every 
ftep we advance. 

We croffed a confiderable ftream which dafhes over 
the rocks from the declivity of the mountain, and makes 
the fouth fork of Buffalo-lick Creek; one of the principal 
branches of the Yohiogany river. It iffues from a fpring 
near the top of the mountain. The indiftinct echoes of 
the diftant waterfall, and the plaintive murmurs of the 
breeze breaking in upon the ftillnefs of the defert region, 
conftitute an accompaniment correfponding with the 
folemnity and grandeur of the whole fcene. 

We dined at Seybour's on the top of the mountain. 
We then vifited the beautiful fpring, near the houfe, on 
the eafterly brow of the mountain, which is the fource of 
Caicutuck, or Will's Creek, whofe waters enter the Poto- 
mack at Fort Cumberland, an outer poft built by General 
Braddock in 1755. 49 

49 Fort Cumberland was built the winter before Braddock's campaign, by 
the independent companies sent out from New York and North Carolina to 
support Washington in his advance toward the forks of the Ohio. The first 
title was Fort Mount Pleasant, soon changed in honor of the commander of the 

366 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

[69] Next we walked up to the higher ground, to en- 
joy the profpect afforded by this ftupendous elevation. 

From this fummit a fweep of hundreds of miles is vifi- 
ble, except where remote intervening mountains break 
the line of the horizon, which in other parts is loft in the 
interminable azure wherewith the heaven and the earth 
are blended. Ideas of immenfity f welled and exalted our 
minds as we contemplated a profpect partaking fo much 
of infinitude; and we felt fome wonderful relations to an 
univerfe without boundary or end. 

Descending the mountain, we reached Metzker's, an 
obfcure inn, to lodge. 

Thursday, June 16 

We rofe early in the morning and purfued our journey. 
For feveral miles we had an excellent road on the top of 
Dry Ridge. The fky was clear. The ftars fhone 
brightly. All was folemn and ftill, as if "nature felt a 
paufe." For fome time we but dimly difcerned our way; 
but, as the twilight became brighter, the profpect opened 
before us. The increafing light of dawning day extended 
the ftretch of picturefque fcenery. The horizon affumed 
a [70] hue of tawny red, which gradually heightened into 
ruddy tints, and formed a glowing tiara to encircle the 
fplendors of the rifing fun. The orb of day rofe with 
uncommon grandeur among clouds of purple, red, and 
gold, which mingling with the ferene azure of the upper 
fky, compofed a richnefs and harmony of colouring which 
we never faw furpaffed. The vapours of the night refted 
in the vallies below, and feemed to the view one vaft 

British army. The fort was garrisoned until the close of the French wars in 
1765, and never again re-occupied save for a few days during the Whiskey 
Rebellion (1794). For a detailed history of this place, see Lowdermilk, His- 
tory of Cumberland (Washington, 1878). — Ed. 

1803] Harris's your rial 367 

ocean, through which the projecting peaks and fummits 
of mountains looked like clufters of iflands. The whole 
fcene was novel and interesting in the higheft degree. 
But we foon had to defcend, and were immerfed in fog 
and vapour, and fhut out from the pleafant light of the 
fun for nearly half the day. The next mountain, how- 
ever, raifed us above thefe low clouds, and prefented us 
with a view of the clear and unveiled fky. 

Making a journey of twenty-eight miles this day, we 
arrived at Martin's, by the croffings of the Juniata, and 
put up for the night. 

Friday, June 1 7 

Passing the Sideling Hills, we reach McConnel's 
town, a delightful, [71] well-watered village in Bedford 
County, Pennfylvania, to dine. It is fituated in the 
valley, or, as it is called "the Cove," between Sideling 
and North Mountain. It has been built eight years; 
contains about eighty houfes, feveral of them handfomely 
built with brick or ftone, a number of ftores and fhops, 
and a fmall Dutch meeting-houfe. 

Quitting this fequeftered place, we afcended the 
North Mountain, and enjoyed from its top a variegated 
and magnificent profpect. Deep below we faw the town 
and beautiful vale we had paffed, with the meandering 
ftream which runs through it. Scattered houfes, and rich 
cultivated farms, formed an interefting contraft with 
the rugged mountains with which they were environed. 
On the north and weft the profpect is circumfcribed by 
ranges of mountains; but on the eaft and fouth a prodi- 
gious expanfe of country is laid open to the eye, and the 
fenfes are almoft bewildered in contemplating the vaft- 
nefs of the fcene. 

368 Early Western Travels [Vol. 3 

To wander through the fhady grove, to contemplate 
the verdant pafture and the field of ripening grain, or to 
admire the [72] flowery beauties of the garden, may 
afford a pleafant recreation; but the majeftic features of 
the uncultivated wildernefs, and the extenfive views of 
nature gained from the brows of a lofty mountain, pro- 
duce an expanfion of fancy and an elevation of thought 
more dignified and noble. When thefe great fcenes of 
creation open upon the view, they roufe an admiration 
exalting as it is delightful: and while the eye furveys at a 
glance the immenfity of heaven and earth, the mind is 
rendered confcious of its innate dignity, and recognifes 
thofe great and comprehenfive powers with which it is 
endowed. The Sublime in Nature, which, in its 
effect is equally folemn and pleafing, captivates while it 
awes, and charms while it elevates and expands the foul. 

Saturday, June 18 

We tarried laft night at Campbell's at the Cold Springs, 
where we met with the moft excellent accommodations, 
and lodging peculiarly refrefhing to weary wayworn 
travellers; and rofe this morning with renovated ftrength 
and fpirits to refume our journey. 

[73] We f topped at Chambersburg to breakfaft. 
This is a fine town, fituated on Conogocheague Creek, 
through which might be opened an eafy communication 
with the Potomack. It is a poft-town, and the capital 
of Franklin County, in Pennfylvania ; and is principally 
built on two large ftreets which interfect each other at 
right angles, leaving a public fquare in the centre. It 
contains about two hundred and fifty houfes, handfomely 
built of brick or ftone; two Prefbyterian churches; a 
Court-houfe of brick, and a ftone Gaol. There is a 

1803] Harris's Journal 369 

printing-office in the place, and a paper-mill in the vicinity. 
It is a fituation favourable to trade and manufactures, 
and every thing looks lively and thriving. The land in 
the neighbourhood appears rich and fertile, and is highly 
cultivated. 50 

We dined at Home's on the top of the South Moun- 
tain, and flept at Oxford, a fmall town which has been 
built nine years, but does not appear to much advantage. 51 

Lord's Day, June 19 

Wishing to attend public worfhip at Yorktown, we 
rofe early this morning and arrived there by nine o'clock; 
having paffed [74] through Abbot's Town, a pretty flour- 
ifhing village, the chief town of Adams County. 


Monday, June 20 

Yorktown is a fine place, in pleafantnefs vying with 
Lancafter, in neatnefs exceeding it. It is a poft-town, 
and capital of the county of York. It is fituated on the 
eaft fide of Codorus Creek, which empties into the Suf- 
quehannah. It is regularly laid out, principally on two 
main ftreets which crofs each other at right angles. It 
contains more than five hundred houfes, feveral of which 
are handfomely built of brick, and fome of ftone. The 
public buildings are a German Lutheran, a German 
Calvi nift, a Prefbyterian, a Roman Catholic, and a 

60 For the early history of Chambersburg, see Post's Journals, vol. i of this 
series, p. 238, note 77. Harris returned east by the southern route, or Cham- 
bersburg pike, which branched from the main route some twelve miles east of 
Bedford, passed through the central part of Franklin and Adams counties, and 
through York to Wright's Ferry on the Susquehanna. — Ed. 

51 This is now known as New Oxford, a town in Adams County; it was laid 
out by a German, Henry Kuhns, in 1792. — Ed. 

52 This territory was largely a German settlement, and few towns were 
desired. Abbottstown was laid out by a pioneer of "that name, as early as 
1753, but not incorporated until 1835. — Ed. 


Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 

Moravian Church; a Quaker meeting-houf e ; a Court 
houfe; a ftone Gaol; a Record office, and an Academy. 

Hence our journey was through Lancajter, Reading, 
and Bethlehem, in Pennfylvania ; Warwick and Fijhkill, 
in New York; and Farmington and Hartford in Connec- 

We reached home the beginning of July. 

— ' ' O quid folutis eft beatius curis, 
Cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino 
Lahore feffi, venimus Larem ad noftrum!" 

[75] Itinerary 

The following directory of the Roads and Diftances 
over the mountains, from Lancafter in Pennfylvania, may 
be of ufe to explain fome particulars in the preceding 
Journal, and prove of fervice to thofe who may have occa- 
fion to make the fame tour. 53 



Diftances in 


From Lancaster 

to Big Chickey's 

Cockran's ... 9 

Elizabeth town 

Black horje 

■ 9 



• 9 

Chambers 1 ferry over 

the Sufquehannah . 

. 6 

^Silver jprings 5 * . 






Mount rock 

Grand Turk 





Strafburg . 



Over two mountains to Fannetf burg 


Over the third mountain to Burnt Cabii 



63 Those places where the beft entertainment for travellers is furnished, are 
diftinguifhed by this mark.^[ — Harris. 

" At this place guefts are regaled with a repaft of fine trout. — Harris. 

i8o 3 ] 

Harris's 'Journal 

37 1 

Towns Inns Diftances in 


Over Sideling Hills to Wilds . 13 

Crojjings 0} the Juniata •([Martin's 

• 9 

If Graham's 

. 8 

[76] Bedford 55 ..... 

. 6 

Forks 0} the road 59 ^Smith's . 

■ 4 

Glade road . Metzker's 


Top 0) the Alleghany White horje 

. 11 

Somerfet . . ^[Webfter's 

• J 3 

Laurel Hill 

. 8 


■ 3 

Jones's Mill ..... 

. 6 

Mount Pleafant ..... 


Weftmoreland . ^[McKean's 

■ 5 

Budd's ferry over the Yohiogany 

. 8 

Pittf burg . \Pure fountain . 

. 28 

CJannonfburg . Black horje 

. 18 

Wafhington . Indian Queen . 

• 9 

Alexandria ..... 

. 16 

Shepherd's Mills ..... 

■ 9 

Wheeling 57 . ^[Goodwin's 

• 7 

Down the river to Marietta 

■ 95 

From Marietta to 

[77] Returning 

^[Dana's . 





65 From Bedford to Baltimore 143 miles, and to Pittfburg 11 1 miles. — Harris. 

M The fouthernmost road is called the Glade road, and is confidered as the 
beft except after heavy rains; the northernmoft is called the Old or Forbes' s 
road, and goes by Fort Ligonier. Thefe roads unite twenty-eight miles on this 
fide of Pittfburg. — Harris. 

67 The whole distance from Bofton to Wheeling, the road we went, is 817 
miles, and from Philadelphia 472 miles. — Harris. 

37 2 

Early Western Travels 




Hurd's jerry acrojs the Ohio Hurd's 
Fijh Creek .... 

Grave Creek . UBigg's . 

Wheeling . ^[Goodwin's 

Donegala ..... 
Wafhington . Indian Queen 

Brownfville or Redftone fjenkinfon's 

Chesnut ridge 

Top oj Laurel Hill 

Top of Alleghany 


^Welles' . 






Strotler's . 

Forks oj the road Bonnet's . 

^Smith's . 
End of the Glade road 
[78] Bedford .... 

][Graham's 58 
Crojjings oj the Juniata ^Martin's 59 
[Then, to go by Chamberfburg, take the 
road on the S. E. jide oj Sideling 
Hills] . . Beckwith's 

McConnelftown ^{Davis's . 


Diftances in 


















68 See the preceding Journal. — Harris. 

68 Neat chambers, clean beds, and foft pillows; fweet water, and affiduous 

attendance. — Harris. 

i8o 3 ] 

Harris's Journal 



Inns Diftances in 








Home's . 
Crojs Keys 

• 5 

■ 7 

■ 3 
. 8 


• • • • 


Abbot's town 

* m m * < 

^King's . . 
Wolfe's . 


Yorktown . 

lUpp's \ 
Wright's ferry , 







From April 6 to June 13, 1803 

of the 

Times of 





Fahrenh, deg. 


VI.A.M. 34 

Carlifle in Pennfyl- 


II. P.M. 64 

127 miles from 


Fair all day. 


X.A.M. 52 

Stratfburg, at the 
foot of the moun- 
tain . 


XI. A.M. 58 

Top of the moun- 


XII.M. 67 

Valley below . 

H.P.M. 57 

Top of the fecond 

III. P.M. 69 

Fannetfburg; 2d 


V. P.M. 72 

Top of third moun- 
tain . 

VII. P.M.60 

Burnt Cabins; 3d 


Fair all day. 


VI. A.M. 48 

Same place . 



X.A.M. 62 

Foot of Sideling 
mountain . 

Fair, except 
while envel- 
oped with 
clouds on the 
fide of the 


XII.M. 56 
II. P.M. 65 
V. P.M. 58 

(Borders of the ( 
J Juniata. { 






XI. A.M. 62 

} fame place . 


II. P.M. 68 



VII. A.M.54 


> Fair. 

II. P.M. 78 

Foot of the Alle- 


VII. P.M.52 

Top of the moun- 
tain . 

i8o 3 ] 

Harris's 'Journal 


of the 








T 9 


Times of 

VI.A.M. 55 

XII. M. 74 

V. P.M. 77 


VI. A.M. 57 
X. A.M. 63 

XII. M. 84 

VII. P.M.79 
VI. A.M. 70 

II. P.M. 65 
VII. P.M.68 

VI. A.M. 58 

X.A.M. 64 

VII. P.M.55 
IX. P.M. 49 
VII. A.M35 
XII. M. 48 

VI. P.M. 46 

VII. A.M.44 
XII. M. 46 

VI. P.M. 45 

VII. A.M.43 
XII. M. 63 
VII. P.M.60 
VII. A.M.45 
II. P.M. 72 
VII. P.M.62 
X.A.M. 62 

m. p.m. 78 

VI. P.M. 68 


Top of the moun- 


Foot of Laurel 

Top of the moun- 
fame place 

Bottom of Laurel 
Hill . 

265 miles from 
Philad. . 

280 fame place. 

285 fame place 

Banks of Monon- 

Mifflin (Allegha- 
ny Co.) 312 miles 
from Philad. 

Valley of Monon- 

fame place, 
fame place. 

fame place. 


fame place. 




10 miles beyond 

Shepherd's mills 

on Wheeling 









S.E. by E. 




Smoky all day. 

Hazy. . 




Cloudy. Snow 

in the night. 


Flurry of fnow. 




Fair & pleafant. 



eo From Bedford our direction has been north to the amount of more than a 
degree. — Harms. 

37 6 

Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 

or the | 













Times of 

VII. A.M.62 
II. P.M. 75 

VII. P. M.72 
VII. A.M.64 

II. P.M. 73 
VII.P.M. 65 

VII.A.M. 58 
II P.M. 65 
V. P.M. 63 
VII. A.M.66 
II. P.M. 68 
V. P.M. 65 
VII. A.M.55 
II. P.M. 66 
V. P.M. 64 
VII.A.M. 46 
II. P.M. 60 
V. P.M. 58 
VII. A.M.48 

XII. M. 
V. P.M. 
XII. M. 
V. P.M. 
XII. M. 
V. P.M. 
XII. M. 
V. P.M. 








VII.A.M. 72 
XII. M. 79 
V. P.M. 68 
VII. A.M.63 
XII. M. 61 


Captinat Iflandon 

the Ohio, 101 

miles below Pittf- 

Fifh Creek, no 

miles below Pittf- 

Long reach on the 

Ohio 127 miles 

below Pittfburg. 
Long reach. 
Head of Mufkin- 

gum HI. 

