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Title: Narrative of a Journey Down the Ohio and Mississippi in 1789-90
Author: Forman, Samuel S.
Language: English
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                  OF A
               IN 1789-90.



             LYMAN C. DRAPER

           ROBERT CLARKE & CO.



I acknowledge my indebtedness to a friend of the Forman family for
calling my attention to the interesting narrative of Major Samuel S.
Forman's early journey down the Ohio and Mississippi, and for aiding
me in securing a copy for publication. The manuscript of this
monograph, as now presented, has been submitted to friends and kindred
of Major Forman, who knew him long and well, and they have accorded it
their warm approval.

With their kind approbation, I feel encouraged to offer this little
contribution to western historical literature to an enlightened

                                                    L. C. D.
    Madison, Wis.


Every addition to our stock of information touching early western
history and adventure, and of the pioneer customs and habits of a
hundred years ago, deserves a kindly reception. The following
narrative of a journey down the Ohio and Mississippi, in 1789-90, was
not reduced to writing till 1849, after a lapse of sixty years; but an
unusually fine memory enabled Major Forman to relate such incidents of
his trip as left a lasting impression upon him, alike with interest
and general accuracy. A sketch of the writer will give us a better
insight into his trustworthiness and character.

Major Forman, the third son of Samuel and Helena Denise Forman, was
born at Middletown Point, Monmouth county, New Jersey, July 21, 1765.
He was too young to participate in the Revolutionary war, during the
stirring period of 1776 to 1780, in New Jersey; but his elder
brothers, Jonathan and Denise, were prominent and active throughout
the great struggle. Major Forman has recorded some incidents of the
war that occurred in his region of New Jersey, and within his own
knowledge, worthy of preservation as interesting scraps of
Revolutionary history. At one time, a cousin of his, Tunis Forman,
about seventeen years of age, met two Tory robbers, and after one had
fired at him and missed, he, getting the advantage of them in the
adjustment of his gun, forced them to throw down their weapons, when
he marched them several miles before him, and lodged them in jail at
Freehold. For this brave act, young Forman received a large reward.[1]

    [1] This incident, occurring in May, 1780, is related in Barber
    and Howe's _New Jersey Historical Collection_, 345-6.

During the period while Major Henry Lee and his famous Light Dragoons
were serving in New Jersey, intelligence came of the marauding
operations of a band of Tory robbers, located in the extensive pine
woods toward Barnegat, in Monmouth county, whose head-quarters were at
a secret cave in that region. Lee dispatched a select party of
fearless men, who approached the dangerous region in a farmer's wagon,
concealed under a covering of straw. Fagans, the robber leader, with
some followers, stopped the wagon to plunder it, when the concealed
dragoons immediately put a ball through Fagans's head, and with his
fall his associates fled. Fagans's body was conveyed to Barkalow's
woods, the usual place of execution for such culprits, and there
exposed on a gibbet till the flesh dropped from the bones.

Mr. Forman mentions that his father, Samuel Forman, did not escape a
visit from the Tories and British. At one time, they made a descent
upon the village of Middletown Point. There was a mill at this place,
which was well known and much resorted to for a great distance; and
some of these Tory invaders had been employed in the erection of this
mill, and were personally well known to the citizens, and it would
appear that their object was, at least, to capture Samuel Forman, if
not to kill him. They plundered the houses of the settlement,
destroying what they could not carry off, boasting that they had aided
in building the mill, and now assisted in kindling the fire in the
bolting box to burn it down. They had surprised the guard placed for
the protection of the place, killing several of their number, who had
been their schoolmates in former years. Samuel Forman eluded their
vigilance, but lost heavily by this invasion, for he owned almost all
of one side of Middletown Point, and part of both sides of Main
street. He never applied to Congress for any remuneration for his
losses. He died in 1792, in his seventy-eighth year. In this foray,
the enemy burned two store-houses of Mr. John H. Burrows, robbed his
house, and took him prisoner to New York. After several months, he was
exchanged, and returned home.

My brother, Denise Forman, entered the service when he was about
sixteen years old. He was in the battle of Germantown--in which
engagement eighteen of the Forman connection took part--where the
Americans were badly used, on account of the British having some light
artillery in a large stone house. Our army had to retreat; when that
took place, Lieutenant Schenck, under whom brother Denise served, took
Denise's gun, and told him to take fast hold of his coat, and cling to
it during the retreat. General David Forman conducted himself so well,
that General Washington tendered his aid in securing a command in the
Continental army; but General Forman declined the offer, as he
believed he could be more serviceable to remain with the militia in
Monmouth county, New Jersey, as they were continually harassed there
by the enemy from Staten Island and New York.

After this, Denise Forman engaged under a Captain Tyler, who had
charge of a few gun-boats that coasted along the Jersey shore, to
annoy and oppose the enemy. When the British fleet lay at anchor near
Sandy Hook, Captain Tyler went, in the night, and surprised a large
sloop at anchor among the men-of-war. Tyler's party boarded the sloop,
secured the sailors, weighed anchor, and got her out from the fleet,
and took her up Middletown creek, all without any fighting. The whole
enterprise was conducted with so much judgment, that the sailor
prisoners dared not speak or give the least sign of alarm. "When we
first touched the sloop," said Denise Forman, "I felt for a moment a
little streaked, but it was soon over, and then we worked fearlessly
to get the vessel under weigh, without alarming the fleet." These
gun-boats were all propelled by muffled oars, that dipped in and out
of the water so as to make no noise; nor did any of the men speak
above their breath. On the gunwale of the boat, a strip of heavy
canvas was nailed, the inner edge having been left unfastened, under
which were concealed their swords, guns, and other implements for use
in a combat, and so placed that each man could, at an instant's
notice, lay his hand upon his own weapon. Even in port, the men
belonging to Tyler's party were not allowed to talk or speak to other
people, as a matter of precaution; and the captain always spoke in an
undertone, and if a man laid down an oar, it was always done as
noiselessly as possible.

At one time, fifteen hundred British and Tories landed on Middletown
shore, and marched from six to ten miles back into the country. A
beacon, placed on a conspicuous hill, was fired for the purpose of
giving an alarm; and soon the militia of the country, understanding
the notice, gathered, and opposed the enemy. In Pleasant Valley they
checked their advance. Uncle John Schenck and brother Denise so
closely cornered a British or Tory officer of this party in a
barn-yard, that he jumped from his horse, took to his heels and
escaped, leaving his horse behind him.

Major Burrows[2] happened to be at home at that time, on a visit to
his family. Some of the Americans dressed themselves in British red
coats, which had been captured. The Rev. Mr. DuBois, who, like a good
patriot, had turned out on this occasion, with his fowling-piece,
when Major Burrows rode near by, eked out in British uniform; Mr.
DuBois spoke to Captain Schenck, his brother-in-law, "Look, there is a
good shot," and, suiting the action to the word, took deliberate aim.
Captain Schenck, better understanding the situation, quickly knocked
up the clergyman's gun, with the explanation--"Don't shoot; that's
Major Burrows." Mr. DuBois supposed he was aiming at a British
officer, within point blank shot, who was endeavoring to rejoin his

    [2] Major John Burrows was first a captain in Colonel David
    Forman's regiment. Forman had the nick-name of "Black David,"
    to distinguish him from a relative of the same name, and he was
    always a terror to the Tories; and Captain Burrows, from his
    efficiency against these marauders, was called by those enemies
    of the country, "Black David's Devil." January 1, 1777, Captain
    Burrows was made a captain in Spencer's regiment on Continental
    establishment; and, January 22, 1779, he was promoted to the
    rank of major, serving in Sullivan's campaign against the hostile
    Six Nations, and remaining in the army till the close of the war.
    Several years after, he went on a journey to the interior of
    Georgia, in an unhealthy season, when he probably sickened and
    died, for he was never heard of afterward.

    Major Burrows left an interesting journal of Sullivan's
    campaign, which appears in the splendid volume on that campaign
    issued by the State of New York, in 1887. The original MS.
    journal is preserved by his grand-daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth
    Breese Stevens, of Sconondoa, Oneida county, New York.

Denise Forman's next move was to enlist with Captain Philip Freneau,
the well-known poet, who sailed from Philadelphia in a letter of
marque, the _Aurora_, against British commerce on the high seas. While
not long out, sailing toward the West Indies, Freneau and his
adventurous vessel were captured by their enemies, sent to New York,
and all incarcerated on board of the _Scorpion_, one of the prison
ships floating in New York harbor and Wallabout Bay, its unhappy
prisoners experiencing almost untold horrors. Captain Freneau, at
least, was subsequently transferred to what he denominated "the
loathesome _Hunter_." These prison ships attained an unenviable
reputation for maltreating and half-starving their hapless and
ill-fated victims, hundreds of whom died in consequence of their
inhuman treatment. This sad experience became the subject of one of
Freneau's subsequent poems, emanating from the depths of his
embittered soul recollections. Brother Denise used to relate to me,
after his return home, that, when on the prison ship, he had to shut
his eyes whenever he ate the sea-biscuit or drank the water assigned
him, so full were they of vermin! Freneau, in his poem, thus alludes
to the fare with which the poor prisoners were treated:

    "See, captain, see! what rotten bones we pick.
    What kills the healthy can not cure the sick.
    Not dogs on _such_ by Christian men are fed;
    And see, good master, see that lousy bread!"

    "Your meat or bread," this man of flint replied,
    "Is not my care to manage or provide;
    But this, damn'd rebel dogs, I'd have you know,
    That better than you merit we bestow.
    Out of my sight!" No more he deigned to say,
    But whisk'd about, and, frowning, strode away.

When the survivors were exchanged, after their long imprisonment, they
were so weak and emaciated that they could scarcely walk--perfect
living skeletons; and my brother, after his return home, was confined
to his bed, and for several days nearly all hope of his recovery was
abandoned; but he at length providentially recovered. Denise Forman
received a captain's commission when a war was threatened with France,
in 1798, and when the army was disbanded, he settled on a farm in
Freehold, where he spent the remainder of his days.

