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The act of the Indiana General Assembly signed by Governor Ralston 
on March 8, 1915, creating the Indiana Historical Commission, assigned to 
that body as one of its duties to collect and publish documentary and other 
materials on the history of Indiana. The law provides that these volumes 
should be printed and bound at the expense of the State and be made avail- 
able to the public. Copies are offered at practically the cost of printing the 
volumes, the proceeds to go into the State treasury for the use of the His- 
torical Commission in producing other volumes. One copy is to be fur- 
nished at the expense of the Commission to each public library, college and 
Normal School in the State. 

Two hundred copies are to be furnished to the Indiana State Libraryand two 
hundred copies to the Historical Survey of Indiana University, for purposes 
of exchange with other states for similar publications. Of the $25,000 
appropriated to the Commission for Centennial purposes, $5,000 
permitted to be used for historical publications. 




Samuel M. Ralston, President 
Frank B. Wynn, Vice President 
Harlow Lindley, Secretary 
James A. Woodburn 
Charles W. Moores 
Samuel M. Foster 
John Cavanaugh 
Charity Dye 
Lew M. O'Bannon 


James A. Woodburn 
Charles W. Moores 
Harlow Lindley 

% * 





'" vV©U3 

V^^y ' \ 




A Collection of Reprints from Books o 

ravel. Letters and Diaries 

Prior to 1 830 



Director Department of Indiana History and Archives 

Indiana State Library 

Secretary Indiana Historical Commission 

1 l 






Copyright Nineteen Hundred and Sixteen 
by The Indiana Historical Commission 







Indiana Historical Collections 


Many of the first books relating to Indiana were written by 
travelers whose aim was to tell the Old World what the New World 
was like. During the first half century following the Revolutionary 
War many travelers came from Europe to visit the New Republic 
and to explore the frontiers of America, and during the early de- 
cades of the nineteenth century many travelers from the Atlantic 
Coast states made trips into the interior to learn of the possibili- 
ties in the newer regions. 

After a lapse of a century these descriptions are of much in- 
terest from an historical point of view. Personal estimates of the 
region vary and opinions were obviously warped in many cases 
but these descriptions reflect conditions about which we could 
today secure information in no other way. These books are now 
out of print and are not available for most people. Because of 
the growing demand for this material it has been deemed wise to 
issue a volume reprinting the material which concerns Indiana pre- 
vious to 1830, in as near the original form as possible. Spelling, 
punctuation and capitalization have been followed. In some in- 
stances repetitions will be noticed, but it seemed best in most cases 
to give the full account as originally prepared by the author. 
Practically all of David Thomas' Travels through the Western 
Country in the Summer of 1816, with his additional notices, has been 
reprinted, since this Diary was written just one hundred years ago, 
portraying conditions here just as Indiana became a State, and 
also because of the particular value of this individual journal. 

The object of this volume has been to make available to the 
people of the State and others interested in Indiana history, ma- 
terial which could not be procured easily otherwise. The original 
editions can be found in the Indiana State Library. 

Included in the volume are four contributions which never before 
have appeared in print— the Journal of Thomas Scattergood 
Teas, Letters of William Pelham, Personal Reminiscences of 
Charles F. Coffin, and Diary and Recollections of Victor Colin 
Duclos. The Pelham letters have been made possible by Miss 





Caroline Creese Pelham, of New Harmony, Indiana, a great grand- 
daughter of William Pelham. 

The Editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance given him by 
Miss Esther U. McNitt, Dr. John W. Oliver and Mr. Henry S. 


Miller, of the Department of Indiana History and Archives, 
Indiana State Library, and Dr. Walter C. Woodward, Director 
of the Indiana Historical Commission. 

Harlow Lindley. 

Earlham College, 
October 9, 1916. 





Hutchins, Thomas A Topographical Description of Virginia, 

Pennsylvania and North Carolina, 1778 .' 7 

Imlay, George. A Topographical Description of the West- 
tern Territory of North America, 1793 . 9 

Volney, C. F A View of the Soil and Climate of the 

United States of America, 1804 17 

Ashe, Thomas Travels in America Performed, in 1806. . . 25 

Melish, John Travels in the United States of America, 

in the Years 1806, and 1807, and 1809^ 
1810, and 1811 29 

Bradbury, John Travels in the Interior of America in the 

Years 1809, 1810, and 1811 35 

Cutler, Jervasse A Topographical Description of the In- 
diana Territory, 1812 37 


Thomas, David Travels Through the Western Country 

in the Summer of 1816 42 

Brown, Samuel R The Western Gazetteer, or Emigrant's 

Directory, 1817 136 

Birkbeck, Morris Notes on a Journey in America from the 

Coast of Virginia to the Territory of 
Illinois, 1817 171 

Darby, William The Emigrant's Guide to the Western and 

Southwestern States and Territories, 




Dana, E Geographical Sketches on the Western 

Country Designed for Emigrants and 
Settlers, 1819 197 

Warden, D. B A Statistical, Political and Historical 

Account of North America, 1819 216 

Mason, Richard Lee Narrative of Richard Lee Mason in the 

Pioneer West, 1819 235 

Indiana Gazette, Corydon. . Letters of February 16, 1819 and Novem- 
ber 24, 1819.. 239 

Mackenzie, E An Historical, Topographical, and De- 
scriptive View of the United States of 
America, 1820 244 

Teas, Thomas S Journal of a Tour to Fort Wayne and the 

Adjacent Country in the Year 1821 .... 246 

Forster, William Journal of William Forster, 1821-1822. . . 250 

Melish, John A Geographical Description of the United 

States, 1822 269 




Blaney, Capt An Excursion Through the United States 

and Canada, 1822-23 '... 276 

Faux, W Memorable Days in America: Being 


Hebert, William. . . 

Journal of a Tour to the United States, 
1823 291 

A Visit to the Colony of Harmony in In- 
diana, 1825 327 

Pelham, William Letters of William Pelham Written in 

1825 and 1826 360 

Bernhard, Karl 

(Duke of Saxe-Weimer) 

Travels Through North America, Dur- 
ing the Years 1825 and 1826 418 

Flint, Timothy Recollections of the Last Ten Years, 

Passed in Occasional Residences and 
Journeyings in the Valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, 1826 , 438 

Flint, Timothy A Condensed Geography and History 

of the Western States, or the Missis- 
sippi Valley, 1828 443 


Reed, Isaac The Christian Traveller, 1828 

Hall, Captain Basil Travels in North America in the Years 

1827 and 1828 


Cobbett, William A Year's Residence in the United States of 

America, 1828 508 

Postel, Karl The Americans as They Are; Described 

in a Tour Through the Valley of the 
Mississippi, 1828 522 

Atwater, Caleb. Remarks Made on a Tour to Prairie du 

Chien, 1829 530 

Coffin, Charles F Personal Recollections of Charles F. Cof- 

fin of Wayne County, Indiana, From 
1824 to 1833 


Duclos, Victor Colin Diary and Recollections of Victor Colin 

Duclos, 1825-1833 536 


From A Topographical Description of Virginia, Penn 

ylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina, by Thomas 

Hutchins [1778], pp. 26-30. 

Hutchins, Thomas. 

The first and only civil geographer of the United States and the origin- 
ator of the land platting survey system was Thomas Hutchins. He was 
born in New Jersey in 1730, and after spending several years in the military 
service, he became interested in exploring the interior of the United States. 
The intimate knowledge gained, fitted him for laying out roads and making 
such topographical surveys as Congress desired. Hence in 1782 he was ap- 
pointed official Geographer of the United States. For the next fifteen years 
he was busy surveying new lands, locating boundaries between states and col- 
lecting such scientific data as requested by the United States government. 
He was recognized as one of the foremost scientific men in the country, and 
his geographical works formed the basis for that famous American Geo- 
graphy of Jedidiah Morse. 


The Wabash, is a beautiful River, with high and upright 
banks, less subject to overflow, than any other River (the Ohio 
excepted) in this part of America. It discharges itself into the 
Ohio, one ",housand and -wenty-two miles below Fort Pitt, in 
latitude 37° 41'. — At its mouth, it is 270 yards wide; Is navigable 
to Ouiatanon (412 miles) in the Spring, Summer, and Autumn, with 
Battoes or Barges, drawing about three feet water. From thence, 
on account of a rocky bottom, and shoal water, large canoes are 
chiefly employed, except when the River is swelled with Rains, at 
which time, it may be ascended with boats, such as I have just de- 
scribed, (197 miles further) to the Miami carrying-place, which is 
nine miles from the Miami village, 1 and this is situated on a River 
of the same name, 2 that runs into the south-south-west part of 
Lake Erie. — The Stream of the W abash, is generally gentle to Fort 
Ouiatanon, and no where obstructed with Falls, but is by several 
Rapids, both above and below that Fort, some of which are pretty 
considerable. There is also a part of the River for about three 
miles, and 30 miles from the carrying-place, where the Channel is 
so narrow, that it is necessary to make use of setting poles, in- 
stead of oars. The land on ohis River is remarkably fertile, and 
several parts of it are natural meadows, of great extent, covered 
with fine long grass. — The timber is large, and high, and in such 
variety, that almost all the different kinds growing upon the 
Ohio, and its branches (but with a greater proportion of black and 

1. Later Fort Wayne* 

2. Maumee River. (7) 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

white mulberry-trees) may be found here. — A silver mine has been 
discovered about 28 miles above Ouiatanon, on the northern side of 



probably others may be found hereafter 


Wabash abounds with Salt Springs, and any quantity of salt may 
be made from them, in the manner now done at the Saline in the 
Illinois country: — the hills are replenished with the best coal, and 
there is plenty of Lime and Free Stone, Blue, Yellow and White 
Clay, for Glass Works and Pottery. Two French settlements are es- 
tablished on the Wabash, called Post Vincient and Ouiatanon; 
the first is 150 miles, and the other 262 miles from its mouth. 


The former is on the eastern side of the River, and consists of 60 
settlers and their families. They raise Indian Corn, — Wheat; and 
Tobacco of an extraordinary good quality; — superior, it is said, to 
that produced in Virginia. They have a fine breed of horses 
(brought originally by the Indians from the Spanish settlements on 
the western side of the River Missisippi) and large stocks of Swine, 

d Black Cattl 

The settlers deal with the natives for Furrs and 

Deer skins, to the amount of about 5000 

lly. Hemp of 

good texture grows spontaneously in the low lands of the Wabash 

as do G 

in the greatest abundance, 

g a black, thin 

f which the inhabitants in the Autumn, make a sum 

nt quantity 


own consumption) of 


Hops large and good, are found in many ] 
e particularly adapted to the culture of Ri 

pean f 


Peaches, Pears, Cherrys, C 

tasted Red 
es, and th< 
All Euro 
,nts, Goos 
>untry bor 

berrys, Melons, & thrive well, both here, and in the count] 
dering on the River Ohio. 

Ouiatanon is a small stockaded fort on the western side of the 
Wabash, in which about a dozen families reside. The neighbour- 
ing Indians are the Kickapoos, Musquitons, Pyankishaws, and a 
principle part of the Ouiatanons. The whole of these tribes con- 
sists, it ia supposed, of about one thousand warriors. The fer- 
tility of soil, and diversity of timber in this country, are the 
same as in the vicinity of Post Vincient. The annual amount of 
Skins and Furrs, obtained at Ouiatanon is about 8000 I. By the 
River Wabash, the inhabitants of Detroit move to the southern 
parts of Ohio, and the Illinois country. Their rout is by the 
Miami River to a carrying-place, which, as before stated, is nine 
miles to the Wabash, when this River is raised with Freshes; but 
at other seasons, the distance is from 18 to 30 miles including the 
portage. The whole of the latter is through a level country. 
Carts are usually employed in transporting boats and merchandise, 
from the Miami to the Wabash River. 


From A Topographical Description of the Western Terri- 

tory of North America, by George Imlay [1793], 
pp. 66-67, 81, 93-97, 113, 137-38, 402-13, 427. 

Imlay, George. 

George Imlay was a captain in the American army during the Revolu- 
tionary war, and later appointed commissioner for laying out lands in the 
"Back Settlements." Taking advantage of the opportunity, he spent consid- 
erable time in making a topographical study of the region. He describes with 
considerable interest the soil, climate, natural history, population, agri- 

manners and customs 


table of distances he presented a very readable and somewhat valuable book 
for that day— 1793. 

Immediately in the fork 1 the land is flat, and liable to over- 
flow; but as you advance on either river the banks rise, and the 
country expanding, displays a luxuriant soil for a long distance 
above the Wabash on the Ohio side, and quite to the Illinois on 
the Mississippi side, which is about two hundred and thirty 
miles above its junction with the Ohio, and twenty above the 
mouth of Missouri. This country lies nearly in the same parallel 
of latitude of Kentucky. From the mouth of the Wabash* the 
bottoms on the Ohio are extensive and extremely fertile, as is the 
country from thence to Post St. Vincent; but towards the rapids 
of the Ohio, and beyond the bottoms of this river, the country is 
considerably broken, and the soil in some places light and indiffer- 
ent. After leaving Post St. Vincent, in the route to the Illinois 
country, you soon fall into those extensive plains which have been 
described in such glowing colours by Hutchins. . . . 

The country lying between the Miami, Wabash, the Ohio, and 
the same hills, I would put into another State; and the country 
lying between the Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers, 
I would establish into a fifth State. ... 


Here is found all the variety of soil and climate necessary 
to the culture of every kind of grain, fibrous plants, cotton, 
fruits, vegetables, and air sorts of provisions. The upper settle- 

♦The Wabash is nearly 300 yards wide at its mouth, and except some inconsider- 
able rapids, it is navigable upwards of 400 miles. 

1. Formed by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

ments on the Ohio produce chiefly wheat, oats, barley, rye, In- 
dian corn or maze, hemp and flax. The fruits are apples, pears, 
cherries, peaches, plums, strawberries, rasberries, currants, 
gooseberries, and grapes; of culinary plants and vegetables, there 
are turnips, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cymbiline or squash, 
cucumbers, pease, beans, asparagus, cabbages, brocoli, celery and 
sallads; besides which there are melons and herbs of every sort. 
The provision consists of beef, pork, mutton, veal, and a variety 
of poultry, such as ducks, Muscovy ducks, turkeys, geese, dung- 
hill fowls, and pigeons. The superfluous provisions are sold to the 
emigrants, who are continually passing through those settlements, 
in their route to the different districts of country, and which I 
have enumerated. Some considerable quantities of spirits dis- 
tilled from rye, and likewise cyder, are sent down the river to a 
market, in those infant settlements where the inhabitants have 
not had time to bring orchards to any perfection, or have 
not a superfluity of grain to distil into spirits. The beef, pork, 
and flour are disposed of in the same way. The flax and hemp are 
packed on horses and sent across the mountain to the inland towns 
of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and (as I hinted in a former letter) 
in a few years, when grazing forms the principal object of those 
settlers, they will always find a market for their cattle at Phila- 
delphia, Baltimore, and Alexandria. 

These settlements might produce a considerable quantity of 
sugar, but hitherto what they have made has served for little 
more than home consumption, as every part of the back country 
from lat. 42° to 36° and upon the Mississippi, as far north as lat. 
45°, produces an abundance of the sugar maple-tree as would be 
equal to furnish sugar for the inhabitants of the whole earth; and 
to send it to any of the market towns on the Atlantic is too far 
to be profitable, until the canals of the Potowmac shall have 
been finished. That country produces also all the pot-herbs which 
are common in Europe : several kinds of nuts grow in the forests, 
such as chestnuts, hickory, and black walnuts. The mountains, 
hills, and uninhabited parts abound in deer, wild turkeys, and a 
species of grouse, called by the Americans promiscuously part- 
ridge or pheasant. There is an abundance of wild fowl, as indeed 
is the case in every part of the western country: to enumerate 
these could prove for you neither amusement or instruction. 

Linen and woolen cloths, leather, and hats, for home consump- 

tion, are manufactured with considerable 

The two first 

George Imlay. 


articles are only made in families for their own use; but the latter 
are made by men of profession in that business, and are of a quality 
that would not disgrace the mechanics of Europe. Blacksmiths' 
work of all sorts, even to making fire arms, is done there; as is 
also cabinet work, wheel-wright, mill-wright, house carpentry, 
joinery, shoe-making, etc., etc., in short, all the trades, immedi- 
ately necessary to the promotion of the comforts of new settle- 
ments, are to be found here. 

^ After passing to the southward of lat . 40 deg. the climate becomes 
favourable to the culture of tobacco. It will, no doubt, grow farther 
to the north; but neither its flavour is so aromatic, or the crop so 
certain or productive. Indeed, the farther south tobacco grows, 
generally the finer its quality; hence it is, that the saegars of Cuba 
are so much admired for their peculiar scent, and the Oroonookoo 


for its mildness. However, this is of little consequence to any 
country, as it is certain no cultivation is so pernicious to the 
soil, and of so little real advantage to the cultivator. It contin- 
ually impoverishes the land; and every additional season, 
instead of producing riches to an estate, tends to beggar it : every 
vestige of its growth is misery and devastation, and no soil, but 
one as prolific as that of the Nile, would be capable of producing 
it for any length of time, according to the system which has been 
pursued in Virginia and Maryland. However, the whole of the 
Ohio and Mississippi country below lat. 40 deg. is perhaps better 
adapted to produce tobacco in quantity than any other country 
upon the face of the globe. ... 

There are also portages into the waters of Lake Erie from the 
Wabash, Great Miami, Muskingum, and Allegany, from 2 to 16 


Copper mines have been discovered in several places, but the 
mine on the Wabash is, perhaps, the richest vein of native copper 
in the bowels of the whole earth; and no doubt will render all 
the others of little or no value. Sulphur is found in several places 
in abundance; and nitre is made from earth which is collected 
from caves and other places to which the wet has not penetrated. 
The making this salt, in this country, is so common, that many of 
the settlers manufacture their own gunpowder. . . . 

Extract from a letter written by a member of the expedition against 
the Indians in 1791 : 

"General Scott, at the head of 800 Kentucky Volunteers, 
marched from opposite the mouth of the Kentucky River, about the 

♦Some of these have been noticed in a note in a preceding part of this work. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

beginning of June, the course he steered was about north 20 
west, and in about fifteen days he struck and surprized the lower 
Weaucteneau towns on the Wabash River, and the pararie adjoin- 
ing; but unfortunately the river at that time was not fordable, or 
the Kickapoo Town on the north-west side, with the Indians who 
escaped in their canoes from the Weau Town on the south, must 


fallen completely into our hands; h 

about 20 war 

riors were killed in the Weau villages, and in the river crossing the 
Wabash, and 47 of their Squaws and children taken prisoners. 

"Immediately after the engagement, a council of war was 
called, when it was determined, that Wilkinson should cross the 
Wabash under cover of the night, with a detachment of four 
hundred men, and endeavour to surprise the town of Kathtip- 
pacamunck, which was situated upon the north side of that 
river, at the mouth of Rippacanoe creek, and about twenty miles 

expedition was conducted 

above the Lo 




with so mucli caution and celerity, that Wilkinson arrived at the 

margin of the pararie, within a mile, and to the west of the town, 

about an hour before the break of day; whilst a detachment was 

taking a circuit through the pararie to co-operate with the main 

given signal; day appeared, and the volunteers rushed 


body on a 
into the t 

with an impetuosity not to be resisted 


advance reached the Ripp 

Creek the very 

moment the last of the Indians were crossing, when a very brisk 

i the 




the detachment 

d the Indians 

which several of their warriors were killed 

fire took 

opposite i 

two of our men wounded. 

"This town, which contained about 120 houses, 80 of which 
were shingle roofed, was immediately burnt and levelled with the 
ground; the best houses belonged to French traders, whose gardens 
and improvements round the town were truly delightful, and, 
every thing considered, not a little wonderful; there was a tavern, 
with cellars, bar, public, and private rooms; and the whole marked 
a considerable share of order, and no small degree of civilization. 

"Wilkinson returned with his detachment, after destroying 
the town, and joined the main army about seven in the evening; 
and the day following our little army were put in motion with 
their prisoners; and steering about south, in twelve days reached . 
the Rapids of the Ohio, with the loss only of two men, who unfortu- 
nately were drowned in crossing Main White River. 


The success of this expedition encouraged Government to set 
another on foot, under the .command of General Wilkinson; 

George Imlay. 


which was destined to operate against the same tribes of Indians; 
whose main town, near the mouth of Ell River, on the Wabash, 
had not been attacked in the first excursion; and accordingly, on 
the first of August following, the general, at the head of 500 
mounted volunteers, marched from Fort Washington, north 
16° west, steering, as it were, for the Manmic villages on the 
Picaway Fork of the Manmic (or Miami of the lake) and St. 
Mary's River — This movement was intended as a feint, and the 
Indians, who afterwards fell upon our trail, were completely 
deceived; nor did we change our course, until by the capture of a 
Delaware Indian, we ascertained that we were within 30 miles 
of the principal of the Manmic villages, and having marched down 
our northing, at the very time we received the information, shifted 
our course to due west, and at the distance of 180 miles from Fort 
Washington we struck the Wabash within two miles and a half of 

Longuille, or, as the Indians call it, Kenapacomaqua — It was 
about 4 P. M. when we reached that river, and crossing it immedi- 
ately, we marched in four columns across the neck of land, formed 
by the junction of the Wabash and Ell Rivers: passing several 
Indian war posts that had been fresh painted, we arrived com- 
pletely concealed on the south bank of Ell River, and directly 
opposite the town of Kenapacomaqua. 

"The surprize of this town was so very complete, that before 
we received orders to cross the river and rush upon the town, we 
observed several children playing on the tops of the houses, and 
could distinguish the hilarity and merriment that seemed to crown 
the festivity of the villagers, for it was in the season of the green 

corn dance. 

"The want of day-light, and a morass, that nearly encircled 
the town, prevented us from suddenly attacking, which enabled 
several of the Indians to escape; and in some measure obscured 
the brilliancy of the enterprize, by limiting the number of warriors 
killed to eleven, and capturing forty Squaws and their children, 
after burning all the houses, and destroying about 200 acres of 
corn; which was then in the milk, and in that .stage when the 
Indians prepare it for Zossomanony. This success was atchieved 
with the loss of two men, who were killed. 

"About four o'clock in the afternoon we mounted our prisoners, 
and took a west and by north course toward the Little Kickapoo 
Town, which the general hoped to surprize on his way to the Great 
Kickapoo Town, in the pararie, on the waters of the Illinois 
River: but the difficulties we encountered in this march, through 

T— 2 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

these almost boundless pararies, were such, that upon our arrival 
at the Little Kickapoo Town, we found one half the horses in the 
army non-effective, and unlikely to reach the Ohio, by the near- 
est course we could take; which consideration induced -the gen- 
eral to relinquish the enterprize against the Great Kickapoo 
Town; and, accordingly, after destroying about 200 acres of corn 
at Kathtippacanunck, Kickapoo, and the lower Weauctenau 
towns, we gained General Scot's return tract, and on the 21st of 
August, after a circuitous march of 486 miles, arrived with our 

prisoners at Louisville. 

"In the course of this march, I had an opportunity of observ- 
ing the general face of the country through which we passed. 
Between Fort Washington, at the crossing of the Great Miami, 
where at present there is a considerable settlement under the pro- 
tection of Fort Hamilton, a fine body of land is found, but which 
is very indifferently watered. The situation of Fort Hamilton is 
well chosen, as advantageous for defence, as pleasing to the eye; 

it stands on 

neck of land, commanding the Miami 

N.W. and a pararie and sheet of water on the N.E. about a mile 
wide, and two miles and a half long; from this pararie an abundant 
supply of forage may be got for the use of the army by repeated mov- 
ings [mowings] of a very fine natural grass, from the month of June 

till the end of Septemb 

After passing the Miami River hills, on 

the west side, the country in places is broken, though, generally 
speaking, from thence to the limits of our march, toward the 
Manmic villages the face of it is agreeably varied with hills and 

dales; well watered 
strong and durable i 

d the timber mostly such 

indicates a 

j soil. Between the Manmic trace and our west 
line of march toward Kenapacomaqua, there are a number of 
beech swamps, which will require draining before they will admit 
of settlements being formed — there are however delightfully 
pleasant and fertile situations on the Balemut and Salamine 
Rivers, which are only inferior to the woody plains of Kentucky 
in extent and climate.' The pararie, in which was situated Ken- 
apacomaqua, on the north bank of Ell River, is chiefly a morass, 
and produces little else, other than hazel, sallow, a species of 
dwarf poplar, and a very coarse, but luxuriant grass; the latter of 
which covers mostly the whole surface of the earth. — The same 
kind of pararie extends, with little alteration, until you approach 
Kathtippacanunck, when the whole country gradually assumes a 
more pleasing and valuable appearance. 

George Imlay. 


"On our line of march from Kenapacomaqua to Kathtippa- 
canunck (the distance of which from the traverses we were obliged 
to make to avoid impassable morasses, was sixty miles), in several 
places, the prospect was only bounded by the natural horizon, 
the uniformity of which was here and there broken by the dis- 
tant looming of a grove on the edge of the plane, which strongly 
resembled the projecting points of a coach clothed with wood, 
and seen by mariners at a distance from the shore. 

The situation of the late town of Kathtippacanunck was well 
chosen for beauty and convenience; it stood in the bosom of a 
delightful surrounding country on a very rich bottom, extend- 
ing east and west, on the Wabash River about two miles; the bot- 
tom about half a mile wide, bounded on the east by Tippacanoe, 
and westward by a beautiful rising ground, skirted and clothed 
with thin woods — from the upper bank you command a view of 
the Wabash River, which is terminated by a towering growth of 
wood to the south, and Tippacanoe Creek to the East — the coun- 
try in the rear from the upper bank spreads into a level pararie 
of firm, strong land, of an excellent quality, interspersed with 
copses, naked groves of trees, and high mounds of earth of a regular 
and conical form, all of which conspire to relieve the eye, and cheer 
the scene with a most agreeable variety. The top of this bank, 
which is level with the plane of the pararie, and about two hundred 
feet perpendicular from the bottom in which the town stood, 
forms an angle about 60°, and about midway there issues from its 
side two living fountains, which have hitherto constantly supplied 
the town with water. 

The country between Kathtippacanunck and the Little 
Kickapoo town is beautiful beyond description. The numerous 
breaks, and intermixture of woodland and plains, give the whole 
an air of the most perfect taste; for nature here, in a propitious 
hour and in a benignant mood, seems to have designed to prove, in 
beautifying, how far she excels our utmost efforts, and the most 
laboured improvements of art. 

Between the Little Kickapoo town and the lower Weauste- 
neau towns, the land is of the first-rate quality— at the edge of the 
wood lands, and before you descend into the river bottoms, one 
of the most charming prospects the imagination can form, dis- 
plays itself in all the variegated pride of the most captivating 

beauty. From this place, through the glades and vistas of the 



groves in the bottom, you catch a view of the meandering river 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


which silently steals through this smiling country, as if pregnant 
with its charms, and, as if it was hurrying to communicate its 
joys to less happy streams. The bottoms of the Wabash on the 
opposite side are confined by a bluff bank nearly two hundred feet, 
which interrupts the prospect, and runs parrallel with the river — 
from the top of this bank a plain is seen stretching out to the east 


and west as far as the eye can reach, without tree or bush, covered 
with a most luxuriant herbage, and in every respect assuming the 
appearance of a highly improved and cultivated meadow. The 
plain is terminated on the south by a distant prospect of the rising 
woodlands, which, with a misty bloom, and in all that azure beauty, 
so peculiar to these fair regions, here appears in all its setherial 
lustre; and seems finally lost in combining with the clouds. 

The Briares extend about twenty-five miles south of the 
Wabash, from thence the country gradually breaks into hills and 
valleys, and until we reached the waters of White River, we found 
the soil tolerably good. There it is very much broken, the bot- 
toms of the rivers are narrow, and subject to frequent and violent 

There is some tolerable good land on Rocky River, but as we 
approached the waters of the Blue River, the country again opens 
into plains, in which are interspersed clumps of scrubby oak, 
dwarf laurel, plumb, and hazel, that extend to Indian Creek, when 
the country again improves, and though it is rather broken, it 
continued to improve until we reached the Rapids of the Ohio." 
. . .The country within the Wabash, the Indian line before 
described, the Pennsylvania line, and the Ohio, contains, on a 
loose estimate, about 55,000 square miles, or 35 millions of acres. 

During the British government, great numbers of persons had 
formed themselves into companies under different names, such as 
the Ohio, the Wabache, the Illinois, the Mississippi, or Vandalia 
companies, and had covered, with their applications, a great part 
of this territory. Some of them had obtained orders on certain 
conditions, which, having never been fulfilled, their titles were 
never completed by grants. Others were only in a state of negocia- 


tion, when the British authority was discontinued. 


From A view of the soil and climate of the United States of 

America, by C. F. Volney [1804], pp. 24-25, 70-71 

Volney, Constantin Francois Chasseboenf. 

C. F. Volney was a Frenchman who first gained distinction by publish- 
ing an account of his travels in Syria and Egypt. In 1796 he came, to America 
and made a study chiefly of its' physical conditions, its surface and climate 



writer was somewhat prejudiced and his descriptions smack strongly of 
conceit. Yet, unassisted as he was, he presents as nearly a scientific review 
of conditions as was possible for any one observer. 

.1 traversed one hundred and twenty miles of this forest, from 
Louisville, near the rapids of Ohio, to Vincennes, on the Wabash, 
without lighting on a hut, and, what surprised me still more, with- 
out hearing the voice of a bird, though in the month of July. This 
forest ends just before you reach the Wabash, and from thence 
to the Mississippi, a distance of eighty miles, all is prairie or 
meadow. Here commences the American Tartary, bearing, in 
all respects, a strong resemblance to the Asiatic. Though warm 
and sultry in the southern quarter, the air becomes chill, and the 
soil unkindly, as. you go northward. Beyond the 48th degree 
of north latitude, the waters are frozen six months in the year, 
the ground is overshadowed by deep woods, or drowned in swamps, 
and intersected by rivers, which, in a course of three thousand 
miles have not fifty miles of interruption or portages. In all 
these features, we recognize a likeness to the ancient Tartary, 


which would be entire and complete, could we see its natives 
metamorphosed into horsemen. This transformation has, within 
the last twe.nty-five or thirty years, taken place, in some degree, 
among the Nehesawey or Noudowessey Indians, who are mounted 
upon Spanish horses, stolen in the plains north of Mexico. In half 
a century, these New Tartars will probably become formidable 
neighbours to the people of the United States, and the settlers 
beyond the Mississippi will encounter difficulties totally unknown 
to their ancestors. 

... On my return from Vincennes, on the Wabash, I was first 
struck by the position of a ridge of hills, situated below Silver 
Creek, about five miles from the rapids. • This ridge, vaguely 
denominated, by the Canadians, the Banks, stretches from north 
to south, across the basin of the Ohio. It compels the stream to 
change its course from east to west, in search of an outlet, which 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

presents itself at its conflux with the Salt River. It may be said 
to require the accession of that river, in order to force a way 
through the rampart before it. The rapid but smooth declivity 
of these banks may be descended in a quarter of an hour. Com- 
pared with other heights, their elevation may be stated at 400 
feet. The summit is too thickly studded with trees to permit us to 
trace the lateral course of this chain with the eye. We may dis- 
cover, however, that it stretches far to the north and south, and 
that it shuts up the entire basin of the Ohio. 

Viewed from this summit, the general appearance of this vale 
tended strongly to confirm all my previous opinions respecting 
the existence of an ancient lake. Other circumstances likewise 
lent their aid to this conclusion; for from this ridge to the White 
River, eight miles from Vincennes, the whole surface is roughened 

They are high and precip- 
itous near the Blue River, and on both sides of the White River. 
They take a course, in general, transverse to the Ohio. 

. . . Wheat is not grown at Vincennes. The products chiefly 
attended to are maize, tobacco, and cotton, all which have been 
deemed congenial to a hot climate. 

. . . The Wabash is usually frozen in winter, but only for five, ten, 

by hills, frequently steep and lofty. 

or fifteen days 



d throughout the vale of the 

Ohio, the snow remains from three days to ten, and even in Jan- 
uary they experience hot sultry days, when the mercury rises to 
66 and 72, with the wind at south or south-west, and a clear sky. 
The spring is ushered in with showers, blown from the north- 
east and north-west, and the heats become great and permanent 

within forty days after the equinox. For sixty 

venty days 

ensuing the summer solstice, they prevail with the greatest inten- 
sity, the thermometer ranging between 90 and 95. This period is 
tempestuous, storms almost daily occurring on the Ohio, and these 
storms rather aggravate than moderate the heat. Rain is some- 
times brought by the south and south-west winds, and sometimes is 

formed by the vapours 

g copiously from the river and the 

immense forest that overshadows all the country. The rain, 

which descends in torrents 


only momentary relief to the 

parched soil, and the heat of the ensuing day obliging it to reas- 
cend, it forms heavy morning mists, which afterwards become 
clouds, and thus continually renews the electrical process. The 
river water is at the temperature of 64 or 66. After a night of 
dead calm, a breeze is called up from the west or south-west, 

Constantin Francois Chasseboenf Volney. 19 

between eight and ten in the morning, which dies away about four 
in the afternoon. 

. . . Louisville (Kentucky) has about a hundred houses, and is two 
miles above the falls, more properly the rapids, of the Ohio, which 
I passed-over in a boat. I waited here eight hours, till a caravan 
was collected of four or five horsemen, necessary to travel upwards 
of 100 miles of woods and meadows, so desart as not to contain a 
solitary hut. 

After a hasty march of three days, we reached (August 2, 
1796) Vincennes, on the Wabash. The eye is at first presented 
with an irregular savannah, eight miles in length by three in 
breadth, skirted by eternal forests, and sprinkled with a few 
trees, and abundance of umbelliferous plants, three or four feet 
high. Maize, tobacco, wheat, barley, squashes, and even cotton, 
grow in the fields around the village, which contains about fifty 
houses, whose cheerful white relieves the eye, after the tedious 
dusk and green of the woods. 

These houses are placed along the left bank of the Wabash, 
here about two hundred feet wide, and falling, when the waters 
are low, twenty feet below the scite of the town. The bank of the 
river is sloping towards the savannah, which is a few feet lower: 
this slope is occasioned by the periodical floods. Each house, as is 
customary in Canada, stands alone, and is surrounded by a court 
and garden, fenced with poles. I was delighted by the sight of 
peach trees loaded with fruit, but was sorry to notice the thorn 
apple, which is found in all the cultivated places from beyond 
Gallipolis. Adjoining the village and river is a space, enclosed by 
a ditch eight feet wide, and by sharp stakes six feet high. This is 
called the fort, and is a sufficient safeguard against surprises from 
Indians. - 

I had letters to a principal man of the place, by birth a Dutch- 
man, but who spoke good French. I was accommodated at 
his house, in the kindest and most hospitable manner, for ten 
days. The day after my arrival a court was held, to which I 
repaired, to make my remarks on the scene. On entering, I was 
surprised to observe the audience divided into races of men, in 
persons and feature widely differing from each other. The fair 
or light brown hair, ruddy complexion, round face, and plump 
body, indicative of health and ease, of one set, were forcibly 
contrasted with the emaciated frame, and meagre tawny visage of 
the other: the dress, likewise, of the latter denoted their indigence. 
I soon discovered that the former were new settlers from the 


20 Early Travels in Indiana. 

neighbouring states, whose lands had been reclaimed five or six 
years before, while the latter were French, of sixty years standing 
in the district. The latter, three or four excepted, knew nothing of 
English, while the former were almost as ignorant of French. I 
had acquired, in the course of a year, a sufficient knowledge of 
English to converse with them, and was thus enabled to hear the 
tales of both parties. > 

The French, in a querulous tone recounted the losses and hard- 
ships they had suffered, especially since the last Indian war, in 
1788. Between that period and the peace of 1763, when Eng- 
land obtained Canada, and Spain Louisiana, they enjoyed 
tranquillity and happiness, under the protection of Spain. Unmo- 
lested and sequestered in the heart of the wilderness, fifty leagues 
from the nearest post on the Mississippi, without taxes, and in 
friendship with the Indians, they passed their lives in hunting, 
fishing, trading in furs, and raising a few esculents and a little 
corn for their families. Many of them had inter-married with the 
Indians, whose amity was by these ties secured and strengthened, 
and their numbers amounted to three hundred persons. 

During the revolutionary war, their remote situation exempted 
them from all its evils, till, in 1782, they were visited by a detach- 


ment from Kentucky, who plundered and insulted them, and killed 
or drove off the cattle which formed their chief wealth. 

The peace of 1783 gave them to the United States, under whose 
benign government they began to breathe again; but unluckily an 
Indian war commenced in 1788, and siding with the whites, as 
duty and discretion enjoined, they were annoyed by the savages, 
whose animosity was embittered by the remembrance of their 
ancient friendship and alliance. Their cattle were killed, their 
village closely beset, and, for several years, they could not carry 
the plough or hoe a musket shot from their huts. 

Military service was added to their other hardships* but, in 
1792, the compassion of the federal government gave four hundred 
acres of land to every one who paid the capitation, and a hundred 
more to every one who served in the militia. This domain, so 
ample to a diligent husbandman, was of little value to the hunting 
Frenchmen, who soon bartered away their invaluable ground for 
about 30 cents an acre, which was paid to them in goods, on which 
an exorbitant profit was charged. This land was of the best qual- 
ity; it sold as early as 1796, at two dollars an acre, and I may 
venture to say is now worth at least ten. Thus, for the most part, 
reduced again to their gardens, or the little homestead which was 


Constantin Francois Chasseboenf Volney. 21 



indispensable to their subsistence, they had nothing to live 
but their fruit, potatoes, maize, and now and then a little game; 
and, on this fare, no wonder they became as lean as Arabs.* 

They complain that they were cheated and robbed, and, 
especially that their rights were continually violated by the 
courts, in which two judges only out of five were Frenchmen, who 
knew little of the laws or language of the English. Their 
ranee, indeed, was profound. Nobody ever opened a school 
among them, till it was done by the abbe R. a polite, well educated, 
and liberal minded missionary, banished hither by the French 
revolution. Out of nine of the French, scarcely six could read or 
write, whereas nine-tenths of the Americans, or emigrants from 
the east, could do both. Their dialect is by no means, as I had 
been previously assured, a vulgar or provincial brogue, but pretty 
good French, intermixed with many military terms and phrases, 
all these settlements having been originally made by soldiers. 
The primitive stock of Canada was the regiment of Carignon. 
I could not fix with accuracy the date of the first settlement of 
Vincennes; and, notwithstanding the homage paid by some learned 
men to tradition, I could trace out but few events of the war of 
1757, though some of the* old men lived before that period. I 
was only able to form a conjecture that it was planted about 1735. 

These statements were confirmed, for the most part, by the new 
settlers. They only placed the same facts in a different point of 
view. They told me that the Canadians, for by that name the 
French of the western colonies are known among them, had only 
themselves to blame for all the hardships they complained of. 
We must allow, say they, that they are a kind, hospitable, soci- 
able set, but then for idleness and ignorance, they beat the Indians 
themselves. They know nothing at all of civil or domestic affairs: 
their women neither sow, nor spin, nor make butter, but pass their 
time in gossipping and tattle, while all at home is dirt and dis- 
order. The men take to nothing but hunting, fishing, roaming in 
the woods, and loitering in the sun. They do not lay up, as we do, 
for winter, or provide for a rainy day. They cannot cure pork or 
venison, make sour crout or spruce beer, or distil spirits from 
apples or rye, all needful arts to the farmer. If they trade, they 
try by exorbitant charges to make much out of a little; for little 


*This implies that hunger or spare diet makes them l3an, but this is evidently 
absurd. They cannot want plenty of the best food, and are probably greater eaters 
than their sleek and jolly neighbors. Their thinness must be owing to their con- 
stitution or their activity. — Trans. 

22 Early Travels in Indiana. 

is generally their all, and what they get they throw away upon the 
Indian girls, in toys and baubles. Their time is wasted too in 
trifling stories of their insignificant adventures, and journies to 
town to see their friends.* 

When the peace of 1793 incorporated them with the United 
States, their first demand was a commanding officer, and hard it 
was to make them comprehend the nature of elective or municipal 
government. — Even now they have nobody fit to govern the rest. 
They will not learn English, and it is not worth while for us to 
learn the language of eighty or ninety people, who may leave us 
to-morrow for Louisiana. Indeed they would be wise in doing so. 
for their indolence will never be a match for our industry. 
. . . My stay at Vincennes afforded me some knowledge of the 
Indians, who were there assembled to barter away the produce of 
their red hunt. There were four or five hundred of them, men, 
women, and children, of various tribes, as the Weeaws, Payories, 
Sawkies, Pyankishaws, and Miamis, all living near the head of the 
Wabash. This was the first opportunity I had of observing, at 
my leisure, a people who have already become rare east of the 
Allegheny. It was, to me, a new and most whimsical sight. Bodies 
almost naked, tanned by the sun and air, shining with grease and 
soot; head uncovered; hair coarse, black, and straight; a face 
smeared with red, blue, and black paint, in patches of all forms 
and sizes; one nostril bored to admit a ring of silver or copper; 
ear-rings, with three rows of drops, down to the shoulders, and 
passing through holes that would admit a finger; a little square 
apron before, and another behind, fastened by the same string; 
the legs and thighs sometimes bare, and sometimes covered 
with cloth hose; socks of smoke-dried leather; sometimes a shirt, 
with short loose sleeves, and flowing loosely on the thighs, of 
variegated or striped cloth; over this a blanket, or a square piece 
of cloth, drawn over one shoulder, and fastened under the other, or 
under the chin. On solemn occasions, or for war, their hair is 
braided with flowers, feathers, or bones. The warriors have their 
wrists adorned with broad metal rings, like our dog collars, and a 
circle round their heads, of buckles or beads. They carry in their 
hand a pipe, knife or tomahawk, and a little looking-glass, which 
they examine with as much attention and complacency as any 
European coquet. The females are a little more covered about the 
loins. They carry one or two children behind them in a sort of 

*Thus they speak of New Orleans, as if it were a walk of half an hour, though it is 



Constantin Francois Chasseboenf Volney. 23 

bag, the ends of which are tied upon their forehead. In this 
respect they have a strong resemblance to our gypsies. 

The men and women roamed all day about the town, merely 
to get rum, for which they eagerly exchanged their peltry, their 
toys, their clothes, and at length, when they had parted with their 
all, they offered their prayers and entreaties, never ceasing to 
drink till they had lost their senses. Hence arise ridiculous scenes. 
They will hold the cup with both hands, like monkies, burst into 
unmeaning laughter, and gargle their beloved cup, to enjoy the 
taste of it the longer; hand about the liquor with clamorous 
invitations, bawl aloud at each other, though close together, seize 
their wives, and pour the liquor down their throats, and, in 
short, display all the freaks of vulgar drunkenness. Sometimes 
tragical scenes ensue: they become mad or stupid, and falling in 
the dust or mud, lie a senseless log till next day. We found them 
in the streets by dozens in the morning, wallowing in the filth 
with the pigs. It was rare for a day to pass without a deadly 
quarrel, by which about ten men lose their lives yearly. A 
savage once stabbed his wife, in four places, with a knife, a few 
paces from me. A similar event took place a fortnight before, and 
five such the preceding year. For this, vengeance is either immedi- 
ately taken, or deferred to a future opportunity by the relations 
of the slain, which affords fresh cause for bloodshed and treachery. 
I at first conceived the design of spending a few months among 
them, as I had done among the Bedwins; but I was satisfied with 
this sample, and those the best acquainted with them assured me, 
that there was no Arabian hospitality among them: that all was 
anarchy and disorder. The greatest chief could not strike or 
punish the meanest warrior, even in the field, and at home nobody 
obeyed him but his own wife and children. They dwell separately, 
in mistrust, jealousy, and eternal animosity. With them, what 
they want they have a right to, and what they have strength 
enough to seize is their own. Besides, as they scarcely made pro- 
vision for themselves, a stranger would run the risk of being 

I chiefly regretted, on abandoning my scheme, the loss of an 
opportunity for gaining some knowledge of their language, and 
forming a vocabulary: a scheme the importance of which, with 
respect to a people who want all other monuments, I have else- 
where insisted on.* The missionary R., whom I have already 

Lectures upon History, Lecture 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


mentioned, having failed in all his efforts to this purpose, left me 
no hopes of succeeding. Some of the people of Vincennes are 
acquainted with the Indian dialects, but their pronunciation is so 
bad, and their ignorance of all grammatical distinctions so great, 
that they could afford him no aid. 


From Travels in America performed in 1806, for the 

purpose of exploring the rivers Allegheny, Monon- 
gahela, Ohio and Mississippi, and ascertaining the 
produce and condition of the banks and vicinity, by 
Thomas Ashe, Esq. [1808], pp. 232-33, 246-49. 

Ashe, Thomas. 

Thomas Ashe was an Englishman, and like many of his kind, came 

America for the purpose 



came west, explored the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio and Mississippi 
Rivers. His sole view was "to examine in a satisfactory manner this new 
and interesting country. 

While rather plain spoken about conditions as they existed here, yet his 
description does not smack of undue criticism. His letters, published in 
1808, were read with interest by emigrants and antiquarians. 

. Fourteen miles from the North Bend, and twenty-one from 
Cincinnati, I passed the mouth of the great Miami; on the right- 
hand shore from it is the Western boundary of the Ohio State, 
and the Eastern commencement of the Indiana territory, which, in 
a short time, and with the increase of population, will receive the 
title of a State and become the brightest star in the galaxy of the 


Union. The land is for a great part richly wooded, fertile, and 
applicable to all the purposes of agriculture and extensive and 
productive improvement. The territory is upwards of six hundred 
miles square, and is thus copiously watered; on the north by the 
Lakes; on the south by the Ohio; and on the west by the Missis- 
sippi. Through it also runs, generally in a south course, the 
Wabash, the Illinois, and variety of creeks and streams. . . 

Mouth of the Wabash, Indiana Territory. 

September, 1806. 

Previously to leaving Louisville, I crossed the river and visited 
the town of Jefferson, which is also seated, about two miles above 
the falls. It is yet very small, but the inhabitants appear deter- 
mined to add to its character and opulence, being now employed 
in forming a canal, by which navigators may avoid all dangers, 
and proceed down the river at all seasons of the year. I sur- 
veyed the line of the canal, and think it much more practicable 
than that marked off on the opposite shore. I entertain no doubt 
of the commerce of the river being adequate to the support of both 
undertakings, and that the proprietors will be hereafter amply 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

I descended the falls by the shore, and once more enjoyed their 
grandeur, though from a different point of view. I then crossed 
over to my boat, which lay at Clarksville, a small settlement lying 
near the eddy formed by the recoiling flood. It is as yet a village 
of no importance, however, if it forms the mouth of the intended 
canal its rise is certain. Twenty-five miles from Louisville, I 
passed the mouth of Salt River on the Kentucky shore. All I 
could learn respecting it, was, that it received its name from the 
number of salines on its banks, which impregnate its waters, 
when in a low state, and fifty-seven miles farther down I put into 
Blue River on the Indiana side, which takes its name from its 
colour being of a fine azure. 

In the whole run to the Wabash of two hundred and seventy- 
two miles, effected in six days, and I made little or no stop, and 
met with no event to be called interesting. I very strongly per- 
ceived that occurances capable of affording information and 
anecdote were ceasing. Above the falls, the banks of the river 

and villages; below, nothing 

by plantations, towns 

is seen but the state of nature, broken at vast distances, of from 
twenty to thirty miles, with wretched huts, the residence of soli- 

ine. Most of the settlers on the lower parts 

tude and 


were criminals who either escaped from, or were apprehensive of, 

public justice 


lescending the river, they fix on some invit 

g spot without ever looking after the proprietor of the soil, 

erect a log-hut, plant a little 

make salt at a neighbouring 

offee from the wild pea: and extract sugar from the mapl 



time they extend their lab 


mbrace all the 

of life. Some do more — from living in habits of indus 

try they 

the practise of 

and learn the consequence of 

virtue; while unhappily, some others pursue their former crimes, 
and live by the means of murder and the plunder of various boats. 
The aspect and banks of the river in the late run I have made, 
are nearly similar to those above the falls, and from below Pitts- 
burg. The banks are formed of a chain of mountains; some rising 
up and above the rest; and some are so low, interwoven, and con- 
trasted, that they form an agreeable diversity of hills and dales. 
From several points of view, the opposite bank looks like an 
immense amphitheatre, which has all the charms that can be pro- 
duced by an infinite variety of the most sumptuous trees and 
shrubs, reflecting uncommon beauties on each other, and on the 
bosom of their favourite flood. Twenty miles below Blue River I 
crossed the mouth of another river on the same side. I believe it 

Thomas Ashe. 



has not been named. The navigation of the three last rivers I 
have mentioned, is very trifling. Their waters are low, and 
broken by rocks and rapids. 

About ninety miles below the Blue River, and eight hundred 
and thirty-nine from Pittsburg, is Yellow-bank Creek; so called 
from the banks changing its general colour and quality of a black 
mould to a bright yellow clay. In the space of eight miles below 
this creek, I passed a chain of islands, six in number, which added 
much to the effect and beauty of the water, and gave more variety 
of the general scene. The islands were richly wooded, as are all 
others on the river. Between a creek called Hacden's and the 
Yellow-bank, which maintains its colour for the distance of a 
mile, the low lands commence. The high hills, which up the river 
are uniformly to be met with, now entirely disappear, and there is 
nothing to be seen on either hand but an extensive level country. 
It is remarkable, that the hills should subside on each shore exactly 
at equal distances down, and in a similar distinction and manner 
twenty-five miles from the Yellow-bank. I crossed the mouth of 
Green River on the Kentucky shore. It is the fine water which I 
mentioned in my last. It is navigated by a bateaux at one season, 
and by flat bottomed boats through the year. The lands are 
healthy, and inhabited by a stout race of people. Nearer the Ohio 
it is subject to inundation, is sickly, and thinly settled. Lower 
down, twenty-five miles more, I came to a place called the Red 
Bank, in consequence of its varying from the general colour, and 
assuming a deep red. I could not learn that any mineral or any 
ore had ever been discovered in the Red or Yellow-bank. This 
colour would encourage a belief that they contain something 
analagous to its distinction from that of the common and adjoin- 
ing soil. The United States should order such appearances to be 
analized and explored. At the Red Bank, which is included in a 
grant by Congress to one Henderson, of two hundred thousand 
acres — a town is laid off. Owing to a remarkable bend in the river, 
though the distance from the mouth of Green River to Henderson 
by water is twenty-five miles, yet by land it is only' about seven. 
Henderson consists of about twenty houses, and inhabited by a 
people whose doom is fixed. I never saw the same number of per- 
sons look so languid, emaciated and sick. The whole settlement 
was attacked in the spring by the ague, which subsided in a nerv- 
ous fever, and is now followed by a violent and wasting flux. 

I left Henderson with the commisseration due to the sufferings 
of its inhabitants, and after a run of fifteen miles, came in view of 

28 Early Travels in Indiana. 


Diamond Island, which is by far the finest in the river, and perhaps 
the most beautiful in the world. It is higher than the adjoining 
main land, containing twenty-thousand acres; and is of the exact 
form of a diamond, whose angles point directly up and down, and 
to each side of the expanded river. The shades, views, and per- 
spective of an island so situated, clothed with aromatic shrubs, 
crowned with timber, surrounded by water, bounded by an 
extensive and delightful country, are too numerous, varied, and 
sublime, to come under the controul of written description. 

I visited the island in several directions, and found established 
on it a few French families, who live nearly in the original Indian 
state and bestow very little labour on the ground. They have 
planted a few peech-orchards which thrive well, as do every 
other exotic introduced. Native grapes abound, and I tasted 
wine expressed from them, which was as good as any inferior 
Bourdeaux. Fish are innumerable in the water, and swans, ducks, 
and geese reside eight months in the year around the island. It 
also abounds with game of every description, and is often visited 
by herds of deer, which swim from the main land to enjoy its 
fragrant herbage and luxuriant pasture. 

The Wabash enters on the Indiana or N. W. side. It is nine 
hundred and forty-nine miles from Pittsburg, and is one of the 
most considerable rivers between that town and the mouth of the 
Ohio. It is very beautiful, four hundred yards wide at its mouth, 
and three hundred at St. Vineconne's, which is one hundred miles 
above the mouth in a direct line. Within this space there are two 
small rapids which give very little obstruction to the navigation. 
In the spring and autumn it is passable for bateaux, drawing three 
feet water; four hundred and twelve miles to Ouiatona, a small 
French settlement on the west side of the river; and for large 
canoes it is navigable for one hundred and ninety-seven miles 
further, to the Miami carrying-place, which is nine miles from the 
Miami village. This village stands on Miami River, 1 which empties 
into the S.W. part of Lake Erie. The communication between 
Detroit and the Illinois and Indiana country, is up Miami River 
to Miami village; thence, by land, nine miles through a level 
country to the Wabash, and through the various branches of the 
Wabash to the respective places of distinction. 

A silver mine has been discovered about twenty-eight miles 
above Ouiatonan, and salt-springs, lime, free-stone, blue, yellow 
and white clay, are found in abundance on this river's banks. 

1. Now called Maumee. 

From Travels in the United States of America, in the years 

1806, 1807, 1809, 1810 and 1811, by John Melish 
[1812], Vol. II, pp. 150-57. 

Melish, John. 

Mr. Melish was an English merchant who early became interested in the 
business possibilities offered in the United States. As early as 1798, when 

on a trip to the West Indies, he began 
graphic conditions peculiar to America 


tensive trip through the Atlantic Coast states, going as far south as Georgia, 
and kept careful notes of his travels. Becoming financially interested in 


an American business undertaking, he studied the American institutions in 
great detail. On all of his journeys 1806-1807; 1808-1809, he kept a careful 
diary. He was especially interested in the prospective lines of communica- 
tion; the political and economic views of the settlers; their attitude toward 
Great Britain, etc. Several maps were charted, and published along with 
his travels, 1812. 

Louisville, being the principal port of the western part 
of the state of Kentucky, is a market for the purchase of all kinds 
of produce, and the quantity that is annually shipped down the 
river is immense. A few of the articles, with the prices at the time 
that I was there, may be noticed. Flour and meal have been 
quoted. Wheat was 62J^ cents per bushel; corn 50; rye 42; oats 
25; hemp 4 dollars 50 cents per cwt.; tobacco 2 dollars. Horses 
25 to 100 dollars; cows 10 to 15 dollars; sheep 1 dollar 25 cents to 5 

dollars; negroes about 400 dollars; cotton bagging 3134 cents per 

As to the state of society I cannot say much. The place is 
composed of people from all quarters, who are principally engaged 
in commerce; and a great number of the traders on the Ohio are 
constantly at this place, whose example will be nothing in favour 
of the young; and slavery is against society everywhere. There are 
several schools, but none of them are under public patronage; 
and education seems to be but indifferently attended to. Upon 
the whole, I must say, that the state of public morals admits of 
considerable improvement here; but, indeed, I saw Jjouisville at a 
season, when a number of the most respectable people were out of 
the place. Those with whom I had business were gentlemen, and 
I hope there are a sufficient number of them to check the progress 
of gaming and drinking, and to teach the young and the thought- 
less, that mankind, without virtue and industry, cannot be happy. 

Jeffersonville is situated on the opposite side of the river, 
a little above Louisville, and is the capital of Clark county, in 

T— 2a 


30 Early Travels in Indiana. 

the Indiana territory. It was laid out in 1802, and now contains 
about 200 inhabitants, among whom are some useful mechanics. 
The United States have a land office at this place, but the principal 
objects of my inquiry being more to the eastward, I did not visit 
it. There is a good landing at Jeffersonville, and, as the best pas- 
sage is through what is called the Indian Shute, it is probable that 
this place will materially interfere with the trade of Louisville, 
unless it be prevented by a plan to be hereafter noticed, in which 
case, each side will have its own share of the valuable commerce of 
this river; which, as it is yearly encreasing, cannot fail to convert 


both sides of the Ohio here into great settlements. 

Clarksville, a small village, is situated at the foot of the falls 
on the Indiana side, as is Shippingport, on the Kentucky side; 
and both answer for re-shipping produce after vessels pass the 

The Falls, or rather Rapids of the Ohio, are occasioned 
by a ledge of rocks, which stretches quite across the river; and 


through which it has forced a passage by several channels. The 
descent is only 22 feet in the course of two miles, and in high water 
is only to be perceived in the encreased velocity of the current, 
when the largest vessels pass over it in safety. When I was there, 
the water was low, and I observed three different passages, of 
which that on the Indiana side, called Indian Shute, is said to be 
the best; the middle one next best; the one on the Kentucky side 
cannot be passed, except when the water is pretty full. But 
when the water is very low, they are all attended with danger, ess 
or more, of which we saw an instance in a boat that came down the 
river along with us. Her cargo was unloaded at Louisville, and 
she proceeded down the river; but, on taking the stream, she struck 
on the rocks, and lay there a wreck, when I came away. Good 
pilots have been appointed to carry vessels over the falls. 

On visiting this place, a question immediately occurs: Why 
is a canal not cut here, which would remove the only obstruction 
to the trade of this fine river? It appears that the subject has been 
long in contemplation, and a company was incorporated by the 
legislature of Kentucky to carry it into effect. The ground has 
been surveyed, and no impediment has been suggested to the 
execution of the plan, except that there is a danger of the locks 
being injured by the freshets in the river, which, however, can be 
guarded against. But sufficient funds have not \tet been raised, 
and it is said that an opinion prevails here, that the execution of a 
canal would hurt the trade of Louisville. As to funds, there should 
be no lack, for this is an object of national utility, in which the 


John Melish. 


rich states of Kentucky, Virg 


and Ohio are 

particularly interested. No very great sum can be wanted to cut a 
canal, with only 22 feet fall, the distance of two miles, in a situa- 
tion where stones are plenty; and if it is found that individuals 
would not wish to embark their capital in it, there is no question 
but the United States, and the individual states noticed, would 

fill up the subscript 

were the matter judiciously laid before 

that a good turnpike road leading through 

them. As to the supposition that it would hurt the trade of Louis 
ville, if it exists, it is founded on very narrow policy, and is just ai 
correct an idea, as 
town, will hurt the trade of that town. A free communication 
through a country is favourable to every portion of that country; 
and were a canal cut upon the Kentucky side here, it would not 
only counter-balance the benefit arising to the other side from the 
Indian Shute, but would be productive of advantages to Louis- 
ville, that at present cannot be estimated. The mills alone that 
might be erected, and set in motion, by a judicious application of 
the water, would be of more intrinsic value than a gold mine. 

The following table, exhibiting the commerce on the Ohio, is 
extracted from the Pittsburg Navigator, and shows the import- 
ance of this place, and the vast utility of a canal. 

Commerce of the Ohio from November 24, 1810, to January 

24, 1811. 

In these two months 197 flat-boats, and 14 keel-boats descended 

the falls of the Ohio, carrying 

18,611 bbls. flour 
520 bbls. pork 

2 , 373 bbls. whisky 

3 , 759 bbls. apples 
1 , 085 bbls. cyder 

721 bbls. cyder royal 




323 bbls. peach-brandy 

46 bbls. cherry-bounce 

17 bbls. vinegar 
143 bbls. porter 

62 bbls. beans 

67 bbls. onions 

20 bbls. ginseng 
200 groce bottled porter 
260 gallons Seneca oil 
1 , 526 lbs. butter 
180 lbs. tallow 

61, 750 lbs. lard 
6 , 300 lbs. beef 
4 , 433 lbs. cheese 

681 , 900 lbs. pork in bulk 
4,609 lbs. bacon 

59 lbs. soap 
300 lbs. feathers 
400 lbs. hemp 
1 , 484 lbs. thread 
154,000 lbs. rope-yarn 
20 , 784 lbs. bale-rope 
27 , 700 yards bagging 
4 , 619 yards tow-cloth 
479 coils tarred rope 
500 bushels oats 
1 , 700 bushels corn 
216 bushels potatoes 
817 hams venison 
14, 390 tame fowls 

155 horses 
286 slaves 
18 , 000 ft. cherry plank 
279 , 300 ft. pine plank 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

Also, a large quantity of potter's ware, ironmongery, cabinet- 


work, shoes, boots, and saddlery; the amount of which could not be 


correctly ascertained. " • 

The country round Louisville is rich, but it is not well drained 

nor cultivated, and is consequently subject to fever and ague in 

the fall. There are a great many ponds in the neighbourhood of 

the town; at one of them, I observed a rope-walk erecting and the 

people were draining the pond, by sinking a deep well, and letting 

answered the purpose remarkably 

the water run into it, which an; 
well. It would appear hence, that the water filtrates to the river 
below ground, and perhaps this plan might be generally adopted. 

I am persuaded that nothing but draining is wanted to render 
Louisville quite healthy, and one of the most agreeable situations 
on the Ohio river. 

Being now at the ne-plus-ultra of my journey to the westward. 
I shall here take a brief view of the western territories. 


Is situated between north latitude 37° 47' and 41° 50'; and 
west longitude 7° 40' and 10° 45'. Its greatest length is 284 
miles, and its breadth 155. Its area is 39,000 square miles; or 
24,960,000 acres. 

The face of the country is hilly, not mountainous, and the 
scenery is said to be rich and variegated, abounding with plains 
and large prairies. 

The principal river is the Wabash, which is said to be a beau- 

tiful stream, 280 yards broad at its outlet, and navigable upwards 
of 220 miles. It rises near the boundary line between the state of 
Ohio and the Indiana Territory, about 100 miles from lake Erie, 


where there is a portage of only eight miles between it and the 
Miami of the lakes. Its course is nearly south-west, and the dis- 
tance it runs, including its windings, is not less than 500 miles. A 
great many tributary streams flow into 

, the chief of which is 
White river, upwards of 200 miles long. Tippacanoe river, near 
which are the largest settlements of Indians in the territory, falls 
into the Wabash ; and it is near the outlet of that river where the 
Prophet is at present collecting his forces. 

The soil is said to be generally rich and fertile. 

The climate is delightful, except in the neighbourhood of 
marshes, chiefly confined to the lower parts of the territory. 

The settlements commenced about 12 or 14 years ago, and have 


John Melish. 


made considerable progress, though they have been retarded by 
the settlement of the fertile and beautiful state of Ohio, which is 
situated between this and the old states. 

The greater part of the territory is yet subject to Indian 
claims. Where they have been extinguished, and the white settle- 
ments have been made, it is divided into four counties, and 22 
townships, the greater part of which are on the Ohio; and some few 
on the Wabash and White-water river. The inhabitants amounted 
by the census of 1800, to 5,641; they now amount to 24,520 being 
an increase of 18,879 in 10 years. 

The principal town is Vincennes, on the Wabash. It is an 
old settlement, and the inhabitants are mostly of French extrac- 
tion; they amounted, by last census, to 670. The greater part of 
the others have been noticed. 

The agriculture of the territory is nearly the same as' that of 
the state of Ohio. Every kind of grain, grass, and fruit comes to 
maturity, and towards the southern part of it considerable crops 
of cotton are raised, though only for domestic use. 

As the inhabitants make nearly all their clothing, they h 

little external trade. What little they have is down the river to 
New Orleans. 


This, in common with the other territories, is under the imme- 
diate controul of the government of the United States. It has a 
certain form of government prescribed by a special ordinance of 
congress, by which the religious and political rights of the mem- 
bers of the community are guaranteed. In this ordinance it is 


declared : That no person demeaning himself in a peaceable and 
orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his religion. 
The inhabitants shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ 
of habeas corpus, and the trial by jury. All offenses shall be 
bailable, unless they are capital. Fines shall be moderate. 
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good govern- 
ment and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of 
education shall for ever be encouraged. Good faith shall always 
be observed to the Indians, and their lands shall never be taken 
from them without their consent. The navigable waters leading 
into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places 
between the same, shall be common highways, and for ever free, 
as well to the inhabitants of the said territories as to the citizens of 
the United States, and those of any other states that may be 
admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty 

T— 3 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

therefor. Whenever any of the territories shall have 60,000 free 
inhabitants they shall be erected into a state, to be admitted, by 

its delegates, into the congress of the United States 


footing with the original states. Slavery was originally pr 

hibited, but the law h 

been relaxed in favour of the new 

settlers who have slaves, and there are now 237 slaves in this 






From Travels in the interior of America in the years 1809, 

1810 and 1811; including a description of upper 

Louisiana, together with the states of Ohio, Ken 

lucky, Indiana and Tennessee, with the Illinois and 
western territories, by John Bradbury, [Liverpool, 
1817], pp. 307-10. 

Bradbury, John. 


John Bradbury, a member of the Liverpool Philosophical Society, and 
later, of the New York Philosophical and Literary Societies, came to the 
United States in 1809, for the purpose of making a botanical study of the 
recently acquired Louisiana Territory. He was encouraged in this work by 
President Jefferson and established his headquarters in St. Louis. For three 
years, 1809, 1810 and 1811, he was engaged in this work. His results were 



The work represents an earnest attempt on the part of the author, and 
stands as one of the best scientific studies of the early days. 

The more northerly parts of the states of Ohio and Indiana, 
together with the whole of the Illinois and western territories, 
including an area of about 128,130,000 acres, comprehends that 
part which, in the beginning of this article, has been noticed as 
possessing a different character in its natural state. The original 
state of the region already spoken of was that of a continued 
forest, not convertible into a state fit for cultivation without 
great pains and labour. This region is an assemblage of woodland 
and prairie or savannas intermixed ; the portions of each varying in 
extent, but the aggregate area of the prairies exceeding that of the 
woodland in the proportion of three or four to one. The soil of 
this part is inferior to none in North America, or perhaps in the 
world. In a state of nature, these prairies are covered with a 
luxuriant growth of grass and herbaceous plants, affording a most 
abundant supply of food for the stock of the new settler; and it is 
worthy of notice, that any part of these prairies, when constantly 
fed on by cattle, becomes covered with white clover and the much 
esteemed blue grass (Poa compressa) as frequent pasturing seems 
to give those plants a predominance over all others. 

In the geological formation, this country also differs in some 
degree from the one entirely covered with wood in its natural 
state. The surface is much more level, and the strata more reg- 
ular and undisturbed. In general the order of the strata is sand 
lying on sand-stone, afterwards lime-stone, beneath which is 



Early Travels in Indiana. 


argillaceous schist lying on coal. For the settler who is not habit- 
ually accustomed to the felling of trees, and who has the courage 
to fix himself on wild land, this is by much the best part of the 
United States, excepting Upper Louisiana. If he places his house 
at the edge of one of these prairies, it furnishes him food for any 
number of cattle he may choose to keep. The woodland affords 
him the materials necessary for his house, his fire, and fences, and 
with a single yoke of oxen, he can in general immediately reduce 
any part of his prairie land to a state of tillage. Had this portion 
of the country been placed at no greater distance from the Alle- 
ghanies than the woody region, it would undoubtedly have been 
the first settled; but being situated from 500 to 1,000 miles beyond 
those mountains, and separated from them by one of the most 
fertile countries in the world, the consequence is, that emigrants 
are so well satisfied with what advantages a first view of the coun- 
try presents, that they are anxious to sit down as soon as possible. 
Another reason why this portion of the wild lands has not been 
more rapidly settled, is the total indifference of the American 
farmer to the present or future value of coal. 


arises in 

part from his prejudice against the use of it for fuel, but more 
from his want of knowledge of its vast importance to other coun- 
tries, and a consequent want of foresight. The farmer who is 
possessed of 500 acres of land, expects that in time it will prob- 
ably be divided into ten properties or farms by his posterity, each 
of which must be supplied with timber for fuel and fences: he 
wishes, therefore, that the land unreclaimed may remain covered 
with timber, as a reserve for posterity, although perhaps he has 
an excellent bed of coal at no great distance beneath the surface. 

Nothing so strongly indicates the superiority of the western 
country, as the vast emigrations to it from the eastern and 
southern states. In passing through the upper parts of Virginia, I 
observed a great number of farms that had been abandoned, on 
many of which good houses had been erected, and fine apple and 
peach orchards had been planted. On enquiring the reason, I 


was always informed that the owners had gone to the western 
country. From the New England states the emigrations are still 
more numerous. They mostly cross the Hudson river betwixt 
Albany and Newburg, and must pass through Cayuga in their way 
to Pittsburg. I was informed by an inhabitant of Cayuga, in 
April, 1816, that more than 15,000 waggons had passed over 
the bridge at that place within the last eighteen months, contain- 
ing emigrants to the western country. 

From A topographical description of the Indiana terri- 

tory, from Jervasse Cutler's Book of travels, 
Boston, 1812. 

Cutler, Jervasse. 

Major Jervasse Cutler was a son of the famous Reverend Manassah 
Cutler. Through his father, who was one of the three directors of the Ohio 
Land Company, he became interested in the western country. He first 



hardships of a frontiersman; later entered military life, received the appoint- 
ment of major, and was later stationed at New Orleans. In 1812 he pre- 
pared and published a Topographical Description of the State of Ohio, 
Indiana Territory, etc. It combines his own observations, with the reports 
gathered from other travellers. 

This part 1 of the northwestern country was constituted a 
territorial government, by an act of Congress, passed the 7th day 
of May, 1800, and was bounded eastwardly by the following line of 
separation; viz. "All that part of the territory of the United 
States, northwest of the Ohio river which lies westward of a line 
beginning at the Ohio, opposite to the mouth of the Kentucky 
river, and running thence to fort Recovery, and thence north until 
it shall intersect the territorial line between the United States and 
Canada, shall, for the purpose of temporary government, con- 
stitute a separate territory, and be called the Indiana Territory. 
And Saint Vincennes, on the Wabash river, shall be the seat of 
the government. " Only the eastern boundary is named in the 
act, and the Indian claim of a large portion of the Territory is not 
extinguished. The whole tract, agreeable to this line, is bounded 
south by the Ohio, west by the Mississippi, and north by the line 
between the United States and Canada, which makes the extent 
of this Territory considerably greater than the State of Ohio. 

The general face of the country approaches to a level, but some 
parts of it are hilly. It has a number of large, navigable rivers 
meandering through it to the Ohio and Mississippi, and many 
smaller streams, some of which run into the lakes. - 

The Wabash is a large river, rising near the head waters of the 
river St. Joseph^ and the Miami 2 at the lakes, and running in a 
southwesterly direction empties into the Ohio, about four hundred 
and seventy miles below the Great Miami river. It is four hun- 
dred yards wide at the mouth, and navigable for keel boats, about 

1. Indiana Territory. 

2. Maumee. (37) 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

four hundred miles, to Ouiatan, an ancient French village; and 
from this village, with small craft, to a portage on a south branch, 
which forms a communication with the Miami that runs into 
Lake Erie. This portage is eight miles, and comes to the Miami 
near Fort Wayne. 

From a north branch, by a short portage, a communication is 
made with the river St. Joseph, running into Lake Michigan. 
The Wabash is replenished with numerous tributary streams, and 
has generally, a gentle current above Saint Vincennes. Below 
are several rapids. Those which principally obstruct the naviga- 
tion are between Saint Vincennes and White river, called the great 
Rapids. Near the village Ouiatan, it is said a silver mine has been 
discovered, which it is apprehended will prove valuable. About 
forty miles below the village comes in the river Vermillion Jaune. 
On this river is the residence of the much famed Indian prophet. 
The town in which he lives is large for an Indian village, and has 
received the name of Prophet's town. Much of the land on the 
Wabash is rich and well timbered, but towards the head waters 
there is less timber, and very fertile and extensive prairies. A 
white and blue clay of an excellent quality is said to abound on 

There are many salt springs, and plenty of lime and 



free stone. 

Saint Vincennes is a handsome town, about an hundred miles 

from the mouth of the 


the east bank, upon a 

beautiful, level, and rich spot of ground. It is the largest towr 
the Territory, and is made the seat of government. This was 

ancient French Fortr 

ailed Post Saint Vincennes 


the American revolution the town has been repaired and enlarged 

d is now a very thriving 

but the inhabitants still are 

mostly French. There are more than an hundred houses, some of 
which are built of free stone, in a handsome styl >, a considerable 
number of merchantile stores, a post office and printing office. 

Here, a profitable trade is 

led on in furs and peltry 


situation is healthy, the winters mild, and the rich and highly 
cultivated lands around it are delightful. 

About forty miles from Saint Vincennes 

a southwesterly 

direction, is the Great Saline 

called, where salt, in large quanti 




situated in hilly land, on a stream of water 

which flows into the Ohio. The land is still owned by the govern- 
ment of the United States, but rented to those who carry on the 
salt works, and who are said to obligate themselves to make, 
at least, a certain quantity annually, and are not permitted to 

Jekvasse Cutler. 39 


sell it for more than at a stipulated price. The waters in this 
Saline are said to have double the strength of those at the great 
salt springs on the Scioto river. 

The land on the Indiana side, bordering on the Ohio river, from 
the Great Miami nearly to the Mississippi, a distance of about 
six hundred miles, is generally hilly and broken, but some excellent 
bottoms, of different extent, are interspersed. From a small dis- 
tance above fort Massai and down to the mouth of the Ohio, the 
land gradually becomes level, forming a rich and delightful 
prairie. In this distance, there are many small streams, but no 
considerable river, excepting the Wabash, which falls into the 

But on the opposite side, within a less distance three large, 
navigable rivers, besides numerous smaller streams, contribute 
their waters to the Ohio. The first is Kentucky river, which comes 
in about seventy miles following the bends of the river below the 
Great Miami, is ninety yards wide at its mouth, and the same 
width, when. the water is high, eighty miles above. It is navig- 
able for loaded boats, at a high stage of the water, two hundred 
miles. The second is the Cumberland, or Shawnee river, which 
falls into the Ohio about five hundred miles below the Kentucky 
river, and four hundred miles below the Rapids, and is three hun- 
dred yards wide at its mouth. There being no obstructions, and 
having a fine gentle current, ships of four hundred tons can descend 
in times of floods from the distance of about four hundred miles 
into the Ohio. The third is the Tennessee, or Cherokee river, 
which enters the Ohio, about twelve miles below the Cumber- 
land; and is five hundred yards wide at its mouth. This is the 
largest river that empties into the Ohio. It is computed to be 
navigable for boats one thousand miles, and will admit vessels 
of considerable burden as far as the Muscle Shoals, which is two 
hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. 

On the Indiana side of the Ohio, there are only some scatter- 
ing settlements, excepting Jeffersonville, and Clarksville, two small 
villages, at the Rapids, one hundred and fifty miles below the Great 
Miami. Jeffersonville is situated in the bend of the river, on a 
high bank, just above the Rapids, where pilots are taken off for 
conducting vessels over them. It is a post town, but contains only 
a small number of inhabitants, and probably will never be a thriv- 
ing place. Clarksville is another small village immediately below 
the Rapids, and opposite the elbow at Shippingport. In time it 

may become a place of considerable business. On the opposite 

40 Early Travels in Indiana. 


bank, about midway between these two villages and opposite the 
Rapids, is Louisville, which is much larger, and bids fair to become 
a nourishing town. It is situated on an elevated plain, and con- 
tains about one hundred and fifty houses, a printing and a post 
office. It is a port of entry, and has a considerable number of 
mercantile stores, and several ware houses for storing goods. 
Shippingport is on the same side, at the foot of the falls. Here, 
boats generally make a landing after passing the Rapids. Ship 
building was begun and was carried on with considerable spirit 
here, until it received a check by the late embargo law. Having 
an excellent harbour, the situation appears eligible for prosecut- 
ing this business to advantage. 

The Rapids are occasioned by a ledge of rocks extending 
entirely across the river, and is the most dangerous place for 
navigation, in the whole extent of the Ohio river. The distance 
over them is about two miles, and the descent from a level above 
is twenty-two feet and a half. When the water is high the fall is 
only perceived by an increased velocity of the vessel, which is 
computed to be at the rate of about ten or twelve miles an hour. 
When the water is low, a large portion of the rocks are seen and 
it is then that the passage becomes dangerous. There are three 
channels. One is on the North side, called Indian Schute, and is 
the main channel, but not passable when the water is high; another 
is near the middle of the river and called the Middle Schute, and is 
safe and easy in all heights of water above the middle stage. The 
third is on the south side, called the Kentucky Schute, and is only 
passable when the water is high. Immediately above the falls, in 
the mouth of the Beargrass creek, is a good harbour, ha'ving twelve 
feet of water in the lowest stage of the river. At the foot of the 
falls is another harbour, called Rock Harbour, with water sufficient, 
at all times, for vessels of any burden. These two harbours are 
of the greatest importance to those who have occasion to navigate 
this dangerous passage. 

Opening a channel for the passage of ships by the Rapids has 
been seriously contemplated; which would be of immense advan- 
tage to the trade of the Ohio. That it is practicable cannot be 
doubted. The only difficulty seems to be to raise a fund sufficient 
for the purpose. It has been principally proposed to open the 
canal on the Kentucky side, to commence below the Beargrass 
creek, and enter the river below Shippingport, a distance of about 
one mile and three quarters; and that it should be sufficient for 
ships of four hundred tons. The ground through which it would 

( Jervasse Cutler 


pass is a stiff clay, down to within about three feet of the floor of 
the canals which then is a rock. The average depth of the canal is 
computed at about twenty-one feet, in order to admit a column 
of water three feet by twenty-four, at the lowest stage of the river. 

In the Ohio Navigator- a very accurate description is given of 
the Rapids, with an excellent map of the falls. From this descrip- 
tion the account of them here given, is principally taken. To 
this very valuable work, the writer is indebted to many observa- 
tions respecting the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and for much 
information in regard to the country bordering upon them. 

In passing down the Ohio, about forty miles below the Wabash, 
a curious cave is seen in a high bank, on the Indiana side. 3 Its 
mouth opens to the river, and when the water is high it nearly 
flows into it. The entrance is an arch in a rock about twenty- 
five feet high in the centre, eighty feet wide at the base, and extend- 
ing back from the opening one hundred and eighty feet. The 
mouth is darkened by several large trees growing before it, which 
gives it a gloomy and solemn appearance. Passengers usually visit 
it, and have engraved on the sides within the mouth, a great num- 
ber of names, dates and other inscriptions. Indian superstition 
and other fabulous stories reported respecting this cave do not 
merit a repetition. 

3. Indiana territory included all of Illinois at that time, the division being made 

in 1809. 

From Travels through the western country in the Summer of 


by David Thomas [1819], 




Thomas, David. 

An American pomologist, florist, and writer on agricultural subjects 
was born in Pennsylvania in 1776. He later removed to New York State 
and there became interested in engineering and exploration. In 1816, he. 
in company with Jonathan Swan — a merchant of Aurora — made a journey 
through the Wabash region in the New Purchase. When the " Travels' ' 
were published in 1817, Dewitt Clinton of New York was so attracted by 
them that he offered Mr. Thomas the position of chief engineer on the Erie 


Canal, for the district west of Rochester. As a florist and pomologist Mr. 
Thomas had few equals in the United States. He was a very important 
contributor to the Genesee Farmer, and did much to advance the science of 
farming in his day. 

At Meek's Ferry, below Lohary Island, we crossed the Ohio 
River, and landed in Indiana. We went down the flats half a 
mile, and stopped at the house of a man, from the state of New- 
York, who treated us to ripe morella cherries. The trees were 
large, and grew in two fine rows, which he assured us had only 
been planted five years. On my remarking the great height of the 
sandy flats, on which his house stood, he pointed to a mark on the 
wall, about four feet above the first floor, and observed, that the 
river had been there; and that they had taken refuge on the neigh- 
bouring hills. It is said that the difference between high and low 
water mark, sometimes equal sixty feet perpendicular; and our 
observations tend to give credence to this statement. The volume 
of water which pours down the channel at such times, must 

therefore be immense. 

Our path now led through bars into a vineyard of one or two 
acres, and the vines appeared thrifty. This road is only travelled 
by horsemen. The rank vegetation of the river flats crowded so 
close as sometimes to brush both sides of us as we rode along; and 


y thing conspired to remind us of being in a new 

country. After a traverse of three or four miles we came to the 
Rising Sun. 

This village, of forty or fifty houses, is built on an easy slope 
that fronts the Ohio. We recollect no situation more pleasant. 
The buildings are not first-rate, but the town only claims, as it 
were, the date of yesterday. A floating grist-mill was anchored 
in the river, near the shore; and the float-boards of the water- 
wheel were turned by the current. 


David Thomas. 


On leaving the river, we ascended the hills, the soil of which is 
very fertile, and the vegetation uncommonly fine. We had gazed 
at the majestic beech of this country, three feet in diameter, with 
branches of a great size;— we had seen the honey locust, the black 
walnut and the horse chestnut* of equal magnitude;— and here 
we saw, with surprise, the black locust almost a rival in stature, 
with grape-vines, like cables, hanging from the tops of the trees 
in every direction. 

6 mo. 30. — I have avoided remarks on our treatment, except 
where gratitude required us to treasure the remembrance. When 
our fare has been slim, and our bills high, we have passed on 
quietly, in the hope of something better. Occurrences of this kind 
are but trifles of a moment; and my only motive, for departing 
in one instance from this practice, is to give some information 
which the.untravelled reader may wish to acquire. 

It does not appear that any regular tavern is kept on these hills; 
and as the chief part of the inhabitants have arrived since the war, 
at evening, we were induced to abide at the first place where food 
for our horses could be procured. Our host and his family were 
very civil and attentive; but on awakening from the first sound 
sleep, we despaired of all further repose. The bugs ran riot. Our 
friend D. S. who through condescension had taken the floor in the 
evening, with a saddle under his head, escaped the disturbance; 
but we were kept in a state of continual activity. Though greatly 
fatigued by travelling, we saw, through the chinks between the 
logs, the slow approach of the dawn with impatience, and long 
before sunrise resumed our journey. 

Our road led for several miles over high, level land, apparently 
cold and wet; — timbered with beech, white oak, &c. and soon 
becoming covered with briarsf where the fields are neglected. 
The aspect of things is discouraging to new settlers. What their 
progress will be, is uncertain; for though the soil is moderately 
fertile, and well adapted to grass, all the improvements are very 

recent and scattering. 

It is remarkable, that on descending from the tops of the hills, 
the soil becomes excellent. The fact is, that near the summit level, 
the superstratum is clay; but not more than twenty or thirty feet 

♦This is called "the sweet buck-eye," to distinguish it from the kind which we first 
noticed on the Ohio. Dr. Drake has shewn these to be .specifically distinct, and has 
named the former M. maxima. "It frequently arrives to the height of one hundred 
feet, and the diameter of four." 

-\Rubus villosus, or blackberry. 


Early Travels in Indiana 


below it, there is limestone in horizontal strata. In the side of 
every declivity, at that depth, this rock appears; and by decompos- 
ing, imparts to the soil beneath it, a dressing of marl. These con- 
stitute a mixture of elementary earths which cause perpetual 

This country, including much of that above Cincinnati, and 
all that we saw of Kentucky, is more destitute* of durable water 
than any other region that we have traversed. 

Plants, whose features are new to me, appear almost every day. 
Some occupy but a small region, while others are extensively 
scattered. The idea, that every district marked by small differ- 
ences of soil and climate, has plants and animals peculiar, presents 
itself at an early date to the naturalist. To-day, I first observed 
the southern Aralia (A. spinosa) and some are twelve feet high. 
No shrubbery should be without these singular and beautiful 

The buffalo, or wild clover, grows abundantly among the bushes, 
on the fertile though narrow flats of a small brook, down which 
the road winds. It appears to vegetate earlier than the white 
clover; or at least, the seed is sooner ripe. 

The Columbo root (Frasera Walteri) which abounds between 
the Sciota and the Miami, is a large tetrandrous] plant four or 
five feet in height. As a bitter tonic, I am told that it is much used 
by physicians in this country; and some consider it equal in effi- 
cacy to the imported. I first noticed it on the oak plains, west of 
the Genesee River; and it is also found on the hills round Short 
Creek; but we have seen none since we passed Cincinnati. 

Half a mile east of Indian Kentucky, we saw stones of the 
gun fllint kind, in the road. The surface is chalky, orange, or red. 
These form between the limestone, a regular stratum which spreads 

*Dr. Drake, in noticing that part of Kentucky which is adjacent to Cincinnati, 
remarks, that " wells cannot be dug on account of the limestone rocks, which, except in 
the valley of the Ohio, are everywhere found at the depth of a few feet." Water was 
very scarce, when we were at Boone Court House; and of this place he adds that 


"it is not likely to be of any consequence, as in summer and autumn, water, even for 
domestic use, cannot be had within the distance of two miles.' ' 

It is evident that the Ohio River never wore these rocks away after the petrifac- 
tion was complete. 


fDr. Drake says that Professor Barton proposed to call it Frasera verticillata, and 
he has adopted the alteration. The name is very appropriate. It is founded on one 
of the most striking features of the plant; for whorls of five leaves, a few inches apart, 
surround the purple stalk, in some individuals to the height of six feet. 

The former specific names are exceptionable. Walteri only refers to a book; and 
Carolinensis to one small district in which this vegetable is indigenous. Botanists, 
perhaps, have not sufficiently considered the impropriety of imposing such names on 
species which are scattered over extensive regions. 


David Thomas 


over a large tract of country. Like the strata in Washington county, 
it is visible in both sides of every little valley that we crossed. 
The texture is excellent; and these give fire with the steel equal to 
the imported flints; but the cracks, or lines of division, are numer- 
ous. Though these stones are silicious, the singularity of their 
situation, induced the celebrated Saussure to ask, if calcareous 
earth, in any circumstances, can be transmuted into flint? Cer- 
tainly not; but silex in solution appears to displace a large* por- 
tion of that earth, and to combine with the residue so silently as 
even in many cases to preserve the original formf of the stone. 
In vegetable petrifactions this earth is so accurately insinuated, 
that the sap vessels remain visible; and even the colouring matter 
of the wood is retained, as we observe in the Irish hone. 

Notwithstanding its hardness, much of this earth is annually 
held in solution to supply the demands of vegetation ;{ and Pro- 
fessor Davy has even shewn that the hollow stalked grasses derive 
firmness from this essential ingredient. 

As we approached the banks of Indian Kentucky, hearing 
shrill screams over our heads, we looked up, and first saw the 
parroquet. These birds, which are about the size of wild pigeons, 

are sometimes seen on the Miami. 

This Creek now scarcely flows, though it has a channel wide 
enough for a heavy mill stream. Indeed, most of those through 
this country are very shallow, — bottomed on horizontal lime rock; 
and in some places, this stone has been whirled up by the water 
into heaps. The cavities thus formed are now ponds. It is remark- 
able that where horizontal rocks lie near the surface, the streams 


diminish greatly in drowths, whether these strata are calcareous 

or aluminous. 

The north-west side of the Ohio was a wilderness after the adja- 
cent parts of Virginia and Kentucky were settled; and the streams 
of these states were consequently named before many on the 
opposite side of the river were known to the white people. To 

♦Wiegleb found gun-flint 80 per cent of silica. 
. fDe Cazozy and Macquart have observed the transition of the Gypsum of Cracovia 
to the state of calcedony.— Dorthes has proved that the quartz in cockscombs at Passy 
owed its origin [shape] to plaster. CHAPTAL. 

Jit was long since discovered that silica (the earth of flints) was contained in 

vegetables : but it was commonly considered extraneous or accidental until processor 

Davy showed that many plants, without it, could not "support a healthy vegetation . 

From parcels of the following kinds of Corn, weighing two pounds each bchroeder 

I obtained of this earth the annexed number of grains respectively :— Wheat, 16. z , nyv, 

1 15.6; Barley, 66.7 ; Oats, 144.2 ; and from the same quantity of rye-straw 152 grains. 

§ Drake says on the Sciota. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

such creeks with the word Indian prefixed, the appellation of the 
southern branches are transferred; and thus we have Indian 
Short Creek, Indian Wheeling, and Indian Kentucky, which 
denote that Virginia Short Creek, Virginia Wheeling, and Ken- 
tucky River, join the Ohio in those respective neighbourhoods. 

On ascending the hill from this creek, we travelled several 
miles on a winding ridge, in many places only about the width of 
a turnpike, with gulphs on each side awfully profound. I estimate 
these hills at 500 or 600 feet above the Ohio River; and on all 
parts below the limestone strata, which appears on their sides, the 
soil is extremely fertile. 

This country, in general, is wretchedly cultivated; very little 
wheat appears, and corn constitutes their staff of life. But even 
this is greatly neglected; and wherever moderate marks of industry 
were observed, we felt pleasure from the novelty. We have 
never before seen so much difference in the growth of corn; 
some being scarcely six inches high, and some four or five feet. 

On the hill side which bounds the flats on the Ohio above 
Madiso7i, I saw for the first time, a horse stripping bark. I had 


long since understood, that such practices prevailed in new parts 
of our south-western states, where these animals receive no food 
from their owners in winter; but we think it remarkable that bark 
should be preferred to grass. The nettle tree, (Celtis occidentalis) 
here called hack-berry, which grows in abundance over all these 
hills, is the favorite; though sugar-maple and some others do 
not escape. He had stripped the butt to the height of three feet. 

We had not seen the Ohio since we left Rising Sun, until we 
arrived on these flats, though we have chiefly kept within a few 
miles. Vevay, noted for its vineyards and Swiss inhabitants, is 
situate on the banks of the river, but our road led to the right. 

This morning the sun shone faintly through the thickening 
veil of clouds, and soon disappeared. Moderate rain without wind 
succeeded; and having travelled through it a long time, just before 
sunset, as the sky was brightening in the west, we arrived at 
Madison, wet and fatigued. Here we met the members of the 
Convention, who had come from the eastern part of the state, 
now on their return home. Corydon, the seat of government, is 
forty miles below this village, which place they left this morning. 

36 miles. 


7 mo. 1. — Madison is the seat of justice for Jefferson county. 
It is situate on an upper flat of the Ohio, and back, a few hundred 


yards from the river. It consists of sixty or seventy houses, the 

David Thomas. 


principal number of which appear new. Indeed the larger part of 
the improvements which we have seen in this territory is of very 
recent date. Many of these houses are small and of hewn logs. 

The jail is about twelve feet square, of the same materials; 
and, in aspect as well as in strength, forms a great contrast to 
those gloomy piles which older communities have erected in their 
own defence. With surprise we had also remarked one of similar 
appearance at Boone Court-house, in Kentucky; and though these 
buildings neither shine much in topographical description, nor add 
to the beauty of these villages, yet posterity, from such specimens 
will learn with interest the simplicity of new founded empires; 
for in a few years these will be only remembered. 

From the great number of small houses, and an apparent want 
of regularity in the streets, the aspect of this village is not impos- 
ing. With these impressions my companion asked one of the con- 
vention how long this little town had been laid out? Whether the 
dignity of the ex-member was offended by such approach, — or 
whether he thought his country undervalued, — I leave for his 
biographers to determine; but assuming all the majesty of repul- 
sive greatness, he exclaimed "I hope you don't call this a little 
town." It is true my friend had seen some cities, if not characters 
rather greater, but we think this a thriving place, and from its 
situation on the river, will rapidly augment in wealth and popula- 

We were pleased, however, with the affability and politeness 
of some of the gentlemen; and M. from Wayne county, informed me 
that a cave, near Corydon, contains a great quantity of Glauber's 
salt, amongst which nitre is intermixed. It is in high repute as a 
cathartic medicine. The quarter section, which includes the cave, 
has been lately secured by an individual. 

It has long since been ascertained that abundance of nitre 
is found in the limestone caves of this country, but it appears to 
be mixed in unusual portions, not only with this sulphate of soda, 
but also with the common salt. Hams, cured with that from 
Kenhawa, requires no particular application of nitre; and in red- 
ness and in flavor resemble those in New-York, where an ounce of 
this mineral is appropriated to each. 

This morning I noticed on a hand bill "the best qualified cut 
nails" advertised. This expression is a good match for that of "a 
well faculized person," so common in the eastern part of New- 
York state. No doubt both phrases are very convenient to those 
who are unused to better language. 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

The peach trees, near this town were finely loaded with fruit, 
but those on the hills have been more injured by frost. 

The laborious operation of ascending the heights from the 
river, we performed, four miles west of Madison, but we believe 
the hills are not so high as those in the neighborhood of Pitts- 
burgh. However, since we arrived in this territory, we have been 
compelled to trace many a long line, greatly diverging from the 


plane of the horizon. 


On reaching the summit, we travelled one or more miles over 
wet clayey land, similar to what we noticed yesterday on the 
heights. This plain gradually slopes at last, towards the Muska- 
kituck branch of the White River, which we crossed nine miles west 
of Madison, there flowing to the north-west. It is a common mill 
stream in size, bordered by handsome flats, and apparently comes 
from the Ohio, which is only four miles distant. I am assured 
that it heads within two or three miles of that river; and probably 
some of its branches have a greater proximity, but the circuit 
cannot be less than three hundred miles before its waters effect a 



Oats are in blossom, but wheat and rye are almost fit for the 

The sides of the road where the soil is calcareous, are nearly 
destitute of grass. It has been a dry season, but we have no cause 
to believe that these vegetables ever obtained possession. We 
cannot solely refer this deficiency to climate, though its appear- 
ance is remarkable. 

Eleven miles west of Madison, we passed through a land of 
swales or drains, in the bottom of which limestone lies under a 
shallow coat of earth. Beneath this rock the water finds a sub- 
terranean passage. In some places the arch is broken; the cavity 
of the rock then appears four or five feet deep; and the stream 
along the bottom, alternately brightens into day, and glides 
beneath the vault, sheltered from the vicissitudes of this upper 
world. In some of these sinks or broken arches, no water was 

New Lexington is seventeen miles west of Madison. It con- 
sists of forty houses, a few of which are handsome brick or frame 
buildings; but a great proportion are scattered back from the road, 
formed of hewn logs with a cobbed roof, one story high and one 

David Thomas. 


room on a floor. On their appearance I can pass no encomiums, 
though the whole has very recently sprung from the woods.* 

At this place the sign of the Lexington Bank was displayed by 
nine swindlers; several of them are now imprisoned. 

We were told that salt was manufactured near this place from 
water completely saturated with that mineral, but which is very 
limited in quantity. In order to obtain a better supply, a shaft 
was sunk about one hundred feet. At this depth brine appeared, 
similar in quality to what was procured before, and some of it 
was driven up to the surface by a wind which roared through 
caverns in the rocks. However, the water soon subsided; and 
though the proprietors have penetrated to the depth of more than 
seven hundred feet, the labour has not been crowned with suc- 
cess. The last two hundred feet cost $1,500. The boring was 
performed by machinery moved by a horse. The salt which is 
made here, sells for two dollars a bushel, but the quantity is not 

equal to the demand. 

Near this village we met a large drove of cattle, some of which 
we were told came from the Missouri. The great population and 
consequent demand for beef in Baltimore and in the cities to the 
northeast, not only attract the drovers from a vast distance, which 
would bring them on this line, but the ruggedness of the moun- 
tains in Virginia appears to turn the principal current of travelling 
as high up as Brownsville on the Monongahela. 

Another branch of the Muskakituck flows on the north east 

side of this village. 

At the Pigeon Roost, eight miles from Lexington, twenty- 
three women and children were massacred in the late war. It 
appears that the settlement was composed of several families near 
akin, who resided in houses contiguous to each other. The men 
who had given some offence to the Indians, were then all absent in 
the militia near Louisville, except one old man. On the last of the 
week, about two hours before sun set, while the women were iron- 
ing their clothes and the children were playing round the doors, 
the savages rushed to the attack. In this awful extremity, the old 
man endeavoured to protect them, till his gun-lock was broken 
by a ball. He then escaped, but the rest all perished. No part 
of this frontier, during the war exhibited such a scene of slaughter. 

Adjacent to New Lexington on the west, we saw the last of the 

♦Predicting from past movements, in a few years these villages will not ; be recog- 
nized from my descriptions; and these sketches, though imperfect, will then interest 
by shewing the march of improvement. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

limestone; and five miles further on our road, clay slate is uncov- 
ered by a brook which flows to the northwest. The soil, through a 
space of twenty miles from this village to the Knobs, like the level 
country over which we have passed, is a loam inclining to a stiff 
clay, and moderately fertile. The timber is large, — chiefly beech 
intermixed with oak, poplar,* and sweet gum;f but to us the 
country is not inviting. There is scarcely one clearing of older 
date than last season. These are scattering, and in places we 
traversed intervals of forest five miles wide. At the brook that 
runs northerly at the foot of the Knobs, a soft clay slate appears 
in the bank, and no stone in all this distance was observable on the 

We were informed at New-Lexington, that we should find no 
accommodations for our horses east of the Knobs. It was then 
past twelve o'clock, and we departed at the close of a heavy shower, 
on a brisker gait than we had usually travelled. But the uncer- 
tainty of lodgings, distant thunder in the west, dark clouds that 
concealed the sun, and the thick branches of a tall forest, con- 
spired to begloom our path. 

My nerves had thrilled at the name of the Knobs; for these are 
supposed by the celebrated Volney to constitute the west bank 
of a vast lake, which once covered 
Ohio, ar 

all the upper country of the 
d from which waters, successively were deposited, the 

d. the shell 

d the vegetables which h 

ave stratified that 


We were therefore 

region with sand rocks, lime-stone and coal, 
about to enter a scene peculiarly interesting. But these heights 
would interest without the aid of philosophy. As we approached 
the summit, the prospect assumed the features of sublimity. 
From the north, northerly round to the southeast, the line of the 
horizon was as smooth as if ruled by a pencil; but wild mountain 
heads projected in the opposite direction. This landscape though 

obscured by the rain, was 

dered more awfully grand by the 

thunder and lightning which now flashed and rolled 

These heights 

hundred feet above the country to 

the eastward. Observing some rocks not far below the summit, I 
alighted in the shower to examine them. I was induced to do this 
because their formation must have a powerful bearing on the 
theory of that writer, for whose talents I had conceived much 


respect, and who has been styled "a genius of the first order in 
physical geography.' ' These rocks were of two kinds, calcareous 

♦Tulip poplar. 

David Thomas. 


and silicious; and as both are of the secondary class, the inference 
is conclusively hostile to his hypothesis. 

The sides of these hills are deeply gullied, and the peninsulated 
points appear like ribs attached to the vertebrae. Some stand 
separate, or detached from the main mass, conically shaped; 
and high up the sides of one, a horizontal stratum of rock pro- 
jects, which has the appearance of limestone. The wearing of 
water on these piles in some distant age, must therefore have been 
very extraordinary. 

Chestnut grows near the base, and chestnut-oak on the peaks; 
but as we leave these, and advance westward where the soil is 
less exposed to the wasting action of winds and rains, the timber 
becomes nearly as thrifty as on the plains below; and papaw and 
spice-wood, as usual, constitute the principal underbrush. 

In the channel of a brook which flows southerly one or two miles 
west of the ascent, we saw many chrystallized stones, varying 
much in size and nearly spherical in the general form, though the 
surface is protuberant and irregular. These are usually hollow, 
break easily, and small chrystals cover the internal surface. I 
arrange them with the most recent secondary class of stones, as in 
one, a lump of limestone composed of shells, was found embedded. 

In the cabinet of specimens in mineralogy at Pittsburgh, if 
my recollection is distinct, there is a broken shell of this kind, which 
had been a prolate spheroid, twelve or fifteen inches long, eight or 
ten inches wide, and less than an inch in thickness. One part of 
the cavity is apparently coated with verdigrise. I have seen 
none here equal to that specimen in size. 

This day we travelled nearly forty miles, and about dark 
arrived at our lodgings, excessively fatigued. This was occasioned 
by our hurrying over the last twenty-three miles, without stopping 

to procure refreshment. 

On asking for supper we were told that the water in the well, 
on account of the rain was unfit for use. As we did not comprehend 
the reason why a moderate shower should be so injurious, I 
only notice the fact at present, and add that butter-milk ill sup 

plied the place of more stimulating food which our exhausted 

condition required. 

7 mo. 2.— This house was fortified during the war, and several 

familes occupied it as a garrison. Log houses like this are readily 
converted into such fortifications by taking off the upper part 
down to the joists, and then building it up again with logs two or 
three feet longer. Such projections on every side are intended to 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

give the besieged an opportunity to fire down on the enemy, 
if he should attempt to force the door, or set fire to the building; 
but we are told that no instance of Indians making such attack 
is known. We had observed houses of this description, soon after 
our landing in the state, and we have noticed more or less every day 

This fortress had an appendage (and I believe it is generally 
so, when neighbours unite together) consisting of a picket fence 
which encloses the yard and extends the limits of safety. The 
construction is as follows; — Planks three or four inches thick and 
twelve or fifteen feet long are placed edge to edge in a trench which 
has been previously dug, and the earth then rammed closely 
round them. These are difficult to scale, and impenetrable to 
small arms. 

Cooped up in such lodgments, our frontier citizens have gen- 
erally weathered the storm of war; and when necessity compelled 
them to venture out, the men have gone armed in a body. On my 
remarking how unhappily they must have lived in such times of 
alarm, our host replied, u We enjoyed ourselves much better than 
you imagine, perhaps as well as we do now, — we were so kind and 
friendly to one another." These words of the old man were impres- 
sive; and I rode on reflecting, from how much real pleasure we are 
debarred by the jarring interests of this world. 

Our progress this morning was unusually slow, in consequence 
of the excess of yesterday; and our horses convinced us that they 
were suffering from sore feet. The circumstance in itself is a 
trifle, and will cease to interest us as soon as they recover; but the 
lesson ought not to be forgotten. At Circleville, we saw men from 
Dutchess county (N.Y.) who had been under the necessity of 
changing horses, once or twice, on the road; and another such a 
day's ride would compel us to a similar measure. He who wishes 
to avoid being left to the mercy of strangers (if mercy there be) 
should preserve an easy and regular gait through the day; and at 
whatever time his hackney shews unequivocal symptoms y oi 
fatigue, stop. In this exhausted condition, a small excess is hurt- 
ful, and a repitition often ruinous. A horse of common con- 
stitution, accidents excepted, will perform the circuit of the United 
States, if well fed and moderately used. 

