Journal of a Trip to Kentucky in 1795 By Lewis Condict, MD

After Lewis Condict’s mother left for Kentucky, he went to visit her there, which, in 1795, the year he went, was no small undertaking. Along the way, he kept a travel diary or journal, which, fortunately, has survived. The original typeset online versions, presented by the New Jersey Historical Society,  are here and here. At some point  it would be great to get a scan of the original manuscript, but for now…

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Journal of a Trip to Kentucky in 1795

By Lewis Condict, M. D.

The following journal of a horseback trip to Kentucky in 1795, kept by Lewis Condict, M. D., of Morristown, was presented in the original manuscript to the New Jersey Historical Society, of which Dr. Condict was an original member, at its founding in 1845, by his grand-daughter, Miss Sophia W. Condict, of Washington, D.C. Dr. Condict was accompanied by a party of New Jersey men. His definite object was to visit his mother who dwelt at Cox’s Creek in the Salt River valley, Kentucky. Other interests, commercial and educational, doubtless obtained among the individuals of the party. To Judge Alfred Elmer Mills of Morristown we are indebted for the following annotations on the life of Dr. Condict, for which material Judge Mills gives credit to Henry L. Coit, M.D., who wrote a “Sketch of the Life of Hon. Lewis Condict, M. D., of New Jersey.” [See my  earlier post for the text of this.–LSL]

  • He was born at Morristown, N.J. March 3, 1772 and died there May 26, 1862.
  • He received his medical degree, Feb’y, 1794, from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • He was a member of Congress from N. J., 181 1 to 1817, and 1819 to 1833.
  • Chairman of the Reception Committee to Lafayette at Morristown in 1825.
  • A trustee of the College of N. J. (Princeton University) 1827 to 1861.
  • In 1835 he became the first President of the Morris and Essex Railroad.
  • He was the President of the National Convention for the First Decennial Revision of the U. S. Pharmacopoeia.
  • He was for a number of years Speaker of the House of Assembly of New Jersey.
  • He was a Presidential Elector in 1840.

 

 

Journal

 

June 8th 1795 set out from Morris Town at 1 o’clock & rode as far as Millers, on the Moschonekunk, 26 miles, Major John Kinney & Silas Cook of Essex Co. my companions. This divides the Counties of Sussex, Morris & Hunterdon, & is about 4 times as large as Whippany River at Morris Town.

 

9th. Rode 14 miles & breakfasted at Elders Mill on the Moschonk from thence to Easton a handsome Town, situated at the junction of the Delaware & Lehi on the Pennsylvania shore, from thence to Bethlehem, a Moravian settlement, beautifully situated on the banks of the Lehi, famous for its School for the education of young Ladies. The Lehi is a most beautiful river, & appears to be wider than the Delaware, at its Junction with it. The land is extremely fertile on its banks & produces in great abundance. Crossed the Lehi near Allentown in a Scow & my mare had almost jumped over board being frighted by the rope rubbing against her legs. Staid at Allentown.

10th. Set out at 5 o’clock & rode to Popes tavern to breakfast 14 miles. From Easton to Popes tavern the Country is very level & rich; but not well watered. The farms are large, & afford most excellent crops of wheat & rye. Many fields which contain not less than 50 or 60 acres are covered with a very luxuriant growth of both those kinds of grain. The weather as yet very fine. Allentown contains about 20 or 30 dwelling houses & 2 handsome Dutch Churches built of stone. People all Dutch, but for money will spare you anything. From Popes tavern the face of the country begins to change. It is more hilly & uneven untill you approach the blue mountains. The crops are not so good, & the land which is tilled appears to be worn out. Carters Town is about thirty miles distant from Allentown & conttains about 25 houses, some of which are well built. It stands a small distance from the Schuylkil. From Easton to Carterstown, the houses are built either of stone or logs hewn, & the interstices filled with stone; they are in general two stories, & make a handsome appearance. From Carters town we rode 10 miles to Herrings tavern & crossed the Schuylkill at the Gap in the first Blue mountain. The gap is narrow & the mountain very high on each side, but the road is good considering the roughness of the ground : great expense & labor must have been expended upon it. The sides of the mountain are covered mostly with Pines & handsomely ornamented with shrubs & flowers. Added to this the rocks which are pendant from the tops of the mount’n make a very handsome landscape. The weather has been very fine all day only something warm, but at sundown it began to cloud up & sprinkled a little. It appears to threaten a storm.

