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her, and also Ann Bailey.
some other trifle. I never shall forget The people here repeat many sayings of the howl upon the helm on the bank of the helk❞—that is, an owl on an elm upon the bank of Elk river.
hers, such as
History. -Kenhawa county consists of two strings of inhabitants, upon Kenhawa and Elk rivers. It was reclaimed from the Indians and the buffaloes, by degrees, with the loss of many lives by the former, until Gen. Wayne subdued them. The buffaloes were so numerous on this river, that they made large roads through the bottoms. Elks, deer and bears were likewise numerous. None of the buffaloes are to be seen now, but bear and deer are still numerous, and elks are often seen on the head of Elk river, which empties into Kenhawa river at a little town called Charleston, the seat of justice for this county.* It is navigable its whole length, two hundred miles. In this town are four stores, two taverns, a court-house, a jail, and an academy; the three last are of brick; and a post-office, a printing press, and some very handsome buildings. The first permanent settlement was made in 1786, though they had to defend themselves with forts, or at least one, which was built near where a Mr. Jones now lives, called Jones's ferry. Mr. Morrice, a Mr. Cea, this Jones, and Col. Donnally, the hero of Donnally's fort, were the first; others soon followed, but M. was the head man; he had a boat-yard, built boats, and sold them to people who emigrated to the west. He had money at interest, and was the successful rival of Col. D. They never agreed; M. carried every point, he was looked up to by the people, and what he said was the law, let that be what it might. Courts of justice were established, magistrates appointed, and all as this lord of the land dictated. Some person, however, who had a bond on M., had the audacity to sue him. The court sat in an old house, or cabin rather, as the story goes. Some
I saw one which was caught when it was young on Elk river. It was quite gentle, and went at large, though nearly grown; it belonged to Col. Ruffner,
suits were disposed of, before M.'s suit was called. At length the suit was called, and one of the magistrates came down, or rather got up, went out behind the house, and awaked a brother chip, who was lying on the ground drunk, saying "get up! M.'s suit is coming on." Another magistrate was lying drunk on the floor; he was roused by the sheriff; at length they have a court, and proceed to business. The case was argued on both sides by their respective attornies, and the jury was sent out to a blacksmith's shop. You have seen these shops; they generally have a log cut out of some length, on the opposite side from the door; at least they have in the western country, but what the use of it is, I never learned, unless it be to hang their work on; or, perhaps, let in the air in warm weather; but to the purpose. After the Jury were fastened in, M. gets a three gallon keg full of whisky, and thrusts it in through this window, saying to the Jury, "now do your best." They were not long, we may suppose, in agreeing; when they came into the court, their verdict was, we, the juгу, find for the defendant!!" The lawyer for the plaintiff was thunderstruck; nothing was clearer, a plain bond! He grated his teeth, and cursed them all to himself; returned the plaintiff (which was equally extraordinary,) his fee, jumped on his horse, and was never seen there afterwards. Thus was Kenhawa settled, and thus was justice administered, and with little variation continues the same. Many suits have been eight, ten, and some fifteen years on the docket. The new modelling of the judiciary, has, however, of late, measureably relieved the people.
Climate. The climate on Kenhawa river is very hot in summer; the thermometer rising from ninety to a hundred; not a breeze relieves you from suffocating heat; when it does, it uniformly brows up the river from the north west; these breezes, however, seldom prevail except in the fall and winter months. This great difference between the climate and that of Greenbriar and Monroe, of which it is several miles north, must be attributed to that of its being much lower, and hemmed in
on each side by perpendicular mountains. This climate ceases at the Ohio river. To the nature of the climate, and the richness of the soil, may be ascribed that surprising exuberance of vegetable productions, which is not exceeded by any country. Tobacco overgrows itself; wheat and rye grow to such bulk, that its weight brings it to the ground before it comes to perfection; Irish potatoes are cultivated, but are not good; all garden vegetables succeed beyond description; and in no part of the United States are to be found better peaches; apples are not much attended to; indeed, little attention is paid to agriculture, in this county; the salt business engrosses the principal part of the force. Kenhawa is said to be unhealthy; at some seasons of the year (but this does not happen every year,) it is subject to intermittent fevers.
