(Instructions given Mr. Christopher Gist by the Committee of the Ohio Company the 11th day of September, 1750.)
for the Honorable Robert Dinwiddie, Esquire, Governor and Commander of Virginia
Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800, by Lewis Preston Summers, (Abingdon, Virginia: The Author, 1929)
(Instructions given Mr. Christopher Gist by the Committee of the Ohio Company the 11th day of September, 1750.)
You are to go out as soon as possible to the Westward of the great Mountains, and carry with you such a Number of men as You think necessary, in Order to Search out and discover the Lands upon the river Ohio, & other adjoining Branches of the Mississippi down as low as the great Falls thereof; You are particularly to observe the Ways and Passes thro all the Mountains you cross, & take an exact account of the Soil, Quality and Product of the Land, and the Wideness and Deepness of the Rivers, & the several Falls belonging to them, together with the courses and Bearings of the Rivers & Mountains as near as you conveniently can: You are to observe what Nations of Indians inhabit there, their strength & Numbers, who they trade with, & what comodities they deal in.
When you find a large quantity of good, level Land, such as you think will suit the Company. You are to Measure the Breadth of it, in three or four different places, & take the Courses of the River & Mountains on which it binds in order to judge the Quantity: You are to fix the Beginning and Bounds in such a manner that they may be easily found again by your description; the nearer the Land lies, the better, provided it be good & level, but we had rather go quite down the Mississippi than to take mean, broken Land. After finding a large body of good Level Land, you are not to stop but proceed further, as low as the Falls of the Ohio, that we may be informed of that Navigation; And You are to take an exact account of all the large Bodies of good level Land. in the same Manner as above directed that the Company may the better judge when it will be most convenient for them to take their Land.
You are to note all the Bodies of Good Land as you go along, tho there is not sufficient Quantity for the Company’s Grant, but You need not be so particular in the Mensuration of that, as in the Larger Bodies of Land.
You are to draw as good a Plan as you can of the Country You pass thro: You are to take an exact and particular Journal of all Your Proceedings, and make a true Report thereof to the Company.
1750. – In Complyance with my Instructions from the Committee of the Ohio Company bearing the 11th Day of September 1750.
Wednesday Oct 1750. – Set out from Colo Thomas Cresap’s at the Old Town on Potomack River in Maryland and went along an old Indian Path N 30 E about 11 Miles.
Thursday Nov 1. – Then N 1 Mile N 30 E 3 M. here I was taken sick and Stayed All Night.
Friday 2. – N 30 E 6 M, here I was so bad that I was not able to proceed any farther that Night, but grew Better in the Morning.
Saturday 3. – N 8 M to Juniatta and went up it S 55 W about 16 M.
Monday 5. – Continued the same Course S 55 W 6 M to the Top of a large Mountain called the Alleghaney Mountains, here our path turned, & we went N 45 W 6 M here we camped.
Tuesday 6 Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 – Had Snow and such Bad weather that we could not travel for three days; but I killed a young Bear so that we had provisions enough.
Friday 9. – Set out N 70 W about 8 M here I crossed a creek of Susquehannah and it raining hard, I went into an old Indian Cabin where I stay’d all night.
Saturday 10. – Rain and Snow all Day but cleared away in the Evening.
Sunday 11. – Set out on the late Morning N 70 W 6 M crossing two forks of a Creek of Susquehannah, here the way being bad, we encamped and I killed a Turkey.
Monday 12. – Set out N 45 W 6 M to Loyalhannan and old Indian Town on a Creek of Ohio called Kiscominatis1 then N 1 M NW 1 M to an Indians Camp on the said Creek.
Thursday 15. – The Weather being Band and I unwell I stayed here all Day: The Indian to whom this camp belonged spoke fine English and directed me the way to this Town which is called Shannoponi Town: He said it was about 60 M and a pretty good way.
Friday 16th. – Set out S 70 W 10 M.
Saturday. – The same course (S 70 W) 15 M to an old Indians Camp.
Sunday 18. – I was very sick and sweated myself according to the Indian Custom in a Sweat-house, which gave me ease, and my fever abated.
Monday 19 – Set out early in the Morning the Same course (S 70 W) travelled very hard about 20 miles to a small Indian Town of the Delawares called Shannopin on the SE side of the River Ohio, where We rested and got corn for our horses.
Tuesday. 20 Wed. 21. Thurs. 22 and Friday 23. – I was unwell and stayed in this town to recover myself: While I was here I took an Opportunity to set my Compass privately, & took the distance across the River, for I understand that it is is dangerous to let a Compass be seen among these Indians: The Ohio River is 76 Poles wide at Shannopin Town: There are about twenty families in this Town: The Land in general from the Potomack to this Place is mean and Stony and broken, here and there good spots upon Creeks and Branches but no body of it.
Saturday 24. – Set out from Shannopin Town and Swam our Horses across the River Ohio, & went down the River S 74 W 4M, N 75 W 7 M W 2 M, all the Land from Shannopin Town is good along the River, but the Bottoms not Broad; at a Distance from the River good land for Farming, covered with Small White Oaks and tolerable level; fine Rins for Mills &c.
Sunday Nov 25. – Down the River W 3 M, NW 5 M to Loggstown;2 the Lands these last 8 M very rich the Bottoms above a Mile wide, but on the S E side, scarce a Mile wide, the Hills high and Steep. In the Loggs town I found scarce any Body but a Parcel of reprobate Traders, the Chiefs of the Indians being out a hunting: here I was informed that George Croghan & Andres Montour who were sent upon an Embassy from Pennsylvania to the Indians, were passed about a Week before me. The People in this Town began to inquire my Business, and because I did not readily inform them, they began to suspect me, and said, that I was come to settle the Indian’s Land and they knew I should never go Home again Safe: I found this Discourse was like to be of ill Consequence to me, so I pretended to speak very slightingly of what they had said to me and inquired for Croghan (who was a meer Idol among his Countrymen and the Irish Traders) and Andrew Montour the Interpreter from Pennsylvaina, and told them I had a message to deliver the Indians from the King, by order of the President of Virginia & for that reason wanted to see Mr. Montour: This made them all pretty easy (being afraid to interrupt the Knig’s Message) and obtained me Quiet and Respect among them, otherwise I doubt not they would have contrived some Evil against me – I immediately wrote to M Croghan, by one of the Traders People.
Monday 26. – Tho I was unwell, I preferred the Woods to such Company & set out from the Loggs Town down the River N W 6 M to great Beaver Creek3 where I met Barney Curran a trader for the Ohio Company, and we continued together as far as Muskingum. The Bottoms upon the River below the Logg’s Town were very rich but narrow, the high Land being pretty good but not very rich, the Land upon Beaver Creek the same Kind; From this Place We left the River Ohio to the S.E. & travelled across the Country.
Tuesday 27. – Set out from E. side of Beaver Creek NW 6 M, W 4 M; up these last two courses very good high land not very broken, fit for farming.
Wednesday 28. – Rained. We could not travel.
Thursday 29th. – W 6 M thro good Land, the same Course continued 6 M farther thro very Broken Land. here I found myself pretty well recovered & being in Want of Provision, I went out and killed myself a Deer.
Friday 30. – Set out S 45 W 12 M. Crossed the last Branch of Beaver Creek where one of the Curran’s men and myself killed 12 Turkies.
Saturday Dec. 1. – N 45 W 10 M the Land high and tolerable good.
Sunday 2. – N 45 W 8 M. the same sort of Lad but near the Creeks bushy, and very full of Thorns.
Monday 3. – Killed a Deer and stayed in our Camp all day.
Tuesday 4. – Set out late S 45 W about 4 M here I killed three fine Deer, so that tho we were eleven in Company we had plenty of Provision.