 

11th. Last night it rained very hard; but has stopped a little this morning. At 5 o’clock set out from Herrings & rode 14 miles to breakfast at young Reeds. Crost the Schuylkill again & found it risen very much by last nights rain. Crossed the second blue mountain, a most dark, dreary & lengthy road, which I was obliged to ride alone, having forgotten my papers this morn’g. & had to go back half a mile for them. From the second blue mountain to Sunbury which is about thirty-five miles the road is very rough & uneven, being little more or less than a constant succession of mountains the whole distance, & but 4 or 5 houses or rather huts on the road. Reed’s tavern which is lately built is a very elegant house. Broad mountain is the most considerable one of the ridge, & is eight miles over. The road crooks in almost every possible direction for the sake of avoiding the highest parts of the mountains. We forded many riverlets & creeks which were much raised by the rain, Shemlkin among the rest. There are some handsome flats of land on the road which are good, & well covered with pine trees. The weather continues cloudy & cool but no rain. From young Reed’s we rode 25 miles to Titsworth where we put up for the night.

 

12. Last night it rained again very hard but ceased this morning. We rode 12 miles to Sunbury where we breakfasted. This town is small, containing about 45 or 50 houses, mostly of wood, but not well built. It is beautifully situated on a small plain just below the Junction of the northeast & west branches of the Susquhana, which is about half a mile wide & a most beautiful river. Sunbury does not appear to be a very lively place, but from its situation, it may flourish in a little time. From Sunbury we crosed the Susquhana to Northumberland Town. It is the County Town of Northumberland county which is situated just above the former on the point of the two branches, & is about the size of Sunbury. This is the residence of the famous Dr. Priestly who is building a handsome dwelling house here. The weather is still cloudy & rainy by spells. Wrote to Dr. Lewis. Stayed in Northumberland 24 hours at Peter Jones a Cousin of Major Kinney’s. During our stay here a building took fire, at which we saw Dr. Priestly.

 

13th. Breakfasted at Peter Jones’s and at 6 o’clock, set out from Northumberland for Darrstown, 9 miles, where we again crosed the west branch of the Susquhana.

 

This town is just building — the houses are all new, & about 20 in number. It is probable it will become a place of trade, as it has a fine Country bank, & is the place where the country people carry their produce to go from there to market by water. From Darrstown we rode through Youngmanstown, 9 miles; — this town tho’ quite new, contains about 30 houses, mostly new & small. Buffalow Valley, which lies between Darrstown & the narrows, is a most excellent piece of Land; there are very line farms through the whole valley, which are well covered with fine crops of wheat & rye. The timber is very large & fine, consisting mostly of Pines & oak. From Youngmanstown we rode to the entrance of the Narrows, a place so called from its situation between two mountains which run very near each other & divide BufTalow from Penns Valley & put up at Crawfords tavern, 9 miles from town, a house miserably accommodated for travellers.

 

Weather still cloudy & dull, but no rain: fine & cool for travelling. At Crawfords a young man shot himself through the hand, by carelessly handling a loaded gun.

 

14th. Sunday. Last night it cleared up, & this morn’g is very fine. At half past 4 set out from Crawfords & rode through the narrows, a dismal place to Aaronsburgh or Jewstown, 12 miles to breakfast. This is a small flourishing village. After breakfast we set out from Jewstown & rode through Penns valley, a most delightful country, but not thickly settled. Part of it is a level plain of excellent land, on which we saw three very fine Deer. At 6 o’clock this afternoon we put up for the night at one Kerr’s, thirty miles from Crawfords.

 

Monday 15th. At 7 o’clock set out, & rode to Matthorns; 10 miles to breakfast ; weather very fine. From Matthorns we rode to little Juniatta at the mouth of Spruce Creek, where we forded Juniatta & proceeded to Frankstown 16 miles, across several ridges of mountains, in which we were bewildered & lost, & after wandering about some time we found our course & proceeded on. Crossed big Juniatta twice & towards even’g arrived in sight of the long dreaded Allegheny mountain, & put up for the night at the foot of it, at Holliday’s. The land on the banks of the big Juniatta is as good if not superior to any we have yet passed, particularly a tract of it called Dunker’s bottom. Big Juniatta where we forded it is about the size of Pisaick at Chatham. The land is very well covered with a very heavy growth of timber, mostly oak. Black walnut trees grow to an enormous size & height.

 

