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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 the 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
water is thrown into cisterns, from which it is committed to the boilers. This water is so strong that they make it into salt twice in twenty four hours! All their wood being consumed, they are now boiling with coal, which abounds in their mountains.
These salt-works have very recently been established. Some few years since, in the latter part of a very dry summer, the river being lower than it was ever known since it was settled by white people, the top of an old gum was discovered at the edge of low water, and salt water issuing out of it. In many places, where the fresh water had left it, it was incrusted into salt by the heat of the sun. It is supposed that the Indians, when they were in possession of the country, sunk the gum, and perhaps made some attempts at making salt.
Col. David Ruffner, a very enterprising man, was the first that established salt-works in Kenbawa, at the place. just mentioned; after him several others; but the old well, as it is called, that is, where the gum was discovered, is by far the strongest water, and it is weaker in proportion as it is distant from it, either up or down the river. Col. Ruffner invented a machine which forces the water up hill, to the distance of three miles, for which I understand he obtained a patent. The salt made here is not so fair as that made at King's works, in Washington county, but it is much stronger, and better for preserving meat. I saw this proved in Alabama; the meat (that is, bacon,) that was cured with the salt from King's works, spoiled, while that which was salted with the Kenhawa salt, did not. Great quantities of it is consumed in Alabama; they take it in boats down the Ohio and up the Tennessee river. A great quantity is likewise taken up the Cumberland to Nashville. But what astonishes me, is, that they have to bore double the depth now to what they did at first;` even at the old well, the water sunk, and they were compelled to pursue it by boring; this is the case with all of them.
These salt-works are dismal looking places; the sameness of the long low sheds; smoking boilers; men, the roughest that can be seen, half naked; hundreds of
boat-men; horses and oxen, ill-used and beat by their drivers; the mournful screaking of the machinery, day and night; the bare, rugged, inhospitable looking mountain, from which all the timber has been cut, give to it a gloomy appearance.* Add to this the character of the inhabitants, which, from what I have seen myself, and heard from others, lack nothing to render them any thing but a respectable people. Here have settled people from the north, the east, and the west of the United States, and some from the nether end of the world. However refined, however upright, however enlightened, crafty and wicked they might have been previous to their emigration, they have become assimilated, and mutually stand by each other, no matter what the case is, and wo be to the unwary stranger who happens to fall into their hands. I never saw or heard of any people but these, who gloried in a total disregard of shame, honour and justice, and an open avowal of their superlative skill in petty fraud; and yet they are hospitable to a fault, and many of them are genteel. I see men here whose manners and abilities would do honour to any community, and whilst I admired, I was equally surprised that people of their appearance should be content to live in a place which has become a byword. But their females in a great measure extenuate this hasty sketch. As nature compensates us in many respects for those advantages she denies us in others, and in all her works has mingled good with evil, you have a striking instance of this in the female part of the society of this place. In no part of the United States, at least where I have visited, are to be found females who surpass them in those virtues that adorn the sex. They possess the domestic virtues in an exemplary degree; they are modest, discreet, industrious and benevolent, and with all, they are fair and beautiful; albeit, I would be sorry to see one of those amiable females become a widow in this iron country, in which, however, for the honour of human nature be it remembered, there are a few noble exceptions amongst the other sex, which
*The river, which is extremely beautiful, is the only relief to the scenery.
may justly be compared to diamonds shining in the dark.
As this famous county is to be a link in the chain which is to connect that part of Virginia east of the mountains with the whole of the western country, I have been at some pains to pick up every thing respecting it. As curiosity leads one to trace things to their origin, such as the history of countries, and remarkable events, I have traced this part of Virginia as far back as the year seventeen hundred and seventy-four, to the memorable battle of the Point, fought between the whites and the Indians, at the mouth of this river. I have seen several men who were in that bloody and hard fought bat`tle, and have just returned from viewing the ground on which it was fought. I have seen that part occupied by the "Augusta militia," commanded by Gen. Lewis, and that by the Indians. I have seen the bones of the latter sticking in the bank of the Ohio river; part of the bank having fallen in where the battle was fought discloses their bones sticking out in a horizontal position the engagement lasted from sunrise till dark; the victory was claimed by the whites. From this bank, which is a hundred feet, or thereabouts, in height, I had a view of the beautiful river Ohio: at this place it is said to be five hundred yards wide.
This river, which is justly celebrated for its beauty and utility, flows in a smooth current as silent as night; not the least noise can be heard from it; not the smallest ripple is seen. This, and its limpid appearance, the rich foliage which decorates its banks and looks as though it were growing in the water, by reason of its luxuriance, completely conceals the earth, and constitutes its beauty. If the reader can imagine a vast mirror of endless dimension, he will have an idea of this beautiful river. It is so transparent that you may see pebbles at the bottom; not a rock or stone of any size, has a place in the Ohio. Kenhawa is a very handsome river, being generally as smooth as the Ohio, but by no means so limpid; it has a greenish appearance; you cannot see the bottom, except at the shoals. And more than all this, I have seen the celebrated heroine, Ann Bailey, who
richly deserves more of her country, than a name in its history.
This female is a Welch woman, and is now very old. At the time Gen. Lewis's army lay at the Point, a station on Kenhawa river, Ann would shoulder her rifle, hang her shot-pouch over her shoulder, and lead a horse laden with ammunition to the army, two hundred miles distant, when not a man could be found to undertake the perilous task-the way thither being a perfect wilderness, and infested with Indians. I asked her if she was not afraid she replied, "No, she was not; she trusted in the Almighty-she knew she could only be killed, and she had to die some time.' I asked her if she never met with the Indians in her various journies, (for she went several times.) "Yes, she once met with two, and one of them said to the other let us kill her, (as she supposed, from the answer of the other,) no, said his companion, God dam, too good a soger, and let her pass:" but how, said I, did you find the way,-"Steered by the trace of Lewis's army, and I had a pocket compass too." "Well, but how did you get over the water courses?" Some she forded, and some she swam, on others she made a raft: she" halways carried a hax and a hauger, and she could chop as well has hany man;" such was her dialect. This is a fact that hundreds can attest. A gentleman informed, that while the army was stationed near the mouth of Elk, he walked down that river to where it intersects with Kenhawa, for the purpose of fishing; he had not remained long there before he heard a plunge in the water, and upon looking up, he discovered Ann on horseback swimming toward him; when the horse gained the landing, she observed, "cod, I'd like to cod, I'd like to a swum." She was quite a low woman in height, but very strongly made, and had the most pleasing countenance I ever saw, and for her, very affable. And what would the General say to you, when you used to get safe to camp with your ammunition." Why he'd say, you're a brave soldier, Ann, and tell some of the men to give me a dram." She was fond of a dram. When I saw the poor creature, she was almost naked; she begged a dram, which I gave to