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Title: Historic Highways of America (Vol. 10) - The Cumberland Road
Author: Hulbert, Archer Butler, 1873-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: BRIDGE AT "BIG CROSSINGS"]


  The Cumberland Road


  _With Maps and Illustrations_






  PREFACE                                     11
    I. OUR FIRST NATIONAL ROAD                15
  III. OPERATION AND CONTROL                  91
    V. MAILS AND MAIL LINES                  142
   VI. TAVERNS AND TAVERN LIFE               152
  VII. CONCLUSION                            174
  APPENDIXES                                 189


    I. BRIDGE AT "BIG CROSSINGS"                        _Frontispiece_
  III. CHESTNUT RIDGE, PENNSYLVANIA                                 65
   IV. MAP OF CUMBERLAND ROAD IN THE WEST                           79
    V. A CULVERT ON THE CUMBERLAND ROAD IN OHIO                    177


For material used in this volume the author is largely in the debt of
the librarians of the State Libraries of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois. From the Honorable C. B. Galbreath, of the Ohio
State Library, he has received much assistance covering an extended
period. To the late Thomas B. Searight's valuable collection of
biographical and colloquial sketches, _The Old Pike_, the author wishes
to express his great indebtedness. As Mr. Searight gave special
attention to the road in Pennsylvania, the present monograph deals at
large with the story of the road west of the Ohio River, especially in
the state of Ohio.

The Cumberland Road was best known in some parts as the "United States"
or "National" Road. Its legal name has been selected as the most
appropriate for the present monograph which is revised from a study of
the subject _The Old National Road_ formerly published by the Ohio State
Archæological and Historical Society.

                                                              A. B. H.

MARIETTA, OHIO, May 15, 1903.

The Cumberland Road

    _It is a monument of a past age; but like all other monuments, it is
    interesting as well as venerable. It carried thousands of population
    and millions of wealth into the West; and more than any other
    material structure in the land, served to harmonize and strengthen,
    if not to save, the Union._--VEECH.



    _The middle ages had their wars and agonies, but also their intense
    delights. Their gold was dashed with blood, but ours is sprinkled
    with dust. Their life was intermingled with white and purple; ours
    is one seamless stuff of brown._--RUSKIN.

A person cannot live in the American Central West and be acquainted with
the generation which greets the new century with feeble hand and dimmed
eye, without realizing that there has been a time which, compared with
today, seems as the Middle Ages did to the England for which Ruskin
wrote--when "life was intermingled with white and purple."

This western boy, born to a feeble republic-mother, with exceeding
suffering in those days which "tried men's souls," grew up as all boys
grow up. For a long and doubtful period the young West grew slowly and
changed appearance gradually. Then, suddenly, it started from its
slumbering, and, in two decades, could hardly have been recognized as
the infant which, in 1787, looked forward to a precarious and doubtful
future. The boy has grown into the man in the century, but the changes
of the last half century are not, perhaps, so marked as those of the
first, when a wilderness was suddenly transformed into a number of
imperial commonwealths.

When this West was in its teens and began suddenly outstripping itself,
to the marvel of the world, one of the momentous factors in its progress
was the building of a great national road, from the Potomac River to the
Mississippi River, by the United States Government--a highway seven
hundred miles in length, at a cost of seven millions of treasure. This
ribbon of road, winding its way through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois, toward the Mississippi, was one of the most
important steps in that movement of national expansion which followed
the conquest of the West. It is probably impossible for us to realize
fully what it meant to this West when that vanguard of surveyors came
down the western slopes of the Alleghenies, hewing a thoroughfare which
should, in one generation, bind distant and half-acquainted states
together in bonds of common interest, sympathy, and ambition. Until that
day, travelers spoke of "going into" and "coming out of" the West as
though it were a Mammoth Cave. Such were the herculean difficulties of
travel that it was commonly said, despite the dangers of life in the
unconquered land, if pioneers could live to get into the West, nothing
could, thereafter, daunt them. The growth and prosperity of the West was
impossible, until the dawning of such convictions as those which made
the Cumberland Road a reality.

The history of this famed road is but a continuation of the story of the
Washington and Braddock roads, through Great Meadows from the Potomac to
the Ohio. As outlined in Volumes III and IV of this series, this
national highway was the realization of the youth Washington's early
dream--a dream that was, throughout his life, a dominant force.

But Braddock's Road was for three score years the only route westward
through southwestern Pennsylvania, and it grew worse and worse with
each year's travel. Indeed, the more northerly route, marked out in part
by General Forbes in 1758, was plainly the preferable road for travelers
to Pittsburg until the building of the Cumberland Road, 1811-1818.

The rapid peopling of the state of Ohio, and the promise of an equal
development in Indiana and Illinois caused the building of our first and
only great national road. Congress passed an act on the thirtieth of
April, 1802, enabling the people of Ohio to form a state government and
seek admission into the Union. Section seven contained the following

"That one-twentieth of the net proceeds of the lands lying within said
State sold by Congress shall be applied to the laying out and making
public roads leading from the navigable waters emptying into the
Atlantic, to the Ohio, to the said state, and through the same, such
roads to be laid out under the authority of Congress, with the consent
of the several states through which the roads shall pass."[1]

On the third of March, 1803 another act was passed which appropriated
three of the five per cent to laying out roads in the state of Ohio, the
remaining two per cent to be devoted to building a road from navigable
waters leading into the Atlantic Ocean, to the Ohio River contiguous to
the state of Ohio. A committee was appointed to review the matter and
the conclusion of their report to the Senate on the nineteenth of
December, 1805 was as follows:

"Therefore the committee have thought it expedient to recommend the
laying out and making a road from Cumberland, on the northerly bank of
the Potomac, and within the state of Maryland, to the Ohio river, at the
most convenient place on the easterly bank of said river, opposite to
Steubenville, and the mouth of Grave Creek, which empties into said
river, Ohio, a little below Wheeling in Virginia, This route will meet
and accommodate roads from Baltimore and the District of Columbia; it
will cross the Monongahela at or near Brownsville, sometimes called
Redstone, where the advantage of boating can be taken; and from the
point where it will probably intersect the river Ohio, there are now
roads, or they can easily be made over feasible and proper ground, to
and through the principal population of the state of Ohio."[2]

Immediately the following act of Congress was passed, authorizing the
laying out and making of the Cumberland Road:


SECTION 1. _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That the President
of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to appoint, by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate, three discreet and
disinterested citizens of the United States, to lay out a road from
Cumberland, or a point on the northern bank of the river Potomac, in the
state of Maryland, between Cumberland and the place where the main road
leading from Gwynn's to Winchester, in Virginia, crosses the river, to
the state of Ohio; whose duty it shall be, as soon as may be, after
their appointment, to repair to Cumberland aforesaid, and view the
ground, from the points on the river Potomac hereinbefore designated to
the river Ohio; and to lay out in such direction as they shall judge,
under all circumstances the most proper, a road from thence to the river
Ohio, to strike the same at the most convenient place, between a point
on its eastern bank, opposite to the northern boundary of Steubenville,
in said state of Ohio, and the mouth of Grave Creek, which empties into
the said river a little below Wheeling, in Virginia.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the aforesaid road shall be laid
out four rods in width, and designated on each side by a plain and
distinguishable mark on a tree, or by the erection of a stake or
monument sufficiently conspicuous, in every quarter of a mile of the
distance at least, where the road pursues a straight course so far or
further, and on each side, at every point where an angle occurs in its

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the commissioners shall, as soon
as may be, after they have laid out said road, as aforesaid, present to
the President an accurate plan of the same, with its several courses and
distances, accompanied by a written report of their proceedings,
describing the marks and monuments by which the road is designated, and
the face of the country over which it passes, and pointing out the
particular parts which they shall judge require the most and immediate
attention and amelioration, and the probable expense of making the same
possible in the most difficult parts, and through the whole distance;
designating the state or states through which said road has been laid
out, and the length of the several parts which are laid out on new
ground, as well as the length of those parts laid out on the road now
traveled. Which report the President is hereby authorized to accept or
reject, in the whole or in part. If he accepts, he is hereby further
authorized and requested to pursue such measures, as in his opinion
shall be proper, to obtain consent for making the road, of the state or
states through which the same has been laid out. Which consent being
obtained, he is further authorized to take prompt and effectual
measures to cause said road to be made through the whole distance, or in
any part or parts of the same as he shall judge most conducive to the
public good, having reference to the sum appropriated for the purpose.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all parts of the road which the
President shall direct to be made, in case the trees are standing, shall
be cleared the whole width of four rods; and the road shall be raised in
the middle of the carriage-way with stone, earth, or gravel or sand, or
a combination of some or all of them, leaving or making, as the case may
be, a ditch or water course on each side and contiguous to said
carriage-way, and in no instance shall there be an elevation in said
road, when finished, greater than an angle of five degrees with the
horizon. But the manner of making said road, in every other particular,
is left to the direction of the President.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall each
receive four dollars per day, while employed as aforesaid, in full for
their compensation, including all expenses. And they are hereby
authorized to employ one surveyor, two chainmen and one marker, for
whose faithfulness and accuracy they, the said commissioners, shall be
responsible, to attend them in laying out said road, who shall receive
in full satisfaction for their wages, including all expenses, the
surveyor, three dollars per day, and each chainman and marker, one
dollar per day, while they shall be employed in said business, of which
fact a certificate signed by said commissioners shall be deemed
sufficient evidence.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the sum of thirty thousand
dollars be, and the same is hereby appropriated, to defray the expenses
of laying out and making said road. And the President is hereby
authorized to draw, from time to time, on the treasury for such parts,
or at any one time, for the whole of said sum, as he shall judge the
service requires. Which sum of thirty thousand dollars shall be paid,
first, out of the fund of two per cent reserved for laying out and
making roads to the state of Ohio, and by virtue of the seventh section
of an act passed on the thirtieth day of April, one thousand eight
hundred and two, entitled, "An act to enable the people of the eastern
division of the territory northwest of the river Ohio to form a
constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state
into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, and for
other purposes." Three per cent of the appropriation contained in said
seventh section being directed by a subsequent law to the laying out,
opening, and making roads within the said state of Ohio; and secondly,
out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, chargeable
upon, and reimbursable at the treasury by said fund of two per cent as
the same shall accrue.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the President be, and he is
hereby requested, to cause to be laid before Congress, as soon as
convenience will permit, after the commencement of each session, a
statement of the proceedings under this act, that Congress may be
enabled to adopt such further measures as may from time to time be
proper under existing circumstances.

  Approved March 29, 1806.
                                                        TH. JEFFERSON.

President Jefferson appointed Thomas Moore of Maryland, Joseph Kerr of
Ohio, and Eli Williams of Maryland commissioners. Their first report was
presented December 30, 1806, as follows:

"The commissioners, acting by appointment under the law of Congress,
entitled, 'An act to regulate the laying out and making a road from
Cumberland in the State of Maryland, to the State of Ohio,' beg leave to
report to the President of the United States, and to premise that the
duties imposed by the law became a work of greater magnitude, and a task
much more arduous, than was conceived before entering upon it; from
which circumstance the commissioners did not allow themselves sufficient
time for the performance of it before the severity of the weather
obliged them to retire from it, which was the case in the first week of
the present month (December). That, not having fully accomplished their
work, they are unable fully to report a discharge of all the duties
enjoined by the law; but as the most material and principal part has
been performed, and as a communication of the progress already made may
be useful and proper, during the present session of Congress, and of the
Legislatures of those States through which the route passes, the
commissioners respectfully state that at a very early period it was
conceived that the maps of the country were not sufficiently accurate to
afford a minute knowledge of the true courses between the extreme points
on the rivers, by which the researches of the commissioners were to be
governed; a survey for that purpose became indispensable, and
considerations of public economy suggested the propriety of making this
survey precede the personal attendance of the commissioners.

"Josias Thompson, a surveyor of professional merit, was taken into
service and authorized to employ two chain carriers and a marker, as
well as one vaneman, and a packhorse-man and horse, on public account;
the latter being indispensable and really beneficial in accelerating the
work. The surveyor's instructions are contained in document No. 1,
accompanying this report.

"Calculating on a reasonable time for the performance of the
instructions to the surveyor, the commissioners, by correspondence,
fixed on the first day of September last, for their meeting at
Cumberland to proceed in the work; neither of them, however, reached
that place until the third of that month, on which day they all met.

"The surveyor having, under his instructions, laid down a plat of his
work, showing the meanders of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, within the
limits prescribed for the commissioners, as also the road between those
rivers, which is commonly traveled from Cumberland to Charleston, in
part called Braddock's road; and the same being produced to the
commissioners, whereby straight lines and their true courses were shown
between the extreme points on each river, and the boundaries which limit
the powers of the commissioners being thereby ascertained, serving as a
basis whereon to proceed in the examination of the grounds and face of
the country; the commissioners thus prepared commenced the business of
exploring; and in this it was considered that a faithful discharge of
the discretionary powers vested by the law made it necessary to view
the whole to be able to judge of a preference due to any part of the
grounds, which imposed a task of examining a space comprehending upwards
of two thousand square miles; a task rendered still more incumbent by
the solicitude and importunities of the inhabitants of every part of the
district, who severally conceived their grounds entitled to a
preference. It becoming necessary, in the interim, to run various lines
of experiment for ascertaining the geographical position of several
points entitled to attention, and the service suffering great delay for
want of another surveyor, it was thought consistent with the public
interest to employ, in that capacity, Arthur Rider, the vaneman, who had
been chosen with qualification to meet such an emergency; and whose
services as vaneman could then be dispensed with. He commenced, as
surveyor, on the 22nd day of September, and continued so at field work
until the first day of December, when he was retained as a necessary
assistant to the principal surveyor, in copying field notes and
hastening the draught of the work to be reported.

"The proceedings of the commissioners are especially detailed in their
general journal, compiled from the daily journal of each commissioner,
to which they beg leave to refer, under mark No. 2.

"After a careful and critical examination of all the grounds within the
limits prescribed, as well as the grounds and ways out from the Ohio
westwardly, at several points, and examining the shoal parts of the Ohio
river as detailed in the table of soundings, stated in their journal,
and after gaining all the information, geographical, general and
special, possible and necessary, toward a judicial discharge of the
duties assigned them, the commissioners repaired to Cumberland to
examine and compare their notes and journals, and determine upon the
direction and location of their route.

"In this consultation the governing objects were:

1. Shortness of distance between navigable points on the eastern and
western waters.

2. A point on the Monongahela best calculated to equalize the advantages
of this portage in the country within reach of it.

3. A point on the Ohio river most capable of combining certainty of
navigation with road accommodation; embracing, in this estimate, remote
points westwardly, as well as present and probable population on the
north and south.

4. Best mode of diffusing benefits with least distance of road.

"In contemplating these objects, due attention was paid as well to the
comparative merits of towns, establishments and settlements already
made, as to the capacity of the country with the present and probable

"In the course of arrangement, and in its order, the first point located
for the route was determined and fixed at Cumberland, a decision founded
on propriety, and in some measure on necessity, from the circumstance of
a high and difficult mountain, called Nobley, laying and confining the
east margin of the Potomac, so as to render it impossible of access on
that side without immense expense, at any point between Cumberland and
where the road from Winchester to Gwynn's crosses, and even there the
Nobley mountain is crossed with much difficulty and hazard. And this
upper point was taxed with another formidable objection; it was found
that a high range of mountains, called Dan's, stretching across from
Gwynn's to the Potomac, above this point, precluded the opportunity of
extending a route from this point in a proper direction, and left no
alternative but passing by Gwynn's; the distance from Cumberland to
Gwynn's being upward of a mile less than from the upper point, which
lies ten miles by water above Cumberland, the commissioners were not
permitted to hesitate in preferring a point which shortens the portage,
as well as the Potomac navigation.

"The point of the Potomac being viewed as a great repository of produce,
which a good road will bring from the west of Laurel Hill, and the
advantages which Cumberland, as a town, has in that respect over an
unimproved place, are additional considerations operating forcibly in
favor of the place preferred.

"In extending the route from Cumberland, a triple range of mountains,
stretching across from Jening's run in measure with Gwynn's, left only
the alternative of laying the road up Will's creek for three miles,
nearly at right angles with the true course, and then by way of Jening's
run, or extending it over a break in the smallest mountain, on a better
course by Gwynn's, to the top of Savage mountain; the latter was
adopted, being the shortest, and will be less expensive in hill-side
digging over a sloped route than the former, requiring one bridge over
Will's creek and several over Jening's run, both very wide and
considerable streams in high water; and a more weighty reason for
preferring the route by Gwynn's is the great accommodation it will
afford travelers from Winchester by the upper point, who could not reach
the route by Jening's run short of the top of Savage, which would
withhold from them the benefit of an easy way up the mountain.

"It is, however, supposed that those who travel from Winchester by way
of the upper point to Gwynn's, are in that respect more the dupes of
common prejudice than judges of their own ease, as it is believed the
way will be as short, and on much better ground, to cross the Potomac
below the confluence of the north and south branches (thereby crossing
these two, as well as Patterson's creek, in one stream, equally fordable
in the same season), than to pass through Cumberland to Gwynn's. Of
these grounds, however, the commissioners do not speak from actual view,
but consider it a subject well worthy of future investigation. Having
gained the top of Alleghany mountain, or rather the top of that part
called Savage, by way of Gwynn's, the general route, as it respects the
most important points, was determined as follows, viz:

"From a stone at the corner of lot No. 1, in Cumberland, near the
confluence of Will's creek and the north branch of the Potomac river;
thence extending along the street westwardly, to cross the hill lying
between Cumberland and Gwynn's, at the gap where Braddock's road passes
it; thence near Gwynn's and Jesse Tomlinson's, to cross the big
Youghiogheny near the mouth of Roger's run, between the crossing of
Braddock's road and the confluence of the streams which form the Turkey
foot; thence to cross Laurel Hill near the forks of Dunbar's run, to the
west foot of that hill, at a point near where Braddock's old road
reached it, near Gist's old place, now Colonel Isaac Meason's, thence
through Brownsville and Bridgeport, to cross the Monongahela river below
Josias Crawfords' ferry; and thence on as straight a course as the
country will admit to the Ohio, at a point between the mouth of Wheeling
creek and the lower point of Wheeling island.

"In this direction of the route it will lay about twenty-four and a half
miles in Maryland, seventy-five miles and a half in Pennsylvania, and
twelve miles in Virginia; distances which will be in a small degree
increased by meanders, which the bed of the road must necessarily make
between the points mentioned in the location; and this route, it is
believed, comprehends more important advantages than could be afforded
in any other, inasmuch as it has a capacity at least equal to any other
in extending advantages of a highway; and at the same time establishes
the shortest portage between the points already navigated, and on the
way accommodates other and nearer points to which navigation may be
extended, and still shorten the portage.

"It intersects Big Youghiogheny at the nearest point from Cumberland,
then lies nearly parallel with that river for the distance of twenty
miles, and at the west foot of Laurel Hill lies within five miles of
Connellsville, from which the Youghiogheny is navigated; and in the same
direction the route intersects at Brownsville, the nearest point on the
Monongahela river within the district.

"The improvement of the Youghiogheny navigation is a subject of too much
importance to remain long neglected; and the capacity of that river, as
high up as the falls (twelve miles above Connellsville), is said to be
equal, at a small expense, with the parts already navigated below. The
obstructions at the falls, and a rocky rapid near Turkey Foot,
constitute the principal impediments in that river to the intersection
of the route, and as much higher as the stream has a capacity for
navigation; and these difficulties will doubtless be removed when the
intercourse shall warrant the measure.