About 1790, Captain Freneau married my sister Eleanor. He was a
prominent Anti-Federalist in his day, and edited various Democratic
papers at different places, and was for a time translating clerk in
the State Department. While he was able to translate the French
documents, he found it cost him more than he received to get those in
other foreign languages properly translated, and after a while he
resigned. He had in early life been a college-mate with James Madison,
at Princeton, and has been aptly called the "patriot poet" of the
Revolution, his effusions having been useful to the cause of the
country during its great struggle for independence. He lost his life
in a violent snow-storm, in December, 1832, in his eighty-first year,
near Monmouth, New Jersey.

While attending grammar-school, the latter part of the Revolutionary
war, at Freehold, young Forman records: The hottest part of the battle
of Monmouth was about this spot, where my brother-in-law, Major
Burrows, lived after he left the army, and with whom I and some
fellow-students boarded. Our path to the school-house crossed a grave
where a remarkably tall British officer was buried. We opened the
grave; a few pieces only of blanket, which encompassed the corpse,
remained. One school-mate, Barnes Smock, was a very tall person, but
the thigh bones of this unfortunate officer far outmeasured his. I
believe this was the only engagement when the two opposing armies had
recourse to the bayonet,[3] and this was the place of that charge. The
battle took place on the Sabbath. A British cannon ball went through
Rev. Dr. Woodhull's church. Dr. Woodhull was now one of my teachers.
The two armies lay upon their arms all night after the battle. General
Washington and General La Fayette slept in their cloaks under an
apple-tree in Mr. Henry Perrine's orchard. It was Washington's
intention to have renewed the battle the next day, but the British, in
the course of the night, stole a march as fast as they could for their
fleet at Sandy Hook.

    [3] This is an error. Bayonet charges were resorted to by Morgan
    at the Cowpens, and in other engagements.

In the spring of 1783, when peace was dawning, many of the old
citizens of New York City, who had been exiled from their homes for
some seven years, began to return to their abandoned domiciles, even
before the British evacuation. Among them was Major Benjamin Ledyard,
who had married my oldest sister. In September of that year, at the
instance of my sister Ledyard, I went to New York as a member of her
family. Every day I saw the British soldiers. Indeed, a young
lieutenant boarded a short time in our family, as many families
received the British officers as an act of courtesy.

Even before the British evacuation, the American officers were
permitted to cross over into the city, and frequently came, visiting
the coffee-houses and other places of public resort. Here they would
meet British officers, and some of them evinced a strong inclination
to make disturbance with their late competitors, throwing out hints or
casting reflections well calculated to provoke personal combats. There
was a Captain Stakes, of the American Light Dragoons, a fine, large,
well-built man, who had no fear about him. It was said, when he
entered the coffee-house, that the British officers exercised a
wholesome caution how they treated him, after some of them had made a
feint in testing his powers. But it all happily passed over without

It was finally agreed between General Washington and Sir Guy Carleton
that New York should be evacuated November 25th. In the morning of
that day, the British army paraded in the Bowery. The Americans also
paraded, and marched down till they came very close to each other, so
that the officers of both armies held friendly parleys. The streets
were crowded with people on an occasion so interesting. I hurried by
the redcoats till I reached the Americans, where I knew I would be
safe. So I sauntered about among the officer. Presently, an American
officer seized me by the hand, when, I looking up at him, he said,
encouragingly: "Don't be afraid, Sammy. I know your brother Jonathan.
He is an officer in the same line with me, and my name is Cumming."[4]
He continued to hold me by the hand till orders were given to advance.
He advised me to keep on the sidewalk, as I might get run over in the

    [4] This was John N. Cumming, who rose from a lieutenant to be
    lieutenant-colonel, commanding the Third New Jersey Regiment,
    serving the entire war.

The British steadily marched in the direction of their vessels, while
the Americans advanced down Queen (since Pearl) street; the British
embarking on board their fleet on East river, I believe, near
Whitehall, and the Americans headed directly to Fort George, on the
point where the Battery now is. Stockades were around the fort, and
the large gate was opened. When the British evacuated the fort, they
unreefed the halyards of the tall flag-staff, greased the pole, so
that it was some time before the American flag was hoisted. At length,
a young soldier[5] succeeded in climbing the pole, properly arranged
the halyards, when up ran the striped and star-spangled banner, amid
the deafening shouts of the multitude, that seemed to shake the city.
It is easier to imagine than to describe the rejoicing, and the
brilliancy of the fireworks that evening.

    [5] The editor, while at Saratoga Springs, in 1838, took
    occasion to visit the venerable Anthony Glean, who resided in
    the town of Saratoga, and who was reputed to be the person who
    climbed the greased flag-staff at the evacuation of New York,
    and who himself claimed to have performed that feat. He was then
    a well-to-do farmer, enjoying a pension for his revolutionary
    services, and lived two or three years later, till he had
    reached the age of well-nigh ninety. The newspapers of that
    period often referred to him as the hero of the flag-staff
    exploit, and no one called it in question.

After the evacuation, Mr. Forman witnessed the affectionate and
affecting parting of Washington and his officers, when he entered a
barge at Whitehall wharf, manned by sea captains in white frocks, who
rowed him to the Jersey shore, to take the stage for Philadelphia, on
his way to Congress. Mr. Forman also saw General Washington while
presiding over the convention of 1787, to form a Constitution for the
new Republic. The general was attired in citizen's dress--blue coat,
cocked hat, hair in queue, crossed and powdered. He walked alone to
the State House, the place of meeting, and seemed pressed down in
thought. A few moments before General Washington took his seat on the
rostrum, the venerable Dr. Franklin, one of the Pennsylvania
delegates, was brought in by a posse of men in his sedan, and helped
into the hall, he being severely afflicted with palsy or paralysis at
the time. On the adoption of the Constitution, a great celebration was
held in New York to commemorate the event, which Mr. Forman also
witnessed. A large procession was formed, composed of men of all
avocations in life, and each represented by some insignia of his own
trade or profession, marching through the streets with banners, flags,
and stirring music. A full-rigged vessel, called "The Federal Ship
Hamilton," was drawn in the procession, and located in Bowling Green,
where it remained until it fell to pieces by age.

After spending some years as a clerk in mercantile establishments in
New York City, and once going as supercargo to dispose of a load of
flour to Charleston, he engaged in merchandising at Middletown Point,
New Jersey. Mr. Forman subsequently made the journey down the Ohio and
Mississippi, in 1789-'90, as given in considerable detail in the
narrative which follows. While spending the winter of 1792-'93 in
Philadelphia, he witnessed the inauguration of Washington as
President, at the beginning of his second term of office, and was
within six feet of him when he took the oath of office. "I cast my
eyes over the vast crowd," says Major Forman, "and every eye seemed
riveted on the great chief. On Washington's right sat Chief-Justice
Cushing, and on his left Senator Langdon, of New Hampshire. After
sitting a little while in profound silence, the senator arose, and
asked the President if he was ready to take the oath of office.
General Washington rose up, having a paper in his left hand, when he
made a very short address. Then Judge Cushing stood up, with a large
open Bible before him, facing the President, who laid his hand upon
the sacred volume, and very deliberately and distinctly repeated the
oath of office as pronounced by the chief-justice. When Washington
repeated his own name, as he did at the conclusion of the ceremony, it
made my blood run cold. The whole proceedings were performed with
great solemnity. General Washington was dressed in deep mourning, for,
it was said, a favorite nephew who had lived at Mount Vernon during
the Revolutionary war. He wore his mourning sword. Mrs. Washington was
about the middling stature, and pretty fleshy."

Mr. Forman now entered into the employ of the Holland Land Company,
through their agents, Theophilus Cazenove and John Lincklaen, to found
a settlement in the back part of the State of New York, where that
company had purchased a large body of land. He accordingly headed a
party, in conjunction with Mr. Lincklaen, for this purpose, conveying
a load of merchandise to the point of operations, passing in batteaus
up the Mohawk to old Fort Schuyler, now Utica, beyond which it was
necessary to open up a road for the teams and loads of goods; lodging
in the woods when necessary, living on raw pork and bread, which was
better than the bill of fare at the well-known tavern in that region,
kept by John Dennie, the half Indian--"no bread, no meat;" and one of
Dennie's descendants indignantly resented being referred to as an
Indian--"Me no Indian; only Frenchman and squaw!" At length, May 8,
1793, the party arrived on the beautiful body of water, since known as
Cazenovia Lake, and founded the village of Cazenovia, where Mr. Forman
engaged in felling trees, and erecting the necessary houses in which
to live and do business, and in this rising settlement he engaged in
merchandising for several years. He held many public positions of
honor and trust; was county clerk, secretary for over thirty years of
a turnpike company; served as major in a regiment of militia early
organized at Cazenovia.

The latter years of his life he spent in Syracuse, where he was
greatly respected for his worth, his fine conversational powers, his
social and generous feelings. He lived to the great age of over
ninety-seven years, dying August 16, 1862. His closing years were
embittered over the distracted condition of his country, embroiled in
fratricidal war, and his prayer was that the proud flag which he
witnessed when it was placed over the ramparts of Fort George,
November 25, 1783, might again wave its ample folds over a firmly
united American Confederacy. His patriotic prayer was answered, though
he did not himself live to witness it.


General David Forman,[6] of New Jersey, entered into a negotiation
with the Spanish minister, Don Diego de Gardoque, for his brother,
Ezekiel Forman, of Philadelphia, to emigrate with his family and sixty
odd colored people, and settle in the Natchez country, then under
Spanish authority.

    [6] General Forman was born near Englishtown, Monmouth Co., New
    Jersey. He was, during the Revolutionary war, a terror to the
    tories of his region, and as brigadier-general commanded the
    Jersey troops at the battle of Germantown. No less than eighteen
    of the Forman connection were in his brigade in this engagement.
    He was subsequently a county judge, and member of the council of
    state. He died about 1812.

