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crossing the Monongahela, went up its southern banks, as high as Wil. liamsport. I found the country people were in the habit of calling the city " Pitt” or “Fort Pitt,” a term dating back doubtless to the time of the surrender, or rather taking possession of Fort Du Quesne, by Gen. Forbes. Mineral coal (bituminous) characterizes the entire region, as far as my excursion reached. By a happy coincidence in its geological structure, iron ores are contained in the series of the coai deposits. On returning from this trip, night set in, very dark: on the evening I approached the summit of the valley of the Monongahela, called Coal Hill. The long and winding road down this steep was one mass of moving mud, only varied in its consistence, by sloughs, sufficient to mire both man and horse. I was compelled to let the animal choose his own path, and could only give him aid, when the flashes of lightning lit up the scene with a momentary brilliance, which, however, had often no other effect but to remind me of my danger. He brought me, at length, safely to the brink of the river, and across the ferry.
To be at the head of the Ohio river, and in the great manufacturing city of the West, was an exciting thought, in itself. I had regarded Pittsburgh as the alpha, in my route, and after I had made myself familiar with its characteristics, and finding nothing to invite my further attention, I prepared to go onward. For this purpose, I went down to the banks of the Monongahela, one day, where the arks of that stream usually touch, to look for a passage. I met on the beach, a young man from Massa chusetts, a Mr. Brigham,—who had come on the same errand, and being pleased with each other, we engaged a passage together, and getting our baggage aboard immediately, set off the same evening. To float in an ark, down one of the loveliest rivers in the world, was, at least, a novelty, and as all novelty gives pleasure, we went on charmingly. There were some ten or a dozen passengers, including two married couples. We promenaded the decks, and scanned the ever changing scenery, at every bend, with unalloyed delight. At night we lay down across the boat, with our feet towards the fire-place, in a line, with very little diminution of the wardrobe we carried by day,--the married folks, like light infantry in an army, occupying the flanks of our nocturnal array. The only objection I found to the night's rest, arose from the obligation, each one was tacitly under, to repair on deck, at the hollow night-cry
oars !" from the steersman. This was a cry which was seldom uttered, however, except when we were in danger of being shoved, by the current, on the head of some island, or against some frowning "snag," so that we had a mutual interest in being punctnal at this cry. By it, sleep was to be enjoyed only in sections, sometimes provokingly short, and our dreams of golden vallies, studded with pearls and gems, were oddly jumbled with the actual presence of plain matter of fact things, such as running across a tier of “old monongahela” or getting one's fingers
trod on, in scrambling on duck. We took our meals on our laps, sitting around on boxes and barrels, and made amends for the want of style or elegance, by cordial good feeling and a practical exhibition of the best principles of " association.” There was another pleasing peculiarity in this mode of floating. Two or more arks were frequently lashed together, by order of their commanders, whereby our conversational circle was increased, and it was not a rare circumstance to find both singers and musicians, in the moving communities for the west," so that those who were inclined to, might literally dance as they went. certainly a social mode of conquering the wilderness, and gives some idea of the bouyancy of American character. How different from the sensations felt, in floating down the same stream,
the same means, in the era of Boon,-the gloomy era of 1777, when instead of violin, or flageolet, the crack of the Indian rifle was the only sound to be anticipated at every new bend of the channel.
Off Wheeling the commander of our ark made fast to a larger one from the Monongahela, which, among other acquaintances it brought, introduced me to the late Dr. Sellman of Cincinnatti, who had been a surgeon in Wayne's army. This opened a vista of reminiscences, which were wholly new to me, and served to impart historical interest to the scene. Some dozen miles below this town, we landed at the Grave Creek Flats. for the purpose of looking at the large mound, at that place. I did not then know that it was the largest artificial structure of this kind in the western country. It was covered with forest trees of the native growth, some of which were several feet in diameter, and it bad indeed, essentially the same look and character, whic!. I found it to present, twentyfive years afterwards, when I made a special visit to this remarkable mausoleum to verify the character of some of its antiquarian contents. On ascending the flat summit of the mound, I found a charming prospect around. The summit was just 50 feet across. There was a cup-shaped concavity, in its centre, exciting the idea that there had been some internal sub-structure which had given way, and caused the earth to cave in. This idea, after having been entertained for more than half a century, was finally verified in 1838, when Mr. Abelard Tomlinson, a grandson of the first proprietor, caused it to be opened. They discovered two remarkable vaults, built parıly of stone, and partly of logs, as was judged from the impressions in the earth. They were situated about seventeen feet apert, one above the other. Both contained bones, the remains of human skeletons, along with copper bracelets, plates of mica, sea shells, heads of wrought conch, called " ivory" by the multitude, and some other relics, most of which were analogous to articles of the same kind occurring in other ancient mounds in the west. The occasion would not indeed have justified the high expectations which had been formed, had it not been for the discovery, in one of the vaults, of a small flat stone of an oval form,
containing an inscription in ancient characters. This inscription, which promises to throw new light on the early history of America, has not been decyphered. Copies of it have been sent abroad. It is thought, by the learned at Copenhagen, to be Celtiberic. It is not, in their view, Runic. It has, apparently, but one hieroglyphic, or symbolic figure.