"Under these circumstances the portage may be thus stated: From
Cumberland to Monongahela, sixty-six and one-half miles. From Cumberland
to a point in measure with Connellsville, on the Youghiogheny river,
fifty-one and one-half miles. From Cumberland to a point in measure with
the lower end of the falls of Youghiogheny, which will lie two miles
north of the public road, forty-three miles. From Cumberland to the
intersection of the route with the Youghiogheny river, thirty-four

"Nothing is here said of the Little Youghiogheny, which lies nearer
Cumberland; the stream being unusually crooked, its navigation can only
become the work of a redundant population.

"The point which this route locates, at the west foot of Laurel Hill,
having cleared the whole of the Alleghany mountain, is so situated as to
extend the advantages of an easy way through the great barrier, with
more equal justice to the best parts of the country between Laurel Hill
and the Ohio. Lines from this point to Pittsburg and Morgan town,
diverging nearly at the same angle, open upon equal terms to all parts
of the western country that can make use of this portage; and which may
include the settlements from Pittsburg, up Big Beaver to the Connecticut
reserve, on Lake Erie, as well as those on the southern borders of the
Ohio and all the intermediate country.

"Brownsville is nearly equidistant from Big Beaver and Fishing creek,
and equally convenient to all the crossing places on the Ohio, between
these extremes. As a port, it is at least equal to any on the
Monongahela within the limits, and holds superior advantages in
furnishing supplies to emigrants, traders, and other travelers by land
or water.

"Not unmindful of the claims of towns and their capacity of
reciprocating advantages on public roads, the commissioners were not
insensible of the disadvantage which Uniontown must feel from the want
of that accommodation which a more southwardly direction of the route
would have afforded; but as that could not take place without a
relinquishment of the shortest passage, considerations of public
benefit could not yield to feelings of minor import. Uniontown being
the seat of justice for Fayette county, Pennsylvania, is not without a
share of public benefits, and may partake of the advantages of this
portage upon equal terms with Connellsville, a growing town, with the
advantage of respectable water-works adjoining, in the manufactory of
flour and iron.

"After reaching the nearest navigation on the western waters, at a point
best calculated to diffuse the benefits of a great highway, in the
greatest possible latitude east of the Ohio, it was considered that, to
fulfill the objects of the law, it remained for the commissioners to
give such a direction to the road as would best secure a certainty of
navigation on the Ohio at all seasons, combining, as far as possible,
the inland accommodation of remote points westwardly. It was found that
the obstructions in the Ohio, within the limits between Steubenville and
Grave creek, lay principally above the town and mouth of Wheeling; a
circumstance ascertained by the commissioners in their examination of
the channel, as well as by common usage, which has long given a decided
preference to Wheeling as a place of embarkation and port of departure
in dry seasons. It was also seen that Wheeling lay in a line from
Brownsville to the centre of the state of Ohio and Post Vincennes. These
circumstances favoring and corresponding with the chief objects in view
in this last direction of the route, and the ground from Wheeling
westwardly being known of equal fitness with any other way out from the
river, it was thought most proper, under these several considerations,
to locate the point mentioned below the mouth of Wheeling. In taking
this point in preference to one higher up and in the town of Wheeling,
the public benefit and convenience were consulted, inasmuch as the
present crossing place over the Ohio from the town is so contrived and
confined as to subject passengers to extraordinary ferriage and delay,
by entering and clearing a ferry-boat on each side of Wheeling island,
which lies before the town and precludes the opportunity of fording when
the river is crossed in that way, above and below the island. From the
point located, a safe crossing is afforded at the lower point of the
island by a ferry in high, and a good ford at low water.

"The face of the country within the limits prescribed is generally very
uneven, and in many places broken by a succession of high mountains and
deep hollows, too formidable to be reduced within five degrees of the
horizon, but by crossing them obliquely, a mode which, although it
imposes a heavy task of hill-side digging, obviates generally the
necessity of reducing hills and filling hollows, which, on these
grounds, would be an attempt truly quixotic. This inequality of the
surface is not confined to the Alleghany mountain; the country between
the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, although less elevated, is not better
adapted for the bed of a road, being filled with impediments of hills
and hollows, which present considerable difficulties, and wants that
super-abundance and convenience of stone found in the mountain.

"The indirect course of the road now traveled, and the frequent
elevations and depressions which occur, that exceed the limits of the
law, preclude the possibility of occupying it in any extent without
great sacrifice of distance, and forbid the use of it, in any one part
for more than half a mile, or more than two or three miles in the whole.

"The expense of rendering the road now in contemplation passable, may,
therefore, amount to a larger sum than may have been supposed necessary,
under an idea of embracing in it a considerable part of the old road;
but it is believed that the contrary will be found most correct, and
that a sum sufficient to open the new could not be expended on the same
distance of the old road with equal benefit.

"The sum required for the road in contemplation will depend on the style
and manner of making it; as a common road cannot remove the difficulties
which always exist on deep grounds, and particularly in wet seasons, and
as nothing short of a firm, substantial, well-formed, stone-capped road
can remove the causes which led to the measure of improvement, or render
the institution as commodious as a great and growing intercourse appears
to require, the expense of such a road next becomes the subject of

"In this inquiry the commissioners can only form an estimate by
recurring to the experience of Pennsylvania and Maryland in the business
of artificial roads. Upon this data, and a comparison of the grounds and
proximity of the materials for covering, there are reasons for belief
that, on the route reported, a complete road may be made at an expense
not exceeding six thousand dollars per mile, exclusive of bridges over
the principal streams on the way. The average expense of the Lancaster,
as well as Baltimore and Frederick turnpike, is considerably higher; but
it is believed that the convenient supply of stone which the mountain
affords will, on those grounds, reduce the expense to the rate here

"As to the policy of incurring this expense, it is not the province of
the commissioners to declare; but they cannot, however, withhold
assurances of a firm belief that the purse of the nation cannot be more
seasonably opened, or more happily applied, than in promoting the speedy
and effectual establishment of a great and easy road on the way

"In the discharge of all these duties, the commissioners have been
actuated by an ardent desire to render the institution as useful and
commodious as possible; and, impressed with a strong sense of the
necessity which urges the speedy establishment of the road, they have to
regret the circumstances which delay the completion of the part assigned
them. They, however, in some measure, content themselves with the
reflection that it will not retard the progress of the work, as the
opening of the road cannot commence before spring, and may then begin
with making the way.

"The extra expense incident to the service from the necessity (and
propriety, as it relates to public economy,) of employing men not
provided for by law will, it is hoped, be recognized and provision made
for the payment of that and similar expenses, when in future it may be
indispensably incurred.

"The commissioners having engaged in a service in which their zeal did
not permit them to calculate the difference between their pay and the
expense to which the service subjected them, cannot suppose it the wish
or intention of the government to accept of their services for a mere
indemnification of their expense of subsistence, which will be very much
the case under the present allowance; they, therefore, allow themselves
to hope and expect that measures will be taken to provide such further
compensation as may, under all circumstances, be thought neither profuse
nor parsimonious.

"The painful anxiety manifested by the inhabitants of the district
explored, and their general desire to know the route determined on,
suggested the measure of promulgation, which, after some deliberation,
was agreed on by way of circular letter, which has been forwarded to
those persons to whom precaution was useful, and afterward sent to one
of the presses in that quarter for publication, in the form of the
document No. 3, which accompanies this report.

"All which is, with due deference, submitted.

                                                         ELI WILLIAMS,
                                                         THOMAS MOORE,
                                                         JOSEPH KERR.
  December 30, 1806."

Starting from Cumberland the general alignment of Braddock's Road was
pursued, until the point was reached where the old thoroughfare left the
old portage trail, on the summit of Laurel Hill. The course was then
laid straight toward Brownsville (Redstone Old Fort) probably along the
general alignment of the old Indian portage path, and an earlier road.
From Brownsville to Washington was an old road, possibly the course of
the Indian trail.

As has already been suggested, there was a dispute concerning the point
where the road would touch the Ohio River. The rivalry was most intense
between Wheeling and Steubenville. Wheeling won through the influence of
Henry Clay, to whom a monument was erected at a later date near the town
on the old road. The commissioners rendered a second report on the
fifteenth of January, 1808 as follows:

"The undersigned, commissioners appointed under the law of the United
States, entitled 'An act to regulate the laying out and making a road
from Cumberland, in the State of Maryland, to the State of Ohio,' in
addition to the communications heretofore made, beg leave further to
report to the President of the United States, that, by the delay of the
answer of the Legislature of Pennsylvania to the application for
permission to pass the road through that state, the commissioners could
not proceed to the business of the road in the spring before vegetation
had so far advanced as to render the work of exploring and surveying
difficult and tedious, from which circumstance it was postponed till the
last autumn, when the business was again resumed. That, in obedience to
the special instructions given them, the route heretofore reported has
been so changed as to pass through Uniontown, and that they have
completed the location, gradation, and marking of the route from
Cumberland to Brownsville, Bridgeport, and the Monongahela river,
agreeably to a plat of the courses, distances and grades in which is
described the marks and monuments by which the route is designated, and
which is herewith exhibited; that by this plat and measurement it will
appear (when compared with the road now traveled) there is a saving of
four miles of distance between Cumberland and Brownsville on the new

"In the gradation of the surface of the route (which became necessary)
is ascertained the comparative elevation and depression of different
points on the route, and taking a point ten feet above the surface of
low water in the Potomac river at Cumberland, as the horizon, the most
prominent points are found to be elevated as follows, viz.:

  Summit of Wills mountain                                       581.
  Western foot of same                                           304.4
  Summit of Savage mountain                                    2,022.24
  Savage river                                                 1,741.6
  Summit Little Savage mountain                                1,900.4
  Branch Pine Run, first Western water                         1,699.9
  Summit of Red Hill (afterwards called shades of death)       1,914.3
  Summit Little Meadow mountain                                2,026.16
  Little Youghiogheny river                                    1,322.6
  East Fork of Shade run                                       1,558.92
  Summit of Negro mountain, highest point[3]                   2,328.12
  Middle branch of White's creek, at the west foot of Negro
    mountain                                                   1,360.5
  White's creek                                                1,195.5
  Big Youghiogheny river                                         645.5
  Summit of ridge between Youghiogheny river and Beaver waters 1,514.5
  Beaver Run                                                   1,123.8
  Summit of Laurel Hill                                        1,550.16
  Court House in Uniontown                                       274.65
  A point ten feet above the surfaceof low water in the
  Monongahela river, at the mouth of Dunlap's creek              119.26

"The law requiring the commissioners to report such parts of the route
as are laid on the old road, as well as those on new grounds, and to
state those parts which require the most immediate attention and
amelioration, the probable expense of making the same passable in the
most difficult parts, and through the whole distance, they have to state
that, from the crooked and hilly course of the road now traveled, the
new route could not be made to occupy any part of it (except an
intersection on Wills mountain, another at Jesse Tomlinson's, and a
third near Big Youghiogheny, embracing not a mile of distance in the
whole) without unnecessary sacrifices of distances and expense.

"That, therefore, an estimate must be made on the route as passing
wholly through new grounds. In doing this the commissioners feel great
difficulty, as they cannot, with any degree of precision, estimate the
expense of making it merely passable; nor can they allow themselves to
suppose that a less breadth than that mentioned in the law was to be
taken into the calculation. The rugged deformity of the grounds rendered
it impossible to lay a route within the grade limited by law otherwise
than by ascending and descending the hills obliquely, by which
circumstance a great proportion of the route occupies the sides of the
hills, which cannot be safely passed on a road of common breadth, and
where it will, in the opinion of the commissioners, be necessary, by
digging, to give the proper form of thirty feet, at least in the breadth
of the road, to afford suitable security in passing on a way to be
frequently crowded with wagons moving in opposite directions, with
transports of emigrant families, and droves of cattle, hogs, etc., on
the way to market. Considering, therefore, that a road on those grounds
must have sufficient breadth to afford ways and water courses, and
satisfied that nothing short of well constructed and completely finished
conduits can insure it against injuries, which must otherwise render it
impassable at every change of the seasons, by heavy falls of rain or
melting of the beds of snow, with which the country is frequently
covered; the commissioners beg leave to say, that, in a former report,
they estimated the expense of a road on these grounds, when properly
shaped, made and finished in the style of a stone-covered turnpike, at
$6,000 per mile, exclusive of bridges over the principal streams on the
way; and that with all the information they have since been able to
collect, they have no reason to make any alteration in that estimate.

"The contracts authorized by, and which have been taken under the
superintendence of the commissioner, Thomas Moore (duplicates of which
accompany this report), will show what has been undertaken relative to
clearing the timber and brush from part of the breadth of the road. The
performance of these contracts was in such forwardness on the 1st
instant as leaves no doubt of their being completely fulfilled by the
first of March.

"The commissioners further state, that, to aid them in the extension of
their route, they ran and marked a straight line from the crossing-place
on the Monongahela, to Wheeling, and had progressed twenty miles, with
their usual and necessary lines of experiment, in ascertaining the
shortest and best connection of practical grounds, when the approach of
winter and the shortness of the days afforded no expectation that they
could complete the location without a needless expense in the most
inclement season of the year. And, presuming that the postponement of
the remaining part till the ensuing spring would produce no delay in the
business of making the road, they were induced to retire from it for the

"The great length of time already employed in this business makes it
proper for the commissioners to observe that, in order to connect the
best grounds with that circumspection which the importance of the duties
confided to them demanded, it became indispensably necessary to run
lines of experiment and reference in various directions, which exceed an
average of four times the distance located for the route, and that,
through a country so irregularly broken, and crowded with very thick
underwood in many places, the work has been found so incalculably
tedious that, without an adequate idea of the difficulty, it is not easy
to reconcile the delay.

"It is proper to mention that an imperious call from the private
concerns of Commissioner Joseph Kerr, compelled him to return home on
the 29th of November, which will account for the want of his signature
to this report.

"All of which is, with due deference, submitted, this 15th day of
January, 1808.

                                                        ELI WILLIAMS,
                                                        THOMAS MOORE."

It was necessary to obtain permission of each state through which the
Cumberland Road was to be built; Pennsylvania, only, made any condition,
hers being that the road touch the towns of Washington and Uniontown.[4]

The first contracts were let on the eleventh and the sixteenth of April,
1811, for building the first ten miles west of Cumberland, Maryland.
These contracts were completed in the year following. More were let in
1812, 1813, and 1815; and two years later contracts for all the distance
to Uniontown, Pennsylvania were let. In 1818, United States Mail coaches
were running between Washington, D. C. and Wheeling, Virginia. The cost
of the road averaged $9,745 per mile between Cumberland and Uniontown,
and $13,000 per mile for the entire division from the Potomac to the
Ohio. Too liberal contracts is the reason given for the heavy expense
between Uniontown and Wheeling.


A flood of traffic swept over the great highway immediately upon its
completion. As early as the year 1822 it is recorded that a single
one of the five commission houses at Wheeling unloaded one thousand and
eighty-one wagons, averaging three thousand five hundred pounds each,
and paid for freightage of goods the sum of ninety thousand dollars.

But the road was hardly completed when a specter of constitutional cavil
arose, threatening its existence. In 1822 a bill was passed by Congress
looking toward the preservation and repair of the newly-built road. It
should be stated that the roadbed, though completed in one sense, was
not in condition to be used extensively unless continually repaired. In
many places only a single layer of broken stone had been laid, and, with
the volume of traffic which was daily passing over it, the road did not
promise to remain in good condition. In order to secure funds for the
constant repairs necessary, this bill ordered the establishment of
turnpikes with gates and tolls. The bill was immediately vetoed by
President Monroe on the ground that Congress, according to his
interpretation of the constitution, did not have the power to pass such
a sweeping measure of internal improvement.

The President based his conclusion upon the following grounds, stated in
a special message to Congress, dated May 4, 1822:

"A power to establish turnpikes, with gates and tolls and to enforce the
collection of the tolls by penalties, implies a power to adopt and
execute a complete system of internal improvements. A right to impose
duties to be paid by all persons passing a certain road, and on horses
and carriages, as is done by this bill, involves the right to take the
land from the proprietor on a valuation, and to pass laws for the
protection of the road from injuries; and if it exist, as to one road,
it exists as to any other, and to as many roads as Congress may think
proper to establish. A right to legislate for the others is a complete
right of jurisdiction and sovereignty for all the purposes of internal
improvement, and not merely the right of applying money under the power
vested in Congress to make appropriations (under which power, with the
consent of the states through which the road passes, the work was
originally commenced, and has been so far executed). I am of the
opinion that Congress does not possess this power--that the states
individually cannot grant it; for, although they may assent to the
appropriation of money within their limits for such purposes, they can
grant no power of jurisdiction of sovereignty, by special compacts with
the United States. This power can be granted only by an amendment to the
constitution, and in the mode prescribed by it. If the power exist, it
must be either because it has been specially granted to the United
States, or that it is incidental to some power, which has been
specifically granted. It has never been contended that the power was
specifically granted. It is claimed only as being incidental to some one
or more of the powers which are specifically granted.

"The following are the powers from which it is said to be derived: (1)
From the right to establish post offices and post roads; (2) from the
right to declare war; (3) to regulate commerce; (4) to pay the debts and
provide for the common defense and the general welfare; (5) from the
power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution
all the powers vested by the constitution in the government of the
United States, or in any department or officer thereof; (6) and lastly
from the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations
respecting the territory and other property of the United States.
According to my judgment it cannot be derived from either of these
powers, nor from all of them united, and in consequence it does not

During the early years of this century, the subject of internal
improvements relative to the building of roads and canals was one of the
foremost political questions of the day. No sooner were the debts of the
Revolutionary War paid, and a surplus accumulated, than a systematic
improvement of the country was undertaken. The Cumberland Road was but
one of several roads projected by the general Government. Through the
administrations of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison large appropriations
had been made for numerous improvements. The bill authorizing the
levying of tolls was a step too far, as President Monroe held that it
was one thing to make appropriations for public improvements, but an
entirely different thing to assume jurisdiction and sovereignty over the
land whereon those improvements were made. This was one of the great
public questions in the first half of the present century. President
Jackson's course was not very consistent. Before his election he voted
for internal improvements, even advocating subscriptions by the
Government to the stock of private canal companies, and the formation of
roads beginning and ending within the limits of certain states. In his
message at the opening of the first congress after his accession, he
suggested the division of the surplus revenue among the states, as a
substitute for the promotion of internal improvements by the general
Government, attempting a limitation and distinction too difficult and
important to be settled and acted upon on the judgment of one man,
namely, the distinction between general and local objects.

"The pleas of the advocates of internal improvement," wrote a
contemporary authority of high standing on economic questions, "are
these: That very extensive public works, designed for the benefit of the
whole Union, and carried through vast portions of its area, must be
accomplished. That an object so essential ought not to be left at the
mercy of such an accident as the cordial agreement of the requisite
number of states, to carry such works forward to their completion; that
the surplus funds accruing from the whole nation cannot be as well
employed as in promoting works in which the whole nation will be
benefited; and that as the interests of the majority have hitherto
upheld Congress in the use of this power, it may be assumed to be the
will of the majority that Congress should continue to exercise it.

"The answer is that it is inexpedient to put a vast and increasing
patronage into the hands of the general Government; that only a very
superficial knowledge can be looked for in members of Congress as to the
necessity or value of works proposed to be instituted in any parts of
the states, from the impossibility or undesirableness of equalizing the
amount of appropriation made to each; that useless works would be
proposed from the spirit of competition or individual interest; and that
corruption, coëxtensive with the increase of power, would deprave the
functions of the general Government.... To an impartial observer it
appears that Congress has no constitutional right to devote the public
funds to internal improvements, at its own unrestricted will and
pleasure; that the permitted usurpation of the power for so long a time
indicates that some degree of such power in the hands of the general
Government is desirable and necessary; that such power should be granted
through an amendment of the constitution, by the methods therein
provided; that, in the meantime, it is perilous that the instrument
should be strained for the support of any function, however desirable
its exercise may be.