I agreed with General Forman to accompany the emigrating party; and,
about the last of November, 1789, having closed up my little business
at Middletown Point, New Jersey, I set out from the general's
residence, in Freehold, with Captain Benajah Osmun, an old continental
captain, who was at that time the faithful overseer of the general's
blacks. There were sixty men, women, and children, and they were the
best set of blacks I ever saw together. I knew the most of them, and
all were well-behaved, except two rather ill-tempered fellows. General
Forman purchased some more, who had intermarried with his own, so as
not to separate families. They were all well fed and well clothed.

We had, I believe, four teams of four horses each, and one two-horse
wagon, all covered with tow-cloth, while Captain Osmun and I rode on
horseback. After the distressing scene of taking leave--for the
general's family and blacks were almost all in tears--we sat out upon
our long journey. The first night we camped on the plains near
Cranberry, having accomplished only about twelve or fifteen miles. The
captain and I had a bed put under one of the wagons; the sides of the
wagon had tenter-hooks, and curtains made to hook up to them, with
loops to peg the bottom to the ground. The colored people mostly slept
in their wagons. In the night a heavy rain fell, when the captain and
I fared badly. The ground was level, and the water, unable to run off,
gave us a good soaking. I had on a new pair of handsome buckskin small
clothes; the rain spoiled their beauty, and the wetting and subsequent
shrinkage rendered them very uncomfortable to wear.

The next morning we commenced our journey as early as possible. We
drove to Princeton, where we tarried awhile, and all were made
comfortable. We crossed the Delaware five miles above Trenton. On
arriving at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, the authorities stopped us, as
we somewhat expected they would do. General Forman had furnished me
with all the necessary papers relating to the transportation of slaves
through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While Judge Hubley was examining
the papers, the servant women informed me that the females of the
city came out of their houses and inquired of them whether they could
spin, knit, sew, and do housework, and whether they were willing to go
to the South; so, if the authorities stopped us, they could all soon
have new homes. But our colored women laughed at the Lancaster ladies,
who seemed mortified when they learned that we could not be detained.

In Westmoreland county we had a little trouble with a drunken justice
of the peace and some free blacks. These free blacks, as we learned
from a faithful old colored woman, furnished the two ill-tempered
blacks of our party with old swords and pistols, but nothing serious
grew out of it.

The weather began to grow very cold, the roads bad, and traveling
tedious. We encamped one night in the woods, kindled a fire, and
turned the tails of the wagons all inward, thus forming a circle
around the fire. Another night we came to a vacant cabin without a
floor; we made a large fire, and all who chose took their bedding and
slept in the cabin, some remaining in the wagons. The captain and I
had our beds spread before the fire.

One Saturday evening, we were apprehensive of being obliged to encamp
again in the woods. I went ahead, hoping to find night quarters. I
rode up to a log house and went in; it was growing dark, and I began
to ask the landlord to accommodate us for the night, addressing myself
to a tall, lean man. Before I got through with my inquiry, he caught
me up in his arms, as if I were merely a small child, and exclaimed:
"Mighty souls! if this is not little Sammy Forman," and, hugging and
kissing me, added, "Why, don't you remember Charley Morgan? Yes, you
can have any thing I have, and we will do the best we can for you."
This was somewhere in the Alleghany mountains, and here we remained
till Monday, buying wheat, and sending it to mill, and converting a
fat steer into meat, so that we were well provided for, for awhile.
This Charley Morgan entered the regular service as a corporal in my
brother Jonathan's company, when he was a captain, and raised his
company in the vicinity of Middletown Point, New Jersey. He could ape
the simpleton very well, and was sent as a spy into the British army,
and returned safe with the desired information. I was surprised to
meet him in this far-off mountain region.

Somewhere about Fort Littleton or Fort Loudon, our funds ran out. When
we left General Forman, he told me that Uncle Ezekiel Forman would
leave Philadelphia with his family, and overtake us in time to supply
our wants. But he did not start as soon as he expected, and on his way
in the mountains the top of his carriage got broken by a leaning tree,
which somewhat detained him, so that we arrived at Pittsburg two or
three days before him.

One morning, while in the neighborhood of Fort Littleton or Fort
Loudon, I offered to sell my horse to the landlord where we took
breakfast; he kept a store as well as a tavern, and was wealthy. The
price of the horse I put very low, when the landlord asked why I
offered him so cheap. I informed him that I was out of funds, and had
expected that Ezekiel Forman, who owned the colored people, would have
overtaken us before our means became exhausted. He replied: "I know
your uncle, and I will lend you as much money as you need, and take
your order on him, as he will stop here on his way. Now, step with me
to the store." Pointing to the large piles of silver dollars on the
counter in the store, he said: "Step up and help yourself to as much
as you want, and give me your order." This was an unexpected favor.
When uncle arrived, he satisfied the order.

It had taken us near three weeks to journey from Monmouth to
Pittsburg. After our arrival at this place, our first business was to
find situations for our numerous family, while awaiting the rise of
the Ohio, and to lay in provisions for our long river voyage. Colonel
Turnbull, late of Philadelphia, and an acquaintance of uncle, politely
offered him the use of a vacant house and store-room, exactly such
apartments as were wanted. The colored people were all comfortably
housed also.

The horses and wagons were sold at a great sacrifice--uncle retaining
only his handsome coach horses and carriage, which he took to Natchez
on a tobacco boat, which Captain Osmun commanded, and on board of
which the colored field hands were conveyed. These boats were
flat-bottomed, and boarded over the top, and appeared like floating
houses. Uncle's boat was a seventy feet keel-boat, decked over, with a
cabin for lodging purposes, but too low to stand up erect. The beds
and bedding lay on the floor, and the insides lined with plank to
prevent the Indians from penetrating through with their balls, should
they attack us. We had a large quantity of dry goods, and a few were
opened and bartered in payment for boats and provisions.

On board of the keel-boat, uncle and family found comfortable
quarters. Mr. and Mrs. Forman, Augusta, Margaret, and Frances, aged
about nine, eleven, and thirteen, and David Forman and Miss Betsey
Church, the latter housekeeper and companion for Aunt Forman, an
excellent woman, who had lived in the family several years, and
occasionally took the head of the table. I and five or six others, two
mechanics, and about eight or ten house servants, were also occupants
of this boat.

The family received much polite attention while in Pittsburg. By the
time we got prepared for our departure, the Ohio river rose. We
tarried there about a month. Both boats were armed with rifles,
pistols, etc. It being in Indian war time, all boats descending that
long river, of about eleven hundred miles, were liable to be attacked
every hour by a merciless foe, oftentimes led on by renegade whites.

Uncle fixed on a certain Sabbath, as was the custom in those days, to
embark on ship-board. On that day, the polite and hospitable Colonel
Turnbull, then a widower, gave uncle an elegant dinner, and invited
several gentlemen to grace the occasion with their presence. After
dinner, which was not prolonged, we embarked on board our little
squadron. Colonel Wm. Wyckoff, and his brother-in-law, Kenneth
Scudder, of Monmouth county, New Jersey, accompanied us on our voyage.
The colonel had been, seven years previous to this, an Indian trader,
and was now on his way to Nashville, Tennessee.

Uncle Forman's keel-boat, Captain Osmun's flat-boat, and Colonel
Wyckoff's small keel-boat constituted our little fleet. The day of our
departure was remarkably pleasant. Our number altogether must have
reached very nearly a hundred. The dinner party accompanied us to our
boats, and the wharf was covered with citizens. The river was very
high, and the current rapid. It was on the Monongahela where we

Our keel-boat took the lead. These boats are guided by oars, seldom
used, except the steering oar, or when passing islands, as the current
goes about six or seven miles an hour. As the waters were now high,
the current was perhaps eight or nine miles an hour. Before day-break
next morning we made a narrow escape from destruction, from our
ignorance of river navigation. We had an anchor and cable attached to
our keel-boat. The cable was made fast to small posts over the
forecastle, where were fenders all around the little deck. When it
began to grow dark, the anchor was thrown over, in hopes of holding us
fast till morning, while the other boats were to tie up to trees along
the river bank.

As soon as the anchor fastened itself in the river bottom, the boat
gave a little lurch or side motion, when the cable tore away all the
frame-work around the deck, causing a great alarm. Several little
black children were on deck at the time, and as it had now become
quite dark, it could not be ascertained, in the excitement of the
moment, whether any of them had been thrown into the water.
Fortunately none were missing. During our confusion, Captain Osmun's
boat passed ours, a few minutes after the accident, and we soon passed
him, he hailing us, saying that he was entangled in the top of a large
tree, which had caved into the river, and requested the small row-boat
to assist him. Uncle Forman immediately dispatched the two mechanics,
with the small boat, to his assistance. Osmun got clear of the tree
without injury, and the two mechanics rowed hard, almost all night,
before they overtook him. Mrs. Forman and daughters braved out our
trying situation very firmly.

After we lost our anchor, Uncle Forman took a chair, and seated
himself on the forecastle, like a pilot, and I took the helm. He kept
watch, notifying me when to change the direction of the boat. When he
cried out to me, "port your helm," it was to keep straight in the
middle of the stream; if to bear to the left, he would cry out,
"starboard;" if to the right, "larboard." I was not able to manage the
helm alone, and had a man with me to assist in pulling as directed.
Uncle Forman and I were the only ones of our party who understood
sailor's terms. Ours was a perilous situation till we landed at
Wheeling; it was the most distressing night I ever experienced.

The next morning, all our boats landed at Wheeling, Virginia, rated at
ninety-six miles from Pittsburg. Here we obtained a large steering oar
for the keel-boat, as the strong current kept the rudder from acting,
without the application of great strength. Having adjusted matters, we
set out again. We seldom ventured to land on our journey, for fear of
lurking Indians.

