Page images
PDF
EPUB

marks, that at Wheeling the atmosphere is very moist; that it is difficult to keep milk twelve hours in the cellar without souring, or books without being injured by mould. From a number of ingenious observations and experiments, Mr Jefferson concluded, that the valley of the Ohio has a temperature equal to three degrees of latitude greater than the same parallel in the Atlantic states. Dr Drake, in opposition to this opinion, remarks, that the mean temperature deduced from eight years' observation at Cincinnati is 54° 25'; and, according to Dr Rush, the annual heat of Philadelphia is 52° 5'. Dr Cope states it to be 54° 16'. Mr Legaux gives the mean heat of Springmill, on the Schuylkill river, at 53° 32'. The mean term of these is 53° 66'; a temperature only six-tenths of a degree lower than that of Cincinnati, situated fifty minutes farther south. The arguments deduced from the circumstance of certain plants and animals are also combated by this same author, who observes, that the parroquet, a bird of the tropical regions, travels along the Mississippi and Ohio, attracted by its favourite food, the fruit of the cockle bur,(Xanthum strumarum,) cypress, trackberry, beech, and sycamore, which are little productive in Pennsylvania ; and also by the salines, near which Aocks of parroquets are often seen. The catalpa; it is observed, is regulated more by soil than by climate ; for it grows on the Wabash, in the latitude of the Miami country, and at Cincinnati, where it was not found to be indigenous. It also grows in Pennsylvania. The reed or cane in

Kentucky was found to resist the severe cold of 1796-7, when the thermometer sunk several degrees below 0.

We incline nevertheless to believe, that the difference of temperature between the valley of the Ohio and that of the Atlantic coast is nearly as great as Mr Jefferson has stated. The winter of the former is shorter and milier, as is evident from its vegetable productions, and the birds of passage which are annually seen. '

Minerals.- Iron ore is common on the banks of the Hockhocking, on Bush creek, in Adam's county, also in Columbiana county and the northern parts. Iron bog ore abounds in the low lands of Paint creek, a branch of the Scioto. Silver ore.--Fragments of this mineral have been dug up near the Yellow spring, in Green county. There are several quarries of ex. cellent flint; and a rock lately examined is found to give good millstones. Limestone, of a blue or greyish blue colour, abounds throughout the state. Freestone. --Fine quarries are opened in the vicinity of Athens, and on the banks of the Hockhocking. Coal is dug up near the surface, on the banks of the Ohio, where it is supposed to be inexhaustible. Large beds extend through all the hilly parts. Saltpetre and alum have been discovered in some parts; aluminous earth is very abundant. Epsom salt (sulphate of magnesia) is in great quantity, about forty miles from Wheeling, where it covers the whole surface, around a ledge of rocks, to the depth of six

inches. * There are salt springs on the Scioto river, belonging to the state; also near the Muskingum, and in the military tract.

Mineral Springs. The most celebrated is the Yellow spring, in Green county, 64 miles from Cincinnati, and two from the falls of the Little Miami. It is described as a chalybeate, holding in solution oxide of iron and carbonate of lime, and is found to be useful in cases of debility and chronic diseases. Its temperature is 52 degrees, which is also that of the neighbouring springs. Seneca oil, a kind of petroleum, is found up the Muskingum, in the bed of this river and that of its branches, when the waters are low. It rises in bubbles, and floats on the surface of the water, where it is confined by means of stones.

Forest Trees.—Many of the finest trees of the American forests are found in this state. The high and dry lands are covered with oak of different kinds, red, white, and black; hickery, walnut, ash, poplar, dogwood, red and white, mulberry, sassafras, cucumber tree, and some yellow pine. The low lands with button wood, white pine, hemlock, butternut, tulip tree, locust, honey locust, black alder, black willow, papaw, beech, elm, cedar, and cypress. Some of the sycamore trees, in the neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, are from ten to sixteen feet in diameter. It is stated by Mr Harris, that one of this species (near Marietta) was 60 feet in circumference, and being

* Forsyth's Topog. of the Ohio, in the Med. Rep. of New York, 1809, p. 352.