"In case of the proposed addition being made to the constitution,
arrangements will, of course, be entered into for determining the
principles by which general are to be distinguished from local objects
or whether such distinction can, on any principle, be fixed; for
testing the utility of proposed objects; for checking extravagant
expenditure, jobbing, and corrupt patronage; in short, the powers of
Congress will be specified, here as in other matters, by express
permission and prohibition."[6]

In 1824, however, President Monroe found an excuse to sign a bill which
was very similar to that vetoed in 1822, and the great road, whose fate
had hung for two years in the balance, received needed appropriations.
The travel over the road in the first decade after its completion was
heavy, and before a decade had passed the roadbed was in wretched
condition. It was the plan of the friends of the road, when they
realized that no revenue could be raised by means of tolls by the
Government, to have the road placed in a state of good repair by the
Government and then turned over to the several states through which it

The liberality of the government, at this juncture, in instituting
thorough repairs on the road, was an act worthy of the road's service
and destiny.


In order to insure efficiency and permanency these repairs[8] were made
on the Macadam system; that is to say, the pavement of the old road was
entirely broken up, and the stones removed from the road; the bed was
then raked smooth, and made nearly flat, having a rise of not more than
three inches from the side to the center in a road thirty feet wide; the
ditches on each side of the road, and the drains leading from them, were
so constructed that the water could not stand at a higher level than
eighteen inches below the lowest part of the surface of the road; and,
in all cases, when it was practicable, the drains were adjusted in such
manner as to lead the water entirely from the side ditches. The culverts
were cleared out, and so adjusted as to allow the free passage of all
water that tended to cross the road.

Having thus formed the bed of the road, cleaned out the ditches and
culverts, and adjusted the side drains, the stone was reduced to a size
not exceeding four ounces in weight, was spread on with shovels, and
raked smooth. The old material was used when it was of sufficient
hardness, and no clay or sand was allowed to be mixed with the stone.

In replacing the covering of stone, it was found best to lay it on in
layers of about three inches thick, admitting the travel for a short
interval on each layer, and interposing such obstructions from time to
time as would insure an equal travel over every portion of the road;
care being taken to keep persons in constant attendance to rake the
surface when it became uneven by the action of wheels of carriages. In
those parts of the road, if any, where materials of good quality could
not be obtained for the road in sufficient quantity to afford a course
of six inches, new stone was procured to make up the deficiency to that
thickness; but it was considered unnecessary, in any part, to put on a
covering of more than nine inches. None but limestone, flint, or granite
were used for the covering, if practicable; and no covering was placed
upon the bed of the road till it had become well compacted and
thoroughly dried. At proper intervals, on the slopes of hills, drains
or paved catch-waters were made across the road, whenever the cost of
constructing culverts rendered their use inexpedient. These catch-waters
were made with a gradual curvature, so as to give no jolts to the wheels
of carriages passing over them; but whenever the expense justified the
introduction of culverts, they were used in preference, and in all cases
where the water crossed the road, either in catch-waters or through
culverts, sufficient pavements and overfalls were constructed to provide
against the possibility of the road or banks being washed away by it.

The masonry of the bridges, culverts, and side-walls was ordered to be
repaired, whenever required, in a substantial manner, and care was taken
that the mortar used was of good quality, without admixture of raw clay.
All the masonry was well pointed with hydraulic mortar, and in no case
was the pointing allowed to be put on after the middle of October. All
masonry finished after this time was well covered, and pointed early in
the spring. Care was taken, also, to provide means for carrying off the
water from the bases of walls, to prevent the action of frost on their
foundations; and it was considered highly important that all foundations
in masonry should be well pointed with hydraulic mortar to a depth of
eighteen inches below the surface of the ground.

By the year 1818, travel over the first great road across the Allegheny
Mountains into the Ohio Basin had begun.



The tales of those who knew the road in the West and those who knew it
in the East are much alike. It is probable that there was one important
distinction--the passenger traffic of the road between the Potomac and
Ohio, which gave life on that portion of the road a peculiar flavor, was
doubtless not equaled on the western division.

For many years the center of western population was in the Ohio Valley,
and good steamers were plying the Ohio when the Cumberland Road was
first opened. Indeed the road was originally intended for the
accommodation of the lower Ohio Valley.[9] Still, as the century grew
old and the interior population became considerable, the Ohio division
of the road became a crowded thoroughfare. An old stage-driver in
eastern Ohio remembers when business was such that he and his companion
Knights of Rein and Whip never went to bed for twenty nights, and more
than a hundred teams might have been met in a score of miles.

When the road was built to Wheeling, its greatest mission was
accomplished--the portage path across the mountains was completed to a
point where river navigation was almost always available. And yet less
than half of the road was finished. It now touched the eastern extremity
of the great state whose public lands were being sold in order to pay
for its building. Westward lay the growing states of Indiana and
Illinois, a per cent of the sale of whose land had already been pledged
to the road. Then came another moment when the great work paused and the
original ambition of its friends was at hazard.

In 1820 Congress appropriated one hundred and forty-one thousand dollars
for completing the road from Washington, Pennsylvania to Wheeling. In
the same year ten thousand dollars was appropriated for laying out the
road between Wheeling, Virginia and a point on the left bank of the
Mississippi River, between St. Louis and the mouth of the Illinois
River. For four years the fate of the road west of the Ohio hung in the
balance, during which time the road was menaced by the specter of
unconstitutionality, already mentioned. But on the third day of March,
1825, a bill was passed by Congress appropriating one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars for building the road to Zanesville, Ohio, and the
extension of the surveys to the permanent seat of government in
Missouri, to pass by the seats of government of Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois.[10] Two years later, one hundred and seventy thousand dollars
was appropriated to complete the road to Zanesville, Ohio, and in 1829
an additional appropriation for continuing it westward was made.[11]

It has been noted that the Cumberland Road from Cumberland to Wheeling
was built on a general alignment of a former thoroughfare of the red men
and the pioneers. So with much of the course west of the Ohio. Between
Wheeling and Zanesville the Cumberland Road followed the course of the
first road made through Ohio, that celebrated route marked out, by way
of Lancaster and Chillicothe, to Kentucky, by Colonel Ebenezer Zane, and
which bore the name of Zane's Trace. This first road built in Ohio was
authorized by an act of Congress passed May 17, 1796.[12] This route
through Ohio was a well worn road a quarter of a century before the
Cumberland Road was extended across the Ohio River.

The act of 1825, authorizing the extension of the great road into the
state of Ohio, was greeted with intense enthusiasm by the people of the
West. The fear that the road would not be continued beyond the Ohio
River was generally entertained, and for good reasons. The debate of
constitutionality, which had been going on for several years, increased
the fear. And yet it would have been breaking faith with the West by the
national Government to have failed to continue the road.

The act appropriated one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for an
extension of the road from Wheeling to Zanesville, Ohio, and work was
immediately undertaken. The Ohio was by far the greatest body of water
which the road crossed, and for many years the passage from Wheeling to
the opposite side of the Ohio, Bridgeport, was made by ferry. Later a
great bridge, the admiration of the countryside, was erected. The road
entered Ohio in Belmont County, and eventually crossed the state in a
due line west, not deviating its course even to touch cities of such
importance as Newark or Dayton, although, in the case of the former at
least, such a course would have been less expensive than the one
pursued. Passing due west the road was built through Belmont, Guernsey,
Muskingum, Licking, Franklin, Madison, Clark, Montgomery, and Preble
Counties, a distance of over three hundred miles. A larger portion of
the Cumberland Road which was actually completed lay in Ohio than in all
other states through which it passed combined.

The work on the road between Wheeling and Zanesville was begun in
1825-26. Ground was broken with great ceremony opposite the Court House
at St. Clairsville, Belmont County, July 4, 1825. An address was made by
Mr. William B. Hubbard. The cost of the road in eastern Ohio was much
less than the cost in Pennsylvania, averaging only about three thousand
four hundred dollars per mile. This included three-inch layers of broken
stone, masonry bridges, and culverts. Large appropriations were made for
the road in succeeding years and the work went on from Zanesville due
west to Columbus. The course of the road between Zanesville and Columbus
was perhaps the first instance where the road ignored, entirely, the
general alignment of a previous road between the same two points. The
old road between Zanesville and Columbus went by way of Newark and
Granville, a roundabout course, but probably the most practicable, as
anyone may attest who has traveled over the Cumberland Road in the
western part of Muskingum County. A long and determined effort was made
by citizens of Newark and Granville to have the new road follow the
course of the old, but without effect. Ohio had not, like Pennsylvania,
demanded that the road should pass through certain towns. The only
direction named by law was that the road should go west on the
straightest possible line through the capital of each state.

The course between Zanesville and Columbus was located by the United
States commissioner, Jonathan Knight, Esq., who, accompanied by his
associates (one of whom was the youthful Joseph E. Johnson), arrived in
Columbus, October 5, 1825. Bids for contracts for building the road from
Zanesville to Columbus were advertised to be received at the
superintendent's office at Zanesville, from the twenty-third to the
thirtieth of June, 1829. The road was fully completed by 1833. The road
entered Columbus on Friend (now Main) Street. There was great rivalry
between the North End and South End over the road's entrance into the
city. The matter was compromised by having it enter on Friend Street and
take its exit on West Broad, traversing High to make the connection.


Concerning the route out of Columbus, the _Ohio State Journal_ said:

"The adopted route leaves Columbus at Broad Street, crosses the Scioto
River at the end of that street and on the new wooden bridge erected in
1826 by an individual having a charter from the state. The bridge is not
so permanent nor so spacious as could be desired, yet it may answer the
intended purposes for several years to come. Thence the location passes
through the village of Franklinton, and across the low grounds to the
bluff which is surrounded at a depression formed by a ravine, and at a
point nearly in the prolongation in the direction of Broad Street;
thence by a small angle, a straight line to the bluffs of Darby Creek;
to pass the creek and its bluffs some angles were necessary; thence
nearly a straight line through Deer Creek Barrens, and across that
stream to the dividing grounds, between the Scioto and the Miami waters;
thence nearly down to the valley of Beaver Creek."

The preliminary survey westward was completed in 1826 and extended to
Indianapolis, Indiana. Bids were advertised for the contract west of
Columbus in July 1830. During the next seven years the work was pushed
on through Madison, Clark, Montgomery, and Preble Counties and across
the Indiana line. Proposals for bids for building the road west of
Springfield, Ohio, were advertised for, during August 1837; a condition
being that the first eight miles be finished by January 1838. These
proposals are interesting today. The following is a typical

"NATIONAL ROAD IN OHIO.--Notice to contractors.--Proposals will be
received by the undersigned, until the 19th of August inst., for
clearing and grubbing eight miles of the line of National Road west of
this place, from the 55th to the 62nd mile inclusive west of
Columbus--the work to be completed on or before the 1st day of January,

"The trees and growth to be entirely cleared away to the distance of 40
feet on each side of the central axis of the road, and all trees
impending over that space to be cut down; all stumps and roots to be
carefully grubbed out to the distance of 20 feet on each side of the
axis, and where occasional high embankments, or spacious side drains may
be required, the grubbing is to extend to the distance of 30 feet on
each side of the same axis. All the timber, brush, stumps and roots to
be entirely removed from the above space of 80 feet in width and the
earth excavated in grubbing, to be thrown back into the hollows formed
by removing the stumps and roots.

"The proposals will state the price per linear rod or mile, and the
offers of competent, or responsible individuals only will be accepted.

"Notice is hereby given to the proprietors of the land, on that part of
the line of the National Road lying between Springfield and the Miami
river, to remove all fences and other barriers now across the line a
reasonable time being allowed them to secure that portion of their
present crops which may lie upon the location of the road.

                                                       G. DUTTON,
                                    _Lieutenant U. S. Engineers Supt._

  National Road Office, Springfield, Ohio.
        August 2nd 1837."[13]

Indianapolis was the center of Cumberland Road operations in Indiana,
and from that city the road was built both eastward and westward. The
road entered Indiana through Wayne County but was not completed until
taken under a charter from the state by the Wayne County Turnpike
Company, and finished in 1850. When Indiana and Illinois received the
road from the national Government it was not completed, though graded
and bridged as far west as Vandalia, then the capital of Illinois.

The Cumberland Road was not to Indiana and Illinois what it was to Ohio,
for somewhat similar reasons that it was less to Ohio than to
Pennsylvania, for the further west it was built the older the century
grew, and the newer the means of transportation which were coming
rapidly to the front. This was true, even, from the very beginning. The
road was hardly a decade old in Pennsylvania, when two canals and a
railroad over the portage, offered a rival means of transportation
across the state from Harrisburg to Pittsburg.[14] When the road reached
Wheeling, Ohio River travel was very much improved, and a large
proportion of traffic went down the river by packet. When the road
entered Indiana, new plans for internal improvements were under way
beside which a turnpike was almost a relic. In 1835-36, Indiana passed
an internal improvement bill, authorizing three great canals and a
railway.[15] The proposed railway, from the village of Madison on the
Ohio River northward to Indianapolis, is a pregnant suggestion of the
amount of traffic to Indiana from the east which passed down the Ohio
from Wheeling, instead of going overland through Ohio.[16] This was,
undoubtedly, mostly passenger traffic, which was very heavy at this

But the dawning of a new era in transportation had already been heralded
in the national hall of legislation. In 1832 the House Committee on
Roads and Canals had discussed in their report the question of the
relative cost of various means of intercommunication, including
railways. Each report of the committee for the next five years mentioned
the same subject, until, in 1836, the matter of substituting a railway
for the Cumberland Road between Columbus and the Mississippi was very
seriously considered.

In that year a House Bill (No. 64) came back from the Senate amended in
two particulars, one authorizing that the appropriations made for
Illinois should be confined to grading and bridging only, and should not
be construed as implying that Congress had pledged itself to macadamize
the road.

The House Committee struck out these amendments and substituted a more
sweeping one than any yet suggested in the history of the road. This
amendment provided that a railroad be constructed west of Columbus with
the money appropriated for a highway. The committee reported, that,
after long study of the question, many reasons appeared why the change
should be made. It was stated to the committee by respectable authority,
that much of the stone for the masonry and covering for the road east of
Columbus had to be transported for considerable distances over bad roads
across the adjacent country at very great expense, and that, in its
continuance westward through Ohio, this source of expense would be
greatly augmented. Nevertheless the compact at the time of the admission
of the western states supposed the western termination of the road
should be the Mississippi. The estimated expense of the road's extension
to Vandalia, Illinois, sixty-five miles east of the Mississippi,
amounted to $4,732,622.83, making the total expense of the entire road
amount to about ten millions. The committee said it would have been
unfaithful to the trust reposed in it, if it had not bestowed much
attention upon this matter, and it did not hesitate to ground on a
recent report of the Secretary of War, this very important change of the
plan of the road. This report of the War Department showed that the
distance between Columbus and Vandalia was three hundred and thirty-four
miles and the estimated cost of completing the road that far would be
$4,732,622.83, of which $1,120,320.01 had been expended and
$3,547,894.83 remained to be expended in order to finish the road to
that extent according to plans then in operation; that after its
completion it would require an annual expenditure on the three hundred
and thirty-four miles of $392,809.71 to keep it in repair, the engineers
computing the annual cost of repairs of the portion of the road between
Wheeling and Columbus (one hundred and twenty-seven miles) at

On the other hand the estimated cost of a railway from Columbus to
Vandalia on the route of the Cumberland Road was $4,280,540.37, and the
cost of preservation and repair of such a road, $173,718.25. Thus the
computed cost of the railway exceeded that of the turnpike but about
twenty per cent, while the annual expense of repairing the former would
fall short more than fifty-six per cent. In addition to the advantage of
reduced cost was that of less time consumed in transportation; for,
assuming as the committee did a rate of speed of fifteen miles per hour
(which was five miles per hour less than the then customary speed of
railway traveling in England on the Liverpool and Manchester Railroad,
and about the ordinary rate of speed of the American locomotives), it
would require only twenty-three hours for news from Baltimore to reach
Columbus, forty-two hours to Indianapolis, fifty-four to Vandalia, and
fifty-eight to St. Louis.

One interesting argument for the substitution of the railway for the
Cumberland Road was given as follows:

"When the relation of the general Government to the states which it
unites is justly regarded; when it is considered it is especially
charged with the common defense; that for the attainment of this end
the militia must be combined in time of war with the regular army and
the state with the United States troops; that mutual prompt and vigorous
concert should mark the efforts of both for the accomplishment of a
common end and the safety of all; it seems needless to dwell upon the
importance of transmitting intelligence between the state and federal
government with the least possible delay and concentrating in a period
of common danger their joint efforts with the greatest possible
dispatch. It is alike needless to detail the comparative advantages of a
railroad and an ordinary turnpike under such circumstances. A few weeks,
nay, a very few days, or hours, may determine the issue of a campaign,
though happily for the United States their distance from a powerful
enemy may limit the contingency of war to destruction short of that by
which the events of an hour had involved ruin of an empire."

Despite the weight of argument presented by the House Committee their
amendment was in turn stricken out, and the bill of 1836 appropriated
six hundred thousand dollars for the Cumberland Road, both of the
Senate amendments which the House Committee had stricken out being
incorporated in the bill.

The last appropriation for the Cumberland Road was dated May 25, 1838;
it granted one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the road in both
Ohio and Indiana, and nine thousand dollars for the road in Illinois.



The Cumberland Road was built by the United States Government under the
supervision of the War Department. Of its builders, whose names will
ever live in the annals of the Middle West, Brigadier-general Gratiot,
Captains Delafield, McKee, Bliss, Bartlett Hartzell, Williams, Colquit,
and Cass, and Lieutenants Mansfield, Vance, and Pickell are best
remembered on the eastern division. Nearly all became heroes of the
Mexican or Civil Wars, McKee falling at Buena Vista, Williams at
Monterey, and Mansfield, then major-general, at Antietam.

Among the best known supervisors in the west were Commissioners C. W.
Weaver, G. Dutton, and Jonathan Knight.

