Journal: Extracts from a Journal
Kept on the River Ohio in the Year 1774.
From Documentary History of Dunmore's War, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905), pp. 110-17
April 7th, 8th. We left Col. Wm Preston's in Fincastle County at one o'clock in high spirits, escorted by the Coln. three miles, eight of us being in company, viz Mr. John Floyd assistant surveyor, Mr. Doughlas, Do. Mr. Hite, Mr. Dandridge, Thos Hanson, James Nocks Roderick McCra & Mordecai Batson. We travelled fifteen miles to John Mc. Guffin's at Sinking Creek.
9th. We rose early in the morning, and crossed Rich Creek mountain & travelled 27 miles to Robt. Carliles and were entertained very well according to the People's ability.
10th. We travelled to Mr. Hardy's, 27 miles the land mountanious with some good bottoms or pieces of Low Grounds.
11th. We travelled to Mr. Kelly's old house 15 miles over a Mountain, and bought a brass kettle for 18 shillings.
12th. We traveled about 30 miles over a Ridge and Hills - & stopped at a Laurel Branch.
13th. We traveled about 27 miles - crossing Gauly Mountain, & overtook Mr. Hancock Taylor, assistant surveyor & his Companey of seven men and Himself.
14th. We arrived at Mr. Kelly's below the falls of New River - 24 miles where we expected to have got a canoe, but were disappointed, Taylor likewise stopped to make a Canoe, and Mr. Floyd hearing there was one at Elk River unfinished hired a man at 3s per day to go & finish it.
15th. We proceeded 14 miles down the river passing by the burning springs - which is one of the wonders of the world. Put a blaze of pine within 3 or 4 inches of the water, and immediately the water will be in a flame, & Continue so until it is put out by the Force of wind. The Springs are small and boil continually like a Pot on the Fire; the water is black & has a Taste of Nitre. The spring never rises above its Bank, nor does any water run from it above ground, tho' it continually boils up. One of the springs was dry, at the time we were there - and the earth in the hole of it was burning.
16th. We proceeded to Elk River, 6 miles & found the canoe on the opposite shore of New River. Mr Floyd and a stranger went out to hunt; whilst we finished the canoe, which was done when he returned, after shooting a Deer & a Pike 43 inches long.
17th. We called our canoe the Good-Hope, imbarked on board of her, sailed 9 miles down the river, there saw two canoes ashore, which caused us to land, We found Majr Fields in company, who gave us some Bear meat, which was acceptable at that time, as we had no Provisions. The People informed us, that the Indians had placed themselves on both sides of the Ohio, and that they intended war. The Delaware Indians told them that the Shawnese intended to rob the Pensylvainans & kill the Virginians where ever they could meet with them, We parted with them & proceeded to Crab River 3 miles.
18th. We surveyed 2000 acres of Land for Col. Washington, bordered by Coal River & the Canawagh. Mr. Dandridge crossed Coal River, & lost himself, which put Mr. Floyd to a great deal of trouble to find him in the night. Mr. Taylor and his company joined us. The Bottoms or Low Grounds here are but narrow & not very good. We catched a Cat fish that weighed 40 pounds.
19th. We passed on from hence, passing Pokatalico River at 6 miles, to a bottom Mr. Hogg is improving in all 14 miles, Mr. Hogg confirmed the news we had of the Indians, He says there were 13 People who intended to settle on the Ohio, and the Indians came upon them and a battle ensued. The white People killed 3 Indians (imagined to be Chiefs) and then fled. This caused the Indians to hold a council & they are determined to kill the Virginians and rob the Pensylvanians. This is a very good bottom, & there is a Pine, & a Cherry Tree, within 19 feet of each other; they are 3 feet in Diameter.
20th. We proceeded to the mouth of the Kanawha, 26 miles. At our arrival we found 26 People there on different designs - Some to cultivate land, others to attend the surveyors, They confirm the same story of the Indians. One of them could speak Indian language, therefore Mr. Floyd & the other Surveyors offered him 3 per month to go with them, which he refused, and told us to take care of our scalps. We passed but one bottom which is within 7 miles of the mouth of the River, & I am informed it runs 20 miles deep & is good Land, is on the South Side about 6 miles broad on the side of the River. On the North point, where we met the People is very fit for a fort, and to my opinion does not overflow which is not the case of the other bottoms. Mr. Floyd and the other Surveyors were received with great joy by the people here.
21st. Mr. Floyd wrote to Coln. Preston letting him know how affairs are at present & what happened on the journey. Mr. Floyd and the rest of the People are in high Spirits, and determined to go down the river, to do the business they came on & try the consequences unless a superior Force should attack them.
22nd. The Company consisting of 18 men with 4 Canoes proceeded down the Ohio River, Messrs. Floyd & Taylor going on foot down the other side about 10 miles to a Creek. On the East Side, the Bottoms are narrow, but on the West side of the Ohio they appear broader. We passed 2 small Islands.
23d. We aired, and dried our small stores and some of the Company went a hunting.
24th We proceeded down to the little Giandot 14 miles, the Bottoms good that we passed and even but not very large. We found a Battoe loaded with corn, we took about 3 Bushels of it with us.
25th. We waited for the rest of the Company that we left at the mouth of New River The River Ohio fell 2 feet within 24 Hours and we found a spring at the foot of the Bank.
26th. At 3 o'clock this afternoon 3 men came to our Camp, who had been 20 miles below us and were alarmed by Indians, & made their escapes. 2 of them joined Mr Floyd, viz Nash & Mr. Glen, and Lawrence Darnell joined Mr. Taylor.
27th. Mr Douglas & Mr Hite joined us with 13 men, which makes us 37 strong. But the alarm before mentioned occasioned 4 to return back, viz Mr. Dandridge, Taylor, Holloway & Waggoner, which reduced us to 33 but we proceeded down to Great Giandot 20 miles. We saw 4 Deleware Indian men & about 14 squaws besides children, who gave us to understand that there were 50 Indians below us. The Bottoms we passed are good land, But low consiquently overflow very much.
28th. We were stopt by rainy weather.
29th. We proceeded to Big Sandy Creek, passing little Sandy Creek at six miles, thence to Big Sandy 7 miles is one continued Bottom, in all 13 miles, where we stopet and cooked our kettle, and then embarked in our Canoes, and floated all night. In the morning we discovered that we had floated 25 miles.