A good deal of historical interest clusters about this discovery of the inscribed stone. Tomlinson, the grandfather, settled on these flats in 1772, two years before the murder of Logan's family. Large trees, as large as any in the forest, then covered the flats and the mound. There stood in the depression I have mentioned, in the top of the mound, a large beech tree, which had been visited earlier, as was shewn by several names and dates cut on the bark. Among these, there was one of the date of A. D. 1734. This I have seen stated under Mr. Tomlinson's own hand. The place continued to be much visited from 1770 to 1790, as was shewn by newer names and dates, and indeed, continues to be so still. There was standing at the time of my first visit in 1818, on the very summit of the mound, a large dead or decayed white oak, which was cut down, it appears, about ten years afterwards. On counting its cortical layers, it was ascertained to be about 500 years old. This would denote the desertion of the mound to have happened about the commencement of the 13th century. Granting to this, what appears quite clear, that the inscription is of European origin, have we not' evidence, in this fact, of the continent's having been visited prior to the era of Columbus ? Visited by whom? By a people, or individuals, it may be said, who had the use of an antique alphabet, which was much employed, (although corrupted, varied and complicated by its spread) among the native priesthood of the western shores and islands of the European continent, prior to the introduction of the Roman alphabet.
The next object of antiquarian interest, in my descent, was at Gallipolis -the site of an original French settlement on the west bank, which is connected with a story of much interest, in the history of western migrations. ' It is an elevated and eligible plain, which had before been the site of an Indian, or aboriginal settlement. Some of the articles found in a mound, such as plates of mica and sea shells, and beads of the wrought conch, indicated the same remote period for this ancient settlement, as the one at Grave Creek Flats; but I never heard of any inscribed articles, or monuments bearing alphabetic characters.
All other interest, then known, on this subject, yielded to that which was felt in witnessing the antique works at Marietta. Like many others who had preceded me and many who have followed me, in my visit, I felt while walking over these semi-military ruins, a strong wish to know, who had erected works so different from those of the present race of Indians, and during what phasis of the early history of the continent ? A covered way had, evidently, been constructed, from the margin of
the Muskingum to the elevated square, evincing more than the ordinary degree of military skill exercised by the Western Indians. Yet these works revealed one trait, which assimilates them, in character, with others, of kindred stamp, in the west. I allude to the defence of the open gate-way, by a minor mound; clearly denoting that the passage was to be disputed by men, fighting hand to hand, who merely sought an advantage in exercising manual strength, by elevation of position. The Marietta tumuli also, agree in style with others in the Ohio valley.
A leaden plate was found near this place, a few years after this visit, of which an account was given by Gov. Clinton, in a letter to the American Antiquarian Society, in 1827, but the inscription upon it, which was in Latin, but mutilated, proved that it related to the period of the French supremacy in the Canadas. It appeared to have been originally deposited at the mouth of the river Venango, A. D. 1749, during the reign of Louis XV.
While at Marietta, our flotilla was increased by another ark from the Muskingum, which brought to my acquaintance the Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, of Illinois, to whose civilities I was afterwards indebted, on several occasions. Thus reinforced, we proceeded on, delighted with the scenery of every new turn in the river, and augmenting our circle of fellow travellers, and table acquaintance, if that can be called a table acquaintance which assembles around a rustic board. One night an accident befel us, which threatened the entire loss of one of our flotilla. It so happened, at the spot of our landing, that the smaller ark, being outside, was pressed by the larger ones, so far ashore, as to tilt the opposite side into the stream below the caulked seam. It would have sunk, in a few minutes, but was held up, partly by its fastening to the other boats. To add to the interest felt, it was filled with valuable machinery. A congress of the whole travelling community assembled on shore, some pitching pebble-stones, and some taking a deeper interest in the fate of the boat. One or two unsuccessful efforts had been made to bail it out, but the water flowed in faster than it could be removed. To cut loose the rope and abandon it, seemed all that remained. “I feel satisfied," said I, “to my Massachusetts friend, that two men, bailing with might and main, can throw out more water, in a given time, than is let in by those seams; and if you will step in with me, we will test it, by trying again.” With a full assent and ready good will he met this proposition. We pulled off our coats, and each taking a pail, stepped in the water, then half-leg deep in the ark, and began to bail away, with all force. By dint of determination we soon had the satisfaction to see the water line lower, and catching new spirit at this, we finally succeeded in sinking its level below the caulked seam. The point was won. Others now stepped in to our relief. The ark and its machinery were saved. This little incident was one of those which served to produce pleasurable sensations, all round, and led per
haps, to some civilities at a subsequent date, which were valuable to me. At any rate, Mr. Thomas, who owned the ark, was so well pleased, that he ordered a warm breakfast of toast, chickens, and coffee on shore for the whole party. This was a welcome substitute for our ordinary breakfast of bacon and tea on board. Such little incidents serve as new points of encouragement to travellers: the very shores of the river looked more delightful, after we put out, and went on our way that morning. So much has a satisfied appetite to do with the aspect of things, both without, as well as within doors.
The month of April had now fairly opened. The season was delightful. Every rural sound was joyful-every sight novel, and a thousand circumstances united to make the voyage one of deep and unmixed interest. At this early season nothing in the vegetable kingdom gives a more striking and pleasing character to the forest, than the frequent occurrence of the celtis ohioensis, or Red Bud. It presents a perfect bouquet of red, or rose-coloured petals, while there is not a leaf exfoliated upon its branches, or in the entire forest.
No incident, further threatening the well being of our party, occurred on the descent to Cincinnatti, where we landed in safety. But long before we reached this city, its outliers, to use a geological phrase, were encoun. tered, in long lines and rafts of boards and pine timber, from the sources of the Alleghany, and arks and flat-boats, from all imaginable places, with all imaginable names, north of its latitude. Next, steamboats lying along the gravel or clay banks, then a steam-mill or two, puffing up its expended strength to the clouds, and finally, the dense mass of brick and wooden buildings, jutting down in rectangular streets—from high and exceedingly beautiful and commanding hills in the rear. suited to realize high expectations. Here was a city indeed, on the very spot from which St. Clair set out, on his ill-fated expedition in 1791, against the hostile Indians. Twenty-five years had served to transform the wilderness into scenes of cultivation and elegance, realizing, with no faint outlines, the gay creations of eastern fable,