The road had been built across the Ohio River but a short time when it
was realized that a revenue must be raised for its support from those
who traveled upon it. As we have seen, a law was passed in both houses
of Congress, in 1824, authorizing the Government to erect tollgates and
charge toll on the Cumberland Road as the states should surrender this
right.[18] This bill was vetoed by President Monroe, on grounds already
stated, and the road fell into a very bad condition. But what the
national Government could not do the individual states could do, and,
consequently, as fast as repairs were completed, the Government
surrendered the road to the states through which it passed. Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, accepted completed portions of the
road between 1831 and 1834.[19] The legislatures of Ohio and
Pennsylvania at once passed laws concerning the erection of tollgates,
Ohio authorizing one gate every twenty miles, February 4, 1831,[20] and
Pennsylvania authorizing the erection of six tollgates by an act passed
April 11, of the same year.[21]

The gates in Pennsylvania were located as follows: Gate No. 1 at the
east end of Petersburg, No. 2 near Mt. Washington, No. 3 near Searights,
No. 4 near Beallsville, No. 5 near Washington, and No. 6 near West

The Cumberland Road was under the control of commissioners appointed by
the President of the United States, the state legislatures, or
governors.[22] Upon these commissioners lay the task of repairing the
road, which included the making of contracts, reviewing the work done,
and rendering payment for the same. None of the work of building the
road fell on the state officials. Therefore, in Ohio, two great
departments were simultaneously in operation, the building of the road
by the government officials, and the work of operating and repairing the
road, under state officials. Two commissioners were appointed in
Pennsylvania, in 1847, one acting east, and the other west, of the
Monongahela River.[23] In 1836 Ohio placed all her works of internal
improvement under the supervision of a Board of Public Works, into whose
hands the Cumberland Road passed.[24] Special commissioners were
appointed from time to time by the state legislatures to perform special
duties, such as overseeing work being done, auditing accounts, or
settling disputes.[25] Two resident engineers were appointed over the
eastern and western divisions of the road in Ohio, thus doing away with
the continual employment and dismissal of the most important of all
officials. These engineers made quarterly reports concerning the road's

The road was conveniently divided by the several states into
departments. East of the Ohio River, the Monongahela River was a
division line, the road being divided by it into two divisions.[27] West
of the Ohio the eighty-seventh mile post from Wheeling was, at one time,
a division line between two departments in Ohio.[28] Later, the road in
Ohio was cut up into as many divisions as counties through which it
passed.[29] The work of repairing was let by contract, for which bids
had been previously advertised. Contracts were usually let in one-mile
sections, sometimes for a longer space, notice of the length being given
in the advertisement for bids. Contractors were compelled to give
testimonials of good character and reliability; though one contract,
previously quoted, professed to be satisfied with "competent or
responsible individuals only." A time limit was usually named in the
contract, with penalties for failure to complete the work in time

The building of the road was hailed with delight by hundreds of
contractors and thousands of laborers, who now had employment offered
them worthy of their best labor, and the work, when well done, stood as
a lasting monument to their skill. Old papers and letters speak
frequently of the enthusiasm awakened among the laboring classes by the
building of the great road, and of the lively scenes witnessed in those
busy years. Contractors who early earned a reputation followed the road
westward, taking up contract after contract as opportunity offered.
Farmers who lived on the route of the road engaged in the work when not
busy in their fields, and for their labor and the use of the teams
received good pay. Thus not only in its heyday did the road prove a
benefit to the country through which it passed, but at the very
beginning it became such, and not a little of the money spent upon it by
the Government went into the very pockets from which it came by the sale
of land.

The great pride taken by the states in the Cumberland Road is brought
out significantly in the laws passed concerning it. Pennsylvania and
Ohio legislatures passed laws as early as 1828, and within three days of
each other (Pennsylvania, April 7,[30] and Ohio, April 11[31]), looking
toward the permanent repair and preservation of the road. There were
penalties for breaking or defacing the milestones, culverts, parapet
walls, and bridges. A person found guilty of such act of vandalism was
"fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars, or be imprisoned
in a dungeon of the jail of the county, and be fed on bread and water
only, not exceeding thirty days, or both, at the discretion of the
court."[32] There were penalties for allowing the drains to become
obstructed, for premature traveling on unfinished portions of the
roadbed;[33] for permitting a wagon to stand over night on the roadbed,
and for locking wheels, except where ice made this necessary. Local
authorities were ordered to build suitable culverts wherever the roads
connected with the Cumberland Road. "Directors" were ordered to be set
up, to warn drivers to turn to the left when passing other teams.[34]
The rates of toll were ordered to be posted where the public could see
them.[35] "Beacons" were erected along the margin of the roadbed to keep
teams from turning aside. Laws were passed forbidding the removal of

The operation of the Cumberland Road included the establishment of the
toll system, which provided the revenue for keeping it in repair; and
from the tolls the most vital statistics concerning the old road are to
be obtained. Immediately upon the passing of the road into the control
of the individual states, tollgates were authorized, as previously
noted. Schedules of tariff were published by the various states. The
schedule of 1831 in Pennsylvania was as follows:


  Score of sheep or hogs                                             .06

  Score of cattle                                                    .12

  Led or driven horse                                                .03

  Horse and rider                                                    .04

  Sleigh or sled, for each horse or pair of oxen drawing the same    .03

  Dearborn, sulky, chair or chaise with one horse                    .06

  Chariot, coach, coachee, stage, wagon, phaeton, chaise, with two
    horses and four wheels                                           .12

  Either of the carriages last mentioned with four horses            .18

  Every other carriage of pleasure, under whatever name it may
    go, the like sum, according to the number of wheels, and
    horses drawing the same.

  Cart or wagon whose wheels shall exceed two and one-half inches
    in breadth, and not exceeding four inches                        .04

  Horse or pair of oxen drawing the same, and every other cart or
    wagon, whose wheels shall exceed four inches, and not exceed
    five inches in breadth                                           .03

  Horse or pair of oxen drawing the same, for every other cart or
    wagon, whose wheels shall exceed six inches, and not more
    than eight inches                                                .02

  Horse or pair of oxen drawing the same, all other carts or wagons
    whose wheels shall exceed eight inches in breadth               free

The tolls established the same year in Ohio (see table, pp. 103-104)
were higher than those charged in Pennsylvania.

The philosophy of the toll system is patent. Rates of toll were
determined by the wear on the road. Tolls were charged in order to keep
the road in repair, and, consequently, each animal or vehicle was taxed
in proportion as it damaged the roadbed. Cattle were taxed twice as
heavily as sheep or hogs, and, according to the tariff of 1845, hogs
were taxed twice as much as sheep. The tariff on vehicles was determined
by the width of the tires used, for the narrower the tire the more the
roadbed was cut up. Wide tires were encouraged, those over six inches
(later eight) went free, serving practically as rollers. The toll-rates
in Ohio are exhibited in the following table:


                              1831    1832    1836    1837    1845[37] 1900

  Score sheep or hogs         .10     .05     .06-1/4 .06-1/4 {.05     .12

  Score cattle                .20     .10     .12-1/2 .12-1/2  .20     .25

  Horse, mule, or ass, led or
    driven                    .03     .01-1/2 .02     .03      .03     .05

  Horse and rider             .06-1/4 .04     .06-1/4 .06-1/4  .05     .06

  Sled or sleigh drawn by one
    horse or ox               .12-1/2 .06-1/4 .08     .06      .05     .12

  Horse in addition           .06-1/4 .04     .04     .04      .05     .06

  Dearborn, sulky, chair, or
    chaise, one horse         .12-1/2 .08     .12-1/2 .12-1/2  .10     .12

  Horse in addition           .06-1/4 .04     .06-1/4 .04      .05     .06

  Chariot, coach, coachee,
    horses                    .18-3/4 .12-1/2 .18-3/4 .18-3/4  ...     .30

  Horse in addition           .06-1/4 .03     .06-1/4 .06-1/4  ...     .12

  Vehicle, wheels under two
    and one-half inches in
    breadth                   .12-1/2 ...     .12-1/2 .10      ...     ...

  Vehicle, wheels under four
    inches in breadth         .06-1/4 .06-1/4 .08     .08      ...     ...

  Horse drawing same          .03     .02     .04     .05      ...     ...

  Vehicle, wheels exceeding
    four inches and not
    exceeding five inches     .04     ...     ...     ...      ...     ...

  Vehicle, wheels exceeding
    four inches and not
    exceeding six inches      ...     .02     .04     .06-1/4  ...     ...

  Horse or ox drawing same    .02     .02     .02     .05      ...     ...

  Vehicle, wheels exceeding
    six inches                ...     ...     ...     .04      ...     ...

  Person occupying seat in
    mail stage                .04     .03     ...     ...      ...     ...

Estimates differed in various states but averaged up quite evenly. To
the rising generation, to whom tollgates are almost unknown, a study of
the toll system affords novel entertainment, helping one to realize
something of one of the most serious questions of public economics of
two generations ago. Tollgates averaged one in eighteen or twenty miles
in Pennsylvania, and one in ten miles in Ohio, with tolls a little
higher than half the rate in Pennsylvania.

Tollgate-keepers were appointed by the governor in the early days in
Ohio,[38] but, later, by the commissioners. These keepers received a
salary which was deducted from their collections, the remainder being
turned over to the commissioners. The salary established in Ohio in 1832
was one hundred and eighty dollars per annum.[39] In 1836 it was
increased to two hundred dollars per annum, and tollgate-keepers were
also allowed to retain five per cent of all tolls received above one
thousand dollars.[40] In 1845 tollgate-keepers were ordered to make
returns on the first Monday in each month, and the allowance of their
per cent on receipts over one thousand dollars was cut off, leaving
their salary at two hundred dollars per annum.[41] Equally perplexing
with the question of just tolls was found to be the question of
determining what and who should have free use of the Cumberland Road.
This list was increased at various times, and, in most states, included
the following at one time or another: persons going to, or returning
from public worship, muster, common place of business on farm or
woodland, funeral, mill, place of election, common place of trading or
marketing within the county in which they resided. This included
persons, wagons, carriages, and horses or oxen drawing the same. No toll
was charged school children or clergymen, or for passage of stage and
horses carrying United States Mail, or any wagon or carriage laden with
United States property, or cavalry, troops, arms, or military stores of
the United States, or any single state, or for persons on duty in the
military service of the United States, or for the militia of any single
state. In Pennsylvania, a certain stage line made the attempt to carry
passengers by the tollgates free, taking advantage of the clauses
allowing free passage of the United States mail by putting a mail sack
on each passenger coach. The stage was halted and the matter taken into
court, where the case was decided against the stage company, and persons
traveling with mailcoaches were compelled to pay toll.[42] Ohio took
advantage of Pennsylvania's experience and passed a law that passengers
on stagecoaches be obliged to pay toll.[43] Pennsylvania exempted
persons hauling coal for home consumption from paying toll.[44] Many
varied and curious attempts to evade payment of tolls were made, and
laws were passed inflicting heavy fine upon all convicted of such
malefaction. In Ohio, tollgate-keepers were empowered to arrest those
suspected of such attempts, and, upon conviction, the fine went into
the road fund of the county wherein the offense occurred.[45]

Persons making long trips on the road could pay toll for the entire
distance and receive a certificate guaranteeing free passage to their
destination.[46] Compounding rates were early put in force, applying, in
Ohio, for persons residing within eight miles of the road,[47] the
radius being extended later to ten.[48] Passengers in the stages were
counted by the tollgate-keepers and the company operating the stage
charged with the toll. At the end of each month, stage companies settled
with the authorities. Thus it became possible for the stage drivers to
deceive the gate-keepers, and save their companies large sums of money.
Drivers were compelled to declare the number of passengers in their
stage, and in the event of failing to do so, gate-keepers were allowed
to charge the company for as many passengers as the stage could

Stage lines were permitted to compound for yearly passage of stages over
the road and the large companies took advantage of the provision, though
the passengers were counted by the gate-keepers. It may be seen that
gate-keepers were in a position to embezzle large sums of money if they
were so minded, and it is undoubted that this was done in more than one
instance. Indeed, with a score and a half of gates, and a great many
traveling on special rates, it would have been remarkable if some
employed in all those years during which the toll system was in general
operation did not steal. But this is lifting the veil from the good old

As will be seen later, the amounts handled by the gate-keepers were no
small sums. In the best days of the road the average amount handled by
tollgate-keepers in Pennsylvania was about eighteen hundred dollars per
annum. In Ohio, with gates every ten miles, the average (reported)
collection was about two thousand dollars in the best years. It is
difficult to reconcile the statement made by Mr. Searight concerning the
comparative amount of business done on various portions of the
Cumberland Road, with the figures he himself quotes. He says: "It is
estimated that two-fifths of the trade and travel of the road were
diverted at Brownsville, and fell into the channel furnished at that
point by the slackwater navigation of the Monongahela River, and a
similar proportion descended the Ohio from Wheeling, and the remaining
fifth continued on the road to Columbus, Ohio, and points further west.
The travel west of Wheeling was chiefly local, and the road presented
scarcely a tithe of the thrift, push, whirl and excitement which
characterized it east of that point."[50] On another page Mr. Searight
gives the account of the old-time superintendents of the road in
Pennsylvania in its most prosperous era, one dating from November 10,
1840 to November 10, 1841,[51] the other from May 1, 1843 to December
31, 1844.[52] In the first of these periods the amount of tolls received
from the eastern division of the road (east of the Monongahela) is two
thousand dollars less than the amount received from the western
division. Even after the amounts paid by the two great stage companies
are deducted, a balance of over a thousand dollars is left in favor of
the division west of the Monongahela River. In the second report,
$4,242.37 more was received on the western division of the road than on
the eastern, and even after the amounts received from the stage
companies are deducted, the receipts from the eastern division barely
exceed those of the western. How can it be that "two-fifths of the trade
and travel of the road were diverted at Brownsville?" And the further
west Mr. Searight goes, the more does he seem to err, for the road west
of the Ohio River, instead of showing "scarcely a tithe of the thrift,
push, whirl and excitement which characterized it east of that point,"
seems to have done a greater business than the eastern portion. For
instance, when the road was completed as many miles in Ohio as were
built in Pennsylvania, the return from the portion in Ohio (1833) was
$12,259.42-4 (in the very first year that the road was completed), while
in Pennsylvania the receipts in 1840 were only $18,429.25, after the
road had been used for twenty-two years. In the same year (1840) Ohio
collected $51,364.67 from her Cumberland Road tollgates--about three
times the amount collected in Pennsylvania. Again Mr. Searight gives a
Pennsylvania commissioner's receipts for the twenty months beginning May
1, 1843, as $37,109.11, while the receipts from the road in Ohio in only
the twelve months of 1843 were $32,157.02. At the same time the tolls
charged in Ohio were a trifle in excess of those imposed in
Pennsylvania, therefore, Ohio's advantage must be curtailed slightly. On
the other hand it should be taken into consideration that the Cumberland
Road in Pennsylvania was almost the only road across the portion of the
state through which it ran, while in Ohio other roads were used,
especially clay roads running parallel with the Cumberland Road, by
drivers of sheep and pigs, as an aged informant testifies. As Mr.
Searight has said, the travel of the road west of the Ohio may have been
chiefly of a local nature, yet his seeming error concerning the relative
amount of travel on the two divisions in his own state, makes his
statements less trustworthy in the matter. Still it can be readily
believed that a great deal of continental trade did pass down the
Monongahela after traversing the eastern division of the road and that
increased local trade on the western division rendered the toll receipts
of the two divisions quite equal. Local travel on the eastern division
may have been light, comparatively speaking. Mr. Searight undoubtedly
meant that two-fifths of the through trade stopped at Brownsville and
Wheeling and one-fifth only went on into Ohio. The total amount of tolls
received by Pennsylvania from all roads, canals, etc., in 1836 was about
$50,000, while Ohio received a greater sum than that in 1838 from tolls
on the Cumberland Road alone, and the road was not completed further
west than Springfield.

A study of the amounts of tolls taken in from the Cumberland Road by the
various states will show at once the volume of the business done. Ohio
received from the Cumberland Road in forty-seven years nearly a million
and a quarter dollars. An itemized list of this great revenue shows the
varying fortunes of the great road:

  _Year_    _Tolls_          _Year_    _Tolls_
   1831    $2,777 16          1856    $6,105 00
   1832     9,067 99          1857     6,105 00
   1833    12,259 42-4        1858     6,105 00
   1834    12,693 65          1859     5,551 36
   1835    16,442 26          1860    11,221 74
   1836    27,455 13          1861    21,492 41
   1837    39,843 35          1862    19,000 00
   1838    50,413 17          1863    20,000 00
   1839    62,496 10          1864    20,000 00
   1840    51,364 67          1865    20,000 00
   1841    36,951 33          1866    19,000 00
   1842    44,656 18          1867    20,631 34
   1843    32,157 02          1868    18,934 49
   1844    30,801 13          1869    20,577 04
   1845    31,439 38          1870    19,635 75
   1846    28,946 21          1871    19,244 00
   1847    42,614 59          1872    18,002 09
   1848    49,025 66          1873    17,940 37
   1849    46,253 38          1874    17,971 21
   1850    37,060 11          1875    17,265 12
   1851    44,063 65          1876     9,601 68
   1852    36,727 26          1877       288 91
   1853    35,354 40              ---------------
   1854    18,154 59        Total $1,139,795 30-4
   1855     6,105 00

About 1850 Ohio began leasing portions of the Cumberland Road to private
companies. In 1854 the entire distance from Springfield to the Ohio
River was leased for a term of ten years for $6,105 a year.
Commissioners were appointed to view the road continually and make the
lessees keep it in as good condition as when it came into their
hands.[53] Before the contract had half expired, the Board of Public
Works was ordered (April, 1859) to take the road to relieve the
lessees.[54] In 1870 the proper limits of the road were designated to be
"a space of eighty feet in width, and where the road passed over a
street in any city of the second class, the width should conform to the
width of that street," such cities to own it so long as it was kept in

Finally, in 1876, the state of Ohio authorized commissioners of the
several counties to take so much of the road as lay in each county under
their control. It was stipulated that tollgates should not average more
than one in ten miles, and that no toll be collected between Columbus
and the Ohio Central Lunatic Asylum. The county commissioners were to
complete any unfinished portions of the road.[56]

Later (1877) the rates of toll were left to the discretion of the county
commissioners, with this provision:

"That when the consent of the Congress of the United States shall have
been obtained thereto, the county commissioners of any county having a
population under the last Federal census of more than fifteen thousand
six hundred and less than fifteen thousand six hundred and fifty shall
have the power when they deem it for the best interest of the road, or
when the people whom the road accommodates wish, to submit to the legal
voters of the county, at any regular or special election, the question,
'Shall the National Road be a free turnpike road?' And when the question
is so submitted, and a majority of all those voting on said question
shall vote yes, it shall be the duty of said commissioners to sell
gates, tollhouses and any other property belonging to the road to the
highest bidder, the proceeds of the sale to be applied to the repair of
the road, and declare so much of the road as lies within their county a
free turnpike road to be kept in repair in the way and manner provided
by law for the repair of free turnpikes."[57]

The receipts from the Franklin County, Ohio, tollgate for the year 1899
were as follows:

  January   $ 36 00
  February    32 80
  March       39 90
  April       80 75
  May         67 25
  June        54 85
  July        47 15
  August      35 75
  September   29 27
  October     29 26
  November    35 05
  December    34 05
  Total     $522 08

It will be noted that April was the heaviest month of the year. The
gate-keeper received a salary of thirty dollars per month.

It is hardly necessary to say that this great American highway was never
a self-supporting institution. The fact that it was estimated that the
yearly expense of repairing the Ohio division of the road was one
hundred thousand dollars, while the greatest amount of tolls collected
in its most prosperous year (1839) was a little more than half that
amount ($62,496.10) proves this conclusively. Investigation into the
records of other states shows the same condition. In the most prosperous
days of the road, the tolls in Maryland (1837) amounted to $9,953 and
the expenditures $9,660.51.[58] In 1839 a "balance" was recorded of
$1,509.08, but a like amount was charged up on the debtor side of the
account. The receipts reported each year in the auditor's reports of the
state of Ohio show that equal amounts were expended yearly upon the
road. As early as 1832 the governor of Ohio was authorized to borrow
money to repair the road in that state.[59]



The great work of building and keeping in repair the Cumberland Road,
and of operating it, developed a race of men as unknown before its era
as afterward. For the real life of the road, however, one will look to
the days of its prime--to those who passed over its stately stretches
and dusty coils as stage- and mail-coach drivers, express carriers and
"wagoners," and the tens of thousands of passengers and immigrants who
composed the public which patronized the great highway. This was the
real life of the road--coaches numbering as many as twenty traveling in
a single line; wagonhouse yards where a hundred tired horses rested over
night beside their great loads; hotels where seventy transient guests
have been served breakfast in a single morning; a life made cheery by
the echoing horns of hurrying stages; blinded by the dust of droves of
cattle numbering into the thousands; a life noisy with the satisfactory
creak and crunch of the wheels of great wagons carrying six and eight
thousand pounds of freight east or west.

