« PředchozíPokračovat »
tain at the same distance; dark shadowy vales, lofty hemlock, laurels and cedar, with the same rolling rivulets; in imagination, it seems as though I were transported one hundred miles in the opposite direction. A few miles above Staunton, we cross Middle river, which is no more than a creek; it has its source in the North mountain. The land on this river is fine, and the farms display the wealth and independence of the farmer's vast barns, extensive meadows covered with droves of sleek cattle, and elegant buildings. I have always remarked, that wealth forever accompanies good land. This county (Augusta,) is the wealthiest county, except two, in West Virginia.
Staunton.-Although Staunton is on Middle river, it may be called an inland town. The nearest navigation is Port Tobacco, forty miles. It is the seat of justice for Augusta county.. The Superior Court of law and Superior Court of Chancery also hold their sessions there twice in every year. It is situated in a beautiful valley, between the North and South mountain, and contains two court-houses, one prison, two clerk's offices, a fire office, one printing office, one post-office, three t churches, one for Episcopalians, one for Methodists, and one for Presbyterians. There are no public squares in I Staunton; the public buildings are on the streets. Staunton contains two hundred and forty dwelling-hous cs, ten stores, three Doctors, and thirteen Lawyers.
History. Staunton was first settled by an emigrant from Ireland, by the name of Cunningham; who built the first framed house where Staunton now stands, one the land contained in Beverly's grant. In the year i 1746, there were two log cabins, a log court-house and a log prison, on the site, when Cunningham arrived; man by the name of Brown, lived in one of the cabins and a woman by the name of Molly McDonald (not of very good fame) lived in the other. I had these partic. 1 ulars from Mrs. Reed, daughter of the same Cunning ham. This lady is now living in Staunton; and, alt though in the eighty-fourth year of her age, she retains
river, it vigation I lived myself near Staunton, when a child; and was stice for often in company with this same Mrs. Reed; who was hend Supe- then an old woman, and a widow; she had a sister, Mrs. ons there Burnes, also a widow, whom I used to know; and who tiful val- is still alive, though she does not live in Staunton; she and con- is two years younger than Mrs. Reed. Mrs. Burnes offices, a when I knew her, kept a tavern, the best one in Staune, three ton. I was likewise acquainted with Mrs. Chambers, lists, and at whose tavern I now am. It is thirty-six years since quares in I saw Mrs. Chambers, but I did not find her so much streets. altered by time, as Mrs. Callahan; although she has ing-hous had as many children, she had shrunk down a little, and had grown corpulent, but her stature, her eyes particularly, retained much of her former likeness. She was, when young, a very handsome woman, and is still so for her years. Of all parts of the United States, Augusta county must be the most healthy, from the longevity of its inhabitants. Besides the two instances above cited, many others exist. The mother of Mrs. Chambers, who was a very old woman (upwards of seventy) when e cabins I left Augusta, thirty-six years ago, has been dead (as Id (not of her daughter informed me) only five years. She had se partic- become in every respect like an infant, for several years. Cunning The salubrity of the climate is abundantly displayed in and, al the appearance of the inhabitants. From this cause, the he retains fertility of the soil, and numerous streams of the purest
emigrant ber who built tands, on the year ouse and rived; a
her intellects in their full vigour. She hears distinctly,
water, may be ascribed that exuberance of nature every where visible. Every thing seems to be propelled beyond nature; the people, horses, and cattle, as well as Inanimate productions, are of great size. Even the Af rican race are overgrown, and look as though they would burst. Staunton is situated in a circular hollow, or low spot of ground, entirely surrounded by hills. In approaching it from any direction, the traveller never secs it till he may be said to be in the town. No town in the world can boust better water, or more abundant, than Staunton. The most beautiful springs burst out in every part: they are found in every street, and almost in every lot. This contributes greatly to the health and cleanliness of the place. Staunton is inhabited by a sober, industrious, and moral people; it is likewise the seat of some retinement; some of the first men, both for talents and erudition, have their residence in Staunton.
Among these are Major Shelly, Judge Brown, Judge Stewart, Major Baldwin, Mr. Peyton, and Chapman Johnston. Staunton, however, has not improved latterly, in proportion to that success which marked the first twenty years of its growth. It received a great check by those enterprising merchants west of it, some of whom have been mentioned in these sketches. Provious to this, Staunton drew all the trade of the west, which was considerable. It has no market-house, nor has it either watch or patrol, although it is an incorporated town.
This town, and the whole county of Augusta, is famous in history for its courage and patriotism during the revolutionry war: the most of the people volunteered their services, both against the Indians and the British. It will be recollected the Virginia legislature was drove from place to place, during that war, until it finally took refuge in Staunton. While it was in session there, word came one night, that Tarleton, with a British force, was approaching, and that he was expected to arrive at the Rockfish gap by ten o'clock next day. Colonel Samuel Lewis, (son of Gen. Lewis, already mentioned,) called about midnight at the house of his uncle, William Lew is, late of the Sweet Springs, who then lived about a
quarter of a mile from Staunton. Mrs. Lewis (from
in an engagement with the British. He said it was truly pleasing to see (when day broke upon thein) old gray headed men, and little boys, with their guns and shot-pouches on their shoulders, marching cheerfully on to meet the foc. "Ah," said he, "you are fine fellows -I will disown my country, (meaning East Virginia,) and come and live among you." He was as good as his word, for in a few years he fixed his residence in the west of Virginia, near the Sweet Springs, where he died.
Staunton lies in what is called the Limestone Valley, which commences in Botetourt county, Virginia, and ends with Frederick and Jefferson counties, near the junction of the Shenandoah with the Potomac. Shenandoah is formed by Middle river, South, and North rivего. Middle river takes its name, from running between these two last; they are nearly one size, and one length. South river is bounded by the South mountain, which lies between it, and the main Blue ridge. North river is bounded by the North mountain, and runs parallel with it to its junction with South river, where it ceases, and the united streams take the name of Shenandoah.
Having rested a few days at Staunton, I took the stage for Washington, my companions having pursued their journey on horseback. I dislike this travelling in stages, on account of performing great part of the journey in the night, which deprives one of the pleasure of seeing the country. A little after day light, we arrived at Peter Hanger's, where the horses are changed, and the passengers take breakfast: and here I had the worst breakfast in all my journey, notwithstanding the encomiums bestowed on the house. We had coffee, indifferent bread, and the offal of hogs fried to a cracknel, and as black as tar. The old man, a bit of a dried up piece of stuff, paid no attention, whatever; he left us, the driver and myself, to the care of his son, a doctor, and his ill-natured daughter-in-law, whose pride was only equalled by her low manners. This same Peter Hanger has lived at this place since I can remember,
Father of the Hon. Wm. S. Archer, now in Congress.