Tuesday 16th. Breakfasted at Holidays where we accidently fell in with a Mr. Sears, who was going to Redstone, & at 7 o’clock began to climb the Allegheny. We determined to go the new road which is said to be 15 miles nearer than the old. The distance from one side to the other is 35 miles, & in this whole distance there is not a single house. The road is cut & part of the logs are removed for 20 miles of the distance, but in the remainder there is nothing but a very blind path, which winds about among the rocks, trees & logs, & in some places is so obscure as to be scarcely discernible. The ascents & descents are in most places very difficult as well as long. Most of the land on the mount’n is of an excellent quality, & very well covered with very handsome timber. In about the middle of the wilderness Maj. Kinney was taken very sick & we were obliged to be still an hour until he got somewhat relieved & we proceeded on. At 7 o’clock we got over the mount’n to an old Dunkard’s habitation, where we put up for the night, being almost overcome by the fatigues of the day. We were treated very kindly by the family who notwithstand’g they were very poor, provided a very good supper, which was well seasoned with appetite. His sons went out in the night & caught a very fine mess of fish on purpose for our breakfast. They live on the banks of Connamaugh Creek, which abounds in Salmon, Buffalo fish, Perch, Bass, Pike &c. They caught us a Buffalo fish as large as a common Shad. As we were very much fatigued we did not proceed on our Journey until 8 o’clock Wednesday morning, when we crossed Connamaughs Creek & Laurel Hill, which in Jersey, would pass very current for a mountain & no despicable one either, being about 4 miles over, & very steep & rocky, & the path full of logs. From the west side of Laurel hill we rode to the house of one Col. Hendricks, formerly a member of the Legislature of Pennsylv’a, who moved from Jersey several years since, & who treated us very hospitably & would receive no compensation for his trouble. From, Coll. Hendricks we passed through Lyonier valley & fort, & put up at the foot of Chestnut Ridge at the house of one, Keler, a dutchman, making but 24 miles all day. Near Lyonier we came into the main road leading from Philad’a to Pittsburgh. Weather clear and hot.

 

Thursday, June 18th. At half past four A. M. we set out from Keler’s & rode to Greensburgh 15 miles, where we breakfasted. Greensburgh is the Capitol of Westmowland County, & is about half the size of Morris Town. It is very compact & stands on a hill. From Greensburgh we rode to McKee’s ferry on Monongahela, where a new town is laid out by the name of Portsbillo, at the mouth of the Yohogeny. The Monongahela is a most beautiful river, near 200 yards wide, altho’ it is now very low. About 4 miles below McKee’s we crossed Monongah’a a second time & arrived at Pittsburg at half past 9 o’clock at even’g, having rode 48 miles. Here we found most of the taverns full, but finally we put up at Murphy’s at the sign of Gen’l Butler. Pittsburgh is a handsome, flourishing & very lively little town, most delight’f situated at the confluence of the Rivers, Monongah’a & Allegany. It is incorporated, but the streets are not paved. It contains about 100 houses, some of which are handsome buildings. An immense parts is constantly passing through to Kentucky. The Alevery kind of commodity transported to Kentucky & the western territory, as well as the market town of all the western parts of Pennsylv’a. An immense crowd of people from all parts are constantly passing through to Kentucky. The Allegheny River is rather larger than the Monongahela where they unite to form the Ohio, but we found the water quite low, & falling very fast. We rec’d information at Pittsburgh by a young man who just came up the Ohio from Fort Washington, that the Indians were very troublesome on the river, having fired upon several boats, & had attacked & defeated the packet boat as she came up the river, killing one man & wounding two men dangerously. We were likewise informed that Flying Cloud, an Indian Chief had gone out with 20 warriors to avenge the death of one or two Indians lately killed by the whites up Alleg’h’y. This day has been very hot.

 

Friday June 19th. This morn’g it rained very hard, but towards noon it cleared up very warm. Spent the day in endeavoring to get a boat to go down to Limestown.

 

Saturday, June 20th. Last night it rained again, but cleared up about 9 o’clock this morn’g. At sunset there was a very hard gust of wind.

 

Sunday 21st. The inhabitants of Pittsburgh do not seem to be overburdened with religion, nor even the appearance of devotion. “Keep what I’ve got, & get what 1 can,” whether by fair means or otherways, seems to be the motto of each individual. This morn’g we concluded to take our horses down the river as far as Wheeling, as the water is very low. Mr. Cook, Mr. Dunn, & myself set out for the purpose at i o’clock. Dined at Canonsburgh 17 miles from Pittsburgh. This town contains about 50 houses built mostly of logs. From Canonsburgh we rode 7 miles to Washington, but lost our way & rode 14 instead of 7. This is the Capitol of the County of the same name, & is a very handsome, compact village, contain’g about 70 or 80 houses, some of which are handsome buildings. The Courthouse is a very elegant one. At dusk it began to rain hard & continued most of the night.

 

Monday 22. At 6 o’clock we left Washington, & rode ir miles to breakfast at a farmer’s house, where we had a most excellent dish of Chorolets. After breakfast we proceeded on to Wheelin, 22 miles; which we reached about 6 o’clock, having a great deal of trouble with the horses. Wheelin is a small village lately laid out, situated at the mouth of the Creek of the same name on a very handsome eminence, & contains about 20 or 25 buildings, most of which are log houses. Weather very fine.

 

Tuesday 23. Took our horses 3 miles from the town down the Ohio, to pasture to be in readiness for the boat upon it’s arrival.

 

Wednesday 24th. Weather very hot. Mr. Cook & myself were very tired waiting for the boat, which had a tedious voyage from Pittsburgh as the Ohio is very low. We had but poor society at Wheeling; the inhabitants lead very loose lives; Drinking & gambling are the principal employments. The Hunters & Spies bring bad acct’s of the Indians, & say there are many signs of them on the River.