The revolution of society since those days could not have been more
surprising. The change has been so great it is a wonder that men deign
to count their gain by the same numerical system. As Macaulay has said,
we do not travel today, we merely "arrive." You are hardly a traveler
now unless you cross a continent. Travel was once an education. This is
growing less and less true with the passing years. Fancy a journey from
St. Louis to New York in the old coaching days, over the Cumberland and
the old York Roads. How many persons the traveler met! How many
interesting and instructive conversations were held with fellow
travelers through the long hours; what customs, characters, foibles,
amusing incidents would be noticed and remembered, ever afterward
furnishing the information necessary to help one talk well and the
sympathy necessary to render one capable of listening to others. The
traveler often sat at table with statesmen whom the nation honored, as
well as with stagecoach-drivers whom a nation knew for their skill and
prowess with six galloping horses. Henry Clays and "Red" Buntings dined
together, and each made the other wiser, if not better. The greater the
gulf grows between the rich and poor, the more ignorant do both become,
particularly the rich. There was undoubtedly a monotony in stagecoach
journeying, but the continual views of the landscape, the ever-fresh
air, the constantly passing throngs of various description, made such
traveling an experience unknown to us "arrivers" of today. How fast it
has been forgotten that travel means seeing people rather than things.
The age of sight-seeing has superseded that of traveling. How few of us
can say with the New Hampshire sage: "We have traveled a great deal 'in
Concord.'" Splendidly are the old coaching days described by Thackeray,
who caught their spirit:

"The Island rang, as yet, with the tooting horns and rattling teams of
mail-coaches; a gay sight was the road in merry England in those days,
before steam-engines arose and flung its hostelry and chivalry over. To
travel in coaches, to drive coaches, to know coachmen and guards, to be
familiar with inns along the road, to laugh with the jolly hostess in
the bar, to chuck the pretty chambermaid under the chin, were the
delight of men who were young not very long ago. The Road was an
institution, the Ring was an institution. Men rallied around them; and,
not without a kind conservatism, expatiated upon the benefits with which
they endowed the country, and the evils which would occur when they
should be no more:--decay of English spirit, decay of manly pluck, ruin
of the breed of horses, and so forth, and so forth. To give and take a
black eye was not unusual nor derogatory in a gentleman; to drive a
stage-coach the enjoyment, the emulation of generous youth. Is there any
young fellow of the present time who aspires to take the place of a
stoker? You see occasionally in Hyde Park one dismal old drag with a
lonely driver. Where are you, charioteers? Where are you, O rattling
'Quicksilver,' O swift 'Defiance?' You are passed by racers stronger and
swifter than you. Your lamps are out, and the music of your horns has
died away."[60]

In the old coaching days the passenger- and mail-coaches were operated
very much like the railways of today. A vast network of lines covered
the land. Great companies owned hundreds of stages operating on
innumerable routes, competing with other companies. These rival stage
companies fought each other at times with great bitterness, and
competed, as railways do today, in lowering tariff and in outdoing each
other in points of speed and accommodation.[61] New inventions and
appliances were eagerly sought in the hope of securing a larger share of
public patronage. This competition extended into every phase of the
business--fast horses, comfortable coaches, well-known and companionable
drivers, favorable connections.

However, competition, as is always the case, sifted the competitors down
to a small number. Companies which operated upon the Cumberland Road
between Indianapolis and Cumberland became distinct in character and
catered to a steady patronage which had its distinctive characteristics
and social tone. This was in part determined by the taverns which the
various lines patronized. Each line ordinarily stopped at separate
taverns in every town. There were also found Grand Union taverns on the
Cumberland Road. Had this system of communication not been abandoned,
coach lines would have gone through the same experience that the
railways have, and for very similar reasons.

The largest coach line on the Cumberland Road was the National Road
Stage Company, whose most prominent member was Lucius W. Stockton. The
headquarters of this line were at the National House on Morgantown
Street, Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The principal rival of the National
Road Stage Company was the "Good Intent" line, owned by Shriver, Steele,
and Company, with headquarters at the McClelland House, Uniontown. The
Ohio National Stage Company, with headquarters at Columbus, Ohio,
operated on the western division of the road. There were many smaller
lines, as the "Landlords," "Pilot," "Pioneer," "Defiance," "June Bug,"

Some of the first lines of stages were operated in sections, each
section having different proprietors who could sell out at any time. The
greater lines were constantly absorbing smaller lines and extending
their ramifications in all directions. It will be seen there were trusts
even in the "good old days" of stagecoaches, when smaller firms were
"gobbled up" and "driven out" as happens today, and will ever happen in
mundane history, despite the nonsense of political garblers. One of the
largest stage companies on the old road was Neil, Moore, and Company of
Columbus, which operated hundreds of stages throughout Ohio. It was
unable to compete with the Ohio National Stage Company to which it
finally sold out, Mr. Neil becoming one of the magnates of the latter
company, which was, compared with corporations of its time, a greater
trust than anything known in Ohio today.[62]

To know what the old coaches really were, one should see and ride in
one. It is doubtful if a single one now remains intact. Here and there
inquiry will raise the rumor of an old coach still standing on wheels,
but if the rumor is traced to its source, it will be found that the
chariot was sold to a circus or wild west show or has been utterly
destroyed. The demand for the old stages has been quite lively on the
part of the wild west shows. These old coaches were handsome affairs in
their day--painted and decorated profusely without, and lined within
with soft silk plush.[63] There were ordinarily three seats inside,
each capable of holding three passengers. Upon the driver's high outer
seat was room for one more passenger, a fortunate position in good
weather. The best coaches, like their counterparts on the railways of
today, were named; the names of states, warriors, statesmen, generals,
nations, and cities, besides fanciful names, as "Jewess," "Ivanhoe,"
"Sultana," "Loch Lomond," were called into requisition.

The first coaches to run on the Cumberland Road were long, awkward
affairs, without braces or springs, and with seats placed crosswise. The
door was in front, and passengers, on entering, had to climb over the
seats. These first coaches were made at Little Crossings, Pennsylvania.

The bodies of succeeding coaches were placed upon thick, wide leathern
straps which served as springs and which were called "thorough braces."
At either end of the body was the driver's boot and the baggage boot.
The first "Troy" coach put on the road came in 1829. It was a great
novelty, but some hundreds of them were soon throwing the dust of
Maryland and Pennsylvania into the air. Their cost then was between four
and six hundred dollars. The harness used on the road was of giant
proportions. The backbands were often fifteen inches wide, and the hip
bands, ten. The traces were chains with short thick links and very

But the passenger traffic of the Cumberland Road bore the same relation
to the freight traffic as passenger traffic does to freight on the
modern railway--a small item, financially considered. It was for the
great wagons and their wagoners to haul over the mountains and
distribute throughout the west the products of mill and factory and the
rich harvests of the fields. And this great freight traffic created a
race of men of its own, strong and daring, as they well had need to be.
The fact that teamsters of these "mountain ships" had taverns or "wagon
houses" of their own, where they stopped, tended to separate them into
a class by themselves. These wagonhouses were far more numerous than the
taverns along the road, being found as often as one in every mile or
two. Here, in the commodious yards, the weary horses and their swarthy
Jehus slept in the open air. In winter weather the men slept on the
floors of the wagonhouses. In summer many wagoners carried their own
cooking utensils. In the suburbs of the towns along the road they would
pull their teams out into the roadside and pitch camp, sending into the
village to replenish their stores.

The bed of the old road freighter was long and deep, bending upward at
the bottom at either end. The lower broad side was painted blue, with a
movable board inserted above, painted red. The top covering was white
canvas drawn over broad wooden bows. Many of the wagoners hung bells of
a shape much similar to dinner bells on a thin iron arch over the hames
of the harness. Often the number of bells indicated the prowess of a
teamster's horses, as the custom prevailed, in certain parts, that when
a team became fast, or was unable to make the grade, the wagoner
rendering the necessary assistance appropriated all the bells of the
luckless team.

The wheels of the freighters were of a size proportionate to the rest of
the wagon. The first wagons used on the old roads had narrow rims, but
it was not long before the broad rims, or "broad-tread wagons," came
into general use by those who made a business of freighting. The narrow
rims were always used by farmers, who, during the busiest season on the
road, deserted their farms for the high wages temporarily to be made,
and who in consequence were dubbed "sharpshooters" by the regulars. The
width of the broad-tread wheels was four inches. As will be noted, tolls
for broad wheels were less than for the narrow ones which tended to cut
the roadbed more deeply. One ingenious inventor planned to build a wheel
with a rim wide enough to pass the tollgates free. The model was a wagon
which had the rear axle four inches shorter than the front, making a
track eight inches in width. Nine horses were hitched to this wagon,
three abreast. The team caused much comment, but was not voted

The loads carried on the mountain ships were very large. An Ohio man,
McBride by name, in the winter of 1848 went over the mountains with
seven horses, taking a load of nine hogsheads weighing an average of one
thousand pounds each.

The following description is from the _St. Clairsville_ (Ohio) _Gazette_
of 1835:

"It was a familiar saying with Sam Patch that _some things can be done
easier than others_, and this fact was forcibly brought to our mind by
seeing a six-horse team pass our office on Wednesday last, laden with
_eleven hogsheads of tobacco_, destined for Wheeling. Some speculation
having gone forth as to its weight, the driver was induced to test it on
the hay scales in this place, and it amounted to 13,280 lbs. gross
weight--net weight 10,375. This team (owned by General C. Hoover of this
county) took the load into Wheeling with ease, having a hill to ascend
from the river to the level of the town, of eight degrees. The Buckeyes
of Belmont may challenge competition in this line."

Teamsters received good wages, especially when trade was brisk. From
Brownsville to Cumberland they often received $1.25 a hundred; $2.25 per
hundred has been paid for a load hauled from Wheeling to Cumberland.[64]
The stage-drivers received twelve dollars a month with board and
lodging. Usually the stage-drivers had one particular route between two
towns about twelve miles apart on which they drove year after year, and
learned it as well as trainmen know their "runs" today. The life was
hard, but the dash and spirit rendered it as fascinating as railway life
is now.

Far better time was made by these old conveyances than many realize. Ten
miles an hour was an ordinary rate of speed. A stage-driver was
dismissed more quickly for making slow time, than for being guilty of
intoxication, though either offense was considered worthy of dismissal.
The way-bills handed to the drivers with the reins often bore the words:
"Make this time or we'll find some one who will." Competition in the
matter of speed was as intense as it is now in the days of steam. A
thousand legends of these rivalries still linger in story and tradition.
Defeated competitors were held accountable by their companies and the
loads or condition of their horses were seldom accepted as excuses.
Couplets were often conjured up containing some brief story of defeat
with a cutting sting for the vanquished driver:

  "If you take a seat in Stockton's line
  You are sure to be passed by Pete Burdine."


  "Said Billy Willis to Peter Burdine
  You had better wait for the oyster line."

According to a contemporary account, in September, 1837, Van Buren's
presidential message was carried from Baltimore (Canton Depot) to
Philadelphia, a distance of one hundred and forty miles, in four hours
and forty-three minutes. Seventy miles of the journey was done by rail,
three by boat, and eighty-seven by horse. The seventy-three by rail and
boat occupied one hundred and seventeen minutes and the eighty-seven by
horse occupied the remaining two hundred and twenty-six minutes, or each
mile in about two minutes and a half. This time must be considered
remarkable. The mere fact that these figures are not at all consistent
need occasion no alarm; they form the most consistent part of the story.

The news of the death of William the Fourth of England, which occurred
June 20, 1837, was printed in Columbus, Ohio papers July 28. It was not
until 1847 that the capital of Ohio was connected with the world by
telegraph wires.

Time-tables of passenger coaches were published as railway time-tables
are today. The following is a Cumberland Road time-table printed at
Columbus for the winter of 1835-1836:



THE OLD STAGE LINES with all their different connections throughout the
state, continue as heretofore.

THE MAIL PILOT LINE, leaves Columbus for Wheeling daily, at 6 A. M.,
reaching Zanesville at 1 P. M. and Wheeling at 6 A. M. next day, through
in 24 hours, allowing five hours repose at St. Clairsville.

THE GOOD INTENT LINE, leaves Columbus for Wheeling, daily at 1 P. M.,
through in 20 hours, reaching Wheeling in time to connect with the
stages for Baltimore and Philadelphia.

THE MAIL PILOT LINE, leaves Columbus daily, for Cincinnati at 8 A. M.,
through in 36 hours, allowing six hours repose at Springfield.

Extras furnished on the above routes at any hour when required.

THE EAGLE LINE, leaves Columbus every other day, for Cleveland, through
in 40 hours, via Mt. Vernon and Wooster.

THE TELEGRAPH LINE leaves Columbus for Sandusky City, every other day at
5 A. M., through in two days, allowing rest at Marion, and connecting
there with the line to Detroit, via Lower Sandusky.

THE PHOENIX LINE, leaves Columbus every other day, for Huron, via Mt.
Vernon and Norwalk, through in 48 hours.

THE DAILY LINE OF MAIL COACHES, leaves Columbus, for Chillicothe at 5 A.
M., connecting there with the line to Maysville, Ky., and Portsmouth.

For seats apply at the General Stage Office, next door to Col. Noble's
National Hotel.

                                  T. C. ACHESON, _for the proprietor_.

The following advertisement of an opposition line, running in 1837, is
an interesting suggestion of the intense spirit of rivalry which was
felt as keenly, if not more so, as in our day of close competition:


FROM WHEELING, VA. to Cincinnati, O. via Zanesville, Columbus,
Springfield and intermediate points.

    Through in less time than any other line.
  "_By opposition the people are well served._"

The Defiance Fast Line connects at Wheeling, Va. with Reside & Co.'s
Two Superior daily lines to Baltimore, McNair and Co.'s Mail Coach
line, via Bedford, Chambersburg and the Columbia and Harrisburg Rail
Roads to Philadelphia, being the only direct line from Wheeling--: also
with the only coach line from Wheeling to Pittsburg, via Washington,
Pa., and with numerous cross lines in Ohio.

The proprietors having been released on the 1st inst. from burthen of
carrying the great mail, (which will retard any line) are now enabled to
run through in a shorter time than any other line on the road. They will
use every exertion to accommodate the traveling public. With stock
infinitely superior to any on the road, they flatter themselves they
will be able to give general satisfaction; and believe the public are
aware, from past experience, that a liberal patronage to the above line
will prevent impositions in high rates of fare by any stage monopoly.

The proprietors of the Defiance Fast Line are making the necessary
arrangements to stock the Sandusky and Cleveland Routes also from
Springfield to Dayton--which will be done during the month of July.

All baggage and parcels only received at the risk of the owners thereof.

                                               JNO. W. WEAVER & CO.,
                                               GEO. W. MANYPENNY,
                                               JNO. YONTZ,
                                      _From Wheeling to Columbus, Ohio_.

                                               JAMES H. BACON,
                                               WILLIAM RIANHARD,
                                               F. M. WRIGHT,
                                               WILLIAM H. FIFE,
                                        _From Columbus to Cincinnati_.

There was always danger in riding at night, especially over the
mountains, where sometimes a misstep would cost a life. The following
item from a letter written in 1837 tells of such an incident:

"One of the Reliance line of stages, from Frederick to the West, passed
through here on its way to Cumberland. About ten o'clock the ill-fated
coach reached a small spur of the mountain, running to the Potomac, and
between this place and Hancock, termed Millstone Point, where the driver
mistaking the track, reined his horses too near the edge of the
precipice, and in the twinkling of an eye, coach, horses, driver, and
passengers were precipitated upward of thirty-five feet onto a bed of
rock below--the coach was dashed to pieces, and two of the horses
killed--literally smashed.

"A respectable elderly lady of the name of Clarke, of Louisville,
Kentucky, and a negro child were crushed to death--and a man so
dreadfully mangled that his life is flickering on his lips only. His
face was beaten to a mummy. The other passengers and the driver were
woefully bruised, but it is supposed they are out of danger. There were
seven in number.

"I cannot gather that any blame was attached to the driver. It is said
that he was perfectly sober; but he and his horses were new to this
road, and the night was foggy and very dark."

An act of the legislature of Ohio required that every stagecoach used
for the conveyance of passengers in the night should have two good lamps
affixed in the usual manner, and subjected the owner to a fine of from
ten to thirty dollars for every forty-eight hours the coach was not so
provided. Drivers of coaches who should drive in the night when the
track could not be distinctly seen without having the lamps lighted were
subject to a forfeiture of from five to ten dollars for each offense.
The same act provided that drivers guilty of intoxication, so as to
endanger the safety of passengers, on written notice of a passenger on
oath, to the owner or agent, should be forthwith discharged, and
subjected the owner continuing to employ that driver more than three
days after such notice to a forfeiture of fifty dollars a day.

Stage proprietors were required to keep a printed copy of the act posted
up in their offices, under a penalty of five dollars.

Another act of the Ohio legislature subjected drivers who should leave
their horses without being fastened, to a fine of not over twenty

As has been intimated, passengers purchased their tickets of the stage
company in whose stage they embarked, and the tolls were included in the
price of the ticket. A paper resembling a waybill was made out by the
agent of the line at the starting point. This paper was given to the
driver and delivered by him to the landlord at each station upon the
arrival of the coach. This paper contained the names and destinations of
the passengers carried, the sums paid as fare and the time of departure,
and contained blank squares for registering time of arrival and
departure from each station. The fares varied slightly but averaged
about four cents a mile.



The most important official function of the Cumberland Road was to
furnish means of transporting the United States mails. The strongest
constitutional argument of its advocates was the need of facilities for
transporting troops and mails. The clause in the constitution
authorizing the establishment of post roads was interpreted by them to
include any measure providing quick and safe transmission of the mails.
As has been seen, it was finally considered by many to include building
and operating railways with funds appropriated for the Cumberland Road.

The great mails of seventy-five years ago were operated on very much the
same principle on which mails are operated today. The Post Office
Department at Washington contracted with the great stage lines for the
transmission of the mails by yearly contracts, a given number of stages
with a given number of horses to be run at given intervals, to stop at
certain points, at a fixed yearly compensation, usually determined by
the custom of advertising for bids and accepting the lowest offered.

When the system of mailcoach lines reached its highest perfection, the
mails were handled as they are today. The great mails that passed over
the Cumberland Road were the Great Eastern and the Great Western mails
out of St. Louis and Washington. A thousand lesser mail lines connected
with the Cumberland Road at every step, principally those from
Cincinnati in Ohio, and from Pittsburg in Pennsylvania. There were
through and way mails, also mails which carried letters only, newspapers
going by separate stage. There was also an "Express Mail" corresponding
to the present "fast mail."