Wednesday 5. – Set out down the Side of a Creek called Elk’s Eye Creek S 70 W 6 M, good Land, but void of Timber, meadows upon the Creek, fine Runs for Mills.
Thursday 6. – Rained all day so that we were obliged to continue in our Camp.
Friday 7. – Set out S W 8 M crossing said Elk’s Eye Creek to a Town of the Ottoways, a Nation of the French Indians; an Old French Man (named Mark Coonce) who had married and Indian woman of the Six Nations lived here; the Indians were all out hunting; the old Man was very civil to me, but after I was gone to my Camp, upon understanding I came from Virginia, he called me a Long Knife. There are not above six or eight Families belonging to this Town.
Saturday 8. – Stayed in the Town.
Sunday 9. – Set out down the said Elk’s Eye Creek S 45 W 6 M to Margaret’s Creek a Branch of the said Elk’s Eye Creek.
Monday Dec. 10. – The same course (S 45 W) 2 M to a large Creek.
Tuesday 11. – The same Course 8 M. encamped by the side of Elk’s Eye Creek.
Thursday 12. – Rained All Day.
Friday 13. – Set Out W 5 M to Muskingum4 a town of the Wyendotts. The Land upon Elk’s Eye Creek is in general Broken, the Bottoms very Narrow. The Wyendotts or the Little Mingoes are divided between the French and English, one half of them adhere to the first, the other half firmly attached to the latter. The Town of Muskingum consists of about one Hundred Families. When We came in sight of the Town, We perceived English colours hoisted on the Kings house, and at George Croghan’s; upon enquiring the Reason I was informed that the French had lately taken several English Trader’s, and that Mr. Croghan had ordered all the White Men to come into this Town, and had sent Expresses to the Traders of the lower Towns, and among the Pickweylinees; and the Indians had sent to their People to come to Council about it.
Saturday 15 & Sunday 16. – Nothing remarkable happened.
Monday 17. – Came into Town two Traders belonging to M Croghan, and informed Us that two of his People were taken by 40 French Men, and 20 French Indians who had carried with them seven horses Loads of Skins to a new Fort that the French were building on one of the Branches of Lake Erie.
Tuesday 18. – I acquainted Mr. Croghan and Andrew Montour with my Business with the Indians and talked much of a Regulation of Trade with which they were much pleased, and treated Me very kindly.
From Wednesday 19 to Monday 24. – Nothing remarkable.
Tuesday 25. – Being Christmass Day, I intended to read Prayers, but after inviting some of the White Men, they informed each other of my intentions, and being of several different Persuasions, and few of them inclined to hear any Good, they refused to come. But one Thomas Burney a Black Smith who is settled there went about and talked to them, & several of them came, and Andrew Montour invited several of the well disposed Indians, who came freely; by this Time the Morning was spent and I had given over all Thoughts of them, but seeing Them Come, to oblige All and offend None, I stood up and said, Gentlemen, I have no design or Intention to give Offence to any Secretary or Religion, but as our King indulges us all in a Liberty of Conscience and hinders none of You in the Exercise of your Religeous Worship, and so it would be unjust in you to endeavor to stop the Propagation of his: The Doctrine of the Salvation Faith, and Good works, is what I only propose to treat of, as I find it extracted from the Homilies of the Church of England which I then read in the best manner I could, and after I had done the Interpreter told the Indians what I had read, and that it was the true Faith that the King and His Church recommended to this Children:5 The Indians seemed well pleased, and came up to me and returned me their thanks; and then invited me to live among them; and gave me a name in their Language Annosanah: the Interpreter told me this was the Name of a Very Good man that had formerly lived among them and their King said that must always be my name, for which I returned my thanks; but as to living amongst them I excuse Myself by saying I did not know whether the Governor would give me Leave, and if he did the French would come and carry me away as they had done the English Traders, to which they answered I might bring great Guns and make a Fort, that they had now left the French and were very desirous of being instructed in the Principles of Christianity; that they liked me very well and wanted me to marry them after the Christian Manner, and babtise their Children; and then they said they would never desire to return to the French or suffer Them or their Priests to come near them more for they loved the English, but had seen little Religion among them; and some of their Great Men came and wanted me to baptize their children; for as I had read to them and appeared to talk to them about Religion they took me to be a Minister of the Gospel; Upon which I desired Mr. Montour (the Interpreter) to tell them, that no Minister Coud venture to baptize their children until those that were to be sureties for Them, were well instructed in the Faith themselves, and that this was according to the great King’s Religion, in which he desired his Children should be instructed & we dare not do it any other way than was by Law established, but I hoped if I could not be admitted to live among them, that the great King would send Them to Proper Ministers to exercise that Office among them, at which they seemed well pleased; and one of Them went down and brought Me his Book (which was a kind contrived for Them by the French in which the Days of the Week were so marked that by moving a Pin every Morning they kept a pretty accurate account of the Time) to shew me that he understood Me and that He and his Family always observed the Sabbath Day.
Wednes Dec 26. – This day, a Woman, who had been a long time a Prisoner, and brought into the Town on Christmass Eve, was put to death in the following manner; They carried her her without the Town and let her loose, and when she attempted to run away, the Persons appointed for that purpose pursued her, & struck her on her Ear, on the right side of her head, which beat her Flat on her face on the Ground; then they struck her several times thro the Back with a Dart, to the heart, Scalped her, and threw her scalp in the air, and another cut off her head: There the dismal Spectacle lay till the Evening, & then Barney Curran desired Leave to bury her, which He and some of his Men and some Indians did just at dark.
From Thursday dec 27 to Thursday Jan 3. 1751. – Nothing remarkable happened in Town.
Friday Jan 4. – One Teafe (an Indian Trader) came to Town from near Lake Erie and informed us that the Wyendott Indians had advised him to keep clear of the Ottaways (these are a Nation of Indians firmly attached to the French, & inhabit near the Lakes) & told him that the Branches of the Lakes are Claimed by the French; but that all the Branches of the Ohio belonged to them. and their Brothers the English, and that the French had no Business there, and that it was expected that the other Part of the Wyendott Nation would desert the French and come over to the English Interest, & join their Bretheren on the Elk’s Eye Creek, and build a strong Fort and Town there.
From Dec 5, Saturday to Tuesday 8. – The weather still continuing bad, I stayed in the Town to recruit my Horses and the Corn was very dear among the Indians, I was obliged to feed them well, or run the Risque of losing them as I had a great way to travel.
Wednesday 9. – The Wind Southerly, and the Weather something warmer: This day came into Town two Traders from among the Pickwaylinees (these are a tribe of the Twigwees) and brought news that another English Trader was taken Prisoner by the French, and that three French soldiers had deserted and came over to the English side and surrendered themselves to some of the Traders of the Pick Town, and that the Indians would have put them to death, to Revenge their Taking out Traders, but as the French Prisoners had surrundered themselves, the English would not let the Indians hurt them, but had them ordered to be sent under the care of three of our Traders and delivered at this Town to George Croghan.
Thursday 10. – Wind still at south and Warm.
Friday 11. – This day came into Town an Indian from over the Lakes and confirmed what News we had heard.
Saturday 12. – We sent away our People toward the lower Town intending to follow them in the Morning, and this Evening We went into Council in the Wyendott’s Knig’s House. The Council had been put off a long time expecting some of their Great Men in, but few of them came and this Evening some of the King’s Council being a little disordered with Liquor, no Business coud be done, but We were desired to come the next Day.