One day, we discovered large flocks of wild turkeys flying about in
the woods on shore. The blacksmith, who was a fine, active young man,
asked Uncle Forman to set him on shore, and give him a chance to kill
some of them. The little boat was manned, and taking his rifle and a
favorite dog, he soon landed. But he had not been long on shore,
before he ran back to the river's bank, and made signs for the boat to
come and take him on board. When safely among his friends, he said
that he came to a large fire, and, from appearances, he supposed a
party of Indians was not far off. He, however, lost his fine dog, for
he dared not call him.

We landed and stopped at Marietta, at the mouth of the Muskingum,
where was a United States garrison. Some of the officers were
acquainted with the family. It was a very agreeable occurrence to meet
with old acquaintances in such a dreary place. The young ladies were
good singers, and entertained the officers awhile with their vocal
music. This night, we felt secure in sleeping away the fatigues of the
journey. Governor St. Clair had his family here. There were a few
other families, also; but all protected by the troops. I believe there
was no other settlement[7] until we arrived at Fort Washington, now
Cincinnati, some three hundred miles below Marietta.

    [7] Mr. Forman forgot to mention Limestone, now Maysville,
    Kentucky, some sixty miles above Cincinnati, an older settlement
    by some four years than Marietta or Cincinnati. Perhaps it was
    passed in the night, and unobserved. And Columbia, too, at the
    mouth of the Little Miami, about six miles above Cincinnati, and
    a few months its senior in settlement.

A few hundred yards above Fort Washington, we landed our boats, when
Uncle Forman, Colonel Wyckoff, and I went on shore, and walked up to
head-quarters, to pay our respects to General Harmar, the commander of
our troops in the North-western Territory. The general received us
with much politeness. As we were about taking leave of him, he kindly
invited us to remain and take a family dinner with him, observing to
Uncle, that we should have the opportunity of testing the
deliciousness of what he may never have partaken before--the haunch
of a fine buffalo. It being near dining hour, the invitation was, of
course, accepted. As the general and lady were acquainted with Uncle
and Aunt Forman in Philadelphia, they very politely extended their
kindness by asking that Uncle, Aunt, and their family, together with
Colonel Wyckoff and Brother-in-law Scudder and Captain Osmun, would
spend the next day with them, which was accepted with great pleasure.
General Harmar directed where to move our little fleet, so that all
should be safe under military guard. We then returned to our boats,
and conveyed them down to the appointed place.

The next morning, after breakfast, and after attending to our toilets,
we repaired to General Harmar's head-quarters, where we were all
received most cordially. Our company consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Forman,
their three daughters, and Master David Forman, Miss Church, Captain
Osmun, S. S. Forman, Colonel Wyckoff, and Mr. Scudder--eleven in all.

Mrs. Forman and Mrs. Harmar resembled each other as much as though
they were sisters. The general invited some of his officers to share
his hospitalities, also, and we had a most sumptuous dinner and tea.
Before it was quite dark, we took leave of our hospitable friends. I
had the honor of a seat at the table next to the general. While at
dinner, the officer of the day called on General Harmar for the
countersign, so as to place out the sentinels. Captain Kirby,[8] of
the army, who dined with us, was directed by the general to accompany
us on our return to our boats. Just before we came to the sentinel,
Captain Kirby asked us to halt, until he could advance and give the
countersign, which is done with much prudence. I sauntered along, and
happened to hear the challenge by the guard, and the reply of the
captain. The countersign was, I believe, "Forman."

    [8] Neither the _Dictionary of the Army_, the _MS. Harmar
    Papers_, nor the _Journal of Major Denny_, who was then an aide
    to General Harmar, make any mention of a Captain Kirby. It is
    probable, that William Kersey was the officer referred to. He
    served in New Jersey during the Revolution, rising from a
    private to a captaincy by brevet at the close of the war. At
    this period, early in 1790, he was a lieutenant. Probably, by
    courtesy of his rank and title in the Revolution, he was called
    captain. He attained that rank the following year; major, in
    1794; and died, March 21, 1800.

In the morning, Captain Osmun said to me, that, after paying our
respects to General Harmar, he wanted me to accompany him to the
quarters of the other officers, as he probably knew all of them; that
they were old continental officers retained in service, and he added:
"They all know your brother, Colonel Jonathan Forman,[9] of the
Revolution, and will be glad to see you on his account." We,
accordingly, after our interview with General Harmar, went to their
quarters. They recollected Captain Osmun, and he introduced me, when
they welcomed me most cordially, and made many inquiries after my

    [9] Jonathan Forman was born October 16, 1755; was educated at
    Princeton College, where he was a fellow-student with James
    Madison, and entering the army in 1776 served as captain for
    five years, during which he participated in Sullivan's campaign
    against the hostile Six Nations; and, promoted to the rank of
    major in 1781, he served under La Fayette in Virginia; and early
    in 1783 he was made a lieutenant-colonel, and continued in the
    army till the end of the war. He headed a regiment against the
    whisky insurgents of West Pennsylvania in 1794, and two years
    later he removed to Cazenovia, N. Y., where he filled the
    position of supervisor, member of the legislature and
    brigadier-general in the militia. He married Miss Mary Ledyard,
    of New London, Conn., who "went over her shoe tops in blood," in
    the barn where the wounded lay, the morning after Arnold's
    descent on New London and Fort Griswold, on Groton Heights,
    where her uncle, Colonel William Ledyard, was killed in cold
    blood after his surrender. General Forman died at Cazenovia, May
    25, 1809, in his sixty-fourth year, and his remains repose in
    the beautiful cemetery at that place.

I think it was in the autumn of 1790 that General Harmar was defeated
by the Indians, and most of these brave officers were killed. At that
period officers wore three-cornered hats, and by that means nearly all
of them were singled out and killed, as they could be so easily
distinguished from others.

Some distance above Fort Washington, the Scioto river empties into the
Ohio. Near this river was a cave, which the whites had not discovered
till after Harmar's defeat. Here the Indians would sally out against
boats ascending the Ohio. A canoe passed us the day before we passed
the Scioto, which had been fired into at that point, one man having
been shot through the shoulder, another through the calf of the leg,
while the third escaped unhurt. When these poor fellows arrived at
Fort Washington, they waited for us. After our arrival, understanding
that we were going to tarry a day, they set off. Harmar's defeat
caused a French settlement near the Scioto to be broken up;[10] some
of them were killed by the Indians.

    [10] The Gallipolis settlement was much annoyed by the Indians;
    some of the poor French settlers were killed, others abandoned
    the place, but the settlement was maintained, despite all their
    trials and sufferings.

I must mention an anecdote about my friend, Captain Osmun. At the
battle of Long Island, and capture of New York by the British, many
American prisoners were taken, Captain Osmun among them. He pretended
to be a little acquainted with the profession of physic, but he never
studied it, and could bleed, draw teeth, etc. A German officer had a
very sick child, the case baffling the skill of all the English and
German physicians, and the child's recovery was given up as hopeless.
At last it was suggested to call in the rebel doctor. So Osmun was
sent for. He suppressed as well as he could his half-comical,
half-quizzical expression, and assumed a serious look; felt of the
child's pulse, and merely said he would prepare some pills and call
again. He accordingly did so, giving the necessary directions, and
promised to call at the proper time to learn the effect. When he
called the third time the child had grown much better, and finally
recovered. He said that all he did for the little sufferer was to
administer a little powder-post, mixed up with rye-bread, made into
little pills. He said he knew they could do no harm, if they did no
good, and regarded himself as only an instrument in the hands of the
Almighty in saving the child's life. The father of the child gave him
almost a handful of guineas. Prior to this occurrence he had, while a
prisoner, suffered for the necessaries of life, but thenceforward he
was able to procure needful comforts till his exchange.

The next morning, after our entertainment by General Harmar and lady,
we renewed our journey, floating rapidly down the Belle Riviere.
Nothing of moment occurred till our arrival at Louisville, at the
Falls of the Ohio. The weather now grew so severely cold, in the
latter part of January, 1790, that the river became blocked with ice.
Here we laid up, disembarked, and took a house in the village, the
front part of which was furnished for a store, which exactly suited
us, and which was gratuitously offered to Uncle Forman by a Mr. Rhea,
of Tennessee. We were remarkably fortunate in this respect, both here
and at Pittsburg.

Here I opened a store from our stock of goods, and took tobacco in
payment, which was the object in bringing the merchandise. Louisville
then contained about sixty dwelling-houses. Directly opposite was Fort
Jefferson,[11] which was, I believe, only a captain's command. At the
Great Miami was Judge Symmes's settlement,[12] which dragged heavily
along at that time, having been allowed only a sergeant's command for
its protection.

    [11] This is evidently an error of memory; it was known as Fort
    Steuben, located where Jeffersonville now is.

    [12] Trivial circumstances sometimes change the fate of nations,
    and so it would seem they do of cities also. North Bend might
    have become the great commercial metropolis of the Miami country,
    instead of Cincinnati, but for an affair of the heart, if we may
    credit the tradition preserved by Judge Burnet in his _Notes on
    the North-western Territory_. Ensign Francis Luce had been
    detailed, with a small force, for the protection of the North
    Bend settlement, and to locate a suitable site for a block-house.
    While the ensign was keenly but very leisurely on the lookout for
    a proper location, he made a discovery far more interesting to
    him--a beautiful black-eyed lady, the wife of one of the settlers.
    Luce became infatuated with her charms, and her husband, seeing
    the danger to which he was exposed if he remained where he was,
    resolved at once to remove to Cincinnati.

    The gallant ensign was equal to the unexpected emergency, for he
    now began to discover what he had not discovered before, that
    North Bend was not, after all, so desirable a locality for the
    contemplated block-house as Cincinnati, and forthwith apprised
    Judge Symmes of these views, who strenuously opposed the movement.
    But the judge's arguments were not so effective as the sparkling
    eyes of the fair dulcinea then at Cincinnati. And so Luce and
    his military force were transplanted in double-quick time to
    Cincinnati; and where the troops were the settlers congregated
    for their protection and safety. And so, the Queen City of the
    West followed the fortunes of this unnamed forest queen, who so
    completely beguiled the impressible ensign.