 

Thursday 25th. This morn’g at 4 o’clock to our agreeable surprise we were awakened by Major Kinney who just arrived with the boat. Wrote a few lines home, by a gentleman going to New York. These three days past I have been very unwell of a severe Lax occasioned probably by the limestone water, but is now mostly left me by the use of Annodines. We were obliged to wait at Wheeling untill Friday noon for a son of Capt. Dunn who is to go down the river with us, but has not yet returned from a visit to a relation. Weather very fine & clear with a favorable wind down the river.

 

Friday 26th. At 12 o’clock we went on board, our crew consisting of 10 men & 2 women; having likewise 7 horses. The water in many places we found so low that the boat stuck fast, & we were obliged to jump overboard & pry her off. On account of my ill state of health, the crew agreed to excuse me from performing the duties of rowing & jumping overboard. Every night notwithstanding the moon shone very bright, there arose so thick a fog on the river, that we could scarcely discern either shore, until 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning when the sun began to scatter the mist. On Sunday about 1 o’clock we arrived at Marietta or Muskingum, a flourishing settlement from New England; the town is very handsomely seated on the south western banks of the Ohio, when the River Musking’m empties. We took our horses from on board, & put them in pasture & concluded to tarry the night to rest. In the afternoon we went to Church, where we heard an indifferent sermon well read. From Pittsburgh to Muskingum the distance by water is 16 miles. Monday morn’g at 4 o’clock we went on board again, & proceeded on our voyage. During the day we passed the settlements named Belle Ville & Belle Pray, & the mouth of the Little Kanahua river. This afternoon we had several thunder showers; & the night was most dismally dark & rainy, with much thunder & lightning. The gloominess of the weather added to the apprehension we had of the Indians, made us pass a dreary night. Every person we saw, confirmed the evil tidings of the Indians. In the morning we came up with Hunt’s boat, & went in company with it. At evening we found ourselves within a few miles of Tart’s falls, which we concluded not to cross till morning, & went on shore at the mouth of mill creek where we passed the night.

 

Wednesday morning, July 1st. At 3 o’clock we proceeded on, & crossed the little falls without difficulty. This morn’g I was seized with a violent pain in my head & breast which lasted till evening, when it began to mitigate : in the evening I raised several mouthfulls of blood, & some more on Thursday morn’g. Sometime in the night we arrived at the mouth of the Great Kanahwa, where we parted with one of our crew, Mr. Davis, a very clever man, & took a foolish dutch man on board bound for Kentucky. There is a considerable settlement at the mouth of Kanahwa, & the Inhabitants are very apprehensive of a visit from the Indians. Yesterday we saw two Canoes made of bark, & a raft of logs which the Indians had used to transport themselves across the river to the Virginia shore. The Kanahwa is about two thirds as large as the Ohio, & we found it considerably swollen by rains which have fallen near its source, which is of great service to us. Mr. Hunt’s boat passed us while we lay at Kanahwa & promised to wait at Galliopolis three miles below untill we came up, but when wt came there on Thursday morn’g, we found they did not call. Galliopolis is a flourishing settlement on the northwestern side of the river; the inhabitants are altogether French. A few’ miles below this place, we heard the noise of several bellswhich seemed to be near the shore & which were supposed to be Indians, as they had frequently made use of this strategem to decoy boats on shore, the people supposing them to be horses or cows. At Galliopolis two Frenchmen going to Limestown in a Canoe loaded with Liquor fell in company with us. Weather very fine. This day our landlady Mrs. Dunn was taken very sick & continued so till Friday morn’g 3d July when she seemed considerably better. Several of our crew, viz : Capt. Dunn, Robt. Dunn & our dutchman were all unwell this morn’g. Last night we passed the mouth of Big Sandy River, big & little Wyandot Creek & this morn’g of Little Sandy, which is the place where the packet boat was lately defeated by the Indians. The Ohio having rec’d so many tributary streams is here swelled to an enormous size, almost a mile wide & is very deep, & a most elegant river. Weather still continues very fine. Passed several flourishing settlements a little above the three Islands.

 

Saturday July 4th. In commemoration of our anniversary, we ushered in the day by the discharge of our rifles on board the boat, & notwithstanding we were huddled together within the narrow limits of a Kentucky boat, we were enabled with the help of a little whiskey & a turkey which we killed on shore, to pass the day with as much hilarity & glee, as our Countrymen on land. It was a day of mirth to us. on two accounts; 1st, in commemoration of Independence, & 2nd as it was the day which freed us from our confinement on board the boat, & rendered us prisoners at large once more. At sunset we landed three miles above Limestown where we staid the night, & in the morn’g of the 5th we proceeded to Limestown on horseback & breakfasted. This is a small village containing about 30 houses, & is the landing place for most of the boats whose crews are bound to Kentucky. After breakfast we bid adieu to Major Kinney, who left us to go into Kentucky. Mr. Cook & myself luckily found a boat going directly to Cincinnata & after breakfasting we again resumed our old stations on board the boat, the weather being very hot. Wrote home.

 

Monday 6th July. This day has been one of the most sultry I ever knew. Our passage down was very tedious as the violence of the heat prevented us from rowing, & the wind blew strongly up the river all day. At 6 o’clock P. M. we arrived at Columbia, a flourishing village seated at the mouth of the little Miami river, where we went on shore for some • . refreshment.Here I saw three old acquaintances from Jersey viz: Isaac Morris, Gideon Riggs, & the widow of Dan’l Wood. As the intensity of the heat had rendered me very sick, I concluded to ride on horseback to Cincinnati which is six miles. After obtaining some refreshment, which revived me very much, I started & arrived in town at 8 o’clock in the even’s & put up at Winston’s tavern, & at 9 Mr. Cook arrived in the boat.

 

Tuesday July 7th. Mr. Cook & myself spent this day in company with Ezra Freeman & Daniel Symmes Esq’rs whom Ave found at Cincinnata. I staid here untill Friday afternoon, when Dan’l Symmes, Judge Pyatt & myself set out for North Bend, & arrived there at sundown. Mr. Cook left me on “Thursday morn’g, & started for the falls. In him I lost my Only companion whom, I had left, & parted with him with regret. Cincinnata has flourished with more rapidity than any town in the western Country beside. It is now between six and seven years since it was first laid out, & it already contains as many houses as Elizabeth town. The buildings are all’ of wood, & some of them are handsome. The town is situated on the north western shore of the Ohio, directly opposite the mouth of Licking River, which is about 100 yards wide & navigable a great distance upward for boats & canoes. Fort Washington stands on an eminence in the town of Cincinnata, which has been one principal reason of its rapid growth, as it was the residence of the bulk of the army a long time, &: afforded a good ready market for all kinds of produce. Near Fort Washington is to be seen the remains of an ancient piece of fortification, which has given rise to many different conjectures. There are several such in different parts of the western world; one on the Little Miami river. Neither the oldest inhabitants, nor Indians, can give any account of them, nor does history inform us any thing concerning them. The fortifications are said to be verg regular, which induces some to suppose, that this Country was formerly inhabited, by some warlike people, who are now entirely extinct. If this be the case, a great length of time must have elapsed, since their day, as no traces of agriculture are to be seen, & within their fortifications the timber appears to be of the same age with that of the forest. The Inhabitants of Cincinnta cannot boast much” of their morality, as they possess but little of it. It appears to be the most debauched place I ever saw. North Bend is fourteen miles distant from Cincinnata, & is the residence of Judge Symmes. It is so called from a turn which the Ohio makes’ towards the north. The two rivers, Ohio, & Big Miami approach within three quarters of a mile of each other at this place, where the City Miami, is laid off, at right angles. The ground on which the town is to stand, is very uneven, fully as much so, as the Short hills between Morris & Essex. At present there are not more than a dozen log cabins built, & it seems to be declining. We remained at Judge Symmes’s, untill Sunday morning when the Judge accompanied us to Cincinnati. Weather still very sultry & dry. I remained at Cincinnata untill Thursday morning 16th July when I started for Kentucky, & crossed the Ohio at nine o’clock in the morning, in company with a stranger. We rode thirty two miles this day, the weather being very sultry & hot. At noon we dined at one Mr. Lee’s, whose wife is a Daughter of Mr. Brasher, who lately moved from Jersey. At night we put up at Campbell’s, where I fell in company with one Mr. Carneal, who was travelling to Lexington. In the morning we found ourselves not much refreshed by our nights rest, on account of the fleas, which were most intolerable. Mr. Carneal & his comrade were obliged to quit the house on their account & take to the woods. We suffered much this day for want of water, as well as our horses\ The road is laid out upon a ridge, which is very narrow, in many places not twenty rods wide. This ridge extends twenty five miles in length, & at this season of the year is so dry, that we could not get a drop of water the whole distance.

 

Friday July 17th. At 5 o’clock this morn’g we started & rode 7 miles before breakfast which we took at Little’s, a place of miserable accommodations. From this we rode to big Eagle Creek a distance of 20 miles, where we found an exceeding good dinner provided. At 4 we set off again & arrived at Georgetown at sunset, making 40 miles the day. This town is handsomely situated on an eminence, contain’g about 100 houses, some of which are well built, & is the seat of govern’t for Scott County. Weather still very hot & sultry.