Sunday January 13. – This day George Croghan by the assistance of Andrew Montour, acquained the King and Council of this Nation (by presenting them four Stings of Wampum) that the great King over the Water, their Roggony (Father) had sent under the care of the Governor of Virginia, their Brother, a large Present of Goods which was now landed safe in Virginia, & the Governor had sent me to invite Them to come and see him and Partake of their Father’s Charity to all his Children on the Branches of the Ohio. In answer to which one of the Chiefs stood up and said, That their King and all of Them thanked their Brother the Governor of Virginia for his Care, and Me for bringing them the News, but they could not give me answer untill they had a full or general Council of the Several Nations of Indians which could not be till next Spring: & so the king and the Council shaking hands with Us We took our Leave.
Tuesday 15. – We left Muskingum and went W 5 M, to the White Womans Creek, on which is a small Town; this White Woman was taken away from New England when she was not above Ten years old, by the French Indians; She is now upwards of fifty, and has an Indian Husband and several children – Her name is Mary Harris, she still remembers they used to be very religious in New England, and wonders how the White Men can be so wicked as she has seen them in these woods.
Wednesday 16. – Set out SW 25 M to Licking Creek – the Land from Muskingum to this place rich but Broken – Upon the N Side of Licking Creek about 6 M from the Mouth, are severa Salt Licks, or Ponds, formed by little Streams or Dreins of Water, clear but of a blueish Colour, & salt taste the Traders and Indians boil their Meat in this water which (If proper Care not be taken) will make it too salt to eat.
Thursday 17. – Set out W 5 M, S W 15 M to a great Swamp.
Friday 18. – Set out from the great Swamps S W 15 M.
Saturday 19. – W 15 M to Hockhockin a small Town with only four or five Delaware Families.
Sunday 20. – The Snow began to grow thin and the weather Warmer; Set out from Hockhockin S 5 M then W 5 M then S W 5 M, to the Maguck a little Delaware Town of about ten Families by the N Side of a Plain or clear Field about 5 M in length N E & S W & 2 M broad, with a Small rising in the middle, which gives a fine Prospect over the whole Plain, and a large Creek on the N Side of it Called Sciodoe6 Creek. All the way from Licking Creek to this Place is fine rich Level Land, with large meadows, Clover Bottoms & spacious Plains covered with wild Rye; the Wood chiefly large Walnuts and Hickories here and there mixed with Poplars Cherry Trees and Sugar Trees.
From Monday 21 to Wednesday 23. – Stayed in the Maguck Town.
Thursday 24. – Set out from the Maguck Town S about 15 M, thro rick level Land to a small Town called Harrickintoms consisting of about five or six Delaware Families on the S W Sciodoe Creek.
Friday 25. – The Creek being very high and full of Ice, we could not ford it, and were obliged to go down it on the S E Side 4 M to the Salt Lick Creek – about 1 M up this Creek on the S side is a very large Salt Lick7 the streams that run into this lick are very Salt, & tho clear leave a Blueish sediment; The Indians and Traders make salt for their horses of this Water, by boiling it; it has at first a blueish colour, and somewhat bitter taste, but upon being dissolved in fair Water and boiled a second time it becomes pretty tolerable pure salt.
Saturday 26. – Set out S 2 M , S W 14 M.
Sunday 27. – S 12 M to a small Delaware Town of about twenty Families on the S E Side of Sciodoe Creek – we lodged at the House of an Indian whose name was Windaughala, a great Man and Chief of this Town, & very much in the English Interests. He entertained Us very kindly and ordered a Negro Man that belonged to him to feed our Horses well; this night is snowed, and in the Morning the Snow was six or seven inches deep, the Wide Rye appeared very green and flourishing thro it, and our horses had fine feeding.
Monday Jany 28. – We went into Council with the Indians of this Town, and after the Interpreter had informed them of his instructions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, and given them some Cautions in Regard to the French they returned for answer as follows. The Speaker with four strings of Wampum in his Hand stood up and addressing himself as to the Governor of Pennsylvania, said “Brothers, We the Delawares return You our Heart thanks for the News you have sent Us, and We assure You, We will not hear the Voice of any other Nation for We are to be directed by You our Brothers the English, & by none Others: We shall be glad that Our Brothers have to say to us at the Loggs Town in the Spring, and to assure You of our Hearty Good will & Love to Our Brothers We present you with these four Wampum.” This is the last Town of the Delaware Indians by the best Accounts I could gather Consist of about 500 fighting Men all firmly attached to the English Interest, they are not properly a part of the Six Nations, but are scattered about among most of the Indians of the Ohio, and some of them amongst the six Nations, from whom they have Leave to Hunt upon their Land.
Tuesday 29. – Set out S W 5 M, to the Mouth of the Sciodoe Creek opposite to the Shannoah Town where We fired our Guns to alarm the Traders, who soon answered and came and ferryed us over to the Town – The Land about the Mouth of the Sciodoe Creek is rich but broken fine Bottoms upon the river and Creek – the Shannoah Town is situate upon both Sides of the River Ohio, just below the Mouth of Sciodee Creek, and contains about 300 Men, and there are about 40 horses on the S side of the River and about 100 on the N side, with a kind of State-House of about 90 feet Long with a light Cover of Bark which they hold their Councils – The Shanaws are not a part of the Six Nations, but were formerly at Variance with them, tho now reconciled: they are great Friends to the English who once protected them from the Fury of the Six Nations, which they gratefully Remember.
Wednesday 30. – We were conducted into Council, where George Croghan delivered Sundry Speeches from the Governor of Pennsylvania to the Chiefs of this Nation, in which he informed the, “That two Prisoners who had been taken by the French, and had made their Escape from the French Officer at Lake Erie as he made his way towards Canada brought News that the French offered a large sum of Money to any person who would bring them the said Croghan and Andrew Montour the Interpreter alive, or if dead their scalps; and that the French also threatened those Indians and Wyendotts with War in the Spring” the same Persons farther said “that they had seen ten French Canoes loaded with stores for a new Fort they designed on the S Side Lake Erie.” Mr. Croghan also informed them of several of our Traders being taken, and advised them to keep their Warriors at Home, until they could see what the French intended which he doubted not woud appear in the Spring – Then Andrews Montour informed this Nation as he Had done the Wyendotts & Delawares “That the King of Great Britian had sent Them a large present of goods, in Company with the Six Nations, which was under the Care of the Governor of Virginia, who had sent me out to invite them to Come and Partake of their Father’s Present next Summer” to which We received this answer – Big Hannaona their Speaker taking in his Hand the several Strings of Wampum which had been given by the English He said “These are the Speeches received by Us from your Great Men: From the Beginning of our Friendship, all that our Brothers the English have told US has been made good and true, and for which we offer our Hearty Thanks” then taking up four other Strings of Wampum in his Hand, He said Brothers I now speak the Sentiment of all our People; when first Our Forefathers did meet the English Our Brothers, they found what the English told them to be true, and so have We – We are but a small People, & it is not Us only that You speak, but to all Nations – We shall be glad to hear what our Brothers have to say to Us at the Loggs Town in the Spring, & We hope that the Friendship now subsisting between us & our Brothers, will last as long as the Sun Shines, or the Moon gives light – We hope that our Children will hear and believe what our Brothers say to them, as We have always done, and to assure You of our hearty Good-Will towards you our Brothers, We present You with these four Strings of Wampum.” After the Council was over they had much talk about sending a Guard up with us to the Pickwatlinees Town (these are a tribe of the Twigwee) which was reckoned 200 Miles, but after long Consultation (their King being sick) they came to no Determination about it.