Salem, where we stopped to breakfast, is a new village of thirty 
or forty houses. A small but handsome brick court-house for 
Washington county, built on arches, is one of the principal orna- 
ments of the place. 

David Thomas. 


One mile and a half north-easterly from this village, a monthly 
meeting is held by a number of Friends who are settled in this 

At breakfast I was exposed to the infection of an eruptive 
fever, which, however, to me has never been a subject of much 
alarm; but my friend J.S. shewed such anxiety that I left the 
house with half a meal. To have a disease of such uncertain 
termination in a strange land, is not desirable; but the bearing of 
one event on another, and consequently, what will finally be best, 
is not given us to know. 

The uncertain tenure of our lives, at all times, ought also to 
mitigate our apprehensions of apparent danger. We walk in the 
midst of deaths; and with the dawn of each day the possibility 
returns, that those connexions which are inexpressibly dear to 
us will be dissolved before night. 

On the west side of this village, Blue River, which is here a 
small mill-stream, flows in a southerly direction. The banks con- 
tain horizontal strata of limestone, which is literally composed 
of shells. 

The country westward of the Knobs, (or rather the summit 


level) though not hilly, is varied in surface; and has a looser soil 


than the low district to the east. Ferruginous sandstone, the 
stalagmites before noticed, excellent gun flints, and abundance 
of limestone are found. The two first kinds, in places, consid- 
erably encumber the soil. The flint varies much in colour; 
lumps three or four inches in diameter are embedded in the lime- 
rocks; and this sort in texture resembles the imported flint. 

We noticed many wells which were dug, in the bottom of 
limestone sinks; and generally the inhabitants obtain durable water 
with little labour. v It is worthy of remark, that this elevated 
region preserves the same singular feature as the country round 
New- Lexington, which is several hundred feet below it; for, in 
no other district that I have seen would it be advisable to dig for 

water in a sink. 

Many of the settlers in this quarter are Carolinians; and some 
told us (probably with a reference to their native land) that "this 

is a miserably cold country. " 

Our host, where we fed our horses, had been bitten by a copper- 
head some months ago, and was scarcely recovered. It was 
said, when we were in the state of Ohio, that the poison of this 
reptile, lingers a long time in the system, and eventually proves 
destructive to the constitution. The evil appears magnified; 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

but the opinion is common, that these are not less dangerous than 
the rattle snake; and we know they are much more difficult to 
exterminate. The dry hills of the Ohio country seem to be their 
favorite residence. We think however, that snakes are less num- 
erous, even now, than on the eastern side of the mountains. 

About 5 o'clock we arrived at J. Lindley's 1 for whom I had 
an introductory letter. His kind invitation to stay with him a 
day, we willingly accepted. 

This distinguished Friend removed from North Carolina about 
five years ago; and with a few others fixed his abode in the wilder- 
ness. During the late war, this little community formed the 
frontier; but its members appear not to have suffered either from 
fear or injury. He has frequently explored the lands beyond the 
borders of the settlement in the time of that commotion, and 
never considered either himself or his companions in danger. 
Indeed there was small cause. No instance of Indian hostility 
towards this society is known; so firm and inviolate has been the 
peace which the ancestors of these savages established with 
William Penn, and so faithfully is the memory of his virtues 
transmitted from sire to son. 


The wilderness, however, has now become thickly populated; 
and a monthly meeting is held a half a mile from his house; but 
we learn that no other meeting of Friends is established further 


26 miles. 
mo. 3. — We admired the refreshing coolness of last even- 
We are assured that in summer, the heat of the day like 
what we experience is rarely oppressive; and seldom protracted 
beyond sunset. On the eastern side of the mountains, in this 
latitude, it is often uncomfortable till midnight. 

In our country, the rainy clouds in their approach, seldom vary 
from between the west and south-west points; but the lower cur- 
rents of the atmosphere frequently carry the scud in every direc- 
tion. Here we are told that both rain and snow arrive chiefly 
from the south-west; and that winds from the east of north or 
south are seldom known. 

This statement supports the opinion that we have passed 
beyond the influence of the great Lakes. Winds are often deflected 
for [from] their original courses by the sinuosities of the shore; and 
from this cause we sometimes find them blow in opposite direc- 

1. Near the present site of Paoli. 


David Thomas. 


The surface of the land in this neighbourhood is uneven; but 
the elevations scarcely merit the name of hills; and much of it 
appears to be cellared. This feature is strong and perhaps peculiar 
to the western country. Nearly all the brooks are more or less 
subterranean. In places, the arch is broken for small distances, 
and the stream visible; but Lost River, to the north of this place, 
wholly disappears for seven miles; and though this natural 
bridge is destitute of the sublime scenery of Cedar Creek it 
stands unrivalled in width. 

Many of the brooks may be traced by a line of sinks. These 
in heavy rains become ponds, in consequence of the narrowness 
of the channel* through the rocks — into some of which the cur- 


rent boils from below, while others receive the torrents that col- 
lect on the land; and in all, the water not undergoing the process 
of nitration, — partakes of all the impurities of the surface. To 
this cause I ascribe the state of the well which we noticed in the 
evening after we ascended the Knobs. 

But we have reason to suspect that this water, even when 
limpid is prejudicial to the health of strangers. In us, it uni- 
formly induced a sense of weight in the stomach, and others have 
made similar complaints. We discontinued its use. 

It is probable that the Salt Petre caves\ in Kentucky are on the 
same level with those near New-Lexington; but these around 
us, as I have remarked, are in a different stratum, notwithstand- 
ing the sameness of appearance. We are informed that one cavern 
in that state has been explored for ten miles; and without dis- 
missing all doubts of this statement, we may be allowed to remark 
that Lost River proves that some in this vicinity are surprisingly 
extensive. I observed a sink of one or two acres which was only 


a few feet in depth, and evidently occasioned by the falling of the 

cavern roof. 

We rarely observe any natural cavity in the land which would 
hold water except in two cases. The first consists of the basins 
of lakes, which are generally on a large scale, and formed either 
by the irregular projection of primitive rocks, or by the unequal 
deposition of alluvial matter. The second case comprises those 
cavities of small extent which were produced by a depression of 

♦Our friend, who has a mill 
d. on account of fissures in t 

TCramer in noticing Hardens UreeK in mat, state, 11^ miies uy wo,^ ^^,. 

ville, and southeasterly from this place, remarks that "Sinking Creek, a branch of that 
stream, after heading in three springs and running several miles, sinks, and runs about 
four or five miles under ground before it appears again." 

56 Early Travels in Indiana. 


the friable earth. Of these we observe that their formation belongs 
to a period since "the dry land appeared ;" and such are chiefly 
confined to districts that embosom limestone. Perhaps the only 
exception to making this remark general, will be found, where 
primitive rocks loosened by some convulsion of nature, have pro- 
miscuously fallen together and then been covered by earth. 

The cavities of calcareous regions belong to two classes. The 
first will embrace depressions of the surface where the earth has 
sunk into caverns, through small apertures in the roof, and hence 
assuming the shape of a funnel. These appear wherever lime- 
stone in great quantities is present, without any regard to the 
primitive or secondary formation. The second class obtains where 
the earth over beds of gypsum has gradually settled. The 
solution of that salt in five hundred times its weight of cold 
water, removes all obscurity from this point; but the cause of 
caverns in common limestone is more difficult to elucidate. 

It is not probable that this earth remained in its pulverulent 
form while the masses around it hardened into rock; and that after- 
wards it was removed by water. United with different acids, 
however, it varies exceedingly in its degrees of solubility. Though 
carbonic acid renders it an insoluble precipitate in water, yet the 
same agent in excess completes its solution; and vegetable matter 
fermenting in confined situations might furnish the supply. 

The nitric and muriatic acids combining with lime also pre- 
serve it in solution; and by displacing the carbonic acid may have 
taken possession in latter periods. Neither should the combina- 
tion of sulphuric acid be overlooked. Perhaps all these agents, in 
different places, have assisted in forming the caverns which abound 
in this rock; and some circumstances render it probable that the 
process of excavation is continued. 

The hard water, so common in limestone districts, proves that 
the rocks through which these currents flow are wasting by solu- 
tion. The impregnating material is chiefly plaster; but nitrates 


and muriates of lime, which only exist in a liquid state, are some- 
times discovered: and perhaps have been recently formed. The 


carbonic acid which is found disengaged in the earth under the 
name of damp, and which is also emitted by some fountains, sup- 
ports this idea; but without such decomposition, clearly shows 
that water with this addition may become a solvent of limestone. 


This view will be less imperfect, when we consider that new 
sinks frequently appear in such regions. The earth on those 

David Thomas. 



spots had been settled and compact for thousands of years; and 
its sudden depression evinces a recent breach in the cavern roof. 

It will be obvious that the depth of the cavern will greatly 
assist in determining the figure of the sink. In the lower parts of 
Pennsylvania, where the quantity of earth over the aperture is 
very considerable, it generally assumes the form of an inverted 
cone. Here where the cavern is near the surface, the longitudinal 
breaches in the roof are more apparent, and that figure is rarely 

The limestone in this neighbourhood is composed of small 
shells which differ from all that I have noticed to the eastward. 
One stone, from the minuteness of these remains, resembled a 
mass of mustard seed. — The cement was ochre. 

Half-Moon Spring * which we visited this morning, is a curi- 
osity. The aperture of the fountain is thirty feet deep, and three 
rods in diameter; but the basin is more extensive. The name is 
derived from its semi-circular figure. Uniting with the current 
of J. Lindley's mill spring, half a mile to the northward, it forms 
Lick Creek, a beautiful stream. 

The Section [or square mile] that includes this fountain is 
public property; being Lot No. 16, which in each township through- 
out the territory, is appropriated for the use of schools. Leases of 
such lands have been granted only for short periods; and in con- 
sequence its value for water works, probably will long remain 
unrealized. Though the fall of its current is small, yet by raising 
a curb, it might doubtless be converted into a valuable mill seat; 
and the firm and level surface round it would favor such an under- 

East of New- Lexington we had found limestone in the bottom 
of swales, which formed an arch for subterranean brooks. The 
late heavy rain has unfolded the cause of this singular appear- 
ance. As soon as the cavity is filled, the surplus water bursts 
from the sink-holes, forming ponds where the sink is deep, but 
flowing over where the sides are low. Thus we have a double 
brook; and the upper current, sweeping away the leaves has also 

channelled out the land. 

Coal is found two miles from J. Lindley's, but of its quantity 
and quality but little can be said at present. Salt springsf of 

*This spring is forty miles west of Louisville. 

tOn the map in range 1 west, Township 6 north, the reader may find marked a 
Salt Lick. J. Lindley, to whose kindness I am indebted for much valuable informa- 
tion, says in his letter of 2 mo. 2, 1818, that they are at work at this lick; and that the 
prospect is encouraging. 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 


value, on the New Purchase, north of this place, have been par- 
tially examined; but as the Government of the United States reserve 
the lands which include such, if known before the sale, individuals 
who explore, deem it prudent to be silent on these subjects. After 


the sales much more may be learned of the fossil treasures of this 


The inhabitants of this neighbourhood preserve much sim- 
plicity of dress, and like members of the same family, feel an interest 
in each others welfare, in the inverse ratio of the parade exhib- 
ited. Such manners are characteristic of new settlements; and 
notwithstanding the privations to which this period is subject, 
those who have risen to independence not unfrequently recall in 


memory these days as the happiest in life. 

Apparel, however, should vary with the state of society. To 
wear that of which we are neither proud nor ashamed is the best 
rule that can be given; and who departs from this maxim has a 
mind directed to improper objects. 

Our horses had been put to pasture where the grass was chiefly 
timothy, yet salivation was induced. The cause of this disease has 
been hitherto unexplained, though it would be difficult to enum- 
erate all the opinions on this subject. Several of these, however, 
are absolute crudities; and much objection will attend the best 
that have been assigned. 

It appears that thirty years ago, this malady was unknown in 
the United States. Near Philadelphia, it was first observed about 
the time that clover and plaster were generally introduced; and 
to these it was naturally ascribed. To this theory the present 
case will completely fix a negative; and in our county where 
horses suffer much from this disease, plastered clover, in fields 
recently laid down, does not induce it. On the reverse, in white 
clover pastures, which have never received a sprinkle of that 
manure, the salivation has been distressing. 

By some, the Lobelia inflata or wild tobacco, has been charged 

cause; by others, the Euphorbia maculata, or spotted 



spurge; but both plants are indig 

and must have occupied 

the old fields 

the sea coast almost a century before this 

disease was known. Others have spoken of the venom of spiders 

The question, where were they forty years 


? will instantly 

neither would this hypothesis explain why the grass of 

field will salivate profusely, while that 

other field not two 


yards distant, may be eaten with impunity. Nor can we learn 


why these plants or animals should be more venomous after a 

David Thomas. 


shower; yet this phenomenon is very observable. If it be said that 
the insects have sheltered in the grass, we should reflect that a 
better shelter might often be found across the fence, and that the 
insects would venture forth on the return of fair weather; but for 
several days much acrimony is apparent. 

The same objection will arise against ascribing it to dews. 
We have not been able to discover why these should not descend 

alike on the adjoining fields where a single fence constitutes all 

the partition; yet I have noticed at Cayuga, that horses in new 
fields are generally exempt; and the same remark applies to 
meadows annually mowed. 

In the afternoon we visited T. Lindley, whose interesting 
family we shall remember. It is now the middle of wheat harvest, 
and only this concern deprives us of his company to the Wabash. 
He has appropriated a field of several acres to the culture of 
tobacco, and the prospect is encouraging. 

Lands partially improved rate at twelve dollars an acre. 

Sugar maple is found throughout all the Ohio country; and 
from it sugar is generally made in quantities sufficient for home 
consumption. We have seen little of this article from New- 
Orleans since we left Pittsburgh. There the retail price is from 

twenty-three to twenty-five cents a pound. 

It appears that Kanhawa Salt, with few exceptions, supplies 
at least all the country above the falls of Ohio. Near the river the 


current price has been six dollars a barrel. In the manufacture 
much slovenliness is evident, and we presume that no pains are 
taken to separate the ochreous matter which floats in the water, 
for the whole mass is tinged of a dirty red. The snow-white 
salt of Montezuma is obtained from water equally impure. 

The parroquet commits depredations on the wheat in harvest, 
but it is a bird of uncommon beauty. The head is red, the neck 


yellow, and the body a light green. 

In the evening we returned with J. L. to our former lodgings. 

In this neighbourhood an earth resembling bole is employed 
as a red dye for cotton. It is squeezed through a linen bag into 
an alkaline solution; and requires the same time as indigo to per- 
fect the colour. 

The trees, in this neighbourhood, are chiefly beech and sugar- 
maple; but the quantity of timber to the acre, varies considerably 
in different places. The papaw forms the underbrush, and by 
closely shading the ground with its broad leaves, nearly excludes 
the herbage. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

though such appearances are not uncommon, that on the 

Iron ore is found in many parts of this country. It is mentioned 
that two furnaces* will soon be erected, at the respective distances 
of eight and sixteen miles west of this place. 

7 mo. 4. — About nine o'clock this morning, we took leave of 
our kind friends, and proceeded on our journey. Three or four 
miles west of J. Lindley's, the land is hilly; and near the summit, 
a reddish sand rock overlays the limestone. It may be noticed, 


above the limestone level, there are no sinks; but on descending 
the western side to that level, these depressions are visible. Strata, 
however, are not so regular in this district as towards Pittsburgh. 

After a ride of ten miles, we arrived at the French Licks. 
This place is a reservation, lately owned by the United States, 
but now transferred to Indiana. I oberved three sulphur springs,] 
one of which was more strongly impregnated than any that I 
have seen. We thought these waters were slightly tinctured with 
salt and iron. 

From the base of a high bank of limestone that bounds this 
vale on the west, a large spring of fresh water breaks forth, and 
flows eastward between the other fountains. As we paused on the 
north bank of this stream, our hourses immediately strained down 
their heads, and began to lick the ground. We now perceived that 
the stones had a whitish coat, like frost; and which, on tasting, we 
discovered to be common salt, apparently free from impurities. 
This recalled the remark of H. Davy, that "rock salt almost always 

occurs with red sandstone and gypsum 


The sandstone, in its 

proper colour, is found on the spot; and though we have no proof 
of the presence of gypsum, sulphur springsj in New- York are one 
of its indications. 

The celebrated Saussure had previously enquired, why salt 

mmes§ are found near mountains of gypsum? Perhaps the answer 
to be given, will be, that both are confined to regions of secondary 
formation. No strata of gypsum are known of an older date than 

*J. Lindley, in a letter of 2 mo. 2, 1818, says, "The furnaces talked of when thou 
wast here, have not been built." 

tSeveral others are found in the adjoining woods. On our return I filled a bottle 
with this water, which at that time was limpid; but in a few hours it became milky 
and the fetid smell was lost. It is well known to the chemists that hydrogen is a 
solvent of sulphur, and that the appearance here noticed, results from the escape of 
that gas. The mineral no longer soluble, floats in the water. 


% Though sulphurated hydrogen is not a constituent of gypsum, it abounds in all 
the best plaster stone of Cayuga. Water, in which this mineral is diffused, soon be- 
comes sulphurous. y i 

§"To examine the reason of the singular connexion observed between mines of 

springs, and mountains 




David Thomas. 


limestone which contains shells; and in this remark salt may be 

The coincidence, however, is curious; and prevails in our coun- 
try as well as on the eastern side of the Atlantic. Saussure could 
not have been acquainted with this fact when he wrote; but the 
western district of New- York is now equally famous for its salt 
springs and its quarries of plaster. 

Such springs are properly ascribed to water which has fallen 
in rain, and which by soaking through saline earth, or by flowing 
over salt rocks, is gradually wasting the mine. Indeed, it is prob- 
able that in regions of secondary formation, many fountains, now 
perfectly sweet, were originally brackish. This opinion is strongly 
supported by the fact, that the salt springs of the present day, 
have been commonly found to ooze through coverings of mud, in 
low, marshy situations without any visible outlet; and though 
Onondaga may furnish an exception, yet it is well known that 
subterranean waters, sometimes acquire new outlets by earth- 

This place is the favorite residence of the parroquet, flocks of 
which were continually flying round. These birds seem to delight 
in screaming. 

We observed that the stream from these Licks soon becomes of 
a pale whitish blue, like a mixture of milk and water; and we had 
previously noticed, that Lick creek, and its other branches had 
acquired the same colour. To these appearances, probably, we 
owe the names of White water, White river, Blue river, &c. 

Westward, the country is still more rough and hilly, and much 
of the soil is encumbered by sand rocks. This district resembles 
the roughest of the sandstone region north of Pittsburgh. Fine 
springs issue from the hills; and once more we enjoyed the luxury 

of pure cold water. 

Near the top of a hill two miles westward, over which our road 
led, the inhabitants procure whetstones, which, it is said, are equal 
in quality to the Turkey oil-stone. The grit is extremely fine and 

From the position of this quarry, on the top of a high ridge, 
I conjectured that the sand had not been deposited by water, but 
collected by the wind, previous to its petrification; but whether 
the horizontal arrangement will form a sufficient objection to 
this view, must be left undetermined. 

Six miles west of the Lick, the land is less rugged, and some 

tracts are handsome. 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

d at 

We came to Lick creek, ten miles west of these Licks. Swelled 
by the late rains, it was too deep to ford, though only three or 


four rods wide, and we passed it in a ferry boat. At this place it 
flows to the north-west. 

As the last gleamings of day were departing, we arrive 
Schultz's near the Driftwood Branch of White River. 

Though we have been several days on the frontiers, we find 
some change of manners at every remove. Tonight our horses, 
with many others, were turned loose, in a yard, to a great trough, 
bountifully replenished with Indian corn; and though oats is far 

and though their treatment has 

better adapted to their habits 

always b 

subject of solicitude, we felt much satisfaction 

effecting our escape from the dark shades of a thick forest. 

26 miles. 

7 mo. 5. — This tavern is a recent establishment. The pro- 
prietor formerly from Pennsylvania, but latterly from Seneca 
County in New- York, has adopted the eastern mode of clearing 
land, and at once lays it open to the day. The pleasantness of the 
prospect, the safety of the cattle and the excellence of the crop, — 
which now promises to exceed by one half every other that we 


have seen in the country, — will strongly recommend this method 
to his neighbours; but we fear there will be more admirers than 

At this place, we saw the under jaw of a Mammoth, in which the 
teeth remain. Though large, it is not one of the largest. It was 
found in the channel of the river nearly opposite to the house. 

Since the discovery of the Mammoth, on the coast of Siberia, 
in the year 1808, conjecture respecting its figure is confined within 

in much 
i ice. for 

limits: while the 

of its abode is involved 

obscurity. The situation in which it had 


thousands of years, shews that it floated thither. This inference 




d perhaps the best evidence, that these 

quadrupeds belonged to our continent 

not furnished by the 

circumstance that their remains have been discovered at the Big 
bone Lick, but that there were strong inducements for them to 
frequent it. 

Currents of water have swept 

this country 

a period 


comparatively recent; and the establishment of this fact has a 
tendency to weaken our faith in the opinion that New- York was 
once the residence of this creature. The bones discovered near 
Springfield, N. J., by my ingenious friend C. Kinsey, under a 
covering of six feet of solid earth, shew at least that great changes 



David Thomas. 


have taken place in the surface, since the deposition of these 
remains; and perhaps it will be difficult to account for this inhuma- 
tion* in any way so plausibly as by a reference to that deluge, 
which has left its traces throughout our land long since the exis- 
tence of air-breathing animals. 


Corn, on the west branch of White River, now sells at twenty- 
five cents a bushel. 

About sunrise we resumed our journey. Weakened by dis- 
ease, I was indulged with a walk to the river, while my companions 
were preparing the horses, whither they were soon to follow. 

Last evening we had heard the noise of falls at the distance of a 
mile or two over the hills; and on approaching, I found the water 
to pitch down about four feet over a level sand rock, extending 
straight across the river. The thick woods on the opposite shore, 
the clear sky, the smooth expanse of water, the foam of the cas- 
cade, and the unbroken quiet, formed one of the sweetest scenes 
of solitude. 

Avoiding the force of the stream, small fish in great numbers 
had come in close with the shore; and eager to ascend the little 
currents from ledge to ledge, were so crowded together that I 
could take them up by hand-fulls. 

On these banks I first saw the red trumpet flowerf growing 

Yesterday we were joined by a genteel Kentuckian, who was 
also proceeding to Vincennes. He was from Shelby ville; and had 
attempted to travel the upper road, which leads more directly 
west from Cincinnati. That route, however, he found to be 
impassable from the quantities of fallen timber and under-brush; 
and after advancing nearly forty miles was compelled to retrace 
his steps. 

Our company arriving, we forded the river a few rods above 
the falls. The level sand rock is uncovered two thirds of the 
distance over, except by water; and the remaining third seems 

♦Large bones (probably of this creature) have been found near ,the great western 
canal in the town of Manlius. One of the contractors in a letter to me of 5 mo. 15, 
1818, says, "For the embankment across a swamp, I have taken earth from a small 
hill. At a depth varying from eig 


One half of a tooth weighed 2 lbs. 6 oz. 

Dr. Drake remarks, that "on the upper table on which Cincinnati is built, a joint 
. of the back bone of one of these species was found at the depth of twelve feet from the 

surface. " 

We have no reason to believe that these remains, in either case, would be buried at 

such depths in the common order of nature. 

fBignonia radicans. On our return I found this plant in Madison County, (Ohio) 
but the size was diminutive. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

paved with muscle shells of a large size. The breadth of this beau- 
tiful stream we estimated at 150 yards. The upland adjoining 
it is good, and the hills retiring, admit flats of moderate extent, 
which are thickly timbered. 

After ascending the hill, which may be 100 feet high, we passed 


through open oak woods into an extensive plain or prairie. Here 
such are called barrens, but improperly, for the soil is very fertile. 
These openings present a striking contrast to the eastern parts 
of the continent, which were shaded by forests; and the cause has 
become a subject of general speculation. The thrifty growth 
of timber, which is found through this country in many places, 
proves, that though the woodlands decrease as we advance west- 
ward, the cause ought not to be attributed to climate. Indeed we 
have never seen, to the eastward, more timber on the same extent 

of ground than many tracts in this vicinity exhibit, if we 

P t 

groves of white pine 

search must therefore be confined to 

the soil, and to circumstances entirely incidental. 

To me it is evident that the immediate causes of these wastes 

fire and inundation; but the predisponent 

(if phy 

will allow the expression) is either an impenetrable hard-pan, or 

k. At page 98 I have noticed the wet prairies 


same rock, extending under the d 


onfines the roots 

and intercepts the supply of moisture that sub 




The tr 

thus stunted admit amongst them a 

and wind, and 

ge; in autumn it is speedily dried by the sun 
the underbrush perishes in the annual conflagra- 
tion. Near the borders sufficient evidence of this was often before 
us in the stools of oak, with shoots from one to six feet in height, 
which were blasted by recent fires. 


the bordering ridges, the timber attains a moderate size, and the 
adjoining declivities also produces it of the usual height; but 
trees, encircled by these wastes, are uniformly stunted. 

In all the wells which we saw in these plains, a hard slate rock 
was found at the depth of a few feet. 

These tracts are generally situate near the height of land 

The soil is various. 


is not uncommon; in some pi 

sand predominates; but a fertile loam will give the general char 


These lands may be subdued at a small expence. Near all 
that we have seen, materials for fencing, at present may easily be 
procured, and a strong team, with a good plough, would readily 

David Thomas 


overturn the tea plant and the hazle. I saw not one stone on the 

Water may be procured in wells of a moderate depth; but in 
some, the quality is injured by foreign matters. In one, copperas 
is so abundant as greatly to discolour clothes in washing; and the 
proprietor assured me it would make a good dye. 

Several habitations have been lately erected; but 


improvement which induced us to believe that the occupants had 
much capital. 

Over these plains I saw the dodder (Cuscuta) for many yards 
round, entangling the herbage. This singular vegetable germin- 
ates in the soil, and ascending a few inches, takes hold of the first 
plant it can reach. The root then perishes, and it becomes 
parasitic. On breaking the stem, I have observed the pith to 
contract, which brought the epidermis together and closed the 
wound. What I broke to-day, however, was rigid; and perhaps 
this contraction only happens at an earlier period of its 
growth. It is extremely injurious to flax. This circumstance has 
claimed some attention of the farmer; and strange as it may seem, 
some have believed that the dust of flour mixed with flaxseed in a 
bag would infallibly produce it. 

In the more clayey parts of these prairies, we saw heaps of 
earth as large as a bushel, which are inhabited by a little animal 
of the mole kind. We found none of the proprietors abroad, 
and we were not prepared for invasion. Their name, in this quar- 
ter, is gopher.* 

As we were descending from the prairie, I observed a halt in 
the front of our company; and on riding forward, found our Ken- 
tucky friend engaged in destroying a large rattle-snake. This was 
the first venomous reptile we had seen on the journey, except two 
that lay dead in the road. I believe we have not seen half a dozen 

snakes of any kind. 

Having travelled sixteen miles we took breakfast at Liverpool, 
[now Washington] a village of three houses. Our landlord was 
from Kentucky; and it appears that state has furnished much of 

the population of this district. 

Here the peach-trees were loaded with fruit. We had pre- 
viously observed that west of the Knobs, the frosts had not been 
injurious; but fruit trees between these points are scarce. 

♦Perhaps gauffre. "Only two species [of Diplostoma] are known as yet, and they 
have been discovered and ascertained by Mr. Bradbury. Both are found in the Mis- 
souri Territory. They burrow under ground and live on roots; and are called gauffre 
by the French settlers." C. F. RAFINESQUE. 

T— 5 

66 Early Travels in Indiana. 

Throughout all this western country, it is the fashion amongst 
the middle or lower classes to salute us by the name of "stranger." 
The term may often be strictly proper, and it is seldom, if ever, 
accompanied by rudeness; yet the practice is so ungraceful, that we 
shall enter our protest against it, the authority of Walter Scott to 
the contrary notwithstanding. 

A good tract of woodland extends three miles to the West 
Fork of White River. This stream in size and appearance resembles 
the other branches. Rapids of equal height, also are formed by a 
sand rock which occupies the whole bottom of the river, and at 
both places the direction is straight across. On this rock we 

No hills appear between Schultz's and Vincennes, excepting 
those that bound the flats on the rivers. It is seventeen miles 
from the West Fork to that turn, and much of the eastern part of 


that distance is prairie. Several miles east of the Wabash, we 
entered woodlands with a more diversified surface. 

Observing a plumb tree, filled with large red flowers twelve 
feet high, I turned from the road to take a fairer view, and with 
surprise beheld a rose bush resting its vine-like stem on the 
branches to that height. The blossoms are in clusters; and as the 
colour varies with age the appearance is beautiful. I have seen 
this shrub almost every day since we crossed the Sciota, and believe 
it might be trained to the height of twenty feet. 

Two miles from Vincennes we descended into the prairie that 
spreads round that town. Here the prospect over level land 
became extensive; low hills appeared in the horizon, while in the 
intermediate ground, the academy, rising above the range of 
buildings, imparted a cast of grandeur to the scene. Backward on 
our left, two mounds of extraordinary size, rose from the hill at 
the edge of the prairie. These seem to overlook the country, and 
resembled in this respect the monuments of the ancient Greeks. 

Around both urns we pil'd a noble tomb, 

that all 

Who live, and who shall yet be born, may view 
Thy record, even from the distant waves. 


Cowper's Homer. 

These remains of antiquity shew that this plain has been the seat 
of wealth and power; and though it is now only the frontier town 
of a new race, it will probably long retain a superiority over the 
towns and cities of this country. 


David Thomas. 


After sun set we took lodgings in this ancient capital of the 


36 miles. 

7 mo. 6. — Vincennes stands on the east bank of the Wabash, 
a beautiful river, 300 yards in breadth. The site is a sandy plain 
resting on gravel. No flat, subject to inundation, intervenes; 
and a margin of rounded stones gradually slopes to the water. 

This town embraces a great extent of ground; but large 
gardens, near most of the houses, leave it but small claims to com- 
pactness. It is decorated with a few good buildings of frame and 
brick; but there are many of logs and plaster, on which we can 
bestow no commendations. 

Every valuable or elegant improvement is recent; for although 
this place has been settled almost a century by the French, we 
have remarked that the mode of business first adopted by new 
settlers, long continues to operate; and the history of this town may 
be cited as an example. A few hunters associated with Indians 
were the first white inhabitants; and though after the lapse of a 
few years several Canadian families arrived; and though they 
retained much of the national politeness, it appears that the cabin 
bounded their views in architecture, and corn purchased of the 
natives has frequently preserved their existence. 

This primitive indolence, though lessened in appearance by 
the influx of a northern population, is still conspicuous; and I sus- 
pect in some measure contagious. Several enclosures are filled 
with Jimson* as high as the fences; and without this notice, a 
view of the town would be incomplete. 

But perhaps a traveller never commits greater injustice than 
in generalizing his remarks; for the meritorious and the unworthy 
will be found in all districts, and in all communities. Neither am 
I unapprised that in reviewing these inhabitants, there are many 
considerations to soften the severity of criticism. 

The precepts of charity require that man should be judged by 
his own moral principles. And, the point at which he stops in 
one state of society, may be censurable, while in another state, 
to have advanced to that point, may be merit of the first degree. 

Separated from the civilized world by immense forests, this 
people were estranged to its comforts, its ambition, and, doubtless, 
to much of its crime. Avarice had small opportunity to amass 
treasure, and the love of splendour could be very partially gratified. 
If, then, we consider that the two main-springs of action in civilized 
society were wanting, we shall cease to wonder at this result. 

*i. e. Jamestown weed, the thorn apple (Dalura stramonium.) 

68 Early Travels in Indiana. 

But in addition, they were a conquered people. The British 
kept a garrison in their town for a number of years; and since the 
Anglo-Americans arrived, they have often been exposed to Indian 
hostilities. Indeed when we consider the paralizing effects of such 
a state, and that partially it has continued till the present time, 
our censures should be sparingly pronounced. 

At the time of determining the streets, no correct idea could 
have been formed, of the increase of population and of conse- 
quence that await this town. A want of sufficient room in some 
has accordingly been the result; but this inconvenience, in a few 
years, will be more sensibly felt. Paving has not been com- 
menced; and though the soil is sandy, these avenues are occasion- 
ally incommoded by mud. The houses are built on different 
squares, but are more extended along the river. The number we 
should estimate between 200 and 300. 

This plain is very fertile. Although the sand is clear or white, 
the "finely divided matter" is so abundant as to give a black 
colour to the mass. In such gardens as are well cultivated, the 
vegetation is luxuriant. Drouths are slightly felt. The soil is so 
absorbent, and the loose substratum admits the ascent of moisture 
so freely, that though rain has been withheld eleven weeks, we 
saw small traces of such extreme. 

Modern geographers have assigned fine grass to this plain. 
Such an idea is easily acquired by inference; because a rich soil, 
like this to the north east would produce fine grass, — but the 
error is striking. Indeed, sufficient proof might be educed to shew 
that on this spot none ever vegetated. The herbage chiefly 
consists of perennial weeds with spaces of naked earth between, 
which coarse wild grass, probably once occupied. 

On the bank of the river I found several petrifactions. One of 
these in grit and colour resembled the white part of the Irish 


hone. The tree that gave it shape had been six inches in diameter, 
and this fragment contained one fifth of the circumference. The 
bark had been removed. The surface left by that covering retained 
its smoothness; and the different annual growths were distinctly 


About ten o'clock we commenced our journey up the river 
towards Fort Harrison. Near the town I counted seven small 
mounds. Adjoining these a bank and ditch remain which once 
belonged to a small fortress or store house, probably erected since 
the arrival of Europeans. All this bank of the river is beyond the 
reach of inundation. 

David Thomas. 



We soon passed into woodland. Fort Knox once stood on this 
bank, two miles above the town; but the site is now only discover- 
able by excavations, remnants of old chimnies, and hewn timber 
scattered over the ground. The soil, though dry and gravelly, 
produced, wherever the trees had been thinned by the axe, briars* 
of luxuriant growth; and the blackberry was now ripe. 

From a bank a little further up the river, a thick stratum of 
sandstone projects. It contains mica, like that at Pittsburgh 
which is formed into grindstones. 

Yesterday, seven miles east of Vincennes, I noticed mica 
slate, and at that town several waggon loads of this stone were 
lying in a heap; but I could not learn whence it was brought. 
From its appearance on the south shore of Lake Erie, and in all 
the principal ridges of the Allegany, it is probable that the sec- 
ondary strata, throughout the Ohio country, rest on this rock; 
but whether it projects in places through these strata, — or whether 
the small quantities which I observed were brought by the great 
northern deluge from the ridge that divides the waters of the Ohio 
and St. Lawrence — can only be determined by the position of 
these masses. 

The stems of the Trumpet-flower at White River were diminu- 
tive; but here these plants had climbed up many of the trees to 
the tops; and the large reddish blossoms extending beyond the 
branches, presented objects uncommonly novel and beautiful. 

[A just medium between cool reserve and colloquial freedom, 
in recording travels, is a desideratum. It is true, our interest in the 
welfare of the traveller increases as he unfolds his pleasures and 
his sufferings; but still there is an insipid triteness, and a minute- 
ness of detail that we wish not to hear. We care not whether he 
loves fat meat or lean; carries a cane, or walks with his hands in 
his pockets. Such facts are of no value. It must be confessed, 
however, that the temptation to egotistic prolixity is great; and, 
ware of this danger, I should be deterred from retaining the fol- 
owing paragraph, did it not convey instruction which ought not 
to be withheld.] 

Since we ascended the Knobs, my health had been gradually 
declining. My stomach was the seat of the disease. Paroxysms 
of that distressing sensation, which physicians have denominated 
anxiety, had daily increased; and my friend J. S. had marked the 
change with silent apprehension. On descending into the first 
flats of the river, it returned with violence, and I entreated my 

♦Rubus villosus. 

70 Early Travels in Indiana. 

companions to prepare an emetic without delay; but the proposal 
was rejected, for the air was replete with putrid vapour, the sky 
overcast, and the ground wet with the late rain. In this comfort- 
less extremity,' without the means of preparation, I applied 
dry pearlash to my tongue till the skin was abraded, taking it 
rather in agony than with hope. The relief, however, was sudden: 
the fomes of fever was neutralized, and my recovery seemed ' 
like enchantment. 

[Repeated doses of this alkali in a few days completed the cure; 
and since, I have frequently witnessed its efficacy on others. Its 
action is chiefly chemical. In acidity of the first passages it is 
invaluable; in dysentery it has ranked as a specific; and though no 
medicine deserve this encomium, yet it has speedily afforded 
relief in numerous cases of that dreadful disease. 

A lump, the size of a hazelnut, dissolved in half a gill of water, 
is a small dose for an adult; but when there is much acid, more 
pearlash will be necessary to neutralize it; and in such cases twice 
that quantity may be taken with safety, if the solution be suffi- 
ciently diluted.] 

Eight miles above Vincennes, we passed from the woodland 
flats into the south end of the prairie that extends up to Shaker- 
town. Old driftwood and weeds encumbered the soil, which was 
black and very fertile; but we could not believe that human beings 
could frequent it in summer and enjoy health; yet we saw huts 
that were inhabited on the border towards the river. 

As we advanced, the prospect became more inviting; and we 
discovered what we had not before learned, that these celebrated 
prairies are the upper or second flats on the river. The surface is 
undulated; and at once we assent to the opinion, that it owes 
its form to some preternatural deluge. The back channel, or 
bayou, through which the water flows when the currents of the 
creeks are checked by the river floods, unquestionably had the 
same origin. The level part of this channel is several rods wide, 


and in many places it was covered by standing water; yet we saw 
no spot that appeared miry, and the cattle, which were feeding in 
considerable numbers, passed over without difficulty. The sides 
of the bayou slope so gradually, that except in the lines of drift- 
wood no traces of inundation are visible. 

The advantages that these natural canals afford in times of 
flood have not been overlooked; and boats often pass up the coun- 
try at the distance of one or two miles from the river. 

The path, which in places scarcely served to direct us, led along 


David Thomas 


the eastern side of the bayou; and after riding a few miles, we 
gained a beautiful ridge on which we stopped to refresh our horses. 


Hard wild t grass scarcely one foot high, thinly scattered among 
weeds, constituted the pasturage. Were we to judge only from 
this appearance we should not fix the estimate of its fertility very^ 
high; but Indian corn of a most luxuriant growth, as high as the 
fences, presented a remarkable contrast; and the looseness and 
blackness of the soil on that eminence, which for ages has been 
above the river floods, excited our admiration. 

To the west, the land rises from the bayou for a considerable 
distance; and the summit, crowned with trees, hid the river from 
our view. On the east side of this prairie, several farms appear 
which were probably located for the convenience of timber, as we 
saw none where the proprietors had ventured far out into the 
plain. This tract is from one to three miles wide, and ten or twelve 
miles in length; and the novelty, beauty, and extent of the pros- 
pect had a very sensible effect on our spirits. 

The wind met us, on entering this prairie, and continued so 
regular as to remind me of the current from a fanning-mill. Like 
the clouds that move in the superior regions of the atmosphere, 
it was exempt from the flaws and whirls that prevail amongst hills 
and vallies. 

Shakertown, the residence of the Shakers, consists of eight or 
ten houses of hewn logs, situate on a ridge west of the bayou, 
eighteen miles above Vincennes. The site is moderately elevated. 
As we approached, the blackness of the soil, and the luxuriance of 
vegetation, was peculiarly attractive; but much water was stand- 
ing on the low grounds to the east; and a mill-pond on Busseron 
Creek, of considerable extent to the west, must suffuse the whole 
village with unwholesome exhalations. In addition, the first 
flats of the Wabash, extending one mile west from the creek, are 
frequently overflowed by the river. 

The number of inhabitants is estimated at two hundred, who 

live in four families. 

Pondering on the evils of this mortal life, some have doubted 
whether it was given in wrath or in mercy;* and though we are 
not authorised to assert, that this sect has been influenced by 
darksided views of our nature, yet marriage is prohibited. From 
dancing, as an act of devotion, their name is derived. Like several 
' other sects, they conform to great plainness in apparel, but their 
garb is peculiar. In language they are also very distinguishable. 

♦Jefferson's Notes. 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

It appears that all 

plimentary phrase 

discarded: but 

they never use the second person singular in conversation, or say 
yes or no, substituting for the latter terms yea and nay; and 


tho' I contend with no man about his religious principl 
ing that in every nation he that worketh righteousness is accepted, 
— yet I could not resist the impression, that they had mistaken 
the antiquated style of King James the first for the original lan- 
guage of the Scriptures. 

In their dealings they are esteemed as very honest and exem~ 
arv. Until within a few months they entertained travellers 
thout any compensation ; but the influx has become so great that 
they have found it necessary to depart from that practice. 

The estate at this place consists of about 1,300 acres. 


mills, which they have erected, are a great accommodation to this 
part of the country, and to these they have added carding machines. 

A field of sixty acres of wheat on the north side of this village* 
has just been reapt, and put up in shock. The crop is excellent. 

Indigo and cotton, to the extent of a few acres, are cultivated; 
and the plants appeared in a thriving state. The products* 
are wholly designed for home consumption. It is not pretended 
that these articles would afford a profit on exportation; but it is 
deemed economical to raise a sufficiency for this numerous family. 
The price of Tennessee cotton would be enhanced by the carriage 
hither, and the profits of this cotton would be reduced by its 
transportation to a market. The same reasoning will apply 
to the indigo with this additional circumstance: it is only macer- 
ated, and the fabrics to be coloured are then introduced, 
labour in preparing it is consequently saved. 

These people settled here before the late war; but after their 
estate was ravaged by the troops who went with Hopkins on his 
expedition, they sought refuge amongst their own sect in Ohio 

and in Kentucky, and only returned last summer. They have a 
fine young orchard of grafted apple trees; and their nursery is 
considered as the best in the country. 

Their neat cattle are numerous. Their flock of sheep consists 
of some hundreds, and a shepherd with his dog and gun is employed 
as a guard. 

Sweet potatoes grow remarkably well in this black sand. 

The common potatoe flourishes most in a rich soil, watered by 
frequent showers; but though the late drouth has been unfavour- 


♦About 150 lbs. of clean cotton is produced on an acre. 


David Thomas 


able, the appearance of this plant is much finer than some of our 
travellers had induced us to expect. 

Water is procured from a well between twenty and thirty feet 
deep. In digging they found the sand coarser as they descended, 
until it terminated in gravel so loose, that to prevent the sides 
from falling, it became necessary to work in the hollow trunk of 
a buttonwood,* which they introduced; and which settling as the 
gravel was removed, ensured their safety, and now forms the wall 
of the well. It ought to be repeated, however, that wood soaking 
in water always injures the quality. 

The extensive flat, between Busseron Creek and the River, 
abounds with the Pecan,\ a species of hickory. The nut is super- 
ior in delicacy of flavour, and the shell is so soft as to yield to com- 
mon teeth. The Indians, as well as the white inhabitants, have 
gathered it in great quantities; a market is found for it in every 
considerable village of this country; and at the falls of the Ohio, 
the current price has been four dollars a bushel, or twenty-five 
cents a quart. 

On our arrival, we found a young man of genteel appearance, 
from Kentucky. His intention had been to explore the country up 
the river, but he concluded to direct his course to the Missouri, 
giving it as a reason that farmers in this territory must perform 
their own labour. 

After procuring some refreshment, we resumed our journey, 
turning eastward, and nearly at right angles to the river, intend- 
ing to visit M. Hoggatt, to whom we had been directed by our 
friends at Lick Creek. He resides on a farm belonging to the Shak- 
ers, at the distance of seven miles. 

The configuration of this district is so different from the regions 
to the east, only excepting some small tracts near the borders of 
the Sciota, that we seem to have arrived in a new world. Where- 
ever the surface of the ground has been broken, the blackness and 
depth of the soil excite our admiration. Neither is there any thing 
delusive in this appearance, for the growth of the crops fully equals 

any expectation we could form. 

Three miles from Shakertown, we passed a field which con- 
tained the harvest of two seasons. Last autumn the Indian corn 
had been cut near the ground, and put into well banded shocks. 
Wheat was then sown amongst them; it had produced a fine crop, 

♦Platanus occiden talis. The sycamore 
tPronounced Pek-kawn. 


74 Early Travels in Indiana. 

and this was now also standing in shocks, — a clear inference that 

provisions are plenty. 

Plants which are not found in the eastern parts of the United 
States are very numerous; perhaps three fourths of the herbage is 
of this description. I noticed three species of Helianthus? one of 
which is a remarkable plant. It grows six feet high with a disk 
nearly three inches in diameter, and the leaves much resemble the 
fern. Observing it first near the Sciota, before the stalk had arisen, 
I even believed it to be one of this curious assemblage. Nature, 
like water poured on a plain, though spreading into varieties in 
every direction, is partial to particular forms; and perhaps this 
partiality is evinced in nothing more than in fern leaves. 

A small though beautiful species of Hollyhock is scattered over 


the prairie. Its blossoms are a fine red. At first sight, I 
considered it an exotic; but it may be a native, for it is found 
in the wildest situations among the groves. 

From this prairie we ascended a ridge, — not steep, and of a 
moderate elevation, — thinly shaded by small trees. The sand 
continues, but a diminution of fertility is immediately discern- 
ible, though the district eastward may be called a tract of good 
land. It is composed of some ridges of that description with inter- 
vening vales. Beyond, the prospect opened into a clayey prairie 
of great extent, which is nearly destitute of Inhabitants. 

We shall not be surprised if many situations in this district 
prove unhealthy. The streams have low banks and in heavy 
rains, spread wide through the vallies, but the water may be easily 
led off, whenever it shall be undertaken with spirit, and in such 
business the scraper would be, eminently useful. 

As we advanced across the prairie, we saw horses, neat cattle 
and swine, scattered over it in considerable numbers, and moving 
about in different directions. Though we had seen much of such 
openings, our relish of the novelty was unsated; and these feel- 
ings were not diminished, when we saw across this great but uncul- 
tivated plain, — on the remote border of the civilized world, and 
where only log cabins have appeared legitimate — a spacious brick 
mansion in front of the woodlands. This evinces a spirit of 
improvement highly commendable. 

In several places the land was gullied, and afforded an oppor- 
tunity to observe that the black soil is nearly two feet deep; 
and that it rests on a substratum of yellowish clay. If this part 
was more remote from the sandy prairies, it would rank higher in 
the estimation of farmers. 

David Thomas. 


In the evening we arrived at our intended lodgings, where we 
met a cordial welcome. Hospitality is a strong characteristic of 
southern manners; and our friend, to an enlightened mind, has 
added the sympathies acquired by travel. 

This, and two other families who live adjacent, constitute all 
of the society of Friends now known to be residents near this 



7 mo. 7. — Last night we had a heavy storm. In the evening 
the wind and scud were easterly, but the approach of thunder 
and lightning from the west, proved that the upper currents of 
the atmosphere move from that quarter. This morning was 
overcast, with an east wind, — evincing that . counter currents 
similar to those on the east side of the Allegany Mountains pre- 
vail even here. 

Our friend has resided between two and three years on this 
farm. On his first removal from North Carolina, he fixed his 
abode at Blue River; but came hither to explore the lands of the 
New Purchase previous to the sale. These lands have excited 
much attention, but various circumstances have conspired to 
prevent the surveys from being completed. 

It will be recollected, that the expedition to Tippecanoe 
resulted from the dissatisfaction of the Indians, to the treaty in 
which their title to this tract became extinguished; that hostili- 
ties on their part commenced in the spring of 1812; and that 
after the defeat of Proctor, and the death of Tecumseh at Mo- 
ravian town in upper Canada, the Indians sued for peace. The 
treaty that followed, however, did not restore tranquillity. A 
Potawattamie chief, reposing confidence in that arrangement, 
proceeded to Vincennes; but the next morning he was found dead 
in the street, into which he had been dragged, and his skull frac- 
tured apparently by clubs. On this occasion it was remarked, that 
though Indians often kill each other, their weapons are the knife 
and the tomahawk. The perpetrators of this outrage remained 
undiscovered. The chief was buried with the honours of war; but 
the light in which the Indians viewed the transaction was soon 
disclosed by the murder of several white settlers. After this retal- 
iation, though hostilities were discontinued, yet perfect cordial- 
ity was not restored till the treaty at Fort Harrison in the present 
season. One of the surveyors who had been deterred by these 
unfavourable circumstances from fulfilling his contract, is now 
out with a company. 

These last acts of violence happened since our friend arrived 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

at this pi 

d several of his neighbours were sufferers 


case of one young man is too extraordinary to be omitted. Riding 
out to hunt cattle, he passed near Indians in ambush, who shot 
him through the body, and he fell from his horse. As the savages 
advanced to scalp him, he recovered from the shock; ran with his 
utmost speed, warmly pursued; and in the moment of extremity 
when his strength and breath failed him, his horse, which had 
loitered behind, came up on full gallop and allowed him to 
remount. He effected his escape, recovered from his wound, and 
is now living. 

This farm consists of 1,000 acres. The soil contains little sand, 
and is consequently more favourable to some crops than the 
Prairies near the river. We are told that timothy flourishes; but 
a drowth, the longest known in many years, which only ceased a 
few days ago, — and the army worm, which has ravaged the mead- 
ows, — prevent us from forming a proper judgment from our own 
observation. By the same creature, the corn has perished twice 
this season. 

These animals, which have committed similar depredations in 
the eastern part of Ohio, bear some resemblance to the grub- 
worm; and are regarded as periodical. The name is derived from 
their moving by myriads in one direction. Some fields and 
meadows have been saved by deep furrows, in which logs were 
constantly drawn by horses, so long as these devourers continued 


to approach. In this manner thousands on thousands have been 

Wood, for fuel and for fences, is an object of such importance 
to the farmer, that none is yet found willing to forego that con- 

d to seat himself out in the prair 

On this account 

a stranger is liable to err in judging of the population, for we find 
the eastern border of this tract thickly inhabited. 


tisfy the 


the old French settlers, the United 

States directed to be set apart, all the lands bounded on the 
west by the Wabash River; on the south by the White River; on 
the east by the West branch; and on the north by the north bounds 

of the Old Purchase. Four hundred acres was 

gned to each 

person entitled to a donation. The land has never been surveyed 


by order of the government, consequently it has never been regu- 
larly performed; and the maps of this territory within these bound- 
aries are generally blank. 

David Thomas 


All lands held in this quarter are therefore under French* 
grants. In locating, it was necessary to begin at the general bound- 
ary, or at some corner of lands, the lines of which would lead 
thither; but no course was given, and the claimant settled the 
point with his surveyor as he deemed most to his interest. These 
claims have been the source of considerable speculation; but the 
principal part is now located; and it is expected there will be a 
large surplus of land, soon to be surveyed by the United States. 

Many of these tracts will be destitute of timber fences. In 
some parts of the Grand Prairie, which extends from the Wabash 
towards the Mississippi, we are informed that ditches are advan- 
tageously constructed. The sods are placed on the edges in two 
parallel rows, with the turf outward; the loose earth from both 
trenches is employed for filling; and the strong roots of the wild 
grass on vegetating, bind the parts firmly together. 

It appears that this prairie has not been ravaged by fire for 
some years; and in various parts, but more especially near the 
eastern border, shrubs and young trees begin to shade the soil. 
Their scattered situations, with the injuries received from cattle, 
give them a stunted aspect. From these circumstances it will be 
difficult to judge what quality of timber this prairie would pro- 
duce; but where it terminates on the east in a stately wood of 
honey locust, sugar maple, blue and white ash, I can perceive no 
change of soil. Neither have I discovered any marks of an imper- 


vious subsoil; and must ascribe the destruction of the ancient for- 
est, with the wastes below Meadville, to conflagration. 

This opinion may be explained by a few observations. Near 
some part of every prairie that we have seen, whether clayey or 
sandy, there are trees of diminutive size; and though not always 
distant from each other, the sun and air has such access that the 
dampness which prevails in forests, is generally unknown. The 
leaves and herbage, consequently become highly combustible; 
and the flame driven by brisk winds, will enlarge the boundaries 
of the prairie. Several instances of this have been before us. The 
small timber has been destroyed, and many large trees have been 
partly burnt. The cause why this prairie extends close to the tall 
wood on the east, will doubtless be found in these circumstances; 
for though windfalls would let in the sun and air, and be attended 
by a similar diminution of moisture, we recollect no such tracts 

in the Western Country. 

The Columbo Root grows here in great abundance. 

*I have since learned that some militia claims were located in this tract. The 
residue is directed to be sold on the 1st of 9th mo. 1818. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

In winter when hay and corn have been scarce, some farmers 
in this district have driven their cattle towards the White River. 
The woods shelter them from the winds; and abound with grass, 
bearing the name of that season, which is evergreen, two or three 


feet in height, and extremely nutritious. In spring, the droves 
return home literally fat. This advantage, however will be tem- 

Every district, marked by small differences of soil and climate, 

has plants and animals peculiar. This remark which occurred 
at P. 113, is well exemplified by these wastes, and we have already 
learned the names of several new quadrupeds. 

The prairie wolf is half the size of the common wolf, and it is 
believed to be specifically distinct. It is confined to the prairies, 
and burrows in the sandy earth. The colour is grey. The legs are 
short, flat, broad, and stronger in proportion than the common 
wolf. It has not been known to injure domestic animals; but when 
sheep are more generally introduced, it will doubtless acquire new 

Its motion is slow; and when discovered out in the prairie 


far from its burrow, is easily run down by horsemen. 



pursued, and so much exhausted in a mile, that the men leapt 
from their horses, and dispatched it with clubs. 


The gopher has been mentioned. 

The prairie squirrel in size and colour nearly resembles the 
grey squirrel, but the legs are shorter. It is only found in these 
districts and burrows like the prairie wolf. 

It was suggested by some men of observation that, as these 
creatures are only found in the prairies, such land must have been 
in this state since the creation. But I cannot perceive that this 
conclusion is necessarily implied. We have no facts to shew that 
land destitute of timber is essential to their existence; we only 
know that their manners at present are best adapted to such 
scenes. Indeed we have strong reasons for doubting the correct- 
ness of this inference. We have no evidence of original prairies, 
except those that were formed by excess of moisture. We have no 
evidence of dry prairies, before conflagrations became regular: 
in other words, before the arrival of human beings on this con- 
tinent. The persimmon, the tea plant, and every other tree that 
can bear the annual bearing, shoot up in abundance; and if such 
were undisturbed by fire, by cattle and by culture, these wastes 
in fifty years would be shaded by forests, — not lofty indeed, but 
such as sand resting on gravel would nourish and support. 

David Thomas 


The grey squirrel, the ground squirrel, and the flying squirrel, 
are found native, but do not appear to be numerous. To this list 
should be added the fox squirrel of the southern states. 

The deer, the elk, the wolf, and the bear, inhabit the woods. 
The panther has been rarely discovered, but the wild cat is num- 
erous. # 

In the brown rabbit, which has frequently bounded across 
our path, I recognized an old acquaintance, and with it associated 
the remembrance of early days. This quadruped appears to be 
very numerous. 

7 mo. 8. — The weather of both yesterday and to-day, has been 
unfavourable to travelling, as showers have been frequent, though 
the wind and scud are from the east. This circumstance, with the 


unaffected kindness of our friends, has induced us to remain 

At Vincennes I observed a curious fly-flapper. The construc- 
tion is simple, and in hot weather the fresh air that attends its 
motion, is scarcely less agreeable than relief from these trouble- 
some insects. Its position is over the centre of the table. 

Two strips of lath three feet long, with a hole in the lower end of 
each to receive a gudgeon, are first prepared. A broad board with 
a gudgeon so placed in each end, that one edge shall always prepond- 
erate, is then connected with the strips. To that edge a piece of 
linen one foot wide is fastened; and a handle, eighteen inches long, 
projects from the opposite edge. The upper ends of the laths are 
then nailed at the ceiling, and a small cord attached to the handle 
communicates motion to the instrument. 

A joint in the laths near the ceiling would afford the conven- 
ience of elevating or removing it at pleasure. 

The privileges granted to the Canadian Volunteers have occa- 
sioned severe strictures on the general government; and in travel- 
ling one hundred and fifty miles, we have conversed with but few 
persons who have not expressed dissatisfaction. We are told that 
the whole of the New Purchase, excepting fractions* and public 

*A traction is a tract of land where rivers or oblique boundaries have prevented the 
section from being completed. It may consist of any quantity less than a section. 

The law of Congress which authorized these donations, directed that the Canadian 
claimants should locate by sections and quarter sections. Fractions not having been 
mentioned, and as many of these are very valuable, and include nearly all the lands 
adjoining the river, the Register of the Land Office with propriety reserved them till 

the day of the public sale. 

Lot number sixteen in every township, as in other parts of this territory, is appropri- 
ated for the use of schools. A tract has also been reserved round Fort Harrison. We 
knew of no other reservation, though possibly some may be made on account of 

80 Early Travels in Indiana 

reservations, is spread before them; more than three months have 
been allowed them to locate their claims without interruption; 
and to select the most valuable lots and mill seats, from three 
millions of acres of the best land, ever offered for sale by the 
United States. 

It has been the policy of governments, however, to reward 
such persons as from principles of attachment have come over from 
the enemy; and in the present case, they were native citizens of 
the United States. Many of them left all their possessions behind. 
Perhaps those who scan the measures of government with can- 
dour, would have been satisfied, if the actual sufferers had been 
put in possession of property so generously bestowed. But a 
transfer of claims was inconsiderately permitted; certain expence 
met them in the onset; the office for adjusting their claims, was 
three hundred miles from the place where the principal number 
resided ; many difficulties had arisen at the end of this long journey; 
and as cash to the necessitous is tempting, very few will receive 
one fifth of the value of these donations. 

No blame can attach to those who have purchased in a fair 
market; but some idea of this speculation may be formed from 
one statement. The right of a private for three hundred and 
twenty acres, was bought for one hundred and seventeen dollars 
and fifty cents, and was sold for five thousand dollars. The choic- 


est lots near Fort Harrison have been estimated at fifteen dollars 
an acre. 

A small cotton wood tree stands opposite to the window where 
I am writing, dark excrescences on its branches like those which 
appear on this species in the western parts of New- York. It is 
well known that these blemishes are produced by the irritation of 
insects; — first by a puncture when the egg is deposited, and after- 
wards by the growth and motion of the worm. To procure this 
food, the parroquets have been busily employed, at times, through 
the day; but though they have become so familiar; and though 
they excel all the birds of this country in beauty of plumage, 
their scream is so discordant, and their fierceness of disposition so 
apparent, as to preclude every sensation of attachment. 

These birds build their nests in hollow trees. The strength of 
their necks is remarkable; and we are assured that when both 
wings and feet are tied they can climb trees by striking their 
bills into the bark. 

Birds are not so numerous in the Ohio country as in New- 
York and Pennsylvania. The prairie hen. probably a species of 

David Thomas. 


the genus Tetrao, is a native. The tetrao tympanies, or drumming 
pheasant of Pennsylvania, called the partridge in New- York is 
also an inhabitant. The partridge of Pennsylvania called the 
quail in New- York is very numerous. But this confusion of names 
is to be regretted; and in both states the application is improper; 
for the pheasant of Europe belongs to the same genus as our dung- 
hill fowls, and the partridge of England is a distinct species from 
all those of that name in our country. 

The large black bird (Gracula purpurea), frequents the principal 
streams; and small brownish black-birds, probably of the same 
species as those that infest the marshes of the Seneca river, are 
very numerous, and equally predatory. 

The meadow lark, the kildee, and the land plover inhabit the 
prairies. The last has been called the rain bird, from its notes 
being more frequently heard in the calm that precedes changes of 
the atmosphere. But the mildness of the air may inspire its song, 
and the stillness allow it to hover more easily over the fields 
where it loves to wander. From elevations in the air where it is 


scarcely visible, its note is heard to a great distance like a long 
shrill sigh. Who hears it in youth will hardly outlive the recollec- 

We had been taught to expect that turkies* were very numer- 
ous, but we have been disappointed, for certainly we have not seen 
half a dozen full grown in all the Western Country. 

The turkey buzzard, or carrion vulture, is gregarious, but we 
have seen no large flocks. It is less shy than any other undo- 
mesticated bird of its size. When searching for food, it moves in 
circles so elevated as almost to elude the sight. There is reason to 
believe that the effluvia of dead bodies, by being specifically 
lighter than common air, is arranged at a certain height in the 
atmosphere. On reaching this stratum they more readily discover 

whence the stream ascends. 

The red headed woodpecker is seen, but not in such destructive 

numbers as at Cayuga. 

The little yellow bird sometimes moves in flocks, and complaint 

is made of its devouring flax-seed. 

To the foregoing list of the birds of this country, may be added 
the crane, the crow, the blue-jay, and the red winged starling. 

We learn that mountain rice is cultivated by one person, and 
it has succeeded well. The product varies from thirty to sixty 

♦At that time, it appears that these fowls were hatching or secreted with their 
young. In the ADDITIONAL NOTICES, a different account will be given. 

T— 6 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

bushels to the acre in the rough; but it may diminish to one third 
of these quantities by hulling. This is the best sort; but it requires 
more attention and culture than the water rice, as the hoe' must be 
introduced to destroy the weeds, which amongst the latter, the 
process of flooding completely effects. The latter kind would also 
grow in this climate, if the land could be regularly laid under water. 

Our friend has a handsome little nursery of thrifty apple- 
trees which he raised from suckers* procured in his neighbours' 


orchards. He intends to transplant them when he locates a farm. 
In new countries, where it is difficult to obtain young trees, the 
emigrant would do well to adopt this method. 

7 mo. 9. — M. H. having agreed to attend us in exploring the 
lands up the river, and 

as maps are necessary 

d the creeks 

which would retard if not 

unusually swelled by the late rains,— 
prevent our progress in that direction, — this morning, he and I 
departed for Vincennes. Our course was south by west, and the 
distance twenty miles. 

This road being back from the river, presented some new 

objects. Having passed the beautiful wood which I mentioned, 
including an extensive sugar camp, the trees as we advanced 
appeared of less and less magnitude, till our path led through oaks 
of small stature into the prairie. 

As the surface of the land is moderately undulated, these 
openings are interrupted at small distances by plains, which differ 
from the prairies in being dry ground, and in supporting flat-topped 
oaks thirty or forty feet high, between which are interspersed 
oak stools. The growth of former years having perished by the 
annual burning, the young shoots of this season have sprung up in 
abundance. These are chiefly the white oak, the swamp white 
oak, and the true black jack. 

To the annual conflagrations may be ascribed in part, the 
scarcity of snakes in this district; but the deficiency of hills and 
quarries to afford them shelter in winter, must remain as the 
principal cause. 

Of these reptiles are enumerated the rattlesnake and the viper. 
Some garter snakes are found; and I learn that the water snake 



I have a considerable number of trees, budded on such stocks, several of which now 
bear apples ; and from none of them have I perceived a sucker. I do not assert that 
these are more exempt than seedling stocks, and nurseries on a large scale could not be 
conveniently supplied in this manner ; but no farmer should be discouraged from raising 
his own trees. 


David Thomas. 


and black racer will complete the list. The copper head, so 
common through the wooded country to the eastward, is said to 
be unknown. 

At the end of seven miles we came to Marie's Creek. The 
channel was nearly filled by muddy water, and with difficulty 
we forded. It is a lazy stream scarcely two rods wide. 

During the late war, a neighbouring hunter having started a 
deer, near the banks of this creek, cautiously approached the root 
of an old tree, and was earnestly looking through a thick under- 
brush for his game, when he descried two Indians passing in 
file at a small distance. Instinctively he shrunk back — raised his 
rifle, but paused — it was a perilous moment. He knew not their 
numbers; and as he was undiscovered, he determined to be still. 
In a few minutes he heard the report of a gun; and my friend 
pointed down the stream to the spot, where at that instant, they 
killed and scalped a young man who was gathering grapes. A 
short time before, in full health, he had left his father's dwelling. 

The rage and anguish of the parent was excessive. We soon 
passed by his house; and the most melancholy reflections arose on 
my mind. War, at best, is a dismal picture. Famine, slaughter 
and rapine, crowd the pages of its history; but the keen anguish 
that invades the domestic circle is unnoticed. To his country, 
a soldier, or a citizen has perished; to his family, a father, a hus- 
band, a son, or a brother. 

South of the creek, oak, not very thrifty, constitutes the prin- 
cipal timber. This tract extends within seven or eight miles of 
Vincennes; and with the more open lands to the north, forms 
a border to the Shakertown prairie. The soil is but moderately 
fertile. The inhabitants are few, scattered, and in some places 
we passed on for miles without seeing a house. 

Below, the country is more inviting. Beech, sugar maple, 
honey locust and some black walnut, forms a tall forest; and a 
luxuriant growth of herbage overspreads the ground. This wood- 
land extends to the river, — separating the Vincennes prairie from 
that of Shakertown, — retains a great degree of moisture, like the 
beech and maple lands to the eastward, — and appears well adapted 
to the cultivation of grasses. The soil is a strong clayey loam. 

Lands partially improved, in this district, rate from twelve to 
fourteen dollars an acre. 

In Vincennes, N. Ewing and J. Badollet of the Land-Office, 
for whom I had introductory letters, received me with frank- 
ness. The former is a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania; 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

and the latter of Geneva, in Europe. The friendship of their old 
neighbour, the celebrated A. Gallatin, procured them these 
appointments about nine years ago; and the high rank which they 
deservedly hold in public estimation, proves the wisdom of his 


In the evening, having acceded to the kind invitation of N.E. 

to go to his house, which is four miles southeasterly from Vin- 

cennes, we took the opportunity to ride to the top of the second 

mound before noted, and which is near the side of the road. 

The prospect was extensive and delightful. Excepting a ridge of 

moderate elevation up the river, where the woodland extends over 

into the Illinois Territory, there is nothing within the range of the 

eye that merits the name of a hill. 

This pyramid was the largest I had ever approached. 


estimated the diameter at one hundred and fifty feet, and prob- 
ably it will exceed forty in height on the west side. As it stands on 
the slope of the hill, the acclivity on the east side is much less; 
and though steep, we ascended it on horseback. 

We observe the same singularity of construction as in those to 
the eastward. The surface is sand, which the adjoining hills 
may have furnished; but the interior part is clay, and notwith- 
standing the greatness of the labour, it must have been brought 
from a distance. In it, human bones have been discovered. We 
therefore suppose it was not raised in one age; and the transporta- 
tion of the latter material, probably, formed a part of the funeral 

At the distance of a furlong to the south, a mound of equal 





in a right line with the two which I 

ive noticed. All these are separated from the prairie by a swamp 
that lies along the base of the hill. 

This swamp or bog resembles nothing that we have seen in the 
western country. A pole may be thrust perpendicularly down- 
wards to the depth of twenty feet; and as it extends to the borders 
of the White River, twenty miles below, our intelligent friend con- 
jectures that it was an ancient channel of the Wabash. 


In adopting this opinion, however, I refer to a period before 
the formation of the sandy prairies. The vast quantities of sand 
and gravel that overwhelmed the river plains, appears to have 
filled this channel north-easterly from Vincennes, for a consider- 
able distance downwards; and to have turned the river to the 

southwest; but I consider this deluge to have been long anterior to 
the mounds. 


• David Thomas. 


Our road now led through a country variegated by low hills, 
chiefly shaded with oak. The soil near the prairies is sandy; 
but as we receded we found it inclining to a clayey loam; and 
beech, &c. appears through the woods. 

The mansion of our friend is of brick, handsomely situated on a 
ridge which commands a pleasant prospect of his farm. His 
daily practice is to ride to Vincennes, and in the evening to return. 
This exercise doubtless contributes to health; and the bustle of 
a town contrasted with this charming but sequestered spot, 
must increase the relish for domestic enjoyment. 

7 mo. 10. — The antiquities of this country interest every intelli- 
gent mind; and curiosity seems more awake because history has 
shed no light on the subject. N. E. informed me, that nine miles 
above its mouth, the Wabash is wearing away a bank which con- 
tains great quantities of the bones of different quadrupeds, and 
hence it is termed the Bone Bank. At the same place, under a 
covering of clay and sand twelve feet deep, vessels of various kinds 
are found stratified with ashes. Some of these are large and 
shaped like a Dutch stew-pot; others are spherical bottles with 
long necks. Like the fragments found in other parts of the western 
country, these contain pounded muscle shells. The cement, how- 
ever, has become very feeble; the parts crumble at the touch, and 
in every flood the river effects some removal. 

Though the ordinance of Congress, under which all the gov- 
ernments north west of the Ohio were organized, expressly declares 

that no persons, except in punishment for crimes, shall be held in 
bondage; and though that ordinance has remained unrepealed; 
yet slaves were considered to be so convenient, that the terri- 
torial legislature authorized their introduction. For this pur- 
pose, indentures were employed. The negro was directed to sign 
an article, binding himself to serve his master for some specified 
term of years; refusal could avail nothing, and compliance was 
termed voluntary servitude. I learn, however, from various sources, 
that it is now generally understood that these articles must 
be declared nugatory whenever a legal investigation shall be made. 
In this affair originated a powerful opposition; and for several 
years past, the territory has been divided into two active parties. 
Those who were opposed to this innovation, however, soon became 
the majority; and the members of the late Convention, acting 
agreeably to the directions of Congress, put the question at rest 
forever, by excluding the principle of slavery from the state 

86 Early Travels in Indiana. 

After breakfast we returned to Vincennes. The hills that 
border the prairie on the east, are chiefly composed of sand; and 
the inequalities of the surface, which are very considerable, show 
the violent agitation of the deluge that whirled it hither. 

Having procured the necessary maps by the very liberal 
accommodation of the Register, we continued our journey. . 

We had been invited by B. Parke, a distinguished citizen, 
to visit him on our return. This we now performed with much 
satisfaction. He resided in a spacious brick building, erected by 
the late Governor Harrison, situate at the north end of the town, 
and which adds much to the appearance of the place. The ground 
in front is level; but the slope towards the river is easy, and admits 
of delightful gardens. At this time the tomatoes were full grown 
and abundant; and the black morella, which loaded the branches 
furnished an agreeable repast; but the Chickasaw plumbs, with 
one solitary exception, had all ripened and disappeared. This 
fruit is delicious, and the tree a great bearer, but suckers appear 
to spring up around it as far as the roots. extend. 

Here I discovered that the worm which destroys the inner bark 
round the root of the peach tree, is an active inhabitant; and that 
the Curculio destrovs much of the fruit. 

In conformity to an engagement made last evening, we 
travelled seven miles further to J. M. M'Donald's, a friendly, 
hospitable man, where we abode for the night. He has been much 
in the service of the United States as a surveyor; and was employed 
to run the West Bounds of this territory; north from Vincennes, 
when it was first discovered that the Wabash River, for more than 
forty miles, meanders on or west of that meridian. 

In his field he pointed out to me a grass, of which I had heard 
much, known through all the western country by the name of 
nimble Will. It is much esteemed for pasture, especially in Ken- 
tucky. I cannot give very strong testimony, however, in its 
favour, as I have always seen it thin on the ground. In the west- 
ern parts of New- York, where it also grows indigenously, it scarcely 
withstands the encroachment of other grasses. 

We have been led to believe from seeing so many persons who 
had marched to Tippecanoe, that the whole military strength of 
this district was engaged in that expedition. Amongst these our 
hospitable friend may be numbered. 

7 mo. 11. — We departed about sunrise, and soon passed into 
the same road that we traversed two days ago. 

Marie's Creek, which has been dignified with the appellation of 


David Thomas. 



a river on some maps, was now reduced to a light mill-stream; 
and I think it would be easy to jump across it with a pole. Not 
far below the surface, sand rock in horizontal strata appeared in 
the south bank. 

About 9 o'clock we arrived, and found my old companions in 
anxious waiting. In our absence they had explored the country 
in the neighbourhood of Shakertown, and had returned yester- 
day, expecting to meet us. 

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon, accompanied by our kind friend 
M. H. we commenced our journey for Fort Harrison. Our road 
led northwesterly through prairies principally composed of clay, 
though very fertile, and interspersed with fine farms. It is remark- 
able that though some parts of these tracts are wet, and now, even 
covered with water; yet the bog or quagmire is unknown, and there 
is no danger of being swamped. 

Near Busseron Creek we passed through a fine tract of wood- 
land, as level and as fertile as the prairie. 

At the end of seven miles, we crossed that creek at a 


below which, the water had laid bare a slaty rock in hoiizontal 

We then passed through barrens (so called), which produced 
corn of uncommon luxuriance. The prospect soon became more 
interesting. To the left spread an undulated plain of dark fertile 
sand, thinly timbered by oaks without underbrush; and on our 
right the scene was variegated with lawns and groves. The low 
ground is wet prairie, or that kind which is occasioned by the col- 
lection and subsequent evaporation of water. Every little knoll 
of only two feet in height supports a grove. These are termed 
islands by the inhabitants, and not improperly, as floods must 
frequently surround them. 

At the distance of three miles we came out into the Gill Prairie, 
where the extent and beauty of the scene, and the luxuriance 
of the corn excited our admiration, but the driftwood was deposited 
in lines, above the level of no inconsiderable part of this fine 
tract. Indeed we have seen none except the Vincennes prairie 
that is free from bayous. These in times of flood, convert the parts 
adjoining the river literally into islands; and nearly all communi- 
cation with the back settlements must be intercepted. In places 
the channel is excavated, forming when the current subsides, 
shallow ponds or marshes. These, however, are not miry, and 


the cattle pass over without inconvenience. This bayou, ten miles 
in length, receives its waters from Turtle Creek. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


We were now within the limits of the New Purchase, and con- 


sequently none of the few inhabitants who have fixed here can 
have titles to the land except through the intervention of Canadian 
claimants. A cabin and a few acres of corn, constitute the prin- 
cipal improvements. 

At Turtle Creek, the woodland commences. Immediately we 
observed the irregularities of the surface to be greatly increased; 
and a clavev loam, which the river alluvions have never reached, 


gar mapl 

dicated a total chang 


producing beech ai 


Of the trees in this country we make the general remark, that 

the trunk, and more especially the branches, are larger than those 

of the same kinds to the eastward, and stand from each other at 

greater distances. 

From a bluff two miles above Turtle Creek, we had a most 
charming prospect of La Motte Prairie, west of the river in the 
Illinois Territory; and the beams of the sun, nearly setting, 
imparted a yellow tinge to the distant woods that encircle this 
plain. The bluff is upwards of one hundred feet high, and the river 
flows at its base. The ground declines to the east; the regularity 
of the descent is remarkably beautiful; and the herbage, like that 
throughout all this tract of woodland, is very luxuriant. 

One man and his family have fixed their residence on this 
interesting spot, and have cleared a small farm. Possession has 
been deemed of so much consequence in many parts of the United 
States, and such indulgence has been granted to those persons who 
have formed the frontier in time of war, that even now these set- 
tlers anticipate important advantages. Among neighbours, who 
fear to do each other wrong, such hopes might be realized; but 
amongst speculators, who will be found here on the day of sale, 
from all parts of the Union, we can hardly believe that their little 
claims will obtain much respect. 

We had five miles 


route still led through woodlands. 

further to travel, and the approach of evening induced us to mend 
our pace; but it became dark before we arrived at Tarman's, 
where we lodged. 20 miles this afternoon. 

7 mo. 12. — This person, with his family, resided here before 
the late war. A small prairie of 200 or 300 acres, known by his 
name, and bordered by thick woods, except towards the river, 
chiefly contains the improvements. Last spring they removed 
from the prairie* to a new cabin in the woodlands, near the road. 
The upper story of this building projects for the purpose of defence; 

David Thomas 


and may serve as a memorial, of the apprehensions which over- 
spread the white settlers, before the late treaty with the Indians 
at Fort Harrison. 

A short time before the approach of those persons who came 
with Hopkins, this family, fearful of the Indians, abandoned their 
dwelling and retired down the river. In the hurry of removal 
many articles were necessarily left behind. When the band arrived 
they wasted everything that could be found; and the sons told 
me that their hogs and neat cattle were wantonly shot down, 
and left untouched where they fell. 

Near the edge of this prairie, I observed some small mounds. 
These are the first I have noticed above the Vincennes Prairie. 

I have mentioned the wood house of the eastern states, and the 
spring house of the middle states, but omitted to notice in its 
proper place the smoke house of Virginia. At least by some, the 
erroneous opinion has been adopted, that pork cannot be pre- 
served in pickle during the summer heat of this climate. Whether 
the prevalence of this notion has caused the southern farmer to 
convert his pork into bacon; or whether custom has rendered the 
flavour most agreeable I leave undetermined; but certain it is 
that the smoke house is considered an appendage of great value. 
Our host faithfully practises this branch of rural economy; and 
in an open log building, we saw nearly one* thousand weight of 
ham, flitch, and shoulder, which was undergoing this process. 
We presumed that the animals had been recently killed. 

Several springs appear in the north side of the bank on which 
this dwelling is situate. The subsoil is principally sand or sand 
stone; and throughout this western country, as in other places, 
we remark that wherever water comes filtered through this sub- 
stance, the quality is excellent. 

After breakfast we continued our journey. Several families 
have fixed their abode one or two miles further north; and so much 
confidence has been felt in the right of possession that a saw mill 
has been erected in the present season on a small creek. We 
should be gratified hereafter to learn, that such industry and 

enterprize have been respected. 

In this neighbourhood we passed a coal mine, which has been 
recently opened, though the work has been but partially per- 
formed. The stratum is laid bare to the depth of four or five 
feet. As the excavation is made in the channel of a small brook, 
the torrent, by removing the loose earth, doubtless led to this 
discovery. All the strata of this fossil that we have seen in the 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

western country has appeared near the surface; and it would not 


me, if it should be brought forth in a thousand pi 

where the shovel and the pickaxe have never yet been employed. 
Last evening between Turtle Creek and the Bluff, we travelled 
some distance on the first flats of the River; and in our progress 
through twelve miles of woods this morning, the same thing 
occurred. These flats, like the uplands adjoining on the east, 
are well sheltered with thrifty timber. Overshadowed by woods 
for such a length of way, we almost forgot our proximity to natural 

meadows: and so different are th 

two kinds of land, that a 

stranger would as soon expect to find a prairie in the forests of 
New- York. 

In these woods our intelligent friend pointed out to us the 
ground, on which the escort and drivers of some provision waggons, 
intended for the relief of Fort Harrison, were attacked during the 
late war. The Indians lay in ambush on both sides of a bank over 
which the road led, and when the waggons gained that position, 
commenced their fire. Only two of the poor fellows escaped. The 
foremost driver cut loose one of his horses, and after a precip- 
itate flight of more than twenty miles, reached Fort Harrison. 
The other was a private who concealed himself under the side of a 


From this insecure retreat, continually expecting death, 

and sometimes almost trodden over, he beheld with horror the 
butchery of his comrades. After all was stilly the Indians dis- 
charged their guns into the casks of liquor, and cut the waggons 
to pieces. 


of the 

(I am told) 

seldom found opposite on both sides 

The Wabash has closely traced the west side of this 

d directly over in the Illinois Territory, the 



pied by Uni 

d Walnut Creek Prairies. From these 

facts it appears, that the same irregularity, prevails in regard to 
hills and table land, that I have noticed in the eastern part of the 
Ohio country. 

The pecan is only found on the first flats, and appears to be 

confined within the limits of common floods. It is a stately tree. 

We saw some three feet in diameter, and nearly one hundred feet in 

height. The leaf consists of fifteen leaflets: fourteen in pairs, and 
one terminal. 

I have often been surprised at the confused ideas that bota- 
nists have exhibited, when treating of this vegetable, and of the 
species with which it is allied. Though the outer shells of the 
walnuts have no determinate opening like the hickories; and though 

David Thomas. 


the inner shells are perforated while that of the latter is smooth — 
yet one genus has been made to include them ; and so much has that 


essential character, and even specific differences been over- 
looked, that the butternut, the shell bark, and the pecan, have been 


arranged as only varieties of the same species. We believe no 
two genera of the same natural assemblage* are more distinct. 

The timber of the first flats comprises, in addition to the pecan, 
the bitter nut, the river nut, and the shell bark hickory. The but- 
ternut, and, in some places, the black walnut. At the river, the 
water maple; where it is swampy, the red maple; and in the drier 
parts, the ash-leaved, and the sugar maple. To these should be 
added, the button wood or sycamore, the ash, the elm, and the 
cotton wood. The last tree sometimes attains a diameter of four 
feet, and preserves its thickness of trunk to a remarkable height. 

The soil of these flats is remarkably fertile; but mud, left on 
the herbage by the freshets, causes much of it to putrify; and the 
exhalations are very offensive. 

A channel, which receives the surplus water of many thousand 
square miles, must be very unequally supplied; and during heavy 
rains it is evident, that 

. . . . innumerable streams 

Tumultuous roar; and far above its banks 
The river lift . . . 

Accordingly, near the northern border of this great tract of wood- 
land, the flood marks on the trees were higher than we could reach 
on horseback. 

These marks consist of annular spaces on the bark from which 
the moss has been removed. We conjecture this happens during 
floods in the latter part of winter. The ice, forming in the night, 
encloses the moss; and as the thaw commences at the tree, when 


the water subsides, the moss will be torn off by the ice in its fall. 

On entering the Prairie we found it a low strip of land ; and like 
the south end of the Shakertown Prairie, entirely within the reach 
of common floods. Whenever the river rises over its banks the 
road must therefore be impassable. This tract, five miles long, 
and averaging about one mile in width, is bounded on the north by 
the narrows, where the woodlands from the river and from the hills. 

♦Since writing the above I have observed with much satisfaction, in a late period- 
ical work that C. S. RAPINESQUE, an accurate and distinguished naturalist, has 
placed the hickories in a new genus, Hiccorius. Of the old genus Juglans eleven 
species were enumerated, and a majority of these were hickories. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

approach within ten rods 
times of flood. 

A heavy current sweeps through in 


This Prairie is considered to be of small value from its being 
subject to inundation; and no inhabitants are found near its 

a light stream 

borders. Its name is derived from P 


which flows through it from the eastward. A small mound appears 

its north bank 


friend in 


us towards the woods near the north 

east corner, directed our attention to the dry ground on which 
we were riding. In a few minutes we came to a fine brook which 
has its sources in the hills; but which on reaching the plai 
immediately lost in the sand over which we had passed. 
found several cases of this kind, but observed one serious in< 




—as these currents have never formed a channel to the 
river, the water in heavy rains, spreads over the prairie, and in 
some places coats the herbage with mud. 

These hills are about one hundred feet higher than the prairies. 

Leaving that stream we travelled to the north along the hill 
side, through the woods, and soon came out into Honey Creek 
Prairie. We were delighted with the prospect. As we traversed 
this extensive tract, we contrasted the granite hills in the east 
with this soil which requires no manure; and nothing but moder- 

ate cu 
the th 

to pi 


verwhelming plenty*; we thought of 

who had toiled and pined on barrens, while this 


land for ages had been a range for wild beasts; and indulged, in 
fancy, a view of farm houses on the numerous and elegant sites 
that have emerged from this plain. 

We explored this Prairie about noon, in clear sunshine, 
weather was warm, but not sultry. We found the most incon- 
venience from the green-headed horse fly, which were numerous 


and active. Excepting this instance, we have suffered very little 


from such insects; and indeed much less than we expected 


an erroneous notion that warm climates produce them in greatest 
abundance; — the sultry summers of northern regions have a full 
share; and perhaps in no country are they more distressing than in 

It having become necessary to procure some refreshment, our 
experienced guide led us into the woodland on the east; and after 

*We ai 

securing what is deemed sufficient, the live stock is turned 

field in the winter to consume the remainder. We 
practice will be of long continuance. 

David Thomas. 


ascending the hill, directed our course to a new cabin, which was 
occupied by two families. On entering we were furnished with 


seats, but the beds were all spread on the floor. In one corner a 
woman lay in a burning fever. She complained of much pain in 
her side, and many involuntary moans escaped while her husband 
supported her head. They were strangers, — young, — probably 
indigent; and no physician could be found nearer than Fort 

It was a case of real distress, and the circumstances were 
discouraging. However, we left medicine with directions. 

This family were lately from the state of Ohio. They had 
arrived in a boat, fixed their residence on the prairie, and drank 
the warm water from a brook. Apprehensive of disease, they had 
only left the borders of the river within a few days past, and were 
received into this cabin as tenants. 

[We were much gratified to learn in three or four days that 
she was likely to recover. Unquestionably many of these emi- 
grants suffer from want of suitable food, and of medicine, and 
from the want of comfortable lodgings, and of proper attendance.] 

The summit of this hill appears to be an extensive tract 
of table land. The soil is fertile, and produces thrifty timber, 
but contains little sand except in knolls. This remark will apply 
to the country in general; and as it perfectly accords with what I 
have observed in the western parts of New-York; and as some rocks 
of granite are also scattered here, doubtless this land has been 
overwhelmed by the same deluge. I allude not to inundations 
produced by extraordinary rains, but to a preternatural flood 
which swept over the highest hills, and which, to my view, was 
occasioned by exterior attraction. 

In descending from the hill, the prospect through the trees 
had the brightness of a great lake in calm weather. The low angle 
at which the sky appears across the prairie, was the cause of this 
optical deception. 

Through this prairie, on the sloping sides of the ridgy knolls, we 
frequently observed irregular hollows, several rods, in diameter, 
and a few feet in depth, which would hold water, had the soil 
been clayey and compact. The origin ought not to be ascribed to a 
depression of the surface, but to the unequal deposition of sand 
and gravel in the time of that extraordinary flood. The sides are 
neither so steep, nor the depth so great but the plough may readily 
pass through, and we feel confident that wheat would flourish in 
the bottom. The Ceanothus americanus, or tea plant, which only 

94 Eakly Travels in Indiana. 


grows on dry banks to the eastward, and which also appears on the 
driest parts of this land, is found in that situation; so loose and so 
little retentive of water, is the soil. Indeed we are assured that 
within an hour or two after heavy rains, the ploughman may 
resume his labour without inconvenience. 

This species of Ceanothus is completely naturalized to the 
prairies. Burnt down to the ground every season it has relin- 
quished the habit of a shrub; and conforming to the vicisitudes 
of its situation, the same stalks that grew this spring to the height 
of six or eight inches, are now loaded with flowers. 

We now directed our course to the westward; and at the dis- 
tance of two or three miles, passed into the woods that shelter 
Honey creek. It is worthy of remark that wherever the streams 
overflow and deposit a clayey sediment, we find thrifty timber; 
and indeed the dry land adjoining, — which is the same as the 
prairie soil — commonly retains more or less oak. This fact I 
consider as an additional proof that these wastes are occasioned by 
fire. As it can only approach from one side, the chance for the 
flame to be driven through the trees, is considerably diminished. 

As a continuation of the first remark, it may be noticed, that 

bayous rarely (if ever) deposit any sediment; and in the lower 

parts of the prairies that are overflowed by the river, we observed 
the naked sand. 

Honey creek is a considerable mill stream. The 'prairie to 
which it gives a name is computed to be eight miles long, and 
from one to five wide; but I suspect the latter estimate is large. 
It is a beautiful tract of land. By the creek it is separated on the 
north from the Terre Haute* (i.e. High land) Prairie; and on the 
west or north west, from the Little Prairie. 

On crossing this creek we passed ten or fifteen rods (as we had 
done on the opposite shore) through a thrifty wood of beech, sugar 
maple, white and blue oak, black walnut, honey locust, and nettle 
tree; and then came out into the Little Prairie. This contains 
about eight hundred acres. On it, our friend had made some 
improvements; and this was our chief motive in departing from 
the direct road to Fort Harrison. It is separated from the Terre 
Haute Prairie by woodland which extends from the river to 
Honey creek, joining it some distance above where we forded. 
The timber on the drier parts of this strip is chiefly black oak. 
The ravages of fire amongst it has been very considerable; and in 
this part, the prairie, was visibly gaining on the woods. 

♦Vulgarly pronounced Tar Holt. 


David Thomas. 



We now passed along through the western part of the Terre 
Haute Prairie; and in the calm evening of one of the finest days in 
summer, the. shadows of the oaks lengthening over the plain. 
Novelty still lent its charms; and even after we arrived at our 
lodgings, four miles south of the fort, we were delighted with the 
prospect of lawns and of distant woods. 


This establishment, is not a tavern, but travellers are occas- 
sionally entertained. The house was erected in the present 
season. A few acres of corn are enclosed; but the proprietor of 
those improvements has no claim to the soil but the right of pos- 
session. This site which is about fifty feet above the prairie to 
the eastward, commands one of the most extensive prospects 
that we have seen in the country. 

Notwithstanding its elevation, and its proximity to the woods 
that shelter it on the west, we observed the same black sand that 
appeared in other parts of these singular tracts; and where a 
small excavation has been made for a cellar, I perceived no change 
at a less depth than two feet. In some of the lower parts of the 


prairies, I learn that it is even found at the depth of five feet. 

7 mo. 13. — Early this morning we resumed our journey. A 
few families live near our landlord, but two miles to the north 
there is a very considerable encampment. Many of these emi- 
grants are from the state of New- York. It is said that fevers are 
prevalent amongst them; and last night a man from the neigh- 
bourhood of Genesee river, died. We stopt a few minutes to visit 
N. Kirk, lately from the state of Ohio, with whom our companion 
D. S. was acquainted. His wife has an intermittent fever. 

These notices may seem minute, but the apology will be obvious 
and ample. The report of a traveller which may influence the 
emigrant, ought to embrace "the truth and the whole truth ;" 
and the profit and the peril, the bane and the antidote should be 
set in order before him. 

I observed the Columbo growing near the borders of these 
woods, with stalks about six feet in height. 

Beyond this encampment to the north, we passed a field con- 
taining two hundred acres of corn, which made a very fine appear- 
ance, and is the principal crop. The enclosing of this tract with 
oak rails, was the labour of a company; and each man occupies 
land in proportion to the length of fence he erected. The whole 
has been lately covered by a Canadian claim; and though in strict- 
ness these occupants might be considered as intruders, their 


96 Early Travels in Indiana. 

case has excited sympathy and called forth some expressions of 
dissatisfaction with the claimant. 

The cabins along the road, from these improvements to the 
Fort, are numerous; the immediate vicinity of this station has 
assumed the aspect of a considerable village, and once more we 
were surrounded by "the busy hum of men." 

Fort Harrison stands within a few rods of the river, on a bank 
which, though not steep, is beyond the reach of floods. It is 
garrisoned by a detachment from the army of the United States. 
It was built in the autumn of 1811, by the late governor Harrison 
and the troops under his command, who halted for that purpose 
on their march to Tippecanoe. 

The pernicious effects of spirituous liquors were sadly exemp- 
lified a few weeks ago near this place. After the treaty, whiskey 
was liberally dealt out to the Indians; and in the frenzy of intoxi- 
cation, one killed his fellow. To terminate this feud, and to prevent 
retaliation, it became necessary by their custom, that the murderer 
should be dispatched by his own brother, and the horrid task was 
accordingly performed. 

About 10 o'clock we resumed our traverse of the country. 
Directing our course to the northeast through the prairies, we 
crossed over high broad ridges which might be laid into beauti- 
ful farms. The fertility of these lands has been noticed. Such 
elevations we would expect to be exempt from mud in all seasons, 
nor do we believe that any unwholesome exhalation would 

At the distance of one mile and a half, we came to Otter 
Creek which is a fine mill stream. One mile above the ford is an 
excellent mill seat, which has just been located by R. Markle, 
and which he intended soon to occupy. 

This prairie is thirteen miles long. The surface declines to 
the eastward, and becomes so low near the creek, that the water 
flows thro' in times of flood, forming a bayou which communi- 
cates with Honey creek. From the ford, the course of Otter creek 
is nearly north-west, and just before its junction with the river, 
the Terre Haute Prairie terminates. 

Agreeably to previous observation, Otter creek is sheltered by 
woodland, and the trees appear on each side as far as the clayey 
sediment extends. 

Spring Creek Prairie lies to the north of this stream. It is 
about four miles from north to south, and nearly two from east 
to west. We have seen no tract of this extent equally delightful. 


David Thomas 


One glance takes in the whole opening; and the eye, undazzled by 
distant prospects that fade into ether, rests with pleasure on 
woods distinctly visible. 

The woods on the northern boundary, chiefly consist of beech, 
sugar maple and oak, spread over uplands, which terminate the 
prairies on the east side of the river. Along the south border 
of this tract, Spring Creek, a light mill stream, meanders. Its 
sources are among the hills, and being fed by durable fountains, 
it suffers less diminution in summer, than many of the larger 
streams to the south. 


We believe that this prairie will be salubrious. From the 
exhalations of the river, it is sheltered by high lands on the 
west, which are crowned with oak. No streams sink into its sands. 
These, with the soakings of the country to the eastward, are inter- 
cepted by Lost Run, which flows southerly towards Otter Creek; 
and it appears that no bayou in times of flood, divides it. 

The latter circumstance merits consideration. The surface of 
this prairie, like that of Terre Haute, slopes from the sides towards 
the middle, and exhibits a depression throughout its whole length. 
This is in the same line with the bayou from Otter Creek; and if 
Spring Creek, instead of its short course, formed a channel for 
the surplus water of a large district, it would doubtless pass 
through. Indeed I am not convinced that this does not happen, 
in extraordinary floods. 

On the north side of this stream, we traversed the open woods 
along the base of the hill. This, we were told, was the route of 
the army to Tippecanoe; and we saw timothy of fine growth, prob- 
ably from seed which was scattered at that time. 

On the banks of a small brook of pure water, which flows from 
the hill, we took our noontide repast. We were then six or eight 
miles beyond the limits of the civilized world; and no white set- 
tlers of any description, are known above Fort Harrison. 

Gun flints, similar to those which we noticed near Indian 
Kentucky, are found in the channels of the brook. I have seen 

none which give more fire with steel. 

In moist places, the common wild nettle (Urtica divaricata) 
occupies much of the soil. Its sting, which was doubtless designed 
for a defence, is severe to horses; and one of our hacknies was so 
irritable as to lie down under the rider. 

On the west side of Spring Creek, where it turns north, we 
found an opening of many acres. Beyond it, towards the river, 
the land is a sandy plain, above the reach of floods, and thinly 

T— 7 

98 Early Travels in Indiana. 



covered with oak of moderate size. We consider this an eligible 
site for a village. The Wabash flows at its base; the descent to 
the water is short and easy; and the communication* with the 
country, will probably be at all times uninterrupted. 

Near this plain, the strawberry plant grows in abundance; 
but the season for gathering the fruit, in this climate, had long 

since past. 

Some idea of the fertility of the woodlands that surround these 
prairies, may be obtained from the growth of the Ambrosia 


triftda, which we frequently observed. In no other region have I 
seen it, except on the first flats of rivers. 

This day's journey was productive of much satisfaction. We 
had proposed to encamp; but unprovided with punk,] and unsuc- 
cessful in all our attempts to kindle fire, we were compelled to 
return to our former lodgings, more than ten miles from the dis- 
trict in which we wished to spend to-morrow. No traveller in 
new countries should be destitute of a tinder-box. 

7 mo. 14. — From our lodgings, the prospect of this great 
prairie is delightful. The night was cool, and the morning drip- 
ping with dew. The sun at rising, was obscured by a dense cloud 
of fog which settled near the border of the prairie; and on enquiry, 
we learned that a brookf flowed from the hills at that 
and was lost in the sands. - x 

We now proceeded eastward across the Prairie. Knolls or 

ridges of several acres, lying in a north and south direction, appear 

through these wastes; and evince a commotion to which we 

cannot conceive any river flood to be subject. In the bayou 

towards the middle of this tract, our horses waded through much 
standing water. 

Near the eastern border of the Prairie we saw a field of corn, 
the seed of which had been dropt in every third or fourth furrow, 
and the sod consequently turned down upon it. We consider it a 
strong proof of the lightness and warmth of the soil. From seed 
corn treated in such manner in our cool and moist "climate, no 
return could be expected. One precaution, however, is necessary. 
The inverted soil must be rolled or trodden closely down: for if 

♦The following remark appeared in a Vincennes newspaper, in 1817. "It should 
not be j or gotten by those who know, nor should it remain untold to those who do not 
know, that there are few places on the Wabash, where high land approaches it so as to 
afford at all seasons of the year, easy access to the river." 

fPunk is a fungus, which extends its sponge like fibres through the decaying wood. 
The maples and hickories are the only trees in which we have seen it perfect. 

JLost Creek, for which see the map. 


David Thomas. 


the plumule unfolds within the cavity, it will be unable to pierce 
the soil, and must perish. 

Crops, in the first season that the prairies are ploughed, exhibit 
but little of that luxuriance of vegetation, which in succeeding 
years is so remarkable. This is imputed to the hardness of the 
wild grass roots, which consist chiefly of the woody fibre, absorb 
even when buried a part of the nutriment contained in the soil, and 
yield very slowly to decay. 

Several families have erected huts in the edge of the wood- 
lands. The inducement has been the convenience of timber and 
fire wood, a supply of water, and land adjoining ready cleared. 
But we consider the situation unhealthy. The brooks that descend 
from the hills, having no channel or outlet to the river, spread, 
when swelled by heavy rains, and deposit all the impurities that 
were whirled along by the torrent. The herbage had been coated 
with mud, and the smell at this time was very offensive. 

Changing our course to the north, we crossed Otter Creek at 
the old ford, and bearing to the east side of Spring Creek Prairie, 
we passed through groves and thickets that form its border in that 
direction. This tract is very little elevated above the prairie, 
and from its soil and productions, belongs to the class of barrens. 
We saw some openings of several acres, moist, and which might 
form productive meadows. These spaces were beautifully 
chequered with the meadow sweet, a species of Spirea which 

is herbaceous. 

At the distance of two or three miles from Spring Creek Prai- 
rie, we came to a rectangular opening of thirty or forty acres 
which greatly resembled an old field. It is enclosed by black 
oaks of good size. The surface is handsomely level, and the soil 
has marks of fertility; but near the north west corner, where a 
tree had torn up the subsoil, I found a whitish sand, with scarcely 
any traces of that black fertilizing matter, which so strongly 
marks the river prairies. 

We had intended to visit Raccoon Creek, the mouth of which 
forms one point in the north bounds of the New Purchase, being 
desirous to see the extensive forests of black walnut, which are 
on the upper parts of that stream; but there was a prospect of 
rain, and the day was too far advanced. It was therefore deter- 
mined to explore the lands adjacent to Spring Creek. For this 
purpose, directing our course westwardly through moist prairies, 
which are separated by thin groves of stunted oak, we came to 
Lost Run. At this time I judged its current to be as heavy as 

100 Eaely Travels in Indiana. 

Spring Creek; but its channel indicated a stream of inferior 
magnitude; and our intelligent friend informed us, that in severe 
drowths it ceases to flow. Its banks were thickly covered with pea- 
vine, as it is here called; but I think it nearer allied to the bean. 
The aspect of this plant is pleasing, the blossom blue, and the 

vegetation luxuriant. 

Near the north east corner of Spring Creek Prairie, we found 

a grove of sugar maple on land that declines towards the Creek. 
Wherever this tree flourishes, the soil is favorable to the produc- 
tion of timothy; and, in all places that we have seen, contains no 
inconsiderable portion of clay. Here a farm might be located 
that would embrace sandy prairie, fine meadows, a durable stream, 


good timber, and an extensive sugar camp. 

In the woods on the south bank of Spring Creek, we found the 
remains of wigwams, erected by the Indians, on their hunting 
expeditions. Some were evidently designed as winter habitations. 
Of these, dry leaves interlaced with small poles, formed the walls; 
and the work displayed much skill and neatness. 

We have seen no serpent in travelling four days, except a small 
garter snake, which was coiled on a leaf two feet from the ground. 

In traversing such delightful regions, the mind acquires a 
degree of cheerfulness that rarely attends it in the deep gloom 
of the forest. But on reverting to the long toils and privations 
that beset the inhabitant of the wilderness, — and on contrasting 
the lightness of labour to possess these ancient abodes — a feeling 
more intense must pervade the patriot. The dark days of his 
country are past. In fancy, must he view the current of popula- 
tion breaking from the mountains, full, broad, resistless; and 
the vast and long deserted plains of the Mississippi, fill with 
life, with intellect, and with elegance. 




"THE State of Indiana is bounded on the north by a parallel 
of latitude, ten miles north of the southern extremity of Lake 
Michigan; on the south by the Ohio river; on the east by a merid- 
ian passing through the mouth of the Great Miami; and on the 
west by the Vincennes meridian, until, in coming south, it inter- 
sects the Wabash, and then by that river to its confluence with 
the Ohio." 

David Thomas. 


Of the first settlement made at Vincennes by the French, it 
is difficult to find two accounts that agree. The old French records 
were destroyed by fire; and all that has descended to us on this 
subject, appears to be traditional. Two of my correspondents 
have furnished the subjoined paragraphs. Both accounts are too 
interesting to be omitted; and the difference of the dates shows 
the uncertainty of the reports in circulation at Vincennes, though 
I think the chronology of the first should be preferred. 

"About the year 1690 the French traders first visited Vin- 
cennes, at that time a town of the Piankeshaw Indians, called 
Cippecaughke. Of these the former obtained wives, and raised 

"In the year 1734 several French families emigrated from 
Canada and settled at this place. The first governor, or com- 
mandant, was M. St. Vincent, after whom the town is now called. 
In the year 1763 the country was ceded to the British who held it 
till the year 1778, when the fort was taken by the American 
Gen. George Clark. The United States confirmed the French in 
their possessions; and a donation of a tract of country round the 
Post, was made to the inhabitants." 