 

Saturday July 18th, breakfasted at Georgetown & proceeded on to Lexington where we dined. This is the largest town in the western Country, being about the size of Newark in Jersey, & contains several very handsome houses of brick & stone. An immense deal of business is transacted in this town, it being the Philadelphia of Kentucky. It is altogether an inland town, having no navigable stream nearer than Kentucky River, which is about 15 miles distant. There is a body of land near 40 miles square round Lexington which is all of the very ifirst quality, extremely level, & some of it under high cultivation, From Lexington Mr. Carneal & myself rode 9 miles to his plantation where we put up. Air. Carneal treated us with the greatest hospitality, & prevailed on us to spend the sabbath with him, & on Monday morning he accompanied me to Greenfield, the residence of Peyton Short, Esquire, where I had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Short & her sister Miss Symmes, in whose company the hours glided away very agreeably. Mr. Short has displayed a good deal of taste in the improvement of his seat, which, without exception is the handsomest & best improved farm I have yet seen in Kentucky, & is inferior to but few in Jersey. I spent ten days with this agreeable & hospitable family, during which time I took an excursion with Mr. Short to Frankfort the seat of governm’t for the State, distant 18 miles from Greenfield. This town is just rising from the woods, having been but lately established the seat of gov’t. It is situated on the north bank of the Kentucky river,. at the foot of a considerable hill, & at present contains about 40 houses most of which are of brick, & very neat & convenient. The Capitol is a spacious & superb building, being nearly 100 feet in length & three stories high & built of stone. The town is growing very fast, & bids fair to eclipse the neighboring ones. From Frankfort we returned to Greenfield, & on Wednesday morn’g 29th I set out in company with a Mr. Bedford for Nelson County, crossed Kentucky river at Delany’s ferry, which we found so low that we forded at a few rods below the ferry. It is about 60 yards wide at this place, & is remarkable for its cliffs, or steep high craggy banks. The rocks in some places hang over the water, & are from 100 to 300 feet in height. Six miles from Kentucky river we crossed Salt River, which at this place is very small. Most of the Creeks, as well as this river are so very dry, that we could cross them without wetting the soles of our feet, owing to the intensity of the drought. Kentucky river divides the State into Two divisions, the northern & southern, or upper & lower Counties. We breakfasted at Salt River, & proceeded on our rout, & at sunset arrived at the house of one Jesse Davis, where we put up for night, making but 36 miles. Most of the country we travelled over this day, is quite a wilderness, & the land very broken & the soil but thin.

 

Thursday morning 30th, at nine o’clock we set out again, & at 2 o’clock I arrived at my mother’s on Cox’s Creek, fifteen miles from Davis’s, which completed my Journey, to my no small satisfaction, being much fatigued with its length.

 

Friday Nov’r 12th. Took leave of my mother & family & set out for New Jersey, the weather being very fine & rode as far as Springfield the Capitol of Washington County. Saturday arrived at Danville, Mercer County where I met Maj. Kinney according to appointm’t & was to have proceeded on towards the wilderness on Sunday morn’g but was prevented by a severe storm of rain, which abated in the evening, & on Monday 9 o’clock we started in company with Mr. Dural bound for Richmond, & Mr. Telfair for Fhilad’a & rode to the Crab orchard 25 miles. Tuesday morn’g early, we proceeded on & entered the wilderness about 9 o’clock, being obliged to carry three days provisions for ourselves & horses. Crossed Rockearth river & encamped by the side of an old log near a small run, about 5 miles from the river, which is about 70 yards wide, tno’ not very deep. As many Indians & hunters were in the wilderness, we judged it prudent to stand sentry .for the sake of guard’g our horses; as the Indians are peaceable we did not apprehend any danger except having our horses stolen. In the night we were alarmed by the noise of some persons or wild beasts walking round our encampment, but we could not get sight of anything it being very dark.

 

Wednesday morn’g by day light we proceeded on, & about 10 o’clock arrived at Logan’s station where we had a fine breakfast of Buffaloes, Bears & Venison, which was a high treat. At dusk we arrived at Collin’s station where we obtained permission to lay on the floor before a good fire, which contrasted with our last night’s lodging, was a palace. Nothing can exceed the road for badness in some particular places, the mud being belly deep to our horses, & the banks of the Creeks almost insurmountable, from their steepness, & slippery nature, particularly big Richland Creek, which bank was very high & almost perpendicular, & slippery as ice. An old man in ascending it, after his horse had got almost to the top began to slide backward, & at length fell over & threw him down the precipice into the mud & water, where both man & horse stuck so fast that it was with great difficulty they were extracted. Crossed Cumberland river at noon, which is about 200 yards wide & very rapid. Cumberland Cane break is the most muddy part of the road, and it was with the greatest difficulty our horses could draw their legs from the mire. The mountains on each side the river form a very romantic scene, some of which are at least 700 feet high & are almost perpendicular. At dusk we arrived at the foot of Cumberland mountain & put up at Davis’s station for the night. This may be considered as the end of the wildnerness, tho’ the country is but thinly settled beyond it. Our horses have stood the Journey very well as yet, altho we counted the carcases of many who have been killed by the badness of the roads.