From Thursday Jan 31 to Monday Feby 11. – Stayed in the Shannoah Town, while I was here the Indians had a very extraordinary Festival. at which I was present and which I have exactly described at the End of my Journal – As I was given particular instruction from the President of Virginia to discover the Strength and Numbers of some Indian Nations to the Westward of the Ohio who had lately revolted from the French, and had some Messages to deliver Them from Him, I resolved to set out for the Twigtwee Town.
Tuesday 12. – Having left Boy8 to take care of my Horses in the Shannoah Town, & supplied myself with a fresh horse to ride, I set out with my old Company Viz George Croghan, Andres Montour, Robert Kallander, and a Servant to carry out provisions & c N W 10 M.
Wednesday 13. – The same Course (N W) about 35 M.
Thursday 14. – The same Course about 30 M.
Friday 15. – The same Course 15 M. We met with nine Shannoah Indians coming from one of the Pickwaylinees Towns, where they had been to Council, They told US there were fifteen more behind them at the Twigtwee Town, waiting for the arival of the Wawaughtanneys, who are a Tribe of the Twigtwees, and were to bring with them a Shannoah Woam and Child to deliver them to their Men who were behind: this Woman they informed US had been taken Prisoner last Fall, by some of the Wawaughtanney Warriors thro mistake, which had liked to have engaged the two Nations in War.
Saturday 16. – Set out the same Course (N W) 35 M to the little Miami River or Creek.
Sunday 17. – Crossed the little Miamee River, and altering our Course We went S W 25 M to the Big Miamee River, opposite the Twigtwee Town. All the way from the Shannoah Town to this Place (except the first 20 M which is broken) is rich fine and Level Land, well Timbered with large Walnut, Ash, Sugar Trees, Cherry Trees &c, it is well watered with a great Number of little Streams or Rivulets, and full of beautiful natural Meadows, covered with wild Rye, Blue Grass9 and clover, and abounds with Turkeys Deer, and Elks and most sorts of Game particularly Buffaloes, thirty or forty of which are frequently seen feeding in one meadow: In short nothing but Cultivation to make it a most delightful Country – The Ohio and all the large Branches are said to be full of fine Fish of several kinds particularly a Sort of Cat Fish of prodigious size; but as I was not there at a proper season. I had not the opportunity of seeing any of them – The Traders had always reckoned it about 200 M from the Shannoah Town to the Twigtwee Town, but by my computation I could make it not more than 150 – The Miamee River being high, we were forced to make a raft of old Loggs to transport our Goods and Saddles and swim our Horses over – After firing a few Guns and Pistols, & smoking in the Warriours Pipe, who came to invite Us to the Town (according to the Custom of inviting and welcoming strangers and Great Men) We entered the Town with the English Colours before us, and were kindly received by their King, who invited Us into His own House, & set our Colours upon the Top of it – The firing of Guns held about a Quarter of an Hour, and then all the white Men and Traders that were there came and welcomed us to the Twigtwee Town – This Town is situate on the NW Side of the Big Miamee River10 and about 100 M from the mouth thereof; it consists of about 400 Families and daily increasing it is one of the strongest Towns upon this part of the Continent – The Twigtwees are a very numerous People consisting of many different Tribes under the same Form of Government. Each Tribe has a Particular Chief or King, one of which is chosen out of any Tribe indifferently to rule the whole Nation, and is vested with greater authorities than any of the others – They are accounted the most Powerful People to the Westward of the English Settlements, & much superior to the Six Nations with whom they are now in Amity: their strength and Numbers are not thoroughly known, as they have but lately traded with the English, and indeed have very little Trade among them: They deal in much the same Commodities as the Northern Indians. There are other Nations or Tribes still to the Westward daily coming in to them, & tis thought their Power and Interest reaches to the Westward of the Mississippi, if not across the Continent; they are at Present very well affected by the English, and seem fond of an Alliance with them – They formerly lived on the other side of the Obache, and were in the French Interest, who supplied them with some few trifles at a most exorbitant price – they were called by the French Miamees; but they have now revolted from them and left their former habitation for the Sake of trading with the English; and notwithstanding all the Artifices the French have used, they have not been able to recall them.
After we had been some time at the King’s House Mr. Montour told him that we wanted to speak with him and the Chiefs of this Nation this Evening upon which were invited into the Long House, and having taken our places Mr. Montour began as follows – “Brothers the Twigtwees as we have been hindered by the high Waters and other business with our Indian Brothers, no doubt our long stay has caused some Trouble among our Brethren here, Therefore We now present You with two strings of Wampum to remove all the Trouble from your Hearts, and clear your Eyes, that you may see the Sun shine clear, for we have a Great deal to say to you, & we would have you send for one of your Friends who can speak the Mohickon or the Mingoe Tongues well, for we have a great deal of Business to do” – The Mohickons, a small Tribe who most of them speak English and are well acquainted with the language of the Twigtwees and they theirs – Mr. Montour then proceeded to deliver them a message from the Wyendotts and Delawares as follows “Brothers the Twigtwees, this Comes by Brothers the English who are coming with good news to You: We hope that You will take good care Of them, and All Our Brothers the English who are Trading among You: You made a Road for Our Brothers the English to Come and trade among you, But it is now very Foul, great Loggs have fallen across it, and We would have You be strong like Men, and Have one Heart with us – in the Sincerity of Our Hearts We send you these Four Strings of Wampum,” to which they gave the usual Yo Ho – Then they said they wanted some Tobacco to speak with us, and that tomorrow they would send for their Interpreter.
Monday Febr 18. – We walked about Viewed the Fort which wanted some Repairs, & the Trader’s Men helped them to bring Loggs to the line Inside.
Tuesday 19. – We gave their King and Great Men some Clothes, and Paint Shirts, and now they were busy dressing and preparing themselves for the Council – The weather grew Warmer and the Creeks began to lower very fast.
Wednesday 20. – About 12 o’clock We were informed that some of the foreign Tribes were coming, upon which proper Persons were ordered to meet them and conduct them into the Town, and then We were invited into the long House; and later after we had been seated about a Quarter of an Hour four Indians, two from each Tribe (who had been sent before to bring the long Pipe, and to inform us that the rest were coming came in, & informed Us that their Friends had sent these Pipes that We might Smoak the Calumet Pipe of Peace with them and that They intended to so the same with Us.
Thursday, Febr. 21. – We were again invited into the long House where Mr. Croghan made them (without the forreign tribes) a present of the value of 100 pounds Pennsylvania Money, and delivered all Our Speeches to Them, at which they seemed well pleased, and said, that they would take time and consider well what we had said to Them.
Friday 22. – Nothing remarkable happened in the Town.
Saturday 23. – In the afternoon there was an Alarm in the Town which caused a great confusion and running among the Indians, upon enquiring into the Reason of the Stir, they told us it was occasioned by six Indians that came to war against them, from the Southward: Three of them Cuttaways and three of them Sanaws (these were some of the Shanaws who had formerly deserted from the other Part of the Nation, and Now live in the Southward.) Towards Night there was a report spread in the Town that four Indians, and four hundred French, were on their March and Just by the Town: But soon after the Messenger who brought this Report said, there were only four French Indians coming to Council, and that they bid him say so, only to see how the English would behave themselves: but as they had behaved themselves like men, he now told the truth.