"About the year 1702, a party of French from Canada, 
descended the Wabash river, and established posts in several places 
on its banks. The party was commanded by Capt. St. Vin- 
cennes who made this his principal place of deposit, which went 
for a long time by no other name than the Post. 

"The French of this place, took an active part on our side in 
the war that separated us from Great Britian; but not until they 
saw an adequate force to assist them in maintaining their stand- 
ing. In Ramsay's Life of Washington, it is stated, that a Spanish 

merchant of this place, gave information to the Americans, of 

the situation and strength of the British forces that were sta- 
tioned here, and that Col. Clark easily obtained possession by his 
directions. This Spanish merchant, as he is there called, is the 
venerable Col. Vigo, who resides about three miles south east of 
Vincennes. He is an ornament to the country and a warm friend 

to our government. " 

"In the Indian wars that ended in 1794, the people of this 
place, though not active, defended themselves against the Indians. 
The latter, however, were not very hostile towards the French, but 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


killed the Anglo-Americans without mercy wherever they could 

be found. 

"In our last war, the French were as much engaged against the 

Indians as any other inhabitants of the frontier. 

Vincennes, from its antiquity/and from having long been the 
capital of the Western Country, merits a more particular descrip- 
tion than could be included in the Diary. The manuscripts that 
now lie before me on this subject are voluminous; part of which 
have been supplied by my correspondents, and part have been pro- 
cured from other sources. 

In the following account of the houses in this town, I place 
the fullest confidence, as the writer was so obliging as to examine 
every part of it, on receiving my request for information. 

"There are eight brick houses, ninety-three frame houses, and 
one hundred and fifty French houses — in all, two hundred and 
fifty-one. These are exclusive of barns, stables, and old uninhab- 
ited houses, which I think are equal to the number of French 
houses, and make the whole number of buildings about four hun- 
dred. On the commons east of the town, there are many cellars 
and old chimney places, which lead me to suppose that Vin- 
cennes has decreased in the number of buildings." 

Some idea of the commerce, manufactures, and importance of 
this place, may be obtained from the following List, which is 
dated 1st of 1 mo. 1818. 

18 Store of Merchandise, (a) 
6 Taverns, (6) 
4 Groceries 
4 Black-Smiths' Shops 

2 Gun Smiths' shops 

3 Shoemakers' shops 

3 Saddlers' shops 

4 Tailors' shops 

2 Cabinet Makers 

3 Hat Factories 
1 Silver Smith 

1 Tin Factory 
1 Chair Maker 

1 Tobacconist 
1 Tannery 

1 Apothecary 

2 Printing Offices, (c) 
7 Lawyers 

7 Physicians 

1 Limner 


Academy, (e) 
Post Office 
Bank, (/) 
U. S. Land Office 
Court House (g) 
Jail, (h) 

2 Market Houses, and a Livery 



This note will comprise all my remarks on the com 

merce of the Wabash. 

We learned at Vincennes that the merchants only 


cash in pay for goods. At that time, the surplus productions of 

B ■■ 

David Thomas. 


the soil were too small to have formed any regular channel to dis- 
tant markets. I am not able to state that it is even now accomp- 
lished, but all kinds of produce are in brisk demand for cash. The 
chief part of these purchases are doubtless to supply the immediate 
wants of the new settlers; but cash has been offered for large 
quantities of grain at several places near the river. 

In the 2d month, 1818, the following prices were current: 

$ Cents. 


Wheat, per bushel, was 

Corn, per bushel, was 

Potatoes, per bushel, was 

Pork, per cwt , 

Beef, per cwt 3 to 4 

37| to 50 

4 50 


The reader will recollect, that in 1816, Corn was only 25 
cents, and a considerable advance in price, has therefore taken 

In the prices of Dry Goods, there is not much difference be- 
tween Vincennes and some of the stores in Cayuga county. 
In respect to Groceries on the Ohio River, as well as on the Wabash, 
the following retail prices are current : 

Coffee, per pound $ 37 £ 

When scarce 

New Orleans sugar, per pound 

Loaf sugar, per pound (on the Ohio river) 

Loaf sugar, per pound (at Vincennes) 

Young Hyson, per pound 

Brandy, per gallon 


37 h 

1 50 

Madeira Wine, per gallon, first quality (at Vincennes) 8 

Common Rum, per gallon 4 

Iron, per pound, retail 

Ham, per pound, retail 



Together with Salmon and Herring, Shad are sometimes 
brought from New Orleans, and retailed at 25 cents a pound, or 
62J cents each. Mackerel 25 cents a piece. White fish are 
brought from the neighbourhood of Detroit. 

Since the Kanhawa works have been monopolized, salt* has 
greatly advanced in price along the Ohio. When we were at Vin- 
cennes; it was said that a large quantity could be bought at $5, 
but $6 was the common price. Now it is sold at $10 a barrel, and 

*Salt at Cincinnati, in 12 mo. 1818, was selling at $3 per bushel of 50 lbs. ; and at 
Vevay, it was sold for $3.50. Salt is sold according to the marks made on the barrels 
at the Kanhawa works ; and on account of the leakage of the brine, a loss of weight is 
commonly sustained. 

104 Early Travels in Indiana. 

retailed from $2, to $2.50 a bushel. Salt from the Salines near 
Shawnee Town, at $1.50 a bushel. Last autumn at Fort Harrison, 
it was sold for $15 a barrel, — a scarcity having been occasioned 
by unusual floods in the river 

Common boards sell at $1.50 per 100 feet. Plank at $2. 


The amount of merchandise in Vincennes two years ago, was 
estimated at one hundred thousand dollars. 

The merchants of that town procure New Orleans goods at 

Beer and Porter are brought from the breweries in Cincinnati. 

The current charge for transportation of goods from Pittsburgh* to 

Vincennes is per cwt. $1 00 

When boats are scarce 1 25 

From Vincennes to Pittsburgh 3 00 

From Vincennes to New Orleans 1 00 

To Vincennes from New Orleans . ■ 4 00 

(6) An innkeeper, in a Vincennes paper of "Feb. 6, 1818," 

offers to accommodate his customers on the following terms, 

"Breakfast $0 25 

Dinner 25 

Supper 25 

Lodging. . 12| 

Horse to corn and hay one night 37| 

One horse feed 12£ 

This agrees well with our experience of tavern bills, though in 
some places the charges were higher. For instance, a horse at 
oats and hay one night was 50 cents. But oats are scarce in 
Indiana, and horses are fed on corn, which is shovelled out to 
them without measure. The common practice is to charge 12| 
cents for a feed; that is, as much as the horse can consume, be it 
more or less. 

In some good houses in the state of Ohio, the fixed price was 75 
cents for every thing that a traveller needs for one night, includ- 
ing his horse. But in that state, sometimes we meet with extor- 

(c) The following Newspapers were published in Indiana in 
2d mo. 1818. These were all weekly. 


♦The transportation from Pittsburgh to Louisville is from 40 to 50 cents per cwt. 
* when the amount of freight is considerable. 


David Thomas. 



The Western Sun Vincennes E. Stout, Editor 

Indiana Centinel Vincennes S. Dillworth. 

Indiana Register Vevay J. F. Dufour. 

Indiana Republican Madison J. Lodge. 

Dearborn Gazette Lawrenceburg B. Brown. 

Indiana Gazette Corydon A. Brandon. 

Indiana Herald Corydon R. W. Nelson. 

Plain Dealer Brookville B. F. Morris. 

"The above offices,- except the Western Sun, have all been 
established since the constitution of this state was formed." 

N.B. — We learn that the Herald is discontinued at Corydon, and the Indianian, 
by the same editor, is now published at Jeffersonville. 

(d) "This was built by the French Roman Catholics, and in 
their own style. It is sixty-six feet in length, about twenty-two 
feet wide, and nine feet from the ground to the eaves. It has a 
kind of steeple, about eight feet high, with a small bell." 

"The Roman Catholics, at present, have no pastor, and no 
other religious society is established. Itinerants of all sorts 
preach here occasionally, and have nearly the same audience." 

(e) "The Academy stands east of the town. It can be seen a 
considerable distance in every direction, and makes a very hand- 
some appearance. It was erected in 1807. The walls are brick; 
the length is sixty-five feet the width forty-four feet, and the 
height three stories. It was designed for eighteen rooms. Ten 
thousand dollars have been expended, and it stands unfinished. 
The fund consists of land, twenty-five miles south of this place. 
The Legislature authorized the sale of a part of this tract, and 
appointed twenty-one trustees to govern the Institution;" but 
the hopes of its founders have not been realized. "Only a common 
school has been kept in it. [March 24, 1817."] 

"Two large Schools are now kept in this town." 

"A Library was established in 1817, which now consists of 
more than 700 volumes. The annual contribution is two dollars 


on each share." 

(/) This institution was chartered on the 10th of September, 
1814, and the capital has been increased to $1,500,000. Nathaniel 
Ewing, President; Isaac Blackford, Cashier. 

A power is vested in the Directors to establish branches, so 
as not to exceed one to every three counties; and one has lately 
been located at Brookville. 

On the "29th of November, 1817, a dividend was declared by 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 



the Directors at the rate of twelve per cent, per annum, for th 
last six months on amount of stock paid in." 

The charter of the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank of Madison, 
also bears the date of September 10, 1814. The capital is $500,000, 
John Paul, President, and John Sering, Cashier. A branch has 
been fixed at Lawrenceburgh, Thomas Porter, Cashier. 


I • 


This is a brick building, forty by fifty feet, and two 

stories high. It is very handsome and commodious. 



The jail is built of logs. 

The livery stable is of brick, and very large. 


" Above the town, though within sight, they are building a 
steam grist mill and saw mill. The latter is so far completed, as to 
have commenced sawing timber for itself and the grist mill, 
on the 1st of January, 1818." 

Vincennes is situate one hundred and twenty miles by the 
road, north-west of Louisville; one hundred and seventy east of 
St. Louis by the present route; three hundred miles south south- 
west of Chicago; and one hundred and sixty miles northeast of 

The number of Inhabitants at Vincennes has been estimated at 
from 1,500 to 2,000. 

"Unimproved lots of half an acre, on the principal streets, 
sell from five hundred to one thousand dollars. In the back 
streets, the prices of lots are from fifty to one hundred dollars.' ' 
7 mo. 1817. 


To their former intercourse with the Indians, we trace a sin- 
gular practice in this town. "As soon as it becomes dark every 

store is shut up 



pondent adds, that "though licen- 

also rigidly abstain from 

tiousness and dissipation prevail, they also r 
opening them on the sabbath." 

Climate is always an interesting subject to the geographical 
enquirer; and all my correspondents, aware of this circumstance, 

have b 

minute in their remarks 

Accurate observatio 

the thermometer have been made and registered by Judge Parke," 
of whom my obliging friend J. B. Bennett, procured the follow- 
ing statement. It will be perceived that an account of one month 
has been inadvertently omitted. 


David Thomas 



"December, 1816 17 lowest 

January, 1817 .11 below zero 

February , 5 below 

March 18 





July. . . - 

August 53^ 

September 40 

October 23 


November 24 

December 2 

January, 1818 5 below zero 

February (to the 12th) 16 below zero 


61 highest 














As the seasons are infinitely irregular, I deem it best to give the 
views of my correspondents separate and entire. The difference 

in their statements, may be reconciled by considering that some 
have drawn conclusions from a long series of observations; and 
that others have been guided by a few recent facts. A consider- 
able difference of temperature is also observable, between the 
black sandy prairies, and the clayey woodlands. 

"The winds in summer prevail most from south and west; in 
the winter from the north and east.* East winds generally pro- 
duce falling weather. West winds are common with a clear sky. 

"The Summer is generally dry, especially in the month of 
August. At such times vegetation is checked, particularly in 
sandy soils, and the streams diminish considerably. Wells, how- 

ever, seldom or never fail at Vincennes. 

"In winter, the atmosphere is generally clear and cold. 


Snows are seldom more than three inches deep, and are commonly 
melted by sunshine. Sleighing sometimes continues for two Or 
three weeks. 

"Spring is attended by much wet and cloudy weather. Vegeta- 
tion commences about the 20th of March. The peach blossoms 

*I do not consider this to be incompatible with the statement which 1 received at 
Lick Creek. The direction of winds thro' the vallies of large streams and over elevated 


plains, in the same neighbourhood, is often very different; and this circumstance de- 

serves the attention of all those who study M 

The following ex- 

tract from Cook's last Voyage, will place this subject in a clear and proper point of 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

the last of that month. Grass is abundant after the first of April, 
but young cattle do well in the river bottoms during the whole 



winter. The strawberry ripens the last week in April 
harvest commences from the 20th to the 30th of June 

frosts have been noticed as late as the first of May, and the earliest 
autumnal frosts about the first of November. To this, however, 
there are some exceptions. July 18, 1817."* 

"The depth of our snows for the last ten years, has not exceeded 
six inches. The thickness of the ice, in the Wabash, is sometimes 
ten or twelve inches. Ploughing may be commenced by the tenth 


of March, and carried on with very little subsequent interruption 
from frost or snow. Strawberries ripen about the 15th of May. 
White frosts are sometimes seen in the early part of April, and have 
been known on the 23d of October. March 30, 1817." 

"Winter generally sets in about the first of January, and 
breaks up about the first of March. Last winter the thickness of 
the ice in the Wabash, was eight inches; and this winter [1818] 
about the same. The snow at Princeton has been four inches deep; 
at Vincennes eight inches deep for five weeks, and at Fort Harrison 
twelve inches deep." 

''Wheat harvest is generally about the last of June or first of 
July. Strawberries ripen about the middle of May. In backward 
seasons, common fruit trees are in full bloom about the middle of 
April, but often earlier. Vernal frosts are all over by the first of 
May, tho' last spring was an exception. Autumnal frosts at Vin- 
cennes commonly begin about the first of November. Last fall I 
saw beans, tobacco, and other tender vegetables, unhurt by 
frosts on the 4th of November; but in the vicinity of Fort Harri- 
son, frosts appear in September. The snows at this place are very 
light. Eight inches has been the deepest which has fallen in many 
years. Last winter there was little; but we had sleet, which made 
good sleighing for four or five days. 

"I have seen more serene weather, during this winter, than in 
ten winters in your country." 

♦"Before we had got up one anchor [in Awatska Bay] so violent a gale sprung up 
from the northeast, that we thought proper to moor again, supposing from the position 
of the entrance of the bay, that the current of wind would in all probability set up 
the channel. The pinnace was dispatched to examine the passage, and returned with 
intelligence, that the wind blew violently from the southeast, with a great swell setting 
into the bay. ' ' 

David Thomas. 


"On the 7th of November I left Corydon, and arrived on the 
13th. On our way, the snow fell about three inches deep. The 
weather from that time till the 20th, was cold, when it became 
mild, and continued so till the 10th of January. On the morn- 
ing of the 18th, the mercury stood eleven degrees below zero; 
the Wabash River closed, and has remained so ever since. [10th 
February, 1817.] 

"The snow has not at any time fallen more than three inches, 
and but three times in all. There is a peculiarity in this climate, 
and the absence of turbulent winds is remarkable. The old set- 
tlers agree, that there has been less snow than usual; but that 
the cold has continued longer than at almost any time within their 
recollection. Yet there has not been five days that a northern 
man would be uncomfortable at work with his coat off. 

"The farmer may be well employed the whole autumn and 
winter. Prairie lands, in particular, may be broken up with the 
plough from the first of March until the first of November, and 
most of his laborious business may be performed in temperate 


"I am told that a great portion of the year is warmer than in 
the vicinity of Philadelphia, but the nights in summer are much 
cooler. The mercury is seldom above 94 degrees, although it has 
been at 98. Wild greens are sometimes procured the first week in 
March. Peas with common attention are fit for use by the 15th 
of May, but with care may be produced much earlier." — W.P.B. 

I learned, while in that country, that the snow in eight years 
had not at any time exceeded five inches in depth. In the remark- 
able snow of 3 mo. 31, 1807, it was about eleven inches; but in 
Scipio it was two feet. 

Except when walking at noon day, we were seldom disagree- 
ably warm, although we wore boots, with coat, vest and pantaloons 
of fulled cloth; neither did we find one night in which a blanket was 
uncomfortable, unless in apartments heated by the afternoon sun. 

These observations include a period of ten - days near the 
Wabash river; but we were told that on the prairies it was some- 
times very hot;* and indeed this has been sufficiently indicated 
by the thermometer. 

*M. Birkbeck, however, says "the heat of this climate is not so oppressive as I 
expected. I have been using strong exercise through three of the hottest days that 
have been experienced in four years. On one of these days, I walked with my gun in 
the Prairie, and traveled on horseback the other two, without great inconvenience. 
The only sultry night I have experienced proved the prelude to a thunder storm". 

110 Early Travels in Indiana. 

Near Salem, on the high table land at the sources of Blue River, 
I was assured, that in the winter of 1815-16, the sleighing con- 
tinued for six weeks, though in part of that time the depth of the 


snow did not exceed one and a half inches. In Cayuga county, 
steady cold for such a period would be very remarkable: but the 
south winds, which often occur within the vicinity of the lakes, 
dissolve snows of common depth in a few hours. It appears that 
Indiana is exempt from these sweeping gales, and that the snows 
are melted by sunshine. 

As a test to these remarks, I give the following extracts from 
Dr. Drake's excellent "Picture of Cincinnati" This town it 

should be recollected, is situate in a deep reverberating valley of 
the Ohio; that part of the waters of this river arrive from the 
south, while those of the Wabash come from the regions of steady 

* * 

cold in winter; and though Vincennes is one third of a degree 
further south, probably the temperature is not higher than at 

The dates of his Calendar of Flora "are the mean terms of 
several years observations." From this list I can give only a 
few items, but the whole of his remarks deserve attention. 

March 5. Commons becoming green. 

April 8. Peach tree in full flower. 

April 18. Lilac tree in full flower. 

April 20. Apple tree in full flower. 

April 24. Dogwood tree in full flower. 

May 9. Flowering locust in full bloom. 

June 4. Cherries beginning to ripen. 

June 4. Raspberries beginning to ripen 


From 1806 to 1813 inclusive, the lowest extreme of Farenheit 
was eleven degrees below O, and the highest ninety-eight degrees. 

The greatest degree of cold ever observed at this place was 
on the 8th of January, 1797; when, according to Governor Sar- 
gent, the mercury fell to eighteen degrees below zero." 

"The quantity of snow which falls at Cincinnati is inconsid- 
erable. The deepest that has occurred was perhaps ten inches; 
but four is about the ordinary depth, and many are not more than 





two or three.- The ground seldom remains covered longer than two 
or three days." 

"The latest veneral [vernal] frosts are generally at the close of 
the first week in May. 


In general, the last of September is the earliest period at 
which white frost is perceptible in the valley of the Ohio." 


The Ohio Countries have been considered much warmer, in 
the same parallels, than the Atlantic states." This opinion, Dr. 
Drake has controverted with much ability; and his independence 
on this occasion, entitles him to the respect of every friend to 
natural science. He admits a difference of temperature, but deems 
this to consist more in the distribution than in the absolute quan- 
tity of heat. 

I am inclined to believe, however, that this difference of dis- 
tribution is in favour of the Western Country. Observations made 
near Schuylkill and in Cincinnati, at sunrise and at 2 P.M. though 
averaging the same, will give very unequal views of those climates 
In the south-eastern part of Pennsylvania, the approach of even- 
ing is often attended by an uncomfortable heat which is frequently 
protracted until • midnight, while on the western side of the 
mountains a refreshing coolness prevails. Here then, are several 
hours, of which we have no account, and which would, in summer, 
considerably affect the thermometrical register. If vegetation is 
equally advanced at Cincinnati under a lower temperature, the 
inference is clear that spring is milder than on the western [east- 
ern] side of the mountains. 

In addition to our own observations on the coolness at even- 
ing, I select the following notices : 

"The dew, in the woody vallies of this country, is so copious 
in the summer and early autumn, as to be felt before sunset. In 


the night it sprinkles from the trees like drops of rain; but in 
more elevated and open situations, its quantity is much less." 

"Melting, oppressive, sultry nights are unknown here. A 
cool breeze always renders the night refreshing." Birkbeck's 
Notes at Cincinnati. 

"The nights are more comfortable than they are even in Vir- 
ginia," Cramer, on the Climate of Mobile. 


112 Eaely Travels in Indiana. 

The water of the Wabash forms a good lather with soap. At 


Pittsburgh, for washing, the river water was good, but it becomes 
harder in its descent. At Cincinnati an increase of lime was evi- 
dent; and near the mouth of the Wabash, the water of the Ohio 

was hard. 

The reader may observe that limestone is scarce above Pitts- 
burgh, but in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana the quantity 
is immense. It appears, that in this stone there is always more or 
less gypsum. 

The Wabash has a gentle current, except at the Rapids, twenty- 
three miles below Vincennes. This obstruction, however, is 
not very difficult, as flat bottomed scows eleven feet wide, have 
readily ascended. 'Tn dry seasons, it is necessary to lighten 

"The Rapids are occasioned by flat rocks, which extend across 
the river and might easily be removed." 

"Steam* boats may navigate this river from four to six months 
in the year." 

The distance from Vincennes to the mouth, has been variously 
represented. It was formerly estimated at one hundred and fifty 
miles, and in some instances the computation has been reduced 
to one hundred. It appears to be about one hundred and twenty. 
Boats frequently go up in six days, but ten days are more com- 
monly required. 

The south wind which prevails in spring, and which greatly 
facilitates the ascent of boats, often becomes a head wind in 


consequence of the winding channel of the river. 

"The Wabash is boatable about four hundred and fifty miles. 
Perogues have been taken out of this river into the Miami of the 


Lake. In low water the portage is nine miles. This communica- 
tion is not so much used now as formerly." 

Neither the Ohio nor the Wabash can be ascended in times of 
full flood by common boats. The advantage which has been 
taken of the bayous on the latter river, has been noticed. 

My friend, D % Steer, observed that the navigation of White 
River must be difficult on account of its crookedness, as a boat, 
without great exertions and continual care, will cross the cur- 
rent and run a-ground. The Wabash is also remarkable for its 
serpentine course, and from Vincennes to Fort Harrison, which is 

* * 

*"It is expected that a steam boat will be in complete operation on the Wabash, 
next spring or summer." Letter of 6 mo. 16, 1818. 

David Thomas. 



only reckoned seventy miles by land, it is computed to be one 
hundred and fifty by water. 

"The Wabash is four hundred yards wide at its mouth, three 
hundred at Vincennes, and two hundred at Fort Harrison. It is 
fordable in many places." 

To avoid accompanying boats in the tardy ascent of this river, 
many travellers land at Evansville* which is situate at the mouth 
of Great Pigeon Creek, and proceed to Vincennes by land. The 
distance is fifty-six miles. The road is tolerably good in summer, 
and much used; but after the autumnal rains, quicksands are fre- 
quent in the barrens through this country. 

Princeton stands on the road between these towns, and is 
twenty-eight miles from each. It is four miles south of the 
Potoka river on a handsome elevation. The following list was 
made in 1 mo. 1818. 

"Brick houses, three; frame houses, ten; log houses eighty. 
Total ninety-three. Six stores of merchandise; three taverns; 
three lawyers; two physicians. There is also a court house, jail, 
clerk's office, recorder's office, post office, and the following 
mechanics' shops: blacksmiths, two; cabinet makers, one; gun- 
smiths, one; shoemakers, two; taylor, one; saddlers, two; hat- 
ters, one; tannery, one; chairmaker, one." 


The inhabitants are principally Kentuckians." 

"Instances of longevity are frequent. There are now living 
in Vincennes four Frenchmen, who were at the defeat of General 
Braddock, and who have lived here between fifty and sixty years. 
There are, also, two French women between eighty and ninety 
years old. One person by the name of Mills, died on the Wabash, 
aged one hundred and fifteen years." 3 mo. 30, 1817. 

"A soldier who was with the troops that defeated general 
Braddock, now resides here. He is a stout healthy man, and able 
to labour, though near one hundred years old. He has always 

been temperate." July 1817. 

This is not used to invalidate the first statement. Another 
account says, "last year there were four Frenchmen at Vincennes, 
who were in Braddock's defeat, and two this year." 1818. 


and New Orleans. 

T— 8 

114 Early Travels in Indiana. 

The army worm is periodical. The cut worm and the cater- 
pillar are annual, but their depredations are inconsiderable. The 
weevil is unknown on the Wabash." 

The correctness of Thomas Jefferson's opinion, that the Bee 
is not a native of our continent, has been questioned. I have 
therefore been particular in my inquiries, and the following state- 
ment will be read with interest. 

"It appears that the time has been, when the bee was not 
known in our country. The old French settlers saw none; and 
toward the Mississippi, it has not been more than twenty or 
twenty-five years since it was first discovered. J. M'Donald 


informs me, that in the Military bounty lands above the junction 
of the Illinois with the Mississippi, which he surveyed last winter, 
the bee has not been seen more than fifteen years." 

Another correspondent says, "Bees are very plenty in the 
woods; and as the Indians here call them "white people's flies", 
it is believed they are not natives. 

"Great quantities of honey have been found in the woods 
above Fort Harrison. One man found twelve bee-trees in less 


than half a day." 6 mo. 16. 1818. 

Pine grows up the Wabash, and on the knobs of the Ohio 
and Silver Creek." It appears, however, to be a scarce article, 
and even window-sash is made of black walnut. 

"Red cedar, of good quality, is found up the Wabash." 

"I have seen neither the chestnut nor cucumber tree in this 



Wherever the fire ceases to ravage, wild fruits soon become 


abundant. The plumb, the crab apple, and the persimmon 
trees appear in the borders of the Prairies; and the grape-vine 
should be included in this remark. Near M. Hoggatt's, we judged 
that a hogshead of hazel nuts might be readily collected. A corre- 
spondent confirms these observations. 

"This country produces grapes in the greatest abundance. I 
came down the Wabash eight miles by water. The shores are 

David Thomas. 


lined with willows, many eight or nine inches in diameter, and the 
whole appear to be loaded with grape vines. Hazel nuts are equally 
plenty. The same may be said of the black walnut and hickory 
nut, and of the latter there are several kinds. These afford food 
in abundance for hogs, and they live through the winter in the 
woods without any other sustenance." — "It is not uncommon for a 


farmer to kill one hundred hogs and receive six hundred dollars 
for them, without giving them one ear of corn. I know one man, 
who sold pork this winter [1818] to the amount of one thousand 
dollars, without one dollar's cost for food." 


"The Pecan in the middle is about the size of a white oak 
acorn, but much longer, and terminates at each end in a point. 
I think these are more delicious than the small shell bark. 

"The Persimmon [near Vincennes] is quite plenty. It grows 
on a large shrub, or small tree. The fruit is about the size of a 
small peach, and is very delicious. The green fruit is remark- 
ably astringent; and if eaten, affects the mouth so much, that for 
some time the person is almost incapable of speaking. 

"The papaw is another fruit which is unknown in New York. 
I have seen some trees of these twenty or twenty-five feet in 
height. The fruit is cylindrical, and larger than a turkey egg, 
ripens late in autumn, and then becomes yellow. The seeds like 
those of the persimmon, resemble gourd seed. The scent and 
flavour are too luscious to be agreeable to those who are unused 
to this fruit; but the disgust soon abates, and we find it highly 


With these fruits, I have been familiar from infancy, but 
have preferred the language of my correspondent. 

"Wherever a high piece of land appears on one side of the 
River, the opposite shore is low and sunken; and from Raccoon 
Creek, fifteen miles above Fort Harrison to the mouth of the river, 
I believe there is no exception to this remark. 

"There is one inconvenience attending this country, exclu- 
sive of the overflowing of the Wabash. All its tributary streams 
after a heavy shower of rain, rise above the banks; and overflow 
the low land adjoining, which on all, is of considerable extent. 
In time of high water, it is one of the most difficult countries to 
travel through, I ever saw. I have known it for more than 
four weeks at one time, that no person could get away from Union 
Prairie, without swimming his horse, or going in a boat." 


Early Travels in Indiana 

"The Buffalo has totally abandoned our country, but the Elk 
till remains in many places." . 


"Raccoons are in great plenty, and very destructive to corn. 
"The Pole Cat or Skunk are very numerous through out the 


:ountry, as well on prairie as on wood land. 


The Op 

also inhabits this country in great numbers 

Some are as white as snow, and others of a light grey, resembling 
in colour the grey rabbit. 

The Porcupine has been seen in this country, but is very 





The Prairie Wolf is numerous. In size, it is a medium 
between the red fox and the common grey wolf. The colour is 
grey. Its ears are sharp and erect like those of the fox. Unless 
several are in company, it is not destructive to sheep; but it 
destroys lambs and young pigs. On Christmas day, 1816, thirteen 
were killed on Fort Harrison Prairie without firing a gun. During 
the same winter, there were about thirty killed on Union Prairie, 
by running them down with dogs and horses. It is very resolute 
when attacked and unable to escape; no dog alone is able to sub- 
due it. In the summer season it is not to be seen; but in winter 
it frequents the prairies in great numbers. 

"The grey and the black wolf are also natives. Whether these 
are different species or not, I must leave undetermined. 

I find no black squirrels in this country, but it abounds with 
grey ones hardly so large as the black squirrel with you. 




"The Pelican, so common on the Mississippi, also frequents 
tnis river, but not in great numbers. I saw the head of one which 
had been taken near Vincennes. From the point of the bill, which 
is from seven to ten inches long, a pouch or loose skin extends to 
the breast, which would contain about ten quarts." 

"The Swan is sometimes seen on this river." 

The Crow appears in great numbers, and are very destructive 

to corn. 



A bird inhabits this country, called the sandy hill Crane 

Its size is remarkable. When full grown and standing erect 

its legs and neck are very long) it is between five 



David Thomas. 


in height. The colour ie nearly that of iron rust. I have seen large 
flocks on the prairies. It is very wild and noisy. When slightly 
wounded, no dog can approach it with impunity." 

"The Prairie Hen is rarely seen in summer; but in winter, it 
is more numerous on the prairies than quails are in the state of 
New York. The size is nearly that of the common domestic hen. 
It is spotted like the guinea fowl, but the colour is browner, like 
the pheasant. The tail is shorter and does not spread like that of 
the pheasant. The difference between the cock and the hen is not 
greater than in those of the quail; the male is a little larger, and 
the stripes on the side of the head are a little brighter than those 
of the female. It can fly much farther, and with more apparent 
ease, than either the quail or pheasant. As an article of food, I 
think it inferior to the dung-hill fowl. It lays about twenty eggs, 
and brings forth its young in the early part of summer. Though its 
common food is procured in the woods, it is fond of corn and 

grain.' ' 

"The Robin and the red headed Woodpecker are numerous." 

"On the approach of any large bird the Parroquets immed- 
iately commence flying round and round in flocks, screaming most 
hideously. In this way, they escape the hawk." 

"The Hen Hawk is not very numerous." 

"Wild Turkies abound in this country. Wild geese and ducks 

are also plenty. I have never seen a loon in these waters." 

"The Wabash abounds with fish of many kinds; which, in the 
months of April, May and June, may be readily caught with the 
hook and line." 

The Gar or Bill fish is more than two feet in length. It is 
quite slim. The bill is about six inches long, tapering to a point. 
Its scales are very close, thick, and hard." 

"The strength of this fish is great. In a small Creek which 
flows into the Wabash, I discovered a considerable number, and 
caught several in my hands; but was absolutely unable to hold 


There are three kinds of Cat-fish: the Mississippi cat, the mud 
cat, and the bull head. Some of the first have weighed one hun- 
dred and twenty pounds. The mud cat is covered with clouded 
spots, and is a very homely fish. The head is very wide and flat. 
Some have weighed one hundred pounds. 


"The real sturgeon is found in the Wabash, though the size is 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

not large. These have been taken from twenty to sixty pounds 


"The shovel fish or flat nose is another species of sturgeon. It 

weighs about twenty pounds. 

"The pond pike is taken in ponds from one to three feet long, 
but very slim. It is an excellent fish. 

"The river pike is large and highly esteemed, but scarce. 


The drum or white perch weighs from 

to thirty pounds 

It is shaped like the sun fish 



The black perch or bass is excellent, and weighs from one to 

sn pounds. 

"The streaked bass is scarce. 
The Buffalo fish is of the sucker kind, and very common. 
Weight from two to thirty pounds. 

"The rock Mullet is sometimes seen three feet long. It is slim, 
and weighs from ten to fifteen pounds. 

"The red horse is also of the sucker kind. It is large and bony, 
weighing from five to fifteen pounds. 

"The Jack pike or pickerel is an excellent fish, and weighs from 
six to twenty pounds." 

In another communication, I found the silver-sides noticed 
without any description. "It weighs from three to six pounds." 

The eel is frequently taken in the Wabash, and weighs from 
one to three pounds. I was told that no fish was found in these 
waters of a good quality for pickling; and the facts, that mackerel 
are brought over the mountains from Philadelphia, and white 
fish from Detroit, tend to confirm that statement. 

"The fresh water clam or muscle is so plenty, as to be gathered 
and burnt for lime. Twenty years ago, I am told, no other kind 
of lime was procured." 

Craw fish, which resembles the lobster, is very common in the 

w lands of this country 



ger than the common 


It works in the ground, and throws up heaps of earth about 
six inches high, and hollow within. These little mounds are very 
numerous, and the surface of the ground resembles a honey comb." 

David Thomas. 


"The Ground Mole of this country is nearly as large as the com- 
mon rat. It is very injurious in gardens. It moves along at the 
depth of two or three inches under ground, raising a considerable 
ridge; and not only loosens the roots of vegetables, but devours 
them. It is remarkable how fast these little animals can force 
their way through the earth." 

"Horned cattle are subject to the murrain, which sometimes has 
been very destructive. It may be prevented by care, and cured by 
proper applications." 

In the old settled parts of this country, but little fodder is 


saved; the wood pastures are exhausted; and the cattle in spring, 
become poor, get sickly and die." 


"The most common diseases are fevers and agues, with some 
liver complaints. THe dysentery is very little known. In my 
opinion, diseases yield sooner to medicine than in more northern 

"The prevailing diseases of this country are bilious, which 
sometimes terminate in malignant typhus. It is quite rare to 
hear of sickness from November until some time in the summer," 

"A list of the prevailing diseases in this country is subjoined. 

"Typhus, gravior et minor — Bilious, intermittent and remit- 
tent fevers. Pleurisy is frequent in spring. Rheumatism and 
consumption are very rare, compared with New- York. A wet 
spring followed by drowth is an unfavourable indication." 

From my Diary of 7 mo. 15. I copy the following paragraphs. 

'It ought not to be concealed that at present in this country, 
there are many sick people; and we believe that there are many 
situations, some of which have been noticed, that may properly 
be denominated sickly; but we could not, with any propriety, 
extend this remark to the country in general. We know of no 
person who is sick near this river, but who would have been sick, 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

probably, with the same exposure in any part of the United 
States. The manner of removing hither, is such, that our surprise 
is rather excited that so few are diseased. Many are cooped up 
during the heat of summer for six weeks, exposed to the powerful 
reflection of the sun from the water, while the roof over their heads 
is heated like an oven. In addition, they have the smell of bilge 
water, and the exhalations from the muddy shores. Their daily 
drink is supplied by the river; its warmth relaxes the tone of the 
stomach; and the putrid particles which float through it, operate 


'On landing, their situation is not much better. Huts insuffi- 
cient to shelter them from storms, or from the chilling damps of 
the night, become their homes; and bad water, with provisions 
not well chosen, and to which the constitution is not habituated. 

mbine to derange to system. When this event happ 

fevers prevail, the 

not removed, and 

cases no proper medicine is administered. Such h 

ens, and 
in many 
been the 


from the eastward 





circumstances of many 


pecially of those who were indigent.' 

These paragraphs explain the causes of disease which in that 
summer so remarkably prevailed near the Wabash. Of the sick, 
the chief part were new comers. In 1815 the same observation was 
made; and from the population of Vincennes, and of the district 
immediately around it, which was estimated at three thousand, 
twenty-five persons died, but nineteen of that number were 

In the first settling of Cayuga county, it was remarked that 
emigrants from the eastward, were more sickly than those who 
crossed the mountains from the south. The causes of disease could 
be clearly traced to the marshes of the Seneca river, which was the 
common thoroughfare in summer, before the present turnpike 
road was completed. 

From what I have observed, a change of climate (where it 

chiefly consists of a change of temperature) has but a slight 

influence on a healthy constitution; and this will appear rational 

when we consider, that the heat of summer in high latitudes, is 

frequently as great and as oppressive as is regions far to the 

But a change of climate is often attended by other changes 


f greater importance 

Excessive and unaccustomed fatig 

uncomfortable lodgings, and inferior diet, are 

part of the 

vicissitudes to which travellers in new countries are exposed 

David Thomas. 


The danger to this class is sometimes increased by inquietude of 
mind, which prompts the convalescent to exertions beyond his 
strength; and a relapse in fevers is frequently fatal. 

Having thus brought the danger into view, some remarks on 
the best means to avoid it, may not be inappropriate. 

In the spring of 1817 the late S. R. Brown, desired my opinion 
on the question, whether a residence in Indiana would be favour- 
able to the health of emigrants from higher latitudes? A paper was 
accordingly prepared under the disadvantages of great haste and 
much indisposition, and without any corrections, published in his 
Western Gazetteer. The advice which it contains, however, 
I am persuaded is of importance; and having apprised him that 
that view of the subject was intended for this work, I shall pro- 
ceed with the transcription, altering, where I deem it proper. 
Much of this is intended for emigrants from the eastern states. 

Descend the river after the commencement of autumnal 
frosts. The effect of these in neutralizing or preventing putrid 
exhalations has been frequently observed; and the smell from 
the shores after a flood, in warm weather, is very offensive. 


Avoid going in a vessel with a leaky roof. A crowded boat 
is an inconvenient place to dry wet clothes; and the expense of 
being comfortably sheltered, will frequently be less than the dam- 
age in furniture, without considering the probable loss of health. 
To bend thin boards for a cover is customary, but not sufficient. 
I have seen no roof of that kind which would be a shelter from a 


driving shower of rain. A sick woman said to me near the Wabash, 
"I ascribe my sickness, in great measure, to one dismal night that I 
endured on the river. The rain poured through every part of the 
roof, and to sit on the bed with my children under an umbrella 
was our only refuge". 

If, however, to descend in spring is unavoidable, start as soon 
as the river is clear of ice. Make no delay; for not only health, but 
life may depend on a timely escape from the effluvia of those 

If the river be low, and by this or other unavoidable delays, 
warm weather should surround the emigrant on the river, guard 
against a heated roof overhead. Boards nailed on the inside, or 
an awning on the outside, will be important auxiliaries to com- 
fort and to health. 

At such times, no river water should be used without filter- 
ing. This operation may be expeditiously performed in a vessel 
like an upright churn with two bottoms. These are three or four 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


inches apart; and the upper, in which many small holes are bored, 

* * 

receives in the center, a tube one inch in diameter, extending above 
the vessel, and communicating with the cavity between the bot- 
toms. After spreading a cloth on the upper bottom, fill the vessel 
upward with well washed sand, and from above let in water down- 

ward through the tube 


a short time it will rise through 


d, divested of its impurities 

d run over at an ear in 

sufficient quantities for every culinary purpose 


a few day 

the apparatus may 


g. As the filth will be chiefly 

below, a hole opened in the lower bottom will allow it to pass 


See Melish's Travels, vol. 1. p. 159 

If the water h 

not an agreeable coolness, cider or strong 

beer should be mixed with it for drink, as the warmth without 
some stimulant will relax the tone of the stomach, and predispose 
the system to disease. 

But beware of spiritous liquors. If such, however, are taken, 
let the quantify be cautiously regulated. Every excess debilitates; 
and to think of escaping disease, by keeping always in a state of 
excitement, is desperate folly. When fevers attack such subjects 


it is commonly fatal. Some men who travel much, and who have 
neither moral nor religious scruples to dissuade them, totally 
abstain from spirits in unhealthy situations. Rich wholesome* 
food, guards the stomach much better from infection, nor would 

I omit in the list of such articles,. well cured ham and strong 



should never change their diet for the wor 

The fatiuges [fatig 

of mind and body, in most cases, requir 

that it should be for the better. To live comfortably is true econ- 
omy. Any additional expense in provisions would form but a 
small item in a doctor's bill, without taking into view the loss of 
time, of comfort, or of the expenses of nursing. To lay in a good 

stock of wholesome provisions should therefore, by no means, be 


On landing, let one of the first objects be to provide a com- 
fortable habitation. Water from brooks should be filtered, but 
during summer no dependance ought to be placed on this supply. 
If springs are not convenient, dig wells. Much of the sickness of 
new countries is induced by bad water. 

Let no temptation prevail on the emigrant to go fishing in 

*In a medical author I find the following interesting remark: "The predisposing 
cause of intermittents, is clearly debility, with penury of blood; because the robust, 
and such as have a generous diet, are most free from this disease. ' ' 

David Thomas. 


warm weather. Of the smell of the shores I have spoken. To be 
wet is imprudent; and to be exposed to the chilling damps of the 
night, greatly increases the danger. But fresh fish* are unwhole- 
some, except for a slight change of diet. We know of no new set- 
tlement that has been healthy, where the inhabitants live chiefly 
on fresh fish. If, however, fish must be eaten, buy them; any 
price is cheaper than health; and if fishing must be done, do 
it in cloudy weather; but at night be comfortably sheltered. 

Let no fertility of the river flats be an inducement to cultivate 
them, until naturalized to the climate; or more properly, recovered 
from the fatigues attending emigration, for composure of mind is as 
important as refreshment to the body. When the body is debili- 
tated either by labour or fasting, it is more susceptible of infec- 
tion, and these exhalations after floods are putrid. Land of an 
inferior quality, in a dry airy situation will yield greater neat 

Delay in taking medicine, is often fatal. The patient ought 
not to wait till he is down sick, but if the stomach is disordered, 
which is the case at the commencement of all fevers, a glass of 
pearl ash and water may afford relief. The quantity is stated at 
page 147. If this should prove insufficient, take an emetic," or 
small doses of emetic tartar, only to nauseate. Should this pro- 
duce an intermission, with a moist skin and clean tongue, take 
Peruvian bark, or those of dogwood, (box-wood) willow, or oak, 
which have been found eminently useful. 

Of alkaline medicines, perhaps pear lash is the best. Its good 
effect in cholera morbus, diarrhoea, &c. have been often experi- 
enced; and it is always an excellent preventive. It sweetens the 
stomach and promotes digestion. 

I have one caution more for the emigrant. The water, in 
places, throughout all the Ohio country, is saturated with sul- 
phate of lime. This, like the sulphates of soda and magnesia, is 
cathartic; and in one ounce doses, is an active medicine. Incon- 
venience to grown persons from these waters, however, is rarely 
experienced; but on small children the effect is considerable, and 

4 4 


flesh, but indulge freely in a fish diet, are said to be less nourished by it, and to become 


"The disorders of the system, the herpetic, leprous and scorbutic eruptions to which 
the ichthyophagi are said to be more especially liable, show, we think with other ob- 
servations, that fish is neither so easily digested nor assimilated to the human system 
as flesh. 

"Sea fish are more flourishing than those which inhabit the rivers and fresh waters." 
Edin. Encycl. Art. Aliment. 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

to those just weaned it has often proved fatal, by inducing 
diarrhoea * which exhausts the patient, for no medicine can give 


may be necessary to diminish the 

permanent relief while the occasional cause is unremoved 

easily done by refusing water and giving milk. If the disease 

is far advanced, paregoric 


From the same cause, the waters in many parts of the Western 
District of New- York, produce a similar effect. I discovered the 
benefit of this practice in one of my children, who seemed wast- 

; and have since witnessed much of its good 


to a skeleton 

effects on others 

The beautiful bluff above Turtle Creek, noticed at page 170, 
now called Merom, has become the seat of justice for Sullivan 
county; and was selected by commissioners appointed under an 
act of the Legislature. The agent, who was authorized to sell the 
lots, makes the following remarks in his advertisement: 

"It is situate on the east bank of the River, thirty-five miles 
above Vincennes, on that elevated ground known by the name 
of The Bluff, the highest bank of the Wabash from its mouth to 
the northf line of the state. The river washes the base of this 
high land one mile. Freestone [sandstone] and a quality [quan- 
tity] of [impure] limestone, appear in the bank in great abundance. 
Springs in every direction around the town are discovered. 


"From the most elevated point of the bluff, the eye can be 
gratified with the charming view of La Motte Prairie, immediately 
below in front; and with Ellison and Union Prairies on the right 
and left; the whole stretching along the river a distance of not 
less than thirty miles, and all now rapidly settling. In the rear 

*Children accustomed to take all their food in a liquid form, retain after weaning 
an eagerness for liquids; and as water is generally at hand, it is substituted for the 
mild aliment of which they have been deprived. When either the sulphate of lime or 
of magnesia, is held in solution, these substances operate actively on the delicate fibre 
and the peristaltic motion is greatly increased. In proportion to the loss of moisture 
thus sustained by the system, will be the thirst. With every draught fresh causes of 
irritation succeed, — the motion of the lacteals become inverted — and emaciation and 
debility rapidly ensue. 

fit should have been written east line of the State. In no part of its course does the 
Wabash approach the north line of the state. 


David Thomas. 


of this beautiful site, is a nourishing settlement of twenty or thirty 
farmers, three miles east of the town." 

GilVs Prairie, south three miles, has at present a handsome 
population of industrious farmers. 

"A mile and a half from the town, a mill will soon be erected 
on Turtle Creek by a* Mr. Bennett.— June 27, 1817." 

It is with much satisfaction, that we perceive a new name for a 
new town or village. Hitherto when the importations from Europe 
or Asia have been insufficient, it has become necessary to borrow 
from our neighbours, to a degree that is absolutely humiliating; 
and perhaps in no part of the United States is this practice car- 
ried to the same excess as in Ohio. The following list of names 
is copied from Kilbourn's Gazetteer of that state, published in 

6 towns or villages of the name of Fairfield. 
5 towns or villages of the name of Franklin. 

5 towns or villages of the name of Goshen. 

10 towns or villages of the name of Green. 

7 towns or villages of the name of Harrison. 
7 towns or villages of the name of Jackson. 

1 1 towns or villages of the name of Jefferson. 

6 towns or villages of the name of Liberty. 
14 towns or villages of the name of Madison. 

5 towns or villages of the name of Milford. 
5 towns or villages of the name of Oxford. 
5 towns or villages of the name of Pleasant. 
5 towns or villages of the name of Richland. 

7 towns or villages of the name of Salem. 

10 towns or villages of the name of Springfield. 
17 towns or villages of the name of Union. 

11 towns or villages of the name of Washington. 

12 towns or villages of the name of Wayne. 

To persons who find it necessary for them to impose a name, 
we would suggest, that any thing is more tolerable than the repe- 
titions that now assail us. 

Rapp's congregation are settled at Harmony, fifty miles below 
Vincennes. The cultivation of the vine has engaged their atten- 

*We object to employing the indefinite article in this manner. Though it may seem 
discourteous to attack in an individual, what fashion has sanctioned, yet we mean no 

personal rebuke — entering our protest in general terms against a custom, which in our 

ears has always been harsh, unnecessary and ungraceful. If the writer means in this 
manner to guard against mistaking one person for another, it must at least be conceded, 
that the attempt is awkward and insufficient; and as it is understood for a hint that 
the individual so noticed is obscure, we suggest whether its discontinuance would not 
be an advancement in good manners. 

126 Early Travels in Indiana. 

tion; but the manufacture of cloth, nails, &c. with the production ' 
of grain has claimed a share. A steam Mill has been erected. 

"We have a law which requires every military and civil officer 
to take an oath or affirmation to suppress duelling in every shape 
and form." It will be well if this oath be not considered as words 
without meaning, for on the opposite side of the Ohio, this 
atrocious practice is quite in fashion. 

"Forty dollars may be collected by a Justice of the Peace." 

I noticed the following vegetables growing indigenously, near 

the Wabash, between Vincennes and Fort Harrison; but am aware 

that this list gives a very imperfect view of the Botany of that 


Acer saccharinum sugar maple. 

Acer glaucum river maple. 

Acer negundo ash leaved maple. 

Acer rubum soft or red flowering maple. 

Ascelepias decumbens butterfly weed. 

Asclepias syriaca silk weed, Indian hemp. 

Asclepias milk weed and others. 

Annona triloba papaw. 

Arum dracontium many leaved Indian turnip. 

Asarum canadense wild ginger. 

Ar alia spinosa. . 

angelica tree. 

Aralia racemosa spikenard. 

Ambrosia trifida 

A?nbrosia artimisifolia hog or bitter weed. 

Adiantum pedatum maiden hair. 

Bignonia radicans red trumpet flower. 

Corylus americana common hazel. 

Corylus cornuta horned. 

Celtis occidentalis nettle tree or hackberry. 

Cercis canadensis fish blossom, or Judas tree. 

Car ex, many species sedge. 

Cassia marylandica wild 

Ceanothus americanus Jersey tea plant. 

Cephalanthus occidentalis button flower. 

Convallaria multiflora Solomon's seal. 

Convolvulus panduratus wild potatoe. 

Carduus, several species thistle. 

Carpinus americana horn beam. 


Circea lutetiana? Enchanter's night shade. 

Collinsonia canadensis horse weed. 

Dyospyros virginiana persimmon. 

Dirca pahistris leather wood. 



David Thomas. 


Msculus flava* stinking buckeye. 

Evonymus americanus spindle tree. 

Fragaria virginiana strawberry. 

Fagus ferruginea « beech. 

Fraxinus ash — white and blue. 


Frasera verticillata Columbo root. 

Guilandina dioica Kentucky coffee tree. 

Gleditsia triacanthos honey locust. 


Monosperma? (almost without spines.) 

Galium, several species goose grass. 

HelianthuSy several species Sunflower. 

Hedera quinquefolia poison ivy. 

Hydrangea arbor escens 

Impatiens touch-me-not. 

Iris virginica blue flag, 

Juglans pecan | TT . . pecan. 

t i Hicconus , „ . ' 

Juglans squamosa. . [ f shell bark. 

t^ bitter nut. 

Rafinesque . . 

upland pig nut. 

Juglans ovata 


Juglans cinerea black walnut. 

Juglans nigra butter nut, or white walnut. 

J effersonia diphylla two leaved Jeffersonia. 

Laurus sassafras . sassafras. 

Laurus benzoin spice wood. 

Liquidambar styracifiua sweet gum. 

Liriodendron tulipifera tulip poplar, white wood. 

Lobelia inflata 

Monardo « wild mint. 

Morus rubra. mulberry. 

Nyssa iutegrifolia gum-tree — pepperidge. 

Platanus occidentalis button wood. 

Populus angulata cotton wood. 

Pyrus coronaria. crab apple. 

Potentilla y two species cinquefoil. 

Podophyllum peltatum mandrake, May apple. 

Polygonum , various species 

Panax quinquej olium ginseng. 

Prunus • .wild plumb. 

Quercus nigra black oak. 

Quercus alba white oak. 

Quercus rubra red oak. 

Quercus prinos v. palustris swamp chestnut oak. 

Quercus phellos willow leaved. 

Quercus triloba 

true black jack. 

Quercus discolor swamp white oak. 

Quercus Spanish oak. 

Robinia pseud-acacia black locust. 

Robinia? (in the swamp east of Vincennes.) 

♦This is not abundant. The wood is of small value. Cattle have been poisoned 
by the fruit. 

128 Early Travels in Indiana. 

Rubus villosus* black berry. 

Rubus occidentalis black raspberry. 

Rhus glabrum smooth sumach. 

Rhus typhinum stag's horn. 

Rhus radicans poison vine. 

Rhus another. 

Smilax rotundifolia green briar. 

Smilax herbaceous. 

Spirea salicafolia willow leaved spirea. 

Spirea herbaceous meadow sweet. 

Salix conifera cone bearing willow. 

Salix nigra black. 

Salix trislis shrub. 


(with linear leaves near Fort Har- 

Scandix, two species cicely. 

Solarium carolinense] horse nettle, or Irish plumb. 

Tilia americana basswood, or linden. 

Ulmus red elm. 

Ulmus white elm. 

Urtica divaricata common nettle. 

Urtica pumila stingless. 

Urtica another. 

VitiSj two species grape vine. 

Vitis vulpina fox grape not observed. 

Verbena, several species vervain. , 

Dr. Drake mentions the Catalpa in Indiana as far north as 
Cincinnati, but I did not observe it. 

A plant, which I conjecture to be a species of Plantago, abounds 
in the channels of small streams west of Loghary. It is of a larger 
growth than the P. major. I have not seen it as far west as 
Madison; but on our return I observed it in the state of Ohio, 
between Xenia and Columbus. 

A new species of Viburnum also grows along these streams. It 
resembles the V. dentatum; but the bark is scaly like the Spirea 
opulifolia, and has no suckers like the arrow wood. 

The Potoka discharges its waters into the Wabash, one mile 
below the mouth of White river. It is navigable for boats. Where 

*One of these shrubs had grown up near the branches of a crab tree, which pre- 
vented the stalk from bending until it had attained the height of twelve feet. When 
I observed it, it was finely loaded with ripe fruit. 

tThis vegetable grows in the clayey prairies east of Shakertown. Whether a native, 

or not it is uncertain. It is scantilly armed with spines, and when it takes possession 

of a piece of ground, on account of its deep penetrating roots, is removed with diffi- 


David Thomas. 


the road from Princeton to Vincennes, crosses this stream, the 
current is dull and deep; but there is a mill-seat just below which is 
formed by considerable rapids. 

'Coal is found thirty miles below Fort Harrison, in the banks 
of a small brook. This mine we viewed as we went up the river. 
On the White river, and its branches this fossil is abundant. 
It is also found in the neighbourhood of Fort Harrison. Lime- 
stone appears in considerable quantities in the bank of a small creek 
which empties into the Wabash three miles below that Fort, 
and in several places further up the river.' Diary of 7 mo. 1816. 

" Limestone is found near Princeton. It also appears below 

York, on fraction No. 17, of Township 8, north Range 11 west. 

Coal is found west, directly opposite to Fort Harrison, under a 
bank six feet high. It has also been found under limestone, in the 
Illinois Territory on the line between townships No. 8 and 
north range, 12 west. 1818." 

I have no doubt that coal, limestone, and sandstone will be 
found plentifully in the high woodlands in every part of that coun- 
try, when proper search shall be made. In such soils we have never 
seen the friable earth very deep, and solid rock unquestionably 
'forms the foundation of the hills. 

"Last autumn, [1817,] the Indians brought twenty-eight pounds 
of copper to Fort Harrison, in one lump. The metal is so pure, 
that without any refining, it has answered all the purposes of 
imported copper. It is supposed that the Indians found it about 
thirty miles above the mouth of Raccoon creek, in Indiana." My 
friend J. Bennett, from whom I received this account, has kindly 
furnished me with a specimen, and no doubt can exist of its excel- 
lence. Its malleability I have well ascertained. 

But though it should be proved that they found it at the 
place designated, there would be much uncertainty at present, 
whether the discovery is of much importance; that is, whether 
the metal is a native of the rocky strata which underlay the coun- 
try, or whether, like the granite, it has been scattered on the sur- 
face. When the numerous facts which shew that the granite 
arrived from the north are considered, — and also, the resemblance 
of this copper to that on the south shore of lake Superior, — a con- 
jecture, assigning both to the same origin, would be plausible. 

T— 9 



Early Travels in Indiana. 


All the best lands near the Wabash river which had not been 
reserved by government, or located by Canadian claimants, were 
sold at auction in the 9 mo. 1816. Much land of the second or third 
quality, (and no inconsiderable part of these kinds is very fertile) 
remained, however, for entry at two dollars an acre payable 
within four years, by instalments. One fourth within two years, 
and the remainder in two equal annual payments. This condition 
is the rule; and eight per cent interest is added to all payments 
after such become due, and eight per cent discount is allowed for 
prompt pay. Thus lands paid for at the time of entry, only cost 
one dollar and sixty three cents an acre. 

To accommodate persons who may be unprepared to make a 
payment in full — or who may wish to secure a lot while they 
attempt further discoveries, — lands are permitted to be entered 
for a certain number of days. This privilege, however, has been 
frequently abused. Entries have been made for the sum of six- 
teen dollars, (one twentieth of the purchase money,) — which con- 
fers the right to remove within forty days, every valuable timber 
tree from the premises; and if no other purchaser appears, the term 
is even lengthened to 90 days. 

Last winter (1817-18) from five to ten dollars was the price of 
Prairie Lands, and from two to five the price ol Wood Lands. 

The fertility of the sandy prairies near the river is very remark- 


If lime is a constituent of this soil, the portion must be 

inconsiderable, as acids produce no effervescence. Neither is the 
vegetable matter in much quantity. The finer parts diminish but 
little in the fire, and are changed from black to a reddish brown. 
Hence the fertilizing principle is a mineral earth. 

The idea of soils perpetually fertile, was not original with H. 
Davy, though to him we owe the first scientific view of the sub- 



Vegetable matter soon dissipates, but the primitive earths 

are imperishable; and if my conjecture is correct, these prairies 
will be sources of abundance through distant ages. A field was 
pointed out to me, which had recently been enclosed from the 
commons of Vincennes, and which produced corn of extraordinary 
luxuriance. From the nakedness of this ground it is evident 
that a vegetable soil would soon become sterile. 

One of my correspondents remarks, "We have a prairie below 

David Thomas. 


this place, which has been in cultivation seventy or eighty years, 
and now produces well." 

Lord Kaims mentions a field near the Clyde, in Scotland, 
which had annually produced a crop for 101 years, and still retained 
its fertility. The subjoined extract is from the Edinburgh 
Encyclopedia. "The lands of St. Jago, [Chili] though constantly 
cultivated for two centuries and a half, without receiving any 
artificial manure, have suffered no diminution in their amazing 

Some of the great Bottom of the Mississippi, between Kas- 
kaskia and Illinois, "has been in cultivation 120 years, and still 
no deterioration has yet manifested itself." Brown's Western 

"I have lately visited Fort Harrison, passing upwards from 
Vincennes on the Illinois side of the river. After traversing a rich 
tract of woodland four miles, I went five miles through an arm 
of the Grand Prairie. Much of this is too low. Fine woodland, 
three miles wide, separates this from Ellison Prairie, which is a 
rich tract, seven miles long, and averaging three miles in width. 
Good Woodland, but not of the first quality, then extends thir- 
teen miles to La Motte Prairie. This is an extraordinary tract, and 
is eight or nine miles long. I then passed through woodland 
of a good quality ten miles to Union Prairie, on which York village 
is located. Here I crossed the river to the Indiana side. 

11 Fort Harrison Prairie is a most delightful tract. It con- 
tains, perhaps, 22,000 acres, including the woodland lying between 
it and the Wabash. This woodland is very fine, and on an inclined 
plane from the prairie to the bank of the river — which is generally 
from twenty to thirty feet high for several miles. The wood- 
land on the east of this prairie is an elevated tract with a rich soil. 
Springs and brooks flowing from it, are numerous. 

"This prairie is bounded on the north by Otter Creek, on which 
Major Markle is building mills." [W. P. B.] These have since 
been completed. The construction, it is said, is uncommonly 
excellent; and that the saw mills are capable of sawing 6,000 feet 
of boards in one day. 

"The soil of the prairies is excellent for both corn and wheat. 
Of the latter, the crops vary from twenty to forty bushels an 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

d of the former, from fifty to one hundred bushels 


Markle for rent alone, besides what he 

sed himself, has more 

than 3. 700 bushels of 

11 mo. 1817 

The country will be more healthy when levees shall be raised 
across the bayous, and longitudinal ditches cut in particular places. 
The expense of forming a bank six feet high at Otter Creek, 
would not be a work of extraordinary magnitude for an individual; 
and a prairie thirteen miles in length would be exempted from 
inundation. At Honey Creek, the same remark may be made in 
respect to the construction. 

Of the practicability of such measures, we were well con- 
vinced, when we were near the Wabash; but on our return, at 
Franklinton, we saw a levee which had been raised to that height 
by the scraper, and which has completely rescued a valuable tract 
from the river floods. 

I have noted that ponds appear in places through the bayous. 
The small streams which are lost in the sands, probably after 
heavy rains supply the water; and the expense of a small canal, 
which would render the lowest parts of these tracts arable, would 
be a slight tax for the neighbouring inhabitants. Indeed the 
proprietors themselves, would be reimbursed in one or two sea- 
sons for such expenditure. 

If the bayou from Otter Creek were closed, the stream which 
sweeps through Honey Creek Prairie would be less formidable. 
Where two such currents form a junction, the narrow and winding 
channel, already dammed by the river, is insufficient to discharge 
the accumulating waters; the torrent at every creek receives an 
accession of force, and spreads the inundation still wider in its 
progress to the south. 

A Post office has lately been established at Honey Creek, two 
and a half miles south of the old ford on that stream, in Range 9 
West, Township 11 North, Section 25. — Name, HoggaWs — M. 
Hoggatt, Post Master. 

Cant ph 

the true marks of a defective education, are 

common in the Western Country 


A considerable number is 

pressed by a smart chance; and 

David Thomas. 


our hostess at Madison said, there was "a smart chance of yankees" 
in that village. 

Rolling is a term which may be frequently heard in conversa- 
tions relative to lands. We are not to understand by this word, 
a turning round, but a diversified surface. 

Slashes, means flat clayey land which retains water on the sur- 
face, after showers. From this comes the adjective, slashy. It 
is in common use, and, like the word chore [corruption of chare] 
in the eastern states, is almost an indispensable. 

Balance is another word which is twisted from its proper 
meaning. This is made to imply the remainder. "The balance 
(Unappropriated residue of land) will be sold at auction." 

The Cane, which once overspreads a large part of Kentucky, is 
nearly destroyed; but it grows abundantly on the Wabash, and 
extends from the mouth of that river almost to Vincennes. 

The iron-weed, which I first saw above Pittsburgh, extends on 
clayey lands all the way to the Wabash. It is a pernicious plant 
in meadows. 

The wet Prairies abound with the fern-leaved Helianthus, 
and on our return, we saw thousands of these blossoms turned to 
the sun. 

N. Ewing had six kinds of exotic grapes in his garden, which 
flourish; and though receiving little attention, were finely loaded 
with fruit. That climate is congenial to the vine. Indeed we 


believe this culture will become very profitable. At Harmony, 
fifty miles below Vincennes, we understood that twelve acres had 
already been planted as a vineyard. 

Various kinds of esculent vegetables are taken to Vincennes by 
the Shakers, nearly two weeks earlier than such can be raised in the 

wood-lands round that town. 

Six miles west of the French Licks, we saw the semblance of a 
corn-stalk, of very remote antiquity, which was found in that 
neighbourhood. It appeared that the cavity of this plant (once 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


occupied by the pith) was filled with sand, which became cemented 
by ferruginous matter. The impressions of the nerves were very 
distinct. It had been nearly two feet in length, and was raised out 
of the earth by the root of a falling tree. 

The district from the Knobs to the east branch of White river, 


is high table land; and apparently composed of strata, which were 
deposited on this part, after the general surface of the Ohio coun- 
try was formed. There is some reason to believe, however, that 
parts of this great bank were removed before the commencement 
of petrification. The White river flows round it on the north. 
When we ascended these heights on the east, we were in constant 
expectation, during our progress for some miles, of descending on 

the wester 

different is this tract from any we had 

traversed. On our return we particularly noticed the ascent and 
descent of every little ridge, and could discover no general inclina- 
tion of the surface. No plain, barren, or prairie, is found within 
its limits. 

We are assured that the Knobs do not appear south of the Ohio. 
The sides are surprisingly irregular. On a north course from Salem 
Meeting-house, within three miles, the descent appears; but on an 
east course, the distance to the edge is computed at ten miles. 

From the latter sp 



ding of that vale to the 

westward, these hills extend to the north-east till the eye is bewild- 
ered with the prospect in the distant horizon. 

In this district, petrifactions are numerous. In the channel of a 
brook I found the semblance of a perennial rooted herb, in which 
the different annual growths were exhibited. It was five inches 
long by one inch in thickness. The bark of the root appears to 
have been the mould, as the internal part was hollow, or filled with 
chrystals. The rattles of a snake, remarkably large, had also 
been converted into stone. 


The stalagmites, or dumpling stone, which was noticed in the 
Diary, appears confined to this region. We observed it near the 
border, but not on the plains below. 

From the singularity of its figure, from its cavity, and from the 
numerous petrifactions in this vicinity, I could scare aly resist the 
impression that the fruit of some species of Cueurbita had been the 
model. Other considerations, however, would be unfavourable; 

David Thomas. 


and it must be confessed that nature has performed many opera- 
tions in Mineralogy, which continue secrets. 
. . .In the eastern parts of Indiana, much of the grain for bread 
is ground in horse mills. I have learned that the proprietor of the 
mill finds horses; and takes for toll, one fourth of the wheat, 
and one sixth of the corn or other grain, if not bolted. The float- 
ing mills on the Ohio river, take one sixth of the wheat and one 
eighth of the corn. 
. . . Notes of a Journey from Fort Harrison to Fort Wayne. 

45 miles, a small village of the Miamis, on the waters of Eel 

25 do. the second Indian town, also on Eel river. 

50 do. to Pipe Creek. Many small creeks water this district, 
but Pipe Creek is a considerable stream, and famous for its mill 
seats. Much of these lands are low and wet. 

8 do. above Pipe Creek is the Massasinaway town of Indiana. 

It is at the junction of this river with the Wabash. 

50 do. continuing up the Wabash. 

13 do. across from the Lower Portage to Fort Wayne. Here 
are some irregular hill**, and some marshes. 

191 miles, total distance. 
. . . The right pronunciation of names is as necessary as the right 


pronunciation of words; and believing that many of our untravelled 
readers would receive it favourably, we have bestowed some atten- 
tion on this subject. There have been omissions, however, which 
we will supply in this place. 

Wau-bash is the common pronunciation on that river; but 
in this country we frequently hear the uncouth sound of Way- 

Vincennes is pronounced Vin-cenz by the most respectable 

persons in that place. 

Pa-ra-rah is a common pronunciation; but it is too great a 
barbarism to be tolerated. By placing the letters in this manner, 
prai-rie, the proper sounds cannot be mistaken. 

In Levee, (an embankment) the accent is sometimes placed on 

the last syllable. It should be lev-e. 

From The Western Gazetteer 

Emigrant's Directory, by 

Samuel R. Brown [1817], pp. 37-80 

Brown, Samuel R. 

This work, like several others of a similar nature, resulted from a demand 
on the part of emigrants for a History and Guide of the western Country. It 
appeared 1817, and illustrates the ambitious efforts of a publisher to furnish 
detailed information on every section of the region lying between the Alle- 
gheny and Rocky Mountains, the Lakes and the Gulf. In the space of 

three hundred and sixty 

the territory, water courses, routes of 

travel and climatic conditions comprised within one thousand millions 
of acres are reviewed in detail. 

The work contains fewer errors than might be expected in such a gigantic 
undertaking. An excellent map accompanies the notes. 


Is bounded west by the Wabash river, from its mouth to 40 
miles above Vinccnnes, and thence by a meridian line to the paral- 
lel of the south end of lake Michigan, (supposed to be in N. lat. 

) which divides it from Illinois territory. Its northern 



limit is the above parallel, which separates it from the Michigan 
territory. A meridian line running from the mouth of the Big 
Miami, until it intersects the aforesaid parallel of the south end of 
lake Michigan, divides it from the state of Ohio, on the east. 

sourthern boundary. Length, from 

The 01 

river forms its 

to south, 284 miles: breadth, from east to west, 155 

contains 39,000 square miles, or 24,960,000 

Its form would 

be that of a paralellogram, were the course of the Ohio due west 


The Ohio washes the southern border of Indiana, from the 
mouth of the Big Miami, to that of the Wabash, a distance, 
measuring its windings, of 472 miles — all the streams which inter- 
sect this extensive line of coast, are comparitively short; for the 
southern fork of White river, having its source within a few 
miles of the Ohio boundary line, runs nearly parallel with Ohio, at 
the distance of from forty to sixty miles. The principal of these 
enter the Ohio in the order named : 

Tanner's Creek — Two miles below Lawrenceburgh, thirty miles 
long; thirty yards wide at its mouth — heads in the Flat woods to 
the south of Brookville. 

Loughery's Creek — Fifty yards wide at its mouth, and forty 


Samuel R. Brown. 137 

miles long, is the next stream worthy of mention, below the Big 
Miami, from which it is distant eleven miles. 

Indian Creek — Sometimes called Indian Kentucky, and by the 
Swiss Venoge, after a small river in the Pays de Vaud (Switzer- 
land) constitutes the southern limit of the Swiss settlement, 
eight miles below the mouth of the Kentucky river. It rises in 
the hills near the south fork of White River, 45 miles north east of 

Wyandot creek, heads in the range of hills extending in a trans- 
verse direction, from near the mouth of Blue river, to the Muddy 
fork of White River, and falls into the Ohio about equidistant 
from the falls and Blue river. 

Big Blue River, heads still further north; but near the south 
fork of White river. After running fifty miles southwest, it inclines 
to the east of south, and enters the Ohio 32 miles below the mouth 
of Salt river, from the south. Its name indicates the colour of its 
water, which is of a clear blueish cast; but in quality pure and 

Little Blue River empties into the Ohio 13 miles below the mouth 
of Big Blue River — it is about forty yards wide at its mouth — 
its course is from north east to south west. Ten miles below is 
Sinking creek, fifty yards wide at its mouth. 

Anderson' s river, sixty miles farther down, is the most consid- 
erable stream between Blue river and the Wabash. Below this, 
are Pegion and Beaver creeks. In addition to the preceding creeks 
and rivers, a large number of respectable creeks and runs also enter 
the Ohio, at different points between the Miami and the Wabash, 
so that that part of Indiana, lying between White river and the 
Ohio, may be pronounced well watered. It is the character of 
most of the foregoing streams, to possess a brisk current and pure 
water; the consequence is, an abundance of convenient mill 
seats, and a salubrious and healthful climate. 

The Wabash waters the central and western parts of the state. 
The main branch of this fine river, heads two miles east of old 
fort St. Mary's and intersects the portage road between Loramie 
creek and the river St. Mary's, in Darke County, Ohio. There 
are three other branches, all winding through a rich and extensive 
country. The first, called Little river, heads seven miles south of 
fort Wayne, and enters the Wabash, about eighty miles below the 
St. Mary's portage. The second is the Massasinway, which heads 
in Darke county, Ohio, about half way between forts Green- 
ville and Recovery, and unites with the others, 5 miles below 

138 Early Travels in Indiana. 

the mouth of Little river. The third is Eel river, which issues from 
several lakes and ponds, eighteen miles west of fort Wayne; it 
enters the Wabash, eight miles below the mouth of the Massissin- 
way. From the entrance of Eel river, the general course of the 
Wabash is about ten degrees south of west, to the mouth of Rejoic- 
ing river, (85 miles) where it takes a southern direction, to the 
mouth of Rocky river (forty miles) — here it inclines to the west, 
to the mouth of the Mascontin, (thirty-six miles) — where it pur- 
sues a south eastern course, to Vincennes, (fifty miles) — from this 
town to the Ohio, its general course is south, (one hundred miles). 
It is three hundred yards wide at its mouth, and enters the Ohio 
at right angles. Its length, from its mouth to its extreme source, 
exceeds five hundred miles. It is nevigable for keel boats, about 
four hundred miles, to Ouitanon, where there are rapids. From 
this village small boats can go to within six miles of St. Mary's 
river; ten of fort Wayne; and eight of the St. Josephs of the 
Miami-of-the-lakes. Its current is generally gentle above Vin- 
cennes — below this town there are several rapids; but not of suffi- 
cient magnitude to prevent boats from ascending. The prin- 
cipal rapids are botween Deche and White rivers, ten miles below 

The tributary waters, which enter from the left bank of the 
Wabash, and which are called rivers, are: 

1. The Petoka, from the north east, comes in twenty miles 
below Vincennes; it heads a few miles south east of the Muddy 
fork of White river, with which it runs parallel, at the distance of 
10 or 12 miles. It is about seventy-five miles in length, and 
meanders through extensive rich bottoms. 

2. White River enters four miles above the Petoka, and six- 
teen below Vincennes. This is an important river, as it reaches 
nearly across the state in a diagonal direction* watering a vast 
body of rich land — thirty-five miles from its mouth there is a junc- 
tion of the two principal forks — the North or Drift wood Branch, 
interlocks with the north fork of Whitewater, and with the branches 
of Stillwater, a tributary of the Big Miami. The south or Muddy 
fork heads between the brar.^hps of the west fork of Whitewater. 

The country between the two main forks of Whitcriver is watered 
by the Teakettle branch, which unites with the north fork, twenty 
miles above the junction of the two principal forks. 

3. Deche river, unites with the Wabash, about half way 
between Vincennes and the mouth of Whitcriver — it comes from 

Samuel R. Brown. 139 

the north east — is a crooked, short stream, but receives several 

4. *" Little river, called by the French he Petite Reviere, winds its 
devious course, from the north east, among wide spreading bot- 
toms, and enters its estuary a little above Vincennes. Between 
this river and the Wabash lies an alluvion of several thousand 
acres, uniformly bottom, of exhaustless fertility. 

5. The St. Marie, from north oast, enters eighteen miles 
above Vincennes, and is about fifty miles long. 

6. Rocky river, sixty miles further up, comes in from the cast, 
and interweaves its branches with those of the Main fork of White 
river. It is one hundred yards wide at its mouth, and has several 
large forks. 

7. Petite, or Little river, is the only river entering from the 
left, for seventy miles above Rocky river. It comes from the south 
east, and heads near the sources of Rocky river. 

8. Pomme river comes in from the south east — forty miles 


higher up, and twenty miles below the mouth of Massissinway. 
It rises near the Ohio boundarv, a little to the north of the head 
branches of Whitewater. Besides the rivers above enumerated, 
which water the left bank of the Wabash, there are an immense 
number of creeks and runs, affording, in most places a sufficient 
supply of water. But there are pretty extensive districts between 
the Little and Rocky rivers, where water cannot be readily procured. 

The right or north west bank of the Wabash, receives a greater 
number of rivers than the left. Crossing this noble stream, at 
the mouth of Pomme river, and descending upon its right shore, 
the first considerable water that obstructs our progress, is 
Richard's creek, from the north west — ten miles below. Ten miles 
farther enters Rock river, from the north west— its banks are high, 
and the country around it broken. 

Eight miles farther down, is the Tippacanoe, rendered famous 
by the battle upon its banks, between the Americans and Indians, 
in Nov. 1811. This river heads about thirty miles to the West of 
fort Wayne. Several of its branches issue from lakes, swamps, and 
ponds, some of which have double outlets, running into the St. 
Josephs of the Miami-of-the-Lakes. Upon this stream, and on 
the Wabash, above and below its junction, are Indian villages, and 
extensive fields. Two Indian roads, leave these towns for the 
northern lakes — one ascends the right bank of the Wabash, to 
Ouitanan and fort Wayne; the other as3ends the Tippacanoe, and 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

the head branches of the Illinois, to the St. Joseph of lake 



From the mouth of Tipp 


cessively pass Pine 

and Redwood creeks; Rejoicing, or Vermillion Jaune, Little Ver- 
million, Erabliere, Duchat and Brouette rivers, at the distance of 
from ten to fifteen miles from each other, and all coming from the 


north west; mostly sm 

d having their heads in the 

Illinois territory. 

Whitewater, rises near the eastern boundary line, twelve miles 
west of fort Greenville, and nearly parallel with this line, at the 
distance of from six to ten miles, and watering in its progress, 

twenty-two township 



and Dearb 


At Brookville, thirty miles from its entrance into the Miami, 
ives the West fork, which heads into the Flat woods, thirty 

miles west of that 


and interlocks with the branches of 


This beautiful little river waters nearly one mill 

of acres of fine land, and owes its name to the unusual transp 

ency of its water. A fish or a 
twenty feet. It is sufficiently 

pebble can be seen at the depth of 


cool for drinking during summer. 


The inhabitants living upon its banks, contend that its water is 
less buoyant than that of any other river; and endeavored to dis- 
suade me from bathing in it. I nevertheless, swam several 
times across the stream, where it was one hundred yards wide; 
and, although an experienced swimmer, was not a little fatigued by 
i exercise. But I ascribed the effect to the coldness rather than 
to any extraordinary buoyancy of the water. 

One of the eastern branches of this river, heads six miles east 
of the state line, in the State of Ohio; and Greenville creek, a 
tributary of the Stillwater fork of the Big Miami, heads about the 
same distance within the state of Indiana. 

The north eastern part of the state is watered by the St. Josephs 

of the Miami-of-the-lakes, and its tributaries 





about sixty miles to the north west of fort Wayne, and forms a 
junction with the St. Mary's, just above this post. Panther's 
creek, from the south, is its largest fork. Its remote branches 
interlock with those of the river's Raisin, Black, St. Josephs of 
lake Michigan, and Eel river. 

That part of the state bordering on the Michigan territory, is 



liberally watered by the head branches of the river Raisin, (of 
lake Erie;) the numerous forks of Black river, (of lake Michigan;) 
and the St. Josephs of lake Michigan — the latter heads near, and 

Samuel R. Brown. 141 


interlocks with the branches of Eel river; and pursues a serpentine 
course, seventy miles, through the northern part of Indiana. 

The river Chemin, Big and Little Kennomic, all of which fall 
into Lake Michigan; the Theakaki, Kickapoo, and a part of the 
chief branch of the Illinois, all wind through the north western 
section of the state; and all, except the last, are entirely within its 
boundaries; the three first run from south to north; the latter 
south and south west. Besides, the country is chequered by num- 
erous creeks. The Vermillion of the Illinois rises in Indiana, near 
the sources of Tippacanoe. 

The northern half of the state is a country of lakes — 38 of 
which, from two to ten miles in length, are delineated on the latest 
maps; but the actual number probably exceeds one hundred — 
many of these, however, are mere ponds, lass than one mile in 
length. Some have two distinct outlets; one running into the 
northern lakes; the other into the Mississippi. 

The phenomenon of waters with double outlets, is not uncom- 
mon. The great Ganges, the greater Burrumpooter, and the great 
river of Ava, all rise and issue from the same fountain — so do the 
Rhine and the Rhone; the Suir, the Nore, and the Barrow, in 
Ireland, spring from the same well — and after traversing a vast 
range of country, in three opposite direction*, re-unite and form 
one basin, in Waterford Harbor; there are two rivers in the 
Isthmus of Panama, whose head waters are not farther apart than 
the Ouisconsin and Fox river; one stretches into the southern 
ocean; the other into the Mexican sea. 

The greater part of these lakes, are situated between the head 
waters of the two St. Josephs, Black river, Raisin, Tippacanoe, and 
Eel rivers. 


A range of hills, called the knobs, extends from the falls of the 
Ohio, to the Wabash, nearly in a south western direction, which, 
in many places, produces a broken and uneven surface. North of 
these hills, lie the Flat woods, seventy miles wide and reaching 
nearly to the Ouitanan country. Bordering all the principal 
streams, except the Ohio, there are strips of bottom and prairie 
land; both together are from three to six miles in width. Between 
the Wabash and lake Michigan, the country is mostly champaign, 
abounding alternately, with wood lands, prairies, lakes, and 

A range of hills run parallel with the Ohio, from the mouth 

142 Early Travels in Indiana. 

of the Big Miami, to Blue river, alternately approaching to 
within a few rods, and receding to the distance of two miles, but 
broken at short intervals by numerous creeks. Immediately 
below Blue river, the hills disappear, and the horizon presents 
nothing to view but an immense tract of level land, covered with a. 
heavy growth of timber. v 

That part of the state lying west of the Ohio boundary line, 
north of the head branches of White river, east and south of the 


Wabash, has been described by the conductors of expeditions 
against the Indians, as a "country containing much good land; but 
intersected at the distance of four or six miles, with long, narrow 
swamps, boggy and mirey, the soil of which is a stiff blue clay." 

North of the Wabash, between Tippacanoe and Ouitanan, 
the banks of the streams are high, abrupt, and broken — and the 
land well timbered, except on the prairies. 

Between the Plein and Theakaki, the country is flat, wet, and 
swampy, interspersed with prairies of an inferior quality of soil. 

In going from the Ohio to the Wabash, say from Clark's ville 
or Madison to Vinccnnes, you ascend from two to three hundred 
feet before you find yourself at the top of the last bank of the 
Ohio. You have then before you a strip of country, twenty miles 
wide, tolerably level, except where gullied by the actions of 
streams. This brings you at the foot of the "Knobs " which are at 
least 500 feet higher than the land in your rear; after this you pass 
no very tedious hills, until you find yourself within three miles of 
Vincennes. In travelling from this plac^ to the Ohio, you are not 
sensible of ascending to the height at which you find yourself, on 
the summit of the "Knobs," from which you have a boundless 
prospect to the east. You can distinctly trace, with the eye, at the 
distance of twenty miles, the deep, serpentine vale of the Ohio, 
and the positions of New-Lexington, Corydon, and Louisville, in 


There are two kinds of these meadows — the river and upland 
prairies: the first are found upon the margins of rivers, and are 
bottoms destitute of timber; most of these exhibit vestiges of former 
cultivation. The last are plains, from thirty to one hundred feet 
higher than the alluvial bottoms; and are far more numerous 
and extensive; but are indeterminate in size and figure — since 
some are not larger than a common field, while others expand 
beyond the reach of the eye, or the limits of the horizon. They are 

Samuel R. Brown. 143 


usually bounded by groves of lofty forest trees; and not unfre- 
quently adorned with "islands," or copses of small trees, afford- 
ing an agreeable shade for man and beast. In spring and summer 
they are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and fragrant 
flowers, from six to eight feet high, through which it is very fati- 
guing to force one's way with any degree of celerity. The soil of 
these plains is often as deep and as fertile as the best bottoms. 
The prairies bordering the Wabash, are particularly rich — 
wells have been sunk in them, where the vegetable soil was twenty- 
two feet deep, under which was a stratum of fine white sand, con- 
taining horizontal lines, plainly indicating to the geologist, the 
gradual subsidence of water. Yet the ordinary depth is from two 
to five feet. 

The several expeditions against the Indians, during the 
late war, enabled many of our officers, to become extensively 
acquainted with the geography of the Indiana and Michigan 

An officer, who conducted several expeditions against the 
Indians, and who was at the Putawatomie villages, on the St. 
Joseph's of lake Michigan, writes to me as follows: 

"The country [between fort Wayne and the St. Joseph's of 
lake Michigan] in every direction, is beautiful, presenting a fine 
prospect. There are no hills to be seen; a champaign country, 
the greater part prairie, affording inexhaustible grazing, and pre- 
senting the most delightful natural meadows, and the grass cured 
would be almost equal to our hay; there are also, vast forests of 
valuable timber, and the soil exceedingly rich. The rivers have 
their sources in swamps, and sometimes form delightful inland 
lakes. It is not unfrequent to see two opposite streams supplied 
by the same water or lake, one running into the waters of the 
Mississippi, and the other into the northern lakes. Neither China 
nor Holland ever had such natural advantages for inland water 


Another officer, who had opportunities of seeing and exploring 
the country between the Wabash and lake Michigan, describes it 
as a country, "admirably calculated for the convenience of inland 
navigation. The sources of the rivers are invariably in swamps or 
lakes, and the country around them perfectly level. A trifling 
expence would open a navigable communication between Eel 
river, and a branch of the Little St. Joseph's: the two St. Joseph's; 
the Raisin of lake Erie, and the Lenoir (Black river) of lake Mich- 
igan. Small lakes are discovered in every part of this extensive 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


and romantic country. We found them covered with ducks, and 
other water fowls. For the diversion of fishing, we had no leisure; 
consequently, I am not able to inform you whether they abound 
with fish, but presume they do, as many of their outlets empty 
into the tributaries of the great lakes. 

"The country around the head branches of Eel river 
Panther's creek, and St. Joseph's, (of the Miami) 1 is generally low 
and swampy ; and too wet for cultivation. But even in that quarter 
there are many beautiful situations. The timber is oak, hickory, 
black walnut, beach, sugar maple, elm, and honey locust. The 
wood lands line the water courses; but branch out frequently into 
the prairies. 

"The immense prairies on the south bank of the St. Josephs, 
(of lake Michigan) afforded us many rich, beautiful, and pic- 
turesque views. They are from one to ten miles wide; and of 
unequal lengths. They are as level as lakes; and in point of fer- 
tility, not inferior to the lands around Lexington, Ken. or the 
best bottoms of the Ohio. 

We crossed two, whose southern limits were not descernable 
to the naked eye; they were doubtless capacious enough to form 
two or three townships each; and perfectly dry, being at least one 
hundred feet above the river bottoms. These natural meadows are 
covered with a tall grass; and are separated by strips of woods, 
containing oak, maple, locust, lyn, poplar, plum, ash, and crab- 
apple. In these wood lands, we generally meet with creeks, runs 
or springs; but never in the open prairies, unless in wet and rainy 
seasons, when the waters form temporary sluggish brooks, where- 
ever there is sufficient descent for the purpose. 

"The St. Josephs [of lake Michigan] is a charming river, and 
navigable to within a short distance of the river of the same 
name. Its current is brisk, and at the upper villages, one hundred 
yards wide. The Indians have cleared large fields upon its banks: 
several Canadian French families reside with them. Their man- 
ners and habits of life are semi-savage. 

All the rivers in the interior of Indiana and Michigan, have 
spacious bottoms, and they uniformly wander from the line 
of their courses, so that in making fifty miles progress, in a. direct 
line, they water one hundred miles of territory by their sinuosi- 



By these frequent bends, the length of river coast, and the 


1. Maumee, 

Samuel R. Brown. 145 

quantity of bottom land is nearly doubled, which amply compen- 
sates for extra toil and expence of navigation." 

Mr. D..Buck, of Auburn, (N. Y.) who assisted in the survey of 
twenty-two townships, six miles square each, writes to his corre- 
spondent as follows: 

I have seen a great deal of excellent land; the prairies on the 
Wabash in the vicinity of fort Harrison, exceed every thing for 
richness of soil and beauty of situation, I ever beheld. The 
prairies are from one to five miles wide, bordering on the river, and 
from one to twelve in length; the streams which run into the 
Wabash, divide one prairie from another; on these streams are 
strips of woods from half a mile to a mile wide, the timber of 
which is excellent; the soil of the prairies is a black vegetable 
mould, intermixed with fine sand, and sometimes gravel. In 
choosing a situation for a farm, it is important so to locate a 
tract, as to have half prairie and half wood land ; by which means 
you will have a plantation cleared to your hand. 

The new purchase contains one hundred and twenty townships, 
or 2,765,040, acres. The lands sell very high in the neighbor- 
hood of Fort Harrison, for it is the most delightful situation for a 
town on the Wabash — the soil is the richest of any in the state. 
This will undoubtedly become the seat of a new county, and that 
at no remote period. The fort is garrisoned by one hundred and 
fifty riflemen, of the regular army, under the command of Major 
Morgan. There are six families living in log cabins, near the fort, 
who improve congress lands. They have been here five years. 
Wherever they have cultivated the ground, it produces abun- 
dantly. Besides these, there are several Indian traders — Great 
numbers of Indians resort hither to sell their peltries. The tribes 
who frequent this place and reside on the Wabash, are the Kick- 
apoos, Miamis, Putawatomies, Shawanoese, Weaws, and Del- 
awares. They encamp in the woods convenient to water, where 
they build wigwams. We came across a great many while survey- 
ing in the wilderness — they appeared friendly, and offered us' 
honey and venison. Our business has principally been near the 
Indian boundary line, sixty miles from any white settlements. 
The woods abound with deer, bears, wolves, and wild turkies. 
About three-eighths of the land we surveyed is excellent for most 
kinds of produce; the remainder is good for grazing, but too hilly, 
flat, or wet, for grain. 

The lands on White river are well watered with springs and 
brooks. You can hardly find a quarter section without water; 

T— 10 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

the country in this quarter is, in many places, hilly and broken, 
and in some parts stony. Limestone is most predominant; but 
there are quarries of free stone. Although the country is well 
watered, good mill seats are scarce. There can be a sufficiency 

of small mills for the accommodation of the inhabitants. 


mills, without doubt, will be in operation as soon as the country 
is sufficiently settled for the purpose of flouring for exportation. . 

" There are some excellent tracts of land in Indiana and Ill- 

inois — corn is raised pretty easy; and stock with little attention, 
and in some places with little or no fodder. This country is full 
of prairies; some of which are excellent land. The timber around 
them consists principally oak, of which the inhabitants make 
most of their rails, and sometimes draw them three miles. These 
prairies are destitute of water; but it can be obtained by digging 
twenty or thirty feet. Wheat grows stout; but the grain is not so 
plump as it is in the state of New York." 

"It is difficult building in Knox county, and always will be, on 
account of the scarcity of mill seats. Horse mills are common; 
the miller takes one eighth part of the grain for toll; customers find- 
ing their own horses." 

He further states, that the two branches of Whiteriver are 
navigable with boats in high water for the distance of 130 miles; 
that coal mines are numerous near the Wabash. Iron ore is found 
on Whiteriver. That wheat yields the inhabitants, who are neat 
farmers, 68 lbs. a bushel, and never gets winter-killed or smutty; 
the only difficulty they experience in its culture is, that the land 
in many places is too rich until it has been improved. Apple 

trees bear every year. Peaches some years do exceedingly well; 
so do cherries, currents, and most kinds of fruit. Wheat is 75 
cents a bushel; flour $3 a hundred — delivered at Fort Harrison 
four; corn 25 cents a bushel — pork $4 — beef $4; butter and cheese 
from 12 J to 25 cents; honey 50 cents per gallon. Maple sugar 
25 cents. European goods exorbitantly high. 

Reptiles and venomous serpents are not numerous. A few 
rattle snakes and some copperheads comprise all that are danger- 


The banks of the Wabash are in many pi 

bject to be 

overflowed in high water. When the Ohio is at full height it 
waters set back and inundate the bottoms of the Wabash to th 
distance of four or five miles. 

Mr. Buck, who descended this river in 

March, 1816, says 


came down the river at the highest stage of water: the banks were 

Samuel R. Brown. 147 

completely overflowed almost all the way. The prairies extend- 
ing to the river appeared like small seas; and in many places, it 
was with difficulty that we could keep our boat from running into 
the woods. The distance from Fort Harrison to Vincennes by 
water, is 120 miles; by land only 65. Below the fort the river is 
very crooked to its mouth; above, as far as the Indian title is 
extinguished, it is quite strait in a north and south direction. 
The breadth of the river (at Vincennes) is from 40 to 70 rods. It 
overflows its banks every spring, except at a few places where 
there are handsome situations for towns. It inundates a consider- 
able extent of country opposite Vincennes. The floods do not last 
long; nor are they dangerous, if people will use a little precaution 
in removing their stock and swine. 

"The winters are mild, compared with those of the northern 
states. By all accounts, last winter was uncommonly severe for 
this country. There were three or four weeks of freezing weather, 
during which the snow was from six to nine inches deep. The 
Wabash was frozen over so that it was crossed in many places 
upon the ice with safety. I think that autumnal frosts are earlier 
here than in the western counties of New York; but the weather is 
very fine till Christmas; then changeable until about the middle 
of February, when winter >reaks up, and spring soon commences. 
Peaches are in blossom by the first of March, and by the 10th of 
April, the forests are "clad in green." The flowering shrubs and 
trees are in full bloom some days before the leaves get their 
growth, which gives the woods a very beautiful appearance." 

"Salt, at and above Vincennes is two dollars a bushel, though 
considerable quantities are made at the U. S. Saline 30 miles below 
the mouth of the Wabash, in the Illinois territory, where it is sold 
for one dollar a bushel. The chief supply comes from the salt 
wor s on the Great Kenhaway. — There have been salt wells sunk, 
(by boring) near the Ohio, to the depth of 500 feet, where the water 
is said to be very strong. There are likewise salt springs on the 
Indian lands, not far from the northern boundary of the new 


Population of Indiana in November, 1815. 


No. of Inhabitants. 

Wayne 6,290 

Franklin 7,970 

Dearborn 4,426 

Jefferson 4,093 


148 Eably Travels in Indiana. 


No. of Inhabitants. 

Washington 6 , 606 

Harrison 6 , 769 

Gibson 5,330 

Knox 6,800 

Switzerland 3 , 500 

Clark 7,000 

Posey 3 , 000 

Perry : 3,000 

Warwick 3,000 

Total 68,784 



Is bounded east by the state of Ohio, south by the Ohio river, 
west by Switzerland county, and north by Franklin county. It is 
well watered by Tanner's Hougelane's and Loughery's creeks, 
Whitewater and the head branches of Indian Kentucky. The 
south part of this county is broken; the north end level, being in 
the Flat Woods. The Ohio bottoms are low but fertile. The 
timber in the middle and northern parts- is oak, hickory, poplar, 
and sugar maple. 


Lawrenceburgh — Stands on the, bank of the Ohio, two miles 
below the mouth of the Big Miami. It has not nourished for sev- 
eral years past, owing, principally to its being subject to inunda- 
tion, when the Ohio is high. A new town called Edinburgh, half 
a mile from the river, on a more elevated situation promises to 
eclypse it. 

Rising Sun — Is delightfully situated on the second bank of the 
Ohio, with a gradual descent to the river. It contains thirty or 
forty houses, and is half way between Vevay and Lawrenceburgh. 
It has a post office, and a floating mill anchored abreast of the 
town. It has had a very rapid growth, and will probably become a 
place of considerable trade. 


Has the state of Ohio on the east, Dearborn county south and 
Indian lands west and north. It is one of the best counties in the 


state, and was established about four years ago. It is principally 
watered by Whitewater and its branches, upon which there is 
some of the best bottom lands in the western country and has been 
the centre of an ancient population, as is proved by the great 
number of mounds and fortifications, to be seen on the bottoms 

Samuel R. Brown. 149 

and hills. There are no prairies in this county. Both sides of 
Whitewater, from its mouth, to Brookville, are tolerably well 
settled. Here are some of the finest farms to be met with in the 
western country. A number of mills have been erected. The 
upland is pretty level, and the principal timber white oak, hickory 
and black walnut. The oak trees are remarkably tall and hand- 
some; and well suited either for rails, staves, or square timber. The 
soil is free from stones, and easily cleared and ploughed ; producing 
fine crops of wheat and corn. In July last, I saw several corn- 
fields, which in the preceding March, were in a state of nature 
with the trees and brushwood all growing. 

Yet the corn looked as flourishing as it did upon the bottoms. 
In the woods, on the bottoms of Whitewater, I discovered several 
natural wells, formed in a most singular manner. They were from 
ten to fifteen feet deep, substantially curbed, being nothing more 
nor less than parts of the upright trunks of the largest sycamores, 
which has been hollowed out by the hand of time. To explain: 
When these trees were in their infancy, their roots spread near the 
surface of the ground; but in the course of time, successive inun- 
dations and the annual decay of a luxuriant vegetation, have 
formed a stratum of the richest soil, from ten to fifteen feet deep, 
over the roots of these venerable trees. At length these vegetable 
Mathusalems die, and are prostrated by the winds of heaven, 
and where once stood a tree of giant growth, now yawns a well 
scooped out by nature's hand. 

Genseng grows in the bottoms to a perfection and size, I never 
before witnessed; and so thick, where the hogs have not thinned 
it, that one could dig a bushel in a very short time. Upon the 
spurs of the hills, and the poorest soil, is found the wild columbo 
root, and is easily procured in any quantity. There are two vill- 
ages in this county — Brookville and Harrison. 

Brookville — Is pleasantly situated in the forks of Whitewater, 
thirty miles north of Lawrenceburgh and the Ohio river; twenty 
miles south of Salisbury 2 — about forty-two north west of Cin- 
cinnati, and twenty-five from Hamilton, "It waS laid out in the 
year 1811; but no improvements were made until the succeeding 
year, and then but partially; owing to the unsettled state of the 
frontiers, and its vicinity to the Indian boundary, being not more 
than fifteen miles. The late war completely checked the emigra- 
tion to the country, and consequently the town ceased to improve. 

2. The county seat of Wayne county at that time, 

150 Early Travels in Indiana. 


At the close of the war, there was not more than ten or twelve 
dwelling houses in the place; but since that period, its rapid acces- 
sion of wealth and population has been unexampled in the west- 
ern country. 

"There are now in the town upwards of eighty buildings, exclu- 
sive of shops, stables, and out houses, the greater number of which 
were built during the last season. The buildings are generally 
frame, and a great part of them handsomely painted. There are 
within the precints of- the town, one grist mill and two saw mills, 
two fulling mills, three carding machines, one printing office, 
one silversmith, two saddlers, two cabinet makers, one hatter, 
two taylors, four boot and shoemakers, two tanners and cur- 
riers, one chairmaker, one cooper, five taverns and seven stores. 
There are also a jail, a market house, and a handsome brick court 
house nearly finished. 

"The ground on which the town stands, is composed of a rich 
and sandy loam, covering a thin stratum of clay, underneath 
which is a great body of gravel and pebbles — consequently the 
streets are but seldom muddy, and continue so but for a short 
time. The public square and a great part of the town stands 
on a beautiful level, that is elevated between eighty feet above 
the level of the river: and, in short, the situation of the town, the 
cleanlines of the streets, the purity of the waters, and the aspect 
of the country around, all combine to render it one of the most 
healthy and agreeable situations in the western country. 

"There are, perhaps, few places that possess equal advantages, 
or that present a more flattering prospect of future wealth and 
importance than this. As a situation for manufactories, it is 
unequalled; the two branches of Whitewater affording a con- 
tinued succession of the best sites for the erection of water works, 
from their junction almost to their sources, and many valuable 
situations may be found below the town, on the main river. 

"The country watered by this stream is inferior to none. Along 
the river and all its tributary streams, are extensive and fertile 
bottoms, bounded by hills of various heights; and immediately 
from the top of these, commences a level and rich country, tim- 
bered with poplar, walnut, beech, sugar tree, oak, ash, hickory, 
elm, buckeye, &c. and a variety of shrubs and underbrush. The 

^ " 

*At this press is published a respectable and well conducted weekly Journal, en- 
titled "The Plain Dealer," edited by B. F. Morris, Esq. to whose pen and the polite- 
ness of N. D. Gallion, Post Master, I am indebted for the above interesting and 
correct account of Brookville, and which I have preferred to my own. 

Samuel R. Brown. 151 


soil of this land is peculiarly adapted to the culture of small grain, 
and for grazing. The last harvest produced several crops of wheat, 
in the neighborhood of this place that weighed from sixty-five to 
sixty-eight pounds per bushel; and the best crops of grass I have 
ever seen, are produced without the aid of manure. Corn, oats, 
rye, flax, hemp, sweet and Irish potatoes, &c. &c. are produced in 

"During the last season, 1816, many successful experiments 
were made in rearing tobacco, and the soil has been pronounced 
by good judges, to be as congenial to its growth, as the best lands 
in the state of Virginia, Kentucky, or the Carolinas. As an evi- 
dence of the fertility of the country, corn and oats are selling at 
twenty-five, rye at forty, and wheat at seventy-five cents per 
bushel, beef at three and a half, and pork at four cents per pound. 
The country is well supplied with good water, from a great num- 
ber of springs, and water may also be obtained in almost any place 
by digging to a moderate depth. 

"Another source from which this town must eventually derive 
great importance, is the ease and small expence with which the 
navigation of Whitewater, from the junction of the forks, can be 
so far improved as to carry out into the Ohio, all articles that may 
be raised for exportation. 

"To the north and north west of this place, is an extensive and 
fertile country, that is fast growing into importance; and in wealth 
and population, will soon be inferior to but few districts on the 
waters of the Ohio; and, owing to the geographical situation of the 
country, all the intercourse of the inhabitants with the Ohio 
river, must be through this place." 

I was at Brookville in July last, on business, and was highly 
pleased with the amenity of its situation, and the industry, intelli- 
gence, and healthful appearance of the inhabitants. — The road 
from thence to Harrison, was very fine. 