It is probably not realized what rapid time was made by the old-time
stage and express mails over the Cumberland Road to the Central West.
Even compared with the fast trains of today, the express mails of sixty
years ago, when conditions were favorable, made marvelous time. In 1837
the Post Office Department required, in the contract for carrying the
Great Western Express Mail from Washington over the Cumberland Road to
Columbus and St. Louis, that the following time be made:

  Wheeling, Virginia        30     hours.
  Columbus, Ohio            45-1/2   "
  Indianapolis, Indiana     65-1/2   "
  Vandalia, Illinois        85-1/2   "
  St. Louis, Missouri       94       "

At the same time the ordinary mail-coaches, which also served as
passenger coaches, made very much slower time:

  Wheeling, Virginia        2 days 11 hours.
  Columbus, Ohio            3  "   16   "
  Indianapolis, Indiana     6  "   20   "
  Vandalia, Illinois        9  "   10   "
  St. Louis, Missouri      10  "    4   "

Cities off the road were reached in the following time from Washington:

  Cincinnati, Ohio         60     hours.
  Frankfort, Kentucky      72       "
  Louisville, Kentucky     78       "
  Nashville, Tennessee    100       "
  Huntsville, Alabama     115-1/2   "

The ordinary mail to these points made the following time:

  Cincinnati, Ohio      4 days 18 hours.
  Frankfort, Kentucky   6  "   18   "
  Louisville, Kentucky  6  "   23   "
  Nashville, Tennessee  8  "   16   "
  Huntsville, Alabama  10  "   21   "

The Post Office Department had given its mail contracts to the steamship
lines in the east, when possible, from Boston to Portland and New York
to Albany. One mail route to the southern states, however, passed over
the Cumberland Road and down to Cincinnati, where it went on to
Louisville and the Mississippi ports by packet. The following time was
made by this Great Southern Mail from Louisville:

  Nashville, Tennessee      21 hours.
  Mobile, Alabama           80   "
  New Orleans, Louisiana   105   "

The service rendered to the south and southwest by the Cumberland Road,
was not rendered to the northwest, as might have been expected. Chicago
and Detroit were difficult to bring into easy communication with the
east. Until the railway was completed from Albany to Buffalo, the mails
went very slowly to the northwest from New York. The stage line from
Buffalo to Cleveland and on west over the terrible Black Swamp road to
Detroit was one of the worst in the United States. When lake navigation
became closed, communication with northwestern Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin
and northern Indiana and Illinois was almost cut off. Had the stage
route followed that of the buffalo and Indian on the high ground
occupied by the Mahoning Indian trail from Pittsburg to Detroit, a far
more excellent service might have been at the disposal of the Post
Office Department. As it was, stagehorses floundered in the Black Swamp
with "mud up to the horses' bridles," where a half dozen mails were
often congested, and "six horses were barely sufficient to draw a
two-wheeled vehicle fifteen miles in three days."[65]

The old time-tables of the Cumberland Road make an interesting study.
One of the first of these published after the great stage lines were in
operation over the entire road and the southern branch to Cincinnati,
appeared early in the year 1833. By this schedule the Great Eastern Mail
left Washington daily at 7 P. M. and Baltimore at 9 P. M. and arrived in
Wheeling, on the Ohio River, in fifty-five hours. Leaving Wheeling at
4:30 A. M., it arrived in Columbus at five the morning following, and in
Cincinnati at the same hour the next morning, making forty-eight hours
from one point on the river to the other, much better time than any
packet could make. The Great Western Mail left Cincinnati daily at 2 P.
M. and reached Columbus at 1 P. M. on the day following. It left
Columbus at 1:30 P. M. and reached Wheeling at 2:30 P. M. the day
following, thence Washington in fifty-five hours.[66]

At times the mails on the Cumberland Road were greatly delayed, taxing
the patience of the public beyond endurance. The road itself was so well
built that rain had little effect upon it as a rule. In fact, delay of
the mails was more often due to inefficiency of the Post Office
Department, inefficiency of the stage line service, or failure of
contractors, than poor roads. Until a bridge was built across the Ohio
River at Wheeling, in 1836, mails often became congested, especially
when ice was running out. There were frequent derangements of cross and
way mails which affected seriously the efficiency of the service. The
vast number of connecting mails on the Cumberland Road made regularity
in transmission of cross mails confusing, especially if the through
mails were at all irregular.

To us living in the present age of telegraphic communication and the
ubiquitous daily paper, it may not occur that the mail stages of the
old days were the newsboys of the age, and that thousands looked to
their coming for the first word of news from distant portions of the
land. In times of war or political excitement the express mailstage and
its precious load of papers from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York,
was hailed as the latest editions of our newspapers are today. Thus it
must have been that a greater proportion of the population along the
Cumberland Road awaited with eager interest the coming of the stage in
the old days, than today await the arrival of the long mail trains from
the east.

Late in the 30's and in the 40's, when the mailstage system reached its
highest perfection, the mail and passenger service had been entirely
separated, special stages being constructed for hauling the former. As
early as 1837 the Post Office Department decreed that the mails, which
heretofore had always been held as of secondary consideration compared
with passengers, should be carried in specially arranged vehicles, into
which the postmaster should put them under lock and key not to be
opened until the next post office was reached. These stages were of two
kinds, designed to be operated upon routes where the mail ordinarily
comprised, respectively, a half and nearly a whole load. In the former,
room was left for six passengers, in the latter, for three. Including
newspapers with the regular mail, the later stages which ran westward
over the Cumberland Road rarely carried passengers. Indeed there was
little room for the guards who traveled with the driver to protect the
government property. Many old drivers of the "Boston Night Mail," or the
"New York Night Mail," or "Baltimore Mail," may yet be found along the
old road, who describe the immense loads which they carried westward
behind flying steeds. Such a factor in the mailstage business did the
newspapers become, that many contractors refused to carry them by
express mail, consigning them to the ordinary mails, thereby bringing
down upon themselves the frequent savage maledictions of a host of local

Newspapers were, nevertheless, carried by express mailstages as far west
as Ohio in 1837, as is proved by a newspaper account of a robbery
committed on the Cumberland Road, the robbers holding up an express
mailstage and finding nothing in it but newspapers.[68]

The mails on the Cumberland Road were always in danger of being assailed
by robbers, especially on the mountainous portions of the road at night.
Though by dint of lash and ready revolver the doughty drivers usually
came off safely with their charge.



So distinctive was the character of the Cumberland Road that all which
pertained to it was highly characteristic. Next to the race of men which
grew up beside its swinging stretches, nothing had a more distinctive
tone than the taverns which offered cheer and hospitality to its surging

The origin of taverns in the East was very dissimilar from their history
in the West. The first taverns in the West were those which did service
on the old Braddock's Road. Unlike the taverns of New England, which
were primarily drinking places, sometimes closing at nine in the
evening, and not professing, originally, to afford lodging, the tavern
in the West arose amid the forest to answer all the needs of travelers.
It may be said that every cabin in all the western wilderness was a
tavern, where, if there was a lack of "bear and cyder" there was an
abundance of dried deer meat and Indian meal and a warm fireplace before
which to spread one's blankets.[69]

The first cabins on the old route from the Potomac to the Ohio were at
the Wills Creek settlement (Cumberland) and Gist's clearing, where
Washington stopped on his Le Boeuf trip on the buffalo trace not far
from the summit of Laurel Hill. After Braddock's Road was built, and the
first roads were opened between Uniontown and Brownsville, Washington
and Wheeling, during the Revolutionary period, a score of taverns sprang
up--the first of the kind west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The oldest tavern on Braddock's Road was Tomlinson's Tavern near "Little
Meadows," eight miles west of the present village of Frostburg,

At this point the lines of Braddock's Road and the Cumberland Road
coincide. On land owned by him along the old military road Jesse
Tomlinson erected a tavern. When the Cumberland Road was built, his
first tavern was deserted and a new one built near the old site. Another
tavern, erected by one Fenniken, stood on both the line of the military
road and the Cumberland Road, two miles west of Smithfield ("Big
Crossings") where the two courses were identical.

The first taverns erected upon the road which followed the portage path
from Uniontown to Brownsville were Collin's Log Tavern and Rollin's
Tavern, erected in Uniontown in 1781 and 1783, respectively. These
taverns offered primitive forms of hospitality to the growing stream of
sojourners over the rough mountain path to the Youghiogheny at
Brownsville, where boats could be taken for the growing metropolis of
Pittsburg. Another tavern in the West was located on this road ten miles
west of Uniontown. As the old century neared its close a score of
taverns sprang up on the road from Uniontown to Brownsville and on the
road from Brownsville to Wheeling. At least three old taverns are still
remembered at West Brownsville. Hill's stone tavern was erected at
Hillsboro in 1794. "Catfish Camp," James Wilson's tavern at Washington,
the first tavern in that historic town, was built in 1781 and operated
eleven years for the benefit of the growing tide of pioneers who chose
to embark on the Ohio at Wheeling rather than on the Monongahela at
Brownsville. Other taverns at Washington before 1800 were McCormack's
(1788), Sign of the White Goose (1791), Buck Tavern (1796), Sign of the
Spread Eagle, and Globe Inn (1797). The Gregg Tavern and the famous old
Workman House at Uniontown were both erected in the last years of the
old century, 1797-1799. Two miles west of Rankintown, Smith's Stone
Tavern stood on the road to Wheeling, and the Sign of the American Eagle
(1796) offered lodging at West Alexander, several years before the old
century closed. West of the Ohio River, on Zane's rough blazed track
through the scattered Ohio settlements toward Kentucky, travelers found,
as has been elsewhere noted, entertainment at Zane's clearings, at the
fords of the Muskingum and Scioto, and at the little settlement at
Cincinnati. Before the quarter of a century elapsed ere the Cumberland
Road crossed the Ohio River, a number of taverns were erected on the
line of the road which was built over the course of Zane's Trace. On
this first wagon-road west of the Ohio River the earliest taverns were
at St. Clairsville and Zanesville. At this latter point the road turned
southwest, following Zane's Trace to Lancaster, Chillicothe, and
Maysville, Kentucky. The first tavern on this road was opened at
Zanesville during the last year of the old century, McIntire's Hotel. In
the winter of the same year, 1799, Green's Tavern was built, in which,
it is recorded, the Fourth of July celebration in the following year was
held. Cordery's Tavern followed, and David Harvey built a tavern in
1800. The first license for a tavern in St. Clairsville was issued to
Jacob Haltz, February 23, 1802. Two other licenses were issued that year
to John Thompson and Bazil Israel. Barnes's Tavern was opened in 1803.
William Gibson, Michael Groves, Sterling Johnson, Andrew Moore, and
Andrew Marshall kept tavern in the first half decade of this century.
As elsewhere noted, there was no earlier road between Zanesville and
Columbus which the Cumberland Road followed. West of Zanesville but one
tavern was opened in the first decade of this century. Griffith Foos's
tavern at Springfield, which was doing business in 1801, prospered until
1814. The other taverns of the West, at Zanesville, Columbus,
Springfield, Richmond (Indiana), and Indianapolis, are of another era
and will be mentioned later.

The first taverns of the West were built mostly of logs, though a few,
as noted, were of stone. They were ordinary wilderness cabins, rendered
professionally hospitable by stress of circumstance. They were more
often of but one or two rooms, where, before the fireplace, guests were
glad to sleep together upon the puncheon floor. The fare afforded was
such as hunters had--game from the surrounding forest and neighboring
streams and the product of the little clearing, potatoes, and the common

At the beginning of the new century a large number of substantial
taverns arose beside the first western roads--even before the Cumberland
Road was under way. The best known of these were built at Washington,
The Sign of the Cross Keys (1801), the McClellan (1802); and at
Uniontown the National and Walker Houses. At Washington arose The Sign
of the Golden Swan (1806), Sign of the Green Tree (1808), Gen. Andrew
Jackson (1813), and Sign of the Indian Queen (1815). These were built in
the age of sawmills and some of them came well down through the century.

It is remarkable how many buildings are to be seen on the Cumberland
Road which tell by their architectural form the story of their fortunes.
Many a tavern, outgrowing the day of small things, was found to be
wholly inadequate to the greater business of the new era. Additions were
made as circumstances demanded, and in some cases the result is very
interesting. The Seaton House in Uniontown was built in sections, as was
the old Fulton House (now Moran House) also of Uniontown. A fine old
stone tavern at Malden, Pennsylvania was erected in 1822 and an addition
made in 1830. A stone slab in the second section bears the date "1830,"
also the word "Liberty," and a rude drawing of a plow and sheaf of
wheat. Though of more recent date, the well-known Four Mile House west
of Columbus, Ohio displays, by a series of additions, the record of its
prosperous days, when the neighboring Camp Chase held its population of
Confederate prisoners.

Among the more important taverns which became the notable hostelries of
the Cumberland Road should be mentioned the Black, American, Mountain
Spring, and Pennsylvania Houses at Cumberland; Plumer Tavern and Six
Mile House west of Cumberland; Franklin and Highland Hall Houses of
Frostburg; Lehman and Shulty Houses at Grantsville; Thistle Tavern at
the eastern foot of Negro Mountain, and Hablitzell's stone tavern at the
summit; The Stoddard House on the summit of Keyser's Ridge; the stone
tavern near the summit of Winding Ridge, and the Wable stand on the
western slope; the Wentling and Hunter Houses at Petersburg; the Temple
of Juno two miles westward; the Endsley House and Camel Tavern at
Smithfield (Big Crossings); a tavern on Mt. Augusta; the Rush, Inks, and
John Rush Houses, Sampey's Tavern at Great Meadows; the Braddock Run
House; Downer Tavern; Snyder's Tavern at eastern foot of Laurel Hill,
and the Summit House at the top; Shipley and Monroe Houses and Norris
Tavern east of Uniontown, and Searight's Tavern six miles west;
Johnson-Hatfield House; the Brashear, Marshall, Clark and Monongahela
Houses at Brownsville; Adam's Tavern; Key's and Greenfield's Taverns at
Beallsville; Gall's House; Hastings and the Upland House at the foot of
Egg Nogg Hill; Ringland's Tavern at Pancake; the Fulton House,
Philadelphia, and Kentucky Inn and Travellers Inn at Washington; Rankin
and Smith Taverns; Caldwell's Tavern; Brown's and Watkin's Taverns at
Claysville; Beck's Tavern at West Alexander; the Stone Tavern at Roney's
Point and the United States Hotel and Monroe House at Wheeling.

West of the Ohio were Rhode's and McMahon's Taverns at Bridgeport;
Hoover's Tavern near St. Clairsville; Chamberlain's Tavern; Christopher
Hoover's Tavern, one mile west of Morristown; Taylor's Tavern; Gleave's
Tavern and Stage Office; Bradshaw's Hotel at Fairview; Drake's Tavern at
Middleton; Sign of the Black Bear at Washington; Carran's, McDonald's,
McKinney's and Wilson's Taverns in Guernsey County and the Ten Mile
House at Norwich, ten miles east of Zanesville. In Zanesville, Robert
Taylor opened a tavern in 1805, and in 1807 moved to the present site of
the Clarendon Hotel, situated on the Cumberland Road and hung out the
Sign of the Orange Tree. Perhaps no tavern in the land can claim the
honor of holding a state legislature within its doors, except the Sign
of the Orange Tree, where, in 1810-12, when Zanesville was the temporary
capital of Ohio, the legislature made its headquarters.[70] The Sign of
the Rising Sun was another Zanesville tavern, opened in 1806, the name
being changed by a later proprietor, without damage to its brilliancy,
perhaps, to the Sign of the Red Lion. The National Hotel was opened in
1818 and became a famous hostelry. Roger's Hotel is mentioned in many
old advertisements for bids for making and repairing the Cumberland
Road. In 1811 William Burnham opened the Sign of the Merino Lamb in a
frame building owned by General Isaac Van Horne. The Sign of the Green
Tree was opened by John S. Dugan in 1817, this being remembered for
entertaining President Monroe, and General Lewis Cass at a later date.
West of Zanesville, on the new route opened straight westward to
Columbus, the famous monumental pile of stone, the Five Mile House long
served its useful purpose beside the road and is one of the most
impressive of its monuments, today. Edward Smith and Usal Headley were
early tavern-keepers at this point. Henry Winegamer built a tavern three
miles west of the Five Mile House. Henry Hursey built and opened the
first tavern at Gratiot. These public houses west of Zanesville were
erected in the year preceding the opening of the Cumberland Road, which
was built through the forest in the year 1831.[71] The stages which
were soon running from Zanesville to Columbus, left the uncompleted,
line of the Cumberland Road at Jacksontown and struck across to Newark
and followed the old road thence to Columbus. The first tavern built in
Columbus was opened in 1813, which, in 1816, bore the sign "The Lion and
the Eagle." After 1817 it was known as "The Globe." The Columbus Inn and
White Horse Tavern were early Columbus hotels; Pike's Tavern was opened
in 1822, and a tavern bearing the sign of the Golden Lamb was opened in
1825. The Neil House was opened in the twenties, a transfer of it to new
owners appearing in local papers in 1832. It was the headquarters of the
Neil, Moore, and Company line of stages and the best known early tavern
in the old coaching days in Ohio. Many forgotten taverns in Columbus can
be found mentioned in old documents and papers, including the famous
American House, Buckeye Hotel, on the present site of the Board of Trade
building, etc. West of Columbus the celebrated Four Mile House, which
has been referred to previously, was erected in the latter half of the
century. In the days of the great mail and stage lines Billy Werden's
Tavern in Springfield was the leading hostelry in western Ohio. At this
point the stages running to Cincinnati, with mail for the Mississippi
Valley, left the Cumberland Road. Across the state line, Neal's and
Clawson's Taverns offered hospitality in the extreme eastern border of
Indiana. At Richmond, Starr Tavern (Tremont Hotel), Nixon's Tavern,
Gilbert's two-story, pebble-coated tavern and Bayle's Sign of the Green
Tree, offered entertainment worthy of the road and its great business,
while Sloan's brick stagehouse accommodated the passenger traffic of the
stage lines. At Indianapolis, the Palmer House, built in 1837, and
Washington Hall, welcomed the public of the two great political faiths,
Democrat and Whig, respectively.

At almost every mile of the road's long length, wagonhouses offered
hospitality to the hundreds engaged in the great freight traffic. Here a
large room with its fireplace could be found before which to lay
blankets on a winter's night. The most successful wagonhouses were
situated at the outskirts of the larger towns, where, at more reasonable
prices and in more congenial surroundings than in a crowded city inn,
the rough sturdy men upon whom the whole West depended for over a
generation for its merchandise, found hospitable entertainment for
themselves and their rugged horses. These houses were usually
unpretentious frame buildings surrounded by a commodious yard, and
generous watering-troughs and barns. A hundred tired horses have been
heard munching their corn in a single wagonhouse yard at the end of a
long day's work.

In both tavern and wagonhouse the fireplace and the bar were always
present, whatever else might be missing. The fireplaces in the first
western taverns were notably generous, as the rigorous winters of the
Alleghenies required. Many of these fireplaces were seven feet in length
and nearly as high, capable of holding, had it been necessary, a
wagonload of wood. With a great fireplace at the end of the room,
lighting up its darkest corners as no candle could, the taverns along
the Cumberland Road where the stages stopped for the night, saw merrier
scenes than any of their modern counterparts witness. And over all their
merry gatherings the flames from the great fires threw a softened light,
in which those who remember them best seem to bask as they tell us of
them. The taverns near some of the larger villages, Wheeling,
Washington, or Uniontown, often entertained for a winter's evening, a
sleighing party from town, to whom the great room and its fireplace were
surrendered for the nonce, where soon lisping footsteps and the soft
swirl of old-fashioned skirts told that the dance was on.

Beside the old fireplace hung two important articles, the flip-iron and
the poker. The poker used in the old road taverns was of a size
commensurate with the fireplace, often being seven or eight feet long.
Each landlord was Keeper-of-the-Poker in his own tavern, and many were
particular that none but themselves should touch the great fire, which
was one of the main features of their hospitality, after the quality of
the food and drink. Eccentric old "Boss" Rush in his famous tavern near
Smithfield (Big Crossings) even kept his poker under lock and key.