    In this case there was no ten years' war, as in the case of the
    beautiful Spartan dame, which ended in the destruction of Troy;
    but, by Luce's infatuation and removal, North Bend was as much
    fated as though the combined Indians of the North-west had
    blotted it out of existence. Soon after this portentious
    removal, Luce, on May 1, 1790, resigned from the army--whether
    on account of his fair charmer, history fails to tell us. This
    romantic story has been doubted by some, but Judge Burnet was an
    early settler of Cincinnati, and had good opportunities to get
    at the facts; and when I met the judge, fully forty years ago,
    he seemed not the man likely to indulge in romancing. That
    General Harmar, in forwarding Luce's resignation to the War
    Office, seemed particularly anxious that it should be accepted,
    would seem to imply that, for this intrigue, or some other
    cause, the general was desirous of ridding the service of him.

Besides Symmes', there was no other settlement between Cincinnati and
Louisville, except that of a French gentleman named Lacassangue, a few
miles above Louisville, who began a vineyard on the Indian side of the
river; and one day Indians visited it, killing his people, and
destroying his vines.[13] Mr. Lacassangue was a polite, hospitable
man, and gave elegant dinners.

    [13] Michael Lacassangue, a Frenchman of education, settled
    in Louisville as a merchant prior to March, 1789, when General
    Harmar addressed him as a merchant there. He located a station
    on the northern shore of the Ohio, three miles above Fort Steuben,
    now Jeffersonville, where he had purchased land in the Clark
    grant. In a MS. letter of Captain Joseph Ashton, commanding at
    Fort Steuben, addressed to General Harmar, April 3, 1790, these
    facts are given relative to the attack on Lacassangue's station.
    That on the preceding March 29th, the Indians made their attack,
    killing one man. There were only two men, their wives, and
    fourteen children in the station. Word was immediately conveyed
    to Captain Ashton of their situation, who detached a sergeant
    and fourteen men to their relief, and who arrived there, Captain
    Ashton states, in sixteen minutes after receiving intelligence
    of the attack. The Indians, three in number, had decamped, and
    were pursued several miles until their trail was lost on a dry
    ridge. The families were removed to Fort Steuben, and thus the
    station was, for a time, broken up.

    Mr. Lacassangue must have been quite a prominent trader at
    Louisville in his day. About the first of June, 1790, Colonel
    Vigo, an enterprising trader of the Illinois country, consigned
    to him 4,000 pounds of lead, brought by Major Doughty from
    Kaskaskia. Mr. Lacassangue made efforts, in after years, to give
    character to his new town of Cassania--a name evidently coined
    out of his own--hoping from its more healthful situation, and
    better location for the landing of vessels destined to pass the
    Falls, to supplant Louisville. The little place, General Collot
    says, had in 1796, when he saw it, "only two or three houses,
    and a store." The ambitious effort was a vain one, and Cassania
    soon became lost to the geographical nomenclature of the country.
    Mr. Lacassangue died in 1797.

A nephew of Mrs. Washington of the name of Dandridge lived with Mr.
Lacassangue. When I returned to Philadelphia, I there met him again;
he resided at General Washington's. While the Dandridge family stayed
at Louisville, they received much attention. It was the custom of the
citizens, when any persons of note arrived there, to get up a ball in
their honor. They would choose managers; circulate a subscription
paper to meet the expenses of the dance. Every signer, except
strangers, must provide his partner, see her safe there and home

We had scarcely got located before a subscription paper was presented
to Uncle Forman and myself. But the first ball after our arrival
proved a failure, owing to the inclemency of the weather, so that no
ladies could attend. General Wilkinson happened in town, and though he
and Uncle Forman stayed but a little while, the young blades were
disposed for a frolic. Some time before this a ball was tendered to
General St. Clair, when the youngsters had a row, and destroyed the
most of the breakable articles that the house afforded. But such
instances of rudeness occurred only when no ladies were present.

Not long after the failure on account of the weather, the scheme for a
dance was renewed, and, at length, we had an elegant collection of
southern fair. The ball was opened by a minuet by Uncle Forman and a
southern lady--Aunt Forman did not dance. This was the last time, I
believe, that I saw that elegant dance performed. Then two managers
went around with numbers on paper in a hat--one going to the ladies,
the other to the gentlemen. When the manager calls for lady No. 1, the
lady drawing that number stands up, and is led upon the floor,
awaiting for gentleman No. 1, who, when called, takes his place, and
is introduced by the manager to the lady. So they proceed with the
drawing of couples until the floor is full for the dance.

I, in my turn, was drawn, and introduced to my dancing partner from
Maryland, and we were called to the first dance. This lady happened to
be acquainted with Uncle Forman's oldest son, General Thomas Marsh
Forman, which circumstance rendered our casual meeting all the more
agreeable. The officers of the garrison over the river generally
attended, and they brought the military music along. I became well
acquainted with the officers. Dr. Carmichael,[14] of the army, used
often to come over and sit in my store.

    [14] Dr. John F. Carmichael, from New Jersey, entered the army
    in September, 1789, and, with the exception of a few months,
    retained his position till his resignation in June, 1804.

It was the last of February, I believe, when Uncle Forman and his
little fleet took their departure from Louisville, destined for the
Natchez country. The river was now free from ice. There subsequently
came a report, that when they reached what was called the low country,
below the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, they were captured by the
Indians. I was in a painful suspense for a long time, and until I
heard from them.

While Uncle Forman and party were sojourning in Louisville, there was,
it appears, a white man there, who learned the names of Ezekiel Forman
and Captain Osmun, their place of destination, and all about them.
This fellow was a decoyer, who lived among the Indians, and whose
business it was to lure boats ashore for purposes of murder and
robbery. At some point below the mouth of the Tennessee, this renegade
saw the boats approaching, ran on the beach, imploring, upon his
bended knees, that Mr. Forman, calling him by name, would come ashore
and take him on board, as he had just escaped from the Indians. Mr.
Forman began to steer for his relief, when Captain Osmun, who was a
little way in the rear, hailed Uncle, warning him to keep in the
middle of the stream, as he saw Indians in hiding behind trees along
the bank where the wily decoyer was playing his treacherous part.
Giving heed to this admonition, Uncle Forman kept clear of the
dangerous shore.

Then an old Indian, finding that his plot was exposed, ran down to the
beach, hailing the boats: "Where you go?" It is not clear what could
have been the Indian's motive in making a display of himself, and
seeking the information already known to his renegade associate. But
for the circumstance of Captain Osmun being in the rear, and
discovering the exposed Indians screened behind trees, the whole party
might have been lured on shore and massacred. It seems that, after
boats entered the Mississippi, they were not molested by the Indians,
as they were not at war with the Spaniards.

I was left in Louisville, with a store of goods. When I had disposed
of them, I was directed to join Uncle Forman at Natchez; but some
considerable time was necessary to trade off my stock, and convert it
into tobacco. I spent my time very pleasantly at Louisville. The
southern people are remarkably friendly to strangers. One family, in
particular, Mr. and Mrs. Ashby, were as kind to me as though I had
been their own son. They soon called on Uncle and Aunt Forman,
showing all possible attention, and soon became quite familiar.

One day, Mr. Ashby called, and inquired of Aunt for "_old_ Mr.
Forman." "I tell you, Mr. Ashby," Mrs. Forman laughingly replied, "you
shall not call my husband _old_. Please to refer to him as Mr. Forman,
and our nephew as Mr. Sam. Forman." Mr. Ashby took the suggestion in
good part, and promised ready obedience. After Uncle and Aunt Forman
left for the Natchez country, Mrs. Ashby would come to my store like a
mother, and inquire into the condition of my lodgings, and sent bed
and bedding, and had a kind old woman examine my trunk, taking out all
my clothing, first airing and then nicely replacing them, and kindly
did all my washing during my stay. Mr. Ashby had a farm a little way
out of town, but he and his family came in very often. Mrs. Ashby
never came without making me a motherly call, and looking over my
clothing to see if any repairs were needed. I never parted with
briefly-made acquaintances with so much regret.

I became very intimate with a Mr. Smith, from New York, a young
gentleman about my own age. The Virginians, as were most of the
Louisville people, were very fond of dancing. Smith and I agreed to
let each other know when a hop was in agitation, and they were very
frequent. When notified by him of one such occasion, I apologized for
not being able to go, as I had no suitable pumps. "You have
purchased," said he, "a parcel of elegant moccasins for your New York
ladies. You don a pair, and I will another." "Good! good!" we mutually
ejaculated. So we engaged our favorite partners, and attended the
ball. It was something new to appear in such an assembly decked off
in such Indian gear; but they were much admired, and, at the next
dance, almost all appeared in moccasins. So, it seems, we led the ton,
and introduced a new fashion.

There was but one tavern and one boarding-house in the place. The
boarding-house was kept by a Dr. Walter, who was also the pilot to
take boats over the Falls; and he was, moreover, a great hunter and
fisherman. One day in April, I think, at some public festival, several
of our boarders, the leader was the Commissary of the Army, proposed
to have what they called _a setting_, and asked me to join them. I had
often heard the commissary relate his exploits--drinking egg-nog was
then all the go. I declined to share in the frolic, fearing the
influence of these southern blades on such occasions. In the course of
the night, I was alarmed by the rattling of stones thrown against my
store-door and window-shutters. At first, I thought it might be
Indians. The clatter was kept up, and the glass windows all broken. I
finally concluded that it was the work of the egg-nog party. Not only
were my windows completely shattered, but my store door was broken
open by the pelting of large stones.

These egg-nog disturbers served Captain Thomas, the landlord, in the
same way as they had done me. The next morning, when we all met at the
breakfast table at our boarding-house, scarcely a word was spoken
during the meal. As I went out of the door, passing my friend, the
commissary, I asked him if he would direct my windows glazed, and some
little carpenter work done. He pretended to be astonished how they
should have been broken. I made no reply, but walked back to my
store, only looked at him and smiled. In the afternoon, at Captain
Thomas's, the business assumed almost a tragical form--dirks were
nearly drawn; however, it was amicably settled.

