Page images
PDF
EPUB

Temperature.—Much of what was stated in describing the climate of Ohio, applies to that of Kentucky. It is less subject to great extremes of heat and cold than the Atlantic states. The winter seldom commences before Christmas, and its duration rarely exceeds three months; sometimes not more than two. There is

which runs in a southern direction for more than two miles; another east, and then north, for more than this distance, communicating with another that opens into the great area. In a northern and parallel direction with the one first described, another, after the distance of two miles, expands into a fine arch, the centre of which is elevated 200 feet above the surface. From this a passage of about 300 yaids in length, leads to a third area, about 200 feet square, ami 50 in height: and near the extremity of this passage, from a rock thirty feet high, a fine stream of water issues, which, falling on broken fragments of stone, sinks from the view. Return, ing about the distance of 100 yards, another avenue, with a rugged floor, runs in a southern direction more than a mile, and, passing over a steep eminence of about 60 yards, opens into another area, of which the arch covers about six acres. The extremity of this last passage is about ten miles from the entrance into the cave, and four from the first great cave, from which a fifth passage, leading in a south eastern direction of 900 yards, opens into a level surface of four acres extent, strewed with broken limestone. From a passage which runs due south 500 rods, an opening, just large enough to admit the body, about 40 feet in height, expands into a chamber 1800 feet in circumference, with an arch 150 feet high in the centre. It is believed that Green river, which is navigable several hundred miles, passes over the branches of this cave. Such is the description published in the American journals, and first in the Worcester Spy, in August 1816". The author of the Western Ga. zetteer remarks, (p. 99.) lhat though he made particular inquiry concerning caves and caverns, he heard nothing corresponding in grandeur and dimension with this.

but little snow, and it does not lie long. Though the river Ohio be frozen every two or three years, the thermometer seldom falls below 25°. In the warmest months, July and August, 80° is the highest point to which it rises, while in other parts of the United States it often rises to 96°, or the temperature of the human blood. In the great cavern in Maddison county the thermometer stands generally at 52°, which may be considered as the mean heat of the climate. The sudden disappearance, in spring, of the immense quantity of leaves which covered the ground, has been adduced as a proof of uncommon moisture, but this is owing to the richness of the soil, and the thickness of the woods, which, intercepting the sun's rays, occasion a sudden decomposition. The north-west wind, which always produces a great cold, seldom continues many days together. That from the south-west generally prevails, and particularly in the spring and autumn, when the weather is delightful. In the year 1812 several shocks of an earthquake were felt. The workmen employed in the great cave of Warren county, about five minutes before the shock, heard a heavy rumbling noise, coming out of the cave, like a mighty wind; and the moment it ceased, the rocks were heard to crack, large fragments fell, and all seemed to announce a terrible catastrophe; but the motion suddenly ceased, and no one was injured. *

Rivers.—On the north and north-west this state is

* Worcester Spy.

J washed by the Ohio river, to an extent of 838 miles; on the west, by the Mississippi, 7* niiles. The former, after heavy rains and the sudden melting of the snow, swells to a great height above its usual level, and overflows its banks. At Louisville, in 1815, it rose more than seventy feet above its usual height. The principal branches of the Ohio which traverse this territory chiefly in a northern direction, are the Big Sandy, Licking, Kentucky, Salt, Green, and Cumberland. The first, which forms the line of boundary between Kentucky and Virginia for nearly 200 miles, rises in the Alleghany mountains, near the sources of Clinch and Cumberland rivers. Its two branches unite forty miles from its entrance into the Ohio, where it is 200 yards in width. It is navigable to the Ouascoto mountains. The southern branch receives a number of tributary streams, running in an eastern or north-easter n direction. Licking river rises in the south-west corner of the state, near the sources of Cumberland river, and runs a north-western course to the Ohio, nearly 200 miles. Near its outlet it is 150 yards wide. In win-'ter and spring its waters swell to a considerable height, but in summer they sink through the limestone rocks of its bed, and leave but a small current. Kentucky river rises in the Laurel mountains, in the south-eastera part of the state, and pursues a winding north-west course of 280 miles, to its junction with the Ohio, in latitude 39°; at its outlet it is 250 yards in width. The current, though rapid, is boatable 180 miles, at the time of high water; at other times, not higher

than Frankfort. This river has several considerable branches, two of which, the northern and southern, rise in the hills near Cumberland river, and run in a northern direction to their junction, about two miles from each other, in Madison county. Another branch, called Dick's, taking a north-north-western course, is fifty miles long, and fifty yards wide. The banks are of limestone and white marble ; they rise in some places to the height of 300 feet, and render the current rapid. The Elk branch, which enters eight miles below Frankfort, is fifty yards wide at its outlet. Green river, which rises in Lincoln county, runs an irregular westerly course of 280 miles, to its junction with the Ohio, 120 miles below Louisville, and 50 above the mouth of Cumberland. It has an outlet of 200 yards in width, and is boatable to the rapids for fifty miles, and above them to the mouth of Barren river. Its chief tributary streams are Great Barren, Little Barren, and Rough rivers. Cumberland, or Shawanee river, rises in the south-eastern corner of the state, near the Cumberland mountains, and, forming a curve, traverses the northern parts of the state of Tennessee, for 200 miles, in its course to the Ohio, which it joins in a western point, at the distance of 1113 miles below Pittsburgh, and fifty from the Mississippi. It is 300 yards wide at its mouth; at Nashville, 200 miles distant, it is 190 yards wiae, with a depth of twenty feet from November to June, and of ten or twelve the rest of the year. Sometimes, however, after the rainy season, it swells to forty, fifty, and sixty feet, overflowing the low lands. It is upwards of 500 miles in

a

length, and the current being moderate, affords an easy navigation for sloops to Nashville, and 300 miles higher for boats of fifteen tons. Licking river rises near the source of Kentucky river, and takes a northwestern course of 180 miles to the Ohio, into which it empties itself opposite to Cincinnati. It has an outlet of 150 yards in width, from which it affords a navigation, during high water, to the distance of 100 miles for boats carrying 200 barrels of flour. Both these rivers interramify with the Kentucky. Salt river, which rises from four different sources, runs in a westerly course for 280 miles to its junction with the Ohio, into which it empties itself about fifty miles above the mouth of the Wabash. It is navigable for boats 150 miles. Trade water river rises in the bend of Cumberland river, and, taking a north-west course of eighty miles, joins the Ohio 200 miles below the mouth of Green river. It is seventy yards wide at its outlet. Bed river rises in Cumberland county, and runs a south-western direction into Cumberland river. It is fifty miles long, and sixty yards wide at its outlet. Kaskinampas river rises near the Tennessee river, and takes a western course to the Mississippi, above the mouth of the Wabash. It is navigable for boats 150 miles. The Tennessee river, which intersects the state in its western parts, joins the Ohio ten miles below the Cumberland river, after a course of about seventy-five miles in Kentucky.

The banks of those rivers, in different parts, are elevated from 100 to 300 feet above the bed; and, after sudden rain, their waters, like those of the

VOL. II. x

« PreviousContinue »