Harrison. — This village is situated on the north side of White- 
water, eight miles from its mouth, eighteen north east [south-east] 
of Brookville, and in the centre of a large tract of some of the 
best land in the state. More than one half of the village stands 
on the Ohio side of the state line. There are about thirty-five 
houses, mostly new. A considerable number of the inhabitants 
are from the state of New York. Mr. Looker, from Saratoga 
county, Mr. Crane, from Schenectady, and Mr. Allen, the post 
master, from New Jersey, own the surrounding lands. They 


have all very fine and valuable farms, worth from forty to sixty 

152 x Early Travels in Indiana. 

dollars an acre. The settlement was commenced about sixteen 
years ago. The bottoms are here from one to two miles 
wide; the soil remarkably deep and rich, and the woods free 
from brushwood. The trees are of a moderate growth, but 
straight and thrifty. The traces of ancient population cover 
the earth in every direction. On the bottoms are a great 
number of mounds, very unequal in point of age and size. 
The small ones are from two to four feet above the surface, 
and the growth of timber upon them small, not being over 
one hundred years old; while the others are from ten to thirty 
feet high, and frequently contain trees of the largest diam- 
eters. Besides, the bones found in the small ones will bear 
removal, and exposure to the air, while those in the large ones are 
rarely capable of sustaining their own weight; and are often found 
in a decomposed or powdered state. There is a large mound in 
Mr. Allen's field, about twenty feet high, sixty feet in diameter at 
the base, which contains a greater proportion of bones, than any 
one I ever before examined, as almost every shovel full of dirt 
would contain several fragments of a human skeleton. When on 
Whitewater, I obtained the assistance of several of the inhab- 
itants, for the purpose of making a thorough examination of the 
internal structure of these monuments of the ancient populous- 
ness of the country. We examined from fifteen to twenty. In 
some, whose height were from ten to fifteen feet, we could not find 
more than four or five skeletons. In one, not the least appear- 
ance of a human bone was to be found. Others were so full of 
bones, as to warrent the belief, that they originally contained at 
least one hundred dead bodies; children of different ages, and the 
full grown, appeared to have been piled together promiscuously. 
We found several scull, leg and thigh bones, which plainly indi- 
cated, that their possessors were men of gigantic stature. The 
scull of one skeleton was one fourth of an inch thick; and the teeth 
remarkably even, sound and handsome, all firmly planted. The 
fore teeth were very deep, and not so wide as those of the gen- 
erality of white people. Indeed, there seemed a great degree of 
regularity in the form of the teeth, in all the mounds. In the 
progress of our researches, we obtained ample testimony, that 
these masses of earth were formed by a savage people. Yet, doubt- 
less possessing a greater degree of civilization than the present 
race of Indians. We discovered a piece of glass weighing five 
.ounces, resembling the bottom of a tumbler, but concave; sev- 
eral stone axes, with grooves near their heads to receive a withe, 
which unquestionably served as helves; arrows formed from flint, 

Samuel R. Brown. 153 

almost exactly similar to those in use among the present Indians; 
several pieces of earthen ware; some appeared to be parts of ves- 
sels holding six or eight gallons; others were obviously fragments 
of jugs jars, and cups; some were plain, while others were curiously 
ornamented with figures of birds and beasts, drawn while the clay 
or material of which they were made was soft and before the pro- 
cess of glazing was performed. The glazier's art appears to have 
been well understood by the potters who manufactured this 
aboriginal crockery. The smaller vessels were made of pounded or 
pulverized muscle shells, mixed with an earthen or flinty sub- 
stance, and the large ones of clay and sand. There was no appear- 
ance of iron; one of the sculls was found pierced by an arrow, 
which was still sticking in it, driven about half way through before 
its force was spent. It was about six inches long. The subjects 
of this mound were doubtless killed in battle, and hastily buried. 
In digging to the bottom of them we invariably came to a stratum 
of ashes, from six inches to two feet thick, which rests on the 
original earth. These ashes contain coals, fragments of brands, 
and pieces of calcined bones. From the quantity of ashes and bones, 
and the appearance of the earth underneath, it is evident that large 
fires must have been kept burning for several days previous to 
commencing the mound, and that a considerable number of human 
victims must have been sacrificed, by burning, on the spot! Prison- 
ers of war were no doubt selected for this horrid purpose. Perhaps 
the custom of the age rendered it a signal honor, for the chief- 
tains and most active worriors to be interred, by way of triumph, 
on the ashes of their enemies, whom they had vanquished in war. 
If this was not the case, the mystery can only be solved by sup- 
posing that the fanaticism of the priests and prophets excited their 
besotted followers to voluntary self-devotion. The soil of the 
mounds is always different from that of the immediately surround- 
ing earth being uniformly of a soft vegetable mould or loam, 
and containing no stones or other hard substances, to "press upon 

the dead and disturb their repose." 

Almost every building lot in Harrison village contains a small 
mound; and some as many as three. On the neighboring hills, 
north east of the town, are a number of the remains of stone houses. 
They were covered with soil, brush, and full grown trees. We 
cleared away the earth, roots and rubbish from one of them, 
and found it to have been anciently occupied as a dwelling. It 
was about twelve feet square; the walls had fallen nearly to the 
foundation. They appeared to have been built of rough stones, 


154 Early Travels in Indiana. 

like our stone walls. Not the least trace of arly iron tools having 
been employed to smooth the face of them, could be perceived. 


At one end of the building, we came to a regular hearth, contain- 
ing ashes and coals; before which we found the bones of eight 
persons of different ages, from a small child to the heads of the 


family. The positions of their skeletons clearly indicated, that 
their deaths were sudden and simultaneous. They were prob- 
ably asleep, with their feet towards the fire, when destroyed by an 


enemy, an earthquake, or pestilence. 


This county is bounded on the east by the state of Ohio, on the 
south by the county of Franklin, on the west and north by Indian 
lands. It is watered by the north fork of White-water, the head 
brooks of the north fork of Whiteriver, sources of Rocky river, 
Massiseinway, and main branch of the Wabash. It is very exten- 
sive, of a level surface, well timbered, contains fine lands, and has 
been settled ten years. Its products are, Indian corn, wheat, 
rye, oats, and tobacco. 

Salisbury. — Lies thirty miles north of Brookville; contains 
about thirty five houses, two stores and two taverns. It is at 
present the seat of justice for Wayne county; but Centerville, a 
new village, being more central, threatens to become its competitor 
for that privilege. 


Is bounded west by Jefferson, south by the Ohio river, north in 
part by Indian lands, and east by Dearborn county. Its surface is, 
in some places, broken by the Ohio and Silver creek hills, which, 
however, are of a pretty good soil. It is watered by Venoge and 
Plum creeks, and several small runs; some running into the Ohio, 
and others into Whiteriver. 

New Switzerland. — The settlement of New Switzerland was 
commenced by a few emigrants, from the Pays de Vaud, in the 
spring of 1805. It extends from about three quarters of a mile 
above the mouth of Plum creek, down the river to the mouth of 


Indian creek, now called Venoge; a. distance of about four 
miles and a half, fronting the river, and originally extended back 
far enough to cover 3,700 acres of land; about half of which was 
purchased under a law in favor of J. J. Dufour, and his associates, 
upon a credit of twelve years. Subsequent purchases have been 
made on the usual terms, excepting an extension of credit, in order 



Samuel R. Brown. 155 

to encourage the cultivation of the vine. There has been a gradual 
accession of numbers to this interesting colony. As early as 1810, 
they had eight acres of vineyard, from which they made 2,400 
gallons of wine, which, in its crude state, was thought by good 
judges, to be superior to the claret of Bordeaux. A part of this 
wine was made out of the Madeira grape. They have now greatly 
augmented the quantity of their vineyard grounds, which, when 
bearing, present to the eye of the observer the most interesting 
agricultural prospect, perhaps, ever witnessed in the United States. 
The principal proprietors of the vineyards, are the Messrs. Du- 
fours, Bettens, Morerod, Siebenthal. Mr. J. J. Dufour arrived 
from Switzerland in September last, with a large number of emi- 
grants. The Swiss speak the French language in its purity; and 
are a temperate, industrious and polished people, fond of music 
and dancing, and warmly attached to the United States. 
They are rapidly extending their vineyards; they also 
cultivate Indian corn, wheat, potatoes, hemp, flax, and other 
articles necessary to farmers — but in quantities barely sufficient 
for domestic use. Some of their women manufacture straw hats. 
They are made quite different from the common straw bonnets, 
by tying the straws together, instead of plaiting and sewing the 
plaits. They are sold in great numbers in the neighboring settle- 
ments, and in the Mississippi and Indiana territories. 

Vevay. — Half a mile above the upper vineyards, was laid out in 
1813, but was a forest in 1814, till the first of February, when the 
first house was built. 

During the same year forty four others, four stores, and two 
taverns were erected, and the village selected as a suitable place 
for the seat of justice for Switzerland county. There are at 
present eighty-four dwelling houses, besides thirty four mechanics' 
shops, of different professions. The court house, jail, and school 
house are of brick. A brick market house and church are build- 


ing. It has eight stores, three taverns, two lawyers, two physi- 
cians, and a printing office printing a weekly newspaper, called 
the Indiana Register. There is a library of 300 volumes; and a 
literary society in which are several persons of genius, science, and 


This delightful village is situated on the second bank of the 
Ohio, twenty-five feet above high water mark, and is nearly equi- 
distant from Cincinnati, Lexington, and Louisville, or forty 
five miles from each. The view of the Ohio is extensive, being 
eight miles. The country in the rear is broken but fertile. The 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

climate is mild, and the sweet potatoe is cultivated with success. 
Cotton would doubtless do well. There are several roads which 
"diverge from the settlement. Three mails arrive weekly. '" 


Is bounded on the east by Switzerland county, on the south by 
the river Ohio, on the west by the county of Clark, on the north by 
Indian lands. It contains a great proportion of excellent land. 
It is watered by several small creeks running in ;o the Ohio, and 

by the Mescatitak, a branch of the south fork of Whiteriver, which 
heads within five miles of the Ohio river. 

New Lexington. — This flourishing town is famous for having 
produced the pretended monied institution, called "The Lexing- 
ton Indiana Manufacturing Company," which has exploded. It 
is situated in a rich settlement, sixteen miles nearly west of Madi- 
son, and five miles east of the Knobs; and contains about forty 
houses, some of them handsome, brick and frame, and others 
built with hewn logs, in the true western style. There is a post- 
office, and printing establishment, in which is printed the "West- 
ern Eagle." The surface of the surrounding country is for several 
miles, sufficiently rolling to give the water of the creeks and runs a 
brisk motion. The stones towards the Ohio are calcareous: 
to the west and north west, clayey slate. The soil is very produc- 




vicinity of this 

the enterprising General 

M'Farland has, with astonishing preseverance, dug to the depth 
of nearly five hundred feet, in quest of salt water. His exertions 




inasmuch as the water exceeds 

in strength any salt water in the western country, and affords 
from three to four bushels of salt, to the hundred gallons of 



Madison. — This is the seat of justice for the county, and is 
situated on the upper bank of the Ohio, thirty miles below Vevay, 
contains sixty or seventy houses, mostly small and new. The 
banking institution, called the "Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank," 
is established here. 


Is bounded east by Jefferson county, south by the Ohio river, 
west by the counties of Harrison and Washington, north by the 
county of Jackson and Indian lands. It is watered by several 
creeks running into the Ohio, such as Silver creek, Cane run, &c. 
and several brooks falling into the Mescatitak branch of the 




Samuel R. Brown. 157 

south fork of Whiteriver. Its surface is considerably broken in 
the central parts of the county. Hickory and oak are the prevail- 
ing timber. It is thought that this country contains many valu- 
able minerals; some have been discovered; copperas is found in the 
high banks of Silver creek, about two miles from its mouth. A 
medicinal spring, near Jeffersonville, has been much frequented — 
its waters are strongly impregnated with sulphur and iron. The 
reed cane grows on the flats. 

Charleston — The seat of justice for Clark county, is situated in 
the centre of a rich and thriving settlement, thirty-two miles south 
of west from Madison, two miles from the Ohio river, and fourteen 
from the falls. This village, like many others in the western coun- 
try, has sprung up suddenly by the magical influence of American 
enterprize, excited into action by a concurrence of favorable cir- 

Jeffersonville — Stands on the bank of the Ohio, nearly opposite 
Louisville, and a little, above the falls. It contains about one hun- 
dred and thirty houses, brick, frame and hewn logs. The bank of 
the river is high, which affords a fine view of Louisville, the falls, 
and the opposite hills. Just below the town is a fine eddy for boats. 
A post-office, and a land-office, for the sale of the United States' 
lands, are established, and it promises to become a place of wealth, 
elegance and extensive business. The most eligible boat channel 
is on the Indiana side of the Ohio. 

Clarksville — Lies at the lower end of the falls; and, although 
commenced as early as 1783, does not contain above forty houses, 
most of them old and decayed. It has a safe capacious harbor for 


New Albany — A short distance below Clarksville, has been 
puffed throughout the Union; but has not yet realized the antici- 
pations of the proprietors. 


Is bounded east by Clark county, south by the 'Ohio, west by 
the new county of Perry, and north by Washington. Its principal 
stream is Blue river, which is navigable for boats about forty 
miles. Gen. Harrison owns a large tract of land upon this river, 
and has erected a grist and saw mill, about eight miles from its 
mouth, on a durable spring brook, running into it. On both banks 
of this river are large quantities of oak and locust timber. Gen. 
H. had it in contemplation, shortly before the commencement of 

158 Early Travels in Indiana 

the late war, to establish a ship yard at its mouth, where there is a 
convenient situation for building and launching vessels. 

Corydon — The seat of justice for Harrison county, is situated 
twenty-five miles nearly west from Jeffersonville, and ten miles 
from the Ohio river. It was commenced in 1809, and is the seat of 
government for the state. The selection of this place by the legis- 
lature, as the seat of government for the period of eight years, has 
excited great dissatisfaction in other parts of the state. It has 
rapidly encreased since the meeting of the state convention, in 
July, 1816. The Indiana Gazette is printed in this village. 


County is bounded on the east by Clark county, on the south 
by the county of Harrison, on the west by the county of Orange, 
and on the north by the county of Jackson. It is watered by the 
south fork of AVhiteriver — is moderately hilly, and was established 
in 1814. 

Salem — Is the only village deserving notice; and is situated 
thirty-four miles north of Corydon, and twenty-five nearly west 
from Jeffersonville, on the Vincennes road. 


Lies west of Clark and Jefferson counties, north of Washing- 
ton, east of Orange, and south of the Indian country. It is watered 
by Whiteriver and its tributary creeks, and was set off in 1815. 
Brownstown is the seat of justice; and is situated twenty-five miles 
east of north from Salem. 


County is bounded by the counties of Washington and Jack- 
son on the east; by Harrison and Perry on the south; by the county 
of Knox on the west; and by Indian lands on the north. It has a 
rich soil, and is well watered by Whiteriver and Petoka. A gen- 
tleman, who surveyed several townships in the county, declares it 
to be equal in point of fertility of soil, and excellence of water, to 
any county in the state. "The surface is agreeably undulating. 
The timber on the hills consist of black walnut, oak, hickory, ash, 
sugar maple; on the low grounds, basswood, pawpaw, honey locust, 
buckeye and spicewood; besides, grape vines, and a variety of 
shrubs. We occasionally met with rattlesnakes and copperheads 
on the uplands, but never in the bottoms. The most common 

Samuel R. Brown. 159 

game are deer and bear. There is a coal-mine a little below the 
forks of Whiteriver; besides, we met with frequent signs of min- 
erals; and the needle often refused to settle. The bottoms of 
Whiteriver are nearly as wide as those of the Wabash, and con- 
tain evidence of having been formerly inhabited by Indians, as the 
remains of their cabins and corn-hills are yet visible. The new 
village of Paoli is the county seat. It is forty miles nearly east of 
Vincennes; and thirty north of west from Salem." 


This county is bounded by Orange on the east; by the county 
of Gibson on the south; by the Wabash river on the west; and by 
Indian lands on the north. This is the oldest and most populous 
county in the state. It is watered by the Deche, Whiteriver, 
Wabash, Littleriver, St. Marie, Busseron, Raccoon and Ambush 
creeks. It has upwards of 200,000 acres of the best prairie and 
bottom land, and is rapidly encreasing in inhabitants and 

Vincennes. — The seat of justice for Knox county, stands on the 
east bank of the Wabash, one hundred miles from its junction with 
the Ohio, in a direct line, but nearly two hundred by the courses of 
the river; and one hundred and twenty west of the falls of Ohio. 
It contains about one hundred houses, most of which are small 
and scattering; some have a neat and handsome aspect, while 
others are built in an uncouth manner, having a frame skeleton 
filled up with mud and stick walls, similar to some of the old Ger- 
man houses on the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. The best build- 
ings are a brick tavern, jail, and academy. The latter, which is an 
honor to the state, stands in the public square, and is under the 
direction of the Rev. Mr. Scott, a presbyterian minister, a gen- 
tleman of letters; yet, hitherto, his pupils have not been numer- 
ous. He teaches the ancient languages, mathematics, &c. The 
meeting house, a plain building, stands on the prairie, one mile 
from the town. The plan of the town is handsomely designed; the 
streets are wide and cross each other at right angles. Almost every 
house has a garden in its rear, with high, substantial picket fences 
to prevent the thefts of the Indians. General Harrison is one of the 
principal proprietors of the soil. The common field near the town 
contains nearly 5,000 acres, of excellent prairie soil, which has 
been cultivated for more than half a century, and yet retains its 
pristine fertility. The United States have a land office for the dis- 

160 Early Travels in Indiana. 

posal of the public lands; and formerly kept a small garrison, in a 
little stockade near the bank of the river, for the protection of the 
inhabitants. The Governor of the territory resided, and the terri- 
torial legislature convened here. The place has possessed many 
political advantages. "The bank of Vincennes" enjoys a good 
character, and its paper has already attained an extensive cir- 
culation. It has recently become a state bank. There is also a 
printing office, which issues a paper, called the ''Western Sun", 
edited by Mr. E. Stout. This village was settled nearly one hun- 
dred years ago, by the French, who mostly came from Lower 
Canada. Buried in the centre of an immense wilderness, unpro- 
tected, and without intercourse with the civilized world, these 
colonists gradually approximated to the savage state. Many of 
the males intermarried with the Indians, whose amity was by 
these ties secured and strengthened, and their numbers amounted 
to three hundred persons. 

"During the revolutionary war, their remote situation 
exempted them from all its evils, till, in 1782, they were visited by 
a detachment from Kentucky, who plundered and insulted them, 
and killed or drove off the cattle which formed their chief wealth. 

"The peace of 1783, gave them to the United States, under 
whose benign government they began to breathe again; but 
unluckily an Indian war commenced in 1788, and siding with the 
whites, as duty and discretion enjoined, they were annoyed by 
the savages, whose animosity was embittered by the remembrance 
of their ancient friendship and alliance. Their cattle were killed, 
their village closely beset, and, for several years, they could not 
carry the plough or hoe a musket shot from their huts. 

"Military service was added to their other hardships; but, in 
1792, the compassion of the federal government gave four hundred 
acres of land to every one who paid the capitation, and one hun- 
dred more to every one who served in the militia. This domain, so 
ample to a diligent husbandman, was of little value to the hunting 
Frenchmen, who soon bartered away their invaluable ground for 
about 30 cents an acre, which was paid to them in goods, on which 
an exorbitant profit was charged. This land was of the best qual- 
ity; it sold, as early as 1796, at two dollars an acre, and I may ven- 
ture to say is now worth at least ten. Thus, for the most part, 
reduced again to their gardens, or the little homestead which was 
indispensable to their subsistence, they had nothing to live on 
but their fruit, potatoes, maize, and now and then a little game; 
and, on this fare, no wonder they became as lean as Arabs. 



Samuel R. Brown. 161 

"Their ignorance, indeed, was profound. Nobody ever opened 
a school among them, till it was done by the abbe R. a polite, well 
educated, and liberal minded missionary, banished hither by the 
French revolution. Out of nine of the French, scarcely six could 
read or write, whereas nine-tenths of the Americans, or emigrants 
from the east, could do both. Their dialect is by no means, as I 
had been previously assured, a vulgar or provincial brogue, but 
pretty good French, intermixed with many military terms and 
phrases, all the settlements having been originally made by sol- 
diers. The primitive stock of Canada was the regiment of Carig- 

The country around Vincennes in every direction, being well 
adapted to settlements and cultivation, what is there to prevent 
this place from equalling, in a very few years, in numbers, wealth, 
and refinement, the fine towns of Lexington, Louisville and Cin- 
cinnati. Building lots in Vincennes sell at from fifty to one thous- 
and dollars a lot. There are two roads leading to the Ohio; one 
to fort Harrison; one to Princeton; and one to I'askaskia. 

A new village has feen laid out at Terre Haute, three miles 
below fort Harrison. This situation, for beauty of prospect, is 
exceeded by none in the state. 


Congress lands, after the auction sales are closed, sell invari- 
ably for $2 an acre. For a quarter section, $80 are to be paid down 
— the same sum in two years; and the remainder in annual pay- 
ments, without interest, if punctually made. Those who pay in 
advance, are entitled to a discount of eight per cent. 

Harrison's Purchase, containing upwards of 3,000,000 acres, 
lying between Whiteriver, the Wabash, and Rocky river, was 
opened for sale at auction, at Jeffersonville, in Sept. last, and 
altho' the Canadian volunteers had previously selected their 
donation lots, numerous tracts were sold at from $4 to $30 an 
acre. A fractional section on the Wabash, below fort Harrison, 
sold for $32.18, and several others from $20 to $30. Speculators 
from all quarters attended the sales. 

The Canadian volunteers deserved the munificence of the 
United States, for they freely shed their blood under our banners, 
upon the Niagara frontier, under the intrepid Wilcocks, Delapierre, 
and Markle. But unfortunately the cup of generosity was upset 
before it reached their mouths. We gave them the choice of the 

♦See Volney's View of the Soil and Climate of the United States, pages 334 and 335. 
T — 11 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

best lands in the United States, merely to enrich the Mammon of 
speculation. Most of these brave men have blindly or neces- 
sitously parted with their lands for a song. 



On the hills, two miles east of the town, are three large mound 

and oth 

frequently met with on the prairies and upland 

from Whiteriver to the head of the Wabash. They are in every 
respect similar to those in Franklin county, already described. 

The French have a tradition, that an exterminating battle was 
fought in the beginning of the last century, on the ground where 
fort Harrison now stands, between the Indians living on the Missis- 


d those of the Wabash. The bone of contention was th 

lands lying between those rivers, which both parties claimed. 
There were about 1,000 warriors on each side. The condition of 
the fight was, that the victors should possess the lands in dispute. 
The grandeur of the prize was peculiarly calculated to inflame the 
ardor of savage minds. The contest commenced about sunrise. 
Both parties fought desperately. The Wabash warriors came off 
conquerors, having seven men left alive at sunset, and their adver- 
saries but five. The mounds are still to be seen where it is said 
the slain were buried. 



ounty is bounded by the counties of Warwick and 

Orange on the east, the county of Posey on the south, the Wabash 


the west 

atered by 

d the county of Knox on the north 


eeks and runs, falling into the Petoka and 

Wabash. About one half of this county has a fertile and highly 
favorable soil; and the greater part of the other half would be pro- 
nounced good, in any of the Atlantic states. 

— Is the county seat; it lies thirty-five miles nearly 


south of Vincennes. It has a post-office; and has had a 

growth, considering the newness of the surrounding settlements. 

Harmony. — This village is situated on the Wabash, half a day's 
ride below Princeton, and is settled by the Harmonists, from Butler 

county, Pennsyl 

They are under the direction of the Rev 

George Rapp; and hold their property in community. They have 
a very extensive establishment for the manufacturing of wool. 

Their Merino cloth 


passed by any in America 


also cultivate the vine; and are distinguished for their temp 
industry and skill in many of the mechanical professions. 

Samuel R. Brown. 163 


Is situated south of Gibson, bounded on the east by the county 
of Warwick, on the south and west by the Ohio and Wabash 
rivers. It contains rich and extensive prairies; but the banks of 
the Wabash are in many places subject to inundation, both from 
its own floods, and those of the Ohio, which sets up the Wabash 




This county is situated east of the county of Posey, bounded 
on the east by the county of Perry, on the south by the Ohio 
river, on the west by the county of Posey, and on the north by the 
counties of Orange and Knox. It is a level and rich county, 
watered by several large creeks running into the Ohio, such as 
Beaver, Pigeon, &c. It is nevertheless but indifferently watered, 
owing to the early drying up of the streams. The prairies are num- 
erous, but mostly inferior, in point of soil, to those bordering the 
Wabash. The prevailing timber being oak, the range for hogs is 



Is bounded east by Harrison, north by Orange and Washing- 
ton, west by Warwick, and south by the Ohio river. It is watered 
by the little river Anderson, and by creeks and runs falling into the 
Ohio. It was established in 1615. [1815]. 


These consist of Mascontins, Piankashaws, Kickapoos, Del- 
awares, Miamis, Shawancese, Weeaws, Ouitanans, Eel-rivers, 
Hurons, and Pottawattamies. 

The Mascontins and Piankashaws reside on the rivers falling 
into the right bank of the Wabash, between Vincennes and Tippa- 
canoe. Their numbers are given at 1,000 souls. Hutchins affirms 
that they, together with the Kickapoos, could raise 1,000 war- 

The Kickapoos reside on the west side of the Wabash, above 
Tippacanoe, and on the head waters of the Illinois. They have 
several large villages, and can raise 400 warriors. 

The Delawares reside on the head waters of Whiteriver, in a 
village surrounded by large open prairies. I have no data for 
stating their numbers with accuracy; they are not numerous. 

The Miamis inhabit the upper Wabash, Massissinway, Miami- 


164 Early Travels in Indiana. 



of-the-lakes, and Little St. Josephs — mostly within one or two 
day's travel of fort Wayne. General Harrison burnt four of their 
towns at the forks of the Wabash, in September, 1813. They are 
the proprietors of excellent lands, and cultivate large quantities 
of Indian corn. They are reduced to about 1,100 souls. 

The Shawanoese live on and near the banks of Tippacanoe, 
Ponce Passu creek, and the Wabash river. They were formerly a 
very formidable and warlike tribe; but have been reduced by their 
frequent wars, to about 400 warriors. They have fine lands, and 
raise an abundance of corn. Their country was invaded by Gen- 
eral Wilkinson, in 1791, who destroyed their principal town, near 
the mouth of Tippacanoe, called Kathtippecamunk. "It contained 
one hundred and twenty houses, eighty of which were shingle 
roofed. The best houses belonged to the French traders. The 
gardens and improvements around were delightful. There was a 
tavern, with cellars, bar, public and private rooms; and the whole 
marked no small degree of order and civilization." Not far from 
the ruins of this town stands the celebrated Prophet's town, 
destroyed by General Harrison, in Nov. 1811, but since rebuilt. 
Above [below] Tippacanoe is the old French post of Ouitanan, 
situated on the north [south] side of the Wabash, in the centre of 
the Indian country. This place is as old as Vincennes. 

Several half civilized French inhabitants reside here as well 
as at L'Anguille, on Eelriver. They raise corn, and trade with the 

The Hurons reside in a small village, ten or fifteen miles south 
east of Ouitanan. There are only ten or twelve families of them. 
The Eelriver s and Weeaws are bands of the Miamis; and reside 
on the Wabash and Eelriver. They can collect about 100 warriors. 

A part of the Winnebagoes occupy a village on Ponce Passu 
creek, seven miles east of the Prophet's town, which contains from 
forty-five to fifty houses, several of which are fifty feet long; others 
reside on the branches of Plein and Fox rivers, and frequent 

The Pottawattamies are the most numerous tribe in the state. 
They reside on the Elkhart branch of the St. Josephs, where they 
have five villages, one of which is situated in an immense prairie, 
sixty miles west of fort Wayne. The course of this branch is north 
west. The balance of this tribe live on the St. Josephs, Chicago, 
Kennomic, and Theakaki rivers. 

The best proof of the excellence of the land on the Upper 
Wabash, is the circumstance of its being the scene of a numerous 



Samuel R. Bkown. . 165 

Indian population. These sagacious children of nature are good 
judges of land. Indeed, they are rarely, if ever, found on a barren 




The Ohio river washes the southern boundary of Indiana, 

for the distance of 472 

Wabash, navigable 470 

Whiteriver, and its forks 160 



Blueriver 40 

White River 40 

Rocky River 45 

Panne 30 

Massissinway 45 

Eel, and Little rivers 60 

Western tributaries of the Wabash 330 

St. Joseph of Miami and Panther's Creek 75 

Elkhart and part of St. Joseph of L. Mich 100 

Great and Little Kennomic 120 

Chemin River 


Chicago and Kickapoo 80 

Theakaki, and parts of Fox, Plein and Illinois 300 

Southern coast of Lake Michigan 50 

Total 2,487 

The foregoing estimate does not embrace streams boatable 
less than thirty miles; besides, several of those named are navi- 
gable for canoes and small boats many miles further than the given 
distances annexed. 

The distance from Chicago, to New Orleans, by water, is 1,680 
miles — to Buffalo, about 800. The surplus products of three 
fourths of the state will find their way to the New Orleans market. 


All the streams in the northern parts of the state, which 
empty into the Wabash and Illinois, have their branches inter- 
woven with many of the rivers running into lakes Erie and Mich- 
igan. Indeed, as before observed, they not unfrequently issue 
from the same marsh, prairie, pond, or lake. There are upwards 
of twenty portages near the Michigan frontier, only two of which 
have hitherto been used by the whites. The first of these is 
between the St. Marys and the Littleriver branch of the Wabash, 
and is nine miles long. The road which is good in dry seasons, 


166 . Eaely Travels in Indiana. 


leaves "the St. Marys near Fort Wayne, where teams are kept for 
the transportation of boats and merchandize. It was by this 
route that the French, while in possession of Canada, passed from 
the lakes to their posts on the Wabash. From the levelness of the 
intervening country, a canal could be easily opened, uniting the 
two streams. The second is the short portage between the 
Chicago and the Kickapoo branch of the Illinois, rendered impor- 
tant by the inundations, which at certain seasons cover the inter- 
mediate prairie, from which the two opposite streams flow. 
By this means nature has herself opened a navigable communi- 
cation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi: and it is a 
fact, however difficult it may be of belief to many, that boats not 
unfrequently pass from Lake Michigan into the Illinois, and in 
some instances without being subjected to the necessity of having 
their lading taken out. I have never been on this portage, and 
therefore cannot speak from personal knowledge, yet the fact has 
reached me through so many authentic channels, that I have no 
doubt of its truth. Gen. P. B. Porter, whose geographical knowl- 
edge of the countries bordering the lakes, is excelled by that of no 
gentleman in the western country, has given his corroborative testi- 
mony in. his speech on internal navigation delivered on the floor 
of congress in 1810. Lieutenant Hamilton of the United States 
army, a meritorious officer, whose services have not been ade- 
quately requited, informed a friend of mine living at Detroit, that he 
had passed with a laden boat, and met with no obstructions on the 
portage, except from the grass, through which, however, the men 
easily forced the boat. But, in order to multiply proof and remove 
every doubt, I consulted the Hon. N. Pope, the Territorial Dele- 
gate in congress from Illinois, who in answer to my enquiries 
stated, that "at high water boats pass out of Lake Michigan into 
the Illinois river, and so vice versa, without landing. A canal 
uniting them is deemed practicable at a small expense," &c. 
When on the upper lakes, I frequently met with voyageurs who 
had assisted in navigating boats across this portage. 

This morass is not the only one possessing two distinct outlets, 
I have myself witnessed this phenomenon in several instances; but 
never where there was water sufficient to float a laden boat. Let 
us hear what the justly celebrated Volney, says on this interesting 

"During the vernal floods, the north branch of the Great Miami 


mixes its waters with the southern branch of the Miami of the 

Lake. The carrying place, or portage, of a league, which separates 

Samuel R. Brown. . 167 


their heads, disappears beneath the flood, and we can pass in 
canoes from the Ohio to Lake Erie, as I myself witnessed in 1796. 

"At Loremier's Fort, or store, an eastern branch of the Wabash 
serves as a simple canal to connect the two Miamis; and the same 
Wabash, by a northern branch, communicates, above Fort Wayne, 
in the time of inundation, with the Miami of Lake Erie. 

"In the winter of 1792-3, two boats (perogues) were detached 
from Detroit, by a mercantile house, from whom I received the 
information, which passed, without interruption, from the Huron 
river,* which enters Lake Erie, into Grand River, which falls into 
Lake Michigan, by means of the rise at the heads of the two 

"The Muskingum, which flows into the Ohio, communicates, 
at its cources, through some small lakes, with the Cayahoga, 
belonging to Lake Erie." 

There is a portage of four miles between the St. Joseph's of 
Lake Michigan, and the Theakaki; of two miles between the Thea- 
kaki and the Great Kennomic; of half a mile between the Great 
and Little Kennomic ; of four miles between the Chemin and Little 
Kennomic; and of three miles between the west fork of Chicago 
and Plein; besides numerous ones between the head branches of 
the two St. Josephs; Black, Raisin and Eel rivers, which vary in 
length according to the dryness or moisture of the season. There 
is a short portage between the St. Marys and the main branch of 
the Wabash, over which, in times of inundation, the Indians pass 
with their light perogues. 


Chicago is a small river, which forks sixteen miles from the 
lake, into the east and west branches. Sloops of forty tons burthen 
can enter its harbor. Six miles from the lake its current becomes 
brisk, and continues so as far as the portage. Fort Dearborn 
famous for the murder of its garrison in September 1815, [1812] 
by the Pottawattamies, stood upon its left bank. near the lake 
shore. The Indians have relinquished to the United States a 
tract of land six miles square, at the mouth of this river. The fort 

has been lately re-occupied. 

The Great Kennomic. — This river rises twenty or thirty miles 
S. of lake Michigan, and running a N. W. course approaches 

miles below Maiden 
e twelve miles belov 

Sandusky Bay, and the other into Lake St. Clair. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

within two or three miles of that lake. Thence winding to the S. 
W. and north, it forms a curviture nearly similar to the end of the 
lake, and parallel with it, keeping at the distance of 8 or 9 miles. 
It thence turns suddenly to the S. E. E. and N. E. in a contrary but 
parallel direction to its former course, and empties into the lake 30 
miles east of Chicago. It expands behind the sand hills near its 
mouth, and forms a spacious bay. It affords to the Indians an 
inexhaustible supply of fish, and an ample range for fowling and 
trapping. Its banks are low, and its current gentle. 


I h 


d several letters from 
Lcur in stating that the 

gentlemen residing in Indiana, which concur in 
population has doubled since May 1815. In other words, it now 
amounts to 128,000 souls, a rapidity of increase altogether unprec- 

Price of Improved Lands. — Farms containing a log house and 
fifteen or twenty acres, sell as high as eight or ten dollars; in some 
instances the necessities or rambling dispositions of the inhab- 


)se of their plantations at a trifling 

itants induce them to dispo 
advance upon the original pri 

Falls of 


An improvement of the navigation of the 


falls is about to be attempted by a canal round the rapids, 
legislature have incorporated a company with a capital of $1,000 







plished, ship building will 

probably re-commence with vigor. 

It was the difficulties encountered in getting vessels over these 
rapids, which chiefly contributed to discourage this important 
business abo\ e the falls. 

The Wabash. — The rapids at Ouitanan are impassable for 
boats; but the navigation is so good between Vincennes and this 
place, that Gen. Hopkins in his expedition to Tippecanoe in 1813, 
conveyed his baggage and stores in large keels, of thirty tons 

burthen. General Harrison in his expedition against the Prophet, 
was accompanied in his march through the wilderness by a caravan 
of waggons! They were enabled to proceed with tolerable speed by 
keeping in the prairies to the west of the woodlands bordering the 

Washington County. — In addition to the streams mentioned in 
page 66, is watered by Blueriver, which rises in the eastern part of 
the county, and pursuing a S. E. course, passes through Harrison 
county twelve miles south-west of Corydon. 

Climate.- — From the latitude of Ouitanan. (40 20) to the bor- 
ders of the Ohio, the climate of Indiana may be pronounced mild. 

Samuel R. Brown. 169 


North of the head branches of the Wabash, the north and north- 
west winds are formidable enemies to human comfort, and the 
winters severe and rigorous; though snow is rarely known to fall so 
deep as it does in the northern counties of New- York. The 
southern shore of Lake Michigan, and the vast prairies in the direc- 
tion of the Wabash have little to protect them from the rage of 
the brumal winds. 

The Reed Cane.— This plant grows south of +hp ridge of hills 
extending from the falls of the Ohio to those of the Wabash above 
the mouth of Whiteriver. It is sometimes found as far north as 
the mouth of the Big Miami. Cotton, the vines of Spain, the silk 
worm, and the sweet potatoe will flourish wherever the reed cane 
grows, except, the first, which does not grow to perfection beyond 
31 degrees of north latitude. Rice and Indigo, I think would do 
well between Blueriver and the Wabash, though I have never 
seen either cultivated, or heard that the inhabitants have yet made 
the trial. I have seen these plants growing luxuriantly in Overton 
county, Tennessee, which is a high broken country, near the Ken- 
tucky boundary line, in latitude 36 35. The mouth of the Wabash 
is in 37 50. 

The state will doubtless produce cotton sufficient for its own 
consumption. It is already raised in considerable quantities at 
Vincennes, Princeton, Harmony, and in the settlements below the 
mouth of Anderson. The Wabash will at no very remote period, 
serve as a canal to supply with cotton, a part of the market on the 
northern lakes. 

Game. — The forests of Indiana are abundantly stocked with 
game. Great numbers of deer are annually destroyed by the 
inhabitants. In travelling seven miles through the woods of 
Dearborn county, I counted two bears, three deer, and upwards of 
one hundred turkies; more that half of the latter, however, were 
young ones, just beginning to fly. I will here relate an adventure 
which may serve to throw some light on the natural history of the 
deer. In the course of the day, I missed my way and wandered 
several miles in the wilderness, in my endeavors to'regain the path 
I started a fawn, which I soon caught, in consequence of its becom- 
ing entangled in the herbage. It bleated and appeared greatly 
frightened. Conceiving, myself to be near a settlement and 
unwilling to destroy it, I resolved to carry it to the first house; but 
after travelling half a mile its dam made her appearance, and 
seemed by her piteous demonstrations, plainly to reproach me for 
my cruelty; upon which I gave the fawn its liberty. But I was not 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

little surprised, to find it so much attached to 


transient acquaintance, that it absolutely refused to leave 


pushed it from me and pursued my course; but soon found it at 
my heels, apparently as docile as a pet lamb, and was compelled to 
frighten it before it would turn from me. Relating this fact to 
some old hunters, they assured me that such is the docility of 
fawns, that they can be as effectually tamed in an hour, as a 


Deer, it is said, are the mortal enemies of rattlesnakes; and 

often kill them designedly by jumping on them. They can scent 

them at considerable distance; and when pursued by dogs will 

avoid those which may happen to lie in their way, by suddenly 

inclining to the right or left. It is also reported that the turkey 

buzzard has the power of killing the rattlesnake by its intolerable 

stench — which it most powerfully emits by a violent fluttering in 


the air a little above the snake's head. 

Farmers are greatly annoyed by the smaller animals, such as 
squirrels, moles and mice; for nature is as prolific in animal as 
vegetable productions. The mole is particularly troublesome to 
cornfields while the seed is coming up, and injurious to meadows, 
as it bores the earth in every direction. 

Minerals. — The surface of Indiana is too champaign to be rich 
in mines of gold or silver. It is, nevertheless, stated that a silver 
mine has been discoveied near Ouitanan. Iron ore is found in 
many counties, probably in sufficient quantities for domestic 

Chalybeate springs are plentiful. The water between 
Whiteriver and New Lexington is in some places impregnated 
with copperas to such a degree, that linen washed in it turns black; 
and a few of the inhabitants have been induced to abandon their 
habitations in consequence of the supposed unwholesomeness of 
their wells. 

Indian Claims. — Near two-thirds of this state belongs to the 
Indians. Their title is extinguished in the eastern part, from Fort 


Wayne to the river Ohio, on an average of about twenty-five 
miles wide, on the margin of the Ohio and up the Wabash and 
western line to a point N. W. of Fort Harrison, and from thence 
eastwardly to the eastern purchase, about thirty-five miles from 
the Ohio. Notwithstanding the greater extent of soil purchased 
from the Indians in the west, a meridian equidistant from the 
eastern and western boundary would pretty fairly divide the popu- 
lation; but the western section will populate fastest, owing to the 
extent of recently purchased lands. 



From Notes on a journey in America from the coast 

Virginia to the territory of Illinois, by Morris Birk- 
beck [1818], pp. 81-118. 


Birkbeck, Morris. 

Morris Birkbeck, a Quaker farmer of .education and ability, decided in 
1817 to leave England and make a new home for himself and his family 
somewhere in America. 


In the spring of 1817 he joined his friend George Flower in Richmond, 
Virginia, and they proceeded westward through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana 
and Illinois, finally locating and establishing a colony in what is now Edwards 
County. In 1818 his ' 

Notes on a iournev in America, from 

Virginia to the territory of Illinois' ' was published. The Edinburgh Review 

speaks of this book as "one of the most interesting and instructive books 
that have appeared in years." His description of Indiana is found on pp. 
91-118 of the Dublin edition of 1818. 

Mr. Birkbeck was drowned in 1825. He was one of the leaders against 
the attempt to introduce slavery into the new state of Illinois. 

June 22 [1817]. As we approach the Little Miami river the 
country becomes more broken, much more fertile, and better settled. 
After crossing this rapid and clear stream we had a pleasant ride to 
Lebanon, which is not a mountain of cedars, but a valley, so beau- 
tiful and fertile, that it seemed, on its first opening on our view, 


enriched as it was by the tints of evening, rather a region of fancy 
than a real backwood scene. 

Lebanon is itself one of those wonders which 

the natural 

growth of these backwoods. In fourteen years, from two or three 
cabins of half-savage hunters, it has grown to be the residence of a 
thousand persons, with habits and looks no way differing from 
their brethren of the east. Before we entered the town we heard 
the supper bells of the taverns and arrived just in time to take our 
seats at the table, among just such a set as I should have expected 

to meet at the ordinary in Richmond; travellers 

ke ourselves. 

with a number of store-keep 


yers, and doctors 

men who 

board at the tavern 
daily public table. 


d make up a standing company for th 

This morning we made our escape from this busy scene, in 

defiance of the threatening 

A crowded tavern in an A 

can town, though managed as is that we have just quitted, with 
great attention and civility, is a place from which you are always 

willing to depart 

After all, the wonder is, that so many comforts 

provided for you at so early a period. 
Cincinnati, like most American town 

stands too low; it is 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

built on the banks of the Ohio, and the lower part is not out of the 

reach of spring-floods. 

As if "life was not more than meat, and the body than 
raiment," every consideration of health and enjoyment yields to 
views of mercantile convenience. Short-sighted and narrow 
economy! by which the lives of thousands are shortened, and the 
comfort of all sacrificed to mistaken notions of private interest. 

Cincinnati is, however, a most thriving place, and backed as it 
is already by a great population and a most fruitful country, 
bids fair to be one of the first cities of the west. We are told, and 
we cannot doubt the fact, that the chief of what we see is the work 
of four years. The hundreds of commodious, well-finished brick 

houses, the spacious and busy markets, the substantial public 
buildings, the thousands of prosperous, well-dressed, industrious 
inhabitants; the numerous waggons and drays, the gay carriages 
and elegant females; — the shoals of craft on the river, the busy stir 
prevailing every where; houses building, boats building, paving 
and levelling streets; the numbers of country people constantly 
coming and going; with the spacious taverns, crowded with travel- 
lers from a distance. 

All this is so much more than I could comprehend, from a 
description of a new town, just risen from the woods, that I 
despair of conveying an adequate idea of it to my English friends. 
It is enchantment, and Liberty is the fair enchantress. 

I was assured by a respectable gentleman, one of the first set- 
tlers, and now a man of wealth and influence, that he remembers 
when there was only one poor cabin where this noble town now 
stands. The county of Hamilton is something under the regular 
dimensions of twenty miles square, and it already contains 30,000 
inhabitants. Twenty years ago the vast region comprising the 
states of Ohio and Indiana, and the territory of Illinois and Michi- 
gan, onlycounted 30,000 inhabitants: — the same number that are 
now living, and living happily, in the little county of Hamilton, 
in which stands Cincinnati. 

Why do not the governments of Europe afford such an asylum, 
in their vast and gloomy forests, for their increasing myriads of 
paupers? This would be an object worthy a convention of sov- 
ereigns, if sovereigns were really the fathers of their people: but 
jealous as they are of emigration to America, this simple and sure 
mode of preventing it will never occur to them. 

Land is rising rapidly in price in all well-settled neighbor- 
hoods. Fifty dollars per acre for improved land is spoken of f amil- 

Morris Birkbeck. 173 


iarly: I have been asked thirty for a large tract, without improve- 
ments, on the Great Miami, fifty miles from Cincinnati, and similar 
prices in other quarters. An estate of a thousand acres, partially 
cleared, is spoken of, on the road to Louisville, at twenty dollars. 
Many offers occur, all at a very great advance of price. It now 
becomes a question, whether to fix in this comparatively populous 
state of Ohio, or join the vast tide of emigration that is flowing 
farther west, where we may obtain lands of equal value at the 
government price of two dollars per acre, and enjoy the advan- 
tage of choice of situation. 

Though I feel some temptation to linger here, where society is 
attaining a maturity truly astonishing, when we consider its early 
date, I cannot be satisfied without seeing that remoter country, 


before we fix in this, still enquiring and observing as we proceed. 
If we leave behind us eligible situations, it is like securing a retreat, 
to which we may return with good prospects, if we think it advis- 

The probability is, that, in those more remote regions, the 
accumulation of settlers will shortly render land as valuable as it 
is here at present; and, in the interim, this accession of inhab- 
itants will create a demand for the produce of the new country, 
equal to the supply. It is possible too, that we may find ourselves 
in as good society there as here. Well-educated persons are not 
rare amongst the emigrants who are moving farther west; for the 
spirit of emigration has reached a class somewhat higher in the 
scale of society than formerly. Some too may be aiming at the 
same point with ourselves; and others, if we prosper, will be likely 

to follow our example. 

We are also less reluctant at extending our views westward, on 
considering that the time is fast approaching when the grand 
intercourse with Europe will not be, as at present, through east- 
ern America, but through the great rivers which communicate by 
the Mississippi with the ocean, at New Orleans. In this view we 
approximate to Europe, as we proceed to the west. 

The upward navigation of these streams is -already coming 
under the controul of steam, an invention which promises to be of 
incalculable importance to this new world. 

Such is the reasoning which impels us still forward; and in a 
few days we propose setting out to explore the state of Indiana, 
and probably the Illinois. With so long a journey before us, we 
are not comfortable under the prospect of separation. Our plan 
had been to lodge our main party at Cincinnati, until we had 

174 Early Travels in Indiana. 


fixed on our final abode; but this was before our prospects had 
taken so wide a range. We now talk of Vincennes, as we did before 
of this place, and I trust we shall shortly be again under weigh. 

June 27. Cincinnati. — All are alive here as soon as the day- 
breaks. The stores are open, the markets thronged, and business 
is in full career by five o'clock in the morning; and nine o'clock is 


the common hour for retiring to rest. 

As yet I have felt nothing oppressive in the heat of this cli- 
mate. Melting, oppressive, sultry nights, succeeding broiling 
days, and forbidding rest, which are said to wear out the frames of 
the languid inhabitants of the eastern cities, are unknown here. 
A cool breeze always renders the night refreshing, and generally 
moderates the heat of the day. 


June 28. The numerous creeks in this country, which are apt 
to be swelled suddenly by heavy rains, render travelling perplex- 
ing, and even perilous to strangers, in a showery season like the 
present. On my way this morning from an excursion of about 
fifteen miles, to view an estate, a man who was mowing at some 
distance from the road, hailed me with the common, but to us 
quaint appellation of "stranger" : — I stopped to learn his wishes. 
"Are you going to ride the creek?" "I know of no creek," said I; 
"but I am going to Cincinnati." — "I guess it will swim your horse." 
"How must I avoid it?" "Turn on your left, and go up to the 
mill, and you will find a bridge." Now if this kind man had rested 
on his scythe, and detained the "stranger" a few minutes, to learn 
his country, his name, and the object of his journey, as he prob- 
ably would had he been nearer to the road, he would but have 
evinced another trait of the friendly character of these good 

In this land of plenty, young people first marry, and then 
look out for the means of a livelihood without fear, or cause for it. 
The ceremony of marriage is performed in a simple family way, 
in my opinion more delicate, and corresponding to the nature of the 
contract, than the glaring publicity adopted by some, or the 
secrecy, not so respectable, affected by others. 

The near relations assemble at the house of the bride's parents. 
The minister or magistrate is in attendance, and when the candi- 
dates make their appearance, he asks them severally the usual 
questions, and having called on the company to declare if there be 
any objections, he confirms the union by a short religious formula; 
the bridegroom salutes the bride, and the ceremony is over. 
Tea and refreshments follow. Next day the bridgegroom holds his 

Morris Birkbeck. 175 

levee, his numerous friends (and sympathy makes them numerous 
on these happy occasions,) pour in to offer their congratulations 
Abundance of refreshments of the most substantial kind are placed 
on side-tables, which are taken, not as a formal meal, but as they 
walk up and down the apartments, in cheerful conversation. This 
running-meal continues from noon till the close of the evening, 
the bride never making her appearance on the occasion; an example 
of delicacy worthy the imitation of more refined societies. 


June 28. Cincinnati. The Merino mania seems to have pre- 
vailed in America to a degree exceeding its highest pitch in Eng- 
land. In Kentucky, where even the negroes would no more eat 
mutton than they would horseflesh, there were great Merino breed- 
ers. There was and is, I believe, a sheep society here, to encourage 
the growth of fine wool, on land as rich as the deepest, fattest 
vallies of our island, and in a country still overwhelmed with 
timber of the heaviest growth. As strange and incomprehensible 
an infatuation this, and as inconsistent with plain common sense, 
as the determined rejection of the fine-woolled race by the Eng- 
lish breeders of short- wooled sheep; but that there should ever 
have been a rage for sheep of any kind in any part of this country 
that I have seen, must be owing to general ignorance of the con- 
stitution and habits of this animal. There is not a district, scarcely 
a spot that I have travelled over, where a flock of fine-woolled 
sheep could be kept with any prospect of advantage, provided 
there were even a market for the carcase. Yet by the ragged 
remains of the Merino family, which may be recognized in many 
places, I perceive that the attempt has been very general. Mutton 
is almost as abhorrent to an American palate, or fancy, as the flesh 
of swine to an Israelite; and the state of the manufactures does not 
give great encouragement to the growth of wool of any kind; of 
Merino wool less, perhaps, than any other. Mutton is sold in the 
markets of Philadephia at about half the price of beef; and the 
Kentuckian, who would have given a thousand dollars for a Merino 
ram, would dine upon dry bread rather than taste his own mut- 
ton ! A few sheep on every farm, to supply coarse wool for domestic 
manufacture, seems to be all that ought at present to be attempted, 
in any part of America that I have yet seen. 

I have heard that in the western part of Virginia sheep are 
judiciously treated, and kept to advantage, and that there exists 
in that country no prejudice against the meat: also that the north- 
eastern states have good sheep pastures, and a moderate dislike of 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

mutton: to these, of course, my remarks on sheep husbandry are 
not applicable. Deep woods are not the proper abodes of sheep. 

When America shall have cleared away her forests, and opened 
her uplands to the breezes, they will soon be covered with fine 
turf, and flocks will be seen ranging over them here, as in other 
parts of the world. Anticipation often retards improvement, by 
giving birth to prejudice. 

There are about two thousand people regularly employed as 
boatmen on the Ohio, and they are proverbially ferocious and 
abandoned in their habits, though with many exceptions, as I 
have good grounds for believing. People who settle along the line 
of this grand navigation generally possess or acquire similar habits; 
and thus profligacy of manners seems inseparable from the 
population on the banks of these great rivers. It is remarked, 
indeed, every where, that inland navigators are worse than sailors. 

This forms a material objection to a residence on the Ohio, 
outweighing all the beauty and local advantages of such a situa- 

July 6. We are now at the town of Madison, on our way 
through the State of Indiana towards Vincennes. This place is on 
the banks of the Ohio, about seventy-five miles from Cincinnati. 

Our road has been mostly from three to six miles from the river, 
passing over fertile hills and alluvial bottoms. 

The whole is appropriated; but although settlements multiply 
daily, many large intervals remain between the clearings. 


Indiana is evidently newer than the state of Ohio; and if I 
mistake not, the character of the settlers is different, and superior 
to that of the first settlers in Ohio, who were generally very indi- 
gent people : those who are now fixing themselves in Indiana bring 
with them habits of comfort, and the means of procuring the con- 
veniences of life; I observe this in the construction of their cabins 
and the neatness surrounding them, and especially in their well- 
stocked gardens, so frequent here and so rare in the state of Ohio, 
where their earlier and longer settlement would have afforded 
them better opportunities of making this great provision for domes- 
tic comfort. 

I have also had the pleasure of seeing many families of healthy 
children; and from my own continued observation, confirmed by 
the testimony of every competent evidence that has fallen in my 
way, I repeat, with still more confidence, that the diseases so 
alarming to all emigrants, and which have been fatal to so many, 
are not attached to the climate, but to local situation. Repeti- 

Morris Birkbeck. 177 

tions will be excused on this important subject. Hills on a dry 
soil are healthy, after some progress has been made in clearing; 
for deep and close woods are not. salubrious either to new comers 
or old settlers. The neighbourhood of overflowing streams, and 
all wet, marshy soils, are productive of agues and bilious fevers in 
the autumn. 

Such is the influx of strangers into this state, that the industry 
of the settlers is severely taxed to provide food for themselves, 
and a superfluity for new comers : and thus it is probable there will 
be a market for all the spare produce, for a series of years, owing 
to the accession of strangers, as well as the rapid internal growth 
of population. This is a favourable condition of a new colony, 
which has not been calculated on by those who take a distant view 
of the subject. This year Kentucky has sent a supply in aid of 
this hungry infant state. 

July 7. I have good authority for contradicting a supposition 
that I have met with in England, respecting the inhabitants of 
Indiania, — that they are lawless, semi-barbarous vagabonds, 
dangerous to live among. On the contrary, the laws are respected, 
and are effectual; and the manners of the people are kind and 
gentle to each other, and to strangers. 

An unsettled country, lying contigious to one that is settled, is 
always a place of retreat for rude and even abandoned characters, 
who find the regulations of society intolerable; and such, no doubt, 
had taken up their unfixed abode in Indiana. These people retire, 
with the wolves, from the regular colonists, keeping always to the 
outside of civilized settlements. They rely for their subsistence on 
their rifle, and a scanty cultivation of corn, and live in great 
poverty and privation, a degree only short of the savage state of 


Of the present settlers, as I have passed along from house to 
house, I could not avoid receiving a most favourable impression. 
I would willingly remain among them, but pre-occupation sends 
us still forward in the steps of the roaming hunters I have just 
described, some of whom we shall probably dislodge when we make 
our settlement, which, like theirs, will probably be in the con- 
fines of society. 

As to the inhabitants of towns, the Americans are much 
alike, as far as we have had an opportunity of judging. We look 
in vain for any striking difference in the general deportment and 
appearance of the great bulk of Americans, from Norfolk on the 
eastern coast, to the town of Madison in Indiana. The same good- 

T— 12 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

looking, well-dressed (not what we call gentlemanly) men appear 
every where. Nine out of ten, native Americans, are tall and long- 
limbed, approaching, or even exceeding six feet; in pantaloons and 
Wellington boots, either marching up and down with their hands 
in their pockets, or seated on chairs poised on the hind-feet, 
and the backs rested against the walls. If a hundred Americans 
of any class were to seat themselves, ninety-nine would shuffle 
their chairs to the true distance, and then throw themselves back 
against the nearest prop. The women exhibit a great similarity of 
tall, relaxed forms, with consistent dress and demeanour; and are 
not remarkable for sprightliness of manners. Intellectual culture 
has not yet made much progress among the generality of either sex 
where I have travelled ; but the men have greatly the advantage in 
the means of acquiring information, from their habits of travelling, 
and intercourse with strangers : — sources of improvement from 
which the other sex is unhappily too much secluded. 

Lexington. This town is only three years old. Madison dates 
its origin two years farther back. Yet, much as has been done dur- 
ing this short period, and much as there remains to do, we see in 
every village and town, as we pass along, groups of young able- 
bodied men, who seem to be as perfectly at leisure as the loungers 
of ancient Europe. This love of idleness where labour is so profit- 
able and effective, is a strange affection. I have no notion of life 
as a pleasurable thing, except where connected with action. 
Rest is certainly a delightful sensation, but it implies previous 
labour: there is no rest for the indolent, any more than for the 
wicked: "They yawn and stretch, but find no rest." — I suspect 
that indolence is the epidemic evil of the Americans. If you 
enquire of hale young fellows, why they remain in this listless 

state — "We live in freedom," they say, "we need not work like 
the English." Thus they consider it their privilege to do noth- 
ing. But the trees of the forest are still more highly privileged in 
this sort of passive existence, this living to do nothing; for they are 
fed and exercised without any toil at all; the trees, "sua si bona 
norint," did they but know their bliss, might be objects of envy 
to many a tall young American. 


July 12. Hawkins's Tavern, sixteen miles east of Vincennes. 
On traversing the state of Indiana to this place, I retain the same 
idea as to the character of the settlers that struck me on our 
entrance. They are an order of colonists somewhat higher than 
the first settlers of their sister state. There remains, however, a 


considerable number of backwoods' men, somewhat savage in 

Morris Birkbeck. 179 

character, and who look on new comers as intruders. The accom- 
modation for travellers will soon be greatly superior to those in 
the Ohio state, as are those of the Ohio to the taverns of Penn- 
sylvania, west of the mountains. 

The country, from the town of Madison to the Camp Tavern, 
is not interesting, and great part of it is but of medium quality. 
At the latter place commences a broken country, approaching to 
mountainous, which, if well watered, would form a fine grazing 
district; but the little streams are now dried up, notwithstanding 
the late copious rains. This beautiful country continues as far as 
ShohVs Tavern, on White River, thirty-six miles east of Vincennes. 
Most of this hilly distict is unentered, and remains open to the 
public at two dollars per acre. 

Our rear party, consisting of one of the ladies, a servant boy, 
and myself, were benighted, in consequence of accidental deten- 


tion at the foot of one of these rugged hills; and, without being well 
provided, were compelled to make our first experiment of "camp- 
ing out." 

A traveller in the woods should always carry flint, steel, tinder, 
and matches; a few biscuits, a half-pint phial of spirits, and a tin 
cup; a large knife or tomahawk; then with his two blankets, and 
his great coat and umbrella, he need not be uneasy should any 
unforeseen delay require his sleeping under a tree. 

Our party having separated, the important articles of tinder 
and matches were in the baggage of the division which had pro- 
ceeded, and as the night was rainy and exceedingly dark, we 
were for some time under some anxiety lest we should have been 
deprived of the comfort and security of a fire. Fortunately, my 


powder-flask was in my saddle-bags, and we succeeded in sup- 
plying the place of tinder by moistening a piece of paper and rub- 
bing it with gun-powder. _ We placed our touch-paper on an old 
cambric handkerchief, as the most readily combustible article in 
our stores. On this we scattered gunpowder pretty copiously, 
and our flint and steel soon enabled us to raise a flame, and col- 
ecting dry wood, we made a noble fire. There was a mattrass 
for the lady, a bearskin for myself, and the load of the packhorse 
as a pallet for the boy. Thus, by means of great coats and blankets 
and our umbrellas spread over our heads, we made our quarters 
comfortable, and placing ourselves to the leeward of the fire, with 
our feet towards it, we lay more at ease than in the generality 
of taverns. Our horses fared rather worse, but we took care to 
tie them where they could browse a little, and occasionally shifted 


180 Early Travels in Indiana. 

their quarters. We had a few biscuits, a small bottle of spirits, 
and a phial of oil: with the latter we contrived, by twisting some 


twine very hard, and dipping it in the oil, to make torches; and 
after several fruitless attempts we succeeded in finding water; 


we also collected plenty of dry wood. "Camping out" when the 
tents are pitched by daylight, and the party is ready furnished 
with the articles which we were obliged to supply by expedients, is 
quite pleaasnt in fine weather: my companion was exceedingly ill, 
which was, in fact, the cause of our being benighted; and never 
was the night's charge of a sick friend undertaken with more dis- 
mal forebodings, especially during our ineffectual efforts to obtain 
fire, the first blaze of which was unspeakably delightful; after 
this the rain ceased, and the invalid passed the night in safety; 
so that the morning found us more comfortable than we could have 

It has struck me as we have passed along from one poor 
hut to another among the rude inhabitants of this infant state, 
that travellers in general, who judge by comparison, are not qual- 
ified to form a fair estimate of these lonely settlers. Let a stranger 
make his way through England in a course remote from the great 
roads, and going to no inns, take such entertainment only as he 
might find in the cottages of labourers, he would have as much 
cause to complain of the rudeness of the people, and far more of 
their drunkenness and profligacy than in these back woods, 
although in England the poor are a part of a society where insti- 
tutions are matured by the experience of two thousand years. The 
bulk of the inhabitants of this vast wilderness may be fairly con- 
sidered as of the class of the lowest English peasantry, or just 
emerging from it: but in their manners and morals, and espe- 
cially in their knowledge and proud independence of mind, they 
exhibit a contrast so striking, that he must indeed be a petit 
maitre traveller, or ill-informed of the character and circum- 
stances of his poor countrymen, or deficient in good and manly 
sentiment, who would not rejoice to transplant, into these bound- 
less regions of freedom, the millions whom he has left behind him 
grovelling in ignorance and want. 

Vincennes, July 13. This town is scattered over a plain lying 
some feet lower than the banks of the Wabash : — a situation seem- 
ingly unfavourable to health; and in fact agues and bilious fevers 
are frequent in the autumn. 

The road from Sholt's Tavern to this place, thirty-six miles, is 
partly across "barrens," that is, land of middling quality, thinly 



Morris Birkbeck. 181 

set with timber, or covered with long grass and shrubby under- 
wood; generally level and dry, and gaudy with marigolds, sun- 
flowers, martagon lilies, and many other brilliant flowers; 


"prairies," which are grass lands, free from underwood, and gen- 
erally somewhat marshy, and rich bottom land: on the whole, 
the country is tame, poorly watered, and not desirable as a place 

of settlement; but it is pleasant to travel over from its varied 

Vincennes exhibits a motley assemblage of inhabitants as well 
as visitors. The inhabitants are Americans, French, Canadians, 
Negroes; the visitors, among whom our party is conspicuous as 
English, (who are seldom seen in these parts,) Americans from 
various states, and Indians of various nations,— Shawnees, Dela- 
wares, and Miamies, who live about a hundred miles to the north- 
ward, and who are come here to trade for skins. The Indians are 
encamped in considerable numbers round the town, and are 
continually riding in to the stores and the whiskey shops. Their 
horses and accoutrements are generally mean, and their persons 
disagreeable. Their faces are painted' in various ways, which 
mostly gives a ferocity to their aspects. 

One of them, a Shawnee, whom we met a few miles east of Vin- 
cennes, had his eyes, or rather his eyelids and surrounding parts, 
daubed with vermillion, looking hideous enough at a distance, but 
on a nearer view, he has good features, and is a fine, stout, fierce 
looking man, well remembered at Vincennes for the trouble he 
gave during the late war. This man exhibits a respectable beard, 
enough for a Germanized British officer of dragoons. Some of 
them are well dressed and good-looking people : one young man in 
particular, of the Miami nation, had a clear light blue cotton 
vest with sleeves, and his head ornamented with black feathers. 

They all wear pantaloons, or rather long mocassions of buck- 
skin, covering the foot and leg and reaching half way up the thigh, 
which is bare; a covering of cloth, passing between the thighs and 
hanging behind, like an apron, of a foot square. Their complexion 
is various, some dark, others not so swarthy as myself; but I saw 
none of the copper colour which I had imagined to be their uni- 
versal distinctive mark. They are addicted to spirits, and often 
intoxicated, but even then generally civil and good humoured. 
The Indians are said to be partial to the French traders, thinking 
them fairer than the English or Americans. They use much action 
in their discourse, and laugh immoderately. Their hair is straight 
and black, and their eyes dark. The women are, many of them, 

182 Early Travels in Indiana. 


decently dressed and good-looking; they ride sometimes like the 
men, but side-saddles are not uncommon among them. Few of 
them of either sex speak English; but many of the people here speak 
a variety of the Indian languages. 

In the interior of Illinois the Indians are said sometimes to be 
troublesome, by giving abusive language to travellers, and steal- 
ing their horses when they encamp in the woods; but they never 
commit personal outrage. — Watchful dogs, and a rifle, are the best 
security; but I believe we shall have no reason to fear interruption 
in the quarter to which we are going. 

At this remote place we find ourselves in a comfortable tavern, 
and surrounded by genteel and agreeable people. Our company 
at supper was about thirty. 

The health of our party has been a source of some anxiety, 
increasing as the summer advances; and yet we have entirely 
escaped the diseases to which the country, or climate, or both, are 
aid to be liable; but our approach to the Wabash has not been 
without some painful forebodings. 

We have remarked, en passant, that people generally speak 
favourably of their own country, and exaggerate every objection 
or evil, when speaking of those to which we are going: thus it may 
be that the accounts we have received of the unhealthiness of this 
river and its vicinity, have been too deeply coloured. We are 
accordingly greatly relieved by the information we have received 
here on this subject. The Wabash has not overflowed its banks 
this summer, and no apprehensions are now entertained as to the 
sickly season of August and September. 

July 18. Princeton. — We, in Great Britian, are so circum- 
scribed in our movements that miles with us seem equal to tens in 
America. I believe that travellers here will start on an expedi- 
tion of three thousand miles by boats, on horseback, or on foot, 
with as little deliberation or anxiety as we should set out on a 
journey of three hundred. 

Five hundred persons every summer pass down the Ohio 
from Cincinnati to New Orleans, as traders or boatmen, and 
return on foot. By water the distance is seventeen hundred miles, 
and the walk back a thousand. Many go down to New Orleans 
from Pittsburg, which adds five hundred miles to the distance by 
water, and three hundred by land. The store-keepers (country 
shopkeepers we should call them) of these western towns visit the 


eastern ports of Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, once a 
year, to lay in their stock of goods; an evidence, it might seem, of 

Morris Birkbeck. 183 

want of confidence in the merchants of those places; but the great 
variety of articles, and the risk attending their carriage to so 
great a distance by land and water, render it necessary that the 
store-keepers should attend both to their purchase and con- 

I think the time is at hand when these periodical transmontane 
journeys are to give place to expeditions down the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi to New Orleans. The vast and increasing produce of these 
states in grain, flour, cotton, sugar, tobacco, peltry, timber, &c. 
&c. which finds a ready vent at New Orleans, will be returned 
through the same channel, in the manufactures of Europe and the 
luxuries of the east, to supply the growing demands of this west- 
ern world. How rapidly this demand actually increases it is utterly 
impossible to estimate; but some idea of it may be formed from a 
general view of the cause and manners of its gowth. In round num- 
bers there are probably half a million of inhabitants in Ohio, 
Indiana and Illinois. Immigration (if I may be allowed to bor- 
row a new but good word,) and births, will probably double this 
number in about six years; and in the mean time, the prosperous 
circumstances of almost every family are daily creating new wants, 
and awakening fresh necessities. 

On any spot where a few settlers cluster together, attracted 
by ancient neighbourhood, or by the goodness of the soil, or vicin- 
ity to a mill, or by whatever cause, some enterprising proprietor 
finds in his section what he deems a good scite for a town: he has it 

surveyed and laid out in lots, which he sells, or offers for sale by 

The new town then assumes the name of its founder: — a 
store-keeper builds a little framed store, and sends for a few 
cases of goods; and then a tavern starts up, which becomes the 
residence of a doctor and a lawyer, and the boarding-house of the 


store-keeper, as well as the resort of the weary traveller : soon fol- 
low a blacksmith and other handicraftsmen in useful succession : a 
school-master, who is also the minister of religion, becomes an 
important accession to this rising community. Thus the town 
proceeds, if it proceeds at all, with accumulating force, until it 
becomes the metropolis of the neighborhood. Hundreds of these 
speculations may have failed, but hundreds prosper; and thus 
trade begins and thrives as population grows around these lucky 
spots; imports and exports maintaining their just proportion. 
One year ago the neighbourhood of this very town of Princetown 

184 Early Travels in Indiana. 

was clad in "buckskin;" now the men appear at church in good 
blue cloth, and the women in fine calicoes and straw bonnets. - 

The town being fairly established, a cluster of inhabitants, 
small as it may be, acts as a stimulus on the cultivation of the 
neighbourhood: redundancy of supply is the consequence, and this 
demands a vent. Water mills, or in defect of water power, steam 
mills, rise on the nearest navigable stream, and thus an effectual 
and constant market is secured for the increasing surplus of pro- 
duce. Such are the elements of that accumulating mass of com- 
merce, in exports, and consequent imports, which will render the 
Mississippi the greatest thoroughfare in the world. 

At Vincennes, the foundation is just laid of a large establish- 
ment of mills to be worked by steam. Water mills of great power 
are now building on the Wabash, near Harmony, and undertak- 
ings of a similar kind will be called for and executed all along this 
river, which, with its tributary rivers, several of which are also 
navigable from the east and the west, is the outlet of a very rich 
and thickly settling country, comprising the prime of Indiana and a 
valuable portion of the Illinois, over the space of about one hun- 
dred thousand square miles. 

There is nothing in Vincennes, on its first appearance, to make 
a favourable impression on a stranger; but it improves on acquaint- 
ance, for it contains agreeable people; and there is a spirit of clean- 
liness, and even neatness in their houses and manner of living: 
there is also a strain of politeness, which marks the origin of this 
settlement in a way which is very flattering to the French. 

It is a phenomenon in national character which I cannot 
explain, but the fact will not be disputed, that the urbanity of 
manners which distinguishes that nation from all others is never 
entirely lost; but that French politeness remains until every trace 
of French origin is obliterated. A Canadian Frenchman who, after 
having spent twenty years of his prime among the Indians, set- 
ties in the back woods of the United States, still retains a strong 
impression of French good breeding. 

Is it by this attractive qualification that the French have 
obtained such sway among the Indians? I think it may be attrib- 
uted with as much probability to their conciliating manner, as to 
superior integrity; though the latter has been the cause generally 

This tenaciousness of national character, under all changes of 
climate and circumstances, of which the French afford many 
remarkable instances, is the more curiousv as it is not universal 



Morris Birkbeck. 185 

among nations, though the Germans afford, I am told, examples 
equally strong. This country gives favourable opportunities for 
observation on this interesting subject. 

What is it that distinguishes an Englishman from other men? 
or is there any mark of national character which neither time, 
climate, nor circumstance can obliterate? An anglo-American is 
not English, but a German is a German, and a Frenchman French, 
to the fourth, perhaps to the tenth generation. 

The Americans have no central focus of fashion, or local stand- 
ard of politeness; therefore remoteness can never be held as an 
apology for sordid dress or coarse demeanour. They are strangers 
to rural simplicity; the embarrassed air of an awkward rustic, so 
frequent in England, is rarely seen in the United States. This, no 
doubt, is the effect of political equality, the consciousness of which 
accompanies all their intercourse, and may be supposed to operate 
most powerfully on the manners of the lowest class: for high and 
low there are, and will be, even here, and in every society, from 
causes moral and physical, which no political regulations can or 
ought to controul. 

In viewing the Americans, and sketching in a rude manner, as 
I pass along, their striking characteristics, I have seen a deformity 
so general that I cannot help esteeming it national, though I 
know it admits of very many individual exceptions. I have 
written it and then erased it, wishing to pass it by: but it wont 
do: — it is the truth, and to the truth I must adhere. Cleanliness 
in houses, and too often in person, is neglected to a degree which 
is very revolting to an Englishman. 

America was bred in a cabin: this is not a reproach, for the 
origin is most honourable; but as she has exchanged her hovel of 
unhewn logs for a framed building, and that again for a mansion 
of brick, some of her cabin habits have been unconsciously 
retained. Many have already been quitted; and, one by one, they 
will all be cleared away, as I am told they are now in the cities of 
the eastern states. 

There are, I believe, court-houses, which are also made use of 
as places of worship, in which filth of all kinds has been accumulat- 
ing ever since they were built. What reverence can be felt for the 
majesty of religion, or of the laws, in such sites of abomination? 
The people who are content to assemble in them can scarcely 
respect each other.— Here is a bad public example. It is said, 
that to clean these places is the office of no one: but why is no 

186 Eakly Tkavels in Indiana. 

person appointed? Might it not be inferred that a disregard to 
the decencies of life prevails through such a community? 

July 19. We are at Princeton, in a log tavern, where neat- 
ness is as well observed as at many taverns in the city of Bath, or 
any city. The town will soon be three years old; the people belong 
to old America in dress and manners, and would not disgrace old 
England in the general decorum of their deportment. 

But I lament here, as every where, the small acocunt that is 
had of time. Subsistence is secured so easily, and liberal pur- 
suits being yet too rare to operate as a general stimulus to exer- 
tion, life is whiled away in a painful state of yawning lassitude. 

July 20. The object of our pursuit, like the visions of fancy, 
has hitherto seemed to recede from our approach: we are, how- 
ever, at length, arrived at the point where reality is likely to reward 
our labours. 

Twenty or thirty miles west of this place, in the Illinois terri- 
tory, is a large country where settlements are just now beginning, 
and where there is abundant choice of unentered lands of a descrip- 
tion^ which will satisfy our wishes, if the statements of travellers 
and surveyors can be relied on, after great abatements. 

This is a critical season of the year, and we feel some anxiety 
for the health of our party, consisting of ten individuals. July 
and the two succeeding months are trying to the constitutions of 
new comers, and this danger must be incurred by us; we hope, 
however, under circumstances of great mitigation. In the first 
place, the country is at present free from sickness, and the floods 
were too early in the spring to occasion any apprehensions of an 
unhealthy autumn to the inhabitants. In the next place, we 
have an opportunity of choice of situation for our temporary 
sojourn. Unfortunately this opportunity of choice is limited by 
the scarcity of houses, and the indifference evinced by settlers to 
the important object of health in the fixing their own, habitations. 
The vicinity of rivers, from the advantages of navigation and 
machinery, as well as the fertility of soil, have generally sus- 
pended a proper solicitude about health. 

Prince Town affords a situation for a temporary abode more 
encouraging than any place we have before visited in this neigh- 
bourhood; it stands on an elevated spot, in an uneven or rolling 
country, ten miles from the Wabash and two from the navigable 
stream of the Patok: but the country is very rich, and the timber 
vast in bulk and height, so that though healthy at present to its 
inhabitants, they can hardly encourage us with the hope of escap- 


Morris Birkbeck. 187 

ing the seasoning to which they say all new comers are subject. 
There is a very convenient house to be let for nine months, for 
which we are in treat}'. This will accommodate us until our own 
be prepared for our reception in the spring, and may be rented, 
with a garden well stocked, for about £20. I think we shall engage 
it, and, should a sickly season come on, recede for a time into the 
high country, about a hundred miles back, returning here to win- 
ter when the danger is past. 

As to travelling in the backwoods of America I think there is 
none so agreeable, after you have used yourself to repose in your 
own pallet, either on the floor of a cabin or under the canopy of 
the woods, with an umbrella over your head and a noble fire at 
your feet; you will then escape the onty serious nuisance of Ameri- 
can travelling, viz. hot rooms and swarming beds, exceeding 
instead of repairing the fatigues of the day. Some difficulties 
occur from ferries, awkward fords, and rude bridges, with occa- 
sional swamps; but such is the sagacity and surefootedness of the 
horses that accidents happen very rarely. 

July 21. This is an efficient government. It seems that some 
irregularities exist, or are suspected in the proceedings of cer- 
tain of the offices which are established for the sale of public 
lands. Whilst we were at Vincennes, a confidential individual from 
the federal city made his appearance at the land office there, with 
authority to inspect and examine on the spot. Last night the 
same gentleman lodged here, on his way to the land office of 
Shawnee Town, at which we propose to make our entries, where he 
is equally unexpected as he had been at Vincennes, and where his 
visit is somewhat mal-a-propos as to our convenience. One of the 
efficient officers, the register, had been left by us sick about seventy 
miles from Cincinnati; and the other, the receiver, passed this 
place for Vincennes yesterday, and fixed to return on Sunday, 
in order to proceed with me through the woods on Monday, on 
an exploring expedition to the Illinois. The republican delegate 
informed me immediately on his arrival, that he had left an abso- 
lute injunction for the instant return of the receiver to his office, 
expressing regret at deranging my plans, at the same time mak- 
ing ample amends by his own arrangement for my accommodation. 

The effect produced at Vincennes under my observation, and 
the decided manner of this gentleman, convince me that this mode 
of treatment is fully as effectual as that by "motion for the pro- 
duction of papers and committees for their examination," by 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

which deliberate procedure the inconvenience of suprize is politely 


July 28. The small-pox is likely to be excluded from this 
vaccination being very generally adopted, and inoculation 

not by law, but by 

state, va< 

for the small-pox prohibited altogeth 
mon consent. If it should be known that an individual had under- 
gone the operation, the inhabitants would compel him to with- 
draw entirely from society. If he lived in a town, he must absent 
himself, or he would be driven off. 

Mental derangement is nearly unknown in these new coun- 
5. There is no instance of insanity at present in this State, 



which probably now contains 100.000 inhabitants. A middle- 
aged man, of liberal attainments and observation, who has lived 
much of his life in Kentucky, and has travelled a good deal over 
the western country, remarked, as an incident of extraordinary 
occurrence, that he once knew a lady afflicted with this malady. 

The simple maxim, that a man has a right to do any thing but 
injure his neighbour, is very broadly adopted into the practical 
as well as political code of this country. 

A good citizen is the common designation of respect; when a 


he is 

a very 

man speaks of his neighbour as a virtuous man- 
good citizen." 

Drunkenness is rare, and quarrelling rare in proportion. Per- 
sonal resistance to personal aggression, or designed affront, holds 
a high place in the class of duties with the citizen of Indiana. 

It seems that the Baptists (who are the prevailing sect in this 
country,) by their religious tenets, would restrain this sum- 
mary mode of redressing injuries among the brethren of their 
church: a respectable but knotty member of that community was 
lately arraigned before their spiritual tribunal for supporting 
heterodox opinions on this subject. After hearing the arguments 
derived from the texts of scripture, which favour the doctrine 
of non-resistance, he rose, and with energy of action suited to his 
words, declared that he should not wish to live longer than he had 
the right to knock down the man who told him he lied. 

July 24- Regretting, as I must, my perpetual separation 
from many with thorn I was in habits of agreeable intercourse in 
old England, I am much at my ease on the score of society. We 
shall possess this one thing needful; which it was supposed the 
wilderness could not supply, in the families of our own establish- 
ment, and a circle of citizen neighbours, such as this little town 

affords already. There prevails so much good sense and useful 

Morris Birkbeck. 189 


knowledge, joined to a genuine warmth of friendly feeling, a dis- 
position to promote the happiness of each other, that the man who 
is lonely among them is not formed for society. Such are the 
citizens of these new states, and my unaffected and well considered 
wish is to spend among them the remainder of my days. 

The social compact here is not the confederacy of a few to 
reduce the many into subjection; but is, indeed and in truth, 
among these simple republicans, a combination of talents, moral 
and physical, by which the good of all is promoted in perfect 
accordance with individual interest. It is in fact a better, because 
a more simple state than was ever pourtrayed by an Utopian 

But the people, like their fellow men, have their irregular and 
rude passions, and their gross propensities and follies, suited to 
their condition, as weeds to a particular soil; so that this, after all, 
is the real world, and no poetical Arcadia. 

One agreeable fact, characteristic of these young associations, 
presses more and more upon my attention: — there is a great 
amount of social feeling, much real society in new countries, com- 
pared with the number of inhabitants. Their importance to each 
other on many interesting occasions creates kind sentiments. 
They have fellow-feeling in hope and fear, in difficulty and sue- 


cess, and they make ten-fold more of each other than the crowded 
inhabitants of populous countries. 

July 25, Harmony. Yesterday we explored the country 
from this place to the Ohio, about eighteen miles, and returned 
to-day by a different route. There is a great breadth of valuable 
land vacant; not the extremely rich river-bottom land, but close 
cool sand of excellent quality. It is, however, not so well watered, 
nor so much varied in surface as is desirable; and we are so taken 
with the prairies we have seen, and with the accounts we have 
heard of those before us in the Illinois, that no "timbered" land 

can satisfy our present views. 

We lodged last night in a cabin at a very new town, called 
Mount Vernon, on the banks of the Ohio. Here 'we found the 
people of a cast confirming my aversion to a settlement in the im- 
mediate vicinity of a large navigable river. Every hamlet is 
demoralized, and every plantation is liable to outrage within a 
short distance of such a thoroughfare. 

Yet the view of that noble expanse was like the opening of 
bright day upon the gloom of night, to us who had been so long 
buried in deep forests. It is a feeling of confinement which begins 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


to damp the spirits, from this complete exclusion of distant objects. 
To travel day after day among trees of a hundred feet high, with- 
out a glimpse of the surrounding country, is oppressive to a degree 
which those cannot conceive who have not experienced it; and it 
must depress the spirits of the solitary settler to pass years in this 
state. His visible horizon extends no farther than the tops of the 
trees which bound his plantation — perhaps, five hundred yards. 
Upwards he sees the sun, and sky, and stars; but around him an 
eternal forest, from which he can never hope to emerge : — not so in 
a thickly settled district; he cannot there enjoy any freedom of 
prospect, yet there is variety, and some scope for the imprisoned 
vision. In a hilly country a little more range of view may occasion- 
ally be obtained; and a river is a stream of light as well as of water, 
which feasts the eye with a delight inconceivable to the inhab- 
itants of open countries. 

Under these impressions a prairie country increases in attrac- 
tion; and to-morrow we shall commence a round in the Illinois, 
which we hope will enable us to take some steps towards our final 

July 26. Left Harmony after breakfast, and crossing the 
Wabash at the ferry, three miles below, we proceeded to the Big- 
Prairie, where, to our astonishment, we beheld a fertile plain of 
grass and arable, and some thousand acres covered with corn, 
more luxuriant than any we had before seen. The scene reminded 
us of some open well cultivated vale in Europe, surrounded by 
wooded uplands; and forgetting that we were, in fact, on the very 
frontiers, beyond which few settlers had penetrated, we were 
transported in idea to the fully peopled regions we had left so far 
behind us. 


From The Emigrant s Guide to the western and southwestern 

states and territories, by William Darby [1818], 

pp. 213-217. 

Darby, William. 

Following our second war with England, there was a great rush of emi- 
grants into the western and southwestern territories of the United States. 
This created quite a widespread demand for an emigrant's guide; and among 
those who first supplied the desired information was Mr. William Darby. 
He had been one of the surveyors in adjusting the Louisiana boundary, was 
familiar with the French and Spanish land claims, and perhaps was better 
qualified than any one else to publish a guide. His work appeared in 1817, 
and accompanied by maps, shows all the available roads, streams and routes 
to be followed by the emigrants. 

THE STATE OF INDIANA, has the Illinois territory west, 
the state of Kentucky southeast, the state of Ohio, east, and the 
Michigan territory, and lake Michigan and the Northwest terri- 
tory, north. 

Extent, population, rivers, productions. This state covers an 
area of 36,640 square miles, equal to 23,449,600 American acres. 
More than one half of this surface remains yet in possession of the 
Indians. The southern and much most valuable part of the state 
is reclaimed, and is settling with emigrants from the northern and 
eastern states with great rapidity. The following statistical table 
exhibits the subdivisions of this state, and the population in 1810. 
This can afford but very defective document to give a correct idea 


of the present state of the country. There is no doubt but that the 
number of inhabitants have increased to near one hundred thou- 
sand at the present time. 


Counties, Population Chief Towns 

5 , 760 Jeffersonville. 


Dearborn 7 ,310 Lawrenceburg 


3,695 CORYDON. 

7 , 965 Vincennes. 


Since the last census of 1810, the new counties of Washington, 
Switzerland, Jefferson, Wayne, Gibson, Posey, and Warwick, 



Eakly Travels in Indiana. 


have been formed. The distributive population of the state of 
Indiana, at this time, as well as the aggregate amount, must differ 
essentially from the relative position and numbers found seven 

years past. 

The rivers of the state of Indiana, are, Ohio, Wabash, Illinois, 

and Maumee. 


Ohio river washes the state from the mouth of the Great 
Miami, to that of the Wabash, a distance, following the bends of 
the stream of three hundred and sixty-five miles. It is a curious 
fact, that in this long course, no stream, above the size of a large 
creek, falls into the Ohio from Indiana; White river branch of 
Wabash, having its head-streams within thirty miles of the bank 
of Ohio. There are few countries in the world can much exceed 
this part of the banks of the Ohio. The lands are varied, a con- 
siderable portion of the first quality, and but little that can be 
really considered unproductive. The settlements are in such quick 
progress as to render a description only necessarily correct for 
the moment. 

Wabash river is strictly the principal stream of Indiana, from 
the surface of which it draws the far greater part of its waters. 
The head branches of Wabash is in the Indian country, of course 
very imperfectly explored. This river rises with the Maumee 
near Fort Wayne, and like the Illinois, flows to the west through 
Indiana, unto almost the west border of the state, where the river 
gradually curves to S. W. by S., which course it maintains to its 
junction with the Ohio. The entire length of the Wabash exceeds 
three hundred miles; it is a fine stream, without falls or extraor- 
dinary rapids. It was through the channel of the Wabash 
that the French of Canada first discovered the Ohio, to which they 
gave the name of Belle Riviere, or beautiful river, but considered 
the Wabash the main branch, and gave the united rivers its name. 
In many old maps of North America, the Ohio below the junction 
of the two streams, is called Wabash. The Tennessee was then 
very imperfectly known, and considered at one-fourth the size it 
was found to possess by subsequent discovery. 

White River, the eastern branch of Wabash, is itself a stream of 
considerable importance, draining the heart, and far the finest 
part of the state of Indiana. About forty miles above its junction 
with the Wabash, White river divides into the north and south 


branches. North branch rises in the Indian country by a number 
of creeks, which, uniting near the Indian boundary line; forms a 
fine navigable river of about 180 miles in length; its course nearly 


William Darby. 193 

S. W. South branch rises in the same ridges with the White 
Water branch of the Great Miami; its course S. W. by W. 150 
miles. Upon this latter river many of the most flourishing settle- 
ments in the state have been formed. The country it waters is 
amongst the most agreeable, healthy, and fertile in the Ohio 

Illinois river has its source in Indiana, but has been noticed 
when treating of the Illinois territory. 

Maumee rises in fact in the state of Ohio, near Fort Loramie, 
but flowing N. W. enters the state of Indiana, turns west, encir- 
cles Fort Wayne, and turning N. E. again enters the state of Ohio, 
through which it flows to the place of its egress into Lake Erie. 

The southern extremity of Lake Michigan penetrates the state 
of Indiana, and at or near its extreme south elongation, receives 
the Calumet, and not far north of its S. E. extension, the small 
river St. Joseph enters from the state of Indiana, but enters the 
Michigan lake in the Michigan territory. 

The country is here but very imperfectly known; even the 
latitude of the southern extremity of Lake Michigan remains 
uncertain. When the French possessed Canada and Louisiana, 
their traders constantly passed by Chicago into Illinois, and by 
the Maumee into the Wabash, in their voyages. These passages 
are now again becoming frequented, and will, within the lapse of a 
few years, present the active transport of commercial wealth, 
and the daily intercourse of civilized men. 

It may be doubted whether any state of the United States, all 
things duly considered, can present more advantages than Indiana. 
Intersected or bounded in all directions by navigable rivers or 
lakes, enjoying a temperate climate, and an immense variety of 
soil. Near two-thirds of its territorial surface is yet in the hands 
of the Indians, a temporary evil, that a short time will remedy. 
When all the extent comprised within the legal limits of this state 
are brought into a state of improvement, with one extremity upon 
the Ohio river, and the opposite upon Lake Michigan, with inter- 
secting navigable streams, Indiana will be the real' link that will 
unite the southern and northern parts of the United States. The 
connexion between the Canadian lakes and the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi rivers, is by no route so direct as through Michigan and 
Wabash, and by Lake Erie, Maumee and Wabash. The route by 
Lake Michigan and the Illinois river into the Mississippi is more 
circuitous than by that of the Wabash into either Lakes Michigan 
or Erie, and the route through Illinois has another irremediable 

T— 13 


194 Early Travels in Indiana. 


disadvantage, that of being in a more northern latitude than the 


When the rivers are in a state of flood, loaded boats of consid- 
erable size pass from the head waters of Wabash into St. Mary 
river, the western branch of the Maumee; the same facility of pass- 
age exists between Maumee; the Chicago into the Illinois river.* 
These facts prove two things: first, the almost perfect level of the 
country, and secondly, the great ease with which canals can be 
formed, and the very limited expense of their construction. 

In the present state of population, the communication by the 
Wabash and Miami of the Lakes into Lake Erie, must produce 
advantages of greatly more extensive benefit, than by Lake Mich- 
igan and Illinois river. Many years must elapse before either is 
opened. The country is yet wilderness, and the right of soil in 
the aboriginal inhabitants. 

Like Illinois territory, the state of Indiana has no mountains; 
the latter is however more hilly than the former, particularly 
towards the Ohio river. 

The southeastern extremity of Indiana, between White and 
Ohio rivers, is very broken. A ridge of hills commences above the 
junction of the Wabash and Ohio, which extending in a N. E. 
direction through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, is finally lost in 
the state of New- York. This ridge in Indiana separates the waters 
of Wabash from those of Ohio river; and in Ohio, Pennsylvania, 
and New- York, forms the demarkation between the streams 
which flow into the Canadian lakes from those which discharge 
their waters into the Ohio. No part of this ridge is very elevated; 
its component parts are limestone and schistose sandstone. It is 
barren of minerals except iron and coal. 

Towns — Vilages — Schools. — Corydon, on the road from Louis- 
ville to Vincennes, is now the seat of government. This town is 
recent, but rapidly improving. The number of its houses or inhab- 
itants we are unable to state, and it would not, if now accurately 
given, remain so one year. 

Vincennes, upon the left bank of the Wabash, is the oldest and 
the largest town in the state; having been built by the French from 
Canada; most of the inhabitants are of French extraction. The 
site of the town is level, and when in its natural state, was an exten- 
sive prairie. The lands are fertile in a high degree. In a com- 
mercial point of view, the position of this town is very advanta- 
geous, and must advance rapidly. Standing upon the limit of two 

*See Drake's Cincinnati, page 222 and 223. Volney, Paris edition, Vol. I. page 29. 

William Darby. 195 

territorial divisions, Vincennes cannot ever again become the seat 
of government, a loss more than compensated by a favourable 
situation for agriculture, and the transport of produce to New- 
Orleans, Pittsburg, and indeed to the entire western and southern 
parts of the United States. 

Blackford, Harmony, Madison, Lawrenceburg, and Brook- 
ville, are all towns of this state. Being of recent formation, they 
are mostly small, and have nothing very worthy of notice to distin- 
guish them from each other. 

No good topographical or statistical account having been yet 
published upon this state, the data are not abundant respecting 
its towns or other artificial improvements. 

The political institutions of this new state are honourable in a 
high degree to the framers; the constitution of the state provides 
every restraint against the encroachments of power, and the 
licentiousness of freedom, that human wisdom can perhaps fore- 
see. Slavery is banished from the state, or rather it never was 


received within its borders. The inhabitants at this moment enjoy 
all that liberty, industry, and impartial administration of justice 
can bestow. 

Colleges and schools can scarce be considered to exist as public 
institutions; private schools are numerous, and increasing with the 

Productions — Staples. — Flour may be considered the prin- 
cipal artificial production and staple. Much of the land is well 
calculated to produce wheat. Mill streams abound. Rye is 
also extensively cultivated, and used as bread grain, to feed horses, 
and to supply the distillers. Maize is, next to wheat, the most val- 
uable crop cultivated in Indiana. The fertile alluvion upon the 
rivers and many parts of the prairies are admirably adapted to the 
production of this excellent vegetable. The quantity made from 
an acre of land cannot be determined with any precision; but the 
production is generally abundant. In all the new settlements in 
the Ohio and Mississippi valley, maize is the crop first resorted to 
for providing subsistence, and we believe it to be "the only grain 
that in many places would have rendered settlement possible. 
The rapidity of its growth and the easy application of its farina to 
use, will always secure to maize a rank amongst the most precious 
vegetables yet cultivated by mankind. 

Oats, barley, and buckwheat, are also reared; the former in 
great abundance as food for horses. Potatoes (Irish potatoes) 
are cultivated in plenty, as is a great variety of pulse. Pumpions, 



196 Early Travels in Indiana. 

squashes, melons, and cucumbers are cultivated and may be pro- 
duced in any assignable quantity. 

In no country could artificial meadow be made to more advan- 
tage. This useful part of agriculture is almost always neglected in 
our new settlements, and only becomes an object of attention 
when the natural range is exhausted. The great body of the 
emigrants coming from places where artificial meadows are in 
use, their immense benefits are not to be learned by all. 

For domestic consumption and exportation, are made large 
quantities of beef, pork, butter, lard, bacon, leather, whiskey, and 
peach brandy. With but little exception, Natchez and New 
Orleans are the outlets of the surplus produce of Indiana. A few 
articles are occasionally sent to Pittsburgh, but that commerce, 
never extensive, is on the decline. The attention of the inhab- 
itants is drawn towards the natural channel, through which their 
wealth must circulate. Sugar, coffee, wines, and foreign ardent 
spirits, are brought from New Orleans, but of the former neces- 
sary, considerable quantity is made in the country from the sap 
of the sugar maple tree. 

Dry goods, hardware, ironmongery, paper, and books, are 
mostly imported by the route of Pittsburgh. Some of all those 
articles, the two latter perhaps excepted, are also imported from 
New Orleans. Saddles, bridles, hats, boots, and shoes, are manu- 
factured, in great part, in the state. This indeed is a trait that 
marks the whole western states, that the latter indispensable art- 
icles of domestic consumption are generally to be found at every 
new settlement, for prices not greatly advanced above that of the 
same objects in large commercial cities on the Atlantic coast. 

The same observations may be made respecting cabinet, and 
all other kinds of household furniture. Tables, chairs, and bed- 
steads, are made in all the large towns in the valleys of Ohio and 
Mississippi, with all the requisite qualities of elegance and strength. 

Except in Lexington, Kentucky, and Pittsburg, book print- 
ing is not yet done to any considerable extent west of the Ale- 
ghany. In these two latter places and in Cincinnati, Nashville, 
and some other places, book stores have been established to con- 
siderable extent, but a well assorted library could not be formed in 
any, or perhaps all those towns. Professional men, and indeed all 
men who are emigrating to the west, ought to carry with them such 
books as they may need. It is not without more difficulty than is 
commonly believed to exist, that a good selection of books can be 
made even in New- York or Philadelphia, much less in towns upon 


the Ohio or Mississippi waters. 

From Geographical sketches on the western country designed 

for Emigrants and settlers, by E. Dana [1819], pp. 

48-49, 107-32 

Dana, Edmund. 

employed bv more 

Mr. Dana spent six years among the native In 
of the Great Lakes. His knowledge gained there 
reputation as a guide, and by 1816 he had been 
thirteen hundred persons to select for them tracts of land on which they 
desired to make permanent settlements. 

The knowledge acquired while performing this work and his personal 
observations qualified him to speak with some authority on many phases 
of the northwest country. His sketches were published in 1817. 

, In the state of Indiana, not far from Big Blue river, is a spa- 
cious cave, more than two miles in extent. The entrance is in the 
side of an elevated hill. Large quantities of Epsom salt, and salt 
petre, are found in this cave. Here numerous calcareous exuda- 
tions are displayed in a variety of shapes, resembling artificial 
carvings. Bats inhabiting this cave are numerous, and it is neces- 
sary for an adventurer who would explore it, to preserve his torch 
or candle from extinguishment by those creatures, with a lantern. 
Within the tract called the barrens, expanding in divers directions 
several miles, there are various other large caves; on the bot- 
toms of some of which flow streams of water, large enough to drive 

There is in the county of Orange, in this state, a large stream, 
called Lost river; — after flowing several miles on the surface, the 
whole current suddenly sinks into the earth, and is never seen or 
heard of more. Near a creek that joins the Ohio about a mile 
west of New-Albany, is a spring, so strongly impregnated with 
sulphurated hydrogen gas, as to produce combustion, by placing 
a torch or lighted candle a little above the water. About six miles 
northwest of Corydon, near the Big Blue river, just above the 
base of an elevated hill, bursts from amidst the rocks, a cold spring, 
which in the dryest seasons is copious enough to drive two pair of 
stones and a saw, in an elegant stone mill, built just by its mouth. 
There are many other springs of this description, cold as any well 
water, on which profitable mills are built, within this state. . 



Early Travels in Indiana. 


Indiana was admitted into the federal union, as a state, in the 
year 1816. It is bounded by the state of Illinois on the west; by 
a line on the Wabash from its mouth to 40 miles above Vincennes, 
and thence on a meridian line so far north as to include the south- 
ern extremity of lake Michigan 10 miles in depth, by a bound- 
ary line on the north drawn due east: east by the state of Ohio, by 
a meridian line, running from the mouth of the Big Miami: on the 
south by the Ohio river. Length from north to south, 284 miles; 
breadth from east to west 155; contains about 37,000 square miles; 
lays between 37° 45' and 41° 52' north latitude, and 7° 40' and 10 
west longitude. 

Face of the Country, Soil, &c. — There are in Indiana no con- 
siderable heights of land, that (strictly speaking) can properly be 


denominated mountains. The river hills from 100 to 200 feet 
high, diverging from 30 to 600 rods from the Ohio, according to 
the width of the alluvial margin, commence within two miles east 
of the Great Miami, and extend in the direction of the river Ohio, 
within about twelve miles above the Falls, where they gradually 
merge in a valley, which extends about 25 miles below; where the 


same range of hills reappears, and extends in the course of the 
river, as it runs, from 60 to 70 miles below, where the hills dis- 
appear, and a region sometimes level, and sometimes waving, 
commences, which is expanded southwestwardly to the Wabash, 

and northwestwardly and northeastwardly, with rare exceptions, 
to the great western lakes. 

On the borders of most of the streams are strips of rich bottom, 
and there are also praira lands, from one to five miles wide. 
Between the Wabash and lake Michigan, the country is generally 
level, abounding alternately with prairas and woodland, and 
occasionally large marshes, and several small lakes. Some of the 
prairas between fort Harrison and fort Meigs, are covered with 
red top and fowl meadow grasses. 

Between the Ohio and White river, a range of knobs forms the 
high table lands that divide the head waters of some of the trib- 
utaries to the Ohio from those of the White river, commencing 
about 25 miles north from the Ohio, and 20 miles eastwardly from 
Salem, and pursuing a course southwestwardly, reaches that river 
12 or 13 miles below the Falls, where they terminate. Most of this 
region is thickly covered with large forest trees. 

North of the Wabash, between Tippecanoe and Ouitanon, a 

Edmund Dana. 


French settlement, the banks of the streams are high, abrupt and 
broken, and the lands, except the prairas, covered with timber. 
Between the Plein and the Theakiki, (which are the head branches 
of the Illinois) the country is flat and wet, interspersed with prairas 
of an inferior soil. In this region, the swamps seem to furnish the 
head streams of rivers, and the lands appear to be too low and wet 
for cultivation. 

There are two kinds of prairas, the river and the upland; the 
former are destitute of timber, and are said to exhibit vestiges of 
former cultivation; the latter are from 30 to 100 feet more ele- 
vated, and are more numerous and extensive. Some of them are 
not larger than a common field, others extending farther than the 
eye can reach. They are usually interspersed with some clumps of 
trees, and bounded by heavy timbered forests. In spring and sum- 
mer, they are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass and fra- 
grant flowers, from five to eight feet high. The soil of these plains 
is often as deep and fertile as the best bottoms. The prairas near 
the Wabash are remarkably rich, and almost inexhaustible by 
crops. By the digging of wells, the vegetable soil has been found 
22 feet deep, bedded on white sand; their common depth is from 
two to five feet. 

Among the lands purchased of the Indians in 1818, are 8,500,- 
000 acres within the state of Indiana. This new purchase is 
bounded on the south by a line drawn 18 miles above fort Harrison, 
at the Wabash, on the old Indian boundary — thence along on the 
east side of the Wabash to the forks of White river, and from 

thence to fort Wayne. 

The acquisition of this new purchase, which is now surveying, 
and will soon be exposed for sale, will greatly contribute to increase 
the population and promote the prosperity of the state of Indiana. 

The quality of the soil, for so large a tract in a body, will bear 
a comparison to any, perhaps, within the United States. Indeed, 
it has been esteemed, by intelligent men, who have often traversed 
it, in all directions, in point of rural scenery, a copious supply of 
pure water, fertility of soil and security to health', equal to any 
part of the western country. The greater part is covered with a 
beautiful growth of forest trees, not unlike those common to bot- 
toms and uplands of the first quality in the state of Ohio; except on 
considerable portions of fine prairas, which in the centre and to the 
northwest in various places, are spread out extensively. The sur- 
face in this part of the tract is delightfully variegated by gentle 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

# ■ 

At the northeast, although the lands will make valuable planta- 
tions, the surface over a considerable part, approaches, too near, 
perhaps, a perfect champaign to embrace all the conveniences of 
the best agricultural situations. The soil is, however, strong and 
durable, well adpated to wheat and meadow grasses. The pre- 
vailing growth here is beech, although there be considerable sugar 
maple and other forest trees that indicate a rich soil. The infre- 
quency of running streams, and the level surface in the north- 
east, cause a scarcity of good mill seats. 

The lands bordering on the waters of the White river and its 
tributary streams are considered among those of the best quality, 
excepting a strip of about 30 miles by 15, laying near the west 
branch, which being low, marshy, and occasionally overflowed, is 

unfavorable to health. Much of this tract, not 



light fully situated, and the surface consisting of gentle undula- 
tions, supplied with good water, and variegated with numerous 
small, rich, dry prairas. 

An extensive tract, bordering on the waters of the Tippacanoe 
and the two Vermillion and Eel rivers, are lands of superior qual- 
ity, and not excelled for fertility by any in the state. The north- 
ern position of these lands, will afford a climate favorable to the 
health of emigrants not habituated to southern latitudes. 

