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formed, that from 500 to 600 bushels are made there daily. . •; • . . . .' ,t. ... ,.« iw,i t.
After passing the mouth of the Kenhawa, the banks of the Ohio became more mountainous and picturesque. All the hills abound with coal, which, as it often appears at the surface, and in many places is only 50 or 100 yards from the water's edge, the inhabitants of the neighbourhood dig out, and send down in flat-bottomed boats to Maysville and other towns on the river, where they can sell the coal for a less sum, than would be asked for the mere cutting and carrying of timber. '; '.
During our voyage we passed a great many flatbottomed boats. Some of them were small, and merely contained an emigrant family and its furniture. These poor people, either New lEnglanders or foreigners, build one of these boats upon arriving at the banks of the Ohio, and commit themselves to the stream. Many being too poor to buy land, look out for some spot on the Mississippi or its tributary rivers, where they may remain a short time and clear the ground. Then, if they can make a little money, they give it to the proprietor for the land on which they have placed themselves. But if it is ever claimed, and they cannot raise the sum required, they re-embark their little all, and float off to some other place, where they either buy a small tract of land, or again "squat,"* without permission, trusting that it will be some time before they are interrupted.
Some of the emigrants who were better off, were going to the Missouri and Illinois; and their boats, besides their family, &c. &c., contained also a small waggon, and two or three horses. These boats are built in the shape of a parallelogram, whose sides are in the ratio of three, four, or even five to one. They are planked up on each side and behind, and are protected by a slightly curved roof made of thin boards, their height being in the interior about that of a tall man. The upper part of the front, and a few feet of each side near the front, are left open like a sort of balcony, into which a number of children would run from the interior, to look at the steam-boat as it passed tJiem. From this opening project two long oars, which serve to steer the boat, and, in case of necessity, to move it out of the way either of a sandbank, or of a mass of drift wood. Each boat is often divided into two or more apartments, one of which has a fire place and a chimney; so that each of these strange habitations might not inappropriately be termed, a floating cottage.
The larger sort, which, although of about 150
.. * This settling on land which belongs to another person, and clearing and cultivating it without leave, is called Squatting. The Squatters are held by the landed proprietors in the greatest possible abhorrence.
tons' burthen, are built precisely on the same plan, are called Kentucky Arks, and indeed they contain almost as great a medley of eatables, furniture, animals, &c. &c. as ever Noah could have stored into his. miraculous vessel of Gopher-wood ;•— horses, pigs, poultry, apples, flour, corn, peachbrandy, cider, whiskey, bar-iron and castings, tin, and copper wares, glass, cabinet work, chairs, millstones, grindstones, nails, &c. &c. These arks are navigated from the Ohio, down the Mississippi to New Orleans, touching at the small towns in their way, and if possible disposing of a part of their multifarious cargo. From New Orleans the boatmen find their way back again, either by land, travelling part of the way through the Indian nations, or else by water in some steam-boat. The ark itself is sold for the mere value of the wood it is built of.
We stopped a few hours at a small village called Portsmouth, situated at the confluence of the Ohio and the Big Sciota. This river is navigable for 200 miles; and, by a portage of four miles, which is to be obviated by a canal, goods can be conveyed to the Sandusky, a considerable river falling into Lake Erie.
I Was much pleased with my voyage down the Ohio, which is indeed a most majestic river. The vast trees, some of which cover the neighbouring hills and mountains, while others are growing almost out of the water, present a scene that is quite novel to the eye of an Englishman.
Nothing can impress the mind with a stronger idea of the amazing importance of the steamengine, and of the sera which its invention will form in the history of the world, than its enabling one to descend such a river as the Ohio, in so agreeable a manner. I found myself navigating a stream, which runs for the most part through a country remaining in a state of nature; yet I fared excellently, was surrounded with every accommodation, and at the same time was proceeding night and day, at such a rate, that places far removed from one another, seemed almost brought into contact. I disembarked on the Kentucky side of the river, at Maysville (otherwise called Limestone) 870 miles below Wheeling.
Maysville is situated at the foot of a very lofty ridge of hills. It is a town of considerable traffic, but from its extreme dirtiness is an unpleasant place to stop at.
During the fine weather, a sort of stage-coach goes regularly from hence to Lexington; but it cannot be depended upon during the autumn and winter, which latter season was beginning to set in when I was at Maysville. The roads being very bad, I determined to buy a horse, and indeed riding is the only practicable and safe manner of travelling through most of the Western States. I knew, moreover, that beyond Lexington I could not have proceeded otherwise. For this determination I had afterwards reason to applaud myself, as the road was beyond all comparison the worst I had ever seen. It was full of holes, and in many places nearly up to the horse's knees, in mud intermixed with large stones and pieces of rock, which seemed as if put there on purpose to annoy equestrians. To convey any idea of such a road by mere description is impossible. Moreover, the road is a natural one, that is to say, it is a track left open and cleared, but which has never had a single cart load of gravel or stones thrown upon it. Add to this, a great many heavily laden waggons are obliged to travel over it, when carrying goods to Lexington. The natural roads are, of course, worse than usual, if, as was the case here, the country through which they run, is fertile.