Page images


Ohio, their common receptacle, rise from thirty to forty feet. This is particularly the case with Kentucky and Dick rivers, whose deep calcareous sides, in the summer months when the waters are lowest, give them the appearance of canals. The former, on the 28th March 1817, rose to the height of eighty feet, and carrying down warehouses, occasioned a great loss of property. The waters of the smaller streams sometimes escape by fissures in the rock, and leave their beds dry in summer. In forming wells, it is necessary to pierce this calcareous stratum, below which, fine potable water is every where found.

Extent of Navigable Waters. The Ohio, navigable on the northern frontier, 500 miles. Mississippi,

75 Tennessee,

100 Cumberland and its branches, Trade water,

60 Green river and Forks,

350 Salt river, Kentucky,

230 Licking,

100 Big Sandy,

60 Total,

2325 Minerals.- Iron ore is found in several parts of this state; but the iron which it affords is of an inferior quality. Native mercury has been discovered in small globules, in a mass which appears to contain some native amalgam, (Hayden.) Lead ore exists in the mountains about twelve miles south of Monticello. Marble is found on the banks of the Kentucky river, in Franklin county, of a fine grain and greyish variegated colour. Limestone, every where, at unequal depth, though generally



undulating with the surface. Freestone, in Franklin county and other parts. Chalk, in the banks of the Kentucky river. Nitre is found in several subterranean places, especially in the Big Bone Cavern, from which a great quantity has been taken for the manufacture of gunpowder. The caverns which contain the greatest quantity of this substance are situated in the counties of Barren, Rock Castle, Montgomery, Knox, Estle, Warren, Cumberland, and Wayne. One in Wayne has produced from 50,000 to 70,000 pounds ayear. Dr Brown of Kentucky has made the following estimate of the quantity of nitre contained in dif. ferent caves, situated within a few miles distance from each other. In the Great Cave, 1,000,000 pounds; Scot's Cave, two miles distant from the former, 200,000 pounds; Davis' Cave, six miles distant, 50,000 pounds; two others, within a mile, 20,000 pounds; one on Rough Creek, a branch of Green river, 10,000 pounds. * There are salt springs at Saltsburg, and at the blue springs of the Licking river, near Louisville. But some of these springs are so weak that it requires 800 gallons of water to yield one bushel of salt; whereas those of the Kanhaway give the same quantity from one-eighth of the liquid. This renders the former unprofitable. On Drennahs' Creek, twentyfive miles from the Ohio, there is a saline which is so abundant, that it is supposed the whole state might be supplied from it.

[ocr errors]

- * Vol. VI. No. 39 of the Transactions of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia.

+ Western Gazetteer, p. 103.

Mineral Waters.- Near the sources of Licking river are the Olympian springs, three in number, much frequented by valetudinarians. They have not been analyzed; one is said to be impregnated with iron; another with sulphur; and a third with salt of sulphur and carbonic acid. * Near Harrodsburg, in Mercer county, there is a spring strongly impregnated with Epsom salts. On Drennaus' Creek, there is another medicinal spring, much frequented in the summer season. In the neighbourhood of Boonsborough, there is a spring from which emanates a sul. phurous vapour. Near Green river, there are three springs, which empty themselves into a common reser. voir, and there deposit a bituminous substance, which is used as a substitute for lamp-oil.

Forest Trees. The most common forest trees are, white, black, and blue ash ; beech, cherry-tree, wild ditto, red cedar, chestnut, coffee-tree, elm, slippery ditto, gum-tree, sweet ditto, hackberry, honey-locust, juniper-tree, black mulberry; oak, black, red, post, hickery, black jack, and overcup white ; papaw, persimon, poplar, yellow ditto, sassafras, sugar maple-tree, tulip-tres; white and black walnut.

The grape vine grows throughout the state. The best soil produces locust, cherry, walnut, buck-eye, sugar tree, elm, beech, ash, satin-wood, and papaw. The middle rate lands, oaks, hickery, dogwood, sugar trees, and beech; on what is called indifferent land grow chiefly black and red oak, hickery, gum tree, and the black jack oak. The pine is confined to the broken

* Vorse.



and hilly country. * The oak and locust on the flat lands are often found to measure five feet in diameter. Poplars in clayey moist soils attain the height of 120 or 130 feet, with a diameter from three to six feet. The cane, ( Arundinaria macrosperma,) which grows to the height of from two to twelve feet, has been destroyed by the horses and cattle, and in its place has sprung up a very nutritious grass called Nimble Will.

The natural grasses are the buffalo, a grass of a coarse texture, which, on a middling soil, grows from nine to eighteen inches high. The spear, blue and crab grasses, which spring up after the land has been cultivated, afford excellent pasture and hay, as also the wild rye and clover. The former generally grows to the height of two feet and upwards; and, in the head and beard, resembles the real rye. The clover is more coarse and luxuriant than that of Europe. The fields. are covered with a herbage not common to other countries, known by the name of Shawanese, wild tilture, and pepper grass. The natural meadows are covered with a variety of gramineous plants; gull of the heath, white plantain, and the purple-flowered rudbeechia. Of filamentous or fibrous plants, the most useful are wild hemp, wild flax, wild hop, besides a variety of medicinal plants.

Animals.-The bison or buffalo, formerly very numerous, has disappeared, with two species of elk, the morse elk with palmated and another with round horns. a! Deer are still numerous in the Barrens and south



* finlay's Description of the Western Territory, p. 201. Vol. I. New York edition, 1793.

[blocks in formation]

western parts. Many of the animals common to other parts of the United States are seen in this district. The panther, wild cat or lynx, bear, wolf, squirrel, racoon, opossum, fox, hare, mink, skunk, and ground hog. The waters abound with beavers, otters, minks, and musk-rats.

Among the wild fowl are turkeys which weigh from ten to twenty-five pounds; the quail, called partridge; and there is here a species of grouse or heathbird, known by the name of pheasant. It is the opi. nion of the inhabitants of this state, that the honey bee is not indigenous; that the swarms found in the woods in hollow trees have proceeded from those introduced by the white population. This opinion is strengthened by an observation of the Indians, that bees are the sure sign of the near approach of white men. When Tidlay wrote his Observations on this country, that industrious insect had already extended 200 miles north and north-west of the Ohio.

Fishes. The principal fishes which inhabit the
waters of the Ohio and Mississippi are, cat-fish, some
of which exceed a hundred weight., bass,
pike, eels, gar, mullet, perch, rock-fish, salmon-trout,
some of which taken in Kentucky river weighed thirty
pounds, sun-fish, sword-fish. No shad or herring is
found here. Of crastallous fishes, the most valued is
the soft shelled turtle.

Slaves. Fr. Blks.
Io 1784, according to the estimate of
I\m/ Piplay, *

30,000 * This numeration was grounded on the supposition, that the male inhabitants of sixteen years, enrolled by the name of titheables, amounted to a fourth of the whole inhabitants.


« PreviousContinue »