The next morning these gentlemen asked me if I would be satisfied if
my windows and door were made whole. I answered in the affirmative,
and asked them whether they had not acted very imprudently, situated
as we were on the frontiers in time of Indian warfare. "You know,"
said I, "that it was but a little time since that Captain Thomas and
some others saw Indians in the night making, as they supposed, for my
store, when I kept it up by Bear Grass creek; and a few people got
together in the night, and followed the Indian trail out of the
village without alarming me. The Indians evidently thought themselves
discovered, and retired, hence I escaped. In consequence of this
alarm, I immediately moved from that place to the center of the
village, into the corner building opposite the tavern."

It was observed one Sunday morning, soon after starting my store, that
it was not opened on that day, as other establishments were; and I was
asked why I kept my store closed--that Sunday had not crossed the
mountains, and that I was the first person who kept his store shut on
that day. I told them that I brought the Sabbath with me. It so
happened that I had the honor of being the first to observe the day in

Directly opposite to me a billiard table was kept. It was customary at
the south for ladies to indulge in billiards, considering it a genteel
and healthful amusement. During the morning hours, a few ladies used
to honor me with a call, when I would spend a little while in that
pleasant recreation; but I never gambled, and ladies' company is
always more agreeable than gentlemen's. Besides, if you play with
gentlemen, it is apt to lead to gambling; and it was consequently
better to pay for the use of the table with ladies, when one improves
in manners from their refinement.

One day Captain Thomas brought a little negro boy to my store,
tendering me his services while I remained in Louisville; that he
should be of no expense to me, but live at home, and come over
regularly and do my chores, tote water, sweep my store, clean my
shoes, etc. The captain explained that he had another boy of about the
same age and size, and that one was better than both. I had a spruce
colored barber, who was also a tailor, the pleasure of whose company I
occasionally had in helping out in my labors.

Sometime about the latter part of May, perhaps, four tobacco boats
arrived at Louisville on their way to New Orleans, under the
respective command of Captain Andrew Bayard, Captain Winters, and
Captain Gano, of New York, and Captain January, of Kentucky. Captain
Bayard's boat received some injury in passing over the Falls of the
Ohio, and he had to unload to repair damages. I had been some time
negotiating with a rich planter, Mr. Buckner, of Louisville. After I
had heard of the accident to Captain Bayard's boat, Mr. Buckner came
into the village. I got him in my store, locked the door, and told him
that now was the time to close our long-talked-of trade, so that I
could have the company of this descending fleet. After spending the
night in conversation, I gave up my bed to Mr. Buckner, and threw
down some blankets and coarse clothes for my own lodging.

To make a long story short, we effected a trade--closing out my store
of goods to him. He bought me a tobacco boat, loaded her with this
product of the country, and got matters and things arranged so that I
was ready to accompany the descending fleet. Of these tobacco traders,
I was partially acquainted with Mr. Bayard. I had at Louisville a
competitor in trade, a young Irish gentleman, but he could not

My boat was loaded below the Falls, and by some means the hands
suffered her to break from her fastenings, and went a mile or two down
stream before they brought her to. I put my blanket on board of Mr.
Bayard's boat, and got on board with him, and took my tea with him. In
the evening, being moonlight, my canoe, with an old sailor, came for
me. I took some blankets and wrapped them around my arms carelessly. I
jumped into the canoe; and the sailor, it seems, had taken a little
too much whisky, so that when he pushed off from Mr. Bayard's boat, in
order to clear its bow, he leaned over so far as to make the canoe dip
water; and, in recovering his position, he leaned so far the other way
that the canoe filled. My arms being entangled with the blankets, I
was totally helpless. Mr. Bayard's hands jumped into their small boat,
came to my rescue, and saved me from a watery grave.

Partly from economy, and partly from lack of time to secure another
hand, I attempted to manage my tobacco boat, which was somewhat
smaller than the usual size, with less than the usual supply of
boatmen. This made it come hard on me, whose unskilled strength was
but half that of an ordinary man. I had this old sailor with me for
one watch, and an old North-western man and a Jerseyman for another.
The boats would follow the current, except when passing islands, when
the men must all beat their oars. I believe the old sailor, while on
board, was a little deranged. After I discharged him at Natchez, he
was found, I was told, in the woods, dead.

Nothing of any moment occurred while descending the Ohio, until we
reached Fort Massac, an old French fortification, about thirty miles
above the mouth of the Ohio. It was a beautiful spot. All of the
captains, and some of the hands, with a small boat, went on shore,
while our tobacco boats glided gently along. When we landed, we
separated in squads, and visited the old deserted ramparts, which
appeared quite fresh. It was in the afternoon, just after a refreshing
shower. Those first arriving at the intrenchment, espied a fresh
moccasin track. We all looked at it, and then at each other, and,
without uttering a word, all faced about, and ran as fast as possible
for the little boat. Some hit its locality, while others struck the
river too high up, and others, too low.

Those of us who missed our way concluded, in our fright, that the
Indians had cut us off; and no one had thought to take his rifle but
me, and I feared that I should be the first to fall. After we were all
safe on one of the tobacco boats, we recovered our speech, and each
one told how he felt, and what he thought, during our flight to the
boats. This locality of Fort Massac, we understood, was the direct way
from the Ohio, in that country, to St. Louis, and probably the track
we saw was that of some lonely Indian; and, judging from its
freshness, the one who made it was as much frightened from our
numbers as we were at our unexpected discovery.

I will note a little circumstance that occurred during our passage
down the Ohio. One day, I was ahead of the fleet, when one of the
boats passed by suddenly, when we observed by the woods that we were
standing still--evidently aground, or fast on something below the
surface. I gave notice to the boats behind to come on, and take
position between my boat and shore, hoping, by this means, to raise a
temporary swell in the river, and, by fastening a rope to my boat, and
extending along beside the others, and making the other end fast to a
tree on shore, be enabled to get loose.

While thus engaged, we heard a whistle, like that of a quail. Some
observed that quail never kept in the woods, and we felt some fear
that it might be Indians; but we continued our efforts at the rope,
and the boat was soon so far moved that we discovered that we were
fast upon a planter--that is, the body of a tree firmly embedded in
the river bottom. At last, the men could partly stand upon it, and,
with a hand-saw, so weakened it that it broke off, and we were

Another dangerous obstruction is a tree becoming undermined and
falling into the river, and the roots fastening themselves in the
muddy bottom, while, by the constant action of the current, the limbs
wear off, and the body keeps sawing up and down with great force,
rising frequently several feet above the water, and then sinking as
much below. These are called "sawyers," and often cause accidents to
unsuspecting navigators.

When we arrived at the mouth of the Ohio, we stopped. I fastened my
boat to trees, and the other boats did likewise. We kept watch, with
an ax in hand, to cut the fastenings in case of a surprise by Indians.
Here were marks of buffalo having rested. Where the waters of the
Mississippi and Ohio mingle, they look like putting dirty soap-suds
and pure water together. So we filled all our vessels that were
water-tight, for fear we might suffer for want of good water on our
voyage. But we found out, afterward, that the Mississippi was very
good water, when filtered.

After we got all arranged, the second day after we embarked, the
captains agreed that we would, in rotation, dine together, which
rendered our journey more pleasant. Mr. Bayard's and my boat were
frequently fastened together while descending the Ohio, but on the
Mississippi, from the turbulence of the stream, it was not possible to
do so. The first day that we entered the Mississippi, we discharged
all our rifles and pistols, as we were then out of danger from the
hostile Indians. In the afternoon, we had a strong wind ahead, which
made a heavy sea, accompanied with thunder and lightning. The waves
ran so high that we felt in danger of foundering. The forward boat
pulled hard for shore, which we all followed.

Presently, we saw an Indian canoe pulling for that boat. I asked my
North-western man what that meant. He looked wild, but did not know
what to make of it. I directed the men to pull away, and I would keep
an eye upon the suspicious visitors, and at the same time load our
rifles and pistols again. Reaching the advanced boat, the Indians were
kindly received, and no fighting; and, instead of hostile
demonstrations, they lent a hand in rowing.

After much hard work, we at length all effected a landing in safety.
We then prepared for dinner. It so happened that it was my turn to
receive the captains at dinner. Having a large piece of fresh
beef--enough and to spare, I invited three of our copper-faces to dine
with us. Dinner over, Captain Gano set the example of _pitching the
fork_ into the beef, as we used, in our school days, to pitch the fork
into the ground. So the Indians, one after the other, imitated the
captain, and very dextrously pitched their forks also into the beef,
thinking, probably, that it was a white man's ceremony that should be

After dinner, at the conclusion of the pitching incident, I mixed some
whisky and water in the only glass I had, and handed it to one of the
captains; and then repeating it, filling the tumbler equally alike in
quantity, handed it in succession to the others. When I came to the
Indians, not knowing their relative rank, I happened to present the
glass to the lowest in order, as I discovered by his declining it; but
when I came to the leader, he took the offering, and reaching out his
hand to me in a genteel and graceful manner, shook mine heartily; and
then repeated the cordial shake with each of the others, not omitting
his own people, and then drank our healths as politely, I imagine, as
Lord Chesterfield could have done. The other Indians were similarly
treated, and, in turn, as gracefully acknowledged the compliment. They
all appeared much pleased with their reception.

This ceremony over, our men asked leave to visit the opposite side of
the river, where these Indians had a large encampment. This granted,
they all went to get their rifles. The Indians seemed to understand
etiquette and politeness, and objected to the men going armed. But,
instead of speaking to the men, they addressed the captains of the
boats, saying: "We have no objections to your men going among our
people, if they don't take their rifles. We came among you as friends,
bringing no arms along." We, of course, told our men to leave their
rifles behind. They did so. Returning, they reported that there were a
good many Indians there. By some means, some of our men must have let
the Indians have _la tafia_--a cheap variety of rum distilled from
molasses. At all events, they became very much intoxicated, "and we,"
said the visitors, "were very apprehensive of difficulty; but a squaw
told us that the Indians could not fight, as she had secreted all
their knives, and we were very much relieved when morning appeared, so
we could bid good-by to our new acquaintances."

