« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
trod on, in scrambling on d_ck. 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. This was 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, by 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 tve western country. It was covered with forest trees of the native growth, some of which were several feet in diameter, and it 'ad indeed, essentially the same look and character, which 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 partly of stone, and partly of logs, as was judged from the impressions in the earth. They were situated about seventeen feet apart, 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,
Cincinnati had, at this time, (1818,) the appearance of a rapidly growing city, which appeared to have, from some general causes, been suddenly checked in its growth. Whole rows of unfinished brick building had been left by the workmen. Banks, and the offices of corporate and manufacturing companies, were not unfrequently found shut. Nor did it requiie long looking or much inquiry to learn that it had seen more prosperous times. A branch bank of the U. S. then recently established there, was much and bitterly, but I know not how justly, spoken against. But if there was not the same life and air in all departments, that formerly existed, there was abundant evidence of the existence of resources in the city and country, which must revive and push it onward in its career and growth, to rank second to no city west of the Alleghanies. This city owes its origin, I believe, to John Clcves Symcs, father-in-law of the late President Harrison, a Jcrseyman by birth, who, in planning it, took Philadelphia as his model. This has imparted a regularity to its streets, and squares, that visitors will at once recognize, as characteristic of its parentage. It stands on a heavy diluvial formation of various layers of clay, loam, sand, and gravel, disposed in two great plateaux, or first and second barAs, the lowest of which is some thirty or forty feet above the common summer level of the Ohio. Yet this river has sometimes, but rarely, been known to surmount this barrier and invade the lowermost streets of the city. These diluvial beds have yielded some curious antiquarian relics, which lead the mind farther back, for their origin, than the Indian race. The most curious of these, if the facts are corrc.aly reported to me, was the discovery of a small antique-shaped iron horse-shoe, found twenty-five feet below the surface in grading one of the streets, and the blunt end, or stump of a tree, at another locality, at the depth of ninety-four feet, together with marks of the cut of an axe, and an iron wedge. I have had no means to verify these facts, but state them as credible, from the corroborative testimony afforded them by other discoveries in the great geological basin of the west, examined by me, which denote human occupancy in America prior to the deposition of the last of the unconsolidated and eocene series.
Our flotilla here broke up, and the persons who had formed its floating