Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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 jury, 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 him self; returned the plaintiff (which was equally extraor dinary,) 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 Mouroe, of which it is several miles north, must be attributed to that of its being much lower, and hemmed in

[ocr errors]

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 sur-
prising 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 gar-
den vegetables succeed beyond description; and in no
part of the United States are to be found better peach-
es; apples are not much attended to; indeed, little at-
tention is paid to agriculture, in this county; the_salt
business engrosses the principal part of the force. Ken-
hawa 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.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

On our way from Ohio, we travelled on that side of the
river. When we drew near to Charleston, it being ve-
ry 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 difficul-
ty, he extricated his horse. They tell an anecdote (in-
deed, they tell hundreds,) of a Scotch gentleman, who
was travelling this road, and who, it seems, was not a-
ware of those fallacious mud-holes, cried out to his horse,
as he was sinking into one of them, "ho'd! ho'd! gin I
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

1

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 cre 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 Tennessec, 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

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

110 tile,

tern

nths

ga

:rest

then

This

this

rest

1. to

.erto.

lates

1, а sec

the

con

The

the

ther

long

ates,

fur

this,

Vir

hilaRichfor

ri

1 not

been

ants

-ne

at it

rand

hany

ard's

sents

eams .lone

But then another obstacle presents itself; these streams
are nearly dry seven months in the year; and, upon an
average, frozen two months in every year, and from
their great fall, although they swell to a prodigious de-
gree very often, yet they swell and subside in a few
hours. I have seen enough of this, having lived among
mountains nearly all my life. A boat would get but a
few miles, before she would find herself stationary till
the next swell; and whether a boat could stem those
impetuous torrents at all, is a great question with me ;
running down the sides of the mountains as they do, no-
thing less than a double portion of steam would be able
to propel them; experience, however, is the only test of
all things.

The Alleghany mountain, as already observed, is se low that if it were not for the streams flowing in opposite directions it would not be perceivable. But although low, it spreads out to an immense width; it is nothing less than this mountain that extends to Kenhawa river, 90 miles, although called by other names. Those ridges are much higher than the Alleghany; Greenbriar river rises near the main ridge, on the west of which it runs at a hurrying rate for 200 miles, being hemmed in by the vast bed of mountains just mentioned. It discharges itself into New river, several miles above the junction of that river, with Gauly. On the bosom of this vast mass of mountains are the six counties of Virginia, known by the names of Greenbriar, Monroe, Nicolas, Pocahontas, Giles, and Tazewell, elevated to the clouds, resembling each other in every thing: Greenbrier, however, as she is the mother of the whole, commands most wealth, having the advantage in good land. But with respect to the appearance of the inhabitants, their pursuits and manners, they are alike, and to these we may add Alleghany, also clipped from the wings of Greenbriar. These counties have been erroneously confounded with the western country, whereas there is as much difference between the people of the western states and those, as there are between any two people in the union. The inhabitants of the western states are an enterprising, systematical, industrious people, to which they are stim

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »