Obrázky stránek

parle h here ge by i winetimes en de58 with justly : aptly ep reag tor

5 like

e were

at the untain, ttempt two invers, a Green

is una

of his m the e othKenha

and in off by


ht at a screen it "the ť donc

1, formuntain,

h your

d, you


is way wever, hmad

dening fury, sending forth a noise which echoes from
cleft to cleft. I should like to see a boat stem that tor-
rent!! After much riding and walking in zigzag, angles
and semi-angles, we reached the river, which we cross..
ed in a boat, with great ease and safety, it having as-
sumed a smooth and slow current. By the same zigzag
which brought us to the river we ascend the mountain
on the opposite side, nor are you completely off of it
until you reach Kenhawa river, which is nothing more
than the river just mentioned, but does not assume
that name till after receiving Gauley, a small river
which discharges itself into New river, about six miles
above the falls, twenty-eight miles from where we
crossed New river, and about seventy-eight from Lew-
isburgh, the county seat of Greenbriar county. With-
in four miles of the falls, where our road strikes Kenha-
wa river, we cross a part of the mountain named Cotton
Hill, which may aptly be compared to Spencer's Hill, on
Cumberland mountain. After passing Cotton Hill, the
scenery becomes beautiful and picturesque beyond de-
scription. For the distance of two miles you pursue a
sinall stream, which increases as it goes, and brings you
to Kenhawa: but the scenery in this distance compen
sates you for the fatigue uhderwent in reaching it. This
stream runs between two moderate hills, which are clo-
thed with flowers of a thousand different hues; mean-
while it swells as you advance, forming innumerable gro-
Sometimes it runs with nimble
tesque appearances.
speed over a smooth solid rock of about twenty paces,
which looks as it were planed by man, on which not the
smallest pebble appears. In a moment you see it inter-
lucent, some of the wildest rocks in nature: anon it
flows gently over a dam that seems to defy the ingenuity
of man, both in symmetry and design. Presently it pre-
cipitates itself from a vast height, in one entire sheet:
again it buries itself, and you think you have seen it for
the last time, when you behold it curling ahead, in Ho-
garth's line of beauty. Thus, after amusing the travel-
ler with ten thousand gambols, it leaves him at the falls
of the great Kenhawa river, the grandeur of which ab-
sorbs, for the moment, every earthly thought.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

This famous river, after surmounting a variety of obstacles, this amazing rock over which it tumbles, being the last, flows in smooth and silent pride. The fall is over one entire rock, about fifteen feet perpendicular. Below the falls, it is deep, and from two hundred and fifty to three hundred yards wide. This majestic river flows between two mountains of moderate elevation, which are perfectly barren, and almost perpendicular. The bottom land, at first narrow, (I mean at the falls,) widens towards the mouth of the river, to the distance of two miles, and as rich as any in the world, producing from seventy to one hundred bushels of maize to the acre. I am told, that, to the depth of eight and from that to twelve feet deep, little difference exists in the nature and color of the soil. The produce is butter principally. Few springs are found on Kenhawa river; and those that are found are said not to be wholesome; the people therefore, drink river water generally. This is ve ry pleasant, if taken out of the river in the evening, and left in the open air during the night, it becomes very cold; and if sat in a shade or in a cellar, it is very pleasant drink the whole of the succeeding day. I did not, however stomach, it so well below the salt-works, particularly as I saw several carcases of dead horses floating on the surface of the stream. While I was viewing these one day, I asked some black women who were washin clothes on the bank, how they could relish the water in which these putrefied bodies were floating."Oh," said they, "da purifies de vater, and makes it sweet."

Kenhawa County -With a degree of high-wrought enthusiasm, I hastened on, regardless of every object beside, to the salt-works, and the celebrated burning spring, which are on the bank of Kenhawa river, about twenty-eight miles below the falls. This burning spring is no spring at all-how it came to assume the name is strange; and instead of one there is seven, which are nothing more than this. "The surface of the earth is worn away by some means, (probably by setting it on fire so often as is done,) into a hollow, not a foot in depth;

this sink







of ti by


is l One tha!

it w



stre flow





son insu




to i



is t!

or 1 cast




the plo


· of ob

being fall is


d and c river




of two

z from e acre.