The next day we arrived at _L'Anse a la Graisse_, which place, or
adjoining it, bears the name of New Madrid, which is the American part
of the little village settled under the auspices of Colonel George
Morgan. Uncle Forman wrote me by all means to call at this Spanish
post, as he had left my name with the genteel commandant there, who
would expect to see me. In the morning, after breakfast, we all
prepared our toilets preparatory to paying our respects to the officer
of the place. The captains did me the honor of making me the foreman
of the party, as my name would be familiar to the commandant. I regret
that I have forgotten his name.[15] We made our call at as early an
hour as we could, so that we might pursue our voyage without any
unnecessary waste of time.

    [15] In July, 1789, less than a year before, Lieutenant Pierre
    Foucher, with four officers and thirty soldiers, had been sent
    from New Orleans to establish a post at this place, as stated in
    _Gayarre's Louisiana_, 1854, p. 268. It is generally asserted
    that this settlement was commenced as early as 1780; but the
    Spanish census of Louisiana, both in 1785 and 1788, make no
    mention of the place.

Arrived at the gate, the guard was so anxious to trade his tame
raccoon with our men that he scarcely took any notice of us. We went
to head-quarters; there was but little ceremony. When we were shown
into the commander's presence, I stepped toward him a little in
advance of my friends, and announced my name. I was most cordially and
familiarly received. Then I introduced my friends, mentioning their
respective places of residence. After a little conversation, we rose
to retire, when the commandant advanced near me, and politely asked me
to dine with him an hour after twelve o'clock, and bring my
accompanying friends with me. I turned to the gentlemen for their
concurrence, which they gave, when we all returned to our boats.

I then observed to my friends that the commandant would expect some
present from us--such was the custom--and what should it be? Mr.
Bayard, I believe, asked me to suggest some thing in our power to
tender. I then remarked, that, as we had a plenty of good hams, that
we fill a barrel, and send them to our host; that they might prove as
acceptable as any thing. The proposition met the approval of all, and
the hams were accordingly sent at once, with perhaps an accompanying

At one hour after twelve o'clock, I well remember, we found ourselves
comfortably seated at the hospitable board of the Spanish commandant,
who expressed much delight at receiving our fine present. He gave us
an elegant dinner in the Spanish style, and plenty of good wine and
liquors, and coffee without cream. The commandant, addressing me,
while we were indulging in the liquids before us, said that we must
drink to the health of the ladies in our sweet liquors. "So," said he,
"we will drink the health of the Misses Forman"--my worthy cousins,
who had preceded us in a visit to this garrison.

After dinner, the commandant invited us to take a walk in the fine
prairies. He said he could drive a coach-and-four through these open
woods to St. Louis. There came up a thunder-storm and sharp lightning,
and he asked me what I called that in English, and I told him, when he
pleasantly observed: "You learn me to talk English, and I will learn
you French." Returning to head-quarters, we took tea, and then got up
to take our final leave. "O, no!" said he, "I can't spare you,
gentlemen. I'm all alone. Please to come to-morrow, one hour after
twelve, and dine again with me." So, at the appointed time, we were on
hand again. The same kind hospitality was accorded us as on the
preceding day.

In the evening, we thought we should surely tender the last farewell.
But no; we must come again, for the third day, to enjoy his good
company and delightful viands. That evening, there was a Spanish
dance, all common people making up the company--French, Canadians,
Spaniards, Americans. The belle of the room was Cherokee Katy, a
beautiful little squaw, dressed in Spanish style, with a turban on her
head, and decked off very handsomely. On these occasions, a king and
queen were chosen to be sovereigns for the next meeting. The
commandant was asked to honor them by taking a partner, and sharing in
the mazy dance, which, of course, he declined; and we also had an
invitation, but declined also. The commandant said he always went to
these happy gatherings, and sat a little while, and once, he added, he
played a little while on his own violin, for his own and their

He expressed much regret at parting with us. He said he was so
lonesome. He was a man not over thirty, I suppose, highly
accomplished, and spoke pretty good English. I fear he was, in after
years, swallowed up in the earthquake,[16] which destroyed many; among
them, I believe, a Mr. Morris, who was a brother to Mrs. Hurd; a Mr.
Lintot, from Natchez, who was a passenger with me from New Orleans to

    [16] We learn, from Gayarre's _History of the Spanish Domination
    of Louisiana_, that, in July, 1789, Pierre Foucher, a lieutenant
    of the regiment of Louisiana, was sent, with two sergeants, two
    corporals, and thirty soldiers, to build a fort at New Madrid,
    and take the civil and military command of that district, with
    instructions to govern those new colonists in such a way as to
    make them feel that they had found among the Spaniards the state
    of ease and comfort of which they were in quest.

    Colonel John Pope, in his _Tour Through the Western and Southern
    States_, states, under date, March 12, 1791: "Breakfasted and
    dined with Signor Pedro Foucher, commandant at New Madrid. The
    garrison consists of about ninety men, who are well supplied
    with food and raiment. They have an excellent train of artillery,
    which appears to be their chief defense. Two regular companies
    of musqueteers, with charged bayonets, might take this place. Of
    this opinion is the commandant himself, who complains that he is
    not sufficiently supported. He is a Creole of French extraction,
    of Patagonian size, polite in his manners, and of a most noble

    Lieutenant Foucher must have left the country long before the
    great earthquake of 1811-12. The Spaniards evacuated their posts
    on the Mississippi to the north of 31st degree in 1798; and, two
    years later, transferred the country to France, and, in 1803, it
    was purchased by the United States.

On our entering the Mississippi, we had agreed that the foremost boat
should fire a gun as a token for landing, if they saw a favorable spot
after the middle of the afternoon. It was not possible to run in
safety during the night. It so happened that every afternoon we had a
thunder shower and head wind.

Nothing special occurred, I believe, till our arrival at Natchez.
There was no settlement from _L'Anse a la Graisse_ to _Bayou Pierre_,
something like sixty miles above Natchez. At Bayou Pierre lived
Colonel Bruin,[17] of the Virginia Continental line, who, after the
war, took letters from General Washington to the governor of that
country while it belonged to Spain, and secured a fine land grant. I
once visited Colonel Bruin, with a gentleman from Natchez. That
section of country is remarkably handsome, and the soil rich. The
colonel's dwelling-house was on the top of a large mound, and his barn
on another, near by. These mounds are common in the Ohio and
Mississippi countries, and no tradition gives their origin.

    [17] Colonel Peter Bryan Bruin, son of an Irish gentleman, who
    had become implicated in the Irish Rebellion of 1756, and
    confiscation and exile were his penalty. He brought with him
    to America his only son, who was reared a merchant. In the War
    of the Revolution, he entered Morgan's famous riflemen as a
    lieutenant, shared in the assault on Quebec, where he was
    made a prisoner, and confined in a prison ship, infected with
    small-pox, for six months. He was finally exchanged, and at
    length promoted to the rank of major, serving to the end of the
    war. Soon after settling near the mouth of Bayou Pierre, he was
    appointed alcalde, or magistrate, under the Spanish Government;
    and when the Mississippi Territory was organized, in 1798, he
    was appointed one of the three territorial judges, remaining in
    office until he resigned, in 1810. He lived till a good old age,
    was a devoted patriot, and a man of high moral character.

While in Louisville, I bought a young cub bear, and kept him chained
in the back room of my store. He was about a month or two old when I
got him; and when I went down the river, I took him along to Natchez.
When twelve or fifteen months old, he became very saucy; I only could
keep him in subjection. When he became too troublesome, Uncle Forman
had him killed, and invited several gentlemen to join him in partaking
of his bear dinner.

When our little fleet of five boats first came in sight of the village
of Natchez, it presented quite a formidable appearance, and caused a
little alarm at the fort; the drum beat to arms, but the affright soon
subsided. About this time, a report circulated that general somebody,
I have forgotten his name, was in Kentucky raising troops destined
against that country; but it all evaporated.[18]

    [18] This refers to the proposed settlement at the Walnut Hills,
    at the mouth of the Yazoo, under the auspices of the famous Yazoo
    Company, composed mostly of prominent South Carolina and Georgia
    gentlemen. Dr. John O'Fallon, who subsequently married a sister
    of General George Rogers Clark, located at Louisville, Ky., as
    the agent and active partner in that region and endeavored to
    enlist General Clark as the military leader of the enterprise;
    but it would appear that the general declined the command, and
    Colonel John Holder, a noted Kentucky pioneer and Indian fighter,
    was chosen in his place. But nothing was accomplished. The original
    grant was obtained by bribery, fraud, and corruption, from the
    Georgia Legislature; and a subsequent legislature repudiated the
    transaction, and ordered all the documents and records connected
    with it to be burned in the public square.

Natchez was then a small place, with houses generally of a mean
structure, built mostly on the low bank of the river, and on the
hillside. The fort was on a handsome, commanding spot, on the elevated
ground, from which was a most extensive view up the river, and over
the surrounding country. The governor's house was not far from the
garrison. Uncle Forman had at first hired a large house, about
half-way up the hill from the landing, where he lived until he bought
a plantation of five hundred acres on the bank of St. Catherine's
creek, about four miles from Natchez. This he regarded as only a
temporary abode, until he could become better acquainted with the
country. The place had a small clearing and a log house on it, and he
put up another log house to correspond with it, about fourteen feet
apart, connecting them with boards, with a piazza in front of the
whole. The usual term applied to such a structure was that it was "two
pens and a passage." This connecting passage made a fine hall, and
altogether gave it a good and comfortable appearance.