The productions of Indiana 

wheat, rye, barley, oats 

beans, peas, Irish, sweet potatoes, and garden vegetables of every 
description, are abundant. In some parts of the state, where the 

soil consists of a sandy 

certain species of the wine grape 

particularly the grape of Good Hope, and cotton, have flourished. 
It is presumed that upland rice would succeed well in this soil, as it 
has been known to flourish within the state of Kentucky, in the 

same latitud 

Farming is conducted on a 





Wabash country for several miles 

d Vincennes and fort 

Harrison, where the soil is exceedingly product 

Within this 

region, single farmers have raised, in one year, from 4,000 to 10,000 
bushels of corn, and various kinds of small grain. The soil in these 
places is of a deep, rich, dark gray, sandy loam, which is ploughed 
easily, and resists the effects of drought and drenching rains. It 
has proved so inexhaustible by cropping without manure, that the 
same corn fields have been planted for more than half a century in 
constant succession without a perceivable diminution of crops. 

The population of Indiana has, perhaps, experienced a more 
rapid increase than any state in the union. 

At the census in 1810 

it contained only 24,520 inhabitants, exclusive of Indians 


Edmund Dana 


In the territorial census of 1815, the number returned to Con- 
gress, as a prerequisite to the formation of a state, was 67,784. At 
this period August, 1819, it is confidently believed, that 165,000 
would not be an exaggerated estimate. Since the census of 1815, 
the number of counties have more than doubled, although until 
the late purchase in 1818, nearly two-thirds of the extent of terri- 
tory was in the possession of the Indians. 

The several counties to which the number of inhabitants is not 
annexed, have been formed since 1815 — the other counties show, 
in the second column, the number of inhabitants they respec- 
tively contained, at that time — the third column presents the 
names of the towns in which are the seats of justice for the coun- 
ties to which they are annexed. 

Counties. Population. Chief Towns. 

Clark 7,000 


Crawford Mount Sterling 

Dearborn 4,426 


Davies Washington 


Franklin 7,970 


Fayette Connersville. 

Floyd New-Albany. 

Gibson 5 , 330 Princeton. 


Jackson Brownstown 

Jefferson 4,093 Madison. 

Jennings Vernon. 

Knox : 

6,769 Corydon. 

. . . : 6 , 800 Vincennes. 

Lawrence Palestine. 


Orange Paoli. 

Perry 3,000 Franklin. 

Posey 3 ,000 Harmony. 


Ripley Versailles. 

Spencer Rockport. 

Sullivan Merom. 

Switzerland 3,500 Vevay. 

Vandeburgh Evansville. 


6 , 606 Boonsborough 

Washington 3,000 Salem. 


6,290. Centreville. 

Of the chief towns in this state, the progress of improvements 
and population, render an adequate description very difficult. 
We will, however, endeavour to give such sketches as will present 


202 Early Travels in Indiana. 

to enquirers a tolerable view of the towns most considerable, and 
of the country surrounding them. 

Salisbury, formerly the county seat of Wayne, situated on a 
head branch of Whitewater river, is but two miles eastwardly of 
Centreville, the latter place consisting of a few cabbins in the 
woods, where the courts are now holden. Concerning the seat of 
justice for this county, a great interest has been excited among the 
citizens; and on application to the legislature, commissioners 
have been appointed to designate the spot for a permanent estab- 
lishment. Two expensive brick court houses, have already been 
erected, one at Salisbury, and the other at Centreville, not more 
than two miles apart. The land surrounding Salisbury and Cen- 
treville, and indeed, the whole county of Wayne, is one of the most 


valuable tracts for cultivation in the state. The surface in some 
parts is too flat and wet, but mostly gently waving, the soil strong 
and durable, covered with stately forest trees, finely watered by 
the head branches of the Whitewater, which furnishes divers valu- 
able mill seats. Many of the settlers are from North Carolina, 
whose improvements have formed large and valuable plantations. 

Brookville, the county seat of Franklin, stands upon a narrow 
elevated plain, in the forks of Whitewater. A considerable part of 
the town, however, is built on the margin of the East Fork, 65 
or 7 feet lower than the upper bottom. The situation is pleasant 
and romantic, exhibiting the variegated prospect of the meander- 
ings of the streams, and of hills topped with forest trees on either 
side, cultivated farms and water mills. This town, which did not 
contain 20 dwelling houses at the close of the late war, now, 
(1819) exceeds the number of one hundred, besides several stores, 
mechanic shops, &c. Within the limits of the town are two grist 
and two saw mills, three fulling mills, and three carding machines. 
There are a neat brick court house, a jail, and a market house. 
Distance from Cincinnati, north west, 42 miles. The county of 
Franklin contains excellent bottom lands on the margin of the 
two Whitewater forks; and the uplands are generally covered with 
a good soil, and well timbered. 

Lawrenceburgh, the seat of justice for the county of Dearborn, 
stands on the West bank of the Ohio, 23 miles from Cincinnati, and 
two below the mouth of the Great Miami. The situation of this 
town is very pleasant, being on a spacious plain, which commands 
a view of the river, surrounded by extensve rich bottom lands. 
The spot occupied by the town, is the nearest convenient site on 
the Ohio west of the Miami. But it is subject to inundation by 

Edmund Dana. 


extraordinary freshets; the largest of which has covered Main, 
the highest street, four feet deep. But this street is now raised 
above the highest freshets, and the principal buildings are ele- 
vated above the street. On an average, the town is flooded not 
more than once in three or four years.— But as the inhabitants are 
familiar with the occurrence, they are prepared : they anchor their 
fences with little trouble, so as to secure them from floating; their 
upper rooms receive the contents of their cellars, their cattle 
and hogs are driven to high grounds; thus prepared they await the 
overflowing and the recession of the waters, as unconcerned as did 
the family of Noah the great deluge. The highest floods rarely 
continue more than eight or ten days. As no stagnant pools 
remain, the flooding of the town is followed by no injury to health, 
and by much less inconvenience to the inhabitants, than can be 
imagined by strangers. The preceding remarks apply only to Old 
Lawrenceburgh ; for New-Lawrenceburgh, so called, within the 
limits of the same town, about 100 rods from the old settlement, is 
never overflowed. The latter is a handsome site, bounded by 
Tanner's creek on the west, which joins the Ohio a mile below, and 
is navigable to the new town. 

It contains a number of large, elegant houses, built with brick, 
a large grist and saw mill, driven by four oxen, on an inclined 
plane wheel, a spacious cotton factory, driven by the same power, 
besides mechanic shops and other buildings, all erected within two 
years. This site, by itself, which is to be connected with the old 
town by a high street above the flooding waters, is spacious enough 
for a pretty large town. Lawrenceburgh, from its first settlement, 
till within two or three of the last years, has progressed very slowly. 
Nothing could have so long retarded the prosperity of this delight- 
ful situation, which nature seemed to have designed for a centre 
of much business, but the dreadful apprehensions which emigrants 
entertain of the evils of overflowing waters. It is the nearest point 
to the river for an immense tract of interior good land, and yet 
unsettled, in the most convenient outlet for the produce of the 

great Whitewater country, and is the natural place of deposite for 
staple commodities which float down the Big Miami. The evils 
contemplated from occasional overflowing, the old settlers have 
found more imaginary than real. 

There is no place on the banks of the Ohio, perhaps, where bet- 
ter water is found or more perfect health enjoyed than at Law- 
renceburgh. Nor is there any town in the state, we presume, which 
has flourished more within two or three of the last years; many 

204 Early Travels in Indiana. 

neat brick houses and stores have lately been erected, both in the 
old and new town; some of which are nearly as" spacious and ele- 
gant as any in the western country. Merchants and mechanics 
of various descriptions have met with encouragement. The town 
has, within 30 months, doubled its population, which, at this time 
(August 1819) may be estimated at about 700. Beside the Big 
Miami and Whitewater, seven considerable streams traverse the 
county of Dearborn, all emptying into the Ohio, within the county, 
which borders on that river not exceeding 17 miles. The most of 
these streams, including the Ohio, have spacious margins of bot- 
tom lands. The face of the country bordering on the Ohio, how- 
ever, for some miles in width, has spread over it many abrupt hills, 
which as well as the vallies, are covered by a deep rich soil. But 
as we recede some distance back from the creeks, the surface be- 
comes sufficiently level. In the northern part of the county 
are large tracts, of which the prevailing growth is oak of divers 
species. These lands, though the appearance be rather forbidding 
to a stranger, prove very productive in wheat, grass and most 
other crops, common to the country. 

There appears a considerable propensity in the people of Dear- 
born county to the formation of towns, there being 12 or 13 already 
laid off. Our limits will permit us to notice some of the principal 


Harrison is a pleasant little village on the Whitewater, about 14 
miles northeast [south-east] of Lawrenceburgh ; the main street 
being the boundary line between the states Indiana and Ohio. It 
would seem from the numerous tumuli and places of ancient sepul- 
ture, that this plain, centuries ago, was covered by the habitations 
of men. — The town which contains a considerable number of neat 

dwelling houses, is surrounded by a tract of excellent land, on 

which are many handsome plantations. Hardensburgh, on the 
west bank of the Great Miami, two miles from its mouth, occupies 
a handsome site, and contains about 50 houses, seven or eight of 

which are decent brick buildings. 

Aurora, at the mouth of Hogan creek, on the west bank of that 
stream, four miles below Lawrenceburgh, and nine above Rising 
Sun, was laid off by 20 proprietors in 1818. About 40 frames, for 
dwelling houses and stores, were erected on donation lots, before 
any of the others were offered for sale. This town has a fine pros- 
pect of the meanderings of the creek and the river; and is accom- 
modated with as good a harbor for boats, as any place between 
Pittsburgh and the Mississippi; a strong eddy from the Ohio 


Edmund Dana. 


putting into the creek, which exceeds 15 feet in depth at all stages 
of water. ' 

Rising Sun, 13 miles below Lawrenceburgh, forms one of the 
most delightful situations on the banks of the Ohio. 

It is surrounded by a spacious tract of rich bottom, and occupies 
a gentle, gradual descent, that commands a complete prospect of 
the river; between which and the front row of houses, is a broad 
street more than 150 rods in length. This town contains more than 
100 houses, and affords employment for several traders, taverns, 
and a number of industrious mechanics. 

Wilmington, a small village, stands on a high hill, about equi- 
distant from the East and West Forks of Hogan. 

Hanover is a little village two miles above the mouth of 
Laughry; the houses are mostly cabbins. 

Hartford, about five or six miles from the Ohio, is a flourish- 
ing village on Laughry creek, containing 50 or 60 houses. 

Vevay, the county seat of Switzerland, situated eight miles 
above the mouth of Kentucky river, on the Ohio, 45 below Cin- 
cinnati, is a pleasant flourishing town, containing 190 houses, a 
decent brick court house, a jail, printing office, a large distillery, 
several taverns and mechanic shops. A branch of the bank of 
Indiana is established here. It was commenced in 1814, within 
the tract granted by the United States, to about 30 Swiss families 
in 1804; who began their settlements, near the place where the 
town now stands, in the following year. This land was obtained 
from government on an extended credit, for the purpose of encour- 
aging the cultivation of the grape vine; in which employment the 
Swiss have been more successful, it is presumed, than any attempt 
on a large scale, within the United States. In 1815, about 100 
hogsheads of wine were produced from all the vineyards; some of 
which belonging to individuals, have singly grown grapes latterly, 
sufficient to make 1,000 gallons of wine. The Madeira and the 
Cape of Good Hope have flourished better than any other species 
which have been tried. The vines of each grow well, but the Cape 
being much less liable to be injured by early frost, is the least pre- 
carious and the most productive. This wine is wholesome, and 
not unpalatable. It is preserved through the summer months 
without distilled spirits, and grows better by age. 

Madison, on the second bottom of the bank of the Ohio, is 
the county seat of Jefferson. This is one cf the most beautiful 
and flourishing towns in the state; was commenced 1811; in Feb- 
ruary, 1819, contained 821 inhabitants, 123 dwelling houses, 



206 Early Travels in Indiana. 

besides stores, mechanic shops, &c. Has a court house and jail, 
and a banking establishment. This town derives an importance 
from its central position, by standing in one of the most northerly 
bends of the Ohio; thereby presenting one of the nearest points of 
Ohio navigation to that extensive body of rich land, at and around 
the Delaware towns, which yet remains uncultivated. The town 
is, except on the river board, surrounded by rugged, high hills, 
which offer a steep and laborious ascent for a loaded team. 

New-Lexington, 16 miles west of Madison, contains about 50 
houses, and is in the vicinity of an extensive tract of good land. 

New-London, 10 miles below Madison, on the Ohio, is formed 
by nature for one of the most pleasant situations on that river; 
presenting a gradual and gentle descent for 150 rods back from 
the river, the position of the ground affording a most excellent 
route for a good road to the back country, and exhibiting from a 
distance, a charming view of the broad expanse of the Ohio. 

Charlestown, the county seat of Clark, is situated two miles 
from the Ohio, 29 miles south of west from Madison, and 14 
miles above the Falls. It is one of the most flourishing and neatly 
built towns in the state; contains about 160 houses, chiefly of 
brick, a handsome court house, and is inhabited by an industrious 
class of citizens. There are numerous plantations around this 
town, consisting of good land, and better cultivated, perhaps, 
than any in the state. This tract is within the grant made by 
the state of Virginia, to the brave soldiers, who, under the cele- 
brated general Clark, in the revolutionary war, by conquering the 
British troops and their savage allies, subjected the western 
country to the jurisdiction of the United States. A large portion 
of the Grant, so called, containing many thousand acres, is 
covered with a heavy growth of beech timber, considerably inter- 
mixed with sugar maple, and divers other species of trees. — The 
soil is very productive in fruit trees, wheat, and English grasses. 

Jeffersonville stands just above the Falls, on the west bank of 
the Ohio. The noise, and the sight of the waters tumbling over the 
precipices below, together with a view of the town of Louisville, 
on the opposite shore, present a scenery at once variegated, roman- 
tic, picturesque and grand. The town is built on the second bot- 
tom, above the highest floods, affording a complete view of the 
river. The non-residence of the proprietors (of whom many are 
minors) of town lots and of the adjacent country, has hitherto 
much checked the prosperity of this delightful spot. Of the build- 
ings, which are not very numerous, some are designed and executed 

Edmund Dana. 


in a neat and elegant style, particularly the mansion which was the 
resience of the late Gov. Posey. A land office, a post office and a 
printing office are established in this town. 

A canal is projected, to commence a few rods east of Jefferson- 
ville, at the mouth of a ravine, thence through the back lots of the 
town, terminating at an eddy, at the foot of the rapids, by the 


town of Clarksville. To effect this purpose, the legislature of 
Indiana, in January 1818, incorporated the Jeffersonville Ohio 
Canal Company, with a capital of $1,000,000; and granted them 
permission to raise $100,000 by lottery. In May, 1819, a survey 
and location having been previously made, the excavation was 
commenced, and continues to be prosecuted with spirit, and the 
fairest prospects of success. The extent of this canal will be 2% 
miles; the average depth 45 feet; width at top 100, and at bottom 
50 feet. Except one-fourth of a mile at the upper end, there is a 
bed of rock to be cut through, 10 or 12 feet deep. The charter, 
which expires in 1899, requires that the canal should be completed 
before the end of the year 1824. The perpendicular height in the 
whole extent of the falls being about 23 feet, the canal is expected 
to furnish excellent mill seats, and a water power sufficient to 
drive machine^ for very extensive manufacturing establishments. 

In navigating the Ohio, the saving of time, expence, and waste 
of property, by means of a canal, to a great extent above the falls, 
is incalculable. It has been estimated, that Cincinnati alone, for 
several years past, has paid an extraordinary expence for trans- 
porting goods around the falls, exceeding $50,000. The several 
states bordering on the river above, are each interested in the suc- 
cess of this great undertaking, and it is presumed they will liberally 
contribute their aid to perfect it. The territory and population 
to be benefitted by this work, is so extensive, strong hopes have 
been entertained that some adequate provision will be made by the 
general government. Capital cannot, perhaps, at the present day, 
be vested in any public funds that will yield a more produc- 
tive regular income, than in this establishment. 
I New- Albany y the seat of justice for Floyd county, is 4V£ miles 

f below Jeffersonville, on the bank of the Ohio, on an extensive 

plain of rich bottom lands. From the first settlement of this town, 
its progress was rather slow, until within two or three of the last 
I years; since which period it has flourished greatly. The front 

i street is more than three quarters of a mile in length; the num- 

[ ber of houses, of which several are spacious and elegant, are sup- 

posed to exceed 150; a steam grist and saw mill, each of which per- 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

form extensive business, are a great advantage to the town and 
surrounding country. A spirit of enterprise and industry seems 
generally to animate the inhabitants, and to exhibit the appear- 
ance of a brisk, business-doing place. Floyd was erected into a 
county in the winter of 1818, out of the counties of Clark and 


Cory don, the seat of justice for the county of H 


is also 

the present capital of the state, the constitution having appointed 
it the seat of legislation until 1825. Distant from New Albany, 
northwest, 21 miles; from the nearest point of the Ohio, about 13 — 
lays between the forks of Indian creek, at their junction — is sur- 
rounded by elevated ground, of gentle ascent — contains 8 or 10 
neat buildings, beside many others which are ordinary; a spacious 
court house of stone, which is occupied by the legislature during 
their session. The supreme court is holden at this place, exclu- 

A few miles from the town, north, northeast and northwest, an 
extensive tract of land, called the barrens, commences, and spreads 
out in divers directions, in some points several miles — the sur- 
face commonly undulating — occasionally are deep sink' holes, 
resembling half-filled wells— the growth is scattering, small oak 
shrubs, with here and there small clumps of oak trees, of a moder- 
ate size; a coarse, short, wild grass, grateful to cattle and sheep, 
overspreads the ground; the soil in some parts thin and sterile, but 
generally productive of good crops of corn, small grain, clover and 
timothy. The region of these barrens is remarkable for caverns, 
some of which are spacious, from five to fifty feet in height from 
the flooring; the bottom, roof and walls of flat limestone — the lat- 
ter often as perpendicular as the walls of a room. It is not uncom- 
mon to find streams large enough to drive a mill briskly, pouring 
their waters over the bottoms of these caves. Small oaks, of a 


tolerable height, as thinly scattered as the apple trees in an orchard, 
usually commence at the termination of the barrens, and extend 
for a good distance, sometimes for the space of two or three miles. 
This description, it is conceived, will apply to most of the barrens 
in the state. 

After the constitutional term expires, the seat of government 
will be removed from Corydon into the interior, probably on or 

the West Fork of Whiteriver, within the late purchase 


gress having granted to the state four square miles, for a perman- 
ent seat of legislation, to be selected by the state from the public 
lands. Fixing the temporary seat of government at Corydon has 


Edmund Dana. 


not so much contributed to the prosperity of the town as was 
expected. Being without any water communication with the 
Ohio, one and the nearest of the great high ways of the west, Cory- 
don is unfortunately located within that grade of distance from 
navigable water — where towns have never been known to flourish 


in this country — not so near as to enjoy the advantage of a river 
market, and not distant enough to obtain the country custom. 
The natural situation of the place, however, presents a scenery that 
attracts the attention of a stranger — a level bottom, encompassed 
by two fine never failing streams of water, and surrounded by high 
grounds, gradually rising like an amphitheatre. 

Salem, the capital of Washington county, a new but flourish- 
ing town, 34 miles north of Corydon, and 25 north west of Jeffer- 
sonville, stands on a small branch of Blue river, and contains a 
decent court house, of brick, 80 or 90 houses, some of which are 
neat buildings. Around this town is an extensive tract of land, 
of a superior quality, covered with a thick growth of stately forest 

Brownstown, the seat of justice for the county of Jackson, 25 
miles north of Salem, is situated near the eastern branch of White- 
river, on the eastern side, a short distance from the boundary line 
of the late purchase. The soil around Brownstown consists of a 
gray sandy loam; it is very friable, and not liable to bake and 
hatden by the heat of the sun. This spot appears to be without 
the limits of the calcareous region — on a strip of land from two to 
five miles in width, and from eight to fifteen in length, scarcely 
any limestone are to be found. Within a mile of the town are 
large quantities of iron ore, the best which has been discovered in 
the state. This town was laid off iri the midst of the forest, only 
three or four years ago, and the greater part of the houses are 


Paoli, the county seat of Orange, is about 70 miles eastwardly 
of Vincennes, and 40 northwest of Jeffersonville, near the centre 
of a large tract of valuable lands. The place where the town 
stands, but three or four years ago, was covered with large forest 


Fredonia, a post town in the county of Crawford, 42 miles 
below the Falls, is situated in the great Horse-shoe bend, on an 
elevated plain, commanding an extensive and romantic prospect 
of the Ohio. A convenient passage way is opened by nature, 
through the rocks, to the river; which is here very bold on the 
western shore, forming a fine eddy. Between the town and the 

T — 14 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

In the ledges near the town, are abundance of good 

river are a series of horizontal benches, terminating next the town 
in solid, perpendicular rock, where vines and fruit trees might be 
cultivated. There is a spring of good water near the centre of 
the town. 

free stone. The town occupies as healthy a situation as any spot 
on the Ohio, and is so situated, in a great bend of the river, which 
projects so far to the north, at this place, as to cause it to be the 
nearest convenient accessible point of navigable waters for a great 
extent of country round. Its position, and the face of the country 

de of th 

for many miles 

favorable for much 

travel across from Kentucky and the southern states into the inter- 
ior of Indiana. The town laying about the centre of Indiana, on 

the river, is supposed to be as near a point as any on the Ohio, to 
the spot which may be located for the permanent seat of govern- 
ment. It is believed that for 50 or 60 miles, no other spot on the 
river unites so many natural conveniences for a town. The set- 
tlement here was not commenced until the fall of 1818. 

Levenworthville, about a mile below Blue river, is a new town in 
Crawford county, on the bank of the Ohio, containing a few houses. 

Mount Sterling, the county seat for Crawford, is located 
in the woods, and contains a few cabbins; it is about eight miles 
northwest of Fredonia. 

Washington, the seat of justice of Davies county, is situated 20 
miles east of Vincennes, 4 miles from the north and 16 from the 


south fork of Whiteriver, in the centre of a large body of excellent 
land, lying within the forks of the river; its being thus intersected 
by those navigable streams, affords peculiar facilities for exporting 
the produce of the country, which is well supplied with many small 
streams of good water, and interspersed with several rich prairas. 


Merom stands on a high bank of the Wabash, called the 


Bluffs, opposite Le Motte praira, in Illinois. The natural situa- 
tion is very pleasant, near large bodies of stone coal. It is the seat 
of justice for Sullivan county, which consists of a beautiful, fertile, 
well watered tract of country, through which flows for a consid- 
erable extent, the waters of the Wabash. Here are spacious 


prairas of the first quality, and a number of very large, productive 
plantations. Among the prairas are included the Honey creek, 
Fort Harrison and Praira creek prairas, all which present a most 
delightful scenery; the surface admitting of excellent roads, at all 

t ■ 

seasons of the year, and the soil equal to any portion of the west- 
ern country. These natural advantages have speedily produced an 


Edmund Dana. 


influx of population, and a degree of improvement, which has been 
rarely equalled in the west. 

Terre Haute, within the same county, about two miles below 
fort Harrison, is delightfully situated on a high bank of the 
Wabash, with a gradual descent to the river, along which extends a 
skirt of woodland near a mile in width. It was laid out in 1816, 
and is rapidly increasing its population and extending its improve- 


Shakertown, settled by that industrious class of people called 
Shakers, lays at the lower end of the county, near the mouth of the 
" Busseron, 15 miles above Vincennes. 


Vincennes, the earliest settlement between Kaskaskia and 
Pittsburgh, is pleasantly situated on the west bank of the Wabash, 

# / 

being the seat of justice for the county of Knox, and formerly the 
seat of legislation for the territory of Indiana. It was settled by 
French emigrants in 1735, who in the remote recesses of a wilder- 
ness, isolated from the civilized world, formerly approximated 
in manner and appearance to the savage tribes around them, 
having scarcely any intercourse with other people — they have, 
however, since their acquaintance with the Americans, much 
improved their condition, and among them may now be found 
intelligent men, who have resumed much of that urbanity of man- 
ners peculiar to Frenchmen. 

Vincennes, by the serpentine course of the Wabash, is distant 
from the mouth of that river 152 miles; while from Evansville, 
the nearest point of the Ohio, it is but 54. It is the most populous 
town in the state — and although long stationary, from causes not 
within its control, it is now, under the fostering care of a free gov- 
ernment, by the accession of a class of intelligent and enterprising 
inhabitants, developing its natural resources, by a rapid increase 
of population, and an extension of various important branches of 
business.. Wm. Fellows & Co. have built a large steam grist and 
saw mill, and are erecting the present year (1819) twelve spacious 
brick buildings. The town contains about 300 dwelling houses, a 
court house of brick, a jail, a spacious neat brick seminary, two 
places for public worship, one Presbyterian and one Roman Cath- 
olic, a public land office, a post office, a bank, and two printing 

Princeton, the seat of justice for the county of Gibson, 35 miles 
southerly from Vincennes, is a flourishing little town, very recently 
commenced. About one half of this county consists of a soil 



Early Travels in Indiana. 




remarkably good; the residue is second rate. It is watered by the 
Wabash and White rivers, and some of their tributary streams. 

Rockport, so named from its being situated upon a rock, which 
presents a high bold front on the Ohio, commands a romantic 
prospect of the river. This town, which is but just commenced, is 
the seat of justice for Spencer, one of the best counties in the 

Evansville, stands on a bend in the Ohio, at the mouth of Big 
Pigeon creek, 54 miles south of Vincennes, and 45 miles above the 
mouth of the Wabash. It is the seat of justice for Vandeburgh 
county. This town is in the vicinity of a large tract of excellent 
land, and acquires an importance from being the nearest and most 
convenient landing for emigrants bound up the Wabash. This is 
considered among the best natural situations for mercantile busi- 
ness in the state. 

Harmony, 54 miles below Vincennes, and 106 by water above 
the mouth of the Wabash, stands on the bank of that river, and is 
the capital of Posey, the southwestern county of the state. 
It was settled in 1814, by a religious sect of Germans, denominated 
Harmonists, now consisting of nearly 800 inhabitants. They were 
first established about 20 miles from Pittsburgh, whence they 
removed to this place, where they possess several thousand acres 
of good land, in a body; which is held in the name of Geo. Rapp, 
their head man and religious teacher, as he alleges, for the com- 
mon use of the whole. These people are remarkable for the observ- 
ance of the rules prescribed by their leader, whom they call father, 
and in whose name all purchases and sales are made; they are 
remarkable for their regularity, industry and skill in the mechanic 

—are cultivators of the grape vine, and manufacture several 


kinds of excellent cloths. 


Rivers and principal streams. — The Great Miami, Ohio and 
Wabash rivers, which constitute a considerable portion of the 
boundary lines of Indiana, are to be found described in our pre- 
liminary remarks. The meanderings of the Ohio in passing the 
width of the state (in a right line but 155 miles) are reckoned 472 
miles in extent. 

Whitewater, flowing with a rapid current of pure water, gen- 
erally over a sandy, pebbly bottom, draws its fountain from two 
chief branches; the east heading near Ohio western boundary, in 


that state, a few miles west of Greenville; the west takes it 
origin in the flat lands, 30 miles west of Brookville, just below 
which town the two branches form a junction, and after running 


Edmund Dana. 



about fifty miles in a southerly direction, empty into the Great 
Miami 4^ miles in a right line from its confluence with the Ohio. 

Next below, on the Ohio, in course as named, are Tanner's, 
Wilson's, Hogan's (the two main branches of which unite within 
one hundred rods from the mouth,) Laughry's, Arnold's and 
Grant's creeks, all within the county of Dearborn. Indian 
creek, the southern boundary of the Swiss settlement, is seven miles 
above the mouth of Kentucky river. Silver creek joins the Ohio 
a short distance below the Falls. Wyandot is equidistant from 
the Falls and Blue river. 

The Big Blue river, after meandering 50 miles southwest, 
bends to the east of south, and empties into the Ohio, 32 miles 
below the mouth of Salt river. 

Little Blue river finds its source in the hills which skirt the 

Ohio, and forming several cascades, the declivities of which 

furnish convenient mill seats, meets the Ohio about 12 miles below 

the mouth of Big Blue river. Ten miles below the former is Sink- 
ing creek. 

Anderson's river, 60 miles further down, is the largest stream 
between Blue river and the Wabash. Piqua and Beaver creeks 


join the Ohio below. Many fine streams of water, affording con- 
venient mill seats, intersect the country between White river and 
the Ohio. 

The main branch of the Wabash heads two miles east of fort 
St. Mary's, in Dark county, Ohio. Of the three other branches, 
the one called Little river heads seven miles south of fort Wayne, 
and enters the Wabash 80 miles below St. Mary's portage. The 
east is the Massissiniway, heading equidistant from forts Green- 
ville and Recovery, and reaches the Wabash 5 miles below 
the mouth of Little river. The third is Eel river, issuing from 
several lakes and ponds 18 miles west of Fort Wayne, and joins the 
Wabash eight miles below the mouth of the Massisinaway. 

The whole range of country traversed by the water of the 
Wabash, is remarkable for its destitution of hills, and promin- 

Petoka, a small river, running a west course, about 75 miles 
through rich bottom, falls into the Wabash four miles below White 

White River meanders nearly across the state southwestwardly, 
supplying with water and fertilizing a large body of good land, 
and joins the Wabash 16 miles below Vincennes; 35 miles above the 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

mouth the two principal branches unite, called North or Drift- 
wood-Fork, and the South or Muddy-Fork. 

Deche River comes into the Wabash about half way between 
Vincennes and the mouth of White river, flowing from the north 
east; it is a rapid, short stream. 

Little River, in a serpentine course from the northeast over 
wide spread bottoms, flows into the Wabash, a short distance 
above Vincennes. Between this and the Deche, a rich bottom 
expands to a great extent. 

St. Marie flows from the north east 60 miles, joining the Wabash 
18 miles above Vincennes. 

Rocky River, 60 miles above St. Marie, interweaving its 
branches with those of the main fork of White river, directs its 
course to the Wabash — is 100 yards wide at its mouth, and 
branches into several forks. 

The Pomme meets the Wabash about 100 miles above the Rocky 
river — rises near the eastern boundary of the state, not much 
north of the sources of Whitewater. Besides the .above rivers, are 
a number of small streams, that water the country on the south- 
east branch of the Wabash. The other side, however, is more 
abundant in large water courses. 

On the northwest side, 10 miles below the Pomme, is Richards 
creek; 10 miles still below is Rock river with high banks, flowing 

through a country rather broken. 

Tippacanoe, comes in 8 miles below Rock river, on which was 
fought the bloody battle of November, 1811, with the savages. 
Near the confluence of this river with the Wabash, on both 
streams, are several Indian villages, with extensive cultivated 

Above the Tippacanoe are Pine and Redwood creeks; Rejoic- 
ing or Vermillion, Jaune, Little Vermillion, Erabliere, Duchet's, 
and Breuette rivers; at an interval of from eight to fifteen miles of 
each other; all flowing from the west or north west, mostly small, 
and heading in the state of Illinois. The rivers of Chanin, Big 
and Little Kemomic, which flow to lake Michigan; the Theakiki, 
Kickapoo, and a part of the chief branches of Illinois river, all 
meander through the north western part of the state; and all, 
except the last, entirely within its boundaries: the three first run- 
ning from south to north; the latter, south and southwest. The 
Vermillion of Illinois rises in Indiana, near the sources of Tippa- 
canoe. There are many smaller streams not enumerated. The 
borders of the Michigan lake, within the state, are well watered 

Edmund Dana. 


by the numerous forks of Black river and St. Joseph's, of lake 
Michigan; the latter heading near, and interlocking with the 
branches of Eel river, and pursuing a winding course 70 miles 


through the northern part of Indiana. 

The northern half of the state is interspersed with a great 
number of lakes — 38 of which, from two to ten miles in length, 
have been delineated on maps. The actual number is supposed to 
exceed 100. Some have two distinct out-lets; one running into the 
northern lakes, the other into the Mississippi. The greatest num- 
ber of these lakes are between the head waters of the two St. 
Joseph's, Black, Raisin, Tippacanoe and Eel rivers. 

From A statistical, political and historical account of North 

America, by D. B. Warden [1819], Vol. II., pp. 


Warden^David Baillie. 

David B. Warden, a French-Irish author, was born in Ireland in 1778. 
When twenty years of age, he came to America and soon gained recognition 
as a brilliant writer and antiquarian. In 1805 he was appointed Secretary 
to the United States Legation in Paris, and a few years later was appointed 
Consul. On two or three occasions he had some difficulty with the home 
government, and in 1814 was suspended from the consular service. He how- 
ever, continued to reside in Paris, and turned his attention entirely to writing. 
Being an ardent antiquarian he undertook a survey of the United States. 
And his Statistical, Political and Historical Accounts of our country, 
published in 1819, affords one of the best available source books on the 
physical conditions of the United States. 


Situation and Boundaries. — The state of Indiana is situated 
between 37° 50' and 42° 10' of north latitude, and between 7 
40' and 10° 45' west longitude from Washington. It is bounded on 
the south by the river Ohio; north by the parallel of 42° 10', 
which passes through Lake Michigan, ten miles beyond its south- 
ern extremity; east by the state of Ohio; and west by the Illinois 
territory, from which it is separated by the Wabash river from its 

mouth to Vincennes, and from Vincennes northward by a meridian 
line. Its form is pretty nearly a parallelogram; its length from 
north to south being about 284 miles, and its mean breadth about 

155. Area, 39,000 square miles, or 24,960,000 acres. 

Aspect of the Country, and Nature of the Soil. — The surface, 
from the falls of the Ohio to the Wabash, is broken and uneven, 
being traversed by a range of hills called the "Knobs," which rise 
to the height of 400 or 500 feet above their base. From this range 
is a level surface, called the "Flat Woods," seventy miles in 
breadth, extending to the Ouitanon country. Along all the prin- 
cipal streams, except the Ohio, there is a tract of rich alluvial soil, 

without timber, which terminates 

meadow lands 

g from 

thirty to a hundred feet above the former, adorned with copses of 
beautiful shrubs, and bounded by lofty forests. In the summer 
season these meadows are covered with a luxuriant growth of 
herbage, from six to eight feet high. The common depth of the 


David Baillie Warden. 217 

soil is from two to three feet; but along the Wabash, in forming 
wells, it was found to be twenty-two feet, and underneath a 
stratum of fine white sand was discovered. The lands on White 
river are hilly, broken, and in some parts stony; but exceedingly 
well watered. From the mouth of Big Miami to Blue river, a 
range of hills, intersected by streams, runs near to and parallel 
with the Ohio. Below Blue river, the country is level, and cov- 
ered with heavy timber. Between the Wabash river and Lake 
Michigan, there is a champaign country, chiefly meadow, inter- 
sected by forests of fine trees, abounding in swamps, and inland 
lakes, the sources of numerous streams. From the south bank of 
the St. Joseph river extend rich meadow lands, from one to ten 
miles in breadth, and of variable length; the soil is dry, being at 
least 100 feet above high water. The soil around the sources of 
Eel river, Panther's creek, and St. Joseph of the Miami, and 
between the two extreme branches of the Wabash, is generally 
low and swampy, but interspersed with tracts of good soil. The 
overflowing of the rivers is very extensive; and, as most of them 
have a winding course, they water one-half more of the coun- 
try, than if they ran in a straight line. General Harrison, who 
traversed this country in every direction, remarks, "that the finest 
country in all the western world is that which is bounded east- 
wardly by the counties of Wayne, Franklin, and part of Dear- 
born, Switzerland, and Jefferson; westward by the tract called the 
New Purchase; and extending northwardly some small distance 
beyond the Wabash. This tract, containing perhaps 10,000,000 
of acres, is principally the property of the Miami tribe of Indians; 
part of it of the Miamis and Delawares. It includes all the 
head waters of the White river, and the branches of the Wabash 
which fall in from the south and southeast.* 

Climate. — In all the high country the climate is particularly 
healthy; but in the low alluvial soil, formed of decaying vege- 
table substances, the air is unfriendly to health. The winter is 
milder, and much shorter, than in the northern states. The fine 
weather generally continues to Christmas, and spring com- 
mences about the middle of February. The peach blossoms about 
the 1st of March, and the woods are green by the 10th of April. 
But some winters are much colder. In that of 1815 the frost con- 
tinued two or three weeks; the snow was from six to nine inches 
deep; and the ice of the Wabash, in many places, was strong enough 
to be passed over. Apple, cherry, and peach trees thrive well; 

♦Appendix to the Western Gazetteer, p. 358. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

tobacco also thrives as well here as in Virginia. The vine and sweet 
potatoe are cultivated at New Switzerland and Vevay. Below 
Ouitanon, in latitude 40° 20', the climate is mild. Above the 
sources of the Wabash, where the north and north-westerly winds 
prevail, the winters are much more severe. The reed cane grows 
as high up as the mouth of the Big Miami. Cotton is raised at 
Vincennes, Princeton, Harmony, and in the settlements below 
the mouth of Anderson; though it does not grow to perfection 
above the thirty-first degree of latitude. 

Rivers. — This state is watered by the rivers Ohio and Wabash, 
and their numerous branches; the southern parts by the former, 
over a distance of 472 miles, following its course from the entrance 
of the Big Miami to that of the Wabash. The principal branches 

— 1. Tanner's creek, which rises in the flat woods 

of the Ohio are— 
to the south of Brookville; and running a course of thirty miles, 
falls in below Lawrenceburgh, where it is thirty yards wide. 2. 
Loughery's creek, forty miles in length, and fifty yards wide at its 
entrance, falls in eleven miles below the Big Miami. 3. Indian 
creek, called also Indian Kentucky, and by the Swiss, Venoge,* 
rises in the hills near the south fork of White river, forty-five 
miles north-east of Vevay, and falls in eight miles below the mouth 
of Kentucky river. It forms the southern limit of the Swiss set- 
tlement. 4. Wyandot creek issues from the hills which extend in a 
transverse direction from near the mouth of Blue river to the 
Muddy fork of White river, and joins the Ohio at about an equal 

distace between the falls and Blue river. 


Big Blue river, so 

named from the colour of its waters, rises farther north, near the 
South fork of White river, runs fifty miles south-west, and then, 
taking a southern direction, enters the Ohio thirty-two miles below 
the mouth of Salt river. It is about fifty yards in breadth, and is 
navigable forty miles to a rift, which, if removed, would extend it 

farther ten or twelve miles. f 


Little Blue river, forty yards 

wide, has its entrance thirteen miles below the former. 7. Ander- 
son's river, which joins the Ohio sixty miles farther down, is the 
most considerable stream below Blue river and the Wabash. 
Besides these, there are several creeks, but none of great length. 
The current of all these streams is pretty rapid, and their waters 
are good. The Wabash, which waters the middle and western 
parts of the state, rises from two sources near the eastern bound- 
ary line, about 100 miles from Lake Erie, and runs across the state 

*The name of a small river of Switzerland, in the Pays de Vaud. 
tSchultz, Vol. I., p. 196. 


David Baillie Warden. 219 

in a south-western and southern course of above 500 miles, dis- 
charging its waters into the Ohio in latitude 37° 21'. The prin- 
cipal upper branch of the Wabash has its source two miles east of 
old Fort St. Mary's; another, called Little river, rises seven miles 
south of Fort Wayne, and enters about eighty miles below the St. 
Mary's Portage; a third, the Massassinway, rises in Darke county, 
state of Ohio; a fourth, Eel river, issues from several lakes and 
ponds eighteen miles west of Fort Wayne, and enters the Wabash 
eight miles below the mouth of the former, which unites five miles 
below the mouth of Little river. White river, the largest branch 
of the Wabash, is 200 miles in length. At the distance of thirty- 
five miles from its mouth, (sixteen miles below Vincennes,) it 
divides into two branches, which water the south-eastern parts 
"of the state below the fortieth degree of latitude. The northern, 
called the Drift Wood branch, interlocks with the north fork of 
White water, and with the Still water of the Big Miami. The 
southern, known ,py the name of Muddy Fork, rises between the 
West fork of the White water. The Northern fork has a branch, 
called Teakettle, which extends from its junction, twenty miles 
above that of the two principal forks, across the intervening sur- 
face. During the period of high water, both the branches of the 
White river are boatable to the distance of 130 miles. The 
Petoka river has its source near that of the southern branch of 
White river, with which it runs parallel at the distance of ten 
or twelve miles; and, after a course of seventy-five, it joins the 
Wabash, twenty miles below Vincennes. Decke river, a short 
winding stream, which somes from the north-east, falls in about 
half way between Vincennes and White river. Little river, from 
the French name La Petite Riviere, comes also from the north- 
east, and enters a little above Vincennes. The St. Marie, from the 
same quarter, is fifty miles long, and enters eighteen miles above 
Vincennes; and, eighteen miles higher, is Rocky river, which is 100 
yards wide at its mouth; it has several large branches. Another 
Little river, which comes from the south-east, from near the 
sources of Rocky river, is the only stream from this last which 
enters from the left, to the distance of seventy miles. Pomme 
river, which rises to the north of the head branches of White water, 
comes from the south-east, and falls in twenty miles below the 
mouth of Massassinway. Richard's creek, ten miles below on the 
right side, is a considerable stream; and about an equal distance 
farther south is Rock river, from the north-west, which passes 
through a broken country. Eight miles farther down is the Tip- 


220 Early Travels in Indiana. 

pacanoe, which has its source about twenty miles west of Fort 
Wayne. Several of its branches, issuing from lakes, swamps, and 
ponds, communicate with the St. Joseph's of the Miami of the 
lakes. Farther south are several streams coming from the west or 
north-west, running at the distance of from ten to fifteen miles 
from each other; the Pine and Red Wood creeks, Rejoicing, or 
Vermillion Jaune, Little Vermillion, Erabliere, Duchat, and 
Brouette. White Water river, so called from the transparency of its 
waters, runs across the southeastern parts of the state in its course 
to the Great Miami, and is said to water nearly a million of acres 
of fine land; it is more than 100 yards wide; its western branch 
interlocks with those of White river. The north-eastern parts 
of the state are watered by the St. Joseph's of the Miami of the 
lakes, which has its source about sixty miles north-west of Fort 
Wayne, above which it forms a junction with the St. Mary's; 
and its remote branches interramify with those of the Raisin and 
Black rivers, the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, and Eel river. 
The borders adjoining the Michigan territory are watered by the 
head branches of the river Raison of Lake Erie, the branches of 
Black river, and the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan. The branches 
of the latter have a communication with those of Eel river. The 
north-western parts are watered by several streams flowing into 
Lake Michigan; the rivers Chemin, Big and Little Kennomic; 
the Theakiki, Kickapoo, and many smaller streams. 

Chicago river, which runs into the south-western extremity of 
Lake Michigan, at the distance of sixteen miles from its mouth, 
divides into two branches. It forms a harbour, into which sloops 
of forty tons enter. The Great Kennomic, which also empties into 
Lake Michigan, thirty miles east of the former, has its source at 


the distance of twenty or thirty miles south of this lake; and runs 
first nearly westward, in a direction parallel to the shore of the 
lake; it then makes a doubling, and runs nearly eastward, after 
which it pursues a northern course, for a few miles, to the lake. 
Its outlet forms a spacious bay. 

Lakes. — The upper parts of this state are diversified with a 
number of lakes, thirty-eight of which, delineated on the latest 
maps, are from two to ten miles in length; and the whole number 
is said to exceed a hundred. Some are found to have two outlets, 
into the lakes on one side, and into the Mississippi on the other. 
Most of these small lakes are situated between the sources of the 
two St. Josephs, Black River, Raisin, Tippacanoe, and Eel rivers. 

Extent of Navigable Waters. — The Ohio river washes the south- 

David Baillie Warden. 221 

ern boundary of Indiana, for the distance of 472 miles; the Wabash 
is navigable 470;* White river and its forks, 160; Petoka, 30; 
Blue river, 40; Whitewater, 40; Rocky river, 45; Pomme, 30; 
Massassinway, 45; Eel and Little rivers, 60; western tributaries of 
- the Wabash, 330; St. Joseph's of the Miami and Panther's creek, 
75; Elkhart and part of St. Joseph's of Lake Michigan, 100; 
Great and Little Kennomic, 120; Chemin river, 40; Chicago and 
Kickapoo, 80; Theakaki and parts of Fox, Plein, and Illinois, 
300 ;f southern coast of Lake Michigan, 50. In all, 2,487. 

A company, with a capital of a million of dollars, has been incor- 
porated by the legislature, for the purpose of opening a canal along 
the falls, or rapids, of the Ohio, which, when executed, will be of 
great advantage 

Minerals. — Silver ore is said to have been discovered at a place 
about twenty-eight miles above Ouitanon, on the northern side 
of the Wabash;| copperas on the high bank of Silver creek, about 
two miles from its mouth; iron ore on White river, and other 
places. Between White river and New Lexington, the wells are so 
impregnated with copperas, that they blacken linen; and being 
considered by the inhabitants as very unwholesome, several of 
them have on this account abandoned their habitations. A chalyb- 
eate spring, containing sulphur and iron, near Jeffersonville, is 
much frequented. Coal. — Mr. Hutchins states, "That the hills 
are replenished with the best coal; that there is plenty of swine- 
stone and freestone; blue, yellow, and white clay, for glassworks 


*The Wabash, at its mouth, is 300 yards wide; at Vincennes, 100 miles from its 
mouth, from forty to seventy rods, and it is navigable thence to the rapids of Ouitanon, 
for keel boats, or barges drawing three feet water, about 212 miles. Above this village 
small boats ascend nearly 200 miles farther, to within six miles of St. Mary's river, 
ten of Fort Wayne, and eight of the St. Joseph's, flowing into the Miami of the lakes. 
The banks of this beautiful river are high, and less subject to inundation than any other 
in this country, except the Ohio, though when the waters rise in March, its borders 
are partially overflowed from Fort Harrison to Vincennes, 120 miles by water, and 55 
by land, and opposite this last place to the distance of four or five miles, which obliges 
the farmers to remove their cattle and swine. The rapids at Ouitanon are impassable 
for boats, but small vessels of thirty tons burden can navigate between this place and 








have been traversed by the white settlers. One extending nine 
Fort Wayne on the St. Mary's and the Little river branch of the Wabash is a good route 
in dry seasons. It was by this channel the French passed from the lakes to their post 
on the Wabash River. The other portage, much shorter, extends between the Chicago 
and Kickapoo branch of the Illinois, and so level is the surface, that during the rise 
of their waters, boats pass between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. 

See Volney's account of this internal water communication between the lakes and 
waters of the Mississippi. 

JHutchins, p. 28. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

and pottery." There is a coal mine a little below the forks of 
White river. . . 

Salt Springs. — Some valuable salt springs have been discovered 
on the Wabash river, and also on Salina creek, which are leased by 
the government of the United States to contractors, who are 
obliged not to receive more for salt than half a dollar a bushel at 
the works; but through the agency of private copartners, it is not 
sold at the storehouses for less than two dollars.* Near the town 
of New Lexington, at the depth of 520 feet, the salt wells give from 
three to four bushels of salt to the hundred gallons of water. These 
works are the property of General Macfarland. Glauber's salt, 
or sulphate of potash, has been lately found in a cave situated 
twelve miles from the Ohio river, and about the same distance 
west of New Albany. The quantity is so great as to promise an 
inexhaustible supply. Epsom salt (sulphate of magnesia) has been 
also found in a cave about thirty-five leagues from Louisville; 
and saltpetre exists in certain caves in the neighbourhood. A sec- 
tion of land of 160 acres, containing these treasures, was pur- 
chased! at two dollars an acre. 

Forest Trees and Shrubs. — Mr. Hutchins remarks, that the 
timber on the Wabash river is large, high, and in such variety, 
that almost all the different kinds growing upon the Ohio, and its 
branches, (but with a greater proportion of black and. white mul- 
berry trees,) may be found here.J The natural meadows are 
intersected by narrow woods, containing oak, ash, maple, locust, 
poplar, plum, and the crab-apple tree. On the outside of these 
meadows oak abounds, and grows to a great size. The principal 
trees on the branches of White river are white oak, hickery, and 
black walnut. The hills of Whitewater river terminate in a level 
and rich country, thickly wooded with oak, walnut, beech, ash, 
elm, hickery, maple, sugar tree, &c. On Silver creek, Canerun, 
and other branches of the Ohio, and the south fork of White river, 


hickery and oak abound. The banks of Blue river are also cov- 
ered with oak and locust; the. neighbouring hills with black wal- 
nut, oak, hickery, ash, sugar maple; the low intervening grounds 
with bass-wood, papaw, honey-locust, buck-eye, and spice-wood, 
with the wild vine, and various shrubs. Along the borders of 
Whitewater river, ginseng grows to an uncommon size; on the 
poor soil of the spurs of the hills, the columbo root abounds. The 

*Schultz, Vol. L, p. 199. 
t — By Dr. Adams. 
% — Page 28. 


David Baillie Warden. 223 

cane grows to the south of the ridge of hills, which extend from the 
falls of the Ohio to those of the Wabash, above the mouth of White 
river, and in some places as far north as the mouth of the Big 
Miami. An extraordinary phenomenon is met with in this 
country in the woods along White river, — natural wells, from ten 
to fifteen feet deep, formed by the decay of the trunks and roots 
of large sycamore trees. 

Animals. — The woods abound with deer. Bears and wolves 
are also numerous. Of the feathered race of game, wild turkeys, 
ducks, and pigeons, swarm in the woods, and on the waters of the 
northern parts. The rattlesnake and copperhead snake infest the 
woody country, but are seldom seen on the low lands. Fishes.— 
Of the fish which inhabit the rivers, we find no particular account. 
The Great Kennomic of Lake Michigan is said to furnish the 
Indians with an inexhaustible supply.* 

Civil or Administrative Division of the State of Indiana, with the 

Population of each County and Chief Town in 1810, 

the year of the last Enumeration. 

Counties. Population. Chief Towns. 


7,000 Jeffersonville. f 

Dearborn 5,426 Lawrenceburgh . $ 


7,970 Brookville.§ 

Gibson 5,330 Princeton. 

Harrison 6,769 Corydon. 

Jefferson 4,093 Maddison. 

♦Western Gazetteer, p. 77. 

tJeffersonville, situated on the bank of the Ohio, a little above the falls, and nearly 
opposite Louisville, contained, in 1816, about 130 houses. 

JLawrenceburgh, situated on the Ohio River, two miles below the mouth of the 
Big Miami, has not succeeded as was expected, owing to the annual inundation of the 
river. A new town has been laid out half a mile farther up on an elevated situation, 
and named Edinburgh. A place called t4 Rising Sun," in the same county of Dear- 
born, situated on an elevated bank of the Ohio, between Vevay and Lawrenceburgh, 
contains thirty or forty houses. Its growth has been rapid; and it will probably 
become a place of considerable trade. 

§Brookville, in Franklin County, situated between the branches of ,White River, thirty 


miles north of Lawrenceburgh, was established in 1811; but being within fifteen miles 
of the Indian line of demarcation, it did not increase during the late war ; since the peace, 
however, its growth has been very rapid. In 1816 it contained eighty dwelling-houses 
a grist mill, two saw mills, two fulling mills, three carding machines, and a printing 
office, besides a great number of workshops. The ground, elevated between seventy 
and eighty feet above the level of the river, is dry and pleasant, and is peculiarly 
favourable for the establishment of manufactures, the branches of the river affording 
fine situations for the erection of water machinery. Harrison village, in the same 
county, eight miles from the mouth of Whitewater, on the northern side, and eighteen 
northeast [southeast] of Brookville, commenced about the year 1800, and in 1816 
contained thirty-five houses. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 






Chief Towns. 

6,800 Vincennes* 

• 3,500 Vevey.f 

6 , 606 Salem. 

6,290 Salisbury. 


Posey 3,000 

Perry 3,000 

Warwick 3,000 

68 , 784 


In 1800 the population amounted to 4,875. 


24,520 of whom 237 were slaves 


According to the numeration of 1810 there were 23,890 whites. 

237 slaves. 
393 fr. blacks. 


Increase in 5 years 44,264 

The settlements extend chiefly along the Ohio, the branches of 

the Big Miami, the Wabash, and the Whitewater river. 


most ancient and most populous part of the state is Knox county, 
on the east side of the Wabash river, and watered by several of its 
branches, the Decke, White river, Little river, St. Mary's, Bus- 
seron, Racoon, and Ambush creeks. It contains 20,000 acres of 

the best meadow and alluvial land. 

Constitution. — Indiana was under a territorial government till 
1816. Agreeably to an act of Congress, of 16th April that year, a 
convention was held at Corydon, on the 29th June, consisting of 

*Vincennes, formerly St. Vincent, situated in Latitude 38° 51' north, on the east 
side of the Wabash River, on a level and beautiful surface, nearly 200 miles from its 
junction with the Ohio, following its course, but 100 only in a straight line, contained 
in 1816 about 100 houses. The inhabitants raise Indian corn, wheat and tobacco of 
excellent quality. They have a fine breed of horses, (brought originally by the Indiana 
from the Spanish settlements on the western side of the river Mississippi.) and large 
herds of swine and black cattle. The settlers deal with the natives for furs and deer 
skins, to the amount of L. 5,000 annually. In 1817, steam mills upon an extensive 
scale were begun to be built. Ouitanon, a small stocked fort on the western side of 
the Wabash, traded with the neighbouring Indians to the amount of about L. 8,000 a 
year. — (Hutchins, p. 28, 31.) 

fVevay, situated on the bank of the Ohio, was laid out in 1813; and in 1816 the 
number of dwelling houses had incerased to eighty-four; the shops for mechanics to 
thirty-four ; the stores to eight; the taverns to three. A court house, jail, and school 
house, were then building of brick materials. Vevay is seventy miles by water, and 
forty-five by land, below Cincinnati. New Switzerland, near the former, extending 
four miles along the Ohio from Indian creek or Venoge, was established in 1805'by 
emigrants from the Pays de Vaud, with the view of cultivating the vine. The vine- 
yards are now very extensive, and the settlement is in a prosperous state. 

David Baillie Warden. 225 

forty-one delegates, chosen by all the male citizens of the state 
who were twenty-one years of age, had paid taxes, and resided a 
year in the territory. These delegates framed the constitution of 
the state. 

The first article declares, that all power is inherent in the peo- 
ple, that all free governments are founded on their authority, 
and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and that, for 
the advancement of these ends, they have, at all times, an unalien- 
able and indefeasible right to alter or reform their government as 
they may deem proper; that all men have a natural right to wor- 
ship God according to the dictates of their own consciences; 
that no man shall be compelled to attend any place of worship, 
or to maintain any ministry against his consent; that no preference 
shall be given by law to any religious sect; that no religious test 
shall be required as a qualification to any office of trust or profit; 
that elections shall be free and equal; the right of trial by jury 
inviolate in all eivil cases where the value in controversy shall 
exceed the sum of twenty dollars, and in all criminal cases, except 
in petit misdemeanours, which shall be punishable by fine only, 
not exceeding three dollars, in such manner as the legislature may 
prescribe by law. All persons, their houses, papers, and effects, to 
be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. The 
printing-presses to be free to every person. In all indictments for 
libels, the jury shall decide upon the law and the facts; that all 
courts shall be open; that no person arrested or confined in jail, 
shall be treated with unnecessary rigour; that all persons shall be 
bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the 
proof is evident or the presumption great, and that excessive bail 
shall not be required. That the privilege of the right of habeas 
corpus shall not be suspended, unless in case of rebellion or inva- 
sion, nor then, unless the public safety require it. No ex post 
facto law, nor any law impairing the validity of contracts, shall 
ever be made, and no conviction shall work corruption of blood, nor 
forfeiture of estate. The people to have a right to assemble together 
in a peaceable manner, to consult for the public good, to instruct 
their representatives, and apply to the legislature for a redres 
of grievances. The people to have a right to bear arms for the 
defence of themselves and the state; the military to be kept in 
strict subordination to the civil power; no soldier to be quartered 
in any house without the consent of the owner, in time of peace. 
The legislature not to grant any title of nobility, or hereditary dis- 

T— 15 

226 Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

tinction, nor to create any office, the appointment to which shall 
be for a longer term than good behaviour. 

Emigration from the state not to be prohibited. These rights 
are to remain for ever inviolable, and in order to guard against any 
encroachments thereon, are excepted out of the general powers 

of government. 

The legislative authority is vested in a general assembly, con- 
sisting of a senate and house of representatives, both elected by the 
people. The number of representatives to be fixed by the gen- 
eral assembly, according to the number of white male inhabitants 
above twenty-one years of age in each county, and never to be 
less than twenty-five, nor greater than thirty-six, until the num- 
ber of white male inhabitants, above twenty-one years of age, shall 
be 22,000; and after that takes place, in such ratio, that the whole 
number of representatives shall never be less than 36, nor exceed 
100. An enumeration of the white male inhabitants, above the 
age of twenty-one years, to be made in the year^l820, and every 
subsequent term of five years. The representatives to be chosen 
annually by the qualified electors of each county respectively, 
on the first Monday of August. The qualifications of representa- 
tives are, to have attained the age of twenty-one years; to be a 
citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant of the state; to 
have resided within the limits of the county in which he is chosen, 
one year next preceding his election, and to have paid state or 
county taxes. 

The senators to be chosen on the first Monday of August, for 
three years, by the qualified voters for representatives; to be 
divided into three classes, which are to be renewed in succession 
annually. The number of senators never to be less than one-third, 
nor more than one-half of the number of representatives. The 
qualifications of a senator are, 1. To have attained the age of 
twenty-five years. 2. To be a citizen of the United States, and 
to have resided two years, preceding the election, in the state, 
and the last twelve months in the county or district, unless absent 
on public business. 3. To have paid state or county tax. Two- 
thirds of each house constitute a quorum, but a smaller number 
may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent 
members. The members of both houses to be privileged from 
arrest during the session of the general assembly, except in cases 
of treason, felony, or breach of the peace. Both houses to be open 
except in cases requiring secrecy. Bills may originate in either 
house, subject to alteration, amendment, or rejection in the 

David Baillie Warden. 227 

I other, except bills for raising revenue, which shall originate in 

[ the house of representatives. No person holding any office under 

; the authority of the president of the United States, or of the state, 

except militia officers, are eligible to a seat in either branch of the 
general assembly, unless he resign his office previous to his elec- 
tion ; nor can any member of either branch of the general assembly 
be eligible to any office during the time for which he is elected, the 
appointment of which is vested in the general assembly. An accur- 
■ ate statement of the receipts and expenditure of the public money 

to be published with the laws at every annual session of the gen- 
eral assembly. The governor and all civil officers of the state 
are liable to removal from office, on impeachment for, or convic- 
tion of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours; 
and to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to 
law. The general assembly meets on the first Monday in Decem- 

The governor is chosen by the qualified electors, (on the first 
Monday in August, at the places where they respectively vote for 
representatives,) for the term of three years, and cannot hold this 
office longer than six years in any term of nine years. The qualifi- 
cations are, 1. To be thirty years of age. 2. To have been a 
citizen of the United States ten years; and resided in the state 
five years next preceding his election, unless absent on public 
business. The salary of the governor neither to be increased 
nor diminished during the term for which he shall have been elec- 
ted. He is commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the state, 
and of the militia, except when called into the service of the 
United States; but he is not to command in person, except advised 
so to do by a resolution of the general assembly. By and with the 
consent of the senate, he is authorized to appoint and commis- 
sion all officers, the appointment of which is not otherwise directed 
by the constitution. He has power to fill up vacancies in offices, 
the appointment of which is vested in the governor and senate, or 
in the general assembly. To remit fines and forfeitures; grant 
reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment; to con- 
vene the general assembly on extraordinary occasions; to approve 
and sign every bill, or to return it to the house with his objections 

j for reconsideration. In case of death or resignation, his functions 

are exercised by the lieutenant-governor. 

The secretary of state is chosen by the joint ballot of both 

| houses of the general assembly, for the term of four years, and 

is commissioned by the governor. The treasurer and auditor for 

228 Early Travels in Indiana. 

three years. A sheriff and coroner are elected in each county, by 
the qualified electors; they continue in office two years, and are 
not eligible more than four, in any term of six years.* 

Judiciary, — The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, 
in circuit courts, and such other inferior courts as the general 
assembly may, from time to time, erect and establish. The 
supreme court to consist of three judges, any two of whom shall 
form a quorum, and. shall have appellate jurisdiction only, co- 
extensive with the limits of the state. The general assembly may 
give to this court original jurisdiction in capital cases, and cases 
in chancery, where the president of the circuit court may be 
interested or prejudiced. 

The circuit courts each to have a president, and two associate 
judges. The state to be divided into three circuits, but the num- 
ber may be afterwards increased, and a president to be appointed 
and to preside in each. The president and associate judges, in 
their respective counties, to have common law and chancery 
jurisdiction, and also complete criminal jurisdiction, in all such 
cases as may be prescribed by law. The judges to hold their offices 
for the term of seven years. The judges of the supreme court are 
appointed by the governor, by and with the advice of the sen- 
ate. The presidents of the circuit courts, by joint ballot of both 
branches of the general assembly. The associate judges of the 
circuit courts are elected by the qualified electors in the respec- 
tive counties. The clerk of the supreme court is appointed by the 
court itself; those of the circuit court in the several counties are 
elected by the qualified electors. Justices of the^peace are elected 
for five years by the qualified electors in each township. 

Militia. — The militia consists of all free, able-bodied male 

*The constitution may be revised, amended, or changed by a convention, to be 


held every twelfth year for that purpose, if a majority of the qualified electors, at the 
general election of governor, vote in favour of this measure, (Art. 8), Slavery or in- 
voluntary servitude can never be introduced into the state, except for the punishment of 
crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, and no indenture of any 
negro or mulatto hereafter made and executed, out of the bounds of this state, can be 
of any validity within the state. 

By the 9th Article of the Constitution, the general assembly is authorized to grant 
lands for the support of seminaries and public schools; and, so soon as circumstances 
permit, they are to provide for a general system of education, ascending in a regular 
gradation from township schools to a state university, in which education shall be 
afforded gratis, and be open equally to all. The sums paid by the persons as an equiva- 
lent for militia duty, and also penal fines, are to be applied to the support of county 
seminaries. In laying off a new county, the general assembly is to reserve, at least, 
10 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of town lots, in the seat of justice of such county, 
for the use of a public library therein. 

Article 10th prohibits the incorporation of any other banks than the state bank 
and its branches. 


David Baillie Wakden. 229 

persons, (negroes, mulattoes, and Indians excepted,) resident 
in the state, between the age of eighteen and forty-five years 
except such as are exempted by the laws of the state, or of the 
United States; those who are conscientiously averse to bearing 
arms, paying an equivalent. The captains and subalterns are 
elected by the companies; and the non-commissioned officers are 
appointed by the captains. Majors are elected by the battalions, 
and colonels by the regiments. Brigadier-generals are elected by 
the commissioned officers within the bounds of their respective 
brigades; and major-generals by the commissioned officers within 
the bounds of their respective divisions. The adjutants-general 
and quarter-masters-general are appointed by the governor; and 
also his aids-de-camp. Majors-general appoint their aids-de-camp, 
and all other division staff officers; brigadier-generals, their 
brigades-major; and colonels, their regimental staff officers. All 
militia officers are commissioned by the governor, and hold their 
commission during good behaviour, or till the age of sixty. 

The seat of government is established at Corydon, in Harrison 
county, until the year 1825, and until removed by law. No per- 
son can hold more than one lucrative office at the same time, unless 
expressly permitted by the constitution. The following are the 
salaries fixed for the officers of government till the year 1819: 
The governor, 1,000 dollars; the secretary of state, 400; auditor 
of public accounts, 400; treasurer, 400; judges of the supreme 
court, 800 each; presidents of the circuit courts, 800. Members 
of the general assembly are allowed two dollars per day, during 
their attendance, and the same sum for every twenty-five miles 
they shall severally travel, in the usual route, to and from the 


assembly. After 1819, their pay is to be fixed by a new law. 

Mounds. — A number of Mounds are seen from White river to 
the sources of the Wabash. Around Harrison village, in Frank- 
lin county, they are numerous, of very unequal size, and evidently 
formed at different and remote periods. On the largest, which 


are from ten to thirty feet high, trees are seen to grow of as great a 
size, and apparently as old, as any of the same species in the 
woods. The smaller mounds have no greater elevation than from 
two to five feet above the surface, and the trees which grow upon 
them are yet of small dimensions, indicating a growth of not 
more than 100 years. The bones which they inclose are still cap- 
able of supporting their own weight and of being removed, while 
those of the large mounds are so decomposed, that they are reduced 
to dust by the slightest touch. In a field, belonging to Mr. Allan, 

230 Early Travels in Indiana 

there is one sixty feet in diameter at the base, and twenty in height, 
full of the remains of human bones. Mr. Brown relates,* that, on 
the borders of White Water, he examined the interior structure of 
fifteen or twenty of these mounds, from ten to fifteen feet in height, 
and did not find more than four or five skeletons. In one none was 
found. Others were so full, that they probably contained the 
remains of a hundred skeletons. 


Agriculture. — The soil is well adapted to maize, wheat, oats, 
rye, hemp, and tobacco. On the best lands the average produce 
of Indian corn is said to be from fifty to sixty bushels per acre; 
that of wheat about fifty, the bushel weighing fifty-eight pounds. 
In many places the land is too rich for this grain; which, though 
it does not become smutty, is not so good as in the state of New 
York. It is never killed, however, by the cold in winter. 

The culture of the vine has been successfully introduced by a 
colony of Swiss emigrants, established at New Switzerland. In 
the year 1811, 2,700 gallons of wine were produced from a sur- 
face of twenty acres, and is found to be of a good quality. The 
grapes which have succeeded best are those from the Cape of Good 
Hope and the island of Madeira. Those of the country give wine 
of a tolerable good quality. Hutchins remarked, "that grapes, 
with a thin black skin, grow in the greatest abundance, of which 
the inhabitants in the interior make a sufficient quantity of well- 
tasted red wine for their own consumption." "That large and 
good hops are found in many places, and the lands are particularly 
adapted to the cultivation of rice. All European fruits, apples, 
peaches, pears, cherries, currants, gooseberries, melons, &c, 
thrive well. Cotton and the sweet potatoe are cultivated in the 
southern parts. The country is admirably fitted for rearing cattle 
and swine, having great abundance of acorns and roots on which 
they feed. The animals which are most injurious to agriculture 
in this prolific country are squirrels, moles, and mice. The mole is 
particularly so in meadows and corn fields, where the grain begins 
to shoot. " 

Finances. — According to the treasurer's report, the receipts 
into the treasury for the year 1817 amounted to 28,234 dollars 46 
cents; the disbursements to 20,605 dollars 33 cents; balance 7,629 


dollars 13 cents. 

Price of Land. — In 1792 the French inhabitants of Vincennes 
gave their lands in exchange for goods, at the rate of thirty cents 
an acre. . They were sold in 1796 at two dollars. The tract called 

♦Western Gazetteer, p. 57. 

David Baillie Warden. 231 

"Harrison's Purchase," situated between the White river, Wabash, 
and Rocky river, and containing upwards of 3,000,000 of acres, 
was sold from four to thirty dollars an acre, after the reservation 
of the most fertile parts, given as a donation to the officers who 
had served on the Niagara frontier. The lands of the settlement 
of New Switzerland were purchased at two dollars, in 1805; 
the lands of Harrison village, on the north side of White Water, 
are valued at between forty and sixty dollars an acre. In the town 
of Vincennes building lots sell at from 50 to 1,000 dollars a lot. 
The land offices in this state are, one at Vincennes, on the Wabash, 
the other at Jeffersonville, on the Ohio. 

In general, improved lands, or farms of fifteen or twenty acres, 
with a log-house, can be purchased from eight to ten dollars an 

The manufactures, in 1810, amounted to 196,532 dollars, besides 
doubtful articles, valued at 61,108 dollars. 

Woolen, cotton, hempen and flaxen cloths $159,052.00 

Cotton and wool spun in mills 

1,380 spinning wheels 

1,256 looms 

Nails, pounds 20,000 

Leather tanned 


28 distilleries 

Wine from grapes, barrels 96 


33 flour mills 

14 saw mills 


Maple sugar, pounds 50,000 

The Harmonists, established at Harmoney, cultivate the vine, 
exercise various mechanical arts, and have an extensive wool 
[ manufactory. Their Merino cloth is excellent. 

Commerce. — The external trade of this colony is carried on with 
New Orleans, and is yet very inconsiderable. Goods are brought 
from Canada, down the Wabash; from the eastermost states, 
down the Ohio; and from New Orleans, by the Mississippi and 

*Prices at Brookville, in December 1817. — Beef 4 to 5 cents per pound; corn, 25 
I cents per bushel; wheat, 62 cents ditto; fowls, 1 dollar per dozen; eggs, 6 J cents ditto; 

pork, 3 to 4 cents per pound; butter 19 cents ditto. 

Prices at Princetown, in August, 1817.— Wheat, 3s.*4£ d. sterling per Winchester 
bushel; Is. 4d. ; Indian corn, lid.; hay, 35s. per ton; flour, 36s. per barrel, 196 lb. net; 
I * fowls, 4*d. each; eggs, *d. ; butter, 6d. per pound; meat, 2d.; a buck, 4s. 6d. without 

I the skin; salt, 3s. 4d per bushel; tobacco, 3d. per pound; a good cow, 12 to 20 dollars; 

I a two year old heifer, 6 dollars; ewes, 3 dollars a-head; a sow, 3 dollars, a stout horse 

I for drawing, 60 dollars or upwards. Boarding in a tavern, 2 dollars per week. Travell- 

ing expences are very regular, amounting to a dollar per day for a man and horse. 
B irk beck's Notes, p. 143. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

up the Wabash. One branch of this last river forms a communi- 
cation with the river St. Joseph, and another with the eastern- 
most branch of the Miami of the Lakes, through which there is a 
passage to Lake Erie, with the exception of a short portage. 

Forts. — Fort Harrison, situated on the Wabash river, has a 
garrison of 150 riflemen, of the regular army. Fort Dearborn 
stands upon the left bank of Chicago river, which empties itself 


into Lake Michigan, on the south-western extremity. Its garrison 


was destroyed, in September 1815, [August 15, 1812] by the Pot- 
towatamie Indians, but has been since re-established. Fort 
Wayne, at the confluence of the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's river, 
near the north-eastern angle of the State. 

Roads. — From Vincennes two roads lead to the Ohio, a third to 
Fort Harrison, a fourth to Princetown, and a fifth to Kaskaskia. 
Newspapers. — At Brookville, "The Plain Dealer"; at Vevay, 
The Indiana Register"; at Lexington, "The Western Eagle"; 


at Corydon, "The Indiana Gazette"; at Vincennes, "The West- 
ern Sun". 

Manners and Character. — Indiana is but recently settled; but 
many of the settlers are of a respectable class, and their manners 
are more refined than could be expected in a place where society is 
but in its infancy. They are sober and industrious; drunken- 
ness is rare, and quarrelling rare in proportion. They set a high 
value on the right of personal resistance to aggression. They pos- 
sess great energy of character; and, though they respect the laws 
generally, do not hesitate sometimes to redress what they consider 

a public injury, by a more summary mode of proceeding. 


are, however, friendly and obliging. Insanity is scarcely known, 
either in this or the other western states. The inhabitants of 
Vincennes, who are chiefly of French extraction, are neat and 
cleanly, and still retain strong traces of French good breeding. 

Religion. — The number of Baptists, the denomination which 
prevails in Indiana, was stated in the general report of May 1817 
to be 2,474; the number of churches, 67. We have not been able 
to ascertain the number belonging to other sects. 

History. — When the French descended the Wabash, and estab- 
lished posts on its borders, it was inhabited by different Indian 
nations, the Kickapoos, Pyankashaws, Musquitons, Ouitanons, 
and others, whose warriors amounted to upwards of 1,200, and, 
according to French tradition, they were once far more numer- 

It is said, that the country lying between the Wabash and 


David Baillie Warden. 233 

Mississippi being claimed by the Indians of both these rivers, it 
was mutually agreed, that it should become the prize of the vic- 
tors, in an engagement between 1,000 warriors of each, who fought 
from the rising to the setting sun, when the former were declared 
conquerors, having seven men surviving, while the other had but 
five. The ground on which Fort Harrison stands was the theatre 
of this bloody scene; the bodies of the slain were inclosed in the 
neighbouring mounds. The French colonists, long after their first 
establishments in this country, lived on terms of friendship with 


the Indian proprietors of the soil; formed marriages with their 
women, joined in their hunting parties, and lived contented with 
the produce of the chace, of their cattle, and gardens. But, in the 
year 1782, a detachment of soldiers from Kentucky penetrated to 
their villages, plundered them, and carried off many of their 
cattle. The year following, peace ensued, and they came under 
the protection of the United States. 

During the period of war with the Indians, which commenced 
in 1788, they suffered many vexations, and were obliged to per- 
form military services of a severe nature. 

By the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, the United States obtained 
six miles square at the mouth of Chicago river ;«the same quantity 
at the junction of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's; one half of this 
extent at the head of the Little river branch of the Wabash, eight 
miles southwest of Fort Wayne ; and six miles square at the Weeaw 
town (Ouitanon) on the river Wabash; other cessions were at the 
same time made without the limits of this state. For all which, 
the Pottawatamies were to receive, for their share of recompense, 
goods to the amount of 1,000 dollars; and the Kickapoos, Pian- 
kashaws, Weaws, and Elk river tribes, 500 each. In 1804, the 
Delawares and Piankashaws sold a large tract bordering on the 
Ohio; and, in 1805, another extensive tract was ceded by the 
Miami, Eel river, and Weeaw Indians, which, including a former 
cession around Vincennes in 1794, comprehended a tract of 130 
miles in length, and fifty in breadth, extending from the Ohio river 
to the western limits. Another tract was ceded in 1809, by the 
Delawares, Pottowatamies, Miami, and Eel river tribes, including 
the south-western parts to above the fortieth degree of latitude. 
Notwithstanding these cessions, the contracting Indian partie 

were al\^ 

Wilkinson, who destroyed the principal town of the Shawenese, 

near the mouth of the Tippacanoe, containing 120 houses. They 

ays hostile. In' 1791, they were attacked by General 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

were attacked on the 7th of November 1811, about 100 miles 
above Vincennes, by a detachment of American troops, under Gen- 


eral Harrison, who destroyed the town of their celebrated Prophet. 
In September 1813, four of their towns, at the forks of the Wabash, 
were burnt by the same officer. 



From Narrative of Richard Lee Mason in the Pioneer west 

[1819], pp. 33-39. Published by Chas. Fred 
Heartman, (by permission of the publisher). 

Mason, Richard Lee. 

Dr. Richard Lee Mason, a Marylander, who served with the "White 
Horseman" cavalry in the war of 1812, was awarded a large tract of bounty 
land near Alton, Illinois. In order to locate this, he made a journey from 
Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1819. He traveled through Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Kentucky and Indiana. He was so well pleased with the "promised land" 
of the west that he sent for his family, moved to St. Louis, Mo., and took up 
a medical practice. Dr. Mason was a remarkably intelligent observer, as 
is evidenced by his journals. 

Tuesday, Nov. 3. — Remained in Louisville Monday and part 
of today. Left Aleen's the 2d. Passed through Shipping Port, 
on the bank of the Ohio, two and one-half miles below Louisville. 
A very promising little village. Twelve or thirteen steamboats 
lying at this place aground, owing to the unusual drought. Curi- 
osity induced me to go on board the largest steamboat in the 
world, lying at this place. She is called the United States, and is 
owned by a company of gentlemen. I have taken down her 
dimensions: Length of keel, 165 feet 8 inches; depth of hold, 11 
feet 3 inches; breadth of beam and girder, 56 feet; length on deck, 
176 feet 8 inches; breadth of beam without girder, 37 feet. This 
mammoth boat has eight boilers and elegant accommodations for 
a large number of passengers. Many of the steamships lying at 
this place are built on improved plans and are very handsome. We 
crossed the Ohio at a point where it is three-quarters of a mile 
wide. Passed through New Albany, Ind., a little village inhabited 
by tavern-keepers and mechanics. Traveled to Miller's, a dis- 
tance of six miles over the knobs. Country very much broken. 
Some steep hills and sugar-loaf knobs. The woods being on 
fire, a scene truly sublime presented itself at night. The lands 
indifferent. Weather warm and dry. Passed .many travelers 
bound to the west, and met three or four wagons with families 
returning from the promised land. Slept in a house without glass 
in the windows and no fastenings to the doors. The inhabitants 
imprudent and lazy beyond example. Supped on cabbage, turnips, 
pickles, beets, beefsteak made of pickled beef, rye coffee and sage 
tea. The people of Indiana differ widely from Kentuckians in 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

habits, manners and even dialect. Whilst hospitality, polit 

and good sense charact 

Kentuckians, ignorance, impudence 

d laziness has stamped the Indianians. 
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1819. — Left Miller's tavern at 7 o'clock 

d arrived at Sq 

Chambers' at 6 o'clock, after traveling a 

distance of thirty-six miles. Passed a trifling village, Fredericks 

burg ; 

also Greenville. A poor, barren, deserted country 


ten miles, stony, poor, mountainous and naked. Land a little 

high ch 

Miserable huts, poor accommodations, cabin, taverns, and 
trges. Crossed Blue river. Every man his own hostler 

and steward. Plenty of game — deer, turkey 



generally possess a smaller share of politeness than any met with 


Thursday, Nov. 4. — Left Squire Chambers' (who is only mem- 
ber of the assembly, by the by) at 7 o'clock a. m. Arrived at 
Lewis' at 6 o'clock, a distance of twenty-five miles. Passed a 
little village called Peola. The fact that this part of Indiana 
is a late purchase by the United States, accounts for its towns being 
so inconsiderable and being made up of log houses. The lands 
here are very fertile, the country mountainous and broken. 
Traveled twenty-five miles through woods and passed but four 
houses. With great difficulty obtained water for our horses. In 
the midst of one of those long and thick pieces of woods, we passed 
one of the most miserable huts ever seen — a house built out of 
slabs without a nail ; the pieces merely laid against a log pen such 
as pigs are commonly kept in, a dirt floor, no chimney. Indeed, ~ 
the covering would be a bad one in the heat of summer, and, 
unfortunately, the weather at this time is very severe for the sea- 
son of the year. This small cabin contained a young and inter- 
esting female and her two shivering and almost starving chil- 
dren, all of whom were bareheaded and with their feet bare. There 
was a small bed, one blanket and a few potatoes. One cow and 
one pig (who appeared to share in their misfortunes) completed 
the family, except for the husband, who was absent in search of 
bread. Fortunately for the dear little children, we had in our 
carriage some bread, cheese, toddy, etc., which we divided with 

them with much heartfelt satisfaction. 

In this situation the 

woman was polite, smiled and appeared happy. She gave us water 
to drink, which had been refused to us by persons on the road 
several times during the day. What a lesson for many of the 
unhappy ladies that inhabit large cities, whose husbands are slaves 
to procure all the luxuries of life, a fine house, carpeted floors, 

Richard Lee Mason. 237 

elegant furniture, fine carriages and horses, gay and cheerful com- 
pany, and a smooth brick pavement or marble to walk upon! 
Yet they are too often dissatisfied, and are sighing for that which 
cannot be obtained. Could they but contrast their situation with 


this ragged, suffering and delicate female, they would have just 
cause to be happy, and would be under the strong conviction that 
Providence does not interfere with the common affairs of this life. 
Traveled over excellent lands not taken up which could be 
cleared with very little labor. 

Friday, Nov. 5. — Left Mr. Sears' at 7 o'clock, after having 
slept in a cabin with three wagons. My friend and self treated 
civilly by the family. The house not close enough to keep the 
cats and dogs out. Traveled over an extremely mountainous coun- 
try to White river (east fork), where a town was laid out last May. 
Promising little place. Several houses building together, with the 
industrious appearance of saw and grist mills, give it the appear- 

ance of a place of business. Little town is called Hindoostan 

In this part of the country the woods are large, the hills bold and 
lofty, and there is an abundance of bears, wolves, wildcats, 
panthers, etc. Thousands of acres of land of the first quality are 
unsettled and to be purchased at from $2.50 to $5 an acre. In 
crossing White river we had to descend a very steep precipice 
above the falls, in effecting which my friend, Dr. Hill, who hap- 
pened to be driving our little carriage, was thrown headfore- 
most into the river. Part of our baggage followed him, and the 
carriage was very near upsetting. However, we forded this ele- 
gant stream, which is 200 yards wide, without much difficulty. 
After halting a few minutes on the bank to examine our bruises 
and adjust our baggage, we proceeded on our journey. Traveled a 
distance of eighteen miles to the west branch of White river, which 
we forded without risk, the bottom being hard and rocky. Trav- 
eled over a fertile country four miles to Steenz, making a distance 
of thirty-four miles. At this dirty hovel, with one room and a 
loft, formed by placing boards about three inches apart, ten 
travelers slept. There were thirteen in family, besides two calves, 
making in all, with my friend and self, twenty-three whites, one 

negro and two calves. 

Saturday, Nov. 6.— Supped on pumpkins, cabbages, rye coffee 
without sugar, bones of venison, salted pickles, etc. — all in the 
midst of crying children, dirt, filth and misery. The last enter- 
tainment made the first serious unfavorable impression on my 
mind relative to the west. Traveled six miles to breakfast and to 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


entertain an idea of starving. No water, no food fit to eat, dusty 


roads and constantly enveloped in a cloud of smoke, owing to the 
woods and prairies being on fire for 100 miles. Breakfasted on 
sound provisions for a rarity and felt a little refreshed. This part 
of Indiana is rich and valuable. Corn and oats 50 cents a bushel. 
My good little horse being sick, my usual flow of spirits commenced 
a retreat. However, they were soon rallied again after a few long 
sighs for those that are dear and far from me. Arrived at Vin- 
cennes, on the Wabash, a bold and handsome river, the size of the 
Schuylkill. Vincennes, an ancient town, is small, ugly and meanly 
built, although beautifully situated. Its inhabitants are French, 
Americans, Indians — and, in short, persons from the four corners 
of the earth. Indian mounds or small round hills are common 
in this country. They are believed to be the work of art, and from 
bones and so forth which have been found in them are supposed 
to have been receptacles for the dead, when none but the foot- 
steps of the savage was to be traced in these forests. We are now 
within a few miles of the Shakers and Harmonites, whom we intend 
to visit and give a correct account of. Very much revived this 
day, having lived well. Necessity is often the mother of inven- 
tion. Yolk of egg, flour and water mixed is a good substitute for 
milk, and is often used in coffee in this country. Rye is frequently 
substituted for coffee and sage tea in place of the imperial. 

Sunday, Nov. 7. — Left Vincennes at 7 o'clock. Crossed the 
meandering stream, Wabash, into Illinois. 

From Indiana Gazette, Corydon, March 6, 1819, p. 2 

To the Editors of the Indiana Republican. 

Vernon, Feb. 16, 1819. 

Capt. Campbell and myself have just returned from an excur- 
sion made into the Delaware Lands, and should you consider the 
following sketch worth an insertion in your paper, for the amuse- 
ment of your readers, the information of emigrants, and persons 
wishing to explore these lands, it will gratify some of your readers. 

We travelled the new cut road from this place to Geneva, 
(on Sandy) a new town laid out on the old Indian boundary line, 
about 8 miles from this place in a N. W. direction, we then took a 
new cut road (opened to Flat Rock, sufficient for waggons) which 
bears nearly N. 45 W. The first stream we crossed after leaving 
Persors mill, on Sandy, is called little Sandy; the second, Leather- 
wood; the third Fallen Timber Creek; all appropriate names. 
We next passed a remarkable Beaver dam, in which the ingenuity 
of these animals is wonderfully exhibited. The 4th stream is flat 
creek, the 5th Deer Creek, 6th Crooked creek, all of which streams 
will answer for light machinery, and run to the S. W. the bottom is 
generally gravelly and water very clear. — We next came to a 
stream known by the name of Clifty, sufficient for any kind of 
water works, and about 10 miles distant in the new purchase. I 
think, without exaggeration, that every quarter section 
that may be laid out in this ten miles, will be fit for culti- 
vation and will be settled; the lands are of a black, sandy quality, 
timbered with Black Ash and Beach, principally. The general 
face of that country is rather inclined to a plain, with the hol- 
lows rather wet. The lands on Clifty are very rich and well tim- 
bered on both sides of the stream, with Blue Ash, Walnut, Sugar 
Tree, Honey Locust, Beach, &c. &c. 

After crossing this stream we came to a most beautiful wal- 
nut ridge about 1 and a half miles N. of Clifty. We next crossed 
Middle Creek; then Grassy Creek, then Tough Creek, Stillwater 
and Pleasant Run, all of which are small mill streams, running to 
the S. W. some of which have very muddy bottoms, and lie 
between Clifty and Flat Rock, at the distance of 7 miles; in this 7 
miles the lands are principally very rich and level, the vallies rather 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

wet, timbered principally with Oak, Black Ash, Walnut, Sugar 
Tree, Poplar, Hickory &c. until we came to the lands immediately 
on Flat Rock; these lands exhibit a scenery I never expected to see 
in Indiana; they resembled the rich lands on the two Elk horns in 
Kentucky, for richness and timber, and to appearances abound on 
both sides of the stream, which has a gravel bottom and is about 80 
yards wide. On the north side of the creek we found only one 
stream (Sugar Creek) until we arrived at Driftwood (Blue River) 
about 8 miles in a S. W. direction from where we crossed Flat 
Rock, the lands between these two streams are level and very dry, 
timbered with White Oak, Black Oak, Walnut, Honey Locust, 

* * 

&c, underbrush, spicewood, dogwood and hazel. We found beau- 
tiful, rich and level lands on both sides of Driftwood, and well 
timbered; The river (by counting our horses steps was 180 yards) 
wide where we crossed it. I think there are very few springs in 
this country, but believe water may be had with very little labour. 
To sum up my views on the subject, I am of the opinion that if 
Jefferson county would make a good highway in the direction to 
this place, (individuals of this county have taken measures to 
make a good highway for our country without delay, suited to the 
direction, and Madison) that Madison would be the key on the 
Ohio river to one of the best tracts of country I have ever seen in 
this state, and a delay will speedily bring forward some other 
point, as the country is now settled. We met two families and 
teams on the road to this Eden. 

Yours, With esteem, 

John Vawter 

From Indiana Gazette, Corydon, March 2, 1820, pp. 1-2. 

Letter from Capt. James Riley, to the Editor of the 

Philadelihia Union. 

Fort Wayne, Indiana, November 24, 1819. 

Having concluded my surveys for thia season, and wish- 
ing to view the country between St. Mary's and Miami Rivers, to 
examine for myself the practicability of so uniting the Wabash 
with the Miami as to render intercourse by water safe and easy 
between the Ohio and Lake Erie, through the channel, &c. &c; 
I set out yesterday, from Shane's Crossing, on the St. Mary's, 
and travelling thro' a district of good land, on or near the right 
bank of that river, forty miles, reached this place early in the 
evening; and early this morning I set off to look at the junction of 
the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's which forms the Miami river. 

The St. Joseph's river rising in Michigan territory, runs south- 
westerly about 200 miles, receiving in its course several tributary 
streams; and the St. Mary's rising in Shelby county, Ohio, runs 
northwesterly more than 200 miles, including its meanderings 
when forming a junction nearly from opposite points, the river 
turns suddenly south and assumes the name of Miami of the 
Lakes, or as pronounced by the French Maume; then turning 
gradually round again, these congregated waters flow off in a 
northeast direction about 200 miles, following the course of the 
river to the southwest end of Lake Erie. 

Fort Wayne stands on a bluff just below the junction and on 
the right bank of the Miami; its situation is admirable, chosen by 
a general in whom were united the greatest personal courage and 
intrepidity; and the most consumate prudence and skill in con- 
ducting and supporting an army. Amidst forests and morasses, 
separated from the inhabited parts of the country by a dreary 
and extensive wilderness; surrounded on all sides by hosts of sav- 
age enemies, flushed by a recent and great victory, over the unfor- 
tunate Gen. St. Clair. 


The gigantic mind of General Wayne, created resources, as he 

went along, baffling the skill and 
astonishing industry and activity. 

unning of his enemy, with 
He cut roads and marched 

his troops to the important points which he seized. With an unerr- 
ing military eye, and profound judgment, he selected and fortified 

T— 16 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

such posts, and such only as would inevitably secure his conquests, 
and afford the most sure protection to his army and our exten- 
sive frontier settlements. At every step in this country, every 
unprejudiced mind, will more and more admire the movements 


and achievements of the army conducted by this veteran, and 
truly wise and great General. 

By occupying Fort Wayne, the communication between Lake 
Erie and the Ohio through the channel of the Maume and the 
Wabash, (which is the shortest and most direct water route from 
Buffalo to the Mississippi river) was cut off or completely com- 


The Wabash River, which rises in Ohio, runs north past Fort 
Recovery, enters Indiana, about 10 miles from that post, and con- 
tinuing its course northwestwardly, approaches Fort Wayne 
within 18 miles, when it turns more to the southwest, running 
diagonally across the state of Indiana, and receiving in its course 
numerous important tributary streams, until it reaches the line 
that separates Indiana from Illinois, in lat. 40; thence meander- 
ing into Illinois and back into Indiana in a southerly direction, dis- 
charges its waters into the Ohio river. 

The Little Wabash rises in an elevated swamp prairie, 6 miles 
south of Fort Wayne, and joins the Wabash 18 miles from thence 
— thus in high stages of the water a portage of only six miles, car- 
ries merchandize from the head of the Maume, into the navigable 
waters of the Wabash, and vice versa; from whence floating with 
the current, it may either supply the interior wants of the coun- 
try, or proceed to New Orleans or Lake Erie. 

Through a part of the above mentioned swamp, which is very 
extensive, a canal might very easily be cut, six miles long, unit- 
ing the Wabash to the St. Mary's a little above its junction; and 
from what I saw and learned from others, it is my opinion that the 
swamp might afford water sufficient for purposes of canal naviga- 

By the treatise of 1817 and '18 (mentioned in a former letter) 
lands in the state of Indiana, to the amount of from four to six 
millions of acres (lying principally on the left bank of the Wabash, 
and extending from the new line N. W. of Wayne, and South 
and West to former purchases) were ceded to the U. States. 

These lands are charmingly situated in point of climate; their 
soil is mostly of the very first quality — the country is well watered 
and well timbered, and lying on and near the Wabash, enjoys 
immense advantages. Emigrants from the Northern and Eastern 

Corydon, Indiana, Gazette. 


states, to this section of the country, as well as the new purchase in 
Ohio; will find it to be their interest and their comfort too, to go 
to Buffalo, and up the lake to Fort Meigs, 28 miles within the 
Maume Bay, and from thence up that river to the mouth of the 
Auglaze or Fort Wayne, and so on to their place of destination. 
Early in the spring of the year is the best time for emigration that 
way, as the streams are then full, and they will find an easy and 
sure navigation, even in its present unimpared state. 

The country around Fort Wayne is very fertile; the situation 
is commanding and healthy, and here will rise a town of great 
importance, which must become an immense depot. 

The Fort is now only a small stockade; no troops are stationed 
here and less than thirty dwelling houses, occupied by French and 
American families, form the whole settlement, but as soon as the 
land shall be surveyed and offered for sale, inhabitants will pour 


from all quarters into this future thoroughfare, between New 
York and the Mississippi, Missouri, &c. &c. 

The unlooked for progress of that stupendous work, the New 
York Grand Canal, a work of the most momentous consequences 
to the people of the western country, and to the Union of the 
United States, whereby the countries bordering on the Lakes are 
to be bound by the strongest of all ties, interest, to the Atlantic 
states, electrifies the citizens of this country, who now behold 
themselves transported, as it were, with their rich possessions near 
the ocean, and already bless its proprietors and supporters. 


From An historical, topographical and descriptive view 


United States 

America, and 

upper and 

lower Canada, by E. Mackenzie [1820], pp. 208 


Mackenzie, Eneas. 

Unlike most of the other accounts, this work of Mr. Mackenzie's makes 
no attempt to force his own personal observations upon the reader, but 
simply presents in a well organized manner, the best historical and descrip- 
tive material that could be found concerning the New World. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie was by training a journalist and an historian. He had produced a 
history of Egypt; a history of Northumberland; a modern Geography, etc., 
and was in position to readily judge the value of authentic material. His 
work abounds with numerous letters written by people who were residents of 
America or who had visited here. These views are arranged in an interesting 
style, and the seven hundred and more pages contain one of the best accounts 
published during the first quarter of the last century. 


Situation and Extent. Indiana is situated between north lat. 
37 deg. 47 min. and 41 deg. 50 min., and west long. 7 deg. 40 
min. and 10 deg. 45 min. Its greatest length is 284 miles, and its 
breadth 155. Its area is 38,000 square miles, or 24,320,000 

Natural Geography. — The face of the country is hilly, not 
mountainous; and the scenery is said to be rich and variegated, 
abounding with plains and large prairies. 

The principal river is the Wabash, which is said to be a 
beautiful stream, 280 yards broad at its outlet, and navigable 
upwards of 220 miles. It rises near the boundary line between 
the state of Ohio and Indiana, about 100 miles from lake Erie, 
where there is a portage of only eight miles between it and the 
Miami of the lakes. Its course is nearly south-west, and the dis- 


tance it runs, including its windings, is not less than 500 miles. A 
great many tributary streams flow into it. the chief of which is 
White river, upwards of 200 miles long. Tippacanoe river, near 
which are the largest settlements of Indians in the territory, falls 
into the Wabash; and it is near the outlet of that river where the 
Prophet is at present collecting his forces. 

The soil is said to be generally rich^and fertile. The climate is 
delightful, except in the neighbourhood of marshes, chiefly con- 
fined to the lower parts of the territory. 


Eneas Mackenzie. 


The settlements commenced about 22 

23 years ago, and 

have made considerable progress, though they have been retarded 
by the settlement of the fertile and beautiful state of Ohio, which 
is situated between this and the old states. The greater part of 
•the territory is yet subject to Indian claims. Where they have 
been extinguished, and the white settlements have been made, it 
is divided into four counties, and 22 townships, the greater part 
of which are on the Ohio; and some few on the Wabash and White- 
water river. The inhabitants amounted, by the census of 1800, 
to 5,641; they now amount to 86,734, being an increase of 81,093 
in 17 years. 

The agriculture of the territory is nearly the same as that of 
the state of Ohio. Every kind of grain, grass, and fruit comes to 
maturity; and towards the southern part of it considerable crops of 
cotton are raised, though only for domestic use. 

Towns. — The principal town is Vincennes, on the ^Wabash. 
It is an old settlement, and the inhabitants are mostly of French 
extraction; they amounted, by last census, to 670. 

Trade. — As the inhabitants make nearly all their own cloth- 
ing, they have little external trade. What little they have is 
down the river to New Orleans. 

Government. — The constitution or government in this new 
country is similar to that of the other neighbouring states, — excel- 
lent in theory, but too often vile and corrupt in practice. It 
declares, in pompous language, that all men are free; but if their 
skins be black, they are not included in this declaration, slaves 
being necessary for the ease and comfort of the freemen of Indiana. 

We will now proceed to view the Southern States of the Union, 
agreeably to the arrangement we have adopted. 

From Journal of a tour to Fort Wayne and the adjacent 

country, in the year 1821, by the Author. 

Teas, Thomas Scattergood. 

The author of this journal, which has never before been published, was 
born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1796. He was well educated for his day and 
was a German and French scholar. He early developed an inclination to 


see the country and study nature at first hand. In his twentieth year he 
traveled on foot from Philadelphia to the Delaware Water Gap. He con- 
tinued his tramp to New York City, which he describes as vastly inferior to 
Philadelphia in buildings and public spirit in general. 

His next tramp was to Indiana by way of Niagara Falls, and the next 
year he traveled on foot from Philadelphia to Indiana by way of Pittsburgh. 

"Brother Charles" Teas, mentioned at the beginning of this journal, 
lived eight miles north of Richmond, Indiana. 

2nd day 7th month 9th, I sat off from my brother Charles 
completely equipped for a journey in the wilderness, and with 
three day's provisions — crossed the West fork of White-water, 
here about 2 yards wide, and came on 14 miles to the edge of the 
settlement — entered the wilderness at half past 12 o'clock — 
passed several dry channels of creeks, but not one running stream, 
till I reached the Massissiniway river. This stream is about 3 
yards wide here, and very shallow. It flows about West — Soon 
after crossing it, I discovered a clearing, and finding a settler 


there, I put up with him; distance 30 miles — course due North — 
Here I was regaled with cold sour Indian bread and milk. 


10th After passing the principal part of the night in continual 
warfare with myriads of fleas, I was compelled to retreat from the 
field, or rather bed of battle, about two hours before daybreak, 
and got a little sleep in a chair. A little before sunrise it began to 
rain, and continued pouring down till 7 o'clock, when having taken 
breakfast of the same delicate fare which constituted my supper, 
and paying 50 cents for what my host was pleased to call my "enter- 
tainment"; I departed, not much prepossessed in favour of the life 
of a frontier settler. The rain has made it very unpleasant travel- 
ling the soil being very mellow, the mud is ancle deep, and the 
dripping bushes soon wet me above the middle. The musquitoes 
and gnats are as numerous here as along the sea shore, and are very 
troublesome. About 8 'clock the sun shone out — hardly ever more 
welcome to me, arrived at the Wabash at 5 o'clock, P. M. This 
is a beautiful river, about 7 yards wide, flowing W. N. West. 


Thomas Scattergood Teas. 247 

Here I halted to rest, and by sitting in the smoke of a fire which I 
kindled, made out to keep off the musquitoes at the risk of suffo- 
cation. The remains of Indian hunting camps are numerous along 
the road. The principal game that are found here are deer — 
there are also plenty of wolves. Their tracks, and those of deer, 
are every where to be seen in the mud. I have not seen many bear 
tracks. After resting myself, I came on till sunset, and was look- 
ing out for a convenient place to encamp, when I discovered an 
opening ahead, and soon entered on a beautiful prairie, overgrown 
with high grass, and terminating in a thick wood. At the distance 
of about half a mile, I saw a cabin, and on reaching it was received 
with kindness. This prairie is about 40 miles long, and from 
\ to 15 miles wide. Its long grass, waving in the wind, bears 
some resemblance to the waves of the sea in a light breeze. Like 
most other prairies, the water on it is bad, and fevers and agues 
must be the companions of those who settle on it. The man at 
whose house I stopped, has four of his family sick. He dug 


a well 36 feet deep, in hopes of procuring good water, but has failed 
of success. The water is the most curious I ever saw. It is 
of a pale blue colour, strongly impregnated with sulphur, and has 
the smell of burnt gunpowder. He told me that it curdles milk 
almost instantaneously. Course to the Wabash due North, thence 
N. N. West — distance 30 miles. 

11th Came on through a flat level country abounding in hic- 
cory swamps, to the St. Mary's river, where I arrived at five 
o'clock. This is a handsome river, flowing about N. West with a 
slow current — it is about 25 yards wide — the road runs nearly 
parallel with it — three miles farther is the house of Robert Doug- 
lass, where I stopped. Course N. West, distance 15 miles. There 
was formerly an Indian village here — the ruins of 8 of the cabins 
are still visible. Douglas is building a raft of logs, to float down to 
Fort Wayne, and as he will be ready to start tomorrow, I accepted 
his invitation to accompany him. 