The tavern signs so common in New England were known only in the earlier
days of the Cumberland Road as many of the tavern names show. The
majority of the great taverns bore on their signs only the name of their
proprietor, the earliest landlord's name often being used for several
generations. The advancing of the century can be noticed in the origin
of such names as the National House, the United States Hotel, the
American House, etc. The evolution in nomenclature is, plainly, from the
sign or symbol to the landlord's name, then to a fanciful name. Another
sign of later days was the building of verandas. The oldest taverns now
standing are plain ones or the two story buildings rising abruptly from
the pavement and opening directly upon it. Of this type is the
Brownfield House at Uniontown and numerous half-forgotten houses which
were early taverns in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The kitchen of the old inn was an important feature, especially as many
of the taverns were little more than restaurants where stage-passengers
hastily dined. The food provided was of a plain and nourishing
character, including the famous home-cured hams, which Andrew Jackson
preferred, and the buckwheat cakes, which Henry Clay highly extolled. In
this connection it should be said that the women of the old West were
most successful in operating the old-time taverns, and many of the best
"stands" were conducted by them. The provision made in a license to a
woman in early New England, that "she provide a fit man that is godly to
manage the business," was never suggested in the West, where hundreds of
brave women carried on the business of their husbands after their
decease. And their heroism was appreciated and remembered by the gallant
aristocracy of the road.

The old Revolutionary soldiers who, quite generally, became the
landlords of New England, did not keep tavern in the West. But one
Revolutionary veteran was landlord on the Cumberland Road. The road bred
and brought up its own landlords to a large extent. The early landlords
were fit men to rule in the early taverns, and provided from forest and
stream the larger portion of food for the travelers over the first rough
roads. It is said that these objected to the building of the Cumberland
Road, through fear that more accelerated means of locomotion would
eventually cheat them out of the business which then fell to their

But, like the New England landlord, the western tavern-keeper was a
many-sided man. Had the Cumberland Road taverns been located always
within villages, their proprietors might have become what New England
landlords are reputed to have been, town representatives, councilmen,
selectmen, tapsters, and heads of the "Train Band"--in fact, next to the
town clerk in importance. As it was, the western landlord often filled
as important a position on the frontier as his eastern counterpart did
in New England. This was due, in part, to the place which the western
tavern occupied in society. Taverns were, both in the East and in the
West, places of meeting for almost any business. This was particularly
true in the West, where the public house was almost the only available
place for any gathering whatever between the scattered villages. But
while in the East the landlord was most frequently busy with official
duties, the western landlord was mostly engaged in collateral
professions, which rendered him of no less value to his community. The
jovial host at the Cumberland Road tavern often worked a large farm,
upon which his tavern stood. Some of the more prosperous on the eastern
half of the road, owned slaves who carried on the work of the farm and
hotel. He sometimes ran a store in connection with his tavern, and
almost without exception, officiated at his bar, where he "sold strong
waters to relieve the inhabitants." Whiskey, two drinks for a "fippenny
bit," called "fip" for short (value six and a quarter cents) was the
principal "strong water" in demand. It was the pure article, neither
diluted nor adulterated. In the larger towns of course any beverage of
the day was kept at the taverns--sherry toddy, mulled wine, madeira, and

As has been said, the road bred its own landlords. Youths, whose lives
began simultaneously with that of the great road, worked upon its curved
bed in their teens, became teamsters and contractors in middle life, and
spent the autumn of their lives as landlords of its taverns, purchased
with the money earned in working upon it. Several well-known landlords
were prominent contractors, many of whom owned their share of the great
six- and eight-horse teams which hauled freight to the western rivers.

The old taverns were the hearts of the Cumberland Road, and the tavern
life was the best gauge to measure the current of business that ebbed
and flowed. As the great road became superseded by the railways, the
taverns were the first to succumb to the shock. In a very interesting
article, a recent writer on "The Rise of the Tide of Life to New England
Hilltops,"[72] speaks of the early hill life of New England, and the
memorials there left "of the deep and sweeping streams of human
history." The author would have found the Cumberland Road and its
predecessors an interesting western example of the social phenomena with
which he dealt. In New England, as in the Central West, the first
traveled courses were on the summits of the watersheds. These routes of
the brute were the first ways of men. The tide of life has ebbed from
New England hilltops since the beginning. Sufficient is it for the
present subject that the Cumberland Road was the most important "stream
of human history" from Atlantic tide-water to the headwaters of the
streams of the Mississippi. Its old taverns are, after the remnants of
the historic roadbed and ponderous bridges, the most interesting "shells
and fossils" cast up by this stream. This old route, chosen first by the
buffalo and followed by red men and white men, will ever be the course
of travel across the mountains. From this rugged path made by the once
famous Cumberland Road, the tide of life cannot ebb. Here, a thousand
years hence, may course a magnificent boulevard, the American Appian
Way, to the commercial, as well as military, key of the eastern slopes
of the Mississippi Basin at the junction of the Allegheny and
Monongahela Rivers. It is important that each fact of history concerning
this ancient highway be put on lasting record.



It is impossible to leave the study of the Cumberland Road without
gathering up into a single chapter a number of threads which have not
been woven into the preceding record. And first, the very appearance of
the old road as seen by travelers who pass over it today. One cannot go
a single mile over it without becoming deeply impressed with the
evidence of the age and the individuality of the old Cumberland Road.
There is nothing like it in the United States. Leaping the Ohio at
Wheeling, the Cumberland Road throws itself across Ohio and Indiana,
straight as an arrow, like an ancient elevated pathway of the gods,
chopping hills in twain at a blow, traversing the lowlands on high
grades like a railroad bed, vaulting river and stream on massive bridges
of unparalleled size. The farther one travels upon it, the more
impressed one must become, for there is, in the long grades and
stretches and ponderous bridges, that "masterful suggestion of a serious
purpose, speeding you along with a strange uplifting of the heart," of
which Kenneth Grahame speaks; "and even in its shedding off of bank and
hedgerow as it marched straight and full for the open downs, it seems to
declare its contempt for adventitious trappings to catch the
shallow-pated."[73] For long distances, this road "of the sterner sort"
will be, so far as its immediate surface is concerned, what the tender
mercies of the counties through which it passes will allow, but at
certain points, the traveler comes out unexpectedly upon the ancient
roadbed, for in many places the old macadamized bed is still doing noble

Nothing is more striking than the ponderous stone bridges which carry
the roadbed over the waterways. It is doubtful if there are on this
continent such monumental relics of the old stone bridge builders' art.
Not only such massive bridges as those at Big Crossings (Smithfield,
Pennsylvania) and the artistic "S" bridge near Claysville,
Pennsylvania, will attract the traveler's attention, but many of the
less pretentious bridges over brooks and rivulets will, upon
examination, be found to be ponderous pieces of workmanship. A pregnant
suggestion of the change which has come over the land can be read in
certain of these smaller bridges and culverts. When the great road was
built the land was covered with forests and many drains were necessary.
With the passing of the forests many large bridges, formerly of much
importance, are now of a size out of all proportion to the demand for
them, and hundreds of little bridges have fallen into disuse, some of
them being quite above the general level of the surrounding fields. The
ponderous bridge at Big Crossings was finished and dedicated with great
éclat July 4, 1818. Near the eastern end of the three fine arches is the
following inscription: "Kinkead, Beck & Evans, builders, July 4, 1818."


The traveler will notice still the mileposts which mark the great road's
successive steps. Those on the eastern portion of the road are of
iron and were made at the foundries at Connellsville and Brownsville.
Major James Francis had the contract for making and delivering those
between Cumberland and Brownsville. John Snowdan had the contract for
those between Brownsville and Wheeling. They were hauled in six-horse
teams to their sites. Those between Brownsville and Cumberland have
recently been reset and repainted. The milestones west of the Ohio River
are mostly of sandstone, and are fast disappearing under the action of
the weather. Some are quite illegible though the word "Cumberland" at
the top can yet be read on almost all. In central Ohio, through the
Darby woods, or "Darby Cuttings," the mileposts have been greatly
mutilated by vandal woodchoppers, who knocked off large chips with which
to sharpen their axes.

The bed of the Cumberland Road was originally eighty feet in width. In
Ohio at least, property owners have encroached upon the road until, in
some places, ten feet of ground has been included within the fences.
This matter has been brought into notice where franchises for electric
railway lines have been granted. In Franklin County, west of Columbus,
Ohio, there is hardly room for a standard gauge track outside the
roadbed, where once the road occupied forty feet each side of its axis.
When the property owners were addressed with respect to the removal of
their fences, they demanded to be shown quitclaim deeds for the land,
which, it is unnecessary to say, were not forthcoming from the state.
Hundreds of contracts, calling for a width of eighty feet, can be given
as evidence of the original width of the road.[74] In days when it was
considered the most extraordinary good fortune to have the Cumberland
Road pass through one's farm, it was not considered necessary to obtain
quitclaim deeds for the land.

It is difficult to sufficiently emphasize the aristocracy which existed
among the old "pike boys," as those most intimately connected with the
road were called. This was particularly true of the drivers of the mail
and passenger stages, men who were as often noted for their quick wit
and large acquaintance with men as for their dexterous handling of two
hands full of reins. Their social and business position was the envy of
the youth of a nation, whose ambition to emulate them was begotten of
the best sort of hero-worship. Stage-drivers' foibles were their pet
themes, such as the use of peculiar kinds of whips and various modes of
driving. Of the latter there were three styles common to the Cumberland
Road, (1) The flat rein (English style), (2) Top and bottom
(Pennsylvania adaptation), (3) Side rein (Eastern style). The last mode
was in commonest use. Of drivers there were of course all kinds,
slovenly, cruel, careful. Of the best class, John Bunting, Jim Reynolds,
and Billy Armor were best known, after "Red" Bunting, in the east, and
David Gordon and James Burr, on the western division. No one was more
proud of the fine horses which did the work of the great road than the
better class of drivers. As Thackeray said was true in England, the
passing of the era of good roads and the mailstage has sounded the
knell of the rugged race of horses which once did service in the Central

As one scans the old files of newspapers, or reads old-time letters and
memoirs of the age of the Cumberland Road, he is impressed with the
interest taken in the coming and going of the more renowned guests of
the old road. The passage of a president-elect over the Cumberland Road
was a triumphant procession. The stage companies made special stages, or
selected the best of their stock, in which to bear him. The best horses
were fed and groomed for the proud task. The most noted drivers were
appointed to the honorable station of Charioteer-to-the-President. The
thousands of homes along his route were decked in his honor, and
welcoming heralds rode out from the larger towns to escort their noted
guests to celebrations for which preparations had been making for days
in advance. The slow-moving presidential pageant through Ohio and
Pennsylvania was an educational and patriotic ceremony, of not
infrequent occurrence in the old coaching days--a worthy exhibition
which hardly has its counterpart in these days of steam. Jackson, Van
Buren, Monroe, Harrison, Polk, and Tyler passed in triumph over portions
of the great road. The taverns at which they were fêted are remembered
by the fact. Drivers who were chosen for the task of driving their coach
were ever after noted men. But there were other guests than
presidents-elect, though none received with more acclaim. Henry Clay,
the champion of the road, was a great favorite throughout its towns and
hamlets, one of which, Claysville, proudly perpetuates his name. Benton
and Cass, General Lafayette, General Santa Anna, Black Hawk, Jenny Lind,
P. T. Barnum, and John Quincy Adams are all mentioned in the records of
the stirring days of the old road. As has been suggested elsewhere,
politics entered largely into the consideration of the building and
maintenance of the road. Enemies of internal improvement were not
forgotten as they passed along the great road which they voted to
neglect, as even Martin Van Buren once realized when the axle of his
coach was sawed in two, breaking down where the mud was deepest. Many
episodes are remembered, indicating that all the political prejudice and
rancor known elsewhere was especially in evidence on this highway, which
owed its existence and future to the machinations of politicians.

But the greatest blessing of the Cumberland Road was the splendid era of
growth which it did its share toward hastening. Its best friends could
see in its decline and decay only evidences of unhappiest fortune, while
in reality the great road had done its noble work and was to be
superseded by better things which owed to it their coming. Historic
roads there had been, before this great highway of America was built,
but none in all the past had been the means of supplanting themselves by
greater and more efficient means of communication. The far-famed Appian
Way witnessed many triumphal processions of consuls and proconsuls, but
it never was the means of bringing into existence something to take its
place in a new and more progressive era. It helped to create no free
empire at its extremity, and they who traversed it in so much pride and
power would find it today nothing but a ponderous memorial of their
vanity. The Cumberland Road was built by the people and for the people,
and served well its high purpose. It became a highway for the products
of the factories, the fisheries and the commerce of the eastern states.
It made possible that interchange of the courtesies of social life
necessary in a republic of united states. It was one of the great
strands which bound the nation together in early days when there was
much to excite animosity and provoke disunion. It became the pride of
New England as well as of the West which it more immediately benefited;
"The state of which I am a citizen," said Edward Everett at Lexington,
Kentucky, in 1829, "has already paid between one and two thousand
dollars toward the construction and repair of that road; and I doubt not
she is prepared to contribute her proportion toward its extension to the
place of its destination."[75]

Hundreds of ancient but unpretentious monuments of the Cumberland
Road--the hoary milestones which line it--stand to perpetuate its name
in future days. But were they all gathered together--from Indiana and
Ohio and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Maryland--and cemented into a
monstrous pyramid, the pile would not be inappropriate to preserve the
name and fame of a highway which "carried thousands of population and
millions of wealth into the West; and more than any other material
structure in the land, served to harmonize and strengthen, if not save,
the Union."

What of the future? The dawning of the era of country living is in
sight. It is being hastened by the revolution in methods of locomotion.
The bicycle and automobile presage an era of good roads, and of an
unparalleled countryward movement of society. With this era is coming
the revival of inn and tavern life, the rejuvenation of a thousand
ancient highways and all the happy life that was ever known along their
dusty stretches. By its position with reference to the national capital,
and the military and commercial key of the Central West, Pittsburg, and
both of the great cities of Ohio, the Cumberland Road will become,
perhaps, the foremost of the great roadways of America. The bed is
capable of being made substantial at a comparatively small cost, as the
grading is quite perfect. Its course measures the shortest possible
route practicable for a roadway from tidewater to the Mississippi River.
As a trunk line its location cannot be surpassed. Its historic
associations will render the route of increasing interest to the
thousands who, in other days, will travel, in the genuine sense of the
word, over those portions of its length which long ago became hallowed
ground. The "Shades of Death" will again be filled with the echoing horn
which heralded the arrival of the old-time coaches, and Winding Ridge
again be crowded with the traffic of a nation. A hundred Cumberland Road
taverns will be opened, and bustling landlords welcome, as of yore, the
travel-stained visitor. Merry parties will again fill those tavern
halls, now long silent, with their laughter.

And all this will but mark a new and better era than its predecessor, an
era of outdoor living, which must come, and come quickly, if as a nation
we are to retain our present hold on the world's great affairs.




  1. Act of March 29, 1806, authorizes the President to appoint a
  commission of three citizens to lay out a road four rods in width
  "from Cumberland or a point on the northern bank of the river
  Potomac in the State of Maryland, between Cumberland and the place
  where the main road leading from Gwynn's to Winchester, in Virginia,
  crosses the river, ... to strike the river Ohio at the most
  convenient place between a point on its eastern bank, opposite the
  northern boundary of Steubenville and the mouth of Grave creek,
  which empties into the said river a little below Wheeling, in
  Virginia." Provides for obtaining the consent of the states through
  which the road passes, and appropriates for the expense, to be paid
  from the reserve fund under the act of April 30, 1802,      $30,000.00

  2. Act of February 14, 1810, appropriates to be expended under the
  direction of the President in making the road between Cumberland and
  Brownsville, to be paid from fund act of April 30, 1802,    $60,000.00

  3. Act of March 3, 1811, appropriates to be expended under the
  direction of the President in making the road between Cumberland and
  Brownsville, and authorizes the President to permit deviation from a
  line established by the commissioners under the original act as may
  be expedient; _Provided_, that no deviation shall be made from the
  principal points established on said road between Cumberland and
  Brownsville; to be paid from fund act of April 30, 1802     $50,000.00

  4. Act of February 26, 1812, appropriates balance of a former
  appropriation not used, but carried to surplus fund,         $3,786.60

  5. Act of May 6, 1812, appropriates to be expended under direction
  of the President, for making the road from Cumberland to
  Brownsville, to be paid from fund act of April 30, 1802     $30,000.00

  6. Act of March 3, 1813 (General Appropriation Bill), appropriates
  for making the road from Cumberland to the state of Ohio, to be
  paid from fund act of April 30, 1802                       $140,000.00

  7. Act of February 14, 1815, appropriates to be expended under
  the direction of the President, for making the road between
  Cumberland and Brownsville, to be paid from fund act of April 30,
  1802,                                                      $100,000.00

  8. Act of April 16, 1816 (General Appropriation Bill), appropriates
  for making the road from Cumberland to the state of Ohio, to be paid
  from the fund act April 30, 1802                           $300,000.00

  9. Act of April 14, 1818, appropriates to meet claims due and
  unpaid                                                      $52,984.60

  Demands under existing contracts                           $260,000.00

  (From money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.)

  10. Act of March 3, 1819, appropriates for existing claims and
  contracts                                                  $250,000.00

  Completing road                                            $285,000.00

  (To be paid from reserved funds, acts admitting Ohio, Indiana, and

  11. Act of May 15, 1820, appropriates for laying out the road
  between Wheeling, Virginia, and a point on the left bank of the
  Mississippi River, between St. Louis and the mouth of the Illinois
  River, road to be eighty feet wide and on a straight line, and
  authorizes the President to appoint commissioners. To be paid out
  of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated     $10,000.00

  12. Act of April 11, 1820, appropriates for completing contract for
  road from Washington, Pennsylvania, to Wheeling, out of any money in
  the treasury not otherwise appropriated                    $141,000.00

  13. Act of February 28, 1823, appropriates for repairs between
  Cumberland and Wheeling, and authorizes the President to appoint a
  superintendent at a compensation of three dollars per day. To be
  paid out of any money not otherwise appropriated            $25,000.00

  14. Act of March 3, 1825, appropriates for opening and making a road
  from the town of Canton, in the state of Ohio, opposite Wheeling, to
  Zanesville, and for the completion of the surveys of the road,
  directed to be made by the act of May 15, 1820, and orders its
  extension to the permanent seat of government of Missouri, and to
  pass by the seats of government of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, said
  road to commence at Zanesville, Ohio; also authorizes the
  appointment of a superintendent by the President, at a salary of
  fifteen hundred dollars per annum, who shall make all contracts,
  receive and disburse all moneys, etc.; also authorizes the
  appointment of one commissioner, who shall have power according to
  provisions of the act of May 15, 1820; ten thousand dollars of the
  money appropriated by this act is to be expended in completing the
  survey mentioned. The whole sum appropriated to be advanced from
  moneys not otherwise appropriated, and replaced from reserve
  fund provided in acts admitting Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and
  Missouri                                                   $150,000.00

  15. Act of March 14, 1826 (General Appropriation Bill), appropriates
  for balance due to the superintendent, $3,000; assistant
  superintendent, $158.90; contractor, $252.13                 $3,411.03

  16. Act of March 25, 1826 (Military Service), appropriates for the
  continuation of the Cumberland Road during the year 1825   $110,749.00

  17. Act of March 2, 1827 (Military Service), appropriates for
  construction of road from Canton to Zanesville, and continuing and
  completing the survey from Zanesville to the seat of government of
  Missouri, to be paid from reserve fund, provided in acts admitting
  Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri                      $170,000.00

  For balance due superintendent, from moneys not otherwise
  appropriated,                                                  $510.00

  18. Act of March 2, 1827, appropriates for repairs between
  Cumberland and Wheeling, and authorizes the appointment of a
  superintendent of repairs, at a compensation to be fixed by the
  President. To be paid from moneys not otherwise appropriated.
  The language of this act is: "For repairing the public road
  from Cumberland to Wheeling"                                $30,000.00

  19. Act of May 19, 1828, appropriates for the completion of the road
  to Zanesville, Ohio, to be paid from fund provided in acts admitting
  Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri                      $175,000.00