that to


ipally. I those

e peos is veng, and

as very y plea

Jid not,

s, pars floatviewing

O were

ish the ting.makes it

Frought object burning about spring

came is are nos worn

fire so depth;


this cavity receives the rain water, which is kept from sinking by the air that blows violently through a number of small apertures in these cavities." The holes through which the air issues are round, and about the size of one's little finger; they looked precisely as though they were bored with a spike gimlet. I saw but two of those springs as they are called:* one had water in it, the other was dry. We heard the bubbling of the water ere we saw the spring, which being agitated by the wind from beneath, keeps it in continual motion, resembling water when boiling very fast. The noise is like that produced by blowing through a tube with one end in water. This water was evidently no other than rain water, which probably fell the preceding day; it was very turbid indeed, occasioned, no doubt, from its violent agitation, and to this, perhaps, may be ascribed, wearing away of the earth. From this spring no stream arises, nor any vestige to show that ever one flowed from either of those which I saw. From the one that contained no water I could discern, very plain, the air issuing through those apertures already mentioned, which were as numerous as the holse in a riddle, and from both issued the most nauseous smell in nature, something like the wipings of a foul gun, but much more insupportable. These places were discovered by boatmen, who were seeking for wood to kindle a fire after night, with a torch in their hands, and happening to carry the torch near one of them, communicated a flame to it; it happened to have water in it at the time, and hence I suspect took the name of the Burning Spring. There is no difference in the burning of the air, (for it is the air that burns,) with respect to their being with or without water; the flame is equally strong in both cases, and when set on fire will burn for months if not extinguished by rain. The flame is usually about two feet in height. Boatmen frequently boil their meat over these springs by setting them on fire, and hanging the pot over them. I would not be surprised if an explosion should take place in the neighborhood of these springs some day, particularly if the air should by any

[ocr errors]

* The others were not far off, but my curiosity was satisfied.

means become heated or confined. No opinion has been expressed respecting this phenomenon, or any pains taken to ascertain the nature or cause of its exis


Salt-works.-The salt-works in this county are another natural curiosity; they abound on both sides of the river, for the distance of twelve miles. This is another evidence of the providential care of the Deity. Here is a spot, that were it not for this article of commerce, and the facility with which it can be sent to market, would be destitute of almost every comfort and convenience of life. Immense quantities of salt are made here annually; upon an average about one million of bushels, which employ one thousand hands. This salt is sent down Kenhawa river in boats to every part of the western country, and exchanged for articles of consumption. It appears, however, notwithstanding this great bounty of nature, that very few of the proprietors have realized any solid advantage from it; owing, perhaps, to want of capital in the commencement, want of skill, or want of commercial integrity, or perhaps to all three.

The salt water is obtained from the bottom of the river by means of a gum,* which is from eighteen to twenty feet in length, and from four to five feet wide; these gums are from the sycamore tree. They are prepared by making a crow at one end, and a head to fit it tight. This being done, about twenty hands repair to the place where it is to be sunk, which is at the edge of low water, on the river; not any where, for the salt water is only found within certain limits. But to return, all hands proceed with provisions, and plenty to drink, to the place. The gum is first placed in the water on one end, (the one with the crow,) a man is then let down into it by a windlass, and digs round the edge with an instrument suited to the purpose; when he fills a bucket with the sand, gravel, or earth, which he meets in succession ; the bucket is immediately drawn up, emptied, and let

*An American term for a hollow tree, after it is taken from the forest.

dow whic digs




In th


not c con!



from rock bore

one thre

he i










ness forn




it is. pear drav


be t




by r

1 bas




f the

other Here

merce, arket,



ion of 3 salt

art of


this ietors

perant of to all

e riv

twenthese pared tight. place

V wa

ter is

ands > the

end, it by ment the


1 let


down again, and so on till the gum descends to a rock, which is uniformly at the same distance. As the man digs, the gum sinks; but no man can remain in it longer than twenty or thirty minutes, owing to the excessive cold that exists at the bottom; and another one is let down, and so on in rotation, till their task is performed. In the mean time a pump is placed in the gum to pump out the water as the men work, which otherwise would not only hinder, but drown them. This pump is kept continually at work; about eight or ten days and nights are consumed in this operation; the head is then put in, which effectually excludes the fresh water; and a man from a lofty scaffold commences boring through tho rock, which takes some time, as the best hands will not bore more than two feet per day, and the depth is from one to two hundred and fifty, and in some instances three hundred feet, through a solid rock! The moment he is through, the salt water spouts up to a great height, and of stronger or weaker quality as it is near or remote from a certain point on the river, which is the place where salt water was first discovered. Their manner of boring is nothing more than an iron of great strength, and of considerable length, made very sharp at one end, while the other end is fixed into a shaft of wood, and a heavy lever fixed to this; the performer stands still on the scaffold and continues to ply the augur (as it is called) in a perpendicular direction. This part of the business is not so laborious as the other; nor does the performer require that relief which is indispensable in sinking the gum; but he must have some dozens of augurs continually going to and from the smith's shop. I saw several of these at work, and likewise those at the gum ; it is impossible for any one to guess what a wretched appearance those poor creatures make when they are drawn out of this gum. They are unable to stand, and shiver as if they would shake to pieces; it can hardly be told whether they are black or white, their blood being so completely chilled. The trouble of making salt, after salt water is obtained, is trifling. When the man finishes boring, a tin tube is placed in the rock, and by means of a machine, which is worked by a horse, the

« PředchozíPokračovat »