12th While we were at breakfast, a Miami Indian and his 
family consisting of his wife and one small child, came to the 
house. They were on their way up the river. Douglas held a 
broken conversation with them in the few words of their language 
he knew. I accosted him in English and French, but he shook 
his head. They breakfasted with us, and after breakfast we all 
went down to the river. The Indian had left his canoe near our 
raft. It was made of hickory bark, stripped from a log in one 
piece, about ten feet long, the ends sewed up with filaments of 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

bark, and the sides stiffened with ribs of wood sewed in the same 
manner. I was told that they would make a canoe in a couple of 


hours. The raft not being entirely finished, we set to work and by 
12 o'clock were ready to get under way. The crew consisted ot 
Douglas, commander, two men, and myself, passenger. We pro- 
ceeded slowly down, the river being low, for about half a mile, 
when Douglas sent the canoe (or long boat,) ahead to reconnoitre 
a ripple which was about half a mile farther, and it returned with a 


report that in consequence of the low stage of water, it would be 
impossible for us to pass it. There being no alternative but to 
wait for a rise of the river, we came too, and secured the raft to the 
shore, much to my satisfaction, as I had anticipated a tedious 
passage — returned to the house, and after taking in a supply of 
jerked venison, I sat off about 2 o'clock. About 6 miles further, I 
passed the remains of a large Indian hunting camp. About sun- 
set, having found a convenient place to encamp, and collected 
materials for my fire, I found that I had lost my tinder box. 
This was a serious loss — for though I had tinder and flints, I 
had no steel; and to lie down without a fire, would have been almost 
certain death on account of the wolves. The only chance of safety 
was to climb a tree. While I was looking for a convenient one, I 
heard the report of a gun at some distance, and soon after, of 2 
more : Supposing it to proceed from a hunting party of Indians, I 
pushed through the woods as rapidly as I could, and in about a 
quarter of a mile came to a clearing. Three or four young men 
(Indians,) were standing near the cabin, talking. As soon as they 
saw me, one of them gave a shout, and went into the cabin. Pres- 
ently after, an elderly man came out, and on my accosting him, 
came to me, and shook hands, which banished the uneasy sensa- 
tions I had felt at first for as I was alone and unarmed, their 
manner had given 

ven me some little alarm, though I still walked 
towards them and endeavored to conceal it. Finding that the 
elderly man spoke very broken English, I accosted him in French, 
which he spoke very fluently. He welcomed me to his house 

with such a friendly air, that I was soon at 

I told him of the 

loss of my tinder box, and the predicament I was in, when I heard 
the firing. He said that it was his young men who had been out 


hunting, and 

gratulated me on the escape I had made 

name is La Fontaine; he is of French descent, and belongs to the 
Miami tribe. He has begun farming on a regular plan, after the 


manner of the whites. He has only been here since the 3rd 
month, and has erected a comfortable log cabin, with a bark c 



Thomas Scattergood Teas. 249 


adjoining, and cleared 6 acres, which is in very fine looking corn 
he has deadened about 30 acres more. His house is pleasantly 
situated on the West bank of the St. Mary's. His family consists 
of his wife, her sister, and a little boy, about 8 years old, whom he 
has adopted, having no children of his own. The young men I 
saw, are hired to assist him in farming. Our supper was served up 
in a curious style. The table was set with a tin bucket of young 
Hyson tea, in which a proper proportion of sugar and milk were 
mixed, a tin basin of fried vension, another of butter, a third of 
wheat cakes, two tin cups, and two knives. My host made an 
apology for the want of forks, that they had not got into the 
way of using them yet. The provisions were excellent. After 
spending a very agreeable evening with him, I retired to sleep, 
on a deer skin, with a blanket covering— distance today 12 miles, 
course N. West. La Fontaine informed me that the Miami 
tribe amounts at present to 1,800 souls, and that their number is 
nearly stationary, there being about the same number killed in 
their drunken quarrels, as are born. Thirty have been killed in 
their quarrels with each other, since the first of the 5th mo. last. 
Their pension is 18,400 dollars, which is equally divided between 
men, women, and children. They receive this annuity at Fort 
Wayne, and but a small part of it is taken from there— the 
principal part being expended for whiskey. The laws of the U. 
S. for preventing the introduction of liquors among the Indians, 
though very severe, are ineffectual. The evidence of an Indian, 
even if they would give it for the detection of smugglers of whiskey, 
will not be taken in law, and the country is as yet such a wilder- 
ness, that the chances of detection are few. A person might remain 
in the woods within five or six miles of Fort Wayne, for a 
year, without being discovered by any white settler. It has been 
the custom of the traders to bring whiskey in kegs and hide it in 
the woods about half a mile from the fort, a short time previous 
to the time of paying the annuity, and when the Indians come to 


the fort, to give information to such of the young men as the trad- 
ers can confide in, that there is whiskey to be had at those places. 
These inform their comrades, and as soon as they receive their 
money, they go off in droves to the places appointed where they 
frequently buy it at two dollars a pint, till their money is gone, and 
then pawn their blankets, guns, bracelets, and other trinkets, till 
they are sometimes reduced to a state of nudity. In this manner 
the unprincipled traders evade the laws with impunity, and render 
all the efforts of the friends of civilization abortive. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

13th After breakfasting with my hospitable host, I took leave of 
him, and proceeded on my journey. Four miles from his house, 
came to that of Rocheville, the principal chief of the Miamis. 
He has a very handsome farm, and lives in quite a genteel style. 
He was gone to Detroit, and neither his wife nor children speak- 
ing any language that I could understand, I made but short 
stay there, passed several Indian cabins, and entered on a large 
prairie which extended as far as I could see, crossed the St. Mary's, 
and soon after arrived at Fort Wayne. Distance 9 miles due West. 
The settlement at this place consisted of about 30 log cabins and 
two tolerably decent frame houses. It is situated on the Miami of 

Lake Er 
which fo 


at the 

ction of the St. Joseph 


Miami. The inhabitants are 

id St. Mary's, 
rly all French 

ans. The fort stands at the lower end of the village, and ii 
composed of hewn log buildings about 35 feet high, and the inter 

vals bet 


filled up with a double row of picket 


feet high. It is about 60 yards squ 

There is no garrison kept 


and the barracks are occupied by the Tnd 

Agent, the 

Baptist missionary, and some private families. There is a school 
for the Indian children in the fort, under the auspices of the Bap- 

tist Society. It is conducted on the Lancast 

ystem; the 

teacher's name is Montgomery. On my arrival, as the school was 

the principal object of 
whose name is McKov. 

curiosity, I waited on the missionary, 
and requested him to accompany me to 
it, which he did; and during my stay in fort Wayne, treated me 
with an attention as unexpected as it was gratifying. There are 

about forty schol 
school is kept, ar 

irs. It is pleasing to see the order in which the 
d the delight that the scholars seem to take in 

their studies. There were two boys of the Pottowattomie tribe, 
who had only been 2 weeks at school, who were spelling in words 
of four letters. As soon as they begin to learn their letters, they 

furnished with a slate 

d form letters on it in imitation of 

printed type. About half the scholars were writing, and many of 
them write a very good hand. Their improvement is such as to 
remove all doubts as to their capacity. After spending a very 
agreeable afternoon here, I returned to the tavern. There are con- 
siderable numbers of Indians here, of the Pottawattomies, Shaw- 
anees, Miami, Utawas, and Delaware tribes. Notwithstanding the 
efforts of the Indian Agent to prevent the traders from selling 
whiskey to them, they still contrive to do it; I have seen as many 
as fifty of them drunk during my short stay here. They assemble 
in groups of ten or twelve, men and women promiscuously, 

Thomas Scattergood Teas. 251 

squat on the ground, and pass the canteen rapidly round, and sing, 
whoop, and halloo, all laughing and talking at once, with the most 
horrible contortions of the countenance; so that they reminded 
me of Milton's demons. It is not uncommon to see them entirely 
naked, except a strip of clothing a foot broad, about their middle. 
This evening six deserters, who had been taken and sent to Green 
Bay, and discharged after serving their time out, arrived here. 
They were miserable looking fellows— One of them came to the 
tavern, and offered to barter a roll of tobacco for whiskey, but was 

refused. They took up their quarters for the night in an empty 

14th Spent the day in rambling through the woods round the 
town. I took care to procure a steel. There is an U. S. reserve 
of six miles square round the town, and the settlers are squatters, 
who pay no tax nor rent, and are liable to be ordered off at a 
minutes' warning. The village before the late war, was much 
larger than it is at present. The Indians destroyed all the houses 
except two which were near the fort, and which were burnt, by 
order of the commandant, to prevent the Indians from setting 
fire to them when the wind should set towards the fort, and burn 
it. Beyond the U. S. reserve, there are a number of reserves belong- 
ing to the Indians. The soil in the whole tract between here and 
Whitewater is very rich, and there is a rank growth of underwood 
ginseng grows in abundance in the woods, and in the bottoms 
along the St. Marys, there is a great deal of sarsaparilla. There 
is much less beech timber here than farther south, and the prin- 
cipal timber is oak, white, black and red, and hiccory — there is no 
poplar, the other woods are the same with those along the 
Ohio, excepting the sycamore, of which I saw none. This part of 
the country possesses great commercial advantages, and when 
it becomes settled, will be a place of great business. The Grand 
Canal from N. York to Buffaloe will open a water course to the 
sea, and it is in contemplation to cut a canal from the St. Joseph's 
to the Little river, a branch of the Wabash; the distance from the 
nearest point of communication, (about i a mile from Fort 
Wayne) is 1\ miles, and the whole distance is through a prairie; 
so that the expense of cutting a canal will be trifling, and then there 
will be a water course either to New York or New Orleans. The 
only disadvantage that I observed in this county, (which, how- 
ever is a great one.) is the scarcity of water. There is not at this 
time, a single running stream between here and the Whitewater, 
except the three rivers I mentioned. This inconvenience, however, 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

will be less felt by those who settle along the rivers. I have never 
known what it was to suffer for water till I took this journey — 
the only water I could get was from waggon ruts which the rain 
had filled, and as it had not rained for several weeks, they were 
mostly dry. This water, where it was exposed to the sun, was gen- 
erally covered with a green scum, and where it was shaded, was 
full of musquitoes — but necessity compelled me to drink it. The 
musquitoes are another great pest. I never saw them thicker 
along the sea shore than they are in the woods; and it is impos- 
sible to stop to rest without kindling a fire, and siiting in the 
smoke of it, at the risk of strangulation. The St. Mary's is 
navigable for perogues about 160 miles from Fort Wayne. The 
Fort is about 15 miles West of the Ohio line, in Randolph County. 
This is a fine country for raising stock. In the river bottoms, the 
grass grows very luxuriant and in the woods, there is an abund- 
ance of herbage of one kind or other, so that cattle will keep 
fat without feeding at home, with what they will find in the woods. 
There are some as fine looking cattle here as I ever saw. 

Sat off for Wapaughkonnetta, came 24 miles in a S. 

eastern course, and finding a settler, stopped at his house. 


came on through a continued region of oak land, thickly wooded, 
to the St. Mary's river — crossed it at Shane's ferry — Anthony 
Shane is an Indian, who keeps a tavern here. He has a fine farm, 
and has laid out a town here, called Shanesville; there are three 
houses built, and one more begun. From here the country is 
settled about six miles. Soon after leaving Shane's, I entered 
on a beautiful prairie, thinly timbered with black and red oak 
which is scattered in groves over its whole extent. It is entirely 
clear of brush or underwood, and covered with long grass. The 
surface is not quite level, but gently undulating; and upon the 
whole it is the most beautiful land I ever saw. It extends from the 
St. Mary's river about ten miles. Came four miles from Shanes- 
ville to the house of — Dennison — distance 20 miles, Course 
S. East. 


Came 3 miles to twelve-mile-creek; crossed 


entered the forest again. The timber here is principally beech — 
missed the Wapaughkonnetta trace, and came to Fort St. Mary's 
at the head of canoe navigation on that river. There has been no 
garrison kept here for several years, and the fort has gone to decay 


— a block house is the principal vestige of it remaining.— 
the fort is the tumulus of an Indian. — A wall is raised with sap- 
lings about 3 feet high, round it, covered with bark. — Crossed 

Thomas Scattergood Teas. 253 


the St. Mary's here, and soon after struck an Indian trail which I 
supposed to lead to Wapaughkonnetta. After travelling along 
it about ten miles came to Pasheta's town, an Indian village of six 
or seven cabins, on the Au Glaize river — found an Indian who 
could speak a little English, and received directions from him for 
Wapaughkonnetta — crossed the Au Glaize, and two miles further 
came in sight of the town. The Indians are thickly settled in this 
part of the country. They are Shawanese — passed 4 more graves, 
covered like the first. Came to the house of Robert Broderick, 
U. States' blacksmith, where I was very hospitably received. The 
Indians here are about 500 in number, and receive 3,000 dollars per 
annum. This year's pension they requested in goods and it was 
accordingly forwarded last week in blankets, calicoes, broad cloths, 
&c. This evening Capt. Logan and his son came to Broderick's 
to have a chain mended. The son whose name is "Walk by the 
side of the Water," is the most perfect model of masculine beauty 
that I ever saw. He was very tastefully dressed in a costume not 
much unlike that of a Scotch Highlander. His father is a fat 
butcher looking man. After they had gone, I remarked to R. 
Broderick, that I thought the young man very beautiful. He 
replied that if I had seen him about three weeks before, with his 
clothes sprinkled with the blood of a man whom he had murdered, 
I might have thought differently. He had been commissioned by 
his father, who is one of the chiefs, to kill an Indian who had 
murdered another a few days before, and he accordingly went in 
quest of him, armed with a long knife. They met in the street, 
and "Walk" &c. informed the culprit that he was come to kill 
him; a piece of information which was in no wise agreeable to him. 
He attempted to make his escape, but the executioner soon over- 
took him and stabbed him in the neck, he fell, and was soon dis- 
patched. Walk then came to Broderick's and shewed him the 
knife which was dripping with blood, gave him a full account of 
the murder with as much apparent concern as though he had been 
killing a cat. Distance today 27 miles. Course S. E. to Fort 
St. Mary's, thence due East. 18th Took a walk through the town. 
It is a tolerably large one, extending nearly a mile scattering. 
There are several French traders here. The society of Friends 


have erected a grist and saw mill on the Au Glaize at this place, 
and employ a person to attend them. A school is to be opened in 
the 9th month next. Just as we were sitting down to break- 
fast, a company of surveyors, accompanied by General Beasley 
arrived. They took breakfast with us, and after breakfast, I 

254 Early Travels in Indiana. 

took leave of Brodericks, and returned to Fort St. Mary's, and 
thence to Dennisons. 27 miles. 19th. Came to Shanesville. 
Captain Shane shewed me a plot of the town. It is handsomely 
laid out, the streets six perches wide crossing each other at right 
angles, and intersected with alleys two perches wide. The lots on 
Main and Market Streets sell for 60 dollars. They are a quarter 
of an acre each. He also shewed me a copy of an act of Congress, 
granting him half a section of land (where he is settled), in con- 
sideration of his 'Valuable and honorable services during the late 


war." He commanded a company of Shawanese. 

From here I took a blazed path, leading to Captain Riley's, 
but it being a new one, and but little travelled, I soon lost it, and 
concluded to follow the course of the river — a determination I 
soon had ample cause to repent — The river bottoms in general 
were from one to three hundred yards wide, and covered with 
grass from five to eight feet high, and so matted together, that 
it was extremely difficult to force my way through it. On the 
high grounds back of the river, the nettles grew about as high 
as my shoulders, and stung me almost beyond the power of 
endurance; and where there was no room for nettles, the vines and 
prickly bushes formed a thicket that at any other time I would 
have thought impenetrable. In order to get along here, I had to 
crawl on my hands and knees, and fairly push myself through them 
till wearied out with this way of getting along at the rate of a 
quarter of a mile per hour, I took to the river, and waded along 
its banks till they became so steep that the water came up to my 
armpits, and then took to the long grass, the nettles and thickets 
again. — Soon after, I crossed a fallen tree that I recollected having 
crossed about an hour before. By this time, I had wandered in so 
many different directions, that I was completely bewildered. 
The sun was about an hour high, and appeared to be in the east. 
I corrected that error with my compass, but owing to the diffi- 
culties of the ground, I could not carry it in my hand, and at last I 
could not tell when I saw the river, whether I was ascending or 
descending its banks. I now began to entertain serious fears of 
not being able to reach any house, and the alternative was, to 
perish in this execrable wilderness, as I had no provisions, nor 
any means of procuring them. The only living animals I saw, 
were deer, which were numerous in the long grass. — About sun- 
set, as I was looking out for a place to encamp, being almost 
worn down with fatigue, and bleeding with scratches from the 
briers, I discovered the path! None but those who have been in a 

Thomas Scattergood Teas. 



similar condition can form an idea of the joy I felt at being thus 
rescued from the most horrible death. As I knew that it would 
soon be too dark to see the path, I forgot my weariness, and pushed 
on as rapidly as the faintness of the tracks would allow, and after 
going about 2| miles, saw Captain Riley's clearing, and a little 
after dusk arrived at his house. He received me very kindly, and 
when I told him the course I had come, he expressed great sur- 
prise that I should have reached his house at all — distance today 
18 miles. — Course North, South, East, and West. Spent a very 
agreeable evening with the Captain and his family. 20th. After 
breakfast we sat off and came along as dim a road as the one I lost 
yesterday, but having had good cause to take more heed to my 
steps, I made out to keep it for about 8 miles, when I arrived at 
the house of Thomas Robinson, on the Wabash prairie. Course 
S. S. West. Here I struck the Richmond road, came about nine 
miles below the Wabash, and encamped — distance 25 miles. 21st. 
Came to the Massissiniway at ten o'clock. A few miles below, took 
Connor's trace (an Indian trader) by mistake, and came on 6 miles 
before I had discovered my error; but as .the trace bore about S. 
S. W. I concluded to go on. This road leads to Greenville. 
reached a settlement before dark — distance 30 miles.— 



Came on about 30 miles, and arrived at my brother Charles' 
at 4 o'clock P. M. and thus ended my journey, having travelled 
287 miles — and occupied two weeks very agreeably — 
And so my paper being also nearly expended, 
The account of my adventures shall be ended. 


From Memoirs 


William Forster, edited by Benjamin 



Forster, William. 

William Forster, a minister of the Society of Friends in England was 
born in 1784. He was recognized as a minister in 1805. He was a helper of 
Elizabeth Fry in her philanthropic work. In 1820 he was induced to under- 
take a mission to the United States in behalf of the Society of Friends in 
America. He spent five years in America traveling in New England, Canada, 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana 
and Illinois. In 1821-1822 he spent several months in Indiana, chiefly among 
Friends in the newly settled districts. 

He came to the United States again in 1853 in the interests of the anti- 
slavery movement and presented an address to the President of the United 
States and to the governors of a number of the States. He died in Tennessee 
in 1854 while on this mission. 

11th mo. 29th \1821\ At Lewis's Tavern, Shelby Raven, Indiana. 
. . . This backwoods tavern consists of two log-houses, with a cov- 
ered passage between them; each perhaps from fifteen to twenty 
feet square; the largest is our landlord's dwelling house for him- 

self, his wife 

d six children. How they disp 

of several 


ne. The 

others members of the family it is difficult to imagine, 
apartment which we inhabit just holds four beds; one of them is 
alloted to John and me; our companion and four other travel- 
lers will, I suppose, divide the other three between them. It is a 
most thoroughly disagreeable way of life. Our worthy host is a 
man of good understanding and established respectability, from 


We were at their meeting yesterday, to which I found 

they had invited several of their neighbors. After a time of deep 

dwelling before the Lord, I was 

ged in consolation and 


invitation and counsel, to my own confirmation. I suppose the 
meeting does not consist of less than sixty or seventy families. 
We have now a long formidable journey on prospect, forty-six 
miles to Vincennes. 




County. — Instead of the 


cabin and noisy family of last night, we have a snug chamber to 
ourselves, a nice glowing hearth, and a neat chamber. We came 
eight miles to a late breakfast in Hindostan, a newly begun town 
of about twenty houses. Our road, so far, like that we travelled 
yesterday, was hilly, and the country but thinly inhabited. We 
ferried the river, which we were told is 400 yards in width; and, 



William Forster. 257 


after ascending a hill, had a fine level road through a country 
comparatively open, and in some places wholly clear of large 
timber. We found the settlements much more numerous, and at 


intervals finely cultivated farms. 

12th mo. 2nd. Vincennes. — We did not see our host till this 
morning. Por man! his history touched me; his wife died about 
four years ago, and has left him with ten children. Proprietor of 
800 acres of land in that fine country, some of his children are 
covered with rags just hung over their shoulders, forming a spec- 
tacle that would have excited our compassion for the children of 
the poorest beggar at our door. 

There is a great deal of travelling on the road. Some going out 
to Illinois and Missouri; and nearly as many returning to their 
former residences, discouraged by sickness, or disappointed in not 
finding the Elysium they had been seeking. 

We appointed a meeting for the evening at the Court-house. 
On going to it, we found a considerable number of people assem- 
bled, who appeared very unsettled. I strove to be quiet, and, a 
small opening to service presenting, I rose with the tide, and 
was borne along on a gentle current of heavenly love, speaking of 
Christ and his salvation, warning and inviting the people, and, 
comforting the' oppressed and penitent sinner with the hope of 
mercy and deliverance. I was afterwards engaged in prayer and 
intercession for the sincere and seeking believers, for the wordly 
and carnally minded, and the negligent and indifferent, and for 
the people at large in this place, that they might be turned from 
their iniquity, and seek to serve- and fear the Lord. 

The town is not so large, nor the houses so good, as some we 
have seen in the Western country. It was originally built and 
settled by a colony of French emigrants from Canada, above 100 
years ago; and was, I suppose, one of the principal outposts on 
this side of the mountains for trading with the Indians. Lat- 
terly a number of Americans settled in among them; they have no 
place for worship but a Popish chapel; but the Methodists and 
Presbyterians occasionally use the Court-house for their meet- 

The town stands on a large flat or sandy plain, which 


appears by nature uncongenial to the growth of timber. . 

. . .1 am sorry to say there are many slaves in the town — I 
suppose mostly such as were held under the territorial govern- 
ment; but the State Legislature had made provision for their 
freedom. We hear sad stories of kidnapping. I wish some active 
benevolent people could induce every person of colour to remove 

T— 17 

258 Early Travels in Indiana. 

away form the river, as it gives wicked, unprincipled wretches the 
opportunity to get them into a boat, and carry them off to Orleans 
or Missouri, where they still fetch a high price. I have been 
pleading hard with a black man and his wife to get off for some 
settlement of Friends, with their five children; and I hope they will 
go. I hardly know anything that would make me more desperat 
than to be in the way of this abominable system of kidnapping; 
I cannot say, when once set on to rescue a poor creature, where I 
would stop. It is most shocking to think that they will betray ono 
another, and sometimes the black women are the deepest in these 
schemes. A poor man told us that he never went to bed without 
having his arms in readiness for defence. 

5th. Harmony, Posey County. — Believing I could not peacefully 
relinquish the prospect of visiting our friends to the west of the 
Wabash, we pursued our journey to the southward. Yesterday 
afternoon we had a meeting at the house of a widow Friend, in a 
little colony of emigrants from New York; some of them Friends, 
others more or less remotely connected with the Society. 

After a wilderness journey, we arrived here just as the town 
clock struck five. This is an interesting village, a settlement of 
Germans who came into America upwards of sixteen years ago. 
They established themselves in the first instance On the waters of 
the Big Beaver, in Pennsylvania, and removed to this place about 


'seven years ago. They have a fine estate of 25,000 acres — 3,000 
cleared and fenced, and from what we saw it was in a state of good 
cultivation. The village contains about 700 inhabitants; they 
appear an orderly, industrious, and sober people. There are some 
handsome brick dwellings and large wood houses in the village, a 
neat place of worship, and a commodious inn. It is difficult to 
form any correct opinion of the people on such very slight acquaint- 

i ' 

ance, especially such as speak a strange language; but it is not too 
much to say there is nothing prepossessing in their appearance. 
It has to me more the appearance of a community devoted to 
temporal aggrandizement than to religious attainment. Their 
industry, neatness, and order, and especially their cleanliness, are 
great. It is difficult to ascertain their religious principles. They 
object to oaths and war, but are in the practice of paying a fine in 
lieu of personal service; community of goods and implicit submis- 
sion to their elder or headman are enjoined. 

Having crossed over into the State of Illinois, he continues his narrative. 


i ■ • 

6th. Albion. — We were ferried over the Wabash, about a quarter 

William Forster. 259 

of a mile in width, by a man and two boys. I pleased myself with 
giving each of the lads a New Testament, and the poor man appear- 
ing anxious to posses the same treasure I did not hesitate to grat- 
ify him. The poor fellow, in the aboundings of his gratitude, 
offered to return the ferriage, which of course I did not accept. 
Our road was for the first few miles through a very extensive cane 
break. After traversing a more hospitable region, we came across 
two or three large prairies. Having been shut up in the woods 
for such a length of time, it was gratifying beyond description to 
enjoy the extent of prospect. We were heartily welcomed by the 
landlady at Albion, who turned out to be our cousin Morris Birk- 
beck's old servant. 

Keeping near the Wabash they pursued their journey in Illinois to the 

north . 

. We got off early in the afternoon, and came about sixteen 
miles, most of the way a very lonely road, through a large extent 
of prairie. There being no inn on the road, we found more than 
common difficulty in obtaining accommodation for the night, 
but at length succeeded better than we had hoped for. One of the 
young men had brought home a fine fat buck the day before, 
and we had a nice broiled venison, both for supper and breakfast 
next morning. Our lodging was not quite so agreeable; my com- 
panion and I had a bed below stairs. In the same room was a 
poor woman, confined to her bed by sickness; our landlady was 
her companion for the night; another stranger slept on the floor, 
and our other friends up in the loft. The poor woman was very 
ill in the night, so that we had not a very comfortable time of 
rest. Being brought into feeling for the poor sick woman, I 
mentioned my wish to have the family collected, which was readily 
complied with; and I may confess with thankfulness that the 
opportunity was to my relief and comfort. With the hope of a 
quiet afternoon, and perhaps a meeting in the evening, we set 
off, intending to travel a stage of twelve miles. Instead of find- 
ing the distance to Laurenceville only twelve or fifteen miles, as 
we had been led to expect, from the time spent on the road we 
concluded it could not be less than twenty-one or twenty-two 
miles. When we got there, though the town is laid out for the 
county-seat, we found it so much in its infancy as to contain but 
one tavern, and that, with its rough exterior, affording but little 
hope of comfort. With the expectation of better fare farther on 
the road, we were easily induced to pursue our journey, intending 

260 Early Travels in Indiana. 

to take up with such accommodation as we might meet with on 
the other side of the Embarras, which falls into the Wabash a 
few miles below Vincennes. We met with some detention at the 
ferry; but by the help of a crazy boat, and lazy, awkward ferry- 
men, got safe over. Here we had the vexation to find we had not 
come forward for much better fare; everything was so completely 
miserable, that after a little refreshment, for which we had to 
wait long, we determined to go on a few miles, and trust to the 
hospitality of some of the neighbouring farmers for a night's 
lodging. We found our way by the light of the full moon, to the 
house of a kind-hearted man, from the State of New York, who 
without much hesitation agreed to give us shelter for the night. 
Though lately a magistrate, and holding a large tract of fine land, 
he had but a small cabin; he readily gave us one bed, and made up 
another for our companions, on the floor; and the man and his 
wife and six children divided the other two among themselves. 
This was not very agreeable, but much more tolerable among 
strangers, than in the company of old acquaintance, I pleased 
myself with distributing some of our little store of books among 
their fine family; and with the expression of hearty good-will 
on both sides we took our seats in the waggon, soon after sun- 
rise, and reached the small town of Palestine, situated at the foot 
of La Motte Prairie, about mid-day. I took a short walk into the 
environs of the town: the scenery was novel and very striking; it 
had much the appearance of a large level common or green, of 
several miles in circumference, with settlements about every half- 
mile round the margin; and the adjacent woods, particularly 
towards the Wabash, contain large and very lofty timber, syca- 
more, hackberry, cotton-wood, &c. 

Riding pretty nearly the length of this prairie, we came to 
another interval of wood, and then entered Union Pairie, and 
having a fine level road soon drove to the house of our friend 
Reuben Crow, eighty miles from Albion. After another cold and 
very wakeful night, we parted from our friends at Union, our host 
kindly accompanying us to the Wabash. Before we set off, we 
had an opportunity of retirement in the family; I was much 
engaged both on account of the father and children, and under 
the prevalence of Divine love it was a season of instruction and 
consolation. When we reached the river, we found the ice, 
which I suppose had been formed in the night, floating in large 
sheets. It wore a fearful aspect; and the ferryman not having 
all his men at hand, to reconcile us to the detention of two or three 



William Forster. - 261 

hours, said quite enough to make me think it would be hazard 

but, taking the opportunity when the 


than it had been for some time previous, we got through with 


Having now re-entered the State of Indiana they pursued their course 
small settlement of Friends on the eastern banks of the Wabash 

After two or three hours travelling, we met with a warm 
welcome from our friend Moses Hoggett, at his comfortable habita- 
tion on Honey Creek Prairie. Next day we had a meeting with 
Friends to some satisfaction and relief, and spent the afternoon 
and evening at the house of an agreeable, open-hearted friend 
on the banks of the Wabash. On Sixth-day, we had a bleak cold 
ride, about ten miles higher up the river, to Spring Creek. 

We were guests to our friend Benjamin Bailey, and his worthy 
wife, who had not been previously visited by Friends. I think they 
did their very best to keep us warm; but, the cabin being without a 
window, we were obliged to have the door open for light, and the 
logs not being well plastered, it required some little watchfulness 
to suppress the rising of a murmer. We had a meeting with a few 
Friends in the neighbourhood in the evening, which, though not 
without some unpleasant interruption, was attended with suffi- 
cient feeling to satisfy us that we were pursuing the path of duty; 
and as there is a prospect of more Friends settling in the neigh- 
bourhood, I trust it will not be long before they are encouraged 
to hold a meeting among themselves. We parted from the dear 
friends in much love, early in the forenoon, and drove briskly 
along a fine road to Terre Haute, a small town and county-seat 
recently erected on a high bluff on the left bank of the Wabash. 
I wished to have had a meeting there; but, finding there was no 
suitable accommodation to be obtained, we come on without 
much delay to Moses Hoggett's. It was a fine clear winter's 
evening, and I took a pretty long walk on the prairie, to hunt 
for seeds. I met with many plants I had not seen before; and, had 
I been a few weeks earlier, I suppose I could have had a large col- 
lection of such as would have been very acceptable to many of 
my friends at home; however, I had gathered a few, which I 
intend to send to Philadelphia. These prairies would be a remark- 
ably interesting field of research to some of our English botanists; 
and probably the time is not very distant when many of these 
plants will contribute much to the ornament of some of our gar- 

262 Early Travels in Indiana. 

We were at a meeting again with Friends at Honey Creek, on 
First-day morning, when I was unusually enlarged in exercise for 
their help and preservation. 

About noon, we got to our friend Joshua Dick's, on Turman's 
Creek, and in the evening had a meeting, about one mile distant, 
at Abner Hunt's, where we lodged. It is quite a new settlement of 
Friends, from the upper part of North Carolina; perhaps there 
may be fifty individuals, and it is but lately they have begun to 
hold a meeting. I was given up to labour in word and doctrine, as 
the way might be opened for me; and I trust that to some it was an 
opportunity of instruction, and the renewing of strength; the day 
closed in peace. We had now visited Friends very generally on 
the Wabash; their number is not large, and certainly, as to that 
which constitutes the life and power of religion, the Society must 
be considered to be in a low state. There is no friend acknow- 
ledged as a minister among them; and I had to fear that the dici- 
pline is far from being supported in the authority of Truth, and 


that the attendance of meetings for worship was regarded by many 
Friends with great indifference. 

"Feeling released from apprehension, by which he had been deeply 
exercised," that it might be required of him to extend his travels into the 
State of Missouri, he now proceeded to the "White River Settlement of 
Friends," in southern Indiana. 

On Third-day morning we parted from our kind friend Moses 
Hoggett; we found him a sensible, well-in'formed man, and an 
agreeable companion. He is much interested in the prosperity of 
their rising colony, and has been in the office of a Circuit or Dis- 
trict Judge. We got a tolerably comfortable inn that evening. 
The road being bad and slippery, we did not travel more than seven- 
teen miles in the course of that day. We came to Carlisle next 
morning; and had hoped to have gone immediately to a small 
settlement of Friends, fifteen or twenty miles distant; but we were 
easily turned from our course, on hearing of the improbability of 
our being able to cross the river, as it was supposed to be frozen 
over, and yet not hard enough to bear our waggon. After some 
detention, we changed our course from east to north-east, and 
about three o'clock in the afternoon stopped at the cabin of very 
civil people, new settlers from Kentucky. It was well they did 
not turn us adrift, as we were twenty miles from the next house; 
and the weather being very cold, with a slight covering of snow 
on the ground, it would not have been the most pleasant night to 
have camped out for the first time. The people were very kind, 


William Forster. 263 


and did their best; and we were too grateful for a shelter to mur- 
mur at accommodation to which we could hardly have submitted 
at the beginning of our Western tour. One of their children was 
very sick, and cried most piteously in the night. I endeavoured 
to think of something that might afford the poor child a little 
relief; and the parents were so thankful for a few articles of 
medicine that there was no making them take anything for our 

We had a pretty fair specimen of backwoods travelling the 
next day. The country was thinly wooded, undulating, and beau- 
tifully interspersed with prairies, and in some places the land- 
scape was more picturesque than any I have seen, whilst entirely 
devoid of the aid of art. The prairies had much the appearance of 
large gentlemen's parks, with groups and groves of timber, sit- 
uated as if planted to give the finest effect of scenery. We stopped 
to bait about one o'clock and made ourselves a fire in the woods 
for the first time. We enjoyed our dinner, but the country was 
too much frozen to afford us any water for ourselves or our horses. 
Early in the evening we reached the habitation of one of the most 
* complete backwoodsmen we had met in our travels. He had 

been brought up among Friends in Georgia. He was a bachelor, 
and had his widowed sister and her family living with him. Every- 
thing was rough in the extreme. I had some serious conversa- 
tion with the poor man next morning which I trust was well 
received. We then had five miles to the ferry, which we found had 
been kept open, and the water being low we were soon across, and 
travelling about six miles we reached the house of a Friend lately 
come into the woods. They showed us much kindness, and find- 
ing that if we pursued our journey more than two or three miles 
we could not get to any house that night, we were soon persuaded 
to stay and take up our quarters with them. It was a clean, 
agreeable, and well-ordered family; and, though we were crowded 
together within narrow limits, it was really more of a rest than we 
had met with for several days. We had an early breakfast the 
next morning, and an opportunity of retirement with the family 
to some comfort. They had bought land in the woods, expect- 
ing other Friends would follow them, and that they should have a 
meeting, but, as in some other instances that we met with, had 
been disappointed, and talked of moving. Such instances are 
much calculated to excite one's sympathy. Industrious, upright 
Friends in low circumstances, spending no small portion of their 
little property, and two or three years of the best of their strength, 


264 Early Travels in Indiana. \ 

in settling themselves in a new country, and then when they have 
got a few acres of land under cultivation, and their buildings put 
up, have often to break up their establishment, and move again; 
but even that is far better than bringing up a family secluded 
from good society, and remote from meeting. 

Early in the evening we reached the neighbourhood of Indian- 
creek, where our enjoyments were not superabundant. We had a 
very small meeting the next day; possibly there might be one or two 
to whom it is an opportunity of encouragement, and I thought 
that in great mercy I was permitted some access to the Source 


of good for my own help. Parting from our friends in that set- 
tlement, I believe in true love, we came on four or five miles to the 
house of a man who readily gave us shelter for the night; and it 
was well we had not occasion to ask for more, as the family were 
bare of meat of any description, and were then living on hominy, 
with plenty of fat pork. This was almost the only family we met 
with that was not abounding in the necessaries and ordinary com- 
forts of life. We took to our lodging on the floor with pretty good 
heart; the man and his wife and eight or nine children, and their 
son and his wife, occupying the beds slung around the room. 

On reaching the White River district the narrative proceeds : 

After a journey through a hilly, broken country, we reached 
the habitation of a friend near White River meeting-house. They 
had but a small cabin, open and very cold; and, though they had 
begun a new house, capable of being made a comfortable habita- 
tion, in consequence of the sickness which had been general in 
that neighbourhood last fall, and with which they had been 
affected, they had made but little progress. Our meeting next 
day was to some comfort and relief. In the afternoon our friends 
kindly collected in a pretty strong party, and cut a way for us 
through the ice, about eight inches in thickness, so that we ferried 
over the east branch of White River, perhaps 100 or 150 yards in 
width. Early next morning we found ourselves at the home of our 
friend, Joseph Farlow, near Lick-creek; a meeting is lately settled 
just by his premises, of perhaps twenty-five families. We had a 
religious opportunity with them next forenoon, in which I was 
more enlarged than on some other occasions. That evening we 
visited a friend confined to the house in very great helplessness, 
and on Sixth-day* had a meeting at a Friend's house on Lost 
River. It was small, and not to much relief; but not entirely in 
vain. On Seventh-day was the Monthly Meeting of Lick-creek, a 

William Forster. 265 

large gathering of Friends. I ventured to speak on several sub- 
jects in the meeting for discipline. Friends showed us much love, 
and I trust there was a willingness at least to hear what was com- 
municated. On First-day the meeting was large. I was poorly, 
and brought very low; but, in the riches of condescending mercy 
and goodness, was ultimately enlarged in much love. At the close 
was held their meeting for ministers and elders, which I attended, 
and in which I was not silent. On Second-day we had an agree- 
able ride through the woods to Mount Pleasant. On Third-day we 
were at a small and newly-settled meeting there. 

It was late on Fourth-day when we reached the neighbour- 
hood of Blue River Meeting. Nathan Trueblood gave us a kind 
welcome to his comfortable habitation, and next day accompanied 
us to a small meeting two or three miles from his house. It was an 
opportunity of profitable instruction to me, and possibly might be 
no less so to others. On Fifth-day we were at the week-day meet- 
ing at Blue River, in which I thought I was made sensible of the 
power of divine love, and spoke, I trust, to the encouragement of 
the afflicted, and such as were under depression; afterwards was 
held their Preparative Meeting, and the meeting of ministers and 
elders. In the latter I was much exercised, and ventured on some 
expression. Sixth-day was very cold; we walked to the little 
town of Salem, about two miles distant, where we had a meeting 
in the Court-house. I had gone through much discouragement 
about it; but I sought to be simple and resigned, and to move in 
what I believed to be the leadings of the Spirit. I was favoured to 
feel more relieved than could have been hoped for. Seventh-day 


we attended their Monthly Meeting. I was exercised under a con- 
cern to bring Friends into feeling for themselves and the low state 
of things among them; and in the meeting for discipline I was 
engaged to speak on different subjects. We went home with 
Matthew Coffin, an elderly friend, lately come with his wife and 
daughter from North Carolina. 

I had requested public notice to be given of the meeting on 
First-day morning. It was a large gathering. I was much given 
up to labour honestly and faithfully in the work of the Gospel. I 
was exercised for the awakening of transgressors; and, having 
reason for fear that some of these had taken refuge in unbelief, 
it was no wonder if the terrors of the law, and the invitations of 
the Gospel, should be alike rejected. ... 

Turning now again to the north, they visited the meetings along the 
Driftwood, and then proceeded towards Richmond. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

We parted from our friends at Blue River in much love, and on 
Second-day reached the house of Thomas Newby, near Drift- 
wood Meeting-house, having forded the Muskaketah. After the 
meeting for worship, and their Preparative Meeting on Fourth- 
day, we went home with Jacob Morris and his wife, kind Friends. 
We had an open, heart-tendering opportunity the next morning, 
in which, under the sensible feeling of Divine love, consolation 
and encouragement were offered both to the friends and their 
daughters. Early in the evening we arrived 'at Thomas New- 
some's, near Sandy-creek. There are four or five families in the 
neighbourhood recently emigrated from Carolina. We had a 
meeting with them in the evening, in which a door of utterance 
was opened. We set off soon after breakfast, and pursued our 
journey to a new settler's on the Flat Rock Creek. Being very 
remotely situated from other Friends, we appeared to be wel- 
comed guests, and the dear woman did much to try to make us 
comfortable. They gave us a bed; but our companions, with two 


visitors who came in the course of the evening, had th 

lodging on the floor. It is one of the great inconveniences atten- 
dant on an early settlement in the woods, that they are expected 
to take in all of every class who apply for accommodation. Some 
friends gave us an account of the number that had been housed 
on their cabin floors almost beyond credit. 

On Seventh-day, having parted from our friends in love after a 
religious opportunity, we continued our journey, most of the 
way within sight of the waters of the Flat Rock. Our road was 
very much through the wilderness, sometimes five or six miles, or 
further, without seeing a house;, but, considering that it is but 
about two years since the country was vacated by the Indians 
and offered for public sale, it far exceeded our expectation to find 
it so well inhabited, and in several places much improved, for the 


time they have had it in hand. I believe that nearly the whole of 
the State of Indiana has been purchased from the natives; and 


instead of holding reservations of land in their former territory, as 
in Ohio, New York, &c, with the exception of a few who form a 
small settlement somewhere in the centre of the State, they have 
accepted an annuity from Congress, and gone over the Mississippi. 
I do not pretend to much judgment in such things, but I think I 
have not seen in the course of my travels any country so well 
suited to support a large population as the interior of this State. 
Peach trees grow with astonishing rapidity, bearing fruit in three 
years. In the older settled parts of the country we found some 


William Forster. 267 

good apple orchards; and they give a most tantalizing description 
of the size and richness of their water-melons. The country is 
undulating, with but few large hills, and not much that lies on a 
dead level; they have coals and salt, and iron. 

We dined in the woods by a large fire, and that night were 
well accommodated at the habitation of a wealthv settler of Ger- 


man extraction, who has brought plenty of good things into the 
wilderness, and purchased not less than 1,000 acres of land. He 
was a zealous professor among the Baptists, and would not receive 
any remuneration for my accommodation, which I understand is 


not unfrequently the case with serious persons in America, espe- 
cially when they know the traveller receives no pay for his min- 
istry. It was First-day morning, and no small trial to me to turn 
out with the prospect of spending the day on the road ; but unless 
we had made a halt in the woods — which, considering the weather, 
we could not, I believe, have done to any good purpose — I thought 
the time could not be spent more profitably than in our waggon; 
and having endeavoured to explain to our host the circumstances 
under which we were placed, and represented in pretty strong 
terms to our young friends how great a trial I felt it, my mind 
became more easy, and we had not an unpleasant day. Our lodg- 
ing that night was not the most convenient; but, with our pro- 
vision and many appliances, we did not suffer either for want of 
food or bedding. In the evening I read a few chapters to the family 
which I trust was well received. 

Just about dark the next day we arrived in the neighbour- 
hood of Milford 1 Meeting-house, and were hospitably entertained 
at John Bell's, whose father came from near Cockermouth. A 
meeting was appointed for the following day, and a large number 
attended, Friends and others. On Fourth-day we were at the 
week-day meeting at West Union. In the afternoon we came 
forward to West Grove, 2 and attended their usual week-day meet- 
ing next day. 

We agreed that it might be safe for us to proceed thence direct 
for Richmond. I confess the attraction was very strong in that 
direction, as I was full of hope and expectation that I should find 
letters on my arrival. But there was not a single English letter 
for me. I endeavoured to bear up, but it was a disappointment 
deeply felt. We went that evening to the house of Jesse Williams; 
they were kind friends, and having some understanding of the 

1. Near Miiton, Ind. 

2. Near Centerville, Ind. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

comforts and refinements of civilized life, though for the present 
inhabiting but a poor cabin, we found it a place of true rest. The 
meeting at Chester was large; and, being in good measure enabled 
to cast off the burthen that I believed to have been brought upon 
me, I felt more relieved than at many other times. 

We returned with our friends to their quiet habitation and went 
with them to their meeting at Whitewater, near Richmond on 
First-day morning. This is one of the largest meetings in the 
state, containing, I suppose, not less than 120 or 130 families, 
forty of whom live in Richmond, which is a thriving village, finely 
situated on a high bank above the Whitewater river. Appre- 

hending it might be safest to express a littl 

pecting a right 

cise of the mind on such occasions, I uttered a few sentences 
my heart being made tender before the Lord, I had to rejoic< 

in the grace of 

blessed S 

d for the consolation of 

ir, and was enabled to offer a 
weary and tribulated pilgrims, 

seeking to gather Friends of the humbling power of Christ and the 
experience of his baptism, that thus the will and wisdom of the 
creature might be made to bow in subjection to his Spirit, and 
that he might be prepared individually to become subjects of that 
kingdom which is not of this world. 


the afternoon we went 

with James Pegg to his quiet and peaceful cabin about two miles 
out of town. We spent a pleasant, and I trust not an unprofit- 
able evening together; and on Second-day he accompanied us to a 

meeting appointed for us at Orang 

It was much the exercise 

of my mind that the people might be drawn from outward expecta- 
tions and dependence, to a deep feeling of their own state. 

William Forster then spent some time visiting the numerous meetings 
of Friends in the eastern part of the State of Indiana. 

• • 




From A geographical description of the United States, by 

John Melish [1822], pp. 347-356 



Length 250 

Breadth 145 


36,250 Sq. Miles. 
23,200,000 Acres 



Between 37° 47' and 41° 43' N. 
Between 7° 45' and 11° W. 

Boundaries. — On the north, Lake Erie and Michigan terri- 
tory; east, Ohio; south and south-east, Kentucky; and west, 

Face of the Country. — Indiana is pretty similar to Ohio. The 
country along the Ohio River has the appearance of being hilly 
and broken. In the interior, the country becomes flat, and in some 
places there are wet prairies. The upper country along the Wabash 
is agreeably uneven. Between that river and Lake Michigan, the 
country is mostly level, and abounds in prairies, small lakes, and 

Rivers. — White Water River rises in Randolph county, near 
the head waters of the Wabash, and runs a south and south-east 
course, nearly 100 miles, receiving a number of branches in its 
progress, and falls into Miami River a little above its junction with 
the Ohio. 

The great leading river in this state is the Wabash and its 
waters, but between these and the Ohio there are a number of lesser 
streams, from 30 to 50 miles long, all falling into the Ohio, which 
we shall merely notice as they lie from east to west. They have 
nearly one general character — they rise in the interior of the state, 
they run a southwardly course, they are generally favourable for 

mill seats, and have fertile banks. 

Laughery Creek falls into the river six miles below the outlet 

of Miami River. 

Indian Kentucky Creek, falls into the river a few miles above 


Silver Creek falls in at the Falls of Ohio. 


270 Early Travels in Indiana. 


Indian Creek falls in 12 miles below Cory don, which is situated 
on its east bank. 

Great Blue River falls in at the bend, seven miles below Indian 

Anderson's Creek falls in at Troy. 

Little Pigeon Creek falls in at Cyprus. 

Great Pigeon Creek falls in at Evansville. 

Wabash River is a large stream with numerous branches. 
The highest branch rises in the State of Ohio, and the head waters 
of the Miami and St. Mary's River interlock with it. Thence 
it runs a north-west course of about 60 miles, and receives the 
waters of Eel River from the northeast. Eel River rises near the 
Maumee River, and the streams may be connected by a short 
portage. From Eel River the Wabash runs nearly west about 30 
miles, when the Mississinewa, a large stream from the south- 
east, falls into it. It then makes a bend of 15 miles and receives 
Tippecanoe Creek from the north. 

The river now assumes a general south-west course, which it 


retains to the Ohio, distance above 300 miles. Seventy-five miles 
above the Ohio, it receives the waters of White River and Patoka 
River from the east. 

White River is a large stream, with several branches. The 
west fork rises in the interior of the state, and runs a south-west 
course of more than 140 miles to where it meets the east fork. 
The east fork also rises in the interior of the state, about 40 miles 


south-east of the head of the west fork, and runs first a south, 
and then a west course, part of it very crooked, to the junc- 
tion; the distance being more than 150 miles. In its progress it 
receives the waters of numerous streams, chiefly Muskakituck 


River, Salt Creek, and Indian Creek. From the junction this 
river runs 30 miles nearly a west course, to the. Wabash, into 
which it falls 30 miles below Vincennes. 

Patoka River rises near Fredericksburg and runs a west course 
of 80 miles to the Wabash River, into which it falls, two miles 
below White River. 

The Wabash is navigable for large keel boats to Ouitanon, 
where there are rapids. Above Ouitanon it is navigable in all 
the branches nearly to their sources. Above Vincennes the cur- 
rent is generally gentle, below these are several rapids, but not of 
sufficient magnitude to prevent the navigation. 

St. Joseph's River, of Lake Michigan, rises in this state, near the 
Wabash, and runs N. W. to the lake: and Theakike River, a branch 



John Melish. 


of the Illinois, rises near St. Joseph's River. As the country has 
not been surveyed in this quarter, these streams are at present 

Geological Formation. — The geological formation of this state 
is wholly secondary, and its general elevation nearly the same as 
the state of Ohio. The elevation of Lake Michigan, in the N. W. 
corner, has been ascertained to be 589 feet. The S. E. corner is 
about 450, and the south-west about 330. The head waters of the 
Wabash are probably at an elevation of about 650 feet above the 
level of the dea. 

Soil and Natural Productions. — Nearly the same as Ohio, but 
the southern part, being in a warmer latitude, is more favourable 
to such vegetable substance as require warmth. Vineyards have 
come to maturity at Vevay, and the grape flourishes when cul- 
tivated in all the lower part of the state. Cotton can also be raised. 

Minerals and Mineral Waters. — Coal, iron, and salt are the 
chief minerals, and they are found in plenty. There is a medicinal 
spring near the falls of Ohio, which is strongly impregnated with 
sulphur and iron. 

Climate. — Nearly the same as Ohio, except the southern part, 
which is a little warmer. At Jeffersonville, above the falls of Ohio, 
the mean heat of January was 47°, of July 80°, of December 37°; 


and of the whole year 60° 3'. 

Historical View. — The general history of this part of the North 
West Territory of the United States is included in the article on 
Ohio, except as to a few local circumstances. About the year 1690 
the French traders first visited this territory, and about the year 
1702 they descended the .Wabash, and established posts along its 
banks, the chief settlement being Vincennes. The settlers here 
were for a long time insulated from the rest of the world, and 
became gradually assimilated with the Indians, with whom they 
intermarried. In the revolutionary war they joined the cause of 
the United States; and at the peace they were confirmed in their 
possessions, and a tract of land around Vincennes was given to 
them by the United States government. After the peace the inhab- 
itants suffered severely from the Indians, but peace was restored 


by the treaty of Greenville. Considerable purchases were made 
from the Indians up to 1811, but they still retained their power, 
and committed great depredations upon the people, in consequence 
of which a considerable force was sent against them, and being 
defeated in the close of that year, they sued for peace. Dur- 
ing the late war with England, the Indians were again induced to 

renew hostilities, but were defeated at all points, and since the 





Early Travels in Indiana. 

peace they have been very quiet, and have ceded the greater 
part of their lands to the United States. , , . . , 

In the year 1801, Indiana was erected into a territorial 
government. In 1815 the inhabitants petitioned Congress to 
be admitted into the Union, which being granted, a state -con- 
stitution was formed in 1816; and in the same year Indiana became 

a state. • ; 

Population. — In 1800 the population of Indiana was only 

5,641. In 1810 it was 24,520; in 1815, 68,784; and in 1820 it was 
147,178, situated as in the following: 




Clark 8,571 

Crawford 2 

Davies 3 

Dearborn 11 

Delaware 3 

Dubois 1 

Fayette 5 



Franklin 10 

Gibson 3 



Jackson 3 

Jefferson . 
Jennings . 
Knox. . . . 
Martin . . 


Monroe 2 


Orange 5 








Sullivan 3 

Switzerland 3 

Perry .... 


Posey. . . . 
Ripley . . . 


Spencer . . 







Washington 8 

Wayne 12 















Free Blacks. 


















































11 = 




1 ] 


5 ; 


2 : 









4 : 








4 ; 







5 ; 






4 ; 
















3 ; 



1 ; 




12 , 


147 , 


John Melish. 

f ■ 




Agriculture and Produce. — This being a new country, the chief 
employment is agriculture, and great improvements have been 
made in that branch. The soil and climate are both favourable, 
and the products are valuable and abundant. Wheat, Indian 
corn, oats, and rye, all nourish. Flax and hemp are cultivated. 
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables, are successfully 
raised. Cotton is cultivated in the lower part of the state, and 
vine dressing is brought to maturity. The number of persons 
employed in agriculture by the census of 1820 is 61,315. 

Manufactures and Commerce. — The country is too new to have 
many manufacturing establishments upon a large scale, but they 
have been introduced, and are increasing. The Harmonist Society, 
who were originally settled in the state of Pennsylvania, have 
removed into this state, and settled on a portion of the land on the 
east side of the Wabash, which they have cultivated like a garden; 
and they have engaged largely in manufactures. This extraordi- 
nary society are about 800 in number, and hold all their property 
in common. They have regular office-bearers to conduct all the 
different branches of business carried on in the establishment, 
agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; and acting under a judi- 
cious and enlightened system, they have found manufacturing 
industry to be the most valuable part of their operations. It 
employs the greatest number of hands; it is most aided by machin- 
ery; and is more productive than any other. Settlers in the new 
countries would do well to take a lesson from this extraordinary 
people, who, in consequence of their simple but efficacious arrange- 
ments, good conduct, and industry, and by being independent 

mulated more wealth, and probably experience more peace and 
happiness than any other 800 people, taken promiscuously, on the 

face of the earth. 

When the census of 1810 was taken, Indiana was quite a new 
country, and the manufacturers were few, the amount being 
estimated at only $197,000. They have since greatly increased, 
and the number of persons employed in them is 3,229. 

The principal commerce of Indiana centres at Vincennes and 
the falls of Ohio. The state exports wheat, grain, provisions, and 
tobacco, and imports groceries and dry goods. The number of 
persons employed in commerce is 429. 

Chief Towns.— Cory don, situated on Pigeon Creek, 22 miles 
west from the falls of Ohio, is to be the seat of government until 
the year 1825. After which the government will be transferred to 

T— 18 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 


Indianapolis, which has been recently laid out on the west fork 
of White River, near the central part of the state. 

Vincennes is situated on the east bank of the Wabash, about 100 
miles from its outlet, and is the largest town in the state, and a 


place of considerable trade. i 

The census does not give the population 

)f any of the 

Indiana, and we shall theref 

merely notice them as they are 

situated on the respective waters, remarking that some of them are 

On the Ohio and its waters. Lawrenceburg , at the outlet of the 
Miami; Vevay, the Swiss settlement; Madison, laid out in 1811, 
and now the second town in the state, in point of extent. Charles- 
ton, situated two miles west from the river, is the capital of Clark 
county. Jejfersonville is situated above the falls of Ohio, and is 
the seat of a land office. New Albany is below the falls, opposite 
to Shippingport. Fredonia is at the outlet of Big Blue River. 

Washington is opposite to Stephensport, in Kentucky. 


is situated at the outlet of Anderson's Creek. Rockport is the cap- 
ital of Spencer county, 16 miles below Troy. Evansville is situated 
on a bend of the river, at the outlet of Great Pigeon Creek, and 
here there is a road leading from the river to Princeton, and 
another to Harmony. 

Towns on White Water River and its branches, Jackson- 
borough, Centerville, Salisbury, Richmond, C onner sville , and 

On Laughery Creek. Ripley, Hartford, and Wilmington. 

On Big Blue River. Salem, and Fredericksburg. 

On Patoka Creek. Columbia, and Princeton. Princeton is a 
considerable thoroughfare, and place of some business. 

On White River and its waters. Vernon, Browntown, Palestine, 
Hindostan, Greenwich, Orleans, Paoli, Washington, Petersburg, 
Russelville, and Bloomington. 

On Wabash, Prophet's town, Clinton, Terre Haute, Miriam, and 

Harmony is situated on the east side of the Wabash, 50 miles 
above its outlet, and is the seat of the Harmonist Society before 
mentioned. The country here is very rich, it is easy to raise all 
the necessaries of life, and by vesting surplus labour in manufac- 
tured articles, an industrious community must become wealthy 
and comfortable. 


Roads, Canals, and Improvements. — The same regulation exists 

here as in Ohio as to the support of roads. Several roads have 



John Melish. 



been made through the state, but they are indifferent. The 
national road, if extended, will pass through the central part of 
this state, in a southwest direction, probably touching at Indianap- 
olis, and passing into the state of Illinois south of Terre Haute. 
It has been proposed to connect the navigation of the Wabash 
with St. Mary's River, a branch of the Maumee, and in a law of 
congress, appropriating a portion of the public lands for internal 
improvements, 100,000 acres were assigned to forward that 
object. It has also been proposed to make a canal round the falls 
of Ohio at Jeffersonville. 

Government and Laws. — The constitution of Indiana was 
adopted in 1816, and is Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. The 
Legislative branch consists of a Senate and House of Represen- 
tatives. The senators are elected for three years, and must be 25 
years of age; the representatives must be 21 years of age, and are 
elected annually. The legislature meet on the first Monday of 
December. The Executive is vested in a Governor and Lieutenant 
Governor, who are elected for three years, and are eligible six out 
of nine years. The Judiciary is composed of a supreme court and 

circuit courts. The judges of the supreme court are appointed by 
the governor for three years, and have appellate jurisdiction. 
The circuit courts are to be held in each county by one judge and 
two associates; the former to be appointed by the legislature for 
seven years, and the latter for the same period by the people. 
The elective franchise is vested in all free white males, of 21 years 
and upwards, who are citizens of the United States. 

Education and Manners. — When Indiana was admitted into 
the union, the same law extended to it as to Ohio, regarding the 
support of schools; and an entire township consisting of 23,040 
acres of land was appropriated for the support of a college, which 
is fixed at Vincennes. .The manners of the people are pretty 
similar to those of Ohio. 

From An Excursion through the United States and Canada, 

1822-23, by an English gentleman, (Capt. Blaney) 
[1824], pp. 139-156, 243-253. 

Blaney, William Newnham. 

Captain Blaney, after having spent several years in traveling throughout 
the continent of Europe, decided to make a tour of the United States. He 
left England in the summer of 1822, landed in New York made his way to 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and then across the mountains into the Ohio valley. 
His stay in Indiana, although limited, was attended by some very marked 
observations. They have the ring of candor and genuineness in them not 
found in the average narrative. Only a few pages are here inserted, but they 
are full of interest and new facts are found on almost every page. 

After the very hard frost, which 


I left Frank 

fort, th 

had b 

several days' rain, the usual commence 

ment of winter in this part of the country. The roads in Indiana 
were almost impassable, even on horseback. The day after I 
crossed the river, the frost again set in; and the roads becoming 
worse, I could with difficulty proceed from eighteen to twenty 
miles between sun-rise and sun-set; having to walk a great part 
of the way, leading my horse by the bridle. The frost had fol- 
lowed the rain so immediately, that the drops were frozen on all 
the trees, which in the rays of the setting sun appeared loaded 
with diamonds, and as I rode through the forest, put me in mind 
of the gem-bearing trees in the beautiful tale of Aladdin. 

At Greenville, a collection of straggling cabins, I stopped at a 
house kept by a Mr. Porter, a man from the New England States. 
This tavern, though small, was without exception the most clean 
and comfortable I had ever been in since I crossed the Alleghanies. 
Whenever indeed you stop at the house of a New Englander, you 

3 find every thing 



to receive more attention 

d t 

d of a better quality, than in a tavern kept by a South 

Western man 

The Western A 

are more 



cans, and particularly those of Indiana, 
polished in their manners than those of 

any country I ever travelled 




g day 

ride, when I have 


cold and tired at the house where I intended to stop, I have dis 

mounted, walked in, and upon finding the master, and perhaps 

. one of his sons, seated by the fire, I have addressed him with 


William Newnham Blaney. 277 


"Sir, can I stay at your house to-night, and have some supper for 
myself and food for my horse?" and then he has just turned his 
head round, and without rising, has said, "I reckon you can." 
Upon further inquiry where I could put my horse, my host has 
replied, "There is a stable behind the house." I have then had 
to rub down and feed my own horse. 

Those who have not tried this after riding all day, do not know 
how disagreeable it is. At the same time, I am certain that no 
kind of incivility was intended. All the people living in the 
same neighbourhood being nearly equal in point of wealth and 
education (with little enough of either), are not accustomed to 
show one another any attention, and therefore extend the same 
want of ceremony to the strangers who may chance to come to 
their houses. Besides, in these wild parts, there is often a dis- 
tance of ten or fifteen miles between each cabin, even on the chief 
roads; and off the roads, a person might travel fifty miles without 
seeing any habitation whatsoever. A man, therefore, who receives 
a traveller in his house, and gives him a bed and food, considers 
with justice, that he confers a favour on his guest, even though he 
charge some trifle for his hospitality. For let any one imagine 
the alternative of either sleeping out in a cold night, without any 
thing to eat, or of staying in a log cabin, by a good blazing fire, 
with plenty of venison-steaks and corn-cake! Surely the traveller 
must acknowledge, that the paying about the value of eighteen- 
pence or two shillings, by no means cancels the obligation which he 

owes to the landlord. 

In speaking of the houses at which I stopped, after crossing 
the Ohio, I make use of the word Tavern; but let not the English 
reader be misled by a word; for there is not one of these taverns 
that deserves to be compared to the common sort of our public 
houses. I have often laughed to see, fixed upon a miserable log 
cabin, a rough Sign, on which has been painted "Washington 
Hotel", or some such high sounding name, though the house prob- 
ably contained only one, or at most only two rooms. Generally 
however, both in Illinois and Indiana, there is no Sign at all. A 
traveller enters without scruple any house near the road side, 
and breakfasts, or stays all night, even if the owner does not pro- 
fess to keep a tavern : for every one is glad to have a stranger stop 
with him, as it gives him an opportunity of hearing some news, 
and also brings him in a dollar or so, if he chooses to accept 

any thing for his hospitality. 

Owing to the great rise of the water, I found some difficulty 




Early Travels in Indiana. 

in crossing Blue River, over which there was neither bridge nor 
ferry; and though swimming on horseback is not unpleasant in 
warm weather, I do not myself think it particularly agreeable dur- 
ing a hard frost. But I fortunately discovered some men with a 
canoe, in which I crossed over, taking off my saddle and saddle 
bags, and obliging my horse to swim. 

Near this are some pretty extensive "Barrens." The Ameri- 
cans apply this term to those tracts of land, which, being cov- 
ered with low shrubs and brushwood, much resemble what we call 
in England "Copses." The country beyond Blue River, is cov- 
ered for the most part with thick forest. This grows upon a lime- 
stone formation; and in consequence, the whole country abounds 
with pits and caverns, some of which are of considerable magni- 
tude. From these .caverns great quantities of salt-petre have been 

I now came to a large stream, called "Sinking River," which 
flows under ground for the distance of nearly ten miles. When 
there has been a very heavy fall of rain, and the water cannot 
find room to pass under ground, the overplus runs in a channel 
above, and joins the river again where it rises from the earth. 
This upper channel by no means follows the course of the sub- 
terraneous one. 

The road passes over the upper channel, which is pretty deep, 
and which, in spite of the quantity of rain which had fallen only 
five or six days before, was, when I crossed it, nearly dry. 

A few miles from Mr. Byrom's, at a place called French Lick, 
is a very large pigeon roost. Several acres of timber are completely 
destroyed, the branches, even of the thickness of a man's body, 
being torn off by the myriads of pigeons that settle on them. 


Indeed, the first time I saw a flight of these birds, I really thought 
that all the v pigeons in the world had assembled together, to make 
one common emigration. These pigeons do a great deal of mis- 
chief; for as they clear immense tracts of forest, of all the mast, 
acorns, &c. numbers of the hogs, which run at large in the woods, 
are in consequence starved to death. 

When crossing a small stream, the day after leaving Byrom's, 
I saw a large flock of beautiful green and yellow parroquets.- 


These were the first I had met with; and as they were very tame, 
and allowed me to come close to them, I got off my horse, and 
stopped a short time to admire them. I afterwards saw numbers 
of the same kind in the flats of the Wabash and Mississippi, for 


. ■ 

William Newnham Blaney. 279 

this beautiful bird apparently delights in the neighbourhood of 

Before arriving at Hindostan, a small village on the East 
Fork of White River, the country becomes very hilly; and being on 
that account thinly settled, abounds with game of all descriptions. 
Some idea may be formed of the abundance of it, from the price 
of venison at this place, and in the neighbourhood. A haunch will 
bring only 20 cents (about Is. 9d. sterling), or the value of 25 
cents, if the hunter will take powder, lead, or goods. The shop- 
keepers who buy the haunches, the only parts of the deer that are 
thought worth selling, cure and dry them much in the same man- 
ner as the Scotch do their mutton hams, and then send them for 
sale to Lousiville or New Orleans. These dried venison hams, as 
they are called, are very good eating. 

The two young men who ferried me over the river, had just 
returned from a hunting excursion. They had only been out two 
days; and not to mention a great number of turkeys, had killed 
sixteen deer and two bears, besides wounding several others. 
The bear is much more esteemed than the deer; first, because his 
flesh sells at a higher price; and secondly, because his skin, if a 
fine large black one, is worth two or three dollars. 

I was stopped for three days at the West Fork of White River, 
owing to the ice, which was of such a thickness, and came down the 
stream with such rapidity, that it was impossible for the ferry- 
boat to cross. 

In these thinly settled countries, if a traveller be detained, or 
if he wish to stop a day or two to rest his horse, he can, if either a 
sportsman or a naturalist, find abundant amusement. Go to 
what house I might, the people were always ready to lend me 
a rifle, and were in general glad to accompany me when I went out 
hunting. Hence, in addition to the pleasure of the chase, I had, 
at the same time, an opportunity of becoming better acquainted 
with the manners of the Backwoodsmen, and with the difficulties 
and hardships which are undergone by all the first settlers of a new 
country. I found I had imbibed the most erroneous ideas, from 
seeing none of the inhabitants, but those who, living by the road 
side, were accustomed to receive money from travellers, and some- 
times to charge as much for their coarse fare, and wretched accom- 
modations, as would be paid in the Eastern States for the utmost 
comfort a tavern can afford. I therefore considered all the people 
a sordid and imposing set. But when I began to enter into the 
company of the Backwoodsmen, quite off the roads, and where a 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

traveller was seldom or never seen, I found the character of the 
settlers quite different from what I had supposed. In general 
they were open hearted and hospitable, giving freely whatever 
they had, and often refusing any recompense. It is true they 
always treated me as their equal ; but at the same time, there was 
a sort of real civility in their behaviour, which I have often looked 
for in vain elsewhere. 

In the Backwoods, pork 

they call it hogs-flesh, together 


d hommony (boiled Indian 


was my 

fare, and a blanket or two, on the floor of the cabin, my bed; 
but I was amply compensated for this want of luxuries by a degree 
of openness and hospitality, which indeed the most fastidious 
could not but have admired. Thus, on going away, my host has 
sometimes accompanied me four or five miles, in order to put me 
in the track leading to the road. 

But notwithstanding the instances of good-hearted 


simplicity of m 

which one meets with in these wild 

tries, yet few travellers are willing to quit the more frequented 
districts; and it is to this want of self-denial, that I should be dis- 
posed to attribute the erroneous accounts of the American char- 
acter which have been given us. Some of our travellers moreover, 
are in the practice of detailing all the disagreeable scenes of low 
life, which they have witnessed at the taverns, and hence lead 
their readers to form a very incorrect idea of the whole people. 
If an American traveller in England were to do the same, he would 
have no difficulty, in proving us the most profligate, immoral, and 


cheating nation on the face of the earth. 

After waiting in vain two days for the river to freeze over, so 
that I could pass on horseback, I at last hired two or three men, 
armed with poles, to assist in keeping off the cakes of ice; and thus 

i in crossing, notwithstanding the width and rapidity 


of the 

Between the White River and Vincennes is a large swamp, inter 

t • 

sected by t a small stream. Over this swamp, for the distance 
of two miles, is a piece of what the Western people very expressively 
term a "Corderoy Road," which is very common in these States, 
and is made wherever the ground is marshy. 

A Corderoy Road consists of small trees, stripped of their 
boughs, and laid touching one another, without any covering of 
earth. As the marsh underneath is of various degrees of solidity, 
the whole road assumes a kind of undulating appearance. I 
found some of the logs a little apart from one another; and was 


William Newnham Blaney. 281 



therefore constantly afraid, that the animal that carried me would 
break his leg; but he was a Western horse, and by the manner in 
which he picked his way, showed that he knew the danger as 
well or better than I did. Any one crossing these logs in a wheeled 
carriage, must find the jolting truly formidable. 

Vincennes is a small straggling place, situated on the bank 

of the Wabash, and is one of the oldest towns in the United States. 
It was founded by the French, the same year that William Penn 
founded Philadelphia; and was, for a long time, partly a French, 
and partly an Indian village.' It once supplied all the neighbour- 
ing country for a very great distance around, with goods and 
merchandize; but is now declining, partly from having lost its 
superiority as a depot for goods, and partly from the unhealthiness 
of its situation. I have scarcely been to a single spot on the west- 
ern side of the Ohio, where, during the autumn of 1822, the people 
had not suffered from sickness. 

The Wabash is a beautiful river, which, after a meandering 
course of about 600 miles, enters the Ohio in a stream about 400 
yards wide, 140 miles from the confluence, of that river with the 
Mississippi. It may be considered as the largest tributary stream 
that joins the Ohio from the west. Its own principal tributaries 
are White River, Little Wabash, Embarrass, Big and Little Eel 
Rivers, Tree Creek, Ponce Passau, or Wildcat, Tippecanoe, and 


The Wabash flows through a rich and level country, which is 
well adapted to cultivation, and in which cotton has of late been 
raised successfully. 


On the Wabash are the towns of Harmony, Vincennes, and 
Terre-haute, besides several others, which, having only been lately 
erected, contain as yet few inhabitants. 


This river forms, for a considerable distance, the boundary 
between Indiana and Illinois. During the spring of the year, it 


is easily navigated by flat boats, as far as 450 miles from its junc- 
tion with the Ohio; and craft drawing only two or three feet 
water, may ascend it as far as Vincennes at almost any season. 

It is not till the traveller has crossed the Wabash, and advanced 
a considerable distance into the State of Illinois, that he can see 
any of the large "Prairies," of which there are many fertile ones 
on the west bank of the river. These Prairies, as their name 
denotes, are large open tracts of natural meadow, covered with 
luxuriant and rank grass, and destitute of trees or even shrubs. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

. There are no hills in them, though some have a gently undulating 
surface. ... 

I intended to have remained a few days at Vincennes, but 
the following circumstance drove me away the next morning. 

A Missouri planter, attended by two slaves, a man and woman, 
was travelling to St. Louis, in a small wheeled carriage called a 
"Dearborn," and had stopped at Vincennes to rest his horses. 
Now the day before I arrived, both his slaves had run away. 
Trying to travel all night when nearly barefooted, the man had 
both his feet so severely frost bitten, that he could not proceed. 
Consequently he was overtaken by some people sent after him by 
his master, and was brought back to Vincennes the very even- 
ing after my arrival. When I got up early the next morning, I 
saw the poor old slave, who had passed the night in the kitchen, 
with a heavy chain padlocked round both his legs. A man from 
North Carolina, who had ridden in company with me from White 
River, where he had been delayed, came into the room at the 


same time I did; and, although a slave holder himself, was touched 
with compassion at seeing the miserable state of this old negro. 
Having procured the key, he took off one of the padlocks, and 
desired the unhappy being to come towards the fire, in order to 
warm his frost-bitten legs and feet, which were much swollen, 
and were no doubt very painful. The poor slave was so lame he 
could hardly move, but managed to come and sit down by the 
hearth. The Carolinian then said to him, "You have com- 
mitted a great crime, as you must be well aware — how came you 

to do it?" The negro replied, "Master, I am an old man, upwards 
of sixty years of age, and I have been all my life in bondage. Sev- 
eral white men told me, that as this was a free State, if I could 
run away I should be free; and you know master! what a tempta- 
tion that was. I thought if I could spend my few remaining days 
in freedom, I should die happy." But, replied the Carolinian, 
"You were a fool to run away; you know you are much better off 
as a slave, than if you were free." "Ah! master," said the poor 
old negro, "No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who 
wears it. 

in came the master of the slave, and after 


Just at this time 

swearing a terrible oath that he would punish him, desired him to 
go and get ready the carriage. The poor old man answered that 
he was in too great pain even to stand upright. Upon this the 

brute, saying, "I will make you move, you old rascal," sent out for 
"cowhide." Now the sort of whip called by this name is the most 



William Newnham Blaney. 283 

formidable one I ever saw. It is made of twisted strips of* dried 
cow's skin; and from its weight, its elasticity, and the spiral form 
in which the thongs are twisted, must, when applied to the bare 
back, inflict the most intolerable torture. l 

The wife of the tavern keeper coming in, and hearing that the 
negro was going to be flogged, merely said, "I would rather it had 
not been on the Sabbath.'' For my part, I thought it signified 
very little upon what day of the week, such an atrocious act of 
wickedness was committed; so after trying in vain to obtain a 
relaxation of the punishment, I called for my horse, determined not 
to hear the cries of the suffering old man. Yet even when I had 
ridden far from the town, my imagination still pictured to me the 
horrors that were then being performed; and I should have thought 
myself deficient in human kindness, if I had not cursed from the 
bottom of my heart, every government, that, by tolerating slavery, 
could sanction a scene like this. 

Birkbeck's Settlement. — Emigration. 


From Vincennes, I turned to the left, in order to cross White 
River, below the junction of its two Forks, and proceed through 
Princetown and Harmony, to Birkbeck's English settlement at 

The road, or rather path, to the ferry on White River, runs 
chiefly through low flat Barrens, with here and there a patch of 
Prairie. Upon arriving at the bank, I found the ice running so 
thick, and in such very large cakes, that the boat could not cross. 
Some men with a drove of hogs had already waited there two 
days, and the ferryman said that I had very little chance of being 
able to cross for a day or two, and perhaps not for a week. I 
therefore determined to cross the country, in a westerly direction, 
so as to meet the Wabash just above its junction with White 

Upon inquiring of the ferrymen, if there were any house in 
the neighbourhood at which I could stop, they informed me that 
there was only one, which belonged to a Scotch gentleman who 
had lately settled in this part of the country. "But although," 
said one of them, "I am certain he does not keep open house, yet 
perhaps as you are a stranger, he will allow you to stay there 


As it was getting late I determined to lose no time, and accord- 
ingly, after a ride through the woods of about two miles, I found 

myself at the settlement. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

The house, which was of a much better description than any I 
had lately seen, was situated on a gentle rise, overlooking the river, 
and surrounded with a large space of cleared land. I dismounted, 
and upon opening the door was delighted to see six or seven men in 
Highland bonnets, sitting round a blazing fire. I mentioned to the 
gentleman that I was a stranger, and should feel much obliged to 
him, for a night's lodging for myself and my horse; upon which he 
immediately, with the genuine hospitality I have so often experi- 
enced in his native land, said that I was welcome to stay there, and 
to partake of whatever his house afforded. 

He had left Perthshire at the head of twenty of his coun- 
trymen, and had fixed himself on this spot; and although he had 
only been here eight months, had already put every thing into 
very good order. 

My fare was sumpt 

compared to what it had been for 

some time past; and moreover I had a good bed to sleep in, with a 
pair of fine clean sheets. 

I am particular in noticing this luxury, because it was only in 
two other places that I enjoyed it, during the whole of my travels, 

i general the 

in the States of Indiana, Illinois 

d Missouri 


beds were altogether without sheets; and the blankets had prob 


their manufacture, never experienced the renovating 

effects of a good washing. Sometimes indeed there would be 



ally two; but cleanliness in this particular I 

had almost despaired of. 

Many of my countrymen, because they have not met with 
much comfort in these out of the way places, have, upon their 
return home, most unjustly and ridiculously imputed the same 
want of comfort to every part of the United States. But let us 

consider, that from Vine 

to Louisville 

a dist 

of 120 

miles, and that from thence to Washington, by the ordinary route 
up the Ohio river and through Wheeling is 731 miles: so that one 
of these delicate travellers would be equally entitled to abuse the 
whole of Great Britain, because he might meet with bad accom- 
modation in the Orkneys. Moreover, woods are not cut down, 
and good inns established, in a day, nor even a year; and he who 
cannot put up with some inconvenience will do well to avoid travel- 
ling in a new country.* 

This settlement is in a beautiful situation, surrounded by fertile 

*In many places where I have met with execrable accommodation, future travellers 
will find good inns: for the whole country is so rapidly improving, that what is true of 
the Backwoods one year ceases to be so the next. 

William Newnham Blaney. 285 

land; but alas! it has shared the fate of all the neighbourhood with 
regard to sickness; two of the emigrants having died, and several 
others being very ill. I went away in the morning, after receiv- 
ing an invitation from my worthy host to repeat my visit if I 
should ever pass again in that direction. 

The path from hence to the Wabash, lies through a thickly 
wooded country, abounding in game. I expected to have had much 
difficulty in crossing the river; for though there was a ferry boat, it 
had been drawn ashore and was frozen to the ground. Fortu- 
nately, however, I found a man going over in a flat boat with some 
cattle. The Wabash just above had closed up and frozen over, so 
that here, where the stream was very rapid, there was little or no 
floating ice. 

I now crossed the Little Wabash, on which river Carmi is 
situated, and proceeded through a very thickly wooded country 
towards Harmony. The road, about four miles before arriving at 
this place, passes through the low grounds, or as they are called, 
"the Flats" of the Big Wabash. The lands of the river bottoms, or 
flats, throughout the whole of the United States, are always reck- 
oned very rich and productive, and those of the Wabash are partic- 
ularly so. They are covered with immensely large trees, between 
which grows, in amazing luxuriance, that noble vegetable the 
Cane (Arundinaria Macrosperma). 

This beautiful and useful plant attains the height of from 
twenty to thirty feet. The fertile tracts, where it grows, are called 
Cane Brakes, and are always full of herds of cattle, who are very 
fond of its leaves, which remain green all the winter. 

The low grounds of the Wabash would be thickly settled, and 
soon covered with a swarming population; but during a month or 
two in the Autumn, Fevers and Agues seem to stalk about here, 
seeking whom they may destroy. Indeed the countenances of the 
few settlers bespeak how often they have been attacked by these 
diseases. Where the ground has been cleared for any consider- 
able space, the sickness does not prevail to such an extent. This 
is the case with the settlement of Harmony; but, even there, the 
inhabitants had in the autumn suffered a great deal. 

The trees growing immediately on the banks of the Wabash, 
must, from their immense size, astonish every one. The Plane, 
with its long white arms, and the Tulip-tree (Liriodendron Tulipi- 
fera) called by the Americans the Poplar, attain to an enormous 
magnitude throughout the whole of the Western States. 

There is a ferry which conveys the traveller directly over the 




Early Travels in Indiana. 


Wabash to Harmony. This pretty little town contains numerous 
well built, three-storied, brick houses, placed in regular streets, 
with a small railed garden to each, all conveying a great idea of 
comfort, particularly to a man travelling in the Backwoods. 
There are two churches with spires, on one of which is a clock, 
made by a settler, which strikes, even the quarters, upon some large * 
bells that were imported on purpose. I had been so long without 
hearing anything of the kind, that during the week I remained 
there, the lively tones of these bells gave me great delight. 

Mr. Rapp, the founder of the Society, was a dissenter from 
the Lutheran church, and finding himself persecuted by the clergy 
and the nobles, for the tenets he promulgated, came in 1803, from 
near Stutgard in Wurtemburg, to the United States, with nearly 
400 adherents. They first settled at a place they called Harmony, 
in Butler county Pennsylvania, 25 miles from Pittsburg. Here 
their number was soon increased by emigration to near 800 souls, 
but not finding Pennsylvania in all respects suited to their views, 
they sent in 1814, three of their head men to choose another 
place. Accordingly, they have now fixed their residence 55 miles 
from Vincennes, 40 from Shawnee town, 24 from Birkbeck's 
Settlement, and 100 by water from the mouth of the Wabash. 

By the sale of their houses, their improvements, &c. in Penn- 
sylvania, they obtained a very large sum of money, and with this 
they purchased several thousand acres of the best land in Indiana. 


g at their present abode, they erected log-cabins 

but as they intended from the first to built brick houses, they 
marked out very carefully and with much regularity the intended 
streets of their town, and by placing the log-cabins at the back 
part of the different lots, left themselves sufficient space to erect 
their future habitations, without being obliged to move out of 
their old ones. 

• £ 

They have indeed proceeded in every thing with the greatest 
ir and regularity. They possessed when I was there 100 


brick buildings, had planted an extensive vineyard, and made con- 
siderable quantitities of pleasant tasted wine. They carried on a 
very extensive system of agriculture, and their flocks and herds 
were uncommonly numerous. There is a blacksmith's shop with 
two furnaces, a thrashing machine, a distillery, brewery, tannery, 

&c. There is also a large woolen and cotton-factory, the spindles 
and machinery of which* are worked by steam, as is also their mill 
for grinding flour. Indeed they carry on almost every kind of use- 
ful manufacture, and make hats, shoes, sadlery, linen, cotton and 

' 1 

William Newnham Blaney. 


woolen cloths, &c. Their broad cloth is very good; and their flan- 
nel of so excellent a quality, many of the English settlers at 
Albion say, that it is superior to the best Welsh flannel they 
brought out with them. Every one belongs to some particular 
trade or employment, and never interferes with the others, or 
even indeed knows what they are about. The only occasion on 
which they are all called out, is in the event of sudden bad weather, 
when the hay or corn is cut, but not carried. In such a case, Rapp 
blows a horn, and the whole community, both men and women, 
leave their occupations, run put to the fields, and the crop is soon 
gathered in, or placed in safety. There is a party of blacksmiths, 
shoemakers, weavers, shepherds, ploughmen or agriculturists, 
&c. Over every one of these trades there is a head man, who acts 
as an overseer, and who, in particular cases, as with the black- 
smith, shoemaker, &c, receives payment for any work done for 
strangers. None of the inferiors of each occupation will receive 
the money. The head man, or foreman, always gives a receipt 
for the money he receives, which receipt is signed by Rapp, who 
thus knows every cent that is taken, and to whom all the money 
collected is transferred. When any one of their number wants a 
hat, coat, or any thing else, he applies to the head man of his 
trade or employment, who gives him an order, which is also signed 
by Rapp, after which he goes to the store and gets what he 

They have one 


store, in which is deposited 


articles they manufacture 


ghbouring settlers for many 

miles round, resort to this, not only on account of the 

but also the cheap 

of the goods. This store is managed by 

Mr. Baker, who holds the next rank to Rapp himself. The Har- 
monites have also branch stores in Shawnee town, and elsewhere, 
which they supply with goods, and which are managed by their 

An excellent house of private entertainment is kept by one of 
their number, named Ekensperker. Every thing here was so 
clean, comfortable, and well arranged, that I was quite delighted. 

The house they have built for their founder Rapp, is very 
large and handsome, and would be esteemed a good house in any 
part of Europe. In the court-yard, Rapp has placed a great 
curiosity, which he brought from the shore of the Mississippi, near 
St. Louis. It is a block of marble of the size of a large tombstone, 

which are two impressions of the human foot, so uncom- 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

monly well defined, perfect, and natural as to be worthy even of 


The Indians certainly could not have executed anything of 
the kind; and the general opinion is, that some human being must 
have passed over the marble when it was of the consistency of 
clay, and thus have left the impression of his feet. The impres- 
sions indeed appear to have been made by some one who was 
running, or else stooping forward to pick up something. But I 
can hardly myself imagine, how or where a piece of marble could 
ever have been in so soft a state, as to receive the impression of a 
human foot. I hope that the marble will soon be inspected by some 
one competent to give an opinion, particularly as the impres- 
sions may at no great length of time be effaced, from being 
always left exposed to the weather. 

The religious tenets of the Harmonites are not very well 
known; but it is at any rate certain that they profess equality and 
the community of possessions. The most extraordinary part of 
their system is their celibacy; for the men and women live sep- 
arate, and are not allowed any intercourse. In order to keep up 
their numbers they have once or twice sent agents to Germany 
to bring over proselytes, for they admit no Americans. Among 
those that last came over, were great many children of both 

Very few of the inhabitants of Harmony could speak English, 
and indeed the young boys and girls are chiefly educated in the 
German tongue. The policy of the head men appears to be, that 
of preventing, as much as possible, any of their inferiors from 


communicating with the America: 
would see the folly of their system 

fearing no doubt, that they 

What struck me as very singular was, that no one would answer 


Even my host Ekensperker, when I asked if they 

were permitted to marry, what became of all the money they col- 
lected, &c, invariably replied, "We never answer these ques- 
tions." Some few persons have seceded from this society. These 

have generally been young men, who 

ficing fanaticism to 

nature, have g 

off with young women and married them 

By good fortune I chanced to meet one of these men, and learned 
from him a few particulars of the sect ; but even he did not appear 
to be very willing to communicate what he knew. He told me that 

marriage was interdicted; but could g 

me no reason why it 


was. Moreover he told me, that it is unknown what becomes of 

all the money Rapp receives. Now this must be a very con- 


William Newnham Blaney. 289 

siderable sum, as the Harmonites neglect no means of amassing 
money. For instance, they send every year boats laden with pro- 
duce to New Orleans; and the little settlement of Albion has paid 
them altogether nearly 60,000 dollars, though at present it is 
rapidly becoming independent of them. 

The Harmonites will receive in payment no other money but 
specie or United States Bank notes. At the same time they expend 
nothing; and indeed money appears to be of no use to men, pro- 
ducing food, and manufacturing all necessaries within their own 
settlement. Every thing is sold in Rapp's name, and all the 
money is transmitted to him, even the proceeds of the house of 
entertainment and the doctor's shop. 

This secrecy about the great sums that must be collected 
annually by the united labour of seven or eight hundred indus- 
trious individuals, possessed of a great deal of skill, and having 
the entire monopoly of the neighbouring country, has, I must 
confess, a very suspicious appearance, especially as Rapp holds a 
, correspondence with Germany. At the same time, as he is an old 

man, and never intends to leave Harmony, I do not see any thing 
he could gain by sending away the money. 
r The Harmonites all dress very plainly and wear nearly the 

same clothes; but Rapp and the head men live in better houses. 
and have plenty of wine, beer, groceries, &c; while the rest of 
their brethren are limited to coarse, though wholesome food, are 
debarred the use of groceries, &c, have a less quantity of meat, 
and are even obliged to make use of an inferior kind of flour. 

In their celibacy, and in some other points, they resemble the 
Shakers, though they differ from them in refusing to admit pros- 
elytes. They are in fact only a somewhat improved order of 
industrious monks and nuns, except that they are very unwill- 
ing to have any thing known about themselves, and are by no 
means anxious to make converts. If they spoke English, and 
were allowed a free intercourse with the Americans, they would 
soon learn, that with the same habits of temperance, industry, 
and economy, they could in that rich and fertile district have every 
comfort they at present enjoy, with the additional satisfaction of 
amassing money for themselves, and of having children who would 
doubtless rise to opulence and consideration. 

At present however Rapp points out to them the difference 
between their situation and that of the Backwoodsmen in the 


ghbourhood, leaving them to suppose, that this superiority is 
ing to their peculiar tenets and mode of life. Moreover, as I am 

T— 19 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


informed, Rapp, like all other Priests, holds out eternal punish- 
ment in the next world to those who secede. Like the Virgilian 
"Rex Anius, rex idem hominum, Phoebique Sacerdos," he is both 
Governor and Priest, preaching to them in church and manag- 
ing when out of it their pecuniary affairs. Hence this society pre- 
sents the extraordinary spectacle of a most complete despotism in 
the midst of a great republic: for with the exception perhaps of 
being a little better clothed and fed, the lower orders of the 
Harmonites are as much vassals, or more so, than they were in 


The settlement was once a benefit to the neighbourhood; 
but at present most of the Americans consider it as injurious. 
At first the people, for a great distance around the Settlement, 
being supplied with goods that they could not easily procure else- 
where, considered it advantageous to them; but they now think 
precisely the contrary; for the Harmonites, not having to pay their 
workmen, are enabled to under-sell every one who would wish to 
set up a store, and thus prevent competition. Moreover, as in 
exchange for their cloths, linens, hats, whiskey, &c, they receive 
vast sums of money which they never spend, and thus diminish 
the circulating medium of the country. 

"If," say the Americans, "an ordinary merchant could come 
among us, and set up a store ; as he grew rich he would increase his 
expenditure, and the money would circulate and enrich those who 
supplied him with meat, bread, &c; but these people spend noth- 
ing, and therefore we should be very glad to see their society 

Old Rapp has transferred most of the active superintendence 
of the temporal concerns of the society to his adopted son Fred- 
eric Rapp, thus accustoming the people to a sort of hereditary 
despotism. We may however very much doubt, whether the 
society will hold together after the old man's death, an event 
which in the course of nature must soon take place. - 


The people, under the present system, are a set of well-fed, 
well-clothed, hard-working vassals. They are very grave and 
serious. During the whole time I was at Harmony, I never saw • 
one of them laugh; indeed they appeared to me to enjoy only a 
sort of melancholy contentment, which makes a decided differ- 
ence between them and the inhabitants of the other parts of the 
country, who without fanaticism or celibacy, find themselves well 
off and comfortable. 


From Memorable days in America; being a journal of a 

tour to the United States, by W. Faux [1823], pp. 


Faux, William. 

Chief among those Englishmen who scorned everything American after 
the second war with Great Britain was one William Faux, author of Memor- 
able days in America. 

He calls himself an English Farmer, whose tour to the United States 
was principally undertaken "to ascertain, by positive evidence, the condi- 
tion and probable prospects of British emigrants; including accounts of Mr. 
Birkbeck's settlement in Illinois; and intended to shew Men and Things as 
they are in America." 

His accounts were simply one line of ridicule after another, and in the 
language of one of his fellow reviewers bore the earmarks of a "simpleton of 
the first water, a capital specimen of a village John Bull, for the first time 

his native valley — staring at everything and grumb- 

roaming far away from his native valley — staring at everythin 
ling at most." 

His accounts therefore while both interesting and amusin 
real value. 

October 27th, 1819. — At sun-rise I left Louisville, in Colonel 
Johnson's carriage and pair, for Vincennes, in Indiana, well 
pleased to turn my back on all the spitting, gouging, dirking, 
duelling, swearing, and staring, of old Kentucky. 

I crossed the Ohio at Portland, and landed at New Albion, a 
young rising village, to breakfast, where, for the first time in 
America, I found fine, sweet, white, home-baked bread. The 
staff of life is generally sour, and, though light and spongy, very 
ill-flavoured, either from bad leaven, or the flour sweating and 
turning sour in the barrel. 

At eleven, a. m., I rested, and baited at a farm log-house, 
having one room only; the farmer came to it ten years ago, and has 
settled on two quarter sections of land. He has a good horsemill 
at work, night and day, to which people come with grist, from 
10 to 15 miles, working it with their own horses, four in number, 
and leaving him (the miller) an eighth for his toll. "My land" 
(says he) "is good, but not like that of old Kentuck. I get from 
40 to 60 bushels of corn, and wheat, 25 to 30 bushels per acre, and 
a market, at my door, in supplying gentlemen-travellers, and 
emigrants. " The first house is, for five or six years, a miserable 


hole, with one room only, after which, rises a better, and the old 
one remains for a kitchen. This man seems full of money, and 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

knows all things; he damns the state government for denying him 
the privilege of slavery, and of using his Kentucky negroes, who, 



in consequence, (he says) are hired and exposed to cruelty, 
was raised under a monarchy government, in Virginia, where every 
man did as he pleased. This Indiana a free state, and yet not at 
liberty to use its own property! You tell me to quit it, I guess, if 
I do not like it." "Yes, I do." "Well then, the government, 
— n it, has the power, it seems to drive me out." This strange 




man was very civil and coarsely kind to me, and whispered aside 

to my driver, that he knew I was a very large proprietor in this 


I travelled till sun-set, 32 miles from the Ohio, and slept at 
Mrs. Moore's farm-log-house tavern, with three rooms, and a 
broken window in each; all moderately comfortable, until the 
pitiless, pelting storms of winter come, when it will snow and blow 
upon the beds. My hostess would, in England, pass for a witch, 
having a singularly long, yellow, haggish, dirty, face and com- 
plexion. She has three fine sons, but no servants. They do all 
the household work, and that on the farm, themselves, hiring 

They clear five or six acres every year, have cleared 60 
acres, and mean that the other 60 of their quarter section should 
remain in wood. They located themselves here eight years since, 
and find good land, good crops, and a market at the door. Two 
of the young Moores mounted their horses, and, with five dogs, 
set off hunting at bed-time, until midnight, after racoons, foxes, 
wolves, bears, and wild cats. I saw a skin of the latter animal, 
much like a tame cat, only bigger,, and its tail shorter; they live on 
partridges and young pigs, and poultry when they can get them; 
they never mew and call out like the domestic cat. Here is a pet 
bear, which took an ear of Indian corn out of my hand. One of 
these pets recently broke its chain, and came into the house, where 
lay a sick and bedridden man, and an infant child on the floor, 
with which the bear, much pleased, marched off. The poor old 
man, not knowing, till then, that he was able to turn himself in 
bed, suddenly acquired supernatural strength, sprung out, and 
running after the bear, threw him down, rescued the screaming 
babe, unhugged and unhurt, and then jumped into bed again. 

—Now quite out of society; every thing and every body, 


with some few exceptions, looks wild, and half savage. To his 
honor Judge Chambers's, to breakfast. His log-tavern is com- 
fortable; he farms two and a half quarter sections, and raises from 
40 to 60 bushels of corn an acre. Nearly all the good land on this 

William Faux. 


road is entered. "I had," says he, "hard work for the first two or 
three years." The judge is a smart man of about 40, and not only a 
judge, but a senator also, and what is more, the best horse- 
jockey in the state. He seems very active, prudent, cautious, and 
industrious, and, like all the rest of the people on this road, kind- 
hearted. He fills the two-fold station of waiter and ostler in part; 
I say in part, for, as he has no servant, the drudgery must be done 
by the traveller himself, if he have a horse or horses. His honor 
left my driver to do all, and hastily rode off to a distant mill for 
his grist, now much wanted, and with which he returned in about 
two hours, while her honor, Mrs. Judge, and the six Miss Judges, 
prepared my good breakfast. These ladies do all the work of the 
house, and some of the field, every thing seems comfortable and 
easy to them, although the blue sky and the broad sun stare and 
peep through cracks and crevices in the roof of their house. 
While I sat at breakfast, his honor's mother, a fine smart young 
woman of four-score, came briskly riding up, and alighted at the 
door; as good a horsewoman as ever mounted a side-saddle. She 
had been to pay a distant visit, and seemed as though her strength 
and youth were renewed, like the eagle's. She reminded me of 
Moses, "with his eye not dim, nor his natural force abated." 

At noon, I stopped at another log-house, quarter-section farm- 
er's, with two fine healthy boys, much civilized, who, of them- 
selves, have cleared forty acres of heavily timbered land, such 
as is seldom seen, and cropped it twice in eighteen months. 
What prodigious industry! It is, they say, worth ten dollars 
an acre clearing. It is; and an Englishmen would, indeed, think 
so, and demand double and treble that sum, for that quantity of 
excessive labour. They, however, now wish to sell out their 
improved quarter section, and remove further from the road. 
These young men drink spring water, and like it better than whis- 
key, and look heartier and healthier than any settlers I have yet 

seen in the wilds. 

I rested all night at another quarter-section farmer's, who, 
together with his brother and wife, has cleared thirty acres in 
eighteen months, without hired hands, and is now rearing a second 
log-house. They find a market at their door for all they can raise, 
and ten times as much, if they could raise it. They burn all the 
logs and trees rolled together in immense heaps, and prefer the 
wood-land to the barrens, the latter being thinly timbered with 
dwarfish trees and shrubs. The wife, husband, brother, and three 
wild children, sleep in one room, together with three or four travel- 


294 Early Travels in Indiana. 


lers, all on the floor, bedless, but wrapt up in blankets. I, being a 
mighty fine man, was put into the new house, which, though with- 
out either doors or windows, was distinguished by one bed on a 
bedstead, both home-made, and as soft as straw and wood could 
be. Into this bed was I honourably put, and at midnight favoured 
with a bed-fellow, a stranger Yankee man whom I had seen on the 
mountains; and at my feet, on the floor, slept two Irish, and one 



poor sick American, all pedestrians, who had wandered here in 
quest of employment. Thus housed and bedded, we were faith- 
fully watched and guarded by several huge hunting dogs, lying 


around the entrance of our bed-room, barking and growling to the 
howling wolves, bears, foxes, and wild cats, now roaming around, 
and seeming ready to devour us. Our hostess hung on the cook- 
all, and gave us fowls, ill-flavoured bacon, and wild beef, all 
stewed down to rags like hotch-potch, together with coffee and 
home-made sugar, for supper and breakfast. All was coarse, 
wild, and ill-flavoured. 

29th.— At sunrise I passed two waggons and herds of cattle 
and people, very wild-looking and Indian-like, rising from camp, 
having camped out all night after the fashion of English gypsies. 
Stopped at a wretched cabin, having only one room, and that 
brimful of great dirty boys and girls, all very ragged and 
half naked; and again at the house of a Mr. Lewis, from Virginia, 
where every thing presented a fine contrast; clean, healthy, 
civilized children. , 

Breakfasted at an infant ville, Hindostan, on the falls of the 
White River, a broad crystal stream, running navigable to the 
Ohio, over a bed of sand and stone, smooth and white as a floor of 
marble. This baby ville is flourishing; much building is in progress 
and it promises to become a pleasant, healthy, large town, before I 
see it again. The land, too, is rich and inviting. I now crossed, in 
my chariot, White River, and in two hours after stopped at a 
quarter-section farmer's, who has never cleared nor inclosed any 
of his land, because sick or idle; being, however, well enough to 
hunt daily, a sport which, as he can live by it, he likes better 
than farming; "and besides," says he, "we had at first so many 
wild beasts about us, that we could not keep pigs, poultry, sheep, 
nor anything else." Called on another quarter-section jnan, 
sick, and who therefore has done but little himself; two young 
boys have cleared five or six acres. The tavern keeps them all; a 
tavern, with one miserable hole of a room. 

I stopped again at a two quarter-section farmer's, who said; 

William Faux. 


"I am an old man, and have only my boys; we cannot hire, but we 
do all the labour, and get 60 bushels of corn per acre, but no 
wheat of any consequence yet. We can always sell all the pro- 
duce we raise from the land to travellers like you, and others, new 
comers. ,, "But," said I, "what will you do when your said new 
comers and neighbours have as much to spare and sell as you 
have?" "O, then we'll give it to cattle and pigs, which can travel 
to a market somewhere. I see no fear of a market in some shape 
or other." This was a shrewd old fellow. 

I met and passed five or six huge waggons laden with goods, 
chattels, and children, and families, attended by horsemen, cat- 
tle, and footmen, and many negroes, all returning from the 
Missouri territory to their native home and state of Kentucky, 
which they had rashly left only two months since. Having 
sold out there in good times at 30 dollars an acre, and being now 
scared out of Missouri by sickness, they are returning to repur- 
chase their former homes in Kentucky at 15 dollars an acre; or 
perhaps, says my informant, they may return to the Missouri, 
when the fear of sickness subsides. They have left their father 
behind, as a pledge of returning; but still 100 acres in Old Ken- 
tuck are worth 300 in Missouri, except in river-bottoms, that is, 
valleys of rivers. 

Passed another Washington, a young county seat (or 
town) and several fine neighbourhoods of rich land, full of iron- 
weed, but not so rank as in Kentucky, yet bearing plenty of huge 
sugar-trees. Every state in this mighty Union seems emulous of 
building ' towns, monumental piles of immortality to General 

Rested for the night at a good bricked house tavern on the 
White-river ferry, but without one glass window in it. It is get- 
ting old and wearing out before it is finished. Here I found a 
good supper of buck venison, fowls, whiskey, and coffee. My 
hostess, the owner, was lately a rich widow, and might have 
remained so, but for a Yankee soldier with a knapsack at his 
back, whose lot it was to call at her house. They are now married, 
and he is lord of the tavern, land and all. My host had a large 
party of distant neighbours assembled to effect a corn shucking, 
something like an English hawkey, or harvest home. All, gentle, 
and simple, here work hard till eleven at night. Corn shucking 
means plucking the ears of Indian corn from the stalk, and then 
housing it in cribs, purposely made to keep it in, for winter use. 


The stalk is left in the field; the leaves, while half green, are 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

stripped off, and tied up in bundles, as hay for horses and cattle, 
and good food it is, much resembling in form the flags in English 
marshes. After I had retired to bed the hawkey supper com- 
menced; all seemed fun, created by omnipotent whiskey, with 
which they plentifully supplied me, although in bed. "The 
Doctor, the Squire, the Colonel," said they, "shall drink and lack 
no good thing." I was consequently pressed to rise and join 

them, about one o'clock. I refused. "Then," said they, "Doctor, 
you shajl drink in bed." My charioteer had foolishly called me 
Doctor, Squire, Colonel, and what not, during the whole of this 
wilderness journey; hence, I was here applied to as an eminent 

—Travelled 12 miles to breakfast on fine buck venison 



at three farthings per pound, or one dollar for the buck, at the 
house of a shrewd old kind-hearted Pennsylvanian, now nearly 
worn out and ready to sleep, either with or without, his fathers. 
"I have," says he, "lately lost my son, and my farms are running 
fast to ruin. I have 200 acres, some of which I hire out, and I 
have just finished what my son began, a good new log-house. 
This Indiana is the best country in the world for young men. 
Were I a young man I would live no where else in all the universal 
world." "Although," says he, "many hundreds of waggons, with 
droves of men and beasts, four or five hundred in a drove, and at 
least 5,000 souls from Kentucky have passed my house since last 
harvest, all bound for the Missouri. 

At eleven, p. m., I reached Old Vincennes, the first and old- 
est town in this state, situated in a fine- woodless Prairie on the 
banks of the big Wabash, a fine broad, clear, and generally deep 
stream, running to the Ohio by Shawneese town, but when its 
waters are low, weeds rise from the bottom, and grow, and rot, 
and impregnate the air with pestilence. On passing through this 
place, a farmer said that last spring he lost seven cows, and that 
hundreds were poisoned by some unknown herb found growing in 
their pastures on river-bottom land. A medical botanist was here 
much wanted. An immense quantity of land in the neighbour- 
ing state of Illinois, is here, I see, posted up in this town for sale or 
lease, for a term of years, at one peck of corn per acre, per annum. 
But who will hire, when nearly all can buy? I passed away my 20 
dollar note of the rotten bank of Harmony, Pennsylvania, for five 
dollars only! so losing 31. 7s. 6d. sterling. I was indebted five 
dollars to my faithful driver, who was now to leave me behind 
and press on to St. Louis, Missouri. I said, "Now, driver, which 



will you have; five silver dollars, or the 20 dollar note; or what 
more than your demand will you give for the said note?" "Noth- 

ing. "Then take it, and bless banks and banking for ever." 
Bank paper is here an especial nuisance, and ever fruitful source 
of evil, and ever very unfriendly to honesty, peace, and good will 
amongst hosts and travellers, who meet and part, cheating and 
cheated, cursed and cursing, continually. My landlord here is 
very obliging, and puts me into the best room and bed in the Vin- 
cennes hotel, where I am sleeping with a sick traveller from St. 
Louis, who states that many die daily, and his doctor there had 150 
patients to visit every day, or oftener. So much for the health- 
iness of the ever-tempting Missouri. 