Sunday 24. – This morning the four French Indians came into the Town and were kindly received by the Town Indians; they marched in under French Colours, and were conducted into the long House, and after they had been in about a Quarter of an Hour, the Council sate, and we were sent for that we might hear what the French had to say to them – The Pyankashee King (who was the principal Man at that time, and Commander in Chief of the Twigtwees) said, he would have the French and English Colours alike set up in the Council, to which We answered he might do as he saw fit. After we were seated right opposite the French Ambassadors, One of them said he had a Present to make Them, so a place was prepared (as they had before done for Our Present) between Them and Us, and Then Their Speaker stood up, and laid his Hands on two small Caggs of Brandy that held about seven Quarts each, and a roll of Tobacco of about ten Pounds Weight, then taking two strings of Wampum in His hand, He said, “What he had to deliver them was from Their Father (meaning the French King) and then he desired they hear what he was about to say to Them;” then he laid them two strings of Wampum down upon the Caggs, and then taking up four other strings of Black and White Wampum, he said, “that their Father remembering his children had sent them two Caggs of Milk, and some Tobacco, and that he had now made a clear road for them, to come and see him and His Officers; and pressed them very much to Come;” then he took another String of Wampum in his hand, and said, “their Father now would forget all little differences that had been between them, and Desired Them not to be of Two Minds, but to let him Know their Minds Freely, for he would send for Them no More” – To which the Pyakeshee King replyed, “it is true their Father had sent for them several Times, and said that the Road was clear, but He understood it was made foul and bloody, and by Them – We (Said He) have cleared a road for our Brothers the English, and your Fathers have made it bad, and have taken some of our Brothers Prisoners, which We look upon as done to Us, and he turned short about and went out of the Council” – after the French Embassador had delivered his Message He went into one of the private Houses and endeavored much to prevail upon some of the Indians, and was seen to cry and lament (as he said for the loss of that nation).
Monday Feby 25. – This day we received a Speech from the Wawaughtanneys & Pyankeshees (two Tribes of the Twigtwees) One of the Chiefs of the former spoke “Brothers we have heard what you just said to Us by the Interpreter and we see You take Pity upon our poor Wives and Children, and have taken us by the Hand into the great Chain of Friendship; therefore we present you with thses two bundles of Skins to make Shoes for your People and this Pipe to Smoak in, to assure you that our Hearts are good and true towards you our Brothers; and We hope that we shall all continue in True Love and Friendship with one another, as People with on head and one Heart ought to do; You have Pityed Us as you have the Rest of Our Indian Brothers, We hope that Pity you have always shewn, will remain as long as the Sun give Light, and on our side you may depend on good true and sincere friendship towards You as Long as We have Strength” – This Person stood up and spoke with the Air and gesture of an Orator.
Tuesday 26. – The Twigtwees delivered the following answer to the four Indians set by the French – The Captain of the Warriors stood up and taking some Strings of Wampum in his hands he spoke with a Fierce Tone and a very Warlike Air – “Brothers of the Ottaways, You are always differing with the French Yourselves, and yet you listen to what They say, but we will let you know by these four Strings of Wampum, that We will not hear anything they Say to Us, nor do anything thy Bid Us” – Then the same speaker with six Stronds two Match-Coats, and a String of black Wampum (I understood the Goods were in return for the Milk and Tobacco) and directing his Speech to the French said, “Fathers, You desire that We may speak our Minds from Our Hearts which I am going to do; You have often desired that We should go home with You, but I tell You it is not Our Home, for We have made a Road as far as the Sea to the Sun-rising, and we have been taken by the Hand by our Brothers the English, and the Six Nations, and the Delawares Shannoahs and Wyendotts and We assure You it is the Road we shall Go; and as You threaten Us with War in the Spring We tell You that if You are angry we are ready to receive You, and resolve to die here before We will go to You; And that you may know that this is our Mind, We send you this String of black Wampum.” After a brief pause the same Speaker spoke again thus – “Brothers the Ottaways, You hear what I say tell that to Your Fathers the French, for that is Our Mind and we speak it from Our Hearts.”
Wednesday 27. – This day they took down their French Colours, and dismissed the four French Indians, so they took their leave of the Town and set off for the French Fort.
Thursday 28. – The Crier of the Town came by the Kings Order and invited Us to the long House to see the Warriors Feather Dance; it was performed by three Dancing-Masters, who were all painted with various Colours, with long sticks in their Hands, upon which were fastened long Feathers of Swans, and other Birds, neatly woven in the shape of a fowls Wing: in this disguise they performed many antick Tricks, waving their sticks and Feathers about with great skill to imitate the flying and fluttering of Birds, keeping exact time with their Musick; while they were dancing some of the Warriors strike a post, upon which the Musick and Dancers cease, and the Warrior gives an account of his achievements in war, and when he has done, throws some goods as a Recompence to the Musick and the Performers; after which they proceed in their dance as before till another warrior strikes ye Post, and so on as long as the Company think fit.
Friday March 1. – We received the following speech from the Twigtwees the Speaker stood up and addressing himself as to the Governor of Pennsylvania with two Strings of Wampum in his hand, He said, “Brothers our Hearts are glad that you have taken notice of Us, and surely Brothers we hope that you will Order a Smith to settle here to mend our Guns and Hatchets, Your kindness makes us so Bold as to ask this request. You told us our Friendship should last as long as the Greatest Mountain, We have considered well, and all our Great Kings and Warriors have come to a resolution never to give Heed to what the French say to Us – but always to hear and believe what you our Brothers say to us – Brothers. We are obliged to You for your kind Invitation to receive a Present at Loggs Town, but as our forreign Tribes are not yet come, we must wait for them, but You may depend We will come as soon as our Women have Corn to hear what our Brothers will say to Us – Brothers We present you with this Bundle of Skins as we are but poor to be for shoes for You on the Road, and we return You our hearty Thanks for the clothes which you have put upon Our Wives and Children.” We then took our leave of the King and Chiefs, and they ordered that a small party of Indians should go with us as far as Hockhockin; but as I had left my Boy and Horses at the lower Shannoah Town, I was obliged to go by myself or go sixty or seventy miles out of my way, which I did not care to do; so we all came to the Miamee River this Evening together, but Mr. Croghan and Mr. Montour went over again and lodged in the Town, but I stayed on this side at one Robert Smiths (a Trader) where we had left our Horses – Before the French Indians had come into Town, We had Drawn Articles of Peace and Alliance between the English and the Wawaughtanneys and Pyankashees; the Indentures were signed and selad and delivered on both sides, and as I drew took a copy – The Land on the Great Miamee River is very rich level and well timbered, some of the finest Meadows that can be: The Indians and Traders assure Me that the Land holds good as good and if possible better, to the Westward as far as the Obache which is accounted 100 miles, and quite up to the Head of the Miamee River, which is 60 miles above the Twigtwee Town, and down the said River quite to the Ohio which is reckoned 150 Miles – The Grass here grows to a great Height in the clear fields, of which there are a great number, & the Bottoms are full of white Clover wild Rye and Blue Grass.
Saturday March 2. – George Croghan and the rest of our Company came over the River, We got our Horses and set out about 35 M to Mad Creek12 (This is a place where some of the English Traders had been taken Prisoners by the French).
Sunday 3. – This Morning we parted, They for Hockhockin, and I for the Shannoah Town, and I was quite alone and knew that the French Indians had threatened Us, I left the Path and went to the South Westward down the little Miamee River or Creek, where I had fine travelling thro rich Land and beautiful Meadows, in which I could sometimes see forty or fifty Buffaloes feeding at once – the Little Miamee River or Creek continued to run the Middle of a fine Meadow, about a mile wide cler like an Old Field and not a Bush in it, I coud see the Buffaloes in it above two miles off. I travelled this day about 30 M.
Monday 4. – This day I heard sevral Guns, but was afraid to examine who fired Them, lest they might be some of the French Indians, so I travelled thro the Woods about 30 M; just at night I killed a fine barren Cow-Buffaloe and too out her tongue and a little of her best meat: The Land is still level and rich and well timbered with Oak, Walnut, Ash, Locust, and Sugar Trees.
Tuesday 5. – I travelled about 30 M.