  20. Act of March 2, 1829, appropriates for opening road westwardly,
  from Zanesville, Ohio, to be paid from fund provided in acts
  admitting Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri            $100,000.00

  21. Act of March 2, 1829, appropriates for opening road eighty feet
  wide in Indiana, east and west from Indianapolis, and to appoint two
  superintendents, at eight hundred dollars each per annum, to be paid
  from fund provided in acts admitting Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and
  Missouri,                                                   $51,600.00

  22. Act of March 3, 1829, appropriates for repairing bridges, etc.,
  on road east of Wheeling                                   $100,000.00

  23. Act of May 31, 1830 (Internal Improvements), appropriates for
  opening and grading road west of Zanesville, Ohio, $100,000; for
  opening and grading road in Indiana, $60,000; commencing at
  Indianapolis, and progressing with the work to the eastern and
  western boundaries of said state; for opening, grading, etc., in
  Illinois, $40,000, to be paid from reserve fund provided in acts
  admitting Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri; for claims due
  and remaining unpaid on account of road east of Wheeling,
  $15,000; to be paid from moneys in the treasury not otherwise
  appropriated                                               $215,000.00

  24. Act of March 2, 1831, appropriates $100,000 for opening,
  grading, and so forth, west of Zanesville, Ohio; $950 for repairs
  during the year 1830; $2,700 for work heretofore done east of
  Zanesville; $265.85 for arrearages for the survey from Zanesville to
  the capital of Missouri; and $75,000 for opening, grading, and so
  forth, in the state of Indiana, including bridge over White River,
  near Indianapolis, and progressing to eastern and western
  boundaries; $66,000 for opening, grading and bridging in Illinois;
  to be paid from the fund provided in acts admitting Ohio, Indiana,
  Illinois, and Missouri                                     $244,915.85

  25. Act of July 3, 1832, appropriates $150,000 for repairs east of
  the Ohio River; $100,000 for continuing the road west of Zanesville;
  $100,000 for continuing the road in Indiana, including bridge over
  east and west branch of White River; $70,000 for continuing road in
  Illinois; to be paid from the fund provided in acts admitting Ohio,
  Indiana, and Illinois                                      $420,000.00

  26. Act of March 2, 1833, appropriates to carry on certain
  improvements east of the Ohio River, $125,000; in Ohio, west of
  Zanesville, $130,000; in Indiana, $100,000; in Illinois, $70,000;
  and in Virginia, $34,440                                   $459,440.00

  27. Act of June 24, 1834, appropriates $200,000 for continuing the
  road in Ohio; $150,000 for continuing the road in Indiana; $100,000
  for continuing the road in Illinois, and $300,000 for the entire
  completion of repairs east of Ohio, to meet provisions of the acts
  of Pennsylvania (April 4, 1831), Maryland (Jan. 23, 1832), and
  Virginia (Feb. 7, 1832), accepting the road surrendered to the
  states, the United States not thereafter to be subject to any
  expense for repairs. Places engineer officer of army in control of
  road through Indiana and Illinois, and in charge of all
  appropriations; $300,000 to be paid out of any money in the Treasury
  not otherwise appropriated, balance from that provided in acts
  admitting Ohio, Indiana and Illinois,                      $750,000.00

  28. Act of June 27, 1837 (General Appropriation), for arrearages due
  to the contractors                                           $1,609.36

  29. Act of March 3, 1835, appropriates $200,000 for continuing the
  road in the state of Ohio; $100,000 for continuing road in the
  state of Indiana; to be out of fund provided in acts admitting Ohio,
  Indiana and Illinois, and $346,186.58 for the entire completion of
  repairs in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; but before any part
  of this sum can be expended east of the Ohio River, the road shall
  be surrendered to and accepted by the states through which it
  passes, and the United States shall not thereafter be subject to any
  expense in relation to said road. Out of any money in the Treasury
  not otherwise appropriated                                 $646,186.58

  30. Act of March 3, 1835 (Repair of Roads), appropriates to pay for
  work heretofore done by Isaiah Frost on the Cumberland Road, $320;
  to pay late superintendent of road a salary, $862.87         $1,182.87

  31. Act of July 2, 1836, appropriates for continuing the road in
  Ohio, $200,000; for continuing road in Indiana, $250,000, including
  materials for a bridge over the Wabash River; $150,000 for
  continuing the road in Illinois, provided that the appropriation for
  Illinois shall be limited to grading and bridging, and shall not be
  construed as pledging Congress to future appropriations for the
  purpose of macadamizing the road, and the moneys herein appropriated
  for said road in Ohio and Indiana must be expended in completing the
  greatest possible continuous portion of said road in said states so
  that said finished part thereof may be surrendered to the states
  respectively; to be paid from fund provided in acts admitting Ohio,
  Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri                            $600,000.00

  32. Act of March 3, 1837, appropriates $190,000 for continuing the
  road in Ohio; $100,000 for continuing the road in Indiana; $100,000
  for continuing the road in Illinois, provided the road in Illinois
  shall not be stoned or graveled, unless it can be done at a cost not
  greater than the average cost of stoning and graveling the road in
  Ohio and Indiana, and provided that in all cases where it can be
  done the work to be laid off in sections and let to the lowest
  substantial bidder. Sec. 2 of the act provides that Sec. 2 of act of
  July 2, 1836, shall not be applicable to expenditures hereafter made
  on the road, and $7,183.63 is appropriated by this act for repairs
  east of the Ohio River; to be paid from fund provided in acts
  admitting Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois                      $397,183.63

  33. Act of May 25, 1838, appropriates for continuing the road in
  Ohio, $150,000; for continuing it in Indiana, including bridges,
  $150,000; for continuing it in Illinois, $9,000; for the completion
  of a bridge over Dunlap's Creek at Brownsville; to be paid from
  moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated and subject to
  provisions and conditions of act of March 3, 1837          $459,000.00

  34. Act of June 17, 1844 (Civil and Diplomatic), appropriates for
  arrearages on account of survey to Jefferson, Missouri       $1,359.81

  Total                                                    $6,824,919.33



Sealed proposals will be received at Toll-gate No. 4, until the 6th day
of March next, for repairing that part of the road lying between the
beginning of the 23rd and end of the 42nd mile, and if suitable bids are
obtained, and not otherwise, contracts will be made at Bradshaw's hotel
in Fairview, on the 8th. Those who desire contracts are expected to
attend in person, in order to sign their bonds. On this part of the road
three hundred rods or upwards (82-1/2 cubic feet each) will be required
on each mile, of the best quality of limestone, broken evenly into
blocks not exceeding four ounces in weight, each; and specimens of the
material proposed, must be furnished, in quantity not less than six
cubic inches, broken and neatly put up in a box, and accompanying each
bid; which will be returned and taken as the standard, both as regards
the quality of the material and the preparation of it at the time of
measurement and inspection.

The following conditions will be mutually understood as entering into,
and forming a part of the contract, namely: The 23, 24 and 25 miles to
be ready for measurement and inspection on the 25th of July; the 26, 27
and 28 miles on the 1st of August; the 29, 30 and 31 miles on the 15th
of August; the 32, 33 and 34 miles on the 1st of September; the 35, 36,
37 miles on the 15th of September; the 38, 39 and 40 miles on the 1st of
October; and the 41 and 42 miles, if let, will be examined at the same

Any failure to be ready for inspection at the time above specified, will
incur a penalty of five per cent. for every two days' delay, until the
whole penalty shall amount to 25 per cent. on the contract paid. All the
piles must be neatly put up for measurement and no pile will be measured
on this part of the work containing less than five rods. Whenever a pile
is placed upon deceptive ground, whether discovered at the time of
measurement or afterward, half its contents shall in every case be
forfeited for the use of the road.

Proposals will also be received at the American Hotel in Columbus, on
the 15th of March for hauling broken materials from the penitentiary
east of Columbus. Bids are solicited on the 1, 2 and 3 miles counting
from a point near the Toll-gate towards the city. Bids will also be
received at the same time and place, for collecting and breaking all the
old stone that lies along the roadside, between Columbus and
Kirkersville, neatly put in piles of not less than two rods, and placed
on the outside of the ditches.



Proposals will also be received in Zanesville on Monday, the 1st day of
May next, at Roger's Tavern, for rebuilding the Bridge over Salt Creek,
nine miles east of Zanesville. The structure will be of wood, except
some stone work to repair the abutments. A plan of the Bridge, together
with a bill for the timber, &c., can be seen at the place of letting
after the 24th inst. Conditions with regard to proposals the same as

At the same time and place, proposals will likewise be received, for
building three or four Toll-gates and Gate Houses between Hebron, east
of Columbus, and Jefferson, west of it. The house of frame with stone
foundations, and about 13 by 24 feet, one story high, and completely
finished. Bills of timber, stone, &c., will be furnished, and
particulars made known, by calling on the undersigned, at Rodger's
Tavern, in Zanesville after the 24th inst. In making bids, conditions
the same as above.

All letters must be post-paid, or no attention shall be given to them.

                                    THOMAS M. DRAKE, _Superintendent_.

P. S.--Proposals will also be received at Columbus, on Monday, the 17th
of April, for repairing the National Road between Kirkersville and
Columbus--by William B. Vanhook, superintendent.

  April 12.
                                        WILLIAM WALL, _A. C. B. P. W._



Tavern Stand for Sale or Rent.--A valuable Tavern Stand Sign of the
Harp, consisting of 25-1/2 acres of choice land partly improved, and a
dwelling house, together with three front lots. This eligible and
healthy situation lies 8 miles east of Columbus City, the capital of
Ohio, on the National Road leading to Zanesville, at Big Walnut Bridge.
The stand is well supplied with several elegant springs.

It is unnecessary to comment on the numerous advantages of this
interesting site. The thoroughfare is great, and the growing prospects
beyond calculation. For particulars inquire of

                                               T. ARMSTRONG, Hibernia.
  Dec. 4-14.


[1] _United States Statutes at Large_, vol. ii, p. 173.

[2] _Senate Reports_, 9th Cong., 1st Sess., Rep. No. 195.

[3] Keyser's Ridge.

[4] The dates on which the three states gave their permission were:
Pennsylvania, April 9, 1807; Maryland, 1806; Ohio, 1824.

[5] Richardson (editor): _Messages and Papers of the Presidents_, vol.
ii, p. 142.

[6] Harriet Martineau's _Society in America_, vol. ii, pp. 31-35.

[7] See Appropriation No. 27, in Appendix A.

[8] For specimen advertisement for repairs see Appendix B.

[9] The early official correspondence concerning the route of the road
shows plainly that it was really built for the benefit of the
Chillicothe and Cincinnati settlements, which embraced a large portion
of Ohio's population. The opening of river traffic in the first two
decades of the century, however, had the effect of throwing the line of
the road further northward through the capitals of Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois. Zane's Trace, diverging from the Cumberland Road at
Zanesville, played an important part in the development of southwestern
Ohio, becoming the course of the Lancaster and Maysville Pike. See
_Historic Highways of America_, vol. xi.

[10] See Appropriation No. 14, in Appendix A.

[11] See Appropriations Nos. 20 and 21, in Appendix A.

[12] _Private Laws of the United States_, May 17, 1796.

[13] _Springfield Pioneer_, August 1837; also _Ohio State Journal_,
August 8, 1837.

[14] Harriet Martineau's _Society in America_, vol. i, p. 17.

[15] Wabash-Erie, Whitewater, and Indiana Central Canals and the Madison
and Indianapolis Railway. Cf. Atwater's _Tour_, p. 31.

[16] _Illinois in '37_, pp. 766-767. This was probably passenger and
freight traffic as the mails went overland from the very first, until
the building of railways.

[17] _Ohio State Journal_, January 8, 1836.

[18] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 500.

[19] See Appropriation No. 27, in Appendix A.

[20] _Laws of Ohio_, XXIX, p. 76. For specimen advertisement for bids
for erection of tollgates in Ohio see Appendix D.

[21] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 419.

[22] _Id._, p. 523.

[23] _Id._, p. 477.

[24] _Laws of Ohio_, XXXIV, p. 41; XXV, p. 7.

[25] _Id._, XXIII, p. 447.

[26] _Id._, XLIII, p. 89.

[27] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 477.

[28] _Laws of Ohio_, XLIII, p. 140.

[29] _Id._, LVIII, p. 140.

[30] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 500.

[31] _Laws of Ohio_, XXVI, p. 41.

[32] _Id._

[33] Concerning the celerity of opening the road after the completion of
contracts, Captain Weaver, Superintendent in Ohio, made the following
statement in his report of 1827:

"Upon the first, second and third divisions, with a cover of metal of
six inches in thickness, composed of stone reduced to particles of not
more than four ounces in weight, the travel was admitted in the month of
June last. Those divisions that lie eastward of the village of Fairview
together embrace a distance of very nearly twenty-eight and a half
miles, and were put under contract on the first of July, and first and
thirty-first of August, 1825. This portion of the road has been, in
pursuance of contracts made last fall and spring, covered with the third
stratum of metal of three inches in thickness, and similarly reduced. On
parts of this distance, say about five miles made up of detached pieces,
the travel was admitted at the commencement of the last winter and has
continued on to this time to render it compact and solid; it is very
firm, elastic and smooth. The effect has been to dissipate the
prejudices which existed very generally, in the minds of the citizens,
against the McAdam system, and to establish full confidence over the
former plan of constructing roads.

"On the first day of July, the travel was admitted upon the fourth and
fifth divisions, and upon the second, third, fourth, and fifth sections
of the sixth division of the road, in its graduated state. This part of
the line was put under contract on the eleventh day of September, 1826,
terminating at a point three miles west of Cambridge, and embraces a
distance of twenty-three and a half miles. On the twenty-first of July
the balance of the line to Zanesville, comprising a distance of a little
over twenty-one miles, was let."

[34] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 419.

[35] _Laws of Ohio_, XXVI, p. 41; _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p.

[36] _Id._, XXVI, p. 41.

[37] Tolls for 1845 were based on number of horses, each additional
horse being taxed about .20. Tolls for 1900 (in Franklin County) were
practically identical with tolls of 1845.

[38] _Laws of Ohio_, XXX, p. 321.

[39] _Id._, XXX, p. 8.

[40] _Id._, XXXIV, p. 111.

[41] _Id._, XLIII, p. 89.

[42] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), pp. 534, 164, 430-431.

[43] _Laws of Ohio_, XXXV, p. 7.

[44] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (pamphlet), p. 353.

[45] _Laws of Ohio_, XXX, p. 8.

[46] _Id._, XXIX, p. 76.

[47] _Id._, XXX, p. 8.

[48] _Id._, XXX, p. 7.

[49] _Id_., XXXII, p. 265; XXX, p. 7.

[50] Searight's _The Old Pike_, p. 298.

[51] _Id._, pp. 362-366.

[52] _Id._, pp. 367-370.

[53] _Laws of Ohio_, LII, p. 126.

[54] _Id._, LVI, p. 159.

[55] _Id._, LXX, p. 194.

[56] _Id._, LXXIII, p. 105.

[57] _Laws of Ohio_, LXXIV, p. 62.

[58] _Report of the Superintendent of the National Road, with Abstract
of Tolls for the fiscal year_ (1837).

[59] _Laws of Ohio_, XXX, p. 8.

[60] Thackeray's _The Newcomes_, vol. i, ch. x.

[61] In one instance a struggle between two stagecoach lines in Indiana
resulted in carrying passengers from Richmond to Cincinnati for fifty
cents. The regular price was five dollars.

[62] An old Ohio National Stage driver, Mr. Samuel B. Baker of
Kirkersville, Ohio, is authority for the statement that the Ohio
National Stage Company put a line of stages on the Wooster-Wheeling mail
and freight route and "ran out" the line which had been doing all the
business previously, after an eight months' bitter contest.

[63] The following appeared in the _Ohio State Journal_ of August 12,
1837: "A SPLENDID COACH--We have looked at a Coach now finishing off in
the shop of Messrs. Evans & Pinney of this city, for the Ohio Stage
Company, and intended we believe for the inspection of the Post-Master
General, who sometime since offered premiums for models of the most
approved construction, which is certainly one of the most perfect and
splendid specimens of workmanship in this line that we have ever beheld,
and would be a credit to any Coach Manufactory in the United States. It
is aimed, in its construction, to secure the mail in the safest manner
possible, under lock and key, and to accommodate three outside
passengers under a comfortable and complete protection from the weather.
It is worth going to see."

[64] Before the era of the Cumberland Road the price for hauling the
goods of emigrants over Braddock's Road was very high. One emigrant paid
$5.33 per hundred for hauling "women and goods" from Alexandria,
Virginia, to the Monongahela. Six dollars per hundredweight was charged
one emigrant from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Terre Haute, Indiana.

[65] _Ohio State Journal_, February 9, 1838. "The land mail between this
and Detroit crawls with snails pace."--_Cleveland Gazette_, August 31,
1837. Cf. _Historic Highways of America_, vol. i., p. 29.

[66] The northern and southern Ohio mails connected with the Great
Eastern and Great Western mails at Columbus. They were operated as

NORTHERN MAIL: Left Sandusky City 4 A. M., reached Delaware 8 P. M. Left
Delaware next day 3 A. M., reached Columbus 8 A. M. Left Columbus 8:30
A. M., reached Chillicothe 4 P. M. Left Chillicothe next day 4 A. M.,
reached Portsmouth 3 P. M.

SOUTHERN MAIL: Left Portsmouth 9 A. M., Chillicothe 5 P. M., Columbus 1
P. M., day following. Delaware 7 P. M., Sandusky City 7 P. M. day
following. A Cleveland mail left Cleveland daily for Columbus via
Wooster and Mt. Vernon at 3 A. M. and reached Columbus on the day
following at 5 P. M., returning the mail left Columbus at 4 A. M. and
reached Cleveland at 5 P. M. on the ensuing day.

[67] "The extreme irregularity which has attended the transmission of
newspapers from one place to another for several months past has been a
subject of general complaint with the editors of all parties. It was to
have been expected that, after the adjournment of Congress, the evil
would have ceased to exist. Such, however, is not the case. Although the
roads are now pretty good, and the mails arrive in due season, our
eastern exchange papers seem to reach us only by chance. On Tuesday
last, for instance, we received, among others, the following, viz., _The
New York Courier_ and _Enquirer_ of March 1, 5 and 19; the _Philadelphia
Times_ and _Saturday Evening Post_ of March 2; the _United States
Gazette_ of March 6; and the _New Jersey Journal_ of March 5 and 19. The
cause of this irregularity, we have reason to believe, does not
originate in this state."--_Ohio State Journal_, March 30, 1833.

[68] _Ohio State Journal_, August 9, 1837

[69] It may be found upon investigation that the portions of our country
most noted for hospitality are those where taverns gained the least hold
as a social institution. Cf. Allen's _The Blue Grass Region of
Kentucky_, p. 38.

[70] The Virginian House of Burgesses met in the old Raleigh Tavern at
Williamsburg, in 1773. (Woodrow Wilson's _George Washington_, p. 146.)

[71] For advertisement of sale of a Cumberland Road tavern see Appendix

[72] Mr. Edward P. Pressey in _New England Magazine_, vol. xxii, no. 6
(August, 1900).

[73] Grahame's _The Golden Age_, p. 155.

[74] "The proper limits of the road are hereby defined to be a space of
eighty feet in width--forty feet on each side of the center of the
graded road-bed."--Law passed April 18, 1870, _Laws of Ohio_, LVIII, p.

[75] Everett's _Speeches and Orations_, vol. i, p. 202.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected.

3. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the main text body.

4. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break.

5. Certain words use an oe ligature in the original.

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