Page images
PDF
EPUB

minates in meadow lands, rising from thirty to a hundred feet above the former, adorned with copses of beautiful shrubs, and bounded by lofty forests. In the summer season these meadows are covered with a luxuriant growth of herbage, from six to eight feet high. The common depth of the soil is from two to three feet; but along the Wabash, in forming wells, it was found to be twenty-two feet, and underneath a stratum of fine white sand was discovered. The lands on White river are hilly, broken, and in some parts stony; but exceedingly well watered. From the mouth of Big Miami to Blue river, a range of hills, intersected by streams, runs near to and parallel with the Ohio. Below Blue river, the country is level, and covered with heavy timber. Between the Wabash river and Lake Michigan, there is a champaign country, chiefly meadow, intersected by forests of fine trees, abounding in swamps and inland lakes, the sources of numerous streams. From the south bank of the St Joseph river extend rich meadow lands, from one to ten miles in breadth, and of variable length; the soil is dry, being at least 100 feet above high water. The soil around the sources of Eel river, Panther's creek, and St Joseph of the Miami, and between the two extreme branches of the Wabash, is generally low and swampy, but interspersed with tracts of good soil. The overflowing of the rivers is very extensive; and, as most of them have a winding course, they water one-half more of the country than if they ran in a straight line. General Harrison, who traversed this country in every direction, remarks, "that the finest country in all the western world is that which is bounded eastwardly by the counties of Wayne, Franklin, and part of Dearborn, Switzerland, and Jefferson; westward by the tract called the New Purchase; and extending northwardly some small distance beyond the Wabash. This tract, containing perhaps 10,000,000 of acres, is principally the property of the Miami tribe of Indians; part of it of the Miamis and Delawares. It includes all the head waters of the White river, and the branches of the Wabash which fall in from the south and southeast. *

Climate.—In all the high country the climate is particularly healthy; but in the low alluvial soil, formed of decaying vegetable substances, the air is unfriendly to health. The winter is milder, and much shorter, than in the northern states. The fine weather generally continues to Christmas, and spring commences about the middle of February. The peach blossoms about the 1st of March, and the woods are green by the 10th of April. But some winters are much colder. In that of 1815 the frost continued two or three weeks; the snow was from six to nine inches deep; and the ice of the Wabash, in many places, was strong enough to be passed over. Apple, cherry, and peach trees thrive well; tobacco also thrives as well here as in Virginia. The vine and sweet potatoe are cultivated at New Switzerland and Vevay. Below Ouitanon, in latitude 40° 20', the climate is mild. Above the sources of the Wabash,

* Appendix to the Western Gazetteer, p. 358.

where the north and north-westerly winds prevail, the winters are much more severe. The reed cane grows as high up as the mouth of the Big Miami. Cotton is raised at Vincennes, Princeton, Harmony, and in the settlements below the mouth of Anderson; though it does not grow to perfection above the thirty-first degree of latitude.

Rivers.—This state is watered by the rivers Ohio and Wabash, and their numerous branches; the southern parts by the former, over a distance of 472 miles, following its course from the entrance of the Big Miami to that of the Wabash. The principal branches of the Ohio are—1. Tanner's creek, which rises in the flat woods to the south of Brookville; and, running a course of thirty miles, falls in below Lawrenceburgh, where it is thirty yards wide. 2. Loughery's creek, forty miles in length, and fifty yards wide at its entrance, falls in eleven miles below the Big Miami. 3. Indian creek, called also Indian Kentucky, and by the Swiss, Venoge, * rises in the hills near the south fork of White river, forty-five miles north-east of Vevay, and falls in eight miles below the mouth of Kentucky river. It forms the southern limit of the Swiss settlement. 4. Wyandot creek issues from the hills which extend in a transverse direction from near the mouth of Blue river to the Muddy fork of White river, and joins the Ohio at about an equal distance between the falls and Blue river. 5. Big Blue river,

• The name of a small river of Switzerland, in the Pays de Vaud.

so named from the colour of its waters, rises farther north, near the South fork of White river, runs fifty miles south-west, and then, taking a southern direction, enters the Ohio thirty-two miles below the mouth of Salt river. It is about fifty yards in breadth, and is navigable forty miles to a rift, which, if removed, would extend it farther ten or twelve miles.* 6. Little Blue river, forty yards wide, has its entrance thirteen miles below the former. 7. Anderson's river, which joins the Ohio sixty miles farther down, is the most considerable stream below Blue river and the Wabash. Besides these, there are several creeks, but none of great length. The current of all these streams is pretty rapid, and their waters are good. The Wabash, which waters the middle and western parts of the state, rises from two sources near the eastern boundary line, about 100 miles from Lake Erie, and runs across the state in a south-western and southern course of above 500 miles, discharging its waters into the Ohio in latitude 37° 21'. The principal upper branch of the Wabash has its source two miles east of old Fort St Mary's; another, called Little river, rises seven miles south of Fort Wayne, and enters about eighty miles below the St Mary's Portage; a third, the Massassinway, rises in Darke county, state of Ohio; a fourth, Eel river, issues from several lakes and ponds eighteen miles west of Fort Wayne, and enters the Wabash eight miles below the mouth of the former, which unites five miles below the mouth of Little river. White river, the largest branch of the Wabash, is 200 miles in

• Schultz, Vol. I. p. 196.

length. At the distance of thirty-five miles from its mouth, (sixteen miles below Vincennes,) it divides into two branches, which water the south-eastern parts of the state below the fortieth degree of latitude. The northern, called the Drift Wood branch, interlocks with the north fork of White water, and with the Still water of the Big Miami. The southern, known by the name of Muddy Fork, rises between the West fork of the White water. The Northern fork has a branch, called Teakettle, which extends from its junction, twenty miles above that of the two principal forks, across the intervening surface. During the period of high water, both the branches of the White river are boatable to the distance of 130 miles. The Petoka river has its source near that of the southern branch of White river, with which it runs parallel at the distance of ten or twelve miles; and, after a course of seventyfive, it joins the Wabash, twenty miles below Vincennes. Decke river, a short winding stream, which comes from the north-east, falls in about half way between Vincennes and White river. Little river, from the French name La Petite Riviere, comes also from the north-east, and enters a little above Vincennes. The St Marie, from the same quarter, is fifty miles long, and enters eighteen miles above Vincennes; and, eighteen miles higher, is Roclry river, which is 100 yards wide at its mouth; it has several large branches. Another Little river, which comes from the south-east, from near the sources of Rocky river, is the only stream from this last which enters from the left, to the distance of seventy miles. Pomme river, which rises to

« PreviousContinue »