Sunday, 31st. — The town of Vincennes is more than 200 years 
old; older than Philadelphia; but being of French origin, and in the 
neighbourhood of the Indians, ever hostile to the inhabitants and 
settlers round it, has grown but slowly, and is an antique lump of 
deformity. Although long the capital and mother town of the 
state, it looks like an old, worn out, dirty village of wooden frame 
houses, which a fire might much improve, for improvement gen- 
erally has to travel through flames. Here is no church, save the 
Catholic church, the inhabitants being principally French Cana- 
dians, and the rest the refuse of the east, whose crimes have driven 
them hither, or dissipated young men unable to live at home. 
Hence Sunday is only a day of frolic and recreation, which com- 
mences on the Saturday evening, when every preparation is 
devoutly made for the Sabbath, and off they start in large parties 
on foot and on horseback, all riflemen, and cunning hunters, into 
the deep recesses of the forest, camping out all night in readiness 
for sabbath sacrifices, the bucks, the bears, the squirrels, and the 
turkeys, ready to be offered up by peep of day. This holy day is 
consequently ushered in by guns, which continue to roar in and 
around the town all day until sunset. The stranger might think 
it was closely besieged, or that an enemy was approaching. The 
steam flour-mill, a large grinding establishment of extortion, giv- 
ing only 30 lbs. of flour for one bushel of wheat, 'weighing 60 lbs. 
is in operation all this day, and on other days, day and night, and 
blacksmiths' shops are in high bustle, blazing, blowing, and ham- 
mering in direct opposition to a law against Sunday business and 
pleasure, but which is never feared, because never enforced. The 
refuse, rather than the flower of the east, seems, with some excep- 
tions, to be here. But still good is coming out of evil. The east is 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

thus disencumbered, and the west is peopled. Posterity will shew 
a better face. Such is the process of empire. 

I rambled 

d the town to the court-house, or shire-hall 

really externally an elegant building, but decaying before finished, 
as though the state were unable to finish what it had so well 


before counting the cost. The State Seminary, a very 

pectable edifice, but in little better plight, was built by Uncle 

Sam, and endowed with an ample township in the state, 
however, only a nominal seminary, because the trustees are not 
empowered to sell any of its land for raising funds, but must derive 
them from hiring and leasing it out in farms. But while plenty of 
uncleared or cleared farms can be bought at two dollars an acre, 
who will ever think of hiring? 

I saw two Indian graves on the eastern banks of the Wabash. 
Each hillock is carefully arched over with broad stripes of bark, 
each three feet wide, with logs and sticks, or bands across. 


bodies are buried from one to two feet deep only. Visited the house 
of J. Lowndes, Esq., the prison philanthropist and Howard of 
America, but did not see him. He was gone, as an Indian ambas- 
sador, to the government in Washington city assembled, and I 
passed him unconsciously on Thursday last, when I saw and noted 
in a handsome chariot, a venerable gentlemanly, dignified count- 

enance. It was that of this good and honourable man. 

I pre- 

sented his lady, once the widow of the late Judge Vanderburgh, 
with my introductory letter to her husband, which I had brought 
from one of my friends at Washington city. She regretted the 
absence of her spouse, and received me graciously. This gen- 
erous man is gone a third time to the President on behalf of the 
Indian chiefs who call him their father, having appointed and 
chosen him as the only honest American whom they have ever 
known; all with whom they before had dealt or treated, tricked 
them out of their lands. Mr. Lowndes knows their language, 
and has a speech always put into his mouth by these barbarian 
grandees. "Go," said they, "go, father, and tell our great father, 
the President, how we are deviled and cheated, and if he does not 
do us justice, go, tell him he is a hog, and that we would burn up 
the land if we could." Mr. L. replied, "that this was an undutiful 
speech for children to send to their father;" but in great rage they 


rejoined in their own tongue, '-'He is only a man." The chiefs 
whom Mr. Lowndes represents, are of the Delaware tribe, the 
posterity of those from whom William Penn so honourably bought 

. ' 


William Faux 


Pennsylvania, and who traditionally revere his memory down to 
this day. 

November 1st— During the last month the weather has been 
cold and dry, but generally clear and without fogs, and in the 
night frosty, shewing ice half an inch thick. Summer and I parted 
on the last of September, at Washington city, where she lingers 
until Christmas. Late last evening my host returned from his 
Sunday hunt, heavily laden with his share of the game, namely, 
two wild ducks, one wild turkey, seven squirrels, and one fine 
fat buck of 130 lbs. weight. Hunting seems the everlasting delight 
of this town. When I went to bed last night the prairie and forest 
were both enveloped in a wide : spreading, sky-reddening blaze, 
which the hunters had kindled to drive out and start the game. 

I met this morning Mr. Baker of Philadelphia, an intelligent 
traveller, who knows my friend J. Ingle, living eighty miles further 
west of this place, and who has kindly borrowed a horse for me, 
and agrees to pilot me thither tomorrow. I saw a large party of 
Miami Indian hunters, accompanied by their ugly squaws, all on 
horseback, and all astride, with their tomahawks and frightful 
knives girdled round them, dressed in blankets and turbans, and 
painted red, green, black, and white; every feature having a 
different shade of colour, and all, save the squaws, apparently 
half drunk, having their bottle of fire-water, or whiskey, with 
them, which, after drinking from it themselves, they stopped and 
hajided to me and my friend Baker. We took it and applied it to 


our lips, it being considered the perfection of rudeness and bar- 
barism, and little short of enmity, to refuse any thing so kindly 
offered. This tribe had approached the town for the purpose of 
selling their venison. Each horse carried two or three quarters, 
fat and fine, ready skinned, and hanging down its sides. The 
price was only a quarter dollar for 30 lbs., not an English half- 
penny per pound. 

Although Vincennes is an old mother town, abounding in rich 
land, it is uncultivated, and there is occasionally a scarcity of 
necessaries, particularly of milk and butter, which, with the 
worst tea, are dealt out very sparingly; no lump sugar, no brandy, 
no segars, no spitoons are seen at this hotel. 

All persons here, and all whom I have met, hitherto, during 
this western pilgrimage, whether they have or have not visited 
Birkbeck, think very meanly of both him and his settlement. 
The English emigrants^particularly/^says Mr. ) deem them- 
selves deceived and injured by his books and mis-statements. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


—Yesterday at noon came on a heavy gale, which filled 
the atmosphere for the remainder of the day and night, with a 
strange mixture of hot smoke, ashes, and dusty sand, to the 
density and hue of a London fog in December. The sun was com- 
pletely shorn of his beams, and the whole horizon, for unknown 
miles in circumference, filled with a blinding commotion, like a 
gale in the great desert; and at night to the N. W. the sky blazed 
and reddened over a great extent, while the big Wabash blushed, 
and the whole atmosphere became illuminated, as though it was 
the kindling up of the last universal conflagration. 

At ten this morning I left old Vincennes for Princetown. The 
horse which my friend Baker had borrowed for me was mean 
and mis-shapen, but covered with buffalo skins, which hide all 
defects. The horses here are nearly all mean, wild, deformed, 
half grown, dwarfish things, and much in taste and tune with 
their riders. The pigs, every where in great abundance, seem 
more than half wild, and at the approach of man fly, or run like 
deer at the sight of an Indian rifle. Throughout the western 
regions they look starved to death. This, however, is a bad 
season for them, there being little mast, that is, acorns, nuts, and 
other wild fruit and herbage. I passed over an extensive, sandy, 
black, burning prairie, the cause of yesterday's and today's thick 
hazy atmosphere, the sun looking more like the moon, and as if 
turned into blood. At noon, I rode through a large rich river- 
bottom valley, on the banks of the White River, and which, in 
winter, is as yet overflowed, from six to ten feet of water above the 
surface, as the trees prove by circles round their trunks, and by 
their boughs dipping and catching the scum of the surf. This 
land, of course, is the finest for meadow, if it were wanted, but as 
the prairies are all meadow, it is of no value. In it stand such 
enormous trees as are seldom seen elsewhere, having trunks like 
towers. Here, too, flourishes, the long and far-famed, ever-green 
mistletoe, planted by birds, or propogated only by seed or berries, 
which are sown or deposited on decayed branches and arms of oak 
and other trees, to beautify the desolation of the winder forest. 
Excessive drinking seems the all-prevading, easily-besetting sin of 


this wild hunting country. Plenty of coal is found on the Wabash 


banks, and there are salt-springs in this state, but sad Yankee 
tricks are played off in the working and making salt from them. 
Grease and fat are used, to make it retain a large portion of 
water, which asists in filling the bushel with deception. Although 
fat is so abundant, yet it is sold at 20 cents, or lOd. per lb. and 


William Faux. 


candles at 37J cents, or 19d. per lb. Milk, too, in a land which 

might flow with milk and honey, is 12J cents, or 6d. per quart, and 

not a constant supply at that price, nor at any other price, unless a 

cow is kept. Butter, bad, at 25 cents per lb. Beef, six cents per 

lb. by the quarter, which lies on the ground all day at the tavern 

doors, as if brought for dog's meat. Tavern doors are here never 

Saving two comfortable plantations, with neat log-houses and 
flourishing orchards, just planted, and which sprout and grow 
like osiers in England, I saw nothing between Vincennes and 
Princeton, a ride of forty miles, but miserable log holes, and a 
mean ville of eight or ten huts or cabins, sad neglected farms, and 
indolent, dirty, sickly, wild-looking inhabitants. Soap is no 
where seen or found in any of the taverns, east or west. Hence 
dirty hands, heads, and faces every where. Here is nothing clean 
but wild beasts and birds, nothing industrious generally, except 
pigs, which are so of necessity. Work or starve is the order of 
the day with them. Nothing happy but squirrels; their life 
seems all play, and that of the hogs all work. I reached Prince- 
ton at sun-set. 

3rd. — I looked round Princeton, a four-year old town and 
county-seat. Here I found and called on my countryman Mr. 
Phillips, who came a visitor from Somersetshire, but fixed on a 
pleasant good farm of 300 acres close to the town, which he bought 
with some improvements, such as a small log-house, and a few 
acres cleared by art and nature, at 20 dollars an acre; "the only 
farm (says he) which I would have in this state of Indiana, but 
which I mean to improve and resell, and then return to England. 
I hate the prairies, all of them; insomuch that I would not have 
any of them of a gift, if I must be compelled to live on them. 
They are all without water, except what is too muddy and dis- 
tant for use. I am much perplexed with labourers; both the Eng- 
lish and natives are good for nothing; they know nothing, and it is 
impossible to get any kind of business well done, either with or 
without money. Money cannot be gained by cultivation. There 
is no certain good market; farm produce may, perhaps, be sold at 
some price, but you cannot get your money of the cheats and scum 
of society who live here. I think that Birkbeck is right in not 
cultivating his land, though wrong and mortified in having writ- 
ten so hastily and prematurely. He and Flower are both sink- 
ing and scattering money, which they will never see more or 
gather again. They cannot even hope to gain or increase their 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

capital, but by the contingent increase in the value of their land, 
which is not the best of its kind. With hired labour and a 
market, I should prefer the western country, but here,"' though 
there is no visible want, yet is there proverty indeed, and but little 
or no friendship. No sharing things in common; idleness poverty, 
and cheating, are the order and temper of the day." 

Mr. Phillips and his wife both looked very shabby, wild and 


He apologized to me for his dishabille, and said, 



if a stranger like you had found me in this plight in England, and I 
could have seen you coming up to my door, I should have hid 
myself. Here, however, no shame is felt, but pleasure, at a 
visit from one of my countrymen, whom I shall be happy to meet 


He keeps a housemaid only, his wife doing nearly all 
the drudgery herself, although in England, a lady, unaccustomed 
to soil her hands, or let her feet stray from the parlour carpet. 

I had a long and interesting conversation with a young law- 
yer, the supreme Judge Hart, living in this town, but proscribed 
and suspended for sending a challenge to three agents of his 
estates in Kentucky, who, after, injuring him, caricatured him, 

and then refused to fight. The judge says that English labourers 
know nothing, and are worth nothing in agriculture here; hewing, 
splitting, clearing, grubbing, and ploughing among roots, being a 

It is 

business which they do not, and wish not, to understand, 
true that they are handy with the spade, and that only, 
feel too free to work in earnest, or at all, above two or three days in 
a week. Every English body here is above work, except the good 
little farmer, like your friend, John Ingle, and old Phillips, the 
former of whom is likely to kill himself with hard work. He was 
sick twice in consequence, and once - nearly unto death. 


Ingle and her husband gain and deserve a good name, and feel 
happy and contented on a good farm, which is too near the road. 
They bought a log-house, town lot, pro tempore, at Princeton, at a 


forced sale, for 300 dollars; which they now let for forty dollars a 
year, to Mr. and Miss Fordham, Flower's nephew and niece, who 
were sick of the prairie of Illinois, where health could not attend 
them. Your friend, J. Ingle, lost his horses for three weeks. He 


is expecting more of his English friends to follow him. Mr. Birk- 
beck is disappointed and unhappy; I know him well. He has not 
cultivated nor raised, as yet, any thing from his land, although 
the Harmonites refused to sell him produce, because they thought 


it was his duty to raise it himself, and plainly told him so. 
will never make a farmer, nor money by farming there. 

It is 

William Faux. 


idle to attempt to import English labourers for the use of your- 
selves exclusively, for Birkbeck and Flower lost all. The same, 
says Mr. Pittiss, late of the Isle of Wight. Women and girls, too, 
are here above assisting in the house, at a price per day or week. 
Wives and daughters must do all themselves. The girl, or white 
servant, if one can now and then be had, at one dollar per week 
and board, is pert and proud as her mistress, and has her parasol at 
six dollars, and bonnet at ten or twelve dollars, and other articles 
in character, which, as dress generally does with all grades, seduces 
them from a virtuous regard of their duties, says this young and 
sprightly lawyer. People here, though poor and idle, feel above 
thieving, the facility of living without, and the certainty of expo- 
sure and summary punishment, seem to conquer the propensity, 
where it may happen to exist. 

I feel convinced that none but working farmers, like John 
Ingle, ought to come to this western land. Water is bad, white, or 
milky, at Princeton; but beds are good, with the bed-room doors 
next the street, unlocked all night, in order that ingress and egress 
may be free, which is the more necessary, as there are, as is very 
generally the case here, none of those accommodations, either 
within or without doors, which an Englishmen looks upon as quite 


I met and talked with old Squire MTntosh, who, although he 
has lived 35 years here, away from his dear native Scotland, still 
regrets it. "I now live," says the squire, "on the grand rapids of 
the big Wabash, a mile above the White River ferry; call and 
spend a night with me on your way to Birkbeck's settlement, 
which is the reverse of every thing which he has written of it, and 
described it to be. The neighbourhood, however, do not think 
he intended to misrepresent and deceive, but that he wrote too 
soon, and without knowing the real state of things, and under- 
standing his subject, or knowing where to find the best land. He 
ought to have examined, in company with one of Uncle Sam's sur- 
veyors; he would not then have entered land in the lump, or mass, 
a great deal of which is not good, nor ever can be, being wet, 
swampy, cold prairies, something like undrained marshes in Eng- 
land. Mr. Birkbeck entered much at the land-office, but sold lit- 
tle, only such half sections as he ought to have bought and kept 
for himself and friends. Mr. Phillips, on whom you have just 
called, say the gentlemen round me, is the slave of his own Eng- 
lish notions and passions; he is, therefore, always hesitating and 
undecided ; sometimes, when things run crossly and crooked, he is 

304 Early Travels in Indiana. 

seen and heard heartily execrating this country and people; and, 
at other times, he is well pleased. He is an odd man, surrounded 
with eight fierce dogs, and has a fine, never-failing mill spring, 
running a mile through his farm, which, one year ago, cost 20 
dollars, but is now worth only ten dollars an acre, with all improve- 
ments. This is turning a penny quickly! Despatch is the life 


and soul of business." 

4th. — The Supreme Judge, Hart, is a gay young man of twen- 
ty-five, full of wit and humorous eloquence, mixing with all com- 
panies at this tavern, where he seems neither above nor below 
any, dressed in an old white beaver hat, coarse threadbare coat 
and trowsers of the same cloth (domestic,) and yellow striped 
waistcoat, with his coat out at the elbows; yet very cleanly in his 
person, and refined in his language. What can be the inducement 
for a young man, like him, equal to all things, to live thus, and 

Judge Hart deems merchandizing to be the most profitable 
pursuit in the west, and the liberal professions the last and 

Mr. Nicholls, a cunning Caledonian, says, that farming, except 
near the rivers, cannot answer; but raising and feeding cattle 
and pigs may. Store keeping is here evidently the best of all 
employments, if cents and dollars enter into the estimate. 
Money spent in improving land is seldom more than returned with 
interest, and often lost by reselling or selling out, especially if 
the labour is not all done by the farmer; and if it is done by his own 
instead of hired hands, he is not more than fairly paid for his time 
and labour, which are both money. It is therefore best for the mere 
capitalist to buy rather than make all the improvements, as he 
certainly buys them much cheaper than he can create them. He 

should confine himself to the east. 

Mr. Phillips, the English gentleman on whom I called yester- 
day, returned my call this evening. He seems a mass of con- 
tradiction, and states that this western country is the best he 
knows, but that it costs more to live in it than in London; that . 
it is idle for a farmer to raise more produce than he can use him- 
self; but that there are farmers making money as fast as they can 
count it, by raising large quantities of farm produce in this and 
the neighbouring state of Illinois; that others might do the 
same; that there is now a market better than in the east, and that 
in five or seven years the market at New Orleans down the river 
will be good and great; yet that the parties to whom you must sell 


William Faux. 


are all d d rogues. Feeding beef and pork he deems a good 

trade, especially when the land shall come to be clovered and sown 
with other grass seeds. He thinks there is little or no good beef 
in the wilderness, because it is raised and fed on natural wild 
vegetables, many of which are ill-flavoured and poisonous. 
Beasts often die suddenly in the fall of the year in consequence 
of being confined to such food. The natural white clover, in the 
month of June, salivates cattle and horses, which, however, still 
devour it greedily, and seem to thrive thereon. 

Our party this evening were all agreed in this particular; 
that the western country is only fit for the little hard-working 
farmer with a small capital. He must live, and better than he 
could elsewhere, on and from the productions of his own hands 
and lands. He can retail his produce, and be gardener and farmer 
both; vegetables every where being scarce and dear, because peo- 
ple are too idle to raise them. Wholesale farmers from England 
expecting to cultivate from 300 to 1,000 acres, and sell the farm 
produce in lumps, will come here only to be disappointed. Small 
retailing farmers only are wanted here. Mr. Phillips deems that 
Birkbeck, Flower, and Mr. Dunlop of London, who have bought 
so many thousands of acres, and the latter of whom pays treble 
tax as a non-resident, will greatly benefit at some future time by 
capital so employed, although they may never cultivate an acre, 
or touch the land. -The capital seems to be idle and sleeps, but 
it will one day, he thinks, awake, and find itself gigantically 
augmented. Mr. Phillips, whose opinion is not respected here, 
was never a farmer until he came here. His improvements do 
honour to his intuition. 

General Evans, who this day formed one of our circle, is in 
part the owner of this town of Princeton, and of Evansville, which 
bears his name. He is a pleasant, rustic, middle-aged man, living 
here in a little log-house, together with his lady and daughter, 
who, having no servant, do all the work of their establishment 
themselves. Servants are not to be had. The same may be said 
of all the rest of the inhabitants. Envy and invidious compar- 
isons have, therefore, no place at Princeton. 

General Boon, during the last war, (says the General) lost two 
sons killed ; and his f ayourite daughter and her friend were stolen 
by the Indians, who marched the fair captives two days without 
resting, and intended marrying them, but were overtaken by the 
colonel and his son, and a lover of the lady. The young couple, 
previous to this event, were on the point of marriage, and are now 

T— 20 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

living as husband and wife in Kentucky. The captives cunningly 
indented the ground all the way from the Colonel's house with, 
their high-heeled shoes, so that they might be tracked; and 
when they saw their brave deliverers coming up full speed, they 
fell flat on the earth, while the firing of rifles commenced on the 
Indians, who tried in vain to kill their fair prisoners by throwing 
their knives and tomahawks at them; but the pursuers triumphed, 
and all were recovered and restored unhurt. General Boon now 
lives in solitude 600 miles up the remote Missouri. He is 80 
years old, very active, very poor, a hunter and a recluse by choice, 
and trains up his sons in the same path, feeling more happiness 
than he possibly could in society, where he would have lived 
and died, if he had willed it, full of scars, and honours, and days. 
His parents were always poor; his disposition is kind and hos- 
pitable; his manners simple and gentle; preferring to live meanly 
and rudely as a hardy hunter and squatter, wanting nothing 
but what nature gives him, and his own hands get him. He 
sleeps on a bear-skin, and clothes himself in dressed deer-skin, 
and though shy, is kind to intruding strangers. The western coun- 
try is indebted to him, as he leads the way into the best spots of the 
wilderness. He was the first white man in Old Kentucky, and the 


wide, wild west is full of his licks. A flourishing settlement always 
rises wherever he has once squatted, and whenever any settlers 
begin to approach near his location, he quits it for ever, and moves 
on further west; and the place, which he thus abandons, is called 
Boon's Lick. He never wants much land; only a spot sufficient 
for the supply of his household. 

I saw a man this day with his face sadly disfigured. 


had lost his nose, bitten off close down to its root, in a fight with a 
nose-loving neighbour. 

Judge Hart deems it foolish policy in English-men wishing to 
form English settlements and neighbourhoods, and thereby to 
perpetuate English distinctions and prejudices, so offensive to 
their adopted country, and so unprofitable to themselves. Noth- 
ing is good with them but what is English, whereas they should 
rather endeavor to forget the name, which ever kindles unfriendly 
feelings. - 

I saw a fine fat buck, fat as a Lincolnshire wether sheep, and 
weighing, when dressed and with the head off, 140 lbs. It sold for 
two dollars, less than three farthings per pound. 

Politeness, in manner and address, is more necessary here than 
in Bond-street, for here you invariably receive it, and to give it in 

William Faux. 


return is justly due. The titles, "Sir" and "Madam/' (not Ma'am) 
are pleasant to and expected by all; for however mean may be the 
exterior of a citizen of this free, equal country, there is a spirit and 
an intelligence, and often sprightliness about him, which decorate 
any thing and make even rags respectable. 

Two months ago the High Sheriff of Chilicothe, Ohio, went to 
jail for want of bail. He had siezed, personally, on the funds of 
the United States' branch bank. This was hard! 

Birkbeck, (say my companions) complained at first of our 
slovenly state of things, and the indolence of farmers and labour- 
ers, and boasted of what might be done, and what he should do, 
but has, at the end of four years, done nothing but talk of doing. 
The facility of a living for all, and the consequent difficulty of 
procuring labour, even for money, together with the sickly, relax- 
ing warmth of the climate, are obstacles which overwhelm all 
industry. The principal care is how to live easy. Time, and not 
man, effectually clears and improves land in this country. Time 
here changes his character, and preserves and replenishes, while 
man destroys and wears out what he can. 

The reason (says Judge Hart) why Scotchmen always get 
money, in this and all other lands to which they wander, is, because 
they leave no means untried. 

The season, called the Indian summer, which here commences 
in October, by a dark blue hazy atmosphere, is caused by mil- 
lions of acres, for thousands of miles round, being in a wide- 
spreading, flaming, blazing, smoking fire, rising up through wood 
and prairie, hill and dale, to the tops of low shrubs and high trees, 
which are kindled by the coarse, thick, long, prairie grass, and dy- 
ing leaves, at every point of the compass, and far beyond the 
foot of civilization, darkening the air, heavens and earth, over the 
whole extent of the northern and part of the southern continent, 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and in neighbourhoods con- 
tiguous to the all-devouring conflagration, filling the whole 
horizon with yellow, palpable, tangible smoke, ashes, and vapour, 
which affect the eyes of man and beast, and obscure the sun, 
moon, and stars, for many days, or until the winter rains descent 
to quench the fire and purge the thick ropy air, which is seen, 
tasted, handled, and felt. 

So much for an Indian summer, which partakes of the vulgar 
idea of the infernal. Why called Indian? Because these fires 
seem to have originated with the native tribes, and are now per- 
petuated by the White Hunters, who by these means start, 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

disturb, and pen up the game, and destroy the dens of both man 
and beast, and all this with impunity. 

To-morrow, through floods and flames, I shall endeavour to 
make good my desperate way to the retreat of my good friend, 
John Ingle, in Indiana. 

— At nine, a. m. I left Princeton on a horse carrying 

double, me and my guide, through the wilderness, to my friend 

John Ing 

who had sent the said horse and boy twenty-five 

miles for my accommodation. The little town just quitted, and at 
which I paid the extravagant price of two dollars a day for board, 
has nineteen streets, and about one hundred and five houses, one 
prison, and one meeting-house, or church, all of wood; one supreme 
judge, and four other judges; and in the unpeopled county are 
another quorum of judges, and three generals. It is called Prince- 
ton, in honour of its living founder, Judge Prince. 

We rode all day through thick smoke and fire, which sometimes 
met in pillar-like arches across the road, and compelled us to wait 
awhile, or turn aside. We passed only one comfortable abode, 
and three or four filthy one-room log-holes, surrounded by small 
patches, cleared samples of the bulk, which seems good land. I 
called at one of the three, a tavern, to beg for bread, but got 
none; only some whiskey. I saw a deer-lick, at which I dis- 
mounted and took a lick. The earth thus licked and excavated by 
many tongues, is of the colour of fuller's earth, not ill-flavoured, but 
a little salt and saponaceous, always attractive to the beasts of the 


At five o'clock, p. m., I reached the welcome abode of my 
Huntingdonshire friends, Mr. and Mrs. John Ingle, who, together 
with their English maid-servant, Rebecca, and six children, rushed 
out to embrace and welcome their old friend, school-fellow, 
neighbour, and fellow-countryman, and great was the joy of our 

Here I found good sweet bread, like the English, and hot 
corn-cake, and supped, on what I supposed fine pork steaks. 
"This meat (said I to Mr. Ingle) is most delicious." "Well 
then, you like it, do you?" "I do indeed." "What do you think 
it is?" "Why, pork to be sure." "Well, we thought we would 
not tell you until after supper, lest you should fancy it was not 
good and refuse to eat Bear." "Oh," said I, "if this be bear, give 
me bear for ever." 

My friend's log-house, as a first, is one of the best I have 
seen, having one large room and a chamber over it, to which you 

William Faux. 


climb by a ladder. It has, at present, no windows, but when the 
doors are shut the crevices between the rough logs admit light and 
air enough, above and below. It is five yards square and twenty 
, feet high. At a little distance stand a stable for two horses, a corn 
crib, a pig-stye, and a store; for storekeeping is his intention, and 
it is a good one. Two beds in the room below, and one above, 
lodge us in the following manner; myself and Mr. Ingle in one 
bed; in the second, by our side, sleep six fine but dirty children; 
and in the chamber, Mrs. Ingle and a valuable English maid. 
Thus on my account, husband and wife were divided. It is not 
. unusual for a male and female to sleep in the same room uncur- 
tained, holding conversation while in bed. In a yard adjoining the 
house are three sows and pigs half starved, and several cows, calves, 
and horses, very poor, having no grass, no pasture, but with bells 
about their necks, eternally ringing. Shame, or rather what is called 
false shame, or delicacy, does not exist here. Males dress and 
undress before the females, and nothing is thought of it. Here is no 
servant. The maid is equal to the master. No boy, or man-servant. 
No water, but at half a mile distant. Mr. Ingle does all the jobs, and 
more than half the hewing, splitting, and ploughing. He is all econ- 
omy, all dirty-handed industry. No wood is cut in readiness for 
morning fires. He and the axe procure it, and provender for the poor 
hungry cattle, pigs, and horses. His time is continually occupied, 
and the young boys just breeched are made useful in every pos- 
sible way. 

Nothing is English here but friendship and good-will. Ameri- 
can labourers here, as usual, are very villainous; one, a preacher, 
took a piece of land to clear for my friend, and received, before he 
began, forty dollars on account, but refused to perform his con- 
tract. To sue him was idle. My friend, in the presence of the 
fellow's son, called him a right reverend rascal and thief. "Call 
him so again," said the son, doubling his fist ready to strike. 
My friend repeated it, and taking up an axe, said. "Now strike, 
but if you do, as I was never yet afraid of a man, I'll chop you into 
rails." Money rarely procures its value in labour. He deems that 
as much money is to be made from 200 acres of land here, as in 
England, while here the land is made your own. To do that in 
I England, is the top of a farmer's ambition. Here, a man can 

make all that he cultivates his own. He says that he shall live 
and gain money this first year, though only sixteen acres are in 
cultivation. Mrs. Ingle, maid, and children, suffered much in 
crossing the sea and mountains. They slept on the floor, in a hole, 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

with waggoners, and other male blackguards, where the stench, 
both by sea and land, was little short of pestilential. 

Sunday, 7th. — More than half last night, Mr. and Mrs. Ingle, 
and maid, were out in the woods extinguishing the wide spreading 
fires, which threatened to consume their fences, houses, and corn- 
fields. The whole horizon was brilliantly illuminated. These 
fires, if not arrested, or watched, sweep away houses, stacks of 
corn and hay, and every thing within reach. So fared Mr. Grant, 
late of Chatteris, who is now dead. The sound of the axe, split- 
ting fire-wood, salutes the ear every morning, instead of the birds' 
song. I was smoked to death all night; our friends rested all day 
absent from meeting, but still the knees of all present were bent to 
the God of their good fathers. Sunday passes unnoticed in the 
English prairie, except by hunting and cricket matches. 

The bears, during the summer, are lean and hungry, and seize 
the hogs and eat them alive. It is no uncommon thing to see 
hogs escape home with the loss of a pound or two of living flesh. 
These creatures sleep all the winter quite fat. Rattle-snakes 
abound here. Mr. Ingle killed four or five beautiful snakes of this 
species this summer, and one or two vipers. 

— I accompanied J. Ingle, and water-cart, to the spring, 

8th — 

half a mile off, on the farm of Major Hooker, a hunter, who sold us 
half a fat buck at three cents a pound; thus killing and selling 
from four to six per week, besides turkeys, pheasants, rabbits, 
racoons, squirrels, and bears. This half buck, weighing 70 pounds, 
Mr. Indie carried home on a shoulder-stick. The major's, and 
other families here, raise cotton for domestic uses, which, in warm 
and dry seasons, flourishes well. What I saw in pods, and that 
which the women were spinning, seemed of excellent quality. The 
seed of this plant was, in slave states, thought nutritious enough, 
when boiled, for the support of negroes; but as many died in using 
it, it was abandoned 

The China leaf, or tea-plant, has been propagated at 
Princeton, in Mr. Devan's garden, and at Harmony, from seed 
brought from China. It is said to grow luxuriantly, yielding more 
leaf than is used, and making a useful decoction, similar in flavour, 
though not so pleasant, as that procured from the imported plant. 
It is manufactured by sweating it in an oven, and when taken out, 
it cools and curls up, and becomes fit for use. The indigo also is a 
little cultivated. The woods abound with medical herbs. The 
Ching Sang and Ipecacuanha are found, for emetics. The vine is 

very luxuriant, and cultivated at Harmony with success; while 






William Faux. 


the trees are full of gum. The Dogwood Bark is also found as 
efficient as the Peruvian, and the Sassafras tea is in general use 
for two or three months. 

Great idleness prevails in the Illinois; little or no produce is yet 
raised. G. Flower had contracted with the American hunters, to 
raise and cultivate 500 acres of corn and grain; he finding land and 
seed, and they all the labour of raising and getting it fit for market, 
at nine dollars an acre. This bargain became void. 

9th.— A doctor, of little or no skill, lives twelve miles distant, 
and this little settlement of Sandersville has no school for the chil- 
dren, who remain at home pestering their parents, and retrograd- 
ing into barbarism. Mrs. Ingle dreads their mixing and associat- 
ing with the race of children who surround them. A schoolmaster 
here would be welcomed with a salary of from 400 to 500 dollars a 
year, although not one of the first grade, but he must be content 
to live in a wilderness. 

I feel, every day, more and more convinced that the western 
country is suited only to working families, like those of J. Ingle; 
where Mrs. Ingle, (delicately bred) and all turn out to work, as 
today, and the other night to put out the approaching fires. 

fcThe bears and wolves have devoured several sows while far- 
rowing; they are then weak and defenceless, and therefore an easy 
prey. Never did I behold such ghostly pigs as here. Soap, 
candles, sugar, cotton, leather, and woolen clothes, of a good qual- 
ity, are here all made from the land, but not without the most 
formidable, unremitting industry on the part of the females. 
Filth and rags, however, are often preferred. Imperious neces- 


sity alone commands extraordinary exertion. Yesterday, a set- 
tler passed our door with a bushel of corn-meal on his back, for 
which he had travelled twenty miles, on foot, to the nearest horse- 
mill, and carried it ten miles, paying 75 cents for it. This said 
corn is invaluable to both man and beast; black and white men 
both profess to think they should starve on wheat meal without 


The everlasting sound of falling trees, which, being under- 
mined by the fires, are falling around almost every hour, night 
and day, produces a sound loud and jarring as the discharge of 
ordnance, and is a relief to the dreary silence of these wilds, only 
broken by the axe, the gun, or the howlings of wild beasts. 

Retrograding and barbarizing is an easy process. Far from the 
laws and restraints of society, and having no servants to do that for 
us which was once daily done, we become too idle in time to do 

• < 



312 Early Travels in Indiana. 

any thing, but that which nature and necessity require; pride and 
all stimuli forsake us, for we find ourselves surrounded only by 
men of similar manners; hence, the face is seldom shaved, or 
washed, or the linen changed except on washing-days. The 
shoes are cleaned, perhaps, never; for if, indeed, a servant, from 
England, is kept, he, or she, is on a happy equality, rising up last 
and lying down first, and eating freely at the same time and table. 
None here permit themselves to have a master, but negroes. 

A voyage in the stinking steerage of a ship, and then a journey 
over the mountains in waggons, sometimes camping out all 
night, or sleeping, like pigs, as did Mrs. Ingle and six children 
and maid, on the dirty floor of a bar-room, amongst blackguards, 
and then floating in a little stinking ark, full of unclean things, will 
prepare the mind and body for barbarizing in a little log-hole, like 
that in which I dined yesterday, belonging to Mr. Ferrel, who, with 
his family, some adults, male and female, in all ten souls, sleep 
in one room, fifteen feet by ten, only half floored, and in three 
beds, standing on a dirt floor. The table, or thing so called, is 
formed by two blocks and a broad board laid on them, and cov- 
ered with a cloth, and seats or forms, in like manner, on each 
side of the table, which is only knee-high. Proper chairs and 
tables, they have none. When it rains, boards are laid over the 
chimney top, (which I can reach with my hand) to prevent the 
rain putting the fires out. This good-natured man has thus set- 
tled and removed, eight times, from one degree of barbarism to 
another. The victuals are served up in a hand-bason; and thus 
one room serves for parlour, kitchen, hall, bed-room, and pantry. 
The settlers, too, here, are without implements, but such as they 
can patch and form together of themselves; they are too distant 


and expensive to buy. What they have must cost nothing, like 
their houses, which are raised in a day by the neighbours all 
meeting together, so going in turn to serve each other, as we did 

10th. — Mr. Peck, late of Chatteris, introduced himself to me 
this day. Born and bred a labourer, he at length became a 
little farmer, on the dearest land in Chatteris, from which he 
brought a wife, four daughters, one son, a man, and 500Z.; all, the 
perfection of British industry. Feeling themselves likely to lose 
all, they came here to two quarter sections, costing 145L to be 
paid, in three years, by instalments; so leaving 355Z. for stock, 
seed corn, and housekeeping, until they shall have cleared twenty 


acres, and raised produce. He begged I would come and dine with 

William Faux. 


him, so that I might hear particulars of his former state, present 
condition and prospects, and be able to tell his old neighbours of 
his comforts and satisfaction. "Now," says he, "I feel I can live, 
and live well, by working, and without fretting and working, seven- 
teen, out of the twenty-four hours, all the year round, as I used to 
do at Chatteris. And what is sweeter than all, I feel I am now 
the owner of 300 acres of land, all paid for, and free from all poor- 
rates, parsons, and tax-gathers, and that I shall be able to give 
and leave each of my children, 100 acres of good land to work upon, 
instead of the highway, or Chatteris work-house. No fear of their 
committees now, nor of Ely jail." 

It was pleasant to witness the boasting satisfaction of this 
good, honest fellow, and his family of young Pecks. 

I saw an old, dirty, stinking Irishman, very well to do, settled 
on a quarter section here, but who says, were it not for his family, 
he could do better in Ireland; and therefore, for the sake of his 
family, the is content to live a little longer, and die here. They will 
be better off. He came to breakfast with us, and borrowed a 
razor to shave his beard, for once, instead of clipping it off. 

Meeting Mr. Hornbrook, the first settler here, I said to him, 
"How is it, that you, and others, can do with such houses here, 
when you had such comfortable ones in England." "Oh," said 
he, "after our voyage and journey, we are glad to get into any 
hole, although we know, that in England, they would think them 
not good enough for stables.' ' 

On the eve of this day, a heavy battering rain came, and put 
out the fires, and cleared the air, and poured water down upon our 
beds. Great lumps of the clay, or daubing, stuffed between the 
logs, also kept falling on our heads, and into our beds, while it 

rained. We needed an umbrella. 

Mrs. Ingle, a woman of superior sense and feeling, states that 
the prospect of seeing herself, husband, and children dependent 
on grandfathers and grandmothers, and uncles and aunts, and 
thereby lessening the resources of two distinct and worthy families, 
impelled them to emigrate. It ceased almost to be matter of 
choice. Still, love of country, former friends and comforts, from 
which they tore themselves, is inextinguishable, and frequently a 
source of painful thought. Such a good, proud feeling is very hon- 
ourable, for with fair play in England, it would have kept them 
there, and increased rather than diminished the resources of grand- 
fathers, &c. 

11th. — By a conversation with old Ferrel, I find he began, 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

thirty years ago, with nothing but his own hands. Striking each 
hand, he said, "This is all I had to begin with;" and it seems, that 
excepting his children, he has little more now, merely a quarter 
section just entered, and a log raised on it. All seem very improvi- 
dent and extravagant, the family sometimes eating four or five 
pounds of butter a day, the produce of all their cows. Thus, 
with the corn-cake and bacon, a part of the year, (for they are 
almost always destitute for fresh meat, tea and sugar) is their 
table supplied. 

Ferrel is a man of experience and discernment, and states that 
he would not fetch corn from Princeton, twenty miles off, of a 
gift, if he could grow it, nor would he carry it to the Ohio for sale, 
because it would not pay carriage and expenses. When (if ever) 
they shall have surplus produce, he will give it to pigs and cattle, 
which will walk to market. He always, and every where, had a 
market at the door, and he always expects it, because of the 

number of idle people who do not, or cannot raise produce. 


says, that as Mr. Ingle was no judge of the quality of land here, he 
has chosen that which is not lasting, namely black oak land. It is 
kind and useful, but after three crops, he will see and believe, 
though he does not now, that his old American neighbours know 
and have got the best land. He thinks that a slave state, with 
negroes, well chosen, is the best for capitalists, who need not, or 
cannot work themselves. He still thinks that hiring when you 
can, is a free state in the west, may sometimes pay, but. as nearly 
all feel themselves masters instead of labourers, it is impossible to 
be regularly supplied with hands. Kindness, equality, persuasion, 
and good pay will sometimes effect it. He says, that a man is 
seldom more than paid for improvements. 

Supped with a Mr. Maidlow, a most intelligent and respect- 

• * 

able Hampshire farmer, a neighbour of Cobbett's, who left Eng- 
land and his large farm, at about 16s. an acre, because, from a fair 
trial, he found it impossible to farm without losing money, although 
his wheat-land averaged six quarters an acre, and his landlord,— 
Jervis, Esq., had lowered the rent 20 per cent. He brought a 
considerable capital and English habits and feelings, the best in 
the world, into the neatest and cleanest log-cabin that I have seen, 
and is building already a second, larger and better, for the preser- 
vation of all that is comfortable and respectable in the English 
character, being determined that neither himself nor family shall 
barbarize. This is impossible: all barbarize here. He has bought 
six quarter sections, and hopes not to do more than keep his prop- 

William Faux. 


erty, get land for his family, and live and die comfortably. Riches 
he thinks out of the question, and it is his wish that the settle- 
ment should feel and act towards each other as one family; the 
reverse of Illinois, in which he intended to settle, and to which he 
was attracted by the books of Mr. Birkbeck, who refused him 
land, except at an advanced price, although he had 30,000 acres 
retained for people in England, who never came; while those who 
applied, many and respectable practical farmers, were denied. 

The settlers here being all out of wheat-flour and Indian corn- 
meal, Mr. Ingle, self, a boy, and two children began, at noon, to 
gather and shell ears of corn for grinding into meal, and finished 
two bushels by night, ready for the mill, ten miles off, next day; 
when a boy on a horse started with it early, expecting to return the 
following Sunday morning, if not lost in the woods. 

12th. — Visited Mr. Potts's cabin and farm, 400 acres of good 
land, on which he lives, without a woman, but has a good man from 
Stockport in Cheshire, where they both came from, and thus they 
alone manage both the house and the field. They have dug a well, 
many feet through the solid rock, without finding water. I saw 
here an experiment which I little expected to see; the eighth of an 
acre of upland rice; three quarts were sown on it in May, in drills, 
eighteen inches asunder, and the increase is three bushels. The 
straw is like barley straw, and the stubble rank and stout, and not 
to be known from oat stubble, on rich fen land, only brighter. 

Saw a poor Englishman, who some time since broke his leg, 

which from want of skill in the doctor, was not properly set; he is 

therefore now a cripple for life. This is an evil to which all are 

"exposed. Many are now dying at Evansville of a bilious disorder; 

the doctor employed has lost nearly all who applied. 

River banks are here always unhealthy. A family from Lin- 
colnshire, attracted by fine land, on one of the prairie creeks, where 
no American would live on any terms, all fell sick, one died, and 
the farmer and his wife both lay unable to help themselves, or 
get help, except from one of their little boys, who escaped the 
contagion. Birkbeck strongly remonstrated with them against 
settling there. 


The farmers (Americans) indebted to the store-keepers, are 
now forced to sell all their corn at one dollar a barrel, and buy it 
again for their spring and summer use at five dollars, a fine profit 
for the monied merchant. Forty bushels per acre of corn pays bet- 
ter (says the old farmer) than wheat, with only twenty to twenty- 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


The land here, though good, is not first rate, or of the most 

durable quality. 

A pigeon roost is a singular sight in thinly settled states, partic- 
ularly in Tennessee in the fall of the year, when the roost extends 
over either a portion of woodland or barrens, from four to six 
miles in circumference. The screaming noise they make when thus 
roosting is heard at a distance of six miles; and when the beech- 
nuts are ripe, they fly 200 miles to dinner, in immense flocks, hid- 
ing the sun and darkening the air like a thick passing cloud. They 
thus travel 400 miles daily. They roost on the high forest trees, 
which they cover in the same manner as bees in swarms cover a 
bush, being piled one on the other, from the lowest to the top- 
most boughs, which so laden, are seen continually bending and 
falling with their crashing weight, and presenting a scene of con- 
fusion and destruction, too strange to describe, and too dangerous 
to be approached by either man or beast. While the living birds 
are gone to their distant dinner, it is common for man and animals 
to gather up or devour the dead, then found in cartloads. When 
the roost is among the saplings, on which the pigeons alight with- 
out breaking them down, only bending them to the ground, the 
self-slaughter is not so great; and at night, men, with lanterns 
and poles, approach and beat them to death without much per- 


But the grand mode of taking them is by setting 



the high dead g 

leaves, and shrubs underneath, in a 

wide blazing circle, fired at different parts, at the same time, so as 
soon to meet. Then down rush the pigeons in immense numbers, 
and indescribable confusion, to be roasted alive, and gathered up 
dead next day from heaps two feet deep. 

—Major Hooker frequently shoots, and then cooks and 


eats the huge wild cats, while Mr. Birkbeck and his family eat the 
rattle-snake, the flesh of which, says Mr. Ingle, is fine, sweet, and 
white, as an eel. Pigs also eat them voraciously. Armstrong, a 
hunting farmer, this day shot four deer, while he is too idle to 
inclose his cornfield, which is devoured by cattle and horses, save 
when a boy watches it to keep them off. This man and family 
then, though with plenty of land, must buy corn, and depend upon 
wild meat for the support of his idle family, who have either a 
feast or a famine. They keep several cows, but as calves are con- 
stantly with them (having no separate inclosure) and as the family 
eat 5 lbs. of butter a day, for three days in the week, which con- 
sumes all the dairy at once, they go without during the remainder 

William Faux. 


of the week. They never sell any, though it is 25 cents per pound. 
No fear of surplus produce from such farmers. 


The hope, it seemed, of preserving and increasing his prop- 
erty, was amongst Mr. Birkbeck's ruling motives for emigration. 
To those to whom he is known, he is very hearty and sociable. 
To J. Ingle he said, "There are so many thousand dollars in that 
drawer; they are of no use to me: go, and take what you like." 
He is very careless and improvident, like the rest of his literary 
fraternity, and unconscious of what his powerful pen and high 
reputation were effecting by exciting a strong feeling in favour 
of emigration, at a moment when the people of England were 
despairing; so strong, indeed, that what he did and wrote, burst 
in upon them like a discovery. Unconscious of all this, he left 
undone all which he ought in common policy to have done. The 
weakest head could see that after purchasing land and alluring set- 
tlers, he ought to have guarded against a famine by providing for 
their accommodation, building a few log-houses, store-houses, and 
a tavern, and cultivating corn, so that the numerous callers in this 
inhospitable waste might have found food, and a shelter, and a 
person to shew the land, which he had to resell. Whereas a stable, 
a covered waggon, and prairie-grass, formed their only shelter and 
bed; and not having food sufficient for himself, there was little or 
none for strangers, and no person to shew the land, nor did he know 
himself where it lay. He idly thought that if they wished land 
they would find it themselves; and being in expectation of many 
such families from England, he thought he had no land to spare, 
so that the real practical farmers of both worlds who called, turned 
away disgusted to other and better neighbourhoods, the Kaskasky, 
and Missouri, and Red River, where more important settlements 
are rising. He therefore, as the rich families did not come, has no 
real farmers in his settlement, and hoped J. Ingle, being one, would 
come and make one solitary farmer amongst them. Trusting too, 
to his own judgment, he has settled down on and entered indis- 
criminately good and bad land, much of which will never be worth 
any thing, being wet, marshy, spongy, on a stratum of unporous 
clay, over which pestilential fogs rise and hang continually. A 
United States' surveyor would, for a few dollars, have prevented 


such a choice. Common policy and prudence, too, ought to have 
induced him to reduce his fine farming theory into practice, other- 
wise it.seemed as if intended merely to deceive others. Even if he 
should, (as he now says) lose by it, or could buy produce cheaper 
than he could raise it, he still ought not so to buy it, but set an 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

example of farming. For of what use is land, if it is not worth 

As a proof of his improvident conduct, and bad management, 
his thirteen horses were all miserably poor and unfit for use, 

and when any were wanted, he would say to a hunter, "Here's 
five dollars for you, if you find and drive up the horses;" for he had 
no inclosure. The man knew where they were, and soon found 
them and received the fee; none then were fit for use. "Oh! don't 
tease me about horses." 

This evening, J. Ingle sat down by the fire, and cleaned the 
shoes of all the family, which he does every week. 

Sunday, 14th. — Called on a Caledonian Yankee farmer, busy 
at work in his garden, who said he had no Sunday in his week, 
but would buy one if he could. He is a quarter-section man, 
without wife or child, shoes or hose. 


After a meeting of 16 persons of this little settlement, in the 
log-house of my friend, who read a sermon and prayed for all 
present, I visited Mr. Hornbrook's, a respectable English family 
from Devonshire, on a good quantity of land, living in two or 
three log-cabins. 

Amongst the inducements of the Flower family to emigratte 
may be reckoned the probability of their wasting all their proper, y 
by farming their own estate, about 500 or 600 acres at Marsden. 
It was badly farmed, and the Merino trade failed, which was Mr. 
Flower's hobby-horse; and seeing his favourite son was determined 
to live in America, emigration now ceased to be a matter of choice. 
They intended to settle in the east. G. Flower, who brought a 
letter from 

Dm the celebrated Marquis de la Fayette to Mr. Jeffer- 
son, who he visited, bought an estate of 500 acres at 10 dollars an 


acre, near Jefferson's, where they were to have lived; but, as Mr. 
Birkbeck could not approve it, on account of slavery, it was 


The English settlement in Indiana, up to this time 

tains 12,800 acres entered, and in possession of actual settlers, 53 


families having capital to the amount of 80,000 dollars. 

William Faux. 


Expenses of clearing and inclosing an acre of land, ready for plant- 
ing, 6 i dollars; ditto of planting, with four ploughings and four 
hoeings, and harvesting, and stacking for market, at your own 
door, six dollars an acre ; so making the first year, an acre cost ... $12 . 50 

Second year, wheat 1 J bushel seed $1 . 50 

Ploughing once, 75 cents; clearing dead timber, break- 
ing up stumps, and hoeing sprouts, one dollar and 
50 cents 2 . 25 

Reaping 1§ bushel an acre, or in cash 1 . 00 

Carting, threshing, etc . 3 . 50 


Cost of one acre in two years 

• • 

. . $20.75 

Produce of an acre of Indian corn, 35 bushels, at 50 cents the first 



Ditto, wheat, 25 bushels, at 75 cents the second year 18 . 75 

Value of the acre, in two years $36 . 25 

Deduct cost 20 . 75 

Profit $15.50 

In the next two years, the two acres will cost less by 8 dollars 75 


cents, which, added to 15 dollars 50 cents, makes the net profit 
on two acres 24 dollars 25 cents, besides the increased value of the 



The proper expenses of a farmer, arriving with a capital of 
2,000 dollars, that is to say, his necessary expenses in estab- 
lishing himself and family the first year: 

First year — Entry of half section, or 320 acres of land $160.00 

. * 

House and stable, 80 dollars; smoke house, pigstye and hen house, 

40 dollars 


Two horses, good, 160 dollars ; two ploughs and harness, 40 dollars. 200 . 00 

Four axes, four hoes, 16 dollars; waggon, 100 dollars; harrows, 12 


* • * 

128 00 

Spades, shovels, six dollars; two cows, 36 dollars; four sows in pig, 

20 dollars . . 

Corn crib and barn 

Clearing 20 acres of land first year, foot and under, and fenced well 130 . 00 


Ploughing, planting, hoeing and turning 


Twelve month's maintenance of family 

$990 . 00 

$1 , 240 . 00 

So leaving him at harvest 800 dollars of his 2,000 dollars for the 
uses of the coming year; but still, this money will not be wanted, as 


Early Travels in Indiana. 



the farm will now maintain itself and family; the money then 
should be at use. 


The foregoing statements," says Mr. Ingle, "I will swear are 




correct, and they are in part reduced to practice this year." 
think, however, that the money should be at command for his own 
use, as twenty acres more clearing, &c. unless he does most of it 
himself, (which he ought to do) wants 260 dollars the second year. 
All the labour, however, is to be done the first year by hired hands, 
if they can be found, and, if possible, to be done at a price per 
acre, not by the day. 

Mr. Ingle insists on it that none of the old funds will be wanted 
the second year, but that the farm will maintain itself and family; 
as the pigs will supply plenty of bacon to eat and some to sell, 
besides the surplus of the first crop of corn, which will supply some 
money; but the second year, the work upon the farm must be 
principally done by himself and family. 

He thinks that no more land should be under cultivation and 
fence, (say about forty or fifty, and thirty acres of grass) than the 
farmer can manage without hiring, which, at present, it is impos- 
sible to do with any thing like comfortable benefit and English 
regularity. He will not be so grasping as in England. A little will 
satisfy him; he is not so disposed to disquiet himself in vain. 
The habits and examples of the country will at length be impercep- 
tibly followed. 

New settlers in this state, men, women, and children, seem all 
exposed to an eruption, ten times worse than the itch, inasmuch 
as it itches more, runs all over the body, crusting and festering the 
hands and other parts, and is not to be cured by the common 
treatment for the itch, which has been tried without effect, and one 
instance has been known, where the sulphur and grease killed the 
patient by obstructing perspiration, and driving in the eruption. 
The doctors know of no remedy, and suffer it to take its tedious 
course. It comes in the spring and fall, but not to the same per- 
son, it is hoped, more than once. It is attributed to the air, soil, 
and climate. Mr. Ingle's family are all suffering severely under it. 
Although the climate seems finer here than in the east, more humid 
and temperate, yet the bite of every insect and reptile, however 
insignificant, is highly poisonous; an evil not to be remedied at 
present. New comers and fresh flesh suffer most, and sometimes 
much inflammation is caused; but when the land becomes more 
cleared, it is hoped this scourge will be less afflictive. * 

Fine yeast: Take a small handful, or a good nip of hops, and 


William Faux. 


boil them ten minutes, in one quart of water, then strain away the 
- hops, and pour the liquor into a quantity of flour, sufficient to 
give the consistency of batter well beaten; a tea-cup full, or some- 
thing less than the usual quantity of brewer's yeast, is sufficient for 
a half-stone loaf; two spoonfuls of brewer's yeast to work the first 
making; then, even after, a little of the last made; the yeast to be 
put to it while milk-warm, and kept so until it ferments, which it 


generally does in summer very soon, and in winter in a day, but 
it must not be used until it does ferment. In winter it keeps one 
month, in summer (America) one week, two in England, and is a 
fine saving and a great convenience. 

16th. — A poor emigrant farmer from Devonshire, called 
here in search of a home. His family, yet on the river, had been 
nine weeks in a stinking ark, coming from Pittsburgh, and ever 
since April last in getting from England, by way of Canada, hither. 
I asked him if he repented leaving England. "I do," said he, "a 
good deal, and so does my poor wife;" and then he burst into tears. 
The tears of a man are hard-wrung drops. "You were getting, 
I suppose, a comfortable living in England?" "Oh no! taxes, 
tithes, rates, &c." "What money did you bring away?" "But a 
little, and besides my passage to Canada, where I could have had 
100 acres for nothing, I have spent 50 /. in getting to this west- 
ern country. The captain told me that Canada was my best way, 
and I have now but little left." He thought of going to the 
Prairie. I told him he had better settle here. They of the Prairie 
are proud, and wanted only high-bred English. I encouraged this 
poor, desponding, ill-advised, weak man to hope for better times 
in this good land, where he said he was willing to labour. 

Taverns are always charitable to moneyless travellers, if they 
are sure of their poverty, feeding them gratis as they pass along, as 
instanced in a moneyless female, and a sick man whom I met in the 
stage coming here. The Scots frequently plead poverty, and get 
fed gratis, while their pockets are full of dollars. 

Mr. J. Ingle and maid started this morning, with a waggon, 
to Princeton, for boards, though living in a forest full of boards 
when sawn. He drove the waggon himself, and she was to get 
groceries and butter, if she could get it under twenty-five cents 
per lb. Thus, for two days, we were left without water, or an axe 
to hew firewood, or any person to milk and feed a kicking cow and 

17th. — A stranger called and brushed out of the rain. He said 
he was short of money, and came ten miles to sell two pigs, fat, 

T— 21 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

weighing 400 lbs. the two, but was not able to sell them at more 
than four dollars a cwt.; he could not afford to make pork at that 
price. No pigs fat this year at mast, only passable pork; but when 
quite fat they must have corn for two or three weeks to harden 
them, though they get no fatter, or else the bacon would drip all 
summer, and when boiled, the fat become oil and run out into the 
water. He has seventeen acres of corn; a bad crop, not enough for 
his own use. Few farmers are ever able to hire labourers, though 
he thinks it would answer if they could; still it is best to do all the 
work by one's-self or family. I went to turn the grindstone for 
J. Ingle's carpenter, at Mr. Maidlow's, one mile and a half off. 


Went over his fine farm, that is to be. I think it is the best I 
have been in this settlement. On it I saw a lick of singular size, 
extending over nearly half an acre of land, all excavated three feet, 
that is to say, licked away, and eaten by buffaloes, deer, and other 
wild animals. It has the appearance of a large pond dried. The 
earth is soft, salt, and sulphurous, and they still resort to it. Mr. 


Maidlow thinks that Cobbett is much nearer the truth than Birk- 
beck, in his account of the west. Had he now the chance of choos- 
ing, he would purchase, in the east, improvements at eighteen dol- 
lars an acre, like the farm of Mr. Long, as he finds that making 
improvements in the west costs much money. He believes Birk- 
beck is spending money fast. He does not think that capital 
employed in farming here will answer, or that cultivation will pay, 
if done by hired labour. Out of 900 acres, (all he intends buy- 
ing) he means to cultivate and graze only about 100 acres; no more 
than they can manage of themselves. He does not expect to 
increase his capital, but by the increase in value of land. He 
means to build a mill, and plant a large orchard; is digging a well, 
and finds some fine good burning coal in it, and a vast mine of rich 
blue marl. The Missouri, says he, is full of all the rich resources of . 
nature; land, very fine. Here is a large family of men, and Mrs. 


Maidlow and daughter are drudges to the house, cooking, scour- 
ing, and scrubbing, continually. A young lady cleaning knives! 
How horrid!! 

ISth. — A few months since, J. Ingle agreed with a neighbour- 
ing Kentuckyan hunter, to build him a log-house, to be begun 
and finished in a given time. The fellow was procrastinating, and 
too idle to begin, yet for ever promising. At length Mr. Ingle told 
him, that unless he began on a certain day, at noon, at latest, the 
contract should be void, and others should begin it. He came on 
the day mentioned, but not until six in the evening, when other had 

William Faux. 


begun the job. Greatly enraged, he said, he had come, and would 
begin in spite of any body. Mr. Ingle said he should never 
touch it. He said he would, or have Mr. Ingle's blood; "and to- 
morrow morn, I will come with men, and twenty rifles, and I will 
have your life, or you shall have mine." Mr. Ingle thought of 
having recourse to the civil power, which is very distant, inso- 
much that the people speak and seem as if they were without a 
government, and name it only as a bugbear. 

J. Ingle returned this evening with his poplar boards, not worth 
carriage, and without being able to buy any tea, sugar, butter, 
cheese, or apples, for his use, at Princeton, though a county town, 
having a fine store out of stock, which it receives only once a-year. 

19th. — A parson, with his wife, and sixty others, about eigh- 
teen months ago, came from the east, as settlers, to the big prairie 
of Illinois; in which, during the sickly season, last fall, an eighth of 
their number died in six weeks. Having lost his wife amongst the 
rest, he has cleared out, and lives by his itinerant ministrations. 

It is useless to fence much more land than is cleared, because, 
until the country is cleared round about, the autumnal fires would 
destroy the fences. The cattle, therefore, must range in the woods, 
until some small inclosures, for pasture, can be made. Through the 
summer, both night and day, but mostly in the night, the mos- 
quitoes, both in Indiana and Illinois, but chiefly in the latter, were, 
in their attacks, almost sufficient to drive English settlers out. If a 
man had been lashed naked to a post, he must have been stung to 
death, or unto madness. At Sandersville, says J. Ingle, they 
blinded several persons. 

The Cherokee nation once wishing to war against the United 
States, sent their favourite chief, old Double-head, to Philadelphia, 
to sound parties, and return with his opinion either for or against 
it. "Oh," said he, on his return, "we must not war; I have seen 
more white men in one town, than would be sufficient to eat all the 
Indians, if made into a pie." They have never since thought of 
war, but what few remain, are friendly and civilized, and fight 
for Uncle Sam. Some cultivate their land, and possess negroes. 

20th. — At nine this morning, after a fortnight's stay at Sand- 
ersville, I mounted the neck of an ill mis-shapen, dull, stumbling 
beast, called a horse, the best that friendship and good-will could 
procure, for conveying me, in company with J. Ingle, to the state 
of Illinois, by way of the far-famed Harmony. I rode, in fear, all 


day, through woods and wilds; sometimes almost trackless. We 
were lost twice. The people seem to know nothing of time, and dis- 

324 Early Travels in Indiana. 


tance of places from each other; some telling us it was ten, when it 
was two, and three, when it was twelve o'clock; and as to dis- 
tance, twenty when it was twenty-seven, and fifteen, when it was 
ten miles to Harmony. I expected to camp out all night, with no 
means of getting a fire. I saw nothing but good land, and (where 

fine corn; but no comfortable dwellings; all, miserable little 
log-holes, having neither springs nor mill-streams. We were very 
courteously shewn our way by a worshipful magistrate of Indiana, 
at work by the road side, hewing and splitting wood. 

We rested, twenty minutes, at a log of one of Cobbett's Yan- 
kee farmers, with a fine family of boys, big enough for men, and 
handsome, sprightly, and free-looking, as ever walked the earth. 
I would have given something for a picture of them, being self- 
taught shoemakers, butchers, wheelwrights, carpenters, and what 
not, and having cleared, from 320 acres, 60 acres, and cropped them 
twice in two years. The mother sat, smoking her pipe, fat and 
easy. The father is ready to sell out at 1,200 dollars; a fair price, 
says Mr. Ingle. They think well of this country, but were able to 
grow more wheat per acre in Pennsylvania; there, thirty-four, here, 
twenty to twenty-four bushels an acre; they can have seventy- 
five cents at home, or carrying it twenty miles or less, one dollar a 
bushel, for wheat. The old fellow says that the Harmonites do 
their business of all kinds better than any body else. 

I saw, on the Harmony lands and fields, of great size, wheat, 
finer and thicker, planted with two bushels, than in England with 
three and a half bushels per acre. The fields, however, lie in a 
vale of prodigious richness. 

I reached Harmony at dusk, and found a large and comfort- 
able brick tavern, the best and cleanest which I have seen in In- 
diana, and slept in a good, clean bed-room, four beds in a room, 
one in each corner; but found bad beef, though good bread, and 
high charges, one dollar, five cents, each. 


A stranger present, asked our landlord of what religion were 
the community of Harmony. In broken English, and rather cross- 
he replied, "Dat's no matter; they are all a satisfied peo- 
" The spell, or secret, by which these people are held in volun- 
tary slavery, is not to be known or fathomed by inquiry. We asked 


if strangers were permitted to go to their church to-morrow. 

((~\T~ )) 

No/' was the answer. This is unprecedented in the civilized 

Sunday, 21sZ.— At Harmony till ten o'clock, when we were 
told, "we must then depart, or stay until after the morning ser- 

William Faux. 


vice," which commences at ten o'clock. At the moment the bells 
began chiming, the people, one and all, from every quarter, hurry 
into their fine church like frighted doves to their windows; the 
street leading to the temple seems filled in a minute, and in less 
than ten minutes, all this large congregation, 1,000 men, women, 
and children, all who can walk or ride, are in the church, the males 
entering in at the side, the females at the tower, and separately 
seated. Then enters the old High Priest, Mr. Rapp, of about 
eighty, straight and active as his adopted son, Frederick, who 
walks behind him. The old man's wife and daughters enter with the 
crowd, from his fine house, which looks as if the people who built 
it for him, thought nothing too good for him. This people are 
^never seen in idle groups; all is moving industry; no kind of 
idling; no time for it. Religious service takes place three times every 
day. They must be in the chains of superstition, though Rapp pro- 
fesses to govern them only by the Bible, and they certainly seem 
the perfection of obedience and morality. People who have left 
them say, that Rapp preaches, that if they quit the society, they 
will be damned, for his way is the only way to Heaven. He does 
much by signs, and by an impressive manner, stretchmg out his 
arm, which, he says, is the arm of God, and that they must obey 
it; and that when he dies, his spirit will descend unto his son 
Fred. The people appear saturnine, and neither very cleanly nor 
very dirty. They are dressed much alike, and look rather shabby, 
just as working folk in general look. None are genteel. The 
women are intentionally disfigured and made as ugly as it is pos- 
sible for art to make them, having their hair combed straight up 
behind and before, so that the temples are bared, and a little skull- 
cap, or black crape bandage, across the crown, and tied under 
the chin. This forms their only headdress. 

I rode round the town, which will soon be the best and first in 
the Western country. At present, the dwellings, with the excep- 
tion of Rapp's, and the stores and taverns, are all log-houses, with 
a cow-house and other conveniences. One is given to each family, 
and a fine cow, and nice garden; other necessaries are shared in 
common. Their horses, cattle, and sheep, are all in one stable; 
herds and flocks are folded every night, in comfortable sheds, 
particularly an immensely large flock of Merino sheep; and so 
secured from the wolves. They have a fine vineyard in the vale, 
and on the hills around, which are as beautiful as if formed by art 
to adorn the town. Not a spot but bears the most luxuriant vines, 
from which they make excellent wine. Their orchards, too, are of 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

uncommon size and fertility; and in a large pleasure garden is a 
curious labyrinth, out of which none but those who formed it, or 
are well acquainted with it, can find their way. 

Their granary is superb and large, and the barns and farm- 
yards are singularly capacious, as well as their cloth and other 
manufactories. It is the wise policy of this people to buy nothing 
which it is possible for them to make or raise, and their industry 
and ingenuity are irresistible. They have much to sell, at their 


own price, of almost every thing domestic and foreign. They can 
not make shoes half so fast as they could sell them. It is not 
doubted but they are immensely rich, beginning in Pennsylvania 
with only 4,000 L, and being now worth 500,000 I. They keep no 
accounts, and all business is done and every thing possessed in^ 
Frederick Rapp's name. They have been in this Harmony five 
years only; they bought a huge territory of the richest land, which 
is all paid for, and keep an immense quantity in high cultivation, 
and continue to buy out bordering settlers, thus ever enlarging 
their boundaries. An American widower, with ten children, joined 


them some time ago, in distress for his children; all are well off now. 

They work very gently, but constantly. At - eleven I left 
Harmony, wishing to see more of this singular community. Rapp 
came hither a poor, unlettered weaver from Germany. 

I entered the woods again, on the banks of the fine river, the 
Big Wabash, wider than the Thames at London. There are no 
regular roads; but, over creeks and swamps, and the Black River, 
now dry, we took our way, and met six bastard Indian-like horse- 
men, drinking whiskey in the woods, looking wild and jovial, 
dressed in sky-blue and scarlet. Crossed the Big river into Illinois, 
after being lost one hour. 

From A visit to the colony c 

William Hebert [1825.] 

Harmony in Indiana, by 


Hebert, William. 


One of the many curious visitors who flocked to New Harmony, Indiana, 
during the days of the Rappite Colony was one William Hebert of London. 
He made his visit during the last half of the year 1823. The chief value of 
his notes lies in the full discussion given of the purely religious and social 
conditions that prevailed in the colony. 

The State Library has a typewritten copy made from the original 
edition, a copy of which is in the library of the Workingmen's Institute, 

New Harmony, Indiana. 





In Indiana, 


In the United States of America, 
Recently purchased by Mr. Owen for the establishment of a 




In a letter to a friend; 
To which are added, 


Some observations on that mode of society, and on 

political society at large: 

• A sketch of the formation of 



"Many schemes ridiculed as Utopian, decried as visionary, 
declaimed against as impracticable, will be realized the moment 



Early Travels in Indiana. 


the march of sound knowledge has effected this for our species; 
that of making men wise enough to see their true interests, and 
disinterested enough to pursue them." — Lacon. "* . 



Printed for George Mann, 39, Cornhill 




Albion, Edward's County, Illinois, 

6th February, 1823. 
Dear Sir, 

In the month of September last I made an excursion with a 
friend to the celebrated German Colony in our neighborhood at 
Harmony, the name of the place being characteristic of the society 
that is settled there. It is situated in a thickly wooded country 
on the banks of the Wabash, on the Indiana side, at about thirty 
miles from the mouth of that river. The site of ground upon 
which the town stands is generally flat for about a mile and a half 
from the river, when the surface of the country becomes hilly and 
pleasingly undulating. This singular community consists of about 
seven hundred individuals, chiefly from Wirtemburg and its neigh- 
borhood. They have occupied their present situation about seven 
years, having been induced to relinquish a former establishment in 
a back situation of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburg, from its beginning, 


[becoming] as it is supposed, too thickly settled to suit the 
peculiar tenets or policy of their society. The progress which this 
religious community made in agriculture and every other kind of 
industry when settled in Pennsylvania, was a subject of astonish- 
ment to their neighbors for many miles around, but I apprehend 


William Hebert. 329 

that their present advanced state of improvement and accumulat- 
ing wealth, justly excite the admiration of all acquainted with them 
here to a yet greater degree. It is presumable that they have made 
far greater progress here than they did in Pennsylvania, from their 
having been much longer established, and from a consideration 
of the sum of money for which they sold their former establish- 
ment, compared with the vast value of their present possessions. 
These good people have literally made the "barren wilderness to 
smile" with corn fields, meadows, and gardens upon a most exten- 
sive scale. Their little town, seen from the neighboring hills, 
which are covered with their vineyards and orchards, has an 
exceedingly pleasing appearance, the Wabash, which is here an 
ample stream, being seen to wind its course in front of it, and 
beneath the luxuriant and lofty woods on the opposite banks of 
Illinois. The town is regularly laid out into straight and spacious 
streets, crossing each other at right angles, in common with modern 
American towns. The log cabins are giving place as fast as pos- 
sible to neat and commodious brick and framed houses, which are 
extremely well built, the uniform redness of the brick of which the 
majority of them is composed giving to the place a brightness of 
appearance which the towns of England are quite destitute of. 
Nothing, I think, detracts so much from the beauty of London, 
next to the irregularity with which it is built, as the earthy or mud- 
coloured appearance of the houses, forming so great a contrast to 
the wealth and splendour within a considerable portion of them. 
The house of Mr. Rapp, the pastor of the community, is a large 
square mansion of brick, having a good garden and suitable out- 
houses attached. The streets of the little town of Harmony are 
planted on each side with Lombardy poplars, but as these are 
found to die as soon as their roots come in contact with the sub- 
stratum of sand, they are replaced with mulberry trees. A town 


being thus planted with trees, has a very picturesque effect from a 
distance, it appearing to stand in a grove, beside the pleasant use 
of affording shade and shelter when walking about it. The town is 
amply supplied with excellent wells, as also with public ovens, 
which are placed at regular and convenient distances from each 
other. Their granaries, barns, factories, &c. are generally built in 
an exceedingly handsome and durable manner. Here too, in 
token of Christianity being planted, (though in its most rigid 
character) amongst Indian woods which had but lately resounded 
with the yells of their untutored inhabitants, rises the pretty 
village church, the white steeple of which, seen from afar through 



330 Early Travels in Indiana. 

the widely extended clearings and forests of girdled trees, seems to 
invite the traveller onward to a peaceful resting place. And such 
it is, Harmony is truly the abode of peace and industry. The 
society, however, possesses one principle of so unsocial and dis- 
piriting a character, as to throw a shade over the whole scene in a 
moral sense, and to fill the mind with commiseration for men who 
can so construe any of the precepts of Christianity into a virtual 
prohibition of the sacred ties of the married state. The Harmon- 
ians are a class of Lutherans, who, though they do not expressly 
prohibit marriage, discountenance it to an extent that nearly 
amounts to a prohibition in effect. They profess to adhere to the 
advice of St. Paul, in regard to this point of morality. Upon 
my enquiring of one of them, a candid and amiable person, how 
long it had been since a marriage had taken place amongst them, 
he said, nearly three years, and it was presumable that none was 
contemplated as about to take place at the time of my inquiry. 


This in a community which can contain scarcely less than a hun- 
dred young persons of suitable ages to enter upon the marriage 
state, and surrounded with plenty secured to them upon their 
system of society! The Harmonians consider the single state as 
higher in a moral estimation than the married one, as the Cath- 
olics are said to esteem it. 

As you may suppose, the utmost regularity and decorum subsists 
amongst them. They work easily, but their hours of labour are of the 
usual length of the labourer's day, being from sunrise to sunset. 
They are an exceedingly industrious race of people, being occasional- 
ly busy long before sunrise in some departments of their establish- 
ment, such as their Distillery, Brewery and Mills, which sometimes 
require their attendance through the night. It is understood that 
they subsist upon a principle of fellowship, or of united labor and 
capital, all deriving their food and clothing from the common 
stock, every individual however being accountable for the appli- 
cation of his time, and the amount of the articles he has from the 
stores. When any one is remiss or irregular to an extent to become 
an object of attention, no coercive measures are resorted to, but the 
idle or offending person is treated with distance or neglect, which, 
together with verbal reproof, are found to be fully efficacious to 
reform. The Harmonians are, however, an extremely regular and 
sober-minded people,' whose happiness is certainly the happiness 
of ignorance, the pursuits of literature being wholly neglected or 
prohibited amongst them. They appear to do every thing with a 
mechanical regularity. Their town is consequently very still, the 

William Hebert. 331 


sounds of mirth or conviviality being rarely heard within it, except- 
ing when their American or English neighbors resort there for 
purposes of trade or to negotiate their money transactions. Being 
great capitalists, resulting wholly from their industry, they are 
frequently resorted to by persons in this neighborhood, who receive 
remittances by bills on the eastern cities, to obtain cash for 
them. As a society they are extremely wealthy. Having over- 
come all the difficulties incident to their establishment in a 
wilderness, they have only to improve their manufactures and 
extend the sphere of their operations to acquire almost incalcu- 
lable wealth. This numerous community of men of humble life 
embraces within it several artisans of nearly all of the most use- 
ful occupations of life, to the exclusion or suppression of those 
which they do not deem essential to their welfare. Amongst the 
latter, I am sorry to say they include that of a printer, they being 
wholly without one, and seem fully persuaded that the employ- 
ment of one, if it would not be detrimental to their peace or their 
interests, is at least superfluous to them. They are generally 
averse to communication on the subjects of the tenets and the 
policy of their society. It may be presumed that they are totally 
unused to liberal discussion, and may be considered an ignorant 
and priest-ridden set of people. Mr. Rapp is alike their spiritual 
teacher and temporal director, who is as much accustomed to 
superintend their operations in their fields and factories, as to lec- 
ture them on their duty, and who will sometimes spend as much 
time in exploring their woods in search of a particular tree for a 
specific purpose, as in enforcing his arguments for the peculiar 
doctrines of their faith. He is their alpha and omega, without 
whom they think nothing, do nothing, and perhaps would have 
been nothing. Mr. Frederick Rapp, an adopted son of Mr. Rapp 
the pastor, a bachelor of about forty years of age, appears to be the 
sole cashier and ostensible proprietor of all the produce and manu- 
factures of the society, all bills and receipts being made and given 
in his name only. I am informed however that their land which is 
of great extent and of the first quality, is entered at the land- 
office in the form of "Frederick Rapp and his associates," which 
circumstance I was glad to learn, as it indicates something like 
joint property on this material point, whatever may be the fact 
in other respects. The affairs of the community are not regulated 
by a committee, or court of directors, chosen periodically and in 
rotation from among its members, which would possible be deemed 
as "romantic" as the representative system of government is 

• * 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

termed by the present emperor of Austria, but by a few of the 
most influential individuals amongst them. The governing power 
seems to be composed of Mr. Rapp and his adopted son, with the 
assistance of the superintendent of the general store, the doc- 


tor, the sadler, the smith, and the keeper of the house of "private 
entertainment," (the designation of the tavern,) and perhaps a few 
other persons; but those enumerated are the ostensible managers, 
each of whom receives money in his particular department. 

Further than this, nothing is known 

pecting the pecuniary 

ions and their general ignorance. 

_ • 

arrangements of the society. Whether the governing power of 
the Harmonians has any constitutional shape is unknown, but its 
efficiency is matter of astonishment to all who have surveyed the 
scene of its operation. If justice prevail in the society it is well, 
and they are a peculiarly respectable body of people, to be com- 
passionated only for the gloomy character of their religious opin- 

And if equity do not subsist 
amongst them, and the majority are duped by the wary and pow- 
erful few, they still appear a contented people, and to entertain an 
opinion of mutuality of possession, though they may not possibly 
have any very correct ideas or information upon the subject. It is 
known that books of account are kept, in which are entered the 
amount of every labourer and mechanic's daily earnings, together 
with the daily amount of the articles each has from the stores; 
but it is not known that there is any general account kept of the 


external transactions of the society, or of the value of grain, beef, 
pork, whiskey, beer, wine, and of various manufactures that are 

exported from Harmony to N 

Orleans and elsewhere, besid 

an immense amount of goods sold by retail at their general store, 
the return for all which is chiefly in specie. The Harmonians have 
commercial agents in several of the principal cities of the Union, 
whose purchases of merchandise being sent to Harmony, are dis- 
persed through the surrounding country by means of their store at 

d others which it appears they think it worth while to 

neighborhood, which latter 

home, ar 

possess in different towns in the 

are superintended on commission by persons not of their society. 
They have it already in their power to say that they raise or pro- 
duce every thing necessary to comfort, with an exception only to 
groceries, which last however they procure in exchange for their 
own commodities, chiefly for sale, as it is said the people in general 


are not allowed the use of tea or coffee, although the heads of the 

community indulg 

those agreeable and exhilarating bever 


The Harmonians are upon the whole an interesting body of 

William Hebert. 333 

people, but it is impossible to regard their commercial spirit with- 
out a sentiment of fear or suspicion that it militates against that 
purity and austerity of character which they are in other respects 
so scrupulous of maintaining. One might enquire what is the 
probable destination of this community at the distance of half a 
century? The principle of celibacy upon which it is governed 
tends nearly to its extinction within this period. Upon enquiring 
of the good man, the keeper of the house of "private entertain- 
ment," who showed us about the town, if they were not desirous of in- 
creasing the number of their society, he replied, "not by strangers," 
and upon my friend's enquiry whether they were not desirous of 
receiving an accession of numbers from amongst their own country- 
men, he said, that they considered their own countrymen, who 
were not of their faith, equally strangers to them with Ameri- 
cans or English; and having repeated that they were not desirous 


of increasing their number "by strangers," he added, "that is the 
answer" implying that the answer he had given us, was "the 
answer" to all enquiries of that nature. Our guide informed us 
that their number was a little above seven hundred, but that he 
did not recollect the exact number, which last part of his communi- 
cation I thought somewhat strange in an elderly and influential 
associate. With respect to the Messieurs Rapp and their coad- 
jutors keeping books of account of the amount of their annual 
income by exports and sales at home, and of the value of the dis- 
posable property on hand, for the information and satisfaction of 


the whole of the community, I never heard that there were any 
kept here, but I have been given to understand that a great book of 
accounts which had been kept at their establishment in Penn- 
sylvania, was lost at the time of their removal, or shortly after it; 
and this story is accompanied by another, which, though not sur- 
prising in itself, becomes measureable so, when connected with the 


loss of the book of accounts. The second story is, that the heads 
of the society never received but a small portion of the sum for 
which they sold their former establishment. These circumstances 
would be little worthy notice, did the heads of -the Harmonians 
evince an independence of pecuniary or commercial pursuits, 
whereas they are notoriously keen in dealing, and appear to be 
arrant money-lovers. The Harmonians seem in a measure to have 
adopted the policy of the Roman priesthood during the ages of 
their greatest power, which by forbidding their fraternity to 
marry, preserved the power and possessions of the church wholly 
within itself, and prevented that relaxation of interest and opposi- 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

tion of sentiment in its concerns, which would have resulted from a 
matrimonial connection of the reverend order with the laity, and 
these humble sectarians preserve an insular policy to the utmost 
extent of their power. Their children few as they are, have but 
the common rudiments of an education given to them, and are 
prevented as much as possible from learning the English lan- 
guage. Mr. Rapp, the pastor, it is said, does not speak a word of 
English, although he has lived in America nine or ten years; 
and notwithstanding that his son and the other leading mem- 
bers of the community speak it very well. That an arch craft rules 
the society I would not insinuate, and am indeed far from con- 
cluding upon, but that several circumstances exist, strong enough 
altogether to induce a fear of wrong, or to keep alive speculation, 
must I think, be obvious to every person who has any knowledge 
of the outrageous impositions which avarice and ambition, under 
the garb of priestly sanctity, have practiced upon the simplicity, 
the credulity, and pliancy of mankind. As great events sometimes 
spring from little causes, so small matters sometimes elucidate 
large ones. On the door of the house of "private entertainment' ' 
was written "grapes 12J cents per lb." Now I would enquire, 
who were to buy these grapes at 12J cents, per lb.? Surely not 
the poor vine dressers or working people themselves, though I 
doubt whether any of them could obtain any without allowing for 
them out of their earnings; and if the bill were put up to invite the 
purchases of American travellers, the proceeds from this source of 
sale must have been trifling in the extreme. I was struck with 
the paltry purport of this paper at the moment I saw it, and how* 
ever it happened, it was taken down a short time after our arrival. 
It is this excessive spirit of trade in the Harmonians that forms the 
great defect, and I may say the anomaly of their character, con- 
sidered as a society of rigid and puritanical christians, living remote 
from the political world, as one would have supposed, with a view 
to independence of its cares and pursuits. These people exhibit 
considerable taste as well as boldness of design in some of their 
works. They are erecting a noble church, the roof of which is sup- 
ported in the interior by a great number of stately columns, which 
have been turned from trees of their own forests. The kinds of 
wood made use of for this purpose are, I am informed, black 
walnut, cherry, and sassafras. Nothing I think can exceed the 
grandeur of the joinery, and the masonry and brick- work seem to 
be of the first order. The form of this church is that of a cross, 
the limbs being short and equal; and as the doors, of which there 

William Hebert. 




are placed at the ends of the limbs, the interior of the 
building as seen from the entrances, has a most ample and spa- 
cious effect. A quadrangular story or compartment containing 
several rooms, is raised on the body of the church, the sides of 
which inclining inwards towards the top, are terminated by a 
square gallery, in the centre of which is a small circular tower of 
about ten feet in height, which is surmounted with a silvered 
globe. The reason assigned by our guide for the erection of this 
fine edifice was, that the first church being built wholly of wood, is 
found to be so hot during the summer, when the whole of the 
ciety are assembled within it, as to be scarcely supportable, in con- 
sequence of which it was resolved to delay the building of their 
houses for a time, and raise a more spacious and substantial place 
' of worship, and the one they are employed upon bids fairly to do 
them honor, both in the design and execution. It is much more 
spacious than the number of their society requires. I could scarcely 
imagine myself to be in the woods of Indiana, on the borders of the 
Wabash, while pacing the long resounding aisles, and surveying 
the stately colonades of this church. Here too the Englishman is 
once more gratified with the sound of a church bell, which how- 
ever harsh it may sometimes be thought by those who have never 
strayed beyond the sound of one, imparts a gratification after a 
period of estrangement from it, as connected with early associa- 
tions, infinitely more soothing than could the most delicate strains 
of music. As if, however the good Harmonians could not lose sight 
of a gainful utility in any thing, the vaults of their new church are 
appropriated to the reception of stores of various kinds. In 
descending from the steeple of the old church (from which a beau- 
tiful scene presents itself of the wonderful effects of united indus- 
try) we perceived that the upper compartment of that building was 
also used as a store for grain, earthenware, cotton, &c. The Har- 
monians are said to be excellent musicians, and to make a great 
use of instrumental music in their worship, maintaining by the 
cultivation of this exquisite science and their unanimity, a two- 
fold claim to their designation as a society. The shortness of our 
stay did not afford us an opportunity of attending their religious 
service. I am informed that during the harvest season, the 
troops of reapers, male and female, leave the field preceded by 
music. To this I would merely say, that I wish them every happi- 
ness compatible with the repression of the all-ennobling passion of 
love. They seem to me however to have struck at the root of 
earthly joy, and I earnestly wish them every success in devising 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

substitutes, or any means of alleviation of their cheerless situa 


These good people retain their German 


of dress 

There is nothing remarkable in that of the men. The women wear 
close and long-bodied jackets, or spencers, and gipsey bonnets. 
They are said to be a healthy looking people, and I imagine they 
are so, although this was not the case at the time of our visit, 
which was at the latter end of September, that being generally the 
most trying time of the year, and a considerable number of them 

I must mention, that in addition to their vineyards 



and orchards covering many of the neighboring hills the Har- 
monians have formed an extensive garden in the form of a laby- 
rinth, having a pretty rustic building in the centre. The mazy 
walks toward this hermitage are formed by espalier fruit trees, and 
currant and hazel bushes in almost interminable rounds. It does 
not appear that the people enjoy any periods of relaxation, except- 
ing on Sundays, when they are allowed to walk about the garden, 
the orchards and vineyards, in some situations of which tables 
and benches are placed for the purpose of taking refreshment. 


My friend and I were shown their cotton and woolen factories, 
with which we were much pleased. The products of these estab- 


lishments are much esteemed by the country around. I saw some 
very good blue cloth from the wool of their own flocks, and good 
cotton fabrics, such as are generally worn in the western country. 
A great number of men, women, and children are employed in 
these departments. They have a fine steam engine in use in their 
factories. The morning on which we were shown about the town 
happened to be somewhat cool after rain, our guide who would be 
as cheerful as his habits of thinking permitted, observed that the 
air was "entirely pleasant," upon which I took occasion to ask him, 
if he considered the climate and country of Indiana equal to those 
of the part of Germany he had quitted. Here however nature was 
true to herself, for he replied with great feeling, that the climate 
and beauty of Germany were so superior to those of Indiana, that 
the latter was not to be brought into comparison with the former. 
But maintaining his consistency of character, be observed ' 
are happier here than we could have been in Germany, we could 
not have done there what we have here". I could perceive how- 
ever, that his native country had charms for him that he could not 
do justice to, and that in "expressive silence," he mused its praise. 
He informed us that the severity of the winter in their part of 
Indiana, (in about latitude 38,) is such, as to render it necessary to 
bury one kind of their vines, (the Portugal or red Lisbon,) by 


William Hebert. 337 

bending them to the ground, and covering them with earth; 
the only method of preserving potatoes and turnips here during 
the winter being by burying them. The severity of the winters of 
this part of the world forms an astonishing contrast to the great 
and long continued heat of its summers, uniting in this respect the 
cold of much higher latitudes with a heat little inferior to that of 
the tropics. 

During our stay at Harmony we witnessed some very aston- 
ishing flights of pigeons. Such were their numbers, that they 
literally formed clouds, and floated through the air in a frequent 
succession of these as far as the eye could reach, sometimes caus- 
ing a sensible gust of wind, and a considerable motion of the trees 
over which they flew. At that time of the year these birds 
congregate in the woods of this part of America by millions. 
Parties are sometimes formed to go to their roosts by night, 
when by knocking them off the trees with poles, any quantity of 
them may be taken. In case you may have thought me too 
severe upon the Harmonians in regard to their trading spirit, an 
excess of which I think derogatory to the christian character, and 
more especially in a society of christians who profess to live in a 
state of seclusion from the world and more conformably to the 
precepts of the gospel, I would say, I have perhaps been the more 
strict with them from a consideration of the consistent and dig- 
nified conduct of a society of friends situated also in Indiana, near 
the same river, and about a hundred miles to the north of Har- 
mony, who are commonly known here by the name of the "Shak- 
ers" or "Shaking Quakers." There is also, I am informed, another 
society of these friends in the state of Ohio. These societies are 
constituted upon a principle of reciprocal assistance and common 
property, and like the Harmonians refrain from marriage, but with 
a strictness that amounts to an absolute prohibition of it. These 
good people however consistently disclaim an attention to mer- 
cantile or pecuniary concerns beyond the demands of their necessi- 
ties or personal comfort. They also have effected great things by 
united exertion, but they have no traffic with the surrounding 
country beyond the limits I have mentioned. They have their 
capacious granaries, fine mills, and machinery of various kinds, 
but they adhere to their object of living in christian fellowship, 
in a state of plenty and independence of the world. They are not 
merchants or money-changers, and when visited by strangers, 
entertain them gratis. This you will allow to be really respect- 

T— 22 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

Having mentioned all the particulars of these interesting com- 
munities that I think worthy notice, • 

I remain, 

Dear Sir, 

Your's sincerely, 

W. H. 


From the foregoing circumstances relative to the Harmon- 

• • 

ians and Friends, it is but fair to conclude that if a society could be 
formed of any convenient number of families, each contributing 
only one hundred pounds towards a common fund, and were with 
this to seek an agricultural and manufacturing establishment in 
some convenient situation of Great Britain, Ireland, Hanover, or 
any part of protestant Europe, they might by the formation of an 
equitable constitution, and the enactment of a suitable code of 
laws which should always preserve the door of regress open for 
insubordinate or discontented members, and by the encourage- 
ment of literary and scientific pursuits for the occupation of their 
leisure time, attain to a degree of earthly comfort, not unassociated 
with refinement, hitherto unknown. Such a society would of 
course embrace within it several individuals of all the most useful 
occupations of life, and every thing would necessarily be effected 
for the benefit of the community upon an entire system of recipro- 
cation; and might be conducted similarly to the manner in which 
public societies are generally managed. No one need doubt the 
practicability of this. No one indeed could doubt it, who had 
visited Harmony, and seen the astonishing effects of the united 
and systematic industry of numbers, and the numerous comforts, 
as well as the security derived from this enlarged system of social 
intercourse. The greatest internal obstacle to the welfare of a 
society of this kind in Europe might be the want of a religious 
bond of union, but surely the spirit of Christianity, with all its 
variety of sects, ought to be equal to this. To obviate or lessen any 
difficulty that might arise from difference of religious opinion, a 
general spirit of forbearance and liberality would be necessary, and 
the erection of places of worship convenient for every denomina- 
tion of which the community was composed, desirable; the 
officiating members of which should be prohibited by the constitu- 
tion, under the penalty of expulsion, from preaching in terms offen- 
sive to, or abusive of the tenets of christians of other sects, or 
laying any stigma on any system or kind of belief whatever; on the 

William Hebert. 


principle that differences of religious opinion are within the deci- 
sion of the Deity alone, on whose favour and approbation all have 
an equal right of reliance. The objects of such a community would 
be industry, society, independence or self-subsistence, leisure for 
mental culture, and rational amusements; and freedom from the 
solicitude, anxieties, and incertitude of pecuniary pursuits and 
possessions. The principal obstacles to an establishment of this 
kind in Europe, would arise from rent, or the high rate of the pur- 
chase of the land, the exaction of taxes and military service. From 
the last of these however exemption might generally perhaps be 
purchased, and the first and second, if not too heavy, might be 
defrayed from the funds, or by the sale of a portion of the produce 
or manufactures of the society. America however has every civil 


advantage and natural facility for such a society to Europe. 

To some it might appear irksome, and perhaps slavish, to be 
obliged to regulate their conduct as members of a community, by 
the sound of a bell or the notes of a horn, but this feeling could 
arise only in the absence of a due apprehension of the situation, 
and of the circumstances of the case. Those persons who have not 
property to live independently of industry must exert themselves 
for their support in some way or other, and industry is pleasant 
in proportion to its regularity and moderation, and the prospect it 
affords of being effective of comfortable subsistence. Every per- 
son entering an association of the kind contemplated, would be 
sensible that it could exist only by the industry of all its mem- 
bers; that by the exertion of this, every one would be pursuing his 
own true interests as a proprietor, by contributing to the utmost of 
his ability to the welfare of the society; that as his entrance into it 
was voluntary, so would his continuance in it be, consistently 
with its constitution, and the experience of two or three years 
would convince its members that the daily quantity of labour and 
attention requisite to its concerns would be very far less than is 
given by tradesmen and mechanics in Europe, and in Great 
Britain especially, to procure their comparatively precarious sub- 
sistence. On the other hand, one might suppose, a due apprecia- 
tion of his situation would be calculated to make every individual 
cheerfully alert in the performance of his portion of assistance in a 
compact based on the sacred principle of equity, and that of 
mutuality of possession and enjoyment. 

An agricultural and manufacturing community, subsisting its 
members in plenty and respectability upon the plan of that bene- 
factor of his race, Mr. Robert Owen, and somewhat similar to 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

those of the Friends and Harmonians, would be but carrying the 
principle of Benefit societies as far as it would go, resting it upon 
that of an equitable reciprocation of services amongst all its mem- 
bers, which, could the industry and concord of them be estab- 
lished, might be rendered a secure and pleasant mode of 
subsistence to hundreds, and in different communities perhaps 
to thousands. 

Although this plan of society should appear to be not without 
objection, or even objectionable on several accounts, it may be 
asked, whether the evils of insolvency or bankrupcy, of depend- 
ence and poverty, or of prisons and workhouses are not greater 
and more numerous than those of the plan contemplated could be? 
Supposing such a compact to be practicable, (and with the socie- 
ties of the Harmonians and Friends of America before our eyes 


who can doubt it?) he that was hostile to it, merely on account of 
its being an innovation, would be hostile to his own nature and 
fellow men. Such a system of society could not indeed hold 
together, unless a large majority of its members were persons of 
established principles of virtue and of matured knowledge, com- 
bined with habits of activity and industry; who surveying its 
objects and appreciating its advantages, were inflexibly devoted to 
its welfare; and who could regulate their conduct on a perfect 
conviction of the tractableness of mankind in all cases and situa- 
tions, consistently with their knowledge or apprehension of fitness, 
propriety and real utility.* 

*"On the experience of a life devoted to the subject, I hesitate not to say, that the 
members of any community may by degrees be trained to live without idleness, without 
poverty, without crime, and without punishment." 

"Any general character, from the best to the worst, from the most ignorant to the 
most enlightened, may be given to any community, even to the world at large, by the 
application of proper means. " 

"Human nature, save the minute differences which are ever found in all the com- 
pounds of the creation, is one and the same in all; it is without exception universally 
plastic, and by judicious training the infants of any one class in the world may be readily 
formed into men of any other class; even to believe and declare that conduct to be 
right and virtuous, and to die in its defence, which their parents had been taught to 
believe and say was wrong and vicious, and to oppose which, those parents would also 
have willingly sacrificed their lives. ' ' 

"All men may, by judicious and proper laws and training, readily acquire knowledge 
and habits which will enable them, if they be permitted, to produce far more than they 
need for their support and enjoyment; and thus any population in the fertile parts of 
the earth, may be taught to live in plenty and in happiness, without the checks of vice 
and misery. ' ' 

"Train any population rationally and they will be rational." 


"In those characters which now exhibit crime, the fault is obviously not in the in- 
dividual, but the defect proceeds from the system in which the individual has been 

William Hebert. 341 

Some persons might object that the leisure and security attend- 
ing such a plan of society would be productive of idleness, insub- 
ordination and vice; to which it might be answered that this result 
would depend on the previous education and habits of its members, 
and exclusively of the influence of their new social compact; but 
if there were those who acted so injuriously to themselves and the 
society to which they belonged, the door of withdrawment from it 
would be opened to them, however reluctantly, by a vote of the 
members, through which it would be necessary for such unwise 
persons to pass, before their evil example had had time to be 
extensively productive of mischief, but not before they had proved 
themselves irreclaimable to virtue and social obligation. 

Some persons might also object that a community of the kind 
contemplated would in the course of years by the natural progress 
of population become too numerous for the means of support 
contained within it; to which it is answered, that it is not pretended 
that this plan of society would be wholly without its difficulties, as 
it is probable no human arrangement of society could be. Diffi- 
culty however, like danger and misfortune, is generally greatest in 
apprehension, and regulating our conduct upon right principles, 
we may always trust to events. In a society in which every thing 
was previously established on the simple and natural law of justice 
and reciprocation, and in which every head of a family would be 
equally interested in the adjustment of any difficulty that arose, 
the unanimity of sentiment that would exist in regard to pre- 
vious circumstances would form more than half the conquest of 
every source of embarrassment that occurred; and the one con- 
templated being of very gradual approach, and anticipated by the 
sagacity of the senior associates, would be met in good season, and 
perhaps adjusted to the satisfaction and welfare of the community. 

trained. Withdraw those circumstances which tend to create crime in the human 

character, and crime will not be created. " 

"The worst formed disposition .... will not long resist a firm, determined, 

well-directed, persevering kindness. ' ' 

"The character of man is, without a single exception, always formed for him. 

9 » 


"The kind and degree of misery or happiness experienced by the members of any 
community, depends on the characters which have been formed in the individuals 

which constitute the community. ' ' 

"Hitherto indeed, in all ages, and in all countries, man seems to have blindly con- 
spired against the happiness of man, and to have remained as ignorant of himself as he 
was of the solar system prior to the days of Copernicus and Galileo." 

Vide "Owen's new view of Society." 

A work which for correctness of views of human nature and society, and benevolence 
of design, is calculated to form the basis of a vast improvement of the condition of 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

The minds of men being at ease,* and satisfied with the previous 
circumstances of their situation, it is impossible to say what sacri- 
fices would not be offered by individuals for the good of the com- 
munity, upon the occurrence of a natural inconvenience of the 
kind supposed, or how far a generous spirit of accommodation 
might be carried. If men can be found in the wide and tumultuous 
world to sacrifice themselves for their country, surely the associates 
of a happy christian and philosophic community would not be 
found inferior in disinterestedness. The means of support to a 
community, of this kind would of course have a limit, and when the 
number of its members approached its maximum, if no other 
remedy cOuld be devised, a resolution might be passed provid- 
ing, under circumstances, for the withdrawment of a certain num- 
ber of its members, or providing for the formation of another com- 
munity in a convenient situation, toward which every facility 
would of course be afforded; but it is impossible to conjecture what 
would be the resources of a society that was animated by a senti- 
ment of unanimity, approaching to that of obligation or friend- 
ship towards each other. There can be little doubt that human 
virtue would shine as brightly in this situation as in any recorded 
in history, and in all probability with this difference, that it would 
be general and not isolated. The condition being new, consequently 
the character of the individuals composing such a community 
would become altogether altered and raised, as is the case in a 
limited degree with respect to the working citizens of the United 
States of America in comparison with those other countries. 
My imagination is warm enough to believe that in a society prop- 
erly constituted and regulated, besides being productive of a secure 
and pleasant subsistence, every scientific pursuit, and every 
elegant amusement might be .participated, not only without 
injury, but to the happiness of its members. It would of course 
possess a good library, a well supplied reading room, and appara- 
tus for philosophical research, and secure a liberal education for 
the children. 

I can imagine evening field sports, and sometimes fetes- 
champetres, in which recourse might be had, according to the 
taste of the parties, to various juvenile recreations, in which the 
grave and the elderly might occasionally join without dimunition 
of the respect and veneration due to them. If industry were sup- 


ported by virtue, it could not be rendered too cheerful, never los- 
ing sight of moderation, which is the standard of- wisdom and 
enjoyment. There can indeed be no doubt that the Deity is most 

William Hebert. 343 

acceptably worshipped when man is most rationally or morally 
happy, and that he then best answers the object of his creation. 

In the case of ladies and gentlemen becoming members of a 
community of this kind, who might not be used to manual employ- 
ment of any very necessary or useful kinds, and who could not be 
rendered immediately or wholly serviceable to the society, such 
persons might be allowed to avail themselves externally to the 
society of any acquirements they possessed that were not required 
by it, upon their paying into the general fund an equivolent for 
their personal services, or such portion of these as were not afforded 
to the society. If this adjustment could not in all cases be ren- 
dered so precisely exact as some persons might require, it should 
never be forgotten that the community was one of reciprocal bene- 
fit, and that if a little room were left open in regard to the admis- 
sion of some of its members, for the exercise of liberality or benev- 
olence, it would be of no disadvantage to the society, but prob- 
ably contribute to its prosperity, as it would certainly augment its 
respectability and its happiness. All could not be equally useful 
members perhaps at first, and none could contribute more than 
the talents they possessed; but general application and industry 
would soon equalize the services of the members, and a scale of 
compensation to the society on a valuation of time, might be 
enacted more particularly for those members whose talents were 
deemed of inferior value, and whose circumstances required their 

occasional absence. 

Not to anticipate any speedy or general adoption of this plan of 
society, it would yet be a libel equally upon human virtue and 
human genius to say that society can never be modelled locally or 
in small detached portions, upon principles of equity and reciproca- 
tion. It needs but a conviction of its propriety and desirableness 
to be attempted; and perhaps it need but be attempted persever- 
ingly and consistently to be brought to success. It would mater- 
ially lessen the chance of failure if a community were composed 
wholly of persons of one denomination or class of christians, as 
they would thereby possess the strongest incentive to agreement, 
notwithstanding that a religion whose bond is love ought to unite 
all denominations. The plan of society under consideration seems 
particularly applicable to persons of small property and of con- 
tracted connections; to persons who have been unfortunate in 
business, but who have retained their integrity; and those whose 
businesses may be said to be nearly superseded or dissipated in the 
fluctuations of trade. It is adapted to the relief of those who are 

344 Early Travels in Indiana. 

unable to withstand the excessive competition, the redundancy of 
talent, or the pressure of the times singly; and to those who pre- 
fer tranquillity and security to turmoil and uncertainty. - 

Looking at the principle of trade and commerce morally and 
independently of its present general or universal necessity, what is it 
but petty craft from the merchant to the pedler? The taking 
advantage of the ignorance or the unfavorable situation of others 
for the procurement or production of an article, and by the dis- 
posal of it at a profit to ourselves to draw by this means a source 
of subsistence or of wealth at a great expense of every feeling of 
fellowship, of honor and generosity. Is not, philosophically speak- 
ing, the toil of producing the elements of subsistence and the con- 
veniences of life, sufficient, without the addition of art or craft 
in the dealings of mankind with each other? It has been said of 
old that, "as mortar sticketh between the stones so sticketh fraud 
between buying and selling," and it cannot be supposed that the 
Deity designed that mankind should be petty tricksters upon one 
another rather than equal and just helpmates. Why could not the 
intercourse of mankind be founded on just and reciprocal princi- 
ples, were it not for the monopoly of the earth, and the various 
corrupt circumstances and tyrannies of ancient political society? 
At any rate there is no natural impossibility that mankind should 
at a future period associate in detached portions upon a principle 
of reciprocal justice. They are the extremes of society as it exists 
that chiefly require reconciling, and being brought nearer to each 
other. The wealth and idleness of the one being brought to the 
relief of the poverty and slavery of the other. The extremes of 
society form its greatest deformity and infelicity. Society as it 
exists may be compared to a connected mass of building, the 
greater portion of which exhibits poverty and wretchedness of 
construction, a second portion of which indicates considerable 
convenience and comfort, and the third portion, though occupying 
much less space than either of the others, and especially than the 
first, is composed of erections of such lofty and commanding sizes 
as to cause the whole to appear an unsightly assemblage of irreg- 
ularity and disproportion. There is no continuity of design or 
proportion of parts as yet in society. Society is doubtlessly sus- 
ceptible of vast improvement, and when the laboring classes shall 
have become as well-informed as the middle classes are, great 
alterations it may be hoped will be effected as the simple result 
of discussion, and a more equal balance of possession and enjoy- 
ment established through the whole. It is not to be supposed 

William Hebert. 345 


that the present fortuitous jumble of dependance, and unjust and 
partial possession of the earth, the mere result of conquest and 
subjection, is the best possible economy of things. Every link in 
the chain of society as it exists is dependance, which is riveted 
throughout by the fear of destitution. How inferior this, to what 
would be a rational fellowship of industry and possession, to an 
exclusion of want, and of apprehension for the future! Men being 
by nature equal, physically and morally considered, having the 
same wants and the same capacities for enjoyment, wherefore, it 
might be enquired of those who profess to believe in a future state, 
is not the intercourse of mankind founded on principles of recipro- 
cation and justice, analagous to their nature and destination? 
It is not to be believed that the Deity can view with perfect com- 
placency a state of things that sets a small portion of mankind at 
an immense distance from the majority; that gives to a com- 
paratively few individuals almost boundless means of gratifica- 
tion, by which the mass are impoverished; whilst many can scarcely 
obtain the elements of subsistence; and numbers are impressed 
into the service of vice till they become as depraved as human 
nature will admit, inflicting on the whole body of society, with a 
knowledge of their crimes, a portion of their infelicity. Nine 
tenths of the miseries and the crimes of mankind result from this 
unequal and unjust state of things. If injustice and its conse- 
quent evils exist extensively in society, and human reason can 
devise the means of their correction or material abatement, where- 
fore should not this be attempted, as far as it is seen and acknowl- 
edged, upon the eternal bases of equity and reciprocation? The 
constant pursuit of individual gain is at variance with the duties 
and affections of man, considered as a social and generous being. 
The opulent dealer who extracts a large profit from the poor man; 


the wealthy manufacturer who holds the mechanic to his machin- 
ery at a price just commensurate with his individual subsistence, 
to say nothing of that of his wretched family; and the rich landed 
proprietor who retains those who till his fields in a state of penury 
and pauperism, are excrescences on God's earth, which he gave to 
all mankind. Individual condition in humble life in Europe, and 
especially in Great Britain, has constantly to withstand what 
is to it the two-fold evils of advancing machinery and increasing 
population, rendering it daily more precarious and more scanty. 
Witness the frequency and increasing extent of the combinations 
and strikings of the operative classes. And what could be more 
rational and honorable than an attempt to construct society, 

346 Early Travels in Indiana. 


though locally and upon a small scale, upon a plan of common prop- 
erty and benefit, aloof from the petty concealments and intric- 
acies, the selfishness, the jealousies, the proverbial absence of 
friendship, the casualties and opposing interests of ordinary com- 
mercial life, which in proportion to its success would be produc- 
tive of peace, goodwill, security and contentment. Such a plan of 
society would tend most materially and directly to soften the pas- 
sions, and consequently to encrease the enjoyment of life; would 
remove the evils of dependence, also those vast sources of distress 
insolvency and bankruptcy and family dissensions arising from the 
unequal distribution of property; and would have a powerful 
tendency to check the ravages of insanity and suicide, which more 
frequently result from pecuniary embarrassment than any other 
cause. As society exists, the journeyman shoe maker or taylor 
has infinitely the advantage of the man of education and refine- 
ment, who through misfortune is reduced to poverty; and the 
cook or housemaid has infinitely the advantage of her mistress, 
if the latter is through any calamity brought to indigence. How 
many respectable females are rendered pennyless through the 
commercial misfortune, imprudence, or dissipation of male rela- 
tives, to whom their property was entrusted! And how many men 
are from the fluctuations and vicissitudes of the commercial world 
reduced to a situation in comparison with which that of the 


journeyman artisan in employment is enviable! The distress of 
the humble poor is frequently obvious to the sight, besides being 
rendered so to the ear, but the difficulties and sufferings experi- 
enced in middle and genteel life are silent and unseen. Misfor- 
tune however may be said to be proportionate to the sensi- 
bility of the unfortunate; and the utmost splendour of com- 
mercial life is but splendid dependance, which is far inferior in 
real dignity to moderate competence or self-subsistence, however 
humble. That which is wanting to society is a foundation in equity 
to f which all might appeal, and from which all might derive sup- 
port by the performance of an equitable quantity of labour. As 
society exists, the condition of every individual not born to 
hereditary property is perfectly fortuitous. -Cannot this defect 
be remedied? Shall it never be remedied? The statesman says 
no; the philanthropist, that it ought to be, if it be practicable. 
As society exists mankind subsists by individual ingenuity and 
address, and by the advantages which one individual obtains 
over another by whatever means, instead of associating upon a 
principle of natural equity befitting rational beings, which would 



William Hebert. 347 

put vicissitude and want and distress at defiance. If Christendom 
were truly christian, there would exist this spirit of justice and of 
concord. The christian world however will never fully deserve 
that name until society be modelled upon and governed by its 
precepts, to the neglect or. non-effectiveness of civil and military 
government, to which latter powers Christianity has hitherto been 
considered merely as an adjunct, and not as that divine code of 
laws which should supersede all others that are opposed to it, as 
the products only of human weakness or depravity. When the 
christian world becomes really christian, armies will cease to be 
marshalled to settle its disputes, to check the progress of knowledge 
or crush its efforts of improvement. Literature will not be cur- 
tailed and fashioned by censorships, like trees by the shears of a 
whimsical gardener. A congress of wise and good men from all its 
parts, (not of belted chieftains,) will settle the first in peace and 
welcome and foster the last. 


Human nature being not merely ductile, but its ductility being 
almost without limit, the basis of an improved system of society 
would be the effect of a general perception of error in the common 
estimation of wealth and power. True wealth is self-enjoyment; 
true power, the command over one's-self; and no perception of 
individual property and power as they exist, (which generally 
afflict by the weight of anxiety they entail,) could equal the enjoy- 
ment that would result from the consciousness of being the free 
and equal member of an equitably constituted society, which 
would be proportionably relieved of vice and the numerous infelici- 
ties attending the existing intercourse of mankind. History is 
decidedly hostile to the opinion that individual enjoyment is the 
general concomitant of power, notwithstanding that the love, 


and consequent pursuit of power is the general foible of mankind. 
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," and arduous are its 
duties if faithfully and honourably performed. The eminences of 
power and wealth are doubtlessly like other objects of human 
pursuit that have merely personal gratification or aggrandize- 
ment for their end, being more attractive and .promising at a 
distance than satisfactory or pleasurable in the possession. A 
period may indeed arrive when the resources of ingenuity in manu- 
factures and commerce may fail to such an extent as to render an 
adjustment of the condition of mankind locally or nationally, 
-upon principles of equity imperiously necessary, as those resources 
have long failed to the purpose of general subsistence without the 
vast aid of the poor laws, those wretched supports of indigence 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

which just enable it to limp along or to prolong its suffering 


period m 

when from the increased numbers of mankind 

manual labor shall of necessity supersede the use of machinery, as 
the latter is now permitted or rather stimulated for purposes of 
revenue and commerce to operate to the injury and deprivation of 
lions. When manufactures may be so diffused, improved and 


simplified in their production throughout the commercial world as 
to render the shiftings and refinements of commercial treaties, 
and of import and of export regulations, of little or no avail; 
when national independence or self-subsiste 
the standard of security and rei 

ice shall be deemed 
pectability; and when human 

knowledge may have attained that maturity of growth as no longer 
to tolerate the existing crudities of the commercial and political 
world. That human society is in a state of great immaturity is 
evident, or mankind would not be subject to all the evils atten- 
dant on the vicissitudes and fluctuations of the political and com- 
mercial world. Nor would the vast majority of mankind be miser- 
ably dependent on the minority. This cannot exist when the 
former shall be as well informed as the latter, when knowledge shall 
shed its rays like the meridian sun. It does not indeed exist in 
the United States of America which seem destined to reform both 
the political and social system of Europe. Nearly the whole con- 

tinent of Am 


ites to a better order of thing 


desert regions from nearly one end of it to the other inviting the 


d th 

philanthropist to aim at a better construe 

tion of human society; a construction less opposed to the equality 
of natural right and of natural wants, and better adapted to 
moral improvement and social enjoyment. 

In regard to the different degrees of enjoyment experienced in 
two situations of the established form of society, it may be en- 
quired which generally appear to possess the greatest share of 
enjoyment, those persons who are immersed in business to the 
whole extent of their property, or those whose competence is 
ascertained, and who live a retired life? I imagine that in nine- 
teen cases out of twenty, the latter situation is by far the pref- 
erable one, and that most persons would allow this. If so, then 
would that be the best system of society that should the most 
nearly assimilate to this preferable situation, consistently with the 
welfare of all its members. If man be a social being, society should 
be universally a source of support, of improvement and happiness, 
instead of being as it is in innumerable cases, a source of destitu- 
tion, of depravity, and consequent misery; and that would be the 

William Hebert. 349 

best plan of society that was the most equal and reciprocal, and 
consequently the most rational and virtuous. It has however 
been the lamentable conduct of statesmen, (though in some cases 
no doubt unintentionally) to degrade and brutalize human nature 
to the utmost, to render it familiar with privation and suffering, 
and every moral corruption. If revenue have been collected 
and armies kept on foot, private condition with the artisan and the 
labourer has been too generally a matter of little moment. A cer- 
tain extent of destitution has indeed been considered by eminent 
statesmen as an essential circumstance of political government, 
seeing that without that source of impressment into its service its 
strongest arm of power could not be maintained. But if society be 
a good in its natural tendency, it may be enquired, whether it be 
sufficiently perfect; whether it cannot be rendered more perfect, 
more equitable, and consequently less productive of misery? 
If society be susceptible of improvement upon natural and equit- 
able principles, then would that be the preferable system of inter- 
course in which the selfish, the violent, and malignant passions 
would be least liable to be agitated; in which the turmoil of pecuni- 
ary and political pursuits would be quashed; in which the elation 
and depression of mind attending the vicissitudes of fortune would 
be subdued into a moderate and even pleasurable quantity of 
beneficial employment; in which the acquisition of knowledge, 
and the various enjoyments of society would have the freest 
scope; in which the sacred tie of marriage would be allowed to take 
place at suitable ages unobstructed by considerations of property 
and the frequent averice of parents; in which the most deplorable 
circumstances of society as it exists would not have place; and in 
which the education of youth would all form primary and essen- 
tial objects of the care of its members. If there be reason in this, 
both virtue and humanity bid us hope that a gradual improvement 
in society, commensurate with the progress of knowledge and of 

the true economy of life, may take place. Nothing further is 
wished or contemplated, as it would not be reasonable to set a 
man or a number of men to grope for a treasure in the dark, or to 
make experiments that might result in their injury or destruction. 


But if the foregoing observations are warranted by truth and the 
real nature of things, then may one day the restless votaries of 
ambition and of wealth in Europe borrow valuable instruction 
from the Societies of Harmonians and Friends in America, or from 
societies constituted upon similar but improved and equitable 
principles, adapted to all the purposes of moral and refined society 

350 Early Travels in Indiana. 

and every human relationship. All persons of habits of business 
must be sensible that it is a desirable thing to abridge the hours 
devoted to it within a space to allow of a due attention to domes- 
tic concerns, to personal comfort, to the instruction of children, to 
reading, to scientific pursuit, recreation and the enjoyment of 
society, all which objects are greatly obstructed by the enormous 
portion of time devoted by tradesmen to their businesses in order 
to support their numerous responsibilities; and journeymen, 
artisans and labourers in employment have no time whatever for 
these desirable and necessary objects, except on Sundays; all 
which circumstances however would be most materially and bene- 

ficially attained upon the equitable and rational plan of society 

contemplated, which would also as naturally tend to check the 
selfish and sordid affections as the existing form of society con- 
tributes to excite them. What could be more proper than for 
various artisans and agriculturists after the work of the day was 
over, and they had had time to refresh themselves at home, and 
to attend to various matters, to meet as inclination prompted in a 
reading room or library, for the purpose of reading or conversa- 
tion on subjects of physical science or any other more interesting 
to them, instead of living in ignorance and poverty, neglecting 
their families from necessity, and from bad habits and associa- 
tions, wasting their little leisure time, their money and health at 
public houses? The plan of society under consideration is simply 
an extensive and equitable partnership in all the essentials of 
life, or a complete and perfect Benefit Society, based in the equal 
or proportionate stake of all its members, in which the social feel- 
ings would be more freely and constantly exercised than in the 
present form of society. Though it be allowed that the present 
state of society in Europe is commensurate with its progress in 
knowledge, and that it is a great amelioration of that of the 
Gothic or Feudal ages, it does not follow that a still better order 
of things shall not take place when that highest of all the sciences, 
the science of human life in society, shall be better understood and 
more justly appreciated in its enjoyments and object. The pres- 
ent form of society in Europe is merely a modification or ameliora- 
tion of Feudalism, be that modification or amelioration great or 
little, and the problem for the philosopher and the philanthropist of 
the present day is, whether society be susceptible of a basis and 
super-structure in equity, consistently with the natural equality 
and dignity of mankind. ' • 

If then reason, equity and humanity be allied against ancient 

William Hebert. 351 

political society with all its tyrannies and usurpations, the ques- 
tion is whether the former shall always be overborne by the crude 
assemblage of circumstances derived from the infancy and 
pristine ignorance of mankind; or whether that form of society or 
settling of things which conquest or brute force, aided by super- 
stition, impressed on the weakness and ignorance of mankind, 
shall always prevail over that which reason would dictate, which 
equity and humanity demand, or which a council of philosophic 
friends of mankind would prescribe, acting upon the present or 
future knowledge of mankind? Shall improvements and discov- 
eries be constantly going forward in physics, and none be made in 
society, or the art of living in society? And notwithstanding that 
prejudiced persons are apt to scoff at all plans for the ameliora- 
tion of the condition of mankind as merely visionary or Utopian 
schemes, it is consolatory to reflect, that the opposition alluded 
to is, in some instances, no purer in its source than was that of the 
Roman clergy against the reforming doctrines of Erasmus and 
Luther; and no more founded in nature or truth than that of the 
Spanish nobles against the geographical principles of Christopher 


It may remain for the writer of the foregoing to assure his 
readers that no part of it is intended in any manner to wound the 
feelings of individuals of any class or station of life whatever. 
Individual excellence is to be found in every rank and walk of 
life, and is perfectly compatible with great imperfection in the 
frame of government and that of society generally, which imper- 
fection is deducible from the circumstances of their origin and prog- 
ress. It is incumbent on the privileged orders of society only to 
bear their ascendency with meekness and liberality, it not being 
the fault of any individual belonging to them that he was born to 
a title not known in moral estimation, or to the possession of 
thousands of acres of the earth under a system of things which 
denies to the vast majority a square foot. Although the iron 
sword of an ancestor or the lavish gift of a conqueror includes but a 
slender moral title to the possession of an estate which would afford 
thousands of fellow-beings subsistence, it is not to be expected 
that the hereditary possessors of the earth will yield their mo- 
nopoly of it until they shall all be presented with what they may 
deem an equivalent in a greater degree of moral and social happi- 
ness, resulting from equity being established as the foundation of 
society. The privileged orders of the present generation and those 
for some ages past are altogether innocent of the monstrous dis- 



Early Travels in Indiana. 

parity of circumstances deducible from conquest and priestcraft 
acting upon the ignorance and weakness of mankind. The error or 
crime of the case is attributable only to the system, and not to any 
class of individuals who are the subjects of it. It is for the present 
generation only to take care that the ''march of sound knowledge" 
be facilitated to the utmost.' That improvement be not confined to 
physical science merely; but that it be admitted to modify, or 
remodel society, as the pressure of political circumstances on indi- 


vidual condition, or more correct views of human nature or of 
the economy of life may suggest. 

The writer when in Philadelphia, in June, 1823, had put into his hand by an ac- 
quaintance, (an opulant farmer and grazier from the west of England, who was then 
seeking an establishment for himself and an extensive connection in the United States), 
a pamphlet written by a Mr. Brayshaw from Scotland, who had then recently arrived 
in America for the purpose of making a tour of the western states, with the view to 
ascertain a situation for the establishment of a society upon the principle of an equit- 
able participation of labour and capital, from which the following is an extract: 

' 'According to the present form or construction of society, the interest of every 
individual is placed in opposition to the interests of other individuals, and in opposi- 
tion to the interests of society at large. In my own opinion, by carefully tracing effects 
to their causes, I shall be able to prove that this opposition of interests is the funda- 
mental cause of the greatest part of the evils which now afflict or ever have afflicted 
the human species; and I think if I succeed in this point, I shall be warranted in con- 
cluding that if it be possible to give such a construction to human society as shall have 
the effect of uniting the common interests of mankind, by making the interest of the 
whole the interest of every individual, and the interest of every individual the interest 
of the whole body, such a state of things would remove the causes of the evil, and banish 
the greatest part of the miseries which at present afflict mankind." 


William Hebert. 353 


for the formation of a 



To be composed of tradesmen, farmers, clerks, mechanics 
&c. intended to be established in the state of New York. 


Art. 1. It is proposed that the Society shall in the first 
instance consist of about a hundred families, exclusively of single 

2. That the capital to be introduced by every adult 
male member be not less when arrived in America and at the set- 
tlement, than £11. 5s. (50 dollars,) nor more than £900. (4000 

3. That the whole of the property of the Society be 
divided into shares, and that a share be equal to the smallest sub- 
scription, viz. £11. 5s. 

4. That the less opulent members shall have the oppor- 
tunity by their industry of increasing their property in the society 
in proportion to that of the other members, and that an equitable 
adjustment of the value of time be made for the whole of the 

5. That the affairs of the Society be conducted by a 
rotary committee, or board of management, of all its members in 
succession, which committee or board of management to be chosen 

monthly, quarterly, or half yearly. To consist of mem- 


6- That the capital of the Society, after the purchase of 
the land, the expense of the first clearing, fencing and building, 

(This outline of a self-subsistent community was made by the author of the fore- 
going pages at the suggestion of a friend from New York, where a few gentlemen con- 
templated the formation of a society of this kind, toward which it was proposed that 
every one designing to become a member should contribute a plan or certain articles ; 
since which time, and within a few days, he has been fortunate enough to meet with Mr. 
OF THE LONDON CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY," in which publications the prin- 
ciples of this plan of society are detailed, and its advantages and general attractive- 
ness rendered apparent.) 

T — 23 

354 Early Travels in Indiana. 

(this to be done by natives) the purchase of cattle and other live 
stock, implements, machinery, &c, be vested in the United States 
Bank, in the names of all the members of the Society. \ 

7. That every male member of the Society shall engage 
to employ himself in any and every manner that shall at any 
time be determined by the existing board of management; that 
there shall be no exclusive employments; and that every male 
member be eligible to every employment or office to which he is 
nominated by the managing board or committee for the time being, 
or by the election of not less than two-thirds of the members of the 


8. That it is a radical principle of this society that 
labour of every necessary or useful description is honourable; 
that true respectability consists in integrity of .character and 
utility of conduct. That what must be done by some may be 
done by all. That idleness, as opposed to usefulness and to hon- 
esty is despicable, and to be abhorred. 

9. That the constitution of this society be enacted in 
every article by at least three-fourths of all the members, and 
that not less than three-fourths of all the members be at all times 
competent to alter or amend it. 

10. That it shall be allowable for any number of the 
members to practice or follow any trade or calling required for the 
benefit of the society; and that the artisans of any particular trade 
do instruct as many of the other members as may be desired by the 
existing board of management; in return for which the members so 
teaching, will themselves receive instruction as the wants or cir- 
cumstances of the society require; reciprocal service for the bene- 
fit of the whole being the principle of action throughout the com- 
munity. In some cases the thanks of the society may be voted 
to an individual who evinces a particular readiness, activity, or 
perseverance in this respect. 

11. That the value of time devoted to the concerns of the 

society in whatever trade, calling, or office, be considered uniform 
and equal amongst all its male members; and that the average 
length of a day's work required by the society, exclusively of time 
for meals or refreshment, throughout the year be eight hours, 


excepting on particular emergencies when it may be extended to 
any length required. That it be considered at a subsequent period 
of the establishment whether the term of eight hours' labour per 
day may not be reduced to six. 

'• 12. That every male member do learn to practice some 

William Hebert. 355 

one necessary or useful trade or calling, in addition to the per- 
formance of his duty as an agriculturist or other labourer; that 
domestic manufactures in as great a variety as possible may be 
constantly going forward. 

13. That no exception whatever shall be taken, or obiec- 
tion made, on account of the religious persuasions or opinions of 
any member of this society. That the expression of opinion be as 
free as air. That moral character be solely looked to, this being 
indispensable to the welfare and happiness of the society collec- 
tively and individually. 

14. That the wives and children of members be allowed 
to work at any business or calling that they may be desirous of, at 
regulated prices and on regulated terms. That the wives of mem- 
bers have the right of voting and of expressing their opinions at all 
general meetings of the society, and that the females elect each 
other to all the departments of female employment of the society. 

15. That the children of the members be educated upon 

the Lancastrian plan, and that their education be rendered as 

liberal and philosophic as possible; to the exclusion however of the 
retarding and profitless burthen of the dead languages. That 
every arrangement be made to facilitate the society, recreation, 
and instruction of the infant children of the members. 

16. That the principles of the society be in the strict- 
est sense equal and democratic; that equity and wisdom, and not 
property may govern. That to this end, as the interest of the 
proprietor of one share will be equal to that of the proprietor of 
five or ten, considered as the whole of their vested property respec- 
tively, and in a regard to the welfare of their families in the society, 
that the rights of the members be in all respects equal, that all 
votes be equal, and that no member have more than one vote upon 
any question or occasion whatever. 

17. That all disputes, misunderstandings, or dissatisfac- 
tion arising between members, be settled by arbitration, the arbi- 
trators to be chosen by ballott, either from the existing board of 
management or from the members in general. 

18. That the society have the power of expelling any 
member for continued idleness, misconduct, or immorality, by a 
vote of not less than three-fourths of the whole of the members; 
and that the property of such individual be valued and paid to him 
at the time of his quitting the society. 

. 19. That no member of the society shall go to law with, 
or sue another member for debt, or upon any account whatever; 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

the doing which, shall be deemed on the part of the individual an 
act of self-expulsion from this society, which, if necessary, shall 
maintain the defendant's cause. 


20. That the society, collectively, may purchase the 
property of any member that may be desirous of withdrawing from 
it, but that members can not sell or transfer their shares to each 
other, the whole of the property, with the exception of household 
furniture, clothing, books, plate, &c, being the property of the 
society. That the property in shares of every member being vested 
in the society, be disposable only by the society at a general meet- 
ing; and that a majority of not less than two-thirds of the whole 
of the members be requisite in all cases of the sale of shares. This 
restriction is enacted solely to prevent partial interests and obli- 
gations; the servitude of the less opulent or poorer members upon 
the others; and all doubtfulness, perplexity, or confusion in respect 
to immoveable property, and its consequent disputes. 

21. That as a true and equal economy should govern 
every circumstance of the society, it be enacted, that no more 
horses or cattle shall be kept by the society than are necessary or 
useful. That no member shall keep any horse, cow, sheep or pigs 
for his private use without making a fair allowance to the society 
for such part of their keep as is derived from the society's prop- 

22. That the horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, fowls, ducks, 
geese, &c, the property of the society, be* equitably used and 
participated by all the members; and every article of consumption, 
when necessary, rated at the time's market price, and every family 
debited with the quantity or amount of its demands or consump- 
tion; which debit, together with that on account of wearing ap- 
parel, &c, be regularly placed against the amount of its earnings, 
and the balance placed to the account of capital in the society's 
stock of every family once in every year. 


That regular and correct accounts be kept of the 

society's property, and of all its transactions, both internal and 


That convenient stores be kept of all the society's 

property for disposal to its members, or for sale to the public; and 
that the primitive and fair principle of barter upon a valuation by 
the quantity of time and labour employed in production, be acted 
upon to the utmost extent, both within, and without the society. 


That every member shall devote his time as regu- 

Willian Hebert. , 357 

lated by the society to its concerns and interests, and be resident 
on its land. 

26. That after the daily employment of eight hours in 
the service of the society, every member be wholly at his own dis- 
posal, and may employ himself for the remainder of his time in any 
manner that his inclination may prompt. That the products of 
the private and extra industry of the members be offered to the 
society at fair prices, and if purchased by it, that the parties be 
credited by the amount, or should the society not purchase such 
produce of the extra industry of its members, that the latter be at 
liberty, after having offered it to the society, to dispose of it out of 
the society for their own private benefit. 

27. That any member wishing to quit the society may at 
Christmas in each year give written notice of such wish, upon 
receiving which, the society must within a month after, make an 
election of either purchasing the share in the society's stock of 
such individual and family, or of accepting a substitute for him, 
subject in either case to the approval of not less than two-thirds of 
the whole of the members. 

28. That a law be enacted to settle and determine the 
mode in which the widows and children of deceased members shall 
succeed to their property and be retained in the society, render- 
ing to the widows and children of worthy members the utmost pro- 
tection, sympathy and kindness; as also the manner of payment to 
such widows and children as may be desirous of withdrawing from 
the society. 

29. That a piece of ground be enclosed and kept sacred as 
a burial ground, for such of the members as may prefer being 
interred within the society's land. That grave stones be erected, 
and the ground kept in the utmost order. That all funerals be 
performed by the society and without expense to the afflicted 

30. That every member of the society do occupy for 
himself and family in permanency, a cottage and garden, com- 
prised within about a quarter of an acre of ground. . That the cot- 


tages of the society be built detached, (or two together, if deemed 
preferable,) all of the same size, and upon the same plan, conven- 
ient for a family. 

31. That the cottages of the society be built so as to 
form a spacious square, open at the angles, and open also in the 
centre of each side, of sufficient width to form streets, in order to 
provide for the increase of its members without crowding the 

358 Early Travels in Indiana. 

square. That the square forming the village have a circular enclos- 


ure within it, in the centre of which, to be erected with all possible 
neatness, a Building for Public Worship, and the various purposes 
of the society. That the enclosure be laid out into walks, planted 
with fruit and other trees, furnished with benches, and kept with 
all the neatness of a London square. The enclosure to serve as a 
play-ground for the children, and for the evening walks and 


recreations of the members. That the storehouses, granaries, 
factories, workshops, tannery, brewhouse, barns, stables, cattle- 
sheds, stack yards, &c, &c, be arranged in the outer square 
beyond the gardens of the village, and having a good road all 
round between these and the front of those buildings and appur- 
tenances; which road to be connected with the inner square by 
streets formed from the angles of both squares, and others from 
the centre of the sides of each. It is presumed that this plan would 
embrace contiguity and general convenience, at the same time 
that offensiveness of all kinds would be removed to a desirable 
distance. It would perhaps be desirable that the central build- 
ing were divided on the ground floor into two compartments, and 
that one of these were exclusively appropriated to religious pur- 
poses, the different denominations into which the society might 
divide itself, occupying it alternately, or by a wise expansion of 
christian fellowship, or of a sentiment of unanimity, resolve to 
know no differences of sect, but to use it in common, to read the 
scriptures in common, and to allow every reader or officiating 
member to expound, and to express his opinions, without con- 
troversy. An upper spacious room might be made to answer the 
purpose of a library, a reading, lecture, and school room; and be 


used for the evening amusement of the members. A small tower 
furnished with a clock with four faces and a bell, would be a desir- 
able addition to the village Hall, and if the roof or tower were 
railed round it would form a pleasant observatory. 

32. That no member be admitted into, or retained in the 
society in the separate or exclusive character of a minister of the 
gospel. That this office be free to all the members, and that it con- 
fer no privileges whatever. 


33. That the growth of the most useful kinds of roots 
and vegetables be as much an object with the society as the cul- 
tivation of grain, by which the time and labour of the members 
in raising vegetables in their gardens will be materially lessened, 


and as by this means a more abundant supply of food for the cat- 
tle and live stock will be provided, particularly for winter use. 


William Hebert. 359 

That the cultivation of fruit trees be also an object of attention 
with the society. 

34. That the society's stock be valued, and all accounts 
appertaining to the society and to individuals be settled and 
balanced once in every year, and all surplus capital invested in the 
stock of the United States Bank in the names of all the members. 

35. That in order to adopt and preserve the best 
economy in the society, agricultural, manufacturing and domestic, 
a friendly correspondence be maintained with all other similar 
communities as far as circumstances will allow, and that a deputa- 
tion of two members be occasionally made to visit Harmony or 
any other community, for the purpose of obtaining any particular 
information that the society may require. 

• The author of the foregoing sketch would be permitted to explain that he does not 
suppose that a society formed upon its principles would constitute a perfect ELYSIUM, 
he being fully aware that troubles, vexation and imperfection rest upon every thing 
human; but he would express it as his decided opinion that a society of honorable 
individuals, of regular business habits, each having the welfare of his family and that 
of the society at heart, could not fail of being productive of immense security, comfort 
and advantage to its members. The compact would be simply an equitable partner- 
ship in all the essentials of life and means of happiness. The foregoing is designed 
merely as an outline to be corrected and perfected by the joint labour of the associates 
and the results of experience. 

• * 



From Letters of William Pelham, written in 1825 and 1826. 

These letters were written by William Pelham to his son, William Creese 
Pelham of Zanesville, Ohio, in 1825 and 1826, The original letters are in 
the possession of the children of the late Louis Pelham at New Harmony, 


Indiana. The letters describe William Pelham's journey down the Ohio, 
stopping at Maysville, Cincinnati, Louisville and Mt. Vernon, with the ar- 
rival at New Harmony, where " a new society was about to be formed." 
They tell of the appearance of the town and mention some of the people 


gathering there, express unbounded enthusiasm for Robert Owen and his 
plans for improving the condition of society and describes many of the pleas- 
ures and hardships and daily life experienced during some months of the pre- 
liminary Society. 

William Pelham was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1759, a younger 
son of Peter Pelham and Ann Creese of Boston, and grand-son of Peter Pel- 
ham, of the Pelhams of Chichester, Sussex, England, who was the first 
mezzotint engraver in America. The family of this elder Pelham is described 
in the life of John Singleton Copley, the artist, whose mother, married Mr. 
Pelham, as a household of unusual culture and congeniality, and the only one 
in New England at that time where painting and engraving were the pre- 
dominant pursuits. 

William Pelham when just grown to manhood, was for three years a 
surgeon in the American Revolution, the older brother whom he met at Mays- 
ville being Maj. Gen. Charles Pelham of Virginia. From his journals and 
account books, he seems to have taken passage more than once for England 
and at one time to have spent several years there. In a letter written in 


French, dated London, 1793, he says that the climate of London would 
break down the constitution of a man of iron and that he will return to his 
native land as it does not take an iron constitution to live in the climate of 

He evidently left England determined to change his profession as well as 
climate for about the year 1800 he opened a book shop and publishing house 
in Boston, selling out in 1811 and removing to Newark, New Jersey, and the 
following year to Philadelphia. At this time his young son, William Creese 
Pelham, was a pupil in the Neef school at the Falls of the Schuylkill and from 
this time a close friendship with the Neef family continued through their 

Having secured some land in Ohio through the Virginia Grant of 1812, 
William Pelham brought his family west in 1816 and began editing the Ohio 
Republic at Zanesville. In 1818 he was appointed postmaster and these 
pursuits he continued until he resigned to come to New Harmony in 1825. 

Mr. Pelham was a scholarly man, a deep thinker, delicate in mind and 
constitution, and his long life as a servant of the public had wearied him of 
the grasping ways of the world and Robert Owen's communistic plans 
seemed to him a Utopia of peace for his declining years. So after much 
reading and some correspondence 1 relative to the matter, he came to New 

1. A letter from William Owen, son of Robert Owen, will be found following the 

Pelham letters. 


William Pelham. 361 


!. From th( 

Gazette was published he became one of the first editors. His 
him in the spring of 1826 and the following year William Pelham 
a farm near Mt. Vernon and died very suddenly at his home the 
ruary third, 1827. He passed away just two months before the fii 

and interest. 


Caroline Creese Pelham. 

Opposite Buffington's Island, 

Ohio River, Monday 
1st Aug., 1825, 

3 o'clock. P. M. 

My Dear Son 

I have concluded to commence a letter at this place which 

you will probably receive from Cincinnatti. It would give you 
pleasure to see how commodiously I am situated on board this 
boat. She is 70 or 75 feet long abt. 9 feet wide, very deeply laden 
with flour and destined to Florence in Alabama — navigated by 
six men beside the Capt., Absalom Boyd, who is a mild, quiet 
character, — in fact I have experienced nothing but civility and 
kindness from all on board. The following rude sketch will give 
you some idea of my local position in the vessel, premising that 
at Point Harmar I had a box or bunk made 6f. by 4J to contain 
the whole of my bed & bedding [Sketch omitted.] 

The right side is boarded up, & the whole covered with a sub- 
stantial roof except the bow & stern. On the roof stands the 
caboose & the rowers here exercise themselves with 2 and some- 
times 4 sweeps which they ply pretty constantly. At the foot of 
my bunk is an opening in the side of the vessel about 4 by 5 feet, 
closed at night by 2 folding shutters. 

I am now sitting on the foot of my bed, my feet resting on a 
footboard placed for my convenience by one of my ship-mates. 
As my bunk is placed on 2 tier of barrels there is abundant space 
between my head & the roof of the boat. Capt. Boyd and myself 
lodge together, my bed being sufficiently large for both. 

In the article of diet I do not fare so well, as I cannot relish the 
provision cooked for the crew; & have therefore lived almost 
entirely on tea & coffee & cheese. Give my kind compliments to 
Mrs. Mills and tell her that her friendly piece of cake formed 
almost the whole of my support from Zanesville to Marietta. 

I wrote you a few lines from Marietta, which you will not 

362 Eaely Travels in Indiana. 


receive till Saturday next, (Aug. 6). On carrying it to the P. O. 
I met with Arius Nye, who informed me that Mr. Morris (whom 
I have not seen) — is no longer P. M. The fact is, he has been 


Hamproned out of the office by Squire Buell who contrived to 
convince the P. M. G. [Postmaster General] that he was a fitter 
person to succeeed Willcox than Morris. — This is the individual 
system in perfection. 

This (Buffington's) — Island is always a troublesome place when 
the water is low. At some future time I will give you a minute 
account of the hardship, the labor & fatigue — & the immense, 
extravagant waste of human strength in navigating this river, 
&c &c. We have a strong active crew, and they make abundant 
use of the terms, God — Jesus Christ — Hell-fire & Damnation &c 
&c. &c, but in a manner somewhat different from the reverend 
clergy and certainly not with so much worldy profit. The most 
embarrassing place will be Letart's falls. If anything extraor- 
dinary occurs there I will note it, I am greatly at a loss for my 
Ohio Pilot which unfortunately I left behind, and there is nothing 
of the sort on board this vessel. I have only Melish's small map 
of Ohio & Indiana. 

I feel greatly indebted to Joel Frazey for his kindness; he left 
me at N. Ayers Salt works — after a delightful ride. Remember 
me kindly to him. 

Saturday Aug. 5, 11 o'clock A. M. We have just passed 

Portsmouth & Alexandria at the mouth of the Scioto — the former 
a neat, and even handsome little town — the latter consisting of 
4 or 5 log-houses. We are still abt. 50 miles fr. Maysville, which 
we shall probably not reach till Monday, for we do not move 
faster than about 28 or 30 miles a day, & lie by every night. I am 
told, however, that we shall now get forward much faster than we 
have done while embarrassed with frequent bars, shoals & ripples. 
The Capt. & others on board calculate that we shall arrive at Mt. 
Vernon about the 17th or 18th of this month. By that time, I 
foresee, that I shall require 5 or 6 days rest on land, in some quiet 
lodging house during which I can refit, & get my clothes and blank- 
ets washed. I shall write to you immediately on reaching Mt. 
Vernon. In the meantime give my most affectionate love to 
Mary and tell her that her ample provision of tea, coffee, and 
sugar, will probably last me to the point of my destination. — 
Present me also my most kindly & affectionately to Mr. Peters. 
I have seen no newspaper from any place since I left Z. [Zanesville] 
and you would be surprised if you could really estimate the 

William Pelham. 


indifference I feel about general or local politics and the conten 
tions of opposite parties. I feel once more free from all this tur 

ige in it again, whether I return or not 


& shall never 

Present my kind 

ngage in 

pects to Mr. John Pet 

d Michael 


Mr. Sheward & wife & in general to all friends who may think me 
worthy of their enquiries. 

After leaving Maysville I shall make some additions to this 
letter and then put into the P. O. at Cincinnati. — Our old friend 
Jim Marshall (who is one of the hired hands) has just brought me 

half of a fi 


small water-melon. I have received much 

kindness from him 

The steam boat Law 

worked by 4 horses without steam 

(moving in a circle on her deck) has just passed 

her way up 


Direct the Ohio Repub. to W. Pelham, New Harmony, Ind. 

on the paper itself — put it in a wrapper in the usual manner & 
direct the cover to Postmaster New Harmony, Ind. Do not 
forget to remember me kindly to Messrs. Keightley & Harris & 
Joel Frezey— & Mr. Mills &c. &c. 

Monday 8th Aug. Yesterday afternoon, I had the inexpress- 
able happiness of an affecting and joyful meeting with my brother 
and sister, after a separation of 39 years and 1 month. At first 
sight, he did not know me, but immediately recollected me on a 
nearer approach and for my part, I think I should have recog- 
nized him if I had met him in Zanesville — tho' we are both much 
altered by time. He has an interesting family — his 4 daughters 
and 2 sons were introduced to me. Chas. & Wm. are gone to 
Arkansas. Peter & Atkinson also absent — , 

— , the former at his 
station in Florida — the latter in Philad. My stay was neces- 

rily short 




g we passed by Maysville 


the evening was too far advanced for me to gain a distinct view 

of it 

We are now, 11.30 A. M. 22 miles distant from Maysville 

My brother's daus. accompanied me to the boat which lay h mile 


from the house. During this walk, the two eldest enquired par 

ticularly about you & Mary & 

d an earnest desir 


see you both — not unmixed with the hope that you at least wd. 
make a run in the stage one of these days as far as Maysville. 

The weather has been remarkably cool and pleasant on the 

mesville — I have not been at all incommoded 

I left Z 

by heat— I make it a rule not to go on deck in the morning till 
the sun has dissipated the fog, when there is any— and always to 
retire to my birth soon after sunset. 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

We expect to arrive at Cincinn tonight or tomorrow morning 

I shall therefore, here close my letter and seal it. 

Yr truly affectionate Father, 

Wm, Pelham 

On bd Post Boy, Ohio River. 
Wednesd, noon, Aug. 10, 1825. 
32 miles below Cincinn. 
My dear Son — 

We reached Cincinnati yesterday abt. 10 A.M. & left it about 
6 in the evg. It has been so often and so well described, that it 
is needless for me to make any remarks on it. In fact I saw but 
little of the city my attention being almost wholly directed to 
other objects. What I did see, however, greatly surpassed my 
expectations. In approaching the city we counted 10 new steam 
boats on the stocks — besides some under repair. Boats contin- 
ually passing up and down. It is really a handsome and even 
elegant town, containing an immense amt. of property. 

As soon as we got to the shore I landed, and walking up the 
Main street I unexpectedly met our old friend Mr. John Scott, 
who resides there with his family. After the usual salutations, 
I enquired for, and he directed me to a first rate barber, who shaved 
me admirably, and cut off my pigtail! — the inconvenience of which 
I could no longer endure. While these operations were perform- 
ing, Mr. Scott called in, accompanied by Jas. Taylor, Jr. of Zanes- 
ville who intended proceedg. — homewards this morning, and will, 
doubtless, call on you. I feel much indebted to his attentive 
kindness during my short stay in Cincinn. We went together to 
the office of the Literary Gaz. [Gazette] and afterwards to the 
P. O. where I saw Mr. Burke and Mr. Langdon, his asst. and de- 
posited a letter which you will probably receive next Saty evg. 
Mr. Langdon accompanied me and introduced me to Mr. Wm. 
Bosson, a mercht. of Cincinn. who has lately returned from 
Harmony, where he has a brother — a member of the Community, 
to whom he gave me an introductory letter, and likewise to 2 
merchts. in Louisville. Mr. B. also kindly introduced me to Messrs. 
Clark & Greene, agents for the Community. They offered me 
& I accepted an introductory letter to Wm. Owen & likewise one 
to the Agents in Louisville. I spent several hours very agreeably 
in Mr. Bosson's store in conversation with him. He is a young 
man, very intelligent — apparently of an amiable disposition 


William Pelham. 365 

and devoted to the System. I learnt that Wm. Owen in the only 
member of his family now at Harmony — that his age is about 25, 
that the elder Mr. O. previous to his departure for Europe, called 
a meeting of all the members, in which mutual confidence was 
most • strongly expressed. Mr. Owen dissolved the Committee 
appointed by himself, and requested the society to choose whom- 
soever they pleased — for some time this was declined, as all 
declared themselves well satisfied with his choice — but on being 
urged to it — they proceeded to the election; and the first person 
chosen was Wm. Owen. The greater part, if not all the other 
members were re-chosen. This is a pleasing mark of mutual 
confidence — another is, that Mr. Owen made an offer to the society 
of the whole establishment, land, buildings &c, at their price own 
and on their own terms, so well satisfied was he of their disposi- 
tion and ability to carry the System into full & complete operation. 
Whether this offer was or was not accepted I did not learn, or 
have forgotten. It is certain, however, that things are going 
on well — the society has nearly overcome all the difficulties in- 
cident to such a heterogeneous congregation of strangers to each 
other. To my enquiry whether any new members cd. obtain 
admission, Mr. Bosson replied, that he thought no new families 
could as yet — but in 2 years, the contemplated new village will 
be ready for the reception of members, as they are rapidly pre- 
paring materials. By the last accounts, the number of inhabi- 


tants amounted to 1050 or 1100. 370 children are daily taught 
in the schools — So far you will perceive I have heard nothing that 
has the least tendency to diminish my confidence in the System, 
either in principle or practice. On my arrival at Louisville, I 
shall close this letter, and put it into the Post Office there. At 
present I will only add that here I am again seated upright on the 
foot of my bed, my feet as before, resting conveniently on 
my foot board. I have cut the leather hinges of my provision 
box and the lid placed on my knees and covered with a towel forms 
a very convenient table for my meals — & writing. On the bed 
behind me are scattered my books and papers &c, &c, all very 
handy. — I write at my ease — without hurry or interuption — but 
after all — I would rather be seated in a comfortable house on 
shore, provided I hear not the tiresome question, "Is there any 
letter here for 

Louisville, Sat. 13, Aug. 12 o'clock-noon. 
We have just arrived here. The Capt. Finds it necessary to 


Early Travels in Indiana. 



unload almost entirely as he cannot pass the falls with more than 
•16 barrels of Flour — besides the winds ahead — I guess 
not leave this place till noon tomorrow. 

Unless something extraordinary occurs you will not hear from 
me again till I get to Mt. Vernon. 

Ohio River 100 miles below Louisville. 
Wed. 17 Aug. 1825.— 

My dear William, 

We reached Louisville last Saturday about noon, where I put 
a letter into the P. O. which you will probably receive next 
Tuesday evening. The Capt. immediately commenced unload- 
ing, and the boat passed the falls about sunset to Shippingport. 
In the meantime, I remained at Louisville & called on Messrs. 
I. & W. Stewart, agents for the Harmony Community, to whom 
I had a letter from Cincinnati. They have on hand a complete 
printing apparatus, (weighing about 2 tons) waiting an oppy. of 
forwarding it to Harmony. Here I regretted that our boat was 
so deeply laden that we could not take in on board. Here I also 
met with Mr. Larking a member of the Community, on his way 
down, with his famy — but excessively embarrassed how to con- 
trive a conveyance. His report of affairs at Harmy [Harmony] 


which he left four weeks ago (to meet his famy 

exactly with all our previous information. I called at Dr. Gait's 
but had not the satisfaction of seeing him — his son (your former 
schoolfellow at Neef's) enquired particularly abt you. Next 
morning about Sunrise I set out to walk 2 miles to Shippingport 
& if the weather had been a little cooler shd have performed it 


ease. Here I found them reloading the boat. Then I 

breakfasted & returned to Louisville to get some clothes I had 
left to be washed. When I returned to Shipt. the boat was re- 
loaded, but everything so transposed, that I am not so conveniently 
located as before. However it matters little, for we shall be at 
Mt. Vernon next Saturday or Sunday. At Louisville I reed the 
O. R. [Ohio Republic] Aug. 6, the first I have seen since leaving 
Zanesville. The river is uncommonly low — we have had no rain 


once — and that was of little or no service. We have left 

behind us everything we came in sight of — steamboats excepted. 
I am writing this letter on board the boat intending, if possible, 
to put it into the P. 0. at Troy, where we shall probably arrive 
tomorrow forenoon. 

We started from Shippingport on Sunday afternoon abt 4 

... + - ** 

William Pelham. 


o'clock, and odd as it may appear to you, I was really glad to be 
on board again. I suffered excessively by the heat of the weather 
at Louisville and Shippingport, but here, I am comparatively 
comfortable — the greatest annoyance I now endure is from muske- 
toes which have begun to be troublesome since we left Shippgpt. 
We no longer see any steamboats, though they were frequently 
passing and repassing us between Cincinn and Louisville. 

The Capt. intends to write to Wm. Thompson from the mouth 
of the Cumberland river. In the meantime he requests you to 
say to him that he has ascertained the price of flour at Florence 
by a gentlemen who lately came from there, and who seemed 
desirous of buying him out at $5 per barrel which he declined. 
While at Louisville Mr. Boyd enquired of Wilson and Chambers, 
and likewise Buchanan, but they had no later accounts than 


about 4 weeks ago when flour was 6.50 to 7.00 — their paper 
being at 10 per cent discount. He desires that you will apologise 
to W. T. for his not writing from Cincinn and Louisville, as he 
had not time, being very anxious to get forward. At Cincinn. he 
found a boat loaded with flour for Florence, which is left far be- 

From Mt. Vernon you may expect another letter from 

Your truly affectionate Father, 

Wm. Pelham. 

Mt. Vernon, Indiana. 
Mond. 22nd Aug. 1825 
11 o'clock A.M. 

This letter, my dear son, will apprise you of my arrival at 
this place, where I shall remain 2 or 3 days to recruit and refit, 
and then take a walk to New Harmony in co. [company] with a 
young man who resides there, and who will then return there. 

The Post Boy landed me yesterday about 10 o'clock and I 
am lodging with Mr. Welburn, the Postmaster who is likewise 
agent for the new community. I have gained but little addition 
to me stock of information on the interesting subject. The young 
man alluded to is a carpenter & joiner — has been 3 months in 
Harmony — and is very well pleased with it. 

The weather has, for the last 3 days been cloudy & cold and 
now threatens rain. I find that the E. [Eastern] mail* arrives 
here every Monday, about noon, & immediately returns, crossing 
the river from, and recrossing to Kentucky & proceeding on that 

368 Early Travels in Indiana. 

side to Louisville & Maysville. On Friday a mail is reed, from 
Vincennes & returns the same day through Harmony. You will 
hence perceive the most direct communication with this place 
and Harmony. 

* * * 

After remaining here about an hour yesterday, Capt. Boyd 
proceeded on his voyage. He charged me $7 — for my passage 
from Z. saying that this was $3 less that he would have charged 
if the agreement had been made at L. I find after all expenses 
paid to this place, I am just 18 dollars minus than when I started 
and upon the whole, I am very well satisfied. 

Remember me kindly to all friends. My next letter will be 
from N. Harmony. Your affectionate Father, 

Wm. Pelham. 

[P. S.] By the bye, I have just learned from Mr. Wilburn that a 
printing press is actually in operation at Harmony though they 
have not yet commenced the publication of a newspaper. 

New Harmony, Ind. 

Th. 25 Aug., 1825. 
My Dear William, 

I can only write you a few lines to say that I arrived here yester- 
day afternoon in company with a member of the community 
whose interesting information and conversation tended greatly 
to diminish the tediousness and fatigue of the walk. In a few 
days I shall write you again & at large. 

Remember me kindly to all enquiring friends 

Yr affectn. fat he 

Wm. Pelham 

New Harmony, Inda. Sept 7, 1825. 
My dear Son, 

I feel exceedingly desirous of writing to you, because I know 
a letter from me will be agreeable to you; — and yet I am loth to 
begin. Such a multitude of ideas crowd upon me, that I am 
doubtful whether I shall be able to select such as will be most 
interesting to you. 

I wrote you from Marietta — from Cincinn. — from Louisville — 

from Mt. Vernon — and lastly on my arrival here. At Mt. 
V. [ Vernon] JT settled with Absalom Boyd, the^Capt. of the boat, 
and paid him $7 for my passage, baggage included, somewhat less 
than one cent per mile, which he assured me was, the usual rate. 

William Pelham. 369 

After paying for the transportation of my baggage from Mt. 
Vernon hither $2 — I found the $25 I had appropriated to the ex- 
penses of my journey almost exhausted. But here I am, without 
having experiences- any disaster or serious inconvenience; having 
enjoyed uninterrupted health till a few evenings ago when I took 
cold by incautiously exposing myself to the night air. I am now 
again as well as before. 

At Mt. Vernon I was introduced to Mr. Schnee, a member of 
the Committee, and Postmaster here, on his return from Shawnee- 
town on business of the Society. We soon became acquainted, 
and it appears that we were mutually pleased with each other. 
His countenance and manner indicated good sense, good nature, 
and firmness of character, and on further acquaintance I find 
these indications were not fallacious. He is an intelligent, active, 
viligant, and efficient member of the Committee. He left Mt. 
Vernon the day before I did and met me at the Tavern in Harmony 
on my arrival. After I had taken some refreshment, he con- 
ducted me to the Committee room, and introduced me to Mr. 
Wm. Owen,- Mr. Secretary Lewis, Mr. T. M. Bosson, Mr. Jennings 
and Dr. McNamee, all members of the Commee, by whom I was 
severally greeted with kindness unalloyed by affectation or osten- 
tation. I soon discovered that forms and ceremonies have no 
place here, and the intercourse being plain, easy and free, is 
exactly suited to my taste. Plainness of manners and plainness 
of dress are characteristic of this society. 

I lodged two nights at the Tavern, and then removed to the 
room I now occupy and in which I am now writing. It was offered 
to me by Mr. Bosson, being an unfinished one immediately above 
his own, which is scarcely any better, but they will do for the 
present, and as the cold weather advances we shall have to shift 
our quarters or be frozen to death. These rooms are in the house 
where the meetings of the Committee are held, and the only dif- 
ference is, that the Comee rooms are lathed and plastered. Within 
two-hundred yards of us stands the Old Harmony church, a 
large frame building painted white with a steeple containing a 
clock which strikes the hours and quarters. By this clock are 
regulated the occupations and amusements of the inhabitants. 
At five every morning the bell is rung for the commencement of 
the daily business, at seven it is again rung to signify that break- 
fast will be ready in all the boarding houses and the Tavern in 
a qr. [quarter] of an hour. At 12 it is rung again & dinner is ready 
everywhere in fifteen minutes, the same at six for supper. Every 

T— 24 

370 Early Travels in Indiana. 

Tuesday evening such as chuse to dance assemble in the Hall 
(which is a large brick building near and almost adjoining the 
church) where they find an excellent band of music, and amuse 
themselves till nine o'clock. The utmost order, regularity and 
good humor exist here and I have witnessed these periodical 
dancing assemblies with approbation and pleasure, the music 
being excellent. 

On Wedy, evg. such of the society as choose to attend in the 
church are made acquainted with the transactions of the Comee 
—during the preceding week, and everyone gives his opinion 
freely respecting the best course to be pursued. On Thursday 
evg. there is a regular concert, on Friday something else which 
I do not recollect and Saturday evening is not appropriated to 
any particular object. On Sunday the Rev. Mr. Jennings com- 
monly delivers a lecture in the forenoon (without any formal text) 
in which he explains the manner of receiving religious impres- 
sions. I have not yet heard one of these Sunday lectures, but 
from several conversations I have had with him, I can plainly 
see that he will never try to stupif y the understanding of his hearers 
with unintelligable dogmas, and incomprehensible jargon. What 
he says is plain, and easy to be understood. On the Thursday, 
that is, the next day following my arrival, a Baptist preacher 
came into the town and announced his intention of delivering a 
discourse in the evening in the Church. Accordingly, a large 
congregation assembled, and listened to him with great attention. 
He is certainly one of their first rate preachers, and he managed his 
matters with much address. The next evening — (Friday) Mr. 
Jennings delivered a lecture in the same place, and ably demon- 
strated the sandy foundation of the ingenious gentleman's argu- 


ments, without any pointed allusion to him or his arguments. 
At the close of the lecture my gentleman thought proper to make 
a rejoinder, tho nothing had been said of him or his doctrines, but 
he did not seem to be in so good a humor as he was the evening 
before — although he had previously preformed the marriage 
ceremony for a young couple — especially when this young couple 
retired with their friends into the Hall to enjoy the pleasures of 
music and dancing instead of listening to his rejoinder. 

I have now been here 2 Sundays. On the first (Mr. Jennings 
being absent on business) Mr. Wm. Owen read to the congregation 
some extracts from his fathers publications — and last Sunday, 
Mr. Jennings being indisposed, another member read several 
extracts from other portions of Mr. Owen's works. In both 

William Pelham. 371 

instances these extracts were accompanied with appropriate re- 
marks of the reader explaining and connecting the passages. 
Last Sunday afternoon we were regaled with a truly christian 


harangue from a rambling shaking quaker who happened to be 


You would be surprised to see how punctually I attend these 
Sunday meetings in the Church, and how frequently I am peram- 
bulating the streets, and falling in and conversing familiarly with 
successive groups before the door of the Tavern particularly in the 
evening when these groups commonly assemble — not to drink and 
carouse, but for the purpose of rational conversation, here are no 
brawling braggarts, no idle jesters delighting to wound the feelings 
of each other — no intemperate buffoons eager to make sport of one 
another, for no member of the community can obtain any ardent 
spirit either at the Tavern or the store, without a certificate from 
the Doctor that it is needed as a medicine — a regulation that 
would be very useful in Zanesville as well as here. I have mixed 
much with all descriptions of persons', and I declare I have not 
heard an offensive word spoken by a single individual. Good hum- 
ored jokes are undoubtedly frequent but the general tenor of the 
conversation is of a serious philosophical cast. Those who are 
incapable of this appear still to take an interest in discussions of 
this kind, or separate into groups to talk over the occurrances of 
the day, occasionally introducing some jocular remark, tending to 
excite mirth without wounding the sensibility of any. 

As to dollars & cents, they are words seldom heard any where 
but in the public store, which is like all other trading shops, 
differing however in this, that every head of a family, or single 
unmarried member unconnected with a family, instead of carry- 
ing money to the store, is furnished a Pass-book in which he is 
charged with what he buys, and is credited every week with the 
amount of his earnings. These pass-books exhibit a curious 
medley of items, bacon, chickens, eggs, melons, cucumbers, 
butter, tea, sugar, coffee &c &c with all the varieties of store 
goods on the debit side, while on the other are placed the credits 
of the individuals. I have been several days employed in over- 
hauling and balancing these pass-books (the clerk whose particular 
duty it is, being sick) and this has given me the opportunity of 
making these observations, which indeed anyone may do who will 
take the trouble of looking over them, for they are open to the 
inspection of all who choose to examine them. There are about 
300 of these pass-books continually in motion. 

372 Early Travels in Indiana. 

At the particular request of Mr. Keightly and Mr. Harris, 
I have obtained the insertion of their names in the register of 
applicants for admission into the Society, and if they were now 
here, I have no doubt they would both find immediate employ- 


ment, the former in the Turners' & machine makers shop apper- 
taining to the Steam mill, the latter in the Pub. [public] store; 
But they would certainly be puzzled to find comfortable lodgings 
especially if they did not come prepared with a sufficiency of 
bedding and utensils for housekeeping. If any other of our friends 
wish me to have their names also inscribed in the Register, I will 
make application for them, on their request being made known 
to me- — the notification must contain the name and age of the 
applicant, the age of his wife, if a married man — the number, ages 
and sexes of his children — the place of his birth, and his present 
residence — his trade or occupation — and his motive for wishing 
to join the society. 

The manner in which I became employed in the Pub. [public] 
store was this. As no one in this community is urged or pressed 
to perform any work that he pointedly dislikes, it was delicately 
intimated to me by the Accountant at the store that the young 
man whose duty it was to attend to the pass-book department 
being sick his business was running behind and my services wd 
be acceptable as long as I liked to continue them. Notwithstand- 
ing my aversion to commercial matters I readily assented and 
entered the Counting room, where I at once found myself at home, 
though among strangers — such is the frankness of manners pre- 
vailing here. I would, however, rather be somehow or other 
connected with the printing establishment, and I think I shall 
accomplish this as soon as the publication of the paper is com- 
menced. I have frequently conversed with Mr. Palmer the 
superintendent of the . pr. [printing] office who has already in 
some instances accepted my services as corrector of several proof 
sheets of a pamphlet he is printing. I have been urging on the 
Comee. to commence the publication and I think it will commence 
next week, probably on Saturday the 7th inst. I shall not fail 
to forward it to you for exchange. You will of course send yours 
& if the Reformer is not printed in Philad. let me know where it 
is printed. 

Mr. Schnee informed me yesterday that the mail route from 
hence is to Princeton — from thence to Evansville, and so along 
on the Indiana side of the river to 'New Albany where it crosses 

William Pelham. 373 

over to Louisville, thence to Cincinn. or Maysville, he is not sure 
which, but most probably to Cincinn. 

And now, my dear Wm. I hope you will give me a letter at 
least once each week, letting me know how you all go on & espe- 
cially if you meet with any Post Office difficulties. Never mind 
John Dillon or his ill-humor abt the newspapers, but make him 
pay his postage. One thing I particularly recommend & that is 
to exact punctual payment from all for fear of the worst. * * * 

Yr aff . father, 

Wm. Pelham 

N. Harmony, Sept. 8, 1825. 

* * * 

My dear Wm. 

You will perceive by my letters to the P. M. G. and to 
Dr. Bradley that I have become a Harmonite and mean to spend 
the remainder of my days in this abode of peace and quietness. 
I have experienced no disappointment. I did not expect to find 
every thing regular, systematic, convenient — nor have I found 
them so. I did expect to find myself relieves from a most 
disagreeable state of life, and be able to mix with my fellow citi- 
zens without fear or imposition — without being subject to ill 
humor and unjust censures and suspicions — and this expectation 
has been realized— I am at length free — my body is at my own 
command, and I enjoy mental liberty, after having long been 
deprived of it. I can speak my sentiments without fear of any 
bad consequences, and others do the same — here are no political 
or religious quarrels, though there is a great diversity of opinion 
in matters of religion. Each one says what he thinks, and mutual 
respect for the sentiments of each other seems to pervade all our 
intercourse. Mr. Jennings is our preacher, and I hear him with 
approbation and satisfaction. The Methodists have likewise a 
preacher among them, who sometimes holds forth to the great 
delight of those who take pleasure in confounding their under- 
standing. I am in habits of intimacy with Mr. Jennings, and 
Mr. Bosson particularly, who are both men of great powers of mind 
I am on the best terms with Mr. Schnee, who I may even venture 
to call my friend, and likewise with the other members of the 


I heartily wish you were here — you would at once find em- 
ployment in the printing office, and pass your life hapily — You 
would be associated with a number of young men who form a band 
of music, and perform a concert every Thursday evg. You 

374 Early Travels in Indiana. 

would even join in the dance which takes place once a week. 
Your military propensities would be fully gratified in finding a 
sufficient number of congenial dispositions who are fond of that 
pursuit and have formed themselves into a Co. of St. Infantry 
under the direction of Capt. Larkin, who takes pleasure in it. 
They have just reed, their uniform from Pittsburg, but have not 
yet appeared in it. Upon the whole, after a full comparison of 
the advantages and inconveniences of my present situation I am 
quite satisfied. Let us now attend to other matters. * * . * 

There has for some time past been a good deal of conversa- 
tion and consultation about establishing a social, circulating 
library, but nothing has yet been decided on. Whenever this 
is determined on I am to be Librarian, which, with my occupa- 
tion in the printing office will be sufficient employment for me — 
and of the most agreeable kind — and with agreeable people. 
You may be sure I am doing all I can to bring it about. In the 
meantime I spend my time in obtaining a correct knowledge of 
the local affairs of the nlace. In due time I will communicate 

the result of the observations I may be able to make. At present 
I am boarding with the only baker in the town at 57 cents per 
week. He is a young married man — no children — and our dinner 
party consists of himself, his wife — Mr. Bosson and myself. 
That is, Mr. B. and I have our breakfast — dinner and tea there 
and our lodging as before described, so that I may say, upon the 
whole I am verv well situated. 

I wish you would write me a long letter, — freely & confiden- 
tially, which will not fail to impart great satisfaction to, my dear 
Wm. Yr. truly affectionate father, 

Wm. Pelham. 

New Harmony, Inda. Friday Sept. 9, 1825. 
My dear William. 

Yesterday evening, after I had written, sealed and put into 
the P. O. 2 packets directed to the "P. M. Zanesville" * * * ,. I 
received your acceptable favor of the 15th of August, accompanied 
with the O. Rep. of Aug. 13. 

Associations on Mr. Owen's principles I find are springing 
up in the various places. Beside the society at the Yellow Spring, 
and the one you mention in Allegany Co. Pa. another has been 
formed at Albion, Illinois, the settlement made by the late Mr. 
Birkbeck, of which a favorable acct. has been reed. here. 

Your information that Mess. Keightly and Harris will not 

William Pelham. 375 

* * * 

visit this place till October or November corresponds with what 
I learnt from themselves, and really I do not know how they will 
contrive to obtain accomodations when they do come. If they 
remain at the Tavern while they are not members they will be 
charged, each, $2 a week, as the Tavern is considered one of the 
sources of revenue for the society. If they come determined and 
prepared to join the society immediately, I think Mr. K. may- 
manage to fit up some vacant log-hut for the reception of himself 
and famy. and Mr. H. might find admission into one of the board- 
ing houses established for the accommodation of members of the 
community. It was fortunate for me that I had the precaution 
to bring all my bedding, tho upon opening my packages I was 

disappointed to find no thin coverlet. I really thought a white . 
quilt had been put into the barrel or the large trunk. Your run 
was of great service to me. On board the boat it saved my bed 
and blankets from dirt & here it is tacked on the frame of my cob- 

While at Mt. Vernon I heard the most unfavorable accounts 
of this place, but knowing how prone mankind are to speak ill 
of everything intended for their benefit, I paid but little attention 
to what was said. On my arrival here, the mystery was ex- 
plained. The most bitter denunciators of the system were pre- 
cisely those who applied for admission and been refused; because 
they were idlers, whose sole object was to be supported by the 
industrious part of the community. They were disappointed 
and hence arose their enmity. This society has certainly com- 
menced under the most unfavorable circumstances. Their pred- 
ecessors left everything to be renewed — before this establishment 
could be made productive. They settled themselves here in 
poverty and misery and departed in wealth and comfort, and con- 
sidering these and other circumstances, it is rather surprising that 
their successors, coming from all quarters of the world, and unac- 
quainted with one another's habits and dispositions, have been 
able to effect so much as they have done for their mutual con- 
venience and comfort. Everyone with whom I converse, expresses 
the utmost confidence in the integrity, wisdom, and benevo- 
lence of Mr. Owen, and the day of his return will be a day of re- 
joicing throughout the settlement. The present Committee is 
composed of men of first rate ability — but they cannot perform 
impossibilities — they cannot in a day or a month change long 
established habits and prejudices, there must be time for this, 
and three months intercourse has already produced much more 


376 Early Travels in Indiana 

harmony of mind and unity of action than any other system is 
capable of producing. On my way from Mt. Vernon, within 
three miles of this place, I came to an extensive brick yard on the 
side of the road where a number of men were busily employed in 
making bricks for the new village, the location of which will be 

on the opposite side of the road. 

You mention that you have "heard some discouraging news 
from New Harmony, propagated by an English ropemaker who 
left Cincinn quite charmed with the system, and has since re- 
turned disgusted." I have enquired into this matter and learned 
that the person alluded to, as soon as he came in sight of the town 
from the neighboring hills, declared that he was utterly disap- 
pointed and disgusted, he, nevertheless, came into the town 
had all the talk to himself — tarried one night and departed next 
morning to enlighten his hearers on the subject of Mr. Owen's 
System for ameliorating the condition of mankind. How little 
could this man know of what he could so flippantly talk about 
and what sort of hearers must those people be, who could swallow 

his crudities? 

Sunday Sept. 11, 12 o'clock M. 

I have just returned from Meeting; — and strange as it may 
appear to you, I am a constant attendant. The orator was Mr. 
Jennings; and the substance, and indeed the whole of his discourse 
was a moral lecture, in the plainest and most intelligible language. 
He began by reading an extract from Robert Dale Owen's "Out- 
line of the System of Education at Lanark" beginning at the 1st 
page, in which the author disclaims all necessity for reward or 
punishment in the education of children. The orator then pro- 
ceeded to illustrate by familiar examples, the beneficial results 
of a course in which rewards and punishments are exploded, and 
the pernicious effects of an opposite course. Mr. Jennings then 
expatiated on the rights and duties of men in society, clearly 
showing that equality is the parent of liberty and justice; without 
a full enjoyment of which, mankind cannot be otherwise than 
unhappy. The discourse, as far as it could be regarded in a 
political light, was a truly democratic lecture, exhibiting the ill 
consequences arising from artificial distinctions, in station, in 
dress, and appearance and recommended as much uniformity in 
these particulars as may be practicable in this preliminary society. 
At the close of the lecture he announced that the publication of 
the "New Harmony Gazette" would be commenced on next Saty. 
week — viz. the 24" of Sept. 


William Pelham. 377 

I learnt today that the Committee determined yesterday that 
the publication of the paper should commence under the direction 
of Mr. Jennings and Mr. Owen & that my assistance would be 

ptable as Corrector &c &c 

Tuesday evg. 13th. 

Yesterday morning Mr. J. conducted me to the Editorial room 
which is a commodius one in the house where he resides. * * * 
Here I commenced my operations by filing, at my leisure, all the 
newspapers in possession of the establishment, consisting chiefly 
of the N. Intelln. [Intelligence] & N. Journal and of these not 
many. Mr.J. has a good, tho small collection of books which he 
has placed in this room. 

Now while I think of it, I will tell you what would be accept- 
able to me if Mr. Keightly could make it convenient to take 
charge of them when he comes in November. 

1st. All the books &c on the enclosed list. Of the others, 
retain what you please, and send me the remainder. 

2dly. My bedstead which I left standing in the front room 
and if accompanied with a sacking bottom — the old curtains 
and valance — so much the better. I can have a tester made here. 

3rd. An old quilt of some sort, and a hammer to drive small 
nails, tacks &c. 

4th. Four chairs which I left in the front room. 

5. The looking glass which hung in the back parlor in the 
mahogany frame. If I had been certain of remaining here when 
I left Z. I should have brought these things with me, for I am 
daily experiencing the want of some of them. 

Wed. 14 Sept. 

At 4 o'clock this afternoon I shall have been here 3 weeks, 
having arrived on the 24th Aug. as stated before, and really I 
seem already to be an old inhabitant, which I can no otherwise 
account for than by the circumstance of my having become 
acquainted with so many people and the frank and friendly inter- 
course subsisting among us. Whatever difference of opinion 
there may be, (and there is in reality a great difference in religious 
matters) — I hear no illiberal remarks, I see no overbearing temper 
exhibited, but each one pursues his own course without meddling 
with his neighbor. The most numerous sect, I believe, is that of 

the persons who take delight in wandering with Baron Sweden- 
borg in the regions of fancy, where they are permitted to roam at 
large without annoyance or molestation. As they experience no 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

persecution, they have nothing to 

plain of, only that other 


ot wander with them. The same remark applied t 


other sectarians 

d h 

mce a kind of tacit agreement has been 
made to let each other alone. You can scarcely imagine how well 
satisfied I am with this state of things, so much I assure you 
that no temptation could again draw me into the vortex of mental 


tyranny from which I have 

ped. Liberty of speech and 

action without infringing on the rights of others, has ever been 
the object of my ardent desire, and here at length, I enjoy it. 

As I have 



Thursday Morning, 
to communicate respecting myself 

others, I will endeavor to give you some idea of the buildings and 
general appearance of this place, premising that the town is laid 
off in squares, similar to Zanesville, though the houses and gardens 

far from being as regul 

There is a considerable number of 

brick houses, some frame buildings, and a great many log-cabins, 
some of which are built of hewed logs, the others round and rough. 
In the center stands the Church, near which is an excellent pump, 
at about an equal distance from the Church and Tavern. Mr. 
Rapp's large brick dwelling on one side fronts the Church, or 
rather the square in which the Church stands; and on the other, 
fronts the main street, having in each front 7 windows below and 
7 in the second story. The boarding houses, and the boarding 
school the new church (now called the Hall) the steam mill, and 
the public store, are all of brick, and are more or less large, acord- 
ing to their respective uses. The brick as well as the frame 
dwelling houses are built on an uniform and very limited scale, and 
none of them of more than 2 low stories, the ground floor being 
invariably as follows,, with the gable end to the street & a small 
garden full of fruit trees attached to each. They are commonly 
placed at the corners of the squares. The workshops are mostly 
in log huts. The upper story is an exact counterpart of the lower 
one, if the lower rooms hold all the family the large upper room 
and the little cell over the kitchen are appropriated to boarders. 

The log-cabins are scattered about without the least regard to 
regularity of location. The situation of this helter-skelter village 


is really beautiful, and since the surrounding land has been cleared 
and drained, is healthy. The town receives its supply of water 
for domestic use from a number of wells and pumps dispersed 
through it, and I understand it is of that kind called limestone. 
For washing the inhabitants depend on rain and river water. 



William Pelham. 379 

I have been here three weeks & I have not yet seen the Wabash !! 
The reason is that I find so many other things attracting my atten- 
tion that my rambles have been much circumscribed. In fact, 


my chief object has been to make myself acquainted with the 
individual character of the human beings by which I am sur- 
rounded, and the system of government in operation. I have now 
reason to believe that the principle care of providing matter for 
the N. H. [New Harmony] Gazette will devolve upon me and my 
time will consequently be engaged by that concern. Of the two 
members of the Committee who were appointed to superintend 
the press, Mr. Jennings has declined, in order that he may give 
his whole attention to the superintendence of the Boarding School 
& Mr. Owen's daily & pressing occupations leave him no time, so 
I think the paper will be left pretty much to Mr. Palmer and 
myself, with such occasional assistance as we can extort from the 
literati. Although the day fixed for the commencement of the 
paper of the 24" of this month, I do not like that it should be 
begun on that day, and as it has already been so long delayed I 
shall endeavor to postpone it one week longer that it may commence 
on the 1st of October. By this arrangement the 1st vol. will 
comprise 7 months ending on the 1st May, the 2nd 6 months 
ending on 1st Nov. and every other vol. 6 months ending alternatly 
on 1st Nov. and 1st May, the latter being the anniversary of the 
adoption of the New Harmony Constitution. Whether the Comee. 
will agree to the postponement I know not, but I shall urge it, 
with due diference. I have not mentioned it yet to Mr. Palmer 
but I have no doubt of his assent. 

Since writing the above, I have conversed with Mr. P. [Palmer] 


on the subject. He says each year will form one vol. in the manner 
of the Cincinnati Literary Gaz. and other similar papers. 

Most truly yr affectionate father, 

Wm. Pelham. 

* * * 

Monday 19 Sept. 1825. 


Yesterday at 10 o'clock A. M. Mr. Jennings ascended the 
pulpit in the old Church (which is now called The Church) and 
continued the reading of Robert Dale Owen's Outline of Educa- 
tion. His auditors were about as numerous as usual. He again 
expatiated on the indispensable necessity of establishing the 
principle of equality as the basis of liberty. He showed the ab- 
solute necessity of everyone being diligent in the performance of 
his or her respective duty. He was listened to with profound 

380 Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

attention, and the discourse he delivered must produce good 
effects because it was reasonable and perfectly intelligible to all. 
At 2 o'clock P. M. it was announced by the ringing of the bell 
that something was to be said or done at church. I immediately 
repaired hither, and found the pulpit occupied by a stranger who 
thought he could say something that would be useful. Very few 
persons were present. The gentleman began by giving out a hymn 
to be sung by the congregation — only one person joined him. 
After hobbling through one verse, the remainder was laid aside 
and "Let us pray" pronounced in an audible voice. Some knelt 
down, some stood, and others remained sitting. The preacher 
delivered a devout prayer, and seemed much relieved by this 
effusion of the spirit. He then commenced an attempt to reconcile 
some contradictions in the holy book — and talked about J of an 
hour in the usual, incoherent, unintelligible manner. I found 
afterwards that his remarks made little or no impression on his 

At 8 p. m. the bell again rang and I again attended where I 
found a considerable number of persons assembled to hear a 
preacher of the Methodist doctrine whose name I could not learn, 
though I inquired of several persons. I found, however, that he 
was one of the Circuit preachers. This man appeared to have 
learned his lessons very accurately, for his cant phrases flowed 
from him with remarkable ease and rapidity, and were answered 
by many spiritual groans, and other evidences of entire sympathy. 
When he gave out a hymn, a considerable number of male and 
female voices were joined with his, and really the music was 
delightful, for singing is taught here scientifically. He then 
named a text, and talked as usual about sin, and the devil, and 
heaven, and the straight and narrow way leading to salvation, 
the utter impossibility of being saved but through the merits 
of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ &c &c. I mustered 
patience to sit and hear him to the end and when the judge 
pronounces against me "Depart ye wicked &c" I intend to plead 
this command of myself in mitigation of the sentence. After he 
had finished, a member of the Community with whom I am ac- 
quainted, and who is a sort of a Methodist preacher, took his 
place in the pulpit, and in a moderate tone and manner related 
his individual experience as an example to others, he was also 
attended to though he said nothing but what had been said a 
thousand times. It seems he is unwilling to exchange his belief 
in divine revelation for all the joys and pleasures of the world. 

William Pelham. 381 

So be it, for notwithstanding this whimsical notion, he is really a 
good member of the Society, and devoted to the system as far 
as he comprehends it. 

You would be amused to come into the church while we are 
at our devotions. The walls bare — the ceiling lofty — the beams 
and joists uncovered, the pulpit itself nothing but a raised plat- 
form furnished with a bench, and sort of desk, the preacher in his 
ordinary clothing, a striped roundabout and linen pantaloons — 
(this is the common appearance of Mr. Jennings, Mr. Owen and 
some others) benches ranged for the congregation, on one side 
for the men, on the other for the females, many of the former in 
their shirt sleeves, among the latter a variety of ornamental 
drapery, and among the whole the greatest order and decorum. 
No one troubles himself about his neighbor's appearance unless 
there be an affectation of finical attention to dress. This however, 
will wear away gradually. 

Tuesday evg. 9 o'clock. 

I have just returned from the Hall, where there is music and 
dancing every Tuesday evening. Every Friday evening there 
is a concert in the same place. Some biggots are dreadfully 
scandalized that these parties are held in a building originally 
intended for divine worship, nevertheless, the fire and brimstone 
have not yet descended from heaven to destroy us for this wicked 

Yesterday evening there was a drunken frolic among some 
young men who contrived to procure some whiskey from the 
country people who came in to make their purchases in the store. 
The Committee took cognizance of the matter today, and have 
expelled three of the offenders, who are deemed incorrigible, being 
not only addicted to drink but likewise gamblers and idlers. 
What sort of character will these men give us when they return 
to their homes? 

It is now determined that the paper shall be published on the 
1st of October, being the day Mr. Owen embarked in England 
12_months ago, to come to America. I gave Mr. Palmer all the 
matter I had prepared for the first paper, and he said there was 
enough for 3 at least. The paper will be in 4to — the size of the 

Cincinnati Literary Gazette. 

Tell Mr. Keightly that articles of provision will be in demand 
here in the course of the winter, such as hams, pickled pork, 
potatoes, and perhaps flour. Vegetables of all kinds are very 
scarce, for the old Harmonites left the garden fences in a wretched 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

condition, and before they could be repaired by the new comers, 
the hogs and cows had very materially injured the gardens. 
Some persons think that Mr. Owen will not be here till the middle 
of December and I am much of the same opinion. 

I have traversed the town to find a suitable editorial room in 

which I might place my bed, but hitherto without success. 


of the young men are lodging in barns and other out-houses, so 


that my present shell is esteemed a very confortable location, 
nevertheless I must have better winter quarters, or they will have 
me on the Doctor's list before Christmas. Of this, however, I 
have no great apprehension, for every member of the Committee 
seems disposed to accomodate me as well as circumstances will 

Thursday Evg. 
At this moment (half past eight) the moon is shining brightly 
and the light infantry company under Capt. Larkin, dressed in 
their new uniform (very much like yours) are marching and count- 
ermarching in the square and in the streets, accompanied by the 

* * * 


under the 

ection of th 


masters who 

teach them to perform the same evolutions which they do with 
great precision. 

This afternoon I attended the funeral of a female member. 
She was burried out of the town in a corner of a fine apple orchard, 
and without any of the parade and cant that I have formerly seen 
and heard on such occasions. 


I must now quit writing and search 12 or 15 newspapers for 
matter to be inserted in the 1st number of the New Harmony 


It is always best to take time by the forelock. 

Tell Mr. Nims, Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Sheward and all others 
who may inquire of you that the want of accommodation here 
at present is so great that I would recommend to them if they 
seriously contemplate a removal hither to postpone it till they 

hear further from me. * * * 

Wm. Pelham. 

Monday Evg. Sept. 26, 1825. 
On Saturday evening last, the Society was called together by 

the Committee to d 

a case, which, being the only 


presented to their notice, the Committee did not choose to deter 


le, on their own authority only. The case was this 
The Superintendent of the Steam Mill had at sei 

several times 
complained to the Committee, that his pay was not sufficient for 

William Pelham 


the support of himself and his family. On such occasions, the 
Committee, conformably to their usual practice, gave him an 
additional credit at the store. By this means he became a debtor 


to the Society, under the presumption that he would continue a 
member, and gradually wipe off the debt, But it seems that this 
was not his intention; for, a few days ago, having obtained another 
order on the store to the amount of sixty dollars, and received the 
goods he wanted, he suddenly gave notice of his intention to 
withdraw from the society. On settlement of his account, the 
balance against him, after every allowance, was S77.62J This 
balance he refused to liquidate in any manner whatever, and the 
members of the Society were summoned to determine what steps 
should be taken on this novel case. After much discussion and 
ample explanation on both sides, a large majority determined 
by vote, that the Superintendent restore so much of the property 
drawn from the store as could be restored, for which he should 
have credit, and that for the remainder of the debt he should give 
his note payable at a time to be agreed on, and further, that if he 
refused to comply with these terms he should be expelled. 

I understand that the affair has been adjusted in some way, 
and that he will, tomorrow, retire from this place. During the 
meeting he endeavored to excite a spirit of general discontent 
among the members, but in this he utterly failed, and I have 
reason to believe that such attempts will always meet with a 
similar fate. I know not whither he is going, but doubtless, 
wherever he goes he will spread a doleful account of the injustice 
and oppression he experienced at New Harmony and advise his 
hearers to shun this place as they would a pleague or pestilence. 

Yesterday at the usual hour, Mr. Wm. Owen ascended the 
pulpit in the Church, and read that portion of Robert Dale Owen's 
Outline of Education" which treats of the subject of religion, 


with explanatory remarks and comments of his own. He is a 
good reader and speaker, except that his voice is not sufficiently 

strong and firm. His audience was numerous and attentive 


His manner is most mild and conciliating, for he is an ami- 

able young man, about twenty five. He only wants experience. 

This afternoon, the weather being fine, I treated myself with 
a view of the Wabash; the distance from my lodging being but 
little more than a quarter of a mile to the landing. The river is 
beautiful, and at this place about hali the width of the Muskingum 
at Zanesville. The shore is a sandy beach intermixed with small 
pebbles. The bank appeared to be about twenty feet high from 

384 Early Travels in Indiana. 

the level of the water. From the foot of the bank to the edge of the 
water about the same distance. There were two or three boats 
lying at a little distance above the landing place. 

Tuesday noon. 

Last night the weather was so cold as to require a good fire. 
This coldness of the air silenced the musicians who have so dili- 
gently amused the inhabitants of this town every since I have 
been here. I mean certain little winged insects who take care to 
indemnify themselves for any trouble they are at to entertain us, 
by piercing the skin and drawing off the superfluous moisture. 
On my complaining of these troublesome visitors, I was told, 
''Never mind it, — you will get used to them" — and so indeed I 
found out; for I begin to be very indifferent about them. In 
reality, I have become inattentive to many inconveniences which 
would have worried me excessively in Zanesville. So much 

depends on the state of the mind. 

Afternoon 4 o'clock. 

I have just come from the printing office, where Mr. Palmer is 
working off one side of the paper. He has an elegant new Super- 
royal press of the kind called the Stansbury press, which requires 
less than one third of the strength necessary for working the 
common screw press. It cost $170. Having no knowledge in 
these matters, I cannot give you a description of it. I can only 
perceive that the labor of pulling the bar is comparatively noth- 
ing. I wish you had such a one, or that you were here to try 
the difference. * * * 

As you have had the opportunity of seeing a great number of 
newspapers, I wish you would send me a list of such as you recom- 
mend in exchange, omitting all that you know to be violent party 
papers, such as Democratic Press, N. York Advocate, Richmond 
Enquirer, and others of the same stamp. What do you think of 
the Athens Mirror in this point of view? I think it is a literary 
paper and it is such we want. But we want not any of the cant- 
ing, hypocritical, lying religious papers so called, which tell us 
everything but the truth and whose sole object is to "Milk the 
Goats." — If you don't understand this expression ask our friend, 
Martin Hill to explain it as he found it explained in "Plain Truth." 

The superintendent alluded to in the beginning of this letter 
is gone, having previously restored some of the goods he 

William Pelham. 385 

obtained, and given his note for the balance, with acceptable 

* * * 

My thoughts often dwell on you & and always with the feel- 

ings of 

An affectionate father, 

Wm. Pelham. 

Private and confidential. Sept. 29. [1825] 

What I have written to you, since my arrival here is strictly 
true as far as it goes, though I would not wish anything you re- 
ceive from me in manuscript, to appear in the paper, unless I 
particularly request it. Many things are in an unsettled state, 
and will probably remain so till Mr. Owen's return. 

As an instance — After Mr. Jenn. & Mr. 0. were appointed by 
the Com. to superintend the press, I applied to them for matter, 
both original and selected. The former explicity declined, and 
threw the burden on me — & the latter was so immersed in his daily 
business that I could scarcely get an opportunity of speaking 
with him. I went on as well as I could, & prepared the matter, 
corrected the proof of the first side, & returned it to the printer. 
The form was worked off yesterday afternoon. This morning 
Mr. J. found several things which he said must be altered — but it 
was too late. This brought an explanation, and it is now de- 
termined, that an hour shall be appointed when they are jointly 
to attend to the business. This will be a great relief to me. At 
2 o'clock this afternoon they did indeed meet at the Printing 
Off. accompanied with 2 other members of the Com. to revise 
the matter prepared for the inside of the paper — and cut down 
a good deal of the manuscript laid before them — whether for 
better or worse, I cannot determine. At all events they have 
done something, and the paper will be published according to 
appointment. — When once begun, it must go on — Mr. J. wrote 
a few lines to precede my biograph. sketch of Mr. 0. — Mr. 
Bosson wrote the View of N. H. and the piece relating to the 
salubrity of this town & adjacent country — I wrote the head 
introducing the Song No. 1 and they say it Ought to have been 
more full & explicit — but none of them presented this full & 
explicit statement. — I have mentioned these circumstances to 
show that we have not yet got into a regular train, though it will 
certainly, in 2 or 3 weeks, be established. I want Niles' Reg. to 
take his Summary of news. This will save time and trouble. 

I have several times been present when Mr. Schnee opened 
his mail & have sometimes assisted. Tomorrow he is going to 

T— 25 


Eakly Travels in Indiana. 

make up his quarterly accounts & he wants me to be with him 


tho' I know he can do it as well without as with me for he is an 
intelligent man of business. His Acct. of Mails Received will 

occupy 2| pages. — Adieu! 

[Wm. Pelham] 

Monday Oct. 


* * * 

* * * 

My dear Wm. 

Friday evg. was a bustling time in the printing office. 
The paper was expected with great impatience by the town 
subscribers (who flocked in at $1 per ann.) besides whom a number 
were to be prepared for the E. [Eastern] mail which closes at 
9 o'clock P. M. However we got through the business pretty 
well, as we have a set of people to deal with very different from 
the Zanesvillians or Lunarians, as they ought to be called. 

Yesterday morning I was prevented by circumstances from 
shaving and dressing myself till the second bell rung for meeting. 
I was unwilling to be absent and finally at the instigation of 
Wm. Owen I, determined to go as I was, viz. with a long beard, 
dirty shirt and cravat and my little short coat which is the coat 
I most commonly wear when the weather is warm. 

Mr. Jennings began with reading something from a late 
publication on Political Economy, after which he delivered an 
excellent discourse on Equality: — shewing that it was essential 
to the happiness of society, as all arbitrary distinctions and par- 
tialities not founded on real merit, and all distinctions arising 

in dress and external appearance have no 
solid foundation — that every person's worth should be measured 
by his capacity to be useful to his fellow beings. Many ladies 
were present, some of whom were fashionably dressed and dec- 
orated with ribbons and artificial flowers. I suspect that some 
of them did not quite approve of his remarks. 

On Friday I changed my boarding house that I might be 
better situated in regard to my connection with the printing] 
off[ice]. The house in which this office is located is also 
a boarding house, kept by Mr. Palmer, the printer. On one side 
of the office which is a large room on the ground floor a long table 


meals which are punctually on the table at a quarter past 7 A. M. 


a qr. past 12 noon, and a qr. past 6 P. M. The price of boarding 
everywhere in town (except the Tavern) is 57 § cents per week 
for each person, being a member. This table is better supplied 
with butcher's meat and vegetables than the one I have just left, 

from extravagance 

is placed at which the boarders (about thirty) 


William Pelham. 


but not so well supplied with milk just now. You may easily 
imagine what a contract there must be between the talk and bustle 
of so many boarders, and that of the four persons which formed 
our meal parties at the baker's. The first day or two, I was 
almost stunned with the noise, but I am getting used to it. Anoth- 
er thing I am getting used to is the shrill note of the cricket in my 
-bed room which I have no possible means of getting rid of. There 
are so many and such important circumstances to counter- 
balance the inconveniences I suffer that I may say "Upon the 
whole, I am very well satisfied. " 

Wednesday 5th. 

Yesterday evening being the regular dancing evening a num- 
ber of ladies appeared at the ball in a new uniform dress of cheap 
American manufacture. I was prevented from seeing this ex- 
hibition by having to read a proof-sheet which I did not get till 
after dark. As soon as I had performed this duty I sallied out 
with the intention of going to the Hall. As soon as I got out of 
doors I perceived that the Church also was lighted up, and as it 
lay in my way I called there first and found about twenty 
devotees listening to the ranting of a stranger who occupied the 
pulpit, and who was holding forth with great strength of voice 
about the "scribes and Pharisees." I did not sit down, and only 
remained a few minutes. Having heard as much about these 
gentlemen of the ancient world as I desired, I proceeded to the 
ball-room, but too late to gratify my curiosity with the sight of 
the new dresses. — The west door of the Church and the e [ast] 
door of the Hall are about 10 feet apart. — 

My best wishes attend you all. Wm. Pelham. 

P. S. The impression of No. 1 consisted of 500 copies of which 
300 have been distributed to subscribers and others. 

Monday 10" of Oct. 1825. 

Yesterday according to my new custom, I went punctually 
to Church, and heard Mr. Jennings continue the reading of select 


portions of Thompson's Essay on the distribution of wealth. 
The author shews distinctly, that a very considerable part of the 
evils suffered in Society may be traced to the unequal, and unjust 
division of property, and that this again may be attributed to the 
principle of individual competition. He then contrasts with this 
the social system, from whence this principle is banished, with all 
its train of evils, and the principle of mutual co-operation sub- 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

stituted with all its necessary consequences. After the reading, 
the male and female children of the society sung the song No. 2. 


If I can get the music I will send it to you. Mr. J. then expa- 
tiated on his favorite topics, equality, economy, and good feel- 
ings toward one another. At the close of the discourse, he was 


requested by one of the members to give notice that at 3 P. M. 
there would be preaching in the Church. This he readily did, _ 
and with due respect. Accordingly, as I understand, for I did not 
attend, the Revd. Mr. Slocum a Methodist preacher delivered a 
very edifying sermon, that is to say, a sermon full of words and 
phrases quite unintelligible both to the speaker and his hearers 
all of whom have probably persuaded themselves that they fully 
understand as well as profess to believe such things. In the even- 
ing the weather being warm and clear, many were assembled as 
usual before the door of the Tavern, (which is a sort of Literary 
Exchange) — where, seated on chairs and benches, we discussed 
with mutual respect, and perfect freedom, the various ideas of 
religion entertained by each — and here we sat and talked of God, 
the soul, eternity, matter, spirit, &c. &c. (without thinking of 
anything to drink) till after the Tavern doors were closed, which 
is always done at 10 o'clock. 

Adieu, my dear Win. and remember me kindly to all friends. 
I must now close and begin reading the proof of the inside of our 

* * * 

No. 3. 

Wm. Pelham. 

P. S. A letter dated Aug. 7 has just been reed, from Capt. 
McDonald, a member of the Community who accompanied Mr. 
Owen, stating their arrival at Liverpool, and the expectation that 
they will be ready about the first of October to embark on their 


New Harmony, Ind. 

Friday, 21 Oct. 1825. 
My dear Son, 

My time, during the present week has been so fully occupied, 
that I had none left to continue my journal, though several little 


have occurred which might be interesting to you 


instance the mustering and appearance of our Light Infantry 
company and their marching out of town 5 miles to the ground 
appropriated to this object according to law. 

Yesterday I had the satisfaction of seeing Messrs. Keightly 
and Harris in good health and spirits after a journey of 14 days 

having left Zanesville on the 6th inst. 

* * * 

They have this 

William Pelham 


morning been accepted by the Committee as members of the 
Society and consequently each will have his board at one of the 
boarding houses (or as they are here called Community houses) 
at the rate of 57J cents a week. The wages, or pay, or allowance 
(call it what you will) is proportionately low so that it amounts 
to this simple fact, that whoever serves the Society faithfully 
and diligently whatever his occupation may be, gets his living 
and no more. If he has children they are also provided for; 
either by his labor or their own if capable of earning anything, 
but if not then they are provided for by the Community till they 
are capable of being useful. This is merely a hasty sketch which 
I will enlarge upon one of these days when I have more time. 
I can only add that if any man should come here to board, with- 
out doing anything deemed useful, he must make an individual 
agreement with the Committee, for we want no idlers of any descrip- 
tion, and several persons of this sort have already been dismissed, 
and many more will find it expedient to retire, leaving behind 
them the best part of the present population, whom nothing 
could induce to abandon the pleasing prospects before them. 

Your truly affectionate father, 

Wm. Pelham 

* * * 

[P. S.] I will again revert to Harris and Keightly. After intro- 
ducing them to the Committee individually and collectively I 
went with them in search of board and lodging as they wished to 
leave the Tavern as soon as possible. After going about a good 
deal we found an unoccupied garret, — in one of the Community 
houses — similar to mine, that is to say, no ceiling but the outside 
roof, but better than mine both in extent and walls, theirs being 
brick, and mine merely a shell of weather boarding. Without 
actual experience, one cannot realize the difficulty of getting 
house-room in this place. K [eightly] with his warm zeal is 
satisfied with his location and all concomitant inconveniences 
and privations. H [arris] is not quite so well contented, but 
as soon he begins to experience the beneficial change he has made 
as respects Society, he will be as well satisfied as any of us. A 
double feather bed has been procured — Keightly will make a 
bedstead — the store will furnish him with a bed cord — blankets 
must be had somehow. Keightly will be or is already I believe 
attached to the carpenter's shop and Harris will on Monday next 
be employed in the counting room at the store. 

[P. S.l This is Tuesday night (Oct. 25th) warm and rainy. After 


Early Travels in Indiana. 


supper, (the time of which is uniformly 6 o'clock) I called at the 

Tavern to see K [eightly] and H [arris]. They were 


gone to the ball * * * . I then came home to my lodging, and here 
I am in my shell, surrounded by boards, carpenters' tools, shav- 
ings, sawdust &c. for the Committee, on my proposing to them 
the alternative of burying me, or making my room comfortable 
this winter very readily embraced the latter alternative and gave 
me the command of the carpenter's department so far as this 
was necessary for wood-work. I am also to have bricks, brick- 
layers &c. to fill in between the studs, and I have now a certain 


prospect of being very commodiously situated during the winter 
exactly in the location which of all others I prefer, for I should 
very reluctantly quit the quarters I have occupied ever since my 
arrival here. * * * 

Thursday Morning. 

Mr. Keightly has just called to inform me that he and Harris 
have concluded to return immediately to Zanesville. He will 
take charge of this letter accompanied by a pamphlet just warm 
from the N. Harmony Press. I beg you will read and study it. 
They are not yet made up. I shall endeavor to send you more 
copies in sheets for sale 25 cents each. 

November 7", 1825, Monday. 

My dear Son, 

* * * 

You enquired how my postage acct. is settled here, I 
that all unpaid letters are charged in my pass book among 

other ch 



the same book I have 

dit for my 

eek. I have yet said nothing about the rate of 

ance, but suppose it will be $1.54 per week, this being the allow- 
ance to each member of the Comee. Soon after my arrival I 
deposited in the store $10 & have this day made an additional 
deposit of $20 — both sums being credited to me in the books of 
the store as well as in my pass-book. These deposits have left 
me $7 — which I still have in cash. I have taken up articles & 
pd for work $10.36 — The pamphlets I sent you by Keightly are 
likewise charged in my pass-book and also $1.50 for which I 
became responsible to Mr. Pearson for work done for Messrs. 
Harris & Keightly while they were here & which was forgotten in 
the hurry of their departure. By this sketch you will see that 

Nor do I believe that any 

* * * 

my funds decrease but slowly. 

temptation whatever could induce me to quite this tranquil scene. 

William Pelham. 391 

If I suffer inconveniences here they are accompanied with such 
alleviating circumstances as greatly deminish their effect. 

I cannot help again reiterating the advice I gave you to come 
here as soon as possible * * *. • There is a great number of young 
persons here of both sexes in this place, and I plainly see that they 
enjoy themselves and the society of each other, their labor is 
moderate and easy, and their recreations frequent and innocent. 
In short they please themselves, and generally if not always please 
one another. * * * You are aware, that reading written accounts 
of the circumstances of any place cannot supply the place of actual 


inspection. In order to form an accurate judgment you must 
actually see it, and converse on the spot with intelligent residents. 
K [eightly] & H [arris] have been here, the former is too 
nighty and his stay too short to form a distinct perception — 
and the latter is too querulous to be happy any where, for every 
place has its inconveniences and his temper of mind leads him to 
dwell upon these and overlook the counterbalancing advantages. 
Besides the poor fellow was tormented with a boil which entirely 
deprived him of whatever comfort he might otherwise have en- 
joyed. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that after 
five or six month's residence here it would be an exceeding diffi- 
cult matter to induce you to remove elsewhere, and more espe- 
cially to Z [anesville.] You may call this enthusiasm, if you 
please, but the real differences between this place and Z. will still 


exist in all their force, and certainly you must allow me to be a 
tolerable judge of them, from my having resided in both. The 
approaching winter will doubtless bring its additional inconven- 
iences, and so will the spring, and so will the following summer, 
the chief of which is the want of house room. 

I am now sitting (Tuesday night 11 o'clock.) in my room 
which has lately been filled in with brick and otherwise rendered 
a comfortable dwelling and my prospects during the ensuing 
winter are almost wholly agreeable. 

Respecting an establishment like this there must necessarily 
be a great variety of opinions and sentiments, . and predictions, 
but you will find that those who have given the least attention to 
the subject are the most confident in prophesying its dissolution. 
Let them say what they will, you may feel assured of its perma- 
nency, and it is the unqualifies opinion of every intelliegent man 
here. For my own part, I have not the least doubt that the 
present inconveniences will gradually be supplanted by cir- 

* * * 


Early Travels in Indiana. 

cumstances tending to promote and perpetuate the happiness of 
those who embrace the System. 

Wed. Morn. 11 o'clock. , 
Smart frost last night. Weather now moderate & pleasant. 
I have just retd. from printg. O. 218 steps from thence to the door 

of my lodgin 


* * * 

There are no settled preachers of the 

Gospel here — but traveling preachers very frequently call and 
refresh the flock with the words of grace. 


With regard to the new village all that I can say is that the 
brickmakers — I know not how many — are constantly employed 
in preparing that material. 

New Harmony, Sunday Nov. 27, 1825. 

My dear son. 

* * * 

I shall now endeavor to answer all the questions in your 
last letter, tho it contains some that I think were anticipated in 
my last. When I said " whoever serves the society faithfully and 
diligently, whatever his occupation may be, gets his living and no 
more" I meant that all ideas of individual wealth are banished 
from among us. If any chooses to earn more than his individual 
expenses, the surplus profits remain in common stock to be appro- 
priated by the whole Society in whatever manner they please, 
for the good of the whole. This community being established on 
the principle of equal benefits and enjoyments, it is obviously 
different from our former plans of accumulating wealth for in- 
dividual expenditure. Every one will enjoy an equal share with 
every other member, of the immense benefits produced by mutual 
cooperation. That this will be the ultimate effect of the System 
I have not the least doubt, though at present it is not exactly so, 
because it is impossible in the circumstances of the present 
establishment. You can hardly expect that in the heterogenous 
population hastily collected here, there shd be no idlers, no specu- 
lators &c, the most effectual measures are however in active 
operation to make a just discrimination and the certain effect 
will be the withdrawal or expulsion of those who came here to 
live upon the labors of others. This preliminary society cannot 
be considered as a fair sample of the perfect community in view, 
because it consists of persons differing much from each other in 
their tempers and inclinations, whereas the new community will 
consist of select characters actuated by feelings of common interest. 
At present there are many wants that cannot be immediately 
provided for, and the greatest of these is the want of suitable 



William Pelham. 393 

accommodation. For this reason the twenty persons you men- 
tion as coming from Pittsburg will have to retrace their steps, 
there is actually not house room for them. Keep it in mind, 
however, that my room is large enough for us both. All the con- 
versations I heard in Zanesville, and the letters I have reed, 
since about this place relate to pay. In fact, no one here talks 
about pay. The Committee in their endeavor to equalize the 
members fixed the allowance of credit to each at 80 dollars a year 
which it was supposed wd be sufficient for his maintenance 
but the principle, the main principle is that every grown person 
is able to earn his living, and if he feels disposed to earn more, 
the surplus, after every reasonable expenditure for individual 
comfort to every member is applied to the extension of similar 
establishments. This is the ultimate view — but the immediate 
object is for each member to do all he can to provide a fund from 
which he in common with others will derive all the enjoyments he 
requires, and it is calculated that a very moderate portion of labor 
will be abundantly sufficient for this. — 

You want to know how the acct. stands between Mr. Owen & 
the Society. It is simply thus: Mr. Owen has advanced his 
own money for the purchase of this property. Just before his 
departure he made an offer of it to the Society on their own terms, 
which they declined, preferring that it should still continue to be 
his. He is therefore evidently sole proprietor of the whole; but 
it is equally evident that it will ultimately be the property of the 
whole Society, and that, as soon as the individuals find them- 
selves competent to conduct the concern on the principles which 
brought them together. They have ever since his departure been 
endeavoring to make such arrangements as to produce the bene- 
fits in contemplation. Most of these plans have succeeded, but 
some have also failed, for the want of requisite practical knowledge. 
A general sentiment prevailes that u things will go on better soon 
after the return of Mr. Owen" who, it is expected will be here in a 
week or ten days. It would surprise you to hear the universal 
expression of the fullest confidence in the wisdom and integrity 
of Mr. Owen — he is certainly a most extraordinary man or he 
could never thus have attached him — to him so great a variety 
of characters as compose this population without a dissenting 
voice, as far as I know. This is not blind enthusiasm in me for 
I know the fact, and I know the greater part of these people have 
been personally acquainted with him. When I see him you shall 
have the result of my cool, candid observation. 

394 Early Travels in Indiana. 


"If a person joins, and invests, say $500 — when he shd wish 
to retire can he get his cash again?" This is one of your questions. 
I read it to Mr. Lewis the Secretary of the Committee. * He im- 
mediately answered "Yes, certainly!" "Does he draw interest?" 
"No Mr. Owen does not want to borrow." When a person 
retires who puts nothing into the common stock whatever balance 
may be due to him for his time & labor will be paid to him in the 
products of the establishment — the profits arising fro