Boards were scarce, and I do not remember of seeing any saw or
grist-mills in the country. Uncle Forman had a horse-mill, something
like a cider-mill, to grind corn for family use. In range with his
dwelling he built a number of negro houses, some distance off, on the
bank of St. Catherine's creek. It made quite a pretty street. The
little creek was extremely convenient. The negroes the first year
cleared a large field for tobacco, for the cultivation of that article
was the object of Mr. Forman's migration to that country.

After my arrival, and while sojourning at Natchez, Uncle Forman asked
me if I intended to apply to the government for lands. I replied that
I did not want any. He said he was glad of it, unless I remained in
the country. He hinted something to the effect that one of the Spanish
officers, who talked of leaving the country, had an elegant
plantation, with negroes for its cultivation, and he thought of buying
it, if I would stay and take it; that if I took land of government,
and sold out, it might give umbrage to the governor, and I, being a
relation, he suffer by it. I told him my father was loath to let me
come away, and I promised that I would return if my life was spared

After this, Surveyor-General Dunbar,[19] much to my surprise, called
on me, and said that he brought the survey and map of my land, and
presented a bill of sixty dollars for his services. I told him that I
had not asked for land, nor had Governor Gayoso ever said any thing to
me about land, nor did I want any. General Dunbar replied that the
governor directed him to survey for Don Samuel S. Forman eight hundred
acres of land, and that it was the best and most valuable tract that
he knew of in the district, including a beautiful stream of water,
with a gravelly bottom--rare in that country; that it was well
located, near a Mr. Ellis, at the White Cliffs, and advised me by all
means to take it. Uncle Forman happened to be absent, and I was in
doubt what to do. At last I paid the bill and took the papers. The
largest quantity that the Spanish Government gave to a young man who
settled in that country was two hundred and forty acres, so the
governor showed much friendship by complimenting me with so large a

    [19] Sir William Dunbar, son of Sir Archibald Dunbar, was born
    at Elgin, Scotland, and received a superior education in Glasgow
    and London. On account of failing health, he obtained a stock of
    goods for the Indian trade; and, landing in Philadelphia in
    April, 1771, took his goods to Fort Pitt, and about 1773 he went
    to West Florida to form a plantation. He suffered much during
    the period of the Revolution, and in 1772 settled near Natchez,
    became chief surveyor under the Spanish Government, and in 1798
    he was appointed astronomical commissioner on the part of Spain
    in establishing the boundary. He was shortly after appointed by
    Governor Sargeant, on the organization of Mississippi Territory,
    under the United States Government, chief judge of the Court of
    Quarter Sessions. He corresponded with the most distinguished
    scientific men of his time, and contributed to the Transactions
    of the American Philosophical Society. He died in 1810, leaving
    many descendants.

I must go back a little, and state that my good traveling companions,
Messrs. Bayard, Gano, Winters, and January, parted from me, and
continued their journey down the river. Uncle Forman had been
acquainted with Mr. Bayard, in Philadelphia, and their meeting in a
distant and foreign country was very gratifying. The interview was
very brief, for Mr. Bayard and associates were anxious to pursue their

At Natchez we made many agreeable acquaintances. Governor Gayoso, a
bachelor, was very affable and pleasant, and had an English education.
The fort-major, Stephen Minor,[20] was a Jerseyman from Princeton, and
Mr. Hutchins,[21] a wealthy planter, was a brother to Thomas Hutchins,
the geographer-general of the United States. His wife was a Conover,
from near Freehold village, and knew more about Freehold than I did.
Also a Mr. Moore, a wealthy planter, Mr. Bernard Lintot, who moved
from Vermont before the war, and Mr. Ellis, a wealthy planter--all
having large families, sons and daughters, very genteel and
accomplished. These all lived from eight to fourteen miles from us.

    [20] Stephen Minor was a native of Pennsylvania, well-educated,
    and early made his way West; first to St. Louis, and then to New
    Orleans, and was soon appointed to official station by the
    Spanish Government, rising eventually to the governorship at
    Natchez, and so continuing till the evacuation of the country.
    He then became a citizen of the United States, and was useful
    to the country. He died in after years at Concord, Mississippi.

    [21] Colonel Anthony Hutchins was a native of New Jersey; early
    migrated to North Carolina, and in 1772 explored the Natchez
    country, settling permanently at the White Apple village, twelve
    miles from Natchez, the following year, and survived the troubles
    of the Revolution, and died when past eighty years of age.

In the village of Natchez resided Monsieur and Madam
Mansanteo--Spanish Jews, I think--who were the most kind and
hospitable of people. These families, in town and country, formed our
principal associates. Governor Gayoso told us, after we moved out to
St. Catherine, that there would always be a plate for us at his table.

The year 1790 was a very sickly one for unacclimated persons in the
Natchez country. All our family adults had more or less fever, and
fever and ague. Uncle Forman was severely afflicted with gout--a lump
almost as big as a small hen's egg swelled out at one of his elbows,
with something of the appearance of chalk. Poor Betsey Church was
taken with a fever, and died in a few days; a great loss to the
family, having been a valuable and much respected member of it for
many years. I was the only adult of the family who was not confined to
the house with sickness.

Stephen Minor, the fort-major, married the eldest daughter of the
planter, Mr. Ellis. Our family was much visited by the Spanish
officers, who were very genteel men; and Major Minor was very
intimate, and seemed to take much interest in us.

When the time was fixed for my departure, by the way of New Orleans,
and thence by sea to Philadelphia, Uncle Forman said: "Well, you must
direct Moses, the coachman, to get up the carriage, take two of your
cousins with you, and take leave of all your good friends." The
carriage, which had its top broken off crossing the mountains in
Pennsylvania, had been fitted up in Natchez, with neat bannister work
around the top of the body, which rendered it more convenient for the
country. We sometimes took the family in it, and went out
strawberrying over the prairies.

Cousins Augusta and Margaret accompanied me on my farewell tour. Ours
was the first four-wheeled carriage that ever passed over those
grounds--I can't say roads, for the highway was only what was called a
bridle-path--all traveling at that day was on horseback. When we
visited one place, some of our friends from another locality meeting
us there would ascertain the day we designed visiting their house,
that they might have the cane-brakes along the trail cleared away
sufficient to permit the comfortable passage of the carriage; and we
must, moreover, be on time, or some small gust of wind might again
obstruct the passage. Our visits were all very pleasant save the
unhappy part of the final bidding each other farewell.

During this excursion, Governor Gayoso had given permission for a
Baptist clergyman to preach one Sunday, which was the first time a
protestant minister had been allowed to hold religious services. The
meeting was held at Colonel Hutchins'. We went from the residence of
some friends in that vicinity. After service we were invited to stay
and dine at Colonel Hutchins'. When we were ready to depart, all came
out of the house to see us off, and I asked the ladies in a jocose way
to join us in the ride, when they began to climb over the wheels as
though they might endanger the safety of the carriage; but this
frolicsome banter over, we took our departure. We spent several days
in performing this friendly round of visits--by-gone days of happiness
never to return.

When I was about leaving the country, Governor Gayoso asked me what I
intended to do with my land. I replied, that if I did not return in a
year or two, that his excellency could do what he pleased with it.
Some years after, when I lived in Cazenovia, I contemplated going
back, and went to my large chest, which had traveled with me from
Pittsburg to New Orleans, and thence in all my tramps and changes,
where I supposed all my Spanish papers were safe in a little drawer;
but, to my surprise, they were missing, and I never could tell what
became of them, as I kept the chest locked, and retained the key. So
vanished my eight hundred acres of valuable land in the promising
Mississippi country.

On the arrival of Colonel Wyckoff, with his brother-in-law, Scudder,
from Tennessee, preparations were made for our departure. Uncle Forman
went down to New Orleans with us. It was in June, 1791, I believe,
that we left Natchez. The parting with my kindred was most trying and
affecting, having traveled and hazarded our lives together for so many
hundred miles, and never expecting to meet again in this life. Many of
the poor colored people, too, came and took leave of me, with tears
streaming down their cheeks. Take them altogether, they were the
finest lot of servants I ever saw. They were sensible that they were
all well cared for--well fed, well clothed, well housed, each family
living separately, and they were treated with kindness. Captain
Osmun,[22] their overseer, was a kind-hearted man, and used them
well. They had ocular proof of their happy situation when compared
with their neighbor's servants. It was the custom of the country to
exchange work at times; and, one day, one of our men came to me, and
said: "I don't think it is right to exchange work with these planters;
for I can, with ease, do more work than any two of their men;" and
added, "their men pound their corn over night for their next day's
supply, and they are too weak to work." Poor fellows, corn was all
they had to eat.

    [22] Benajah Osmun served, as Mr. Forman has previously stated,
    at the defeat of General Washington's troops on Long Island, in
    August, 1776, when he was made a prisoner; he was then,
    apparently, a soldier in the ranks. On January 1, 1777, he
    was appointed a second lieutenant and quartermaster in Colonel
    Shreve's Second New Jersey regiment, which he subsequently
    resigned. In September, 1778, he again entered the army as an
    ensign in the second regiment; was a prisoner of war on April
    25, 1780; made a lieutenant January 1, 1781, retiring at the
    close of the war with the brevet rank of captain.

    In 1802, he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Adams county
    militia; and when Colonel Burr visited the country, in 1807,
    on his mysterious mission, he was the guest of Colonel Osmun,
    who was one of his two bondsmen for his appearance at court,
    for they were fellow officers in the Revolution. Colonel Osmun
    settled a plantation at the foot of Half Way hill, near Natchez,
    became wealthy, and there died, a bachelor, at a good old age.

Uncle Forman and I stopped the first night with Mr. Ellis, at the
White Cliffs, and next day embarked on board of a boat for New
Orleans. On our way down we sometimes went on shore and took a bowl of
chocolate for breakfast with some rich planter, a very common custom
of the country. The night before our arrival at New Orleans we put up
with a Catholic priest; some gentlemen of our company were well
acquainted between Natchez and New Orleans, and had learned the
desirable stopping places. The good priest received us kindly, gave us
an excellent supper, plenty of wine, and was himself very lively. We
took breakfast with him the next morning; