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AN EXPLANATION OF THE MAP WHICH DELINEATES THAT PART OF THE
FEDERAL LANDS COMPREHENDED BETWEEN PENNSYLVANIA WEST LINE,
NEW YORK, October 28, 1787. Having attentively perused the following pamphlet, describing part of the western territory of the United States, I do Certify, that the facts therein related, respecting the fertility of the soil, productions, and general advantages of settlement, etc., are judicious, just, and true, and correspond with observations made by me during my residence of upward of ten years in that country.
THOMAS HUTCHINS, Geographer of the United States.'
AN EXPLANATION, ETC. The great river Ohio is formed by the confluence of Monongahela and the Alleghany, in the State of Penusylvania, about 290 miles west of the city of Philadelphia, and about 20 miles east of the western line of that State. In the common traveling road, the former distance is computed at 320 miles; and, by the windings and oblique direction of the Ohio, the latter is reckoned about 42. These two sources of the Ohio are large, navigable streams; the former, flowing from the southeast, leaves but 30 miles portage from the navigable waters of the Potomac, in Virginia ; the latter opens a passage from the north-east, and rises not far from the head-waters of the Susquehanna. The State of Pennsylvania has already adopted the plan of opening a navigation from the Alleghany River to the city of Philadelphia, through the Susquehanna and the Delaware. In this route, there will be a portage of only 24 miles. On the junction of these rivers, or at the head of the Ohio,
stands Fort Pitt, which gives name to the town of Pittsburgh, a flourishing settlement in the vicinity of the fortress. From this place, the Ohio takes a south-western course of 1,188 miles, including its various windings, and discharges itself into the Mississippi, having passed a prodigious length of delightful and fertile country, and received the tribute of a large number of navigable streams. The Muskingum, the Hockhocking, the Scioto, the Miami, and the Wabash from the North-west, the Kenhawa, the Kentucky, the Buffaloe, the Shawanee, and the Cherokee from the south-east, all navigable from 100 to 900 miles, discharge themselves into the Ohio; and yet the Ohio itself forms but an inconsiderable part of that vast variety of congregated streams which visit the ocean through the channel of the Mississippi.
The Ohio, from Pennsylvania to the Mississippi, divides the State of Virginia from the Federal lands, or the lands which do not fall within the limits of any particular State. These
extend westward to the Mississippi and northward to the ' boundary of the United States, excepting only the Connecticut reserve, which is a narrow strip of land, bordering on the south of Lake Erie, and stretching 120 miles west of the western limit of Pennsylvania. But a small proportion of these lands is as yet purchased of the natives, and to be disposed of by Congress. Beginning on the meridian line, which forms the western boundary of Pennsylvania, they have surveyed and laid off seven ranges of townships. As a north and south line strikes the Ohio in a very oblique direction, the termination of the seventh range falls upon that river 9 miles above the Muskingum, which is the first large river that falls into the Ohio. It forms this junction at 172 miles below Fort Pitt, including the windings of the Ohio, though in a direct line it is but 90 miles. The lands in which the Indian title is extinguished, and which are now purchasing under the United States, are bounded as before described on the east, by the Great Miami on the west, by the Ohio on the south, and extend near to the head-waters of the Muskingum and Scioto on the north. The Muskingum is a gentle river, confined by banks so high as to prevent its overflowing. It is 250 yards wide at its confluence with the Ohio, and navigable by large batteaux and barges to the Three Legs; and, by small ones, to the lake at its head. From thence, by a portage of about one mile, a communication is opened to Lake Erie, through the Cayahoga, which is a stream of great utility, navigable the whole length, without any obstruction from falls. From Lake Erie, the avenue is well known to the Hudson, in the State of New York. The most considerable portage in this route is at the fall of Niagara, which interrupts the communication between the Lakes Erie and Ontario. From the latter, you pass through the River Oswego, the Oneyda Lake, Wood's Creek, and find a short portage into the Mohawk, and another, occasioned by a fall near the confluence of the Mohawk and the Hudson, at Albany.
The Hockhocking resembles the Muskingum, though somewhat inferior in size. It is navigable for large boats about 70 miles, and for small ones much farther. On the banks of this very useful stream are found inexhaustible quarries of freestone, large beds of iron ore, and some rich mines of lead. Coal mines and salt springs are frequent in the neighborhood of this stream, as they are in every part of the western territory. The salt that may be obtained from these springs will afford an inexhaustible store of that necessary article. Beds of white and blue clay, of an excellent quality, are likewise found here, suitable for the manufacture of glass, crockery, and other earthenwares. Red bole and many other useful fossils have been observed on the branches of this river.
The Scioto is a larger river than either of the preceding, and opens a more extensive navigation. It is passable for large barges for 200 miles, with a portage of only 4 miles to the Sandusky, a good, navigable stream, that falls into the Lake Erie. Through the Sandusky and Scioto lies the most common pass from Canada to the Ohio and Mississippi, one of the most extensive and useful communications that are to be found in any country.
Prodigious extensions of territory are here connected ; and, from the rapidity with which the western parts of Canada, Lake Erie, and the Kentucky countries are settling, we may anticipate an immense intercourse between them. The lands on the borders of these middle streams, from this circumstance
alone, aside from their natural fertility, must be rendered vastly valuable. There is no doubt but flour, corn, flax, hemp, etc., raised for exportation in that great country between the Lakes Huron and Ontario, will find an easier outlet through Lake Erie and these rivers than in any other direction. The Ohio merchant can give a higher price than those of Quebec for these commodities, as they may be transported from the former to Florida and the West India Islands with less expense, risk, and insurance, than the latter; while the expense from the place of growth to the Ohio will not be one-fourth of what it would be to Quebec, and much less than even to the Oneyda Lake. The stream of Scioto is gentle, nowhere broken by falls. At some places, in the spring of the year, it overflows its banks, providing for large natural rice plantations. Salt springs, coal mines, white and blue clay and freestone, abound in the country adjoining this river. The undistinguishing terms of admiration, that are commonly used in speaking of the natural fertility of the country on the western waters of the United States, would render it difficult, without accurate attention in the surveys, to ascribe a preference to any particular part, or to give a just description of the territory under consideration, without the hazard of being suspected of exaggeration. But in this we have the united opinion of the Geographer, the Surveyors, and every traveler that has been intimately acquainted with the country, and marked every natural object with the most scrupulous exactness—that no part of the federal territory unites so many advantages, in point of health, fertility, variety of production, and foreign intercourse, as that tract which stretches from the Muskingum to the Scioto and the Great Miami Rivers.
Colonel Gordon, in his journal, speaking of a much larger range of country, in which this is included, and makes unquestionably the finest part, has the following observation : “ The country on the Ohio is every-where pleasant, with large level spots of rich land, and remarkably healthy. One general remark of this nature will serve for the whole tract of the globe comprehended between the western skirts of the Alleghany mountains; thence running south-westerly to the distance of 500 miles to the Ohio falls; then crossing them northerly to the heads of the rivers that empty themselves into the Ohio; then east along the ridge that separates the lakes and Ohio's streams to French creek. This country may, from a proper knowledge, be affirmed to be the most healthy, the most pleasant, the most commodious and most fertile spot on earth, known to the European people.”
The lands that feed the various streams above mentioned, which fall into the Ohio, are now more accurately known, and may be described with confidence and precision. They are interspersed with all the variety of soil which conduces to pleasantness of situation, and lays the foundation for the wealth of an agricultural and manufacturing people. Large level bottoms, or natural meadows, from 20 to 50 miles in cir. cuit, are every-where found bordering the rivers and variegating the country in the interior parts. These afford as rich a soil as can be imagined, and may be reduced to proper cultivation with very little labor. It is said that in many of these bottoms a man may clear an acre a day, fit for planting with Indian corn; there being no under-wood, and the trees growing high and large, but not thick together, need nothing but girdling. The prevailing growth of timber and the more useful trees are maple or sugar-tree, sycamore, black and white mulberry, black and white walnut, butternut, chestnut, white, black, Spanish, and chestnut oaks, hickory, cherry, buckwood, honey locust, elm, horse chestnut, cucumber tree, lynn tree, gum tree, iron wood, asli, aspin, sassafras, crab-apple tree, pawpaw or custard apple, a variety of plum trees, wine-bark spice, and leather-wood bushes. General Parsons measured a black-walnut tree, near the Muskingum, whose circumference, at 5 feet from the ground, was 22 feet. A sycamore, near the same place, measured 44 feet in circumference, at some distance from the ground. White and black oak, and chestnut, with most of the above-mentioned timbers, grow large and plenty upon the high grounds. Both the high and low lands produce vast quantities of natural grapes of various kinds, of which the settlers universally may make a sufficiency for their own consumption of rich red wine. It is asserted in the old settlement of St. Vincent's, where they have had opportunity to try it, that age will render this wine preferable to