Wednesday 6. – I travelled about 30 M and killed a fat Bear.
Thursday 7. – Set out with my Horse Load of Bear Meat and travelled about 30 M this afternoon I met a Young Man (a Trader) and we encamped together that night; He happened to have some Bread with him, and I had plenty of Meat so we Fared very Well.
Friday 8. – Travelled about 30 M and arrived at Night at the Shannoah Town – All the Indians, as well as the White Men came out to welcome My return to their Town, being glad that all things were rightly settled in the Miamee Country, they fired upwards of 150 Guns in the Town and made an Entertainment in Honour of the late Peace with the Western Indians – In my return from the Twigtwee Town, I did not keep an exact account of Course or Distance; for as the Land thereabouts was every where pretty much the same, I thought it unnecessary, as the situation of the Country was sufficiently described in my Journey to the Twigtwee Town, but have notwithstanding laid down in my plat my Tract pretty nearly.
Sunday March 9. – In the Shannoah Town, I met with one of the Mingo Chiefs who had been down to the falls of the Ohio, so that we did Not See Him as We went up; I informed Him of the King’s Present and the Invitation down to Virginia – He told Us that there was a party of French Indians hunting at the Falls, and that if I went there they would certainly kill me or carry me away Prisoner to the French; For it is certain they would not let me Pass. However I had a great Inclination to see the Falls and the Land on the E side of the Ohio, I resolved to venture as far as Possible.
Sunday 10 and Monday 11. – Stayed in the Town and prepared for my departure.
Tuesday 12. – I got my Horses over the River and after Breakfast My Boy and I got ferryed Over – The Ohio is here near ¾ of a mile wide at Shannoah Town and is very deep and smooth.
Wednesday 13. – We set out S 45 W, down the said River on the S E Side S M then S 10 M here I met two men belonging to Robert Smith at whose House I lodged on this side of the Miamee River, and one Hugh Crawford the said Robt. Smith had given me an order upon these men for two of the teeth of a large Beest, which they were bringing from towards the Falls of the Ohio, one of which I turned in and delivered to the Ohio Company – Robert Smith informed Me that about seven years ago these Teeth and bones of three large Beests (One of which was somewhat smaller than the other two.) were found in a Salt Lick13 or Spring upon a small Creek which runs into the S Side of the Ohio about 15 M below the Mouth of the great Miamee River, and 20 above the Falls, He assured me that the Rib Bones of the largest of these Beests were eleven Feet long and the Skull Bone six feet wide, and the other bones in proportion; and that there were several teeth there, some of which he called horns, and they said they were upwards of Five Fett long, and as much as a man could well carry; that he had his one in a Branch some distance from the place, lest the French Indians should carry it away – The tooth which I brought in for the Ohio Company, was a Jaw toothe of better Weight than four Pounds; it appeared to be the furtherest Tooth in the Jaw, and looked like Fine Ivory when the outside was scraped off – I also met four Shannoah Indians coming up the River in their Canoes, who informed me there were about sixty French Indians encamped at the Falls.
Thursday 14. – I ent down the River S 15 M the Land upon this Side the Ohio chiefly broken, and the Bottoms but narrow.
Friday 15. – S 5 M, S W 10 M to a creek that was so high that We could not get over that Night.
Saturday 16. – S. 45 W about 35 M.
Sunday 17. – The same Course 15 M, the N 45 W 5 M.
Monday 18. – N 45 W 5 M then S W 20 M to the lower Salt Lick Creek14 which Robert Smith and the Indians told us was about 15 Miles above the Falls of the Ohio; The Land still Hilly, the Salt Lick here much the same as those described – This day we heard Guns which made me imagine the French Indians were not moved, but were still Hunting, and firing thereabouts: We also saw some Traps newly set, and the Footsteps of some Indians plain on the ground as if they had been there the day before – I was now much trouble that I could not comply with my instructions, & was once resolved to leave the Boy and Horses and go privately on Foot to view the Falls; but the Boy being a poor Hunter, was afraid he would starve if I was long from him and ther was also great danger lest the French Indians should come upon our Horses tracks or hear their Bells and as I had seen good Land enough, I thought I might be blamed for venturing so far, in such Dangerous Times, and so I concluded not to go to the Falls but travell’d away to the Southward till We were over the little Cuttaway River – The Falls of the Ohio by the best information I could get are not very steep, on S E Side there is a Bar of Land at some distance from the Shore, the Water between the Bar and the Shore not above 3 feet deep, and the Stream Moderately Strong, the Indians frequently pass thro safely in their Canoes this passage, but are obliged to take great Care as they go down lest the Current which is much stronger on the NW Side should draw them that way; Which woud be very dangerous as the Water in that side runs with great rapidity over several ledges and Rocks; The water below the Falls they say is about six Fathoms deep, and the River continues without any obstructions till it empties itself into the Mississippi which is reckoned about 400 M – The Ohio near the Mouth is said to be very broad and the Land very rich and in general very Level, all the Way from the Falls – After I had determined not to go to the Falls We turned from Salt Lick Creek to a Ridge of Mountains that made towards the Cuttaway River, and from the Top of that Mountains we saw a fine level Country S W as far as Our Eyes coud behold and it was a very clear day; we ent down thro the Mountain and set out 2 20 W about 5 M thro rich level Land covered with small Walnut Sugar Trees, Red Buds &c.
Tuesday March 19. – We set out S and crossed several Creeks running to the S W at about 12 M came to the little Cuttaway River: We were obliged to go up it about 1 M to an Island which was the Shoalest Place we could find to cross it We then continued Our course in all about 30 M through level rich Land except about 2 miles which was broken and indifferent. This Level is about 35 M broad and as we came up the side of it along the Branches of the little Cuttaway River We found it about 150 M long; and how far to the S W we coud not tell, but imagined it held to the Cuttaway River which would be upwards of 100 M More, and appeared much broader that Way than here, as I could discern from the Top of the Mountains.
Wednesday 20. – We did not travel, I went up to the Top of a Mountain to view the Country, to the S E it looked very Broken, and Mountainous but to the Eastward and S W it appeared very level.
Thursday 21. – Set out S 45 E 15 M S 5 M, here I found a place where the stones shined like Polished Brass, the Heat of the Sun drew out of them a kind of Borax or Saltpetre only something a bit sweeter; some of which I brought in to the Ohio Company, tho I believe it was nothing but a Sort of Sulphur.
Friday 22. – S E 12 M, I killed a fat Bear and was taken sick that Night.
Saturday 23. – I staid here and sweated after the Indian Fashion, which helped me.
Sunday 24. – Set out E 2 M, NE 3 M, N 1 M, E 2 M, SE 5 M, N 2 M, S.E. 7 M. to a small Creek where We encamped in a Place where we had poor food for our Horses and & both we and they were much wearied: The Reason for our making so many short course was caused by being driven by a Branch of the little Cuttaway River (whose Banks were so exceedingly steep we coud not Ford) into a ledge of Rocky Laurel Mountains which were almost impassable.
Monday 25. – Set out S E 10 M, S W 1 M, S E 1 M, S W 1 M, S E 1 M, S W 1 M S E 1M S W 1 M, S E 5 M killed 2 buffalo and took out their Tongues and encamped – Thes two Days we travelled thro Rock and Mountains full of Laurel Thicket which we could hardly creep thro without cutting Our way.15
Wednesday 27. – Our Horses and Selves were so tired that we were obliged to stay this day to rest, for we were unable to travel – on all the Branches of the little Cuttaway River was plenty of coal some of which I brought in to the Ohio Company.
Thursday 28. – Set out S E 15 M crossing Creeks of the little Cuttaway River the Land being full still of Coal and Black slate.