 

Friday 20th. At day light we began to climb the mount’n. This is the line of division between Kentucky & Virginia & i> about two miles across. From Cumberl’d mount’n we descended into Powels valley & forded the River of the same name, which is about 100 yards wide & pretty rapid. In the afternoon we crossed Clinch River which is about 200 yards wide, verp rapid & difficult to ford, on acc’t of it’s rocky rough bottom. At evening we began to climb Clinch mount’n which for badness exceeds any I ever crossed, even the Allegh’y itself. The roads we have travelled over this day exceed even those in the wilderness for roughness. Put up at evening at Orr’s tavern at the foot of Clinch, where entertain’t is exceeding good.

 

Saturday 21st. This morn’g rode 23 miles to breakfast, altho’ we called at several places, but could get none, untill we arrived at Hawkins Court House, South Western Territory. After breakfast we rode 14 miles to a drunken Dutchman’s, where we put up. This part of the country is extremely well watered, tho’ the land is not very fertile. Weather continues very fine.

 

Sunday 22nd. Rode 15 miles, & took breakfast at Ross’s furnace. This morn’g we rode several miles in sight of Holsten river, which is a very beautiful one & appears nearly as large as the Ohio at Pittsburgh. Forded the north branch, near Ross’s furnace. After breakfast rode 8 miles to Yansees, where we put up. Weather cloudy this morn’g but at noon it cleared up fine. 1

 

Monday 23. This morn’g is remarkably cold, there being a very heavy frost last night. Breakfasted at Boltons. 16 miles from Yansees, after which we rode to Craigs, the common resting place for Kentuckians, where we concluded to stay a day to refresh ourselves & horses. We found good accommodations & a scolding Landlady.

 

Tuesday 24th. After breakfast we walked to Abingdon, the Capitol of Washington County, Virginia, one mile from Craigs, where we dined & returned to Craigs & rode 7 miles to Greenoways, where we put up for the night.

 

Wednesday 25th. Rode 30 miles to Atkin’s tavern where we put up. Weather still continues very fine.

 

26th. Rode 19 miles to Wythe Court House where we took breakfast, & proceeded on to Carters 20 miles further. Weather cloudy & threatens a storm.

 

Friday 27th. Left Carters early, & rode to English’s ferry over New River, 12 miles where we breakfasted. This river, after running some distance further, obtains the name of Kanahway, which is the last water course emptying into the Ohio, & is 300 yards wide & a very beautiful river. Many marks of an excessive flood are to be seen which has been very severe indeed this fall, but at present the river is not very high. From English’s ferry we passed through a small town called Montgomery, the capitol of the County of the same name, crossed the Allegheny mountain, & put up at Mrs. Kents tavern at its foot. This mount’n divides the western from the eastern waters, but is so small at this place, that we crossed it almost without knowing it to be a mount’n. One would not suppose it to be the same ridge which bears its name near Pittsburgh. Every day since we entered the wilderness, we have met an immense number of people swarming out from all parts of the Atlantic states into Kentucky & Cumberland. Weather clear, but very warm.

 

Saturday 28th. Rode from Mrs. Kent’s to Smiths 12 miles to breakfast. Crossed the river Roanoak several times which likewise shows very evident marks of a violent fresh, having swept away everything before it, mills, fences, trees, stones, &c : &c. Staid the night with an old dutchman with a long beard. Weather cloudy & warm.

 

Sunday 29th. Last night it began to rain & continues so this morn’g. Rode from the dutchmans to Botetourt 9 miles through the rain, which wet us to the skin. This is the Capitol of Botetourt County & contains about 150 houses some 01 which are good buildings. The town would have a good appearance if was not spoiled by the narrowness of the streets. We remained here till Monday morn’g when our worthy friend, Mr. Duval left us for Richmond, & we proceeded on. after breakfast 24 miles to Barclays where we put up for the night. Crossed James River. We walked one mile & half to see the natural bridge, which is one of the greatest natural curiosities of this country. From one foot of the arch to the other is about 30 feet, & from the surface of the creek, to the center of the arch 120 feet. The rock is about 35 feet thick, so that from the top of the bridge, to the bottom of the creek is at least 150 feet. The walls of the creek on both sides are nearly perpendicular, & of solid rock. The ravens build their nests in the sides of the rock & the whole together has a most romantic appearance.