> Marietta. 

fame place. 

fame place. 

fame place. ) 
>■ fame place. 



Shower early 
in morn. 


S.E. and 





S.W. and 

Frefh wind 





[ Fair. 





Fair. Slight frost 
in the night. 

i8o 3 ] 

Harris's 'Journal 


of the 

Times of 





V.P.M. 50 





XII. M. 58 

\ fame place. 



V.P.M. 55 



VII A.M. 54 

XII. M. 62 

>• fame place. 



V.P.M. 58 



VII. A.M.56 


XII. M. 62 

>■ fame place. 




V.P.M. 59 
VII. A.M.54 
XII. M. 58 
V.P.M. 52 

>• Bellepre". 



cold for this 


Fall of f now : 


VII. A.M.44 
XII. M. 52 
V.P.M. 39 

> fame place. 


very unufual 
here, and more 
than fell at any 
one time in the 


VII. A.M.38 



XII. M. 56 

> fame place. 



V.P.M. 55 



VII. A.M.53 


XII. M. 58 

> fame place. 


V.P.M. 56 





XII. M. 69 

> fame place. 



V P.M 58 



VII. A.M.55 


XII. M. 70 

]■ Marietta. 



V.P.M. 71 



VII. A.M.65 
XII. M. 80 
V.P.M. 77 

> fame place. 

by N. 



VII. A.M.68 

"fame place. 

XII. M. 82 


V.P.M. 79 


VII A.M. 72 
XII. M. 80 

• Marietta. 

> Fair. 

V.P.M. 79 

8 miles up the Muf - 



VII. A.M.71 
XII. M. 78 
V.P.M. 75 

At Rainbow, a lit- 
tle village 12 
miles up the 



Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 

of the 





Times of 



2 3 


VII. A.M. 78 
XII. M. 83 
V. P.M. 77 

VII A.M. 62 
XII. M. 85 
V. P.M. 80 
VII. A.M.63 
XII. M. 80 
V. P.M. 77 
VII. A M.82 
XII. M. 84 
V. P.M. 86 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P. 



M. 76 
.M. 73 
M. 69 
.M. 65 
M. 69 
.M. 68 
A.M. 5 
M. 66 
.M. 60 
M. 71 
.M. 68 
M. 68 
M. 66 
M. 68 
M. 65 
M. 75 
M. 63 
M. 68 
.M. 64 


I Up the Mufkin- 
I gum. 
18 miles from 
Waterford, 25 
miles from 


/-Returning from 
) Waterford. 

> Marietta. 

fame place. 










Broken clouds. 
Thun. fhowers. 



Clouds united 
from the N.E. 
and S.W. with 
a heavy thun- 
der fhower. 








Thun. fhowers. 



Thun. fhower. 


Flying clouds, 
& diftant thun. 


i8o 3 ] 

Harris's 'Journal 


of the 

2 9 








Times of 

XII. M. 63 
V. P.M. 56 
VII. A.M.59 
XII. M. 72 
V. P.M. 70 
VII. A.M.58 
XII. M. 81 
V. P.M. 60 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



V. P 



M. 80 
M. 76 
M. 85 
.M. 81 
M. 79 
.M. 74 
M. 74 
,M. 72 
M. 77 
.M. 62 
M. 75 

V. P.M. 63 
VII. A.M.66 
XII. M. 77 

V.P.M. 62 
VII. A.M.59 

V. P.M. 
XII. M. 
V. P.M. 
VII. A.M.68 
XII. M. 84 






j- Bellepre\ 

fame place. 

Vienna, a little 
village on the 
Ohio, in the 
State of Vir- 


fame place. 

fame place. 

fame place. 

fame place. 


25 miles up the 

48 do. 
fame place. 
63 miles up the 

Grave Creek. 

j- do. 