Friday 29. – The same course SE about 12 M the land still Mountainous.
Saturday 30. – Stayed to rest our Horses I went on Foot and found a passage thro the Mountains to another Creek, or Fork of the same Creek we were on.
Sunday 31. – The same Course S E 15 M killed a Buffaloe and encamped
Monday April 1. – Set out the same Course about 20 M. Part of the way we went along a path up the side of a little creek at the head of which was a Gap in the Mountains then our Path went down another Creek to a Lick where Blocks of Coal about t to 10 In: Square lay upon the Surface of the Ground, here we killed a Bear and encamped.16
Tuesday 2. – Set out S 2 M, SE 1 M, NE 3 M, killed a Buffaloe.
Wednesday 3. – S 1 M, SW 3 M, E 3 M, SE 2 M, to a small Creek on which was a large Warriors Camp, 17 that would contain 70 Or 80 Warriors, their captains Name or Title was the Crane, as I knew by his picture or Arms18 painted on a Tree.
Thursday 4. – We stayed here all Day to rest our Horses, and I platted down our Courses and I found I had still near 200 M Home upon a Straight Line.
Friday 5. – Rained and we stayed at the Warriors Camp.
Saturday 6. – We went along the Warrior’s Road S 1 M, SE 3 M, S 2M, SE 3, E 3 M, killed a bear.
Sunday 7. – Set out E 2 M, NE 1 M, SE 1 M, W 1 M, SW 1 M, S 1 M, SE 2 M, S 1 M.
Monday 8. – S 1 M, SE 1 M, E 3 M, SE 1 M, E 3 M, NE 2 M, N 1 M, E 1 M, N 1 M, E 2 M and encamped on a small Laurel Creek19
Tuesday 9 & Wd, 10. – The weather being Somewhat Bad we did travel these two days, the Country still being Rocky Mountainous & full of Laurel Thickets the worst travelling I ever saw.
Thursday 11. – We travelled several Courses near 20 M, but in the afternoon as I could see from a Mountain Top the place we came from I found that we had not come upon a streight line more than N 65 E 10 M.
Friday 12. – Set out thro very difficult ways E 5 M to a small Creek.
Saturday 13. – The same Course E upon a streight Line tho the Way we were obliged to travel was near 20 M, here we killed two bears, the Way still Rocky and Mountainous.
Sunday 14. – As food was very scarce on these barren Mountains, We were obliged for fresh feeding for Our Horses, so We went on E 5 M, then N 20 W 6 M to a creek where We got something better Feeding for our Horses, in climbing over the Rocks and Clifts this day two of our Horses fell down and were pretty much hurt, and a Paroquete which I had got from the Indians, on the south Side of the Ohio (Where there are a great Many) died of a bruise he got by a Fall; tho it was but a trifle I was much concerned of losing him, as it was perfectly Tame, and had been very Brisk all the Way, and I had still enough Corn to feed Him – In the afternoon I left the Horses and went a little Way down the Creek and found such a precipice and such Laurel Thickets as we could not pass, and the Horses were not able to go up the Mountain till they had rested a day or Two.
Monday 15. – We cut a Passage thru the Laurels better than 2 Miles, as I was climbing up the Rocks, I got a fall which hurted me pretty Much – This afternoon as we wanted Provision I killed a Bear.
Tuesday 16. – Thunder and Rain in the Morning – We set out N 25 E 3 M.
Wednesday 17. – This day I went to the Top of a Mountain to view the Way, and found it so bad that I did not care to engage it, but rather chose to go out of the way and keep down along the Side of a Creek till I could find a Branch or Run on the other side to go Up.
Thursday 18. – Set out down the Said Creek Side N 3 M, then the Creek turning NW 1 was obliged to leave it, and go up a Ridge NE 1 M, E 2 M, NE 1 M, to a Fork of a River.
Friday 19. – Set out down said Run NE 2 M, E 2 M, SE 2 M, N 20 E 2 M, E 2 M, up a Large Run.2
Saturday 20. – Set out SE 10 M, E 4 M, over a small Creek – We had such bad travelling down this Creek that we had like to have lost one of our Horses.
Sunday 21. – Stayed to rest our Horses.
Monday 22. – Rained all Day – We could not Travel.
Tuesday 23. – Set out E 8 M along the Ridge of Mountains then SE 5 M, E 3 M, SE 4 M and encamped among very steep Mountains.
Wednesday 24. – SE 4 M thro steep Mountains and Thickets E 6 M.
Thursday 25. – E 5 M, SE 1 M, NE 2 M, SE 2 M, E 1 M, then S 2 M, E 1 M, killed a Bear.
Friday 26. – Set out SE 2 M, here it rained so hard we were obliged to stop.
Saturday 27 Sunday 28 and Monday 29. – These three Days it continued to Rain and bad Weather did not cease, so that we could not Travel. All the Way from Salt Lick to this Place, the Branches of the little Cuttaway River were so high that we could not pass them, which obliged us to go over the Heads of Them, through a continued Ledge of almost inaccessible Mountains, Rocks and Laurel Thickets.
Tuesday 30. – Fair Weather Set out E 3 M, SE 8 M, E 2 M, to a little River or Creek which falls into the big Conhaway called Blue Stone, where we encamped and had good feeding for Our Horses.
Wednesday May 1. – Set out N 75 E 10 M and killed a Buffaloe, then went up a very high Mountain, upon the Top of which was a Rock 60 or 70 feet high,21 & a cavity in the Middle into which I went and found that there was a passage thro it which gradually ascended to the Top, with several Holes in the Rock I could see a prodigious distance, and coud plainly discover where the Big Conhaway River broke thenext high Mountain, I then came down and continued my Course N 75 E 5 M further and encamped.
Thursday 2 and Friday 3. – These two days it Rained and We stayed in Camp to take care of some Provision We had killed.
Saturday 4. – This day our Horses run away, and it was Late before We got Them, so We coud not travel Far. We went N 75 E 4 M.
Sunday May 5. – Rained all Day.
Monday 6. – Set out thro very Bad Ways E 3 M NE 6 M over a bad Laurel Creek E 4 M.
Tuesday 7. – Set out E 10 M to the big Conhaway or New River and got over half of it to a large Island where we lodged that night.
Wednesday 8. – Made a raft of Loggs and crossed the River, the other half, and went up it S about 2 M – The Conhaway or New River (by some called Wood’s River) where I crossed it (which was about 8 Miles above the Mouth of the Blue Stone River) is better than 200 Yards wide, and pretty deep, but full of Rocks and Falls – The Bottoms upon it and the Blue Stone River are very rich but Narrow and high Land Broken.
Thursday 9. – Set out E 10 M to a large Indian Warrior’s Camp, where we killed a Bear and stayed all Night.
Friday 10. – Set out E 4 M, SE 3 M, thro Mountains covered with Laurel and Ivy Thickets.
Saturday 11. – Set out S 2 m, SE 5 m to a Creek and a Meadow where we let our Horses feed, then SE 2 M, S 1 M, SE 2 M, to a very high Mountain up on top of which was a Lake or Pond22 about 3/4 of a Mile Long LE & SD, & 1/4 of a Mile wide the water fresh and clear, and a clean gravelly Shore about 10 yds. wide with a fine Meadow and six fine Springs in it, then S about 4 M, to a branch of the Conhaway called Sinking Creek.
Sunday 12. – Stayed to rest and Dry some Meat we had Killed.
Monday 13. – Set out SE 2 M, E 1 M, SE 3 M, S 12 M to one Richd Hall’s in August County23 this Man is one of the farthest Settlers to the Westward upon the New River.
Tuesday 14. – Stayed at Richd Hall’s and wrote the Ohio Company and to the President of Virginia to let them know I should be with them by the 15th of June.
Wednesday 15. – Set out from Richd Hall’s S 16 M.
Thursday 16. – The same Course S 22 M and encamped at Beaver Island Creek (A Branch of the Conhaway) opposite to the head of the Roanoke.
Friday 17. – Set out S W 3 M then S 9 M to the dividing line between Carolina and Virginia, where I stayed all night, the Land from Richd Hall’s to this Place is broken.
Saturday 18. – Set out S 20 M to my own house on the Yadkin River, when I came there I found all My People gone, for the Indians had killed 5 People in the Winter near that Place, which frightened my Wife and Family away to Roanoke about 35 M nearer in to the Inhabitants, which I was informed of by and Old Man I met near the Place.
Sunday 19. – Set out for Roanoke and as we had now a Path, We got there the same Night when I found all my Family Well.
An account of the Festival mentioned in My Journal. (See Page 40.) In the Evening a proper Officer made a Public Proclamation that all the Indians marriages were dissolved, and a Public Feast was to be held for three succeeding Days after, in which the Women as their Custom was were again to choose Husbands.
The next Morning early the Indians breakfasted and after spent the Day in dancing till Evening when they retired to a splendid Feast prepared, after Feasting they spent the Night in dancing. The same way they spent the next two days till Evening, the Men dancing by themselves and the women in turns around the fires, and dancing in Their manner in the Form of the Figu[r]e 8 about 60 or 70 at a time. The Women the whole time they danced sang a song in their Language the Chorus of which was
I am not afraid of My Husband,
I will choose the Man I please
singing those lines Alternately.
The third day in the Evening, the Men being about 100 in number, some times at Length, at other times in a Figure 8 quite round the Fort and in and out of the long House where they held their Councils, the Women standing together as the Men danced by them; And as any of the Women liked a Man passing by she stepped in and joined the dance, taking hold of the Man’s Strond whom she Chose, and then continued in the Dance till the rest of the Women stepped in and made their choice in the same Manner; after which the Dance ended and they all retired to Consummate.
N.B. This was given to Me by Colonel Mercer Agent of the Ohio Company and now Lieutennant Governor of North Carolina.
1The Kiskiminitas River, which flows from the Allegheny Mts. To the Ohio, into which it empties above Pittsburg, near Kittaning, and along which the Penn. R.R. finds its way. Loyalhannan, or Loyalhonnon, was one of the oldest towns west of the Allegheny Mts. On the older Maps. Its site is occupied by the present town of Ligonier, in Westmoreland Co. Penn. 51 miles east of Pittsburg. It was so named in 1759 after General Ligonier, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, who preceeded General Granby, made famous by the strictures of Junius in his letters. The route taken by Gist from Old Town, the residence of Col. Cresap was northward to Juniatta; thence upward that stream, crossing the Alleghanies at their head, and thence down the waters of the Kiskiminitas.
2Loggstown was eighteen miles below the site of Pittsburg, on the north side of the Ohio River, just below the site of the present town of Economy, in Beaver Co. Penn. It was established by the Shawnees about 20 yrs. Before Gist’s visit, when they emigrated eastward from the Alleghanies. It was an important point before the settlement of Pittsburg. Washington and Gist remained here from the 24th to 30th of Nov. 1753, and Washington was also here in Oct. 1770. Here was also held June 30th 1752, between the Six Nations and the Commissioners of Virginia, Joshua Fry, Lundsford Lomax, and James Patton, a Treaty supplementary to and conformatory of that of Lancaster, Penn. July 2, 1744. It was witnessed among others, by William Trent, George Croghan, Christopher Gist, William Preston, and Hugh Crawford, several of whom are mentioned in this Journal.
3Beaver Creek empties into the Ohio a few miles below Loggstown, the town of Rochester, Beaver Co. Penn. being at its mouth. The stream, named for Beaver, King of the Delawares, rises in the dividing territory between the waters of Lake Erie and the Ohio, interlapping with the former streams. Washington in his tour of 1770 noted the feasability of a canal along this line, and in a letter to him from Mr. Jefferson written in Paris, Jan. 4, 1786, occurs the following reference to the subject: “I sincerely rejoice that the opening of the three such works as the James and Potomac rivers and a canal from the Dismal Swamp Canal are likely to be carried through. There is a fourth however, which I had the honor to mention to you in a letter of March the 15th 1784 from Annapolis. It is the cutting a canal which shall unite the head of Cuyahoga and Beaver Creek.” Mr. Jefferson’s idea was to make a continuous waterway to the East by connecting the waters of the Kanawha with those of the James or the Monongahela with the Potomac.
4Muskingum, a Town of the Wyandotts, on the Muskingum, near the present site of Coshocton, in the County of the same name.
5This religious service antedates any other held in the present State of Ohio by nearly 16 years by any Protestant, and was 21 yrs in advance of the Moravian Missionaries.
6This was one of many names for the Scioto River, which was from a Shawnee word meaning Deer. The Cumberland Mountains, in Kentucky, from which the River of the same name takes its rise, were known as the Ouasiota Mountains given, doubtless, by the Shawnees, who lived on the Cumberland River which was called the Shawnee River. The name Quasiota, also sometimes called Ona-Sciota, was also given to a Pass, up Station Camp Creek in Estill Co. Ky. which formed part of the Indian War trace which led from the Shawnee Town at the Mouth of the Scioto to the Cumberland.
7This was the site of the Scioto Salt Works in Ross County, which in early days were the source of supply for this portion of Ohio.
8This was his Negro servant, about 17 yrs. Old with whom he started alone on his trip from Will’s Creek, Oct. 31. 1750, and who was his sole companion on his trip through Kentucky until he arrived at his home N. Carolina May 19 1751.
9This is the earliest mention of Blue Grass in the West of which I have any knowledge. Filson in his life of Boone, speaks of it as in Kentucky in 1748. By many it is thought to have originated in Kentucky, but this is an error, though it is doubtless indigenous in the limestone soils of this region. Sir Joseph Paxton, and eminent British Botanist, in his Botanical Dictionary page 250, London 1846 says it is a native of England. The fact that early Virginians recognized it in the Ohio Valley show that they were familiar with it at home. The wild Rye is a tall grass, and a species of the genus Elymus.
10The Great Miami River was 1st known as Rock River, called by the French Riviere de la Roche, from its Rocky bed. When the Miami Nation emigrated to it from the Wabash, it took their name. Its head approaches near that of the Maumee which empties into Lake Erie, and was the original Miami, but changed by the whites to avoid confusion. The two rivers with a portage between their waters, was one of the principal canoe routes between the Ohio and the Lake. It was by that that Celeron went from the Ohio to Detroit.
12This place is a point 5 M W of Springfield Clarke Co. Ohio the site of the noted Shawnee Town Piqua, destroyed by George R. Clarke in 1780.
13Big Bone Lick.
15Upon the Theory that he passed during these days from the waters of the Red River to those of the North Fork of the Ky. River, he would have come thru rough Country and Laurel thickets described and also coal in Wolfe and Breathitt counties then and afterward. There is no Laurel west of this point.
17Mouth of Indian Creek.
18This was a custom, & the presence meant the Chief at War.
20He had passed over the Cumberland Mountain at or near Pound Gap and going down Gist’s River came to Clinch River, up which he passed, and crossing the divide came to the Bluestone, a tributary of New River, on the 30th.
21In Mercer County West Virginia
22This was a Mountain Lake a Noted fresh water Lake in Giles County Virginia.
23Augusta County then included Montgomery County.
Exploration, Settlement and Conflict (1600-1799)