Here are three great high ways, contiguous to each other, viz one on the north side of the river, leading from Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, to the eastern states. Another on the south bank, leading from Kentucky and Illinois, likewise to the eastern states; and the river itself. The river is covered with boats, some going up, and some going down. The roads are likewise much travelled, particularly in the fall of the year; that on the south side of the river, is alive from morning till night, with people, horses, cattle, but principally hogs; myriads of hogs are driven by this way annually, to the east. They commence driving in September, and from that till Christmas, you can look out no time in the day without seeing a line of hogs. This road is one of the most unpleasant in the world to travel at that time; the river on one side, the mountain on the other, and both so near, that it confines the traveller to one narrow space; which, from the yielding quality of the soil, added to the absence of the sun, the rays of which are totally interrupted by the mountain, is a perfect quagmire. This circumstance has given rise to many ludicrous stories, of people being buried alive; and others travelling on the backs of cattle, hogs, &c. that have sunk into it. From what I have seen myself of this road, even at this season of the year, I am inclined to credit its ill fame.
On our way from Ohio, we travelled on that side of the river. When we drew near to Charleston, it being very dark, we could just perceive something before us, which appeared not to move; but whether it was man or beast, or what, we could not discover. At length, as we approached nearer, we found it to be a man, whose horse had stuck fast in the mud. It was laughable to hear him cursing the horse. "Blast you," said he, "can't you go neither back nor forward." It appeared that he was a citizen of the town, and, like ourselves, had been delayed till dark, by the badness of the road, when his horse plunged into a mud-hole up to the girth, and was unable either to advance or retreat. We could not think of leaving him in such a piteous condition; but how to relieve him was a question of some difficulty. At length, he was compelled to dismount in the mud, which took him up to his knees; and with some difficulty, he extricated his horse. They tell an anecdote (indeed, they tell hundreds,) of a Scotch gentleman, who was travelling this road, and who, it seems, was not aware of those fallacious mud-holes, cried out to his horse, as he was sinking into one of them, "ho'd! ho'd! gin Í had aff my close, we'll swum, I'm thinkin; dom ye for a blind bast, gin ye could'nt see the quick sand." It was said that the horse was really blind.
After spending two weeks at Kenhawa, I returned easterly, taking a circuit through Nicholas and Pocahontas. At length I find myself in Lewisburg.
Lewisburg.-Lewisburg is four miles west of the Alleghany Mountain; contains a handsome stone courthouse and jail, two clerks offices, two churches, one for presbyterians and one for methodists, one academy for young men, and one for young ladies, two taverns, four retail stores, a post-office, a printing office, and forty dwelling-houses, chiefly of wood. In this small town four different courts hold their sessions, to wit: a Superior Court of Chancery twice a year, the Superior Court twice a year, the United States Court twice a year, and the inferior courts for the county. These courts, and the number of travellers who pass through
this place, from the west to the east, and from east to west, and the vast numbers of hogs, horses, and cattle, that are drove through it from all parts of the western country, gives it an air of liveliness, for about ten months in the year.
The state of Virginia is now engaged in making a road from the head of navigation, that is, the nearest point of intersection with James river. It is, when completed, to come in at the falls of Kenhawa. This road passes through Lewisburg. The intention of this undertaking, I am told, is to draw the trade of the western states. It appears to be the design of Virginia, to come in for a share of that commercial interest, hitherto engrossed by the states north of her. She contemplates transporting merchandise by water to Covington, a small town on Jackson's river, at the point of intersection with this road, and from thence by waggons, to the falls of Kenhawa, where a line of steam boats is to convey it to different parts of the western country. The merchandize is to be exchanged for the produce of the west. I have not been able to trace the scheme further than this. But in my humble opinion, it will be long ere Virginia will be able to furnish the western states, upon this or any other plan, as low as they will be furnished by the northern. She has clear evidence of this, in the universal practice of the merchants of West Virginia, and Tennessee, who lay in their goods at Philadelphia, which is nearly double the distance to Richmond; and besides, Virginia commands navigation for nearly two hundred miles in that direction by James' river. Why she has not realized this advantage I am not able to say. It appears, that from the little I have been able to learn of Virginia, though she by no means wants genius or public spirit, yet, she wants that genius necessary to promote commerce. They say here that it is designed to connect the waters of James river and Kenhawa, by cutting a canal through the Alleghany mountain, from Dunlap's Creek, on the east, to Howard's Creek, on the west of it. As the Alleghany presents but a slight elevation at this place, and these streams are but a few miles asunder, this might easily be done