\ Wheeling. 

1 2 miles from 



S.W. and 









> Rainy. 


Scatt. clouds. 







3 8o 

Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 

of the 

Times of 


V. P.M. 78 


VII. A.M.74 
XII. M. 84 
V. P.M. 82 


VII. A.M.72 
XII. M. 84 
V. P.M. 83 




Donegala, a fmall 

town in Penn- 


Wafhington, in 
I County, Penn- 
J fylvania. 
fame place. , Faif 

\ Brownfvilie." \^^_ 

fhower in the 

n At this place I was so unfortunate as to break my Thermometer. — Harris. 





By William Chandler, a.m. one of the Tutors 

March, 1803 



The greateft degree of cold was on the 
2d in the morning: the greateft degree of 
heat on the 26th P.M. Prevalent winds 

Times of 













from S. to W. A very little fnow on the 
9th. From the ift to 7th fair; on the 7th 
and 8th much rain, and fome thunder; 


on the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, and 27th 
rain, much wind, and thunder. The re- 
maining days funfhine and pleafant. 

Peach trees in bloom the latter end of 
this month. 










The greateft degree of cold was on the 


17th; the greateft degree of heat was on 
the 29th. Prevalent winds from S. to 
N.W. Rain on the 4th, 15th, 20th, 22d, 
23d, and 25th. The atmosphere was 
very fmoky a confiderable part of the 
remaining days. On the 17th, 18th, 
and 19th were frofts which deftroyed 

Times of 






















the young fruit, and the principal part 
of the maft. 

Not much thunder this month. 



The greateft degree of heat was on the 
17th; the leaft on the 9th, when there 
was froft. Rain on the ift, 4th, 5th, 6th, 
7th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 22d, 24th, 25th, 
and 26th; the other days were fair; but 

Times of 














few of them fmoky. 







Not much thunder this month. 

3 82 

Early Western Travels 

[Vol. 3 




Greateft degree of heat on the 17 th 
and 27th, leaft on the 6th. Rain on the 

Times of 











4th, 5th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 18th, and 19th. 
The remainder of the month pleafant. 
No days f moky. 


The meazles have prevailed this, and 
the preceding months, with greater 
fe verity than had been known before. 
In many inftances they proved fatal. 









[85] J^y 


The greateft degree of heat was on the 

Times of 




12th and 13th; the leaft on the 6th and 
7th. The thermometer has ftood at 90 
two or three times at between III. and 
IV. P.M. We had rain on the 2d, 4th, 
1 6th, 17th, and 24th. 
For the two laft months the prevalent 


















winds were from S.W. to W. We have 
very few winds from the eaft. Storms 
are heard to roar in the mountains,fif- 

Note. T 
greatejt hea 

he tin 
is ah 
t oj th 

ie oj 
'tile pc 
■e day. 


ijt the 

teen miles fouth of this place, for one or 
more days before they come. 

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E. G. Bourne. 

With Analytical Index and Illustrations. Limited edition, 
$5 volumes, large 8vo, cloth, uncut, gilt top. Price $4.00 
net per volume. 

"The work is second in importance only to the original documents; to 
the student it is even of greater value, since it places before him translations 
of these historical data which would otherwise be totally inaccessible, and 
without which no work on the Philippines could be definitive." 

— American Anthropologist. 

"At the present time few subjects are discussed so widely and so igno- 
rantly as matters relating to the Philippines." — Chicago Chronicle. 

"In addition to its value as accurate history, the work is full of interest 
and of suggestions of thrilling mediaeval romance and adventure among 
strange scenes and wild people." — Philadelphia Telegraph. 

RETURN TO the circulation desk of any 
University of California Library 
or to the 
Bldg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
University of California 
Richmond, CA 94804-4698 


• 2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

• 1-year loans may be recharged by bringing 
books to NRLF 

• Renewals and recharges may be made 4 
days prior to due date. 





FORM NO. DD6, 60m, 1 /83 BERKELEY, CA 94720 



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