VOL. II.

hollow, could contain eighteen or twenty men. The maple tree, which abounds in this region, grows to a prodigious size, and is very valuable, on account of the sugar which the sap yields. *

• Dr Drake observes, that in the Miami country there are forty. five species of trees which rise to the height of forty feet, and thirty which grow to the height of sixty feet. According to the state. ment of Mr Michaux, there are ninety kinds of trees in the United States, which grow to the height of forty feet. In moist places, on the borders of the Ohio, the plane tree, Platanus occidentalis, and tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, are the largest of the forest. One of the former, measured by Michaus the younger, was found to be forty-seven feet in circumference, at the height of four feet from the surface of the soil. This tree grew at the distance of thirty-six miles from Marietta, near the road to Wheeling. Another, in an island of the Ohio, fifteen miles above the river Maskingum, measured by General Washington, was thirty feet in diameter. *

The most valuable timber trees of the Miami country are the white flowering locust; oaks, white, black, bur and low•land chestnut oak; black walnut, wild cherry, yellow poplar, blue and white ash, mulberry, honey locust, shellback, bickery, coffec-nut, and beech. The trees which abound most are,—the beech, white oak, sugar tree, ash, hickery, and walnut. † The most elegant flowering trees and shrubs are,—the dogwood, redbud, white flower. ing locust, crab-apple, honeysuckle, black-haw, ha w thorn, buckeye, yellow poplar, and plum trec. The flowering locust, so common in Kentucky, and along the borders of the Ohio, is rarely seen at a greater distance than thirty miles north of that river. The chestnut, persimmon, mountain chestnut oak, and fox grape, are also rare. The arbor vitæ, hemlock, yew, mountain maple, red berried elder, and witch hazle, are only seen near the falls of the Little Miami; and the swain-pash, cucumber tree, roseAnimals. The woods abound with deer, wild turkies, geese, ducks, pheasants. and partridges. On the river St Mary, one of the branches of the Miami, and near Dayton and Cincinnati. The teeth and part of the backbone of the mammoth have been dug up from the depth of ten or twelve feet, in the alluvial soil. The bear and deer are still inhabitants of the forests of this state; and the flesh of both is dried and cured, and sold under the name of ham. Squirrels. In 1808 the crop of Indian corn was, in some places, very much injured, in others totally destroyed, by the grey squirrel, which appeared in great numbers, migrating from north to south. In crossing the Ohio thousands were drowned ; they had an emaciated appearance, and were covered with running ulcers made by worms of the grub kind. The legislature passed a law, requiring every free male inhabitant to furnish 100 squirrel scalps to the clerk of the county, or pay three doliars in cash. They disappeared about the Ist

* Voyage á l'ouest des Monts Alleghinys, par F. A. Michaux, Paris, 1808. · The timber of the western country is tound to be inferior to that of the Atlantic states, which is attributed to its more rapid growth. It is softer. weaker, and less durable.

willow, leatherwood, and aspen, are confined to the more northern parts. The Juglans pacan, (a species of hickery,) Aralia spinosa, (angelica tree,) and Bignomia catalpa, (catalpa tree,) which are common in the state of Indiana, and as far north as the latitude of Cincinnati, are not found to the east of the Great Miami. The white cedar, Cupressus thyoides, and cypress, Cupressus disticha, grow on the river Wabash; and the white pine, Pinus strobus, on the waters of the Muskingum, but neither of these are seen in the district of Miami. The cane ( Arundinaria maerosperma) does not grow in the state to the north of the Ohio river; and, though it shoots up on the borders of the Wabash, it is rarely seen above the latitude of 39 degrees, The hop plant, ginseng, and colombo spots, grow spontaneously,

« PreviousContinue »