 

Tuesday, Dec’r 1st. Left Barclay’s at 7 o’clock & rode to a small handsome village called Lexington to breakfast. There is an academy at this place, which in Virginia is much celebrated for the education of youth. Here we fell in with two or three gentlemen who were going to Stanton. About two miles from Lexington we forded the north branch of James river, which we found very high & rapid, being much swol’n by the rain. Staid all night at Steel 13 miles from Staunton, whence we rode to town to breakfast the next morn’g. Staid the remainder of the day & night at Staunton to refresh ourselves & horses. This is the capitol of Frederic County, & is the largest town we have yet seen. It is somewhat larger than Eliz’th town in Jersey; the buildings are good, mostly of stone, but the situation is bad, being surrounded with hills, & is not visible untill you get nearly into it.

 

Thursday 3rd. Left Mr. Telfair at Staunton, & proceeded on early this morning, the weather being very cold, but toward noon it grew warm. In the afternoon we crossed the north branch of Shenandoah about 80 yards wide, passed through a small village called Kezelstown, & put up at Pickerings.

 

Friday 4th. This morn’g passed through a small village called New Market, & rode 14 miles to Shenandoah, where we breakfasted. This afternoon we passed through Woodstock, a pleasant village contain’g about 80 or 100 houses & lodged at one Snapp’s, a pretty snappish dutchman.

 

Saturday 5th. Left Snapp’s & rode through two small villages called Strasburgh & Middletown, from thence to Stevensburgh or Newton where we breakfasted. This is a very pleasant & thriving town handsomely situated on an eminence, with a fine country of land around it. Since we have entered the State of Virginia, we have seen but poor land & that not well cultivated ; but here it seems of a better quality & under tolerable good cultivation. Arrived in Winchester at I o’clock where we staid the remainder of the day & night. This is quite a large town, & there appears to be a good deal of business transacted here. The Inhabitants are all Dutch, the buildings not very good, & the situation very low & muddy.

 

Sunday 6th. Left Winchester at sunrise, & rode 12 miles to Davenport ; where we breakfasted. A most beautiful, clear pleasant morning, & a most delightful country to travel through. From Davenport we rode to Martinsburgh, a compact handsome village, with several handsome buildings. Here for the first time since we left Jersey, we were treated with a dinner of Oysters. From Martinsburgh we proceeded on & at sunset crossed the Patowmack, a most beautiful river, about 1/2 a mile wide, & put up at Williamsport, a small town on the bank of the Patowmack at the mouth of Conogorheagie, which is about 150 yards wide. The Patowmac is the line of division between Virginia & Maryland. Immediately after crossing the Allegh’y we found ourselves in a valley which on the east & west is bounded by two prodigious high mountains; the one on the east is called the Blue ridge, & that on the west, the North mountain, which at this place loses itself in the Allegh’y, but as it approaches the north, they separate. The general course of these mountains is north & south, & in some places, the intermediate valley is not more than two miles wide, but in others it is 20. Here we began to change our course, which hitherto has been south & south east; but now we keep the valley, which is almost due north. The mountains on east side, but more especially the blue ridge is of an enormous height, & very craggy & rugged. The highest trees on the top do not appear more than ten feet high, & frequently we observed the Clouds far below the top of the highest ridge, & resting as it were on the mountain. About 35 miles beyond Winchester there is a remarkable narrow passage on which the road runs. You gradually rise a hill which for some distance separates the Shenandoah from a Creek emptying into it. Just before they join, they approach so near each other, that the hill is for several rods, not more than 20 feet wide, nearly 100 feet higher there than the surface of the water, & almost perpendicular. The Creek again bends to the left, runs round the point of the hill & empties.

 

Monday 7th. Left Williamsport at 7 o’clock the weather cloudy, & threatening snow: rode 14 miles to Greencastle a small town in Pennsylvania, where we breakfasted. Maryland is very narrow where we crossed, it being but 11 miles wide. After breakfasting, we proceeded on through the snow, & rode to Chambersburgh 11 miles where we fed our horses. This is the handsomest town we have yet seen. The buildings are all of brick & stone, new & very tasty. The Courthouse is, without exception the most elegant I ever saw. From Chambersburgh we rode to Shippensburgh n miles where we put up for the night. At dark the storm changed from snow to rain & continued raining very hard till morn’g when it cleared up very windy & blustering. Shippenburgh is nearly as large as Chambersburgh, but is not as handsome, nor as flourishing, the latter being the County town.

 

Tuesday 8th, Dec’r. Left Shippensburgh at 1/2 past 6 o’clock & rode to Mount Rock 15 miles to breakfast. Found the Creeks high & roads very muddy. After breakfast rode to Carlisle 7 miles where we had our horses shod. This is a handsome town, contain’g many good buildings, & is about the size of Newark. Left Carlisle at 1/2 past 3 o’clock, intending to reach Harrisburgh which is 18 miles, but the evening being very dark & the roads very muddy we were obliged to stop 2 miles short of the river, at an old Dutchmans, where we staid the night.

 

Wednesday 9th. Arrived at the bank of the Susquhana at sun rise, which we found very high & rapid & difficult to cross. We were nearly two hours getting over. Breakfasted at Harrisburgh.

 

 

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