Page images
PDF
EPUB

square at the Weeaw town (Ouitanon) on the river Wabash; other cessions were at the same time made without the limits of this state. For all which, the Pottawatamies were to receive, for their share of recompense, goods to the amount of 1000 dollars; and the Kickapoos, Piankashaws, Weaws, and Elk river tribes, 500 each. In 1804, the Delawares and Piankashaws sold a large tract bordering on the Ohio; and, in 1805, another extensive tract was ceded by the Miami, Eel river, and Weeaw Indians, which, including a former cession around Vincennes in 1794, comprehended a tract of 130 miles in length, and fifty in breadth, extending from the Ohio river to the western limits. Another tract was ceded in 1809, by the Delawares, Pottowatamies, Miami, and Eel river tribes, including the south-western parts to above the fortieth degree of latitude. Notwithstanding these cessions, the contracting Indian parties were always hostile. In 1791, they were attacked by General Wilkinson, who destroyed the principal town of the Shawenese, near the mouth of the Tippacanoe, containing 120 houses. They were attacked on the 7th of November 1811, about 100 miles above Vincennes, by a detachment of American troops, under General Harrison, who destroyed the town of their celebrated Prophet. In September 1813, four of their towns, at the forks of the Wabash, were burnt by the same officer.

Books relating to this State.

Charlevoix, Histoire tle la Noavelle Trance. l"778. Hutchins's Topographical Description of Virginia, &c from p. 26 to 30.

183 7. Brown's Western Gazetteer, article Indiana.

CHAPTER XXI.

KENTUCKY. *

Situation And Boundaries.Kentucky is situated between 36° 30' and 39° ltf of north latitude, and between 4° 48' and 12° 20' west longitude from Washington. It is bounded on the north by the river Ohio, which separates it from the state of Indiana and the Illinois territory; south, by Virginia and Tennessee; east, by Virginia; west, by the Mississippi river, which separates it from the Missouri territory. Its greatest length from east to west is 328 miles; its greatest breadth from north to south 183 miles; its least breadth about 40 miles. Area 40,110 square miles, or 25,670,000 acres.

Aspect of the Country, and Nature of the Soil.— The chain of Cumberland, or Green Laurel mountains, stretches along the south-eastern parts of the state, forming the line of boundary to the distance of nearly eighty miles. Near these mountains the coun

• In the Indian language, Kentucky, or river of blood, so named on account of the bloody Wits between the natives of that country and other nations.

try is hilly, broken, and uneven; in other parts it is generally level. The soil is of a dark colour, and light, but amazingly fertile. The subsoil is a stiff clay, which throughout the whole level country reposes on a bed of limestone, the depth of which varies from one to fifteen feet. The country, in its natural state, is covered with immense forests, except a tract of natural meadow, from sixty to seventy miles in length, and from fifty to sixty in breadth, known by the name of "Barrens," over which nature has spread the most luxuriant herbage. From the mouth of the Ohio to the junction of Big Sandy river, the alluvial soil, or "bottoms," is about a mile in breadth, and covered, in its natural state, with heavy timber. An extensive tract, near Big Sandy and Green rivers, towards the eastern counties, including an area of 150 miles long, and from 50 to 100 broad, is the most fertile part of the whole state, and is perhaps not surpassed in riches in any other country. The grounds have a gentle undulation, the angle of ascent nowhere exceeding twentyeight degrees. There are no marshes or swamps. It is watered by fine springs, and by the running streams of Little Sandy, Licking, Kentucky, and Salt rivers. The soil is of a friable nature, generally black; in some parts of a reddish hue, or the colour of ashes, and from one to twenty feet in depth. In the elevated parts it is more fertile than in the vallies, and especially near the borders of the streams. The trees which it produces are of small growth, and so thinly set, that there are not more than twenty to an acre on the plain. There is no underwood nor shrub, except the wild grape vine, which entwines the trees. The eastern and southeastern parts of the state, along the borders of Virginia and Tennessee, where several of the rivers have their sources, are broken into hills, ridges, and deep vallies, by spurs of the Alleghany and Cumberland mountains. The whole surface is here well wooded, particularly in the deep glens and coves, which run from one to fifty acres in extent, with a level surface, where the poplar grows to the size of eight feet in diameter, intermixed with lofty cane. Between the rolling fork of Salt river and Green river, including forty miles square, and along Great and Little Barren rivers, the soil is less fertile. The country called the "Barrens," lying between Green and Cumberland rivers, was considered by the first settlers as of little value; and the legislature being of the same opinion, passed an act, in the year 1800, granting every actual settler a lot of 400 acres. This offer encouraged several farmers to make trial of the soil, which was found to produce grain of a good quality, tobacco, cotton, indigo, and a variety of esculent plants. The woods afford a fine range for cattle; and the oak being very abundant, furnishes mast for hogs. Along the Cumberland river the soil is not so subject to inundation as the borders of the Ohio. It consists of a gravelly clay, or loam, of a bright reddish colour, except in places covered with poplar, where it is of an ash colour. So very productive is this tract, that it is said to be capable of yielding 100 bushels of corn per acre. The trees of the Barrens are oak, chestnut, hickery, gum, poplar, and cucumber. In most of the counties the oak predominates.

Caverns.—The subterraneous caverns in this country have attracted much attention, and are described as some of the most extraordinary natural curiosities of the kind in the world. They are, besides, of considerable importance in a commercial point of view, for the quantity of nitre they afford. The great cave near Crooked creek is supposed to contain a million of pounds. *

• This great cave has two mouths, or entrances, 646 yards distant from each other, and about 150 yards from a large creek, above which the floor is elevated 80 feet. The average height of the arch is 10 feet; in some places it rises to 50 or 60. The mean breadth is 40; in some parts it extends to 70 or 80 feet, and the floor resembles a public road. \ Another cavern, in Warren county, still more extensive, has been lately discovered. The entrance is by a descent of forty feet, which leads to a passage from 40 to 50 feet in height, and 30 in width, to the distance of 40 rods, when it contracts to five feet in height, and almost double the width; after which it expands to 30 or 40 in width, and 20 in height, and continues of these dimensions about a mile; thence it is 40 feet in width, and 60 in height, to the distance of two miles from the entrance, after which the passage rises from 60 to 100 feet in height, and preserves nearly the same width a mile, in a western direction, and afterwards south-west, to the distance of six miles from the entrance, where it expands into an area of more than eight acres extent, with an arch of solid stone 100 feet high. From this itnmeiue vault, called the " Chief City," are five passages, from 60 to 100 feet in width, and from 40 to 80 in perpendicular height, one of

■f Dr Brown of Lexington has given a description of this, and other caves, in the ICtli Volume of the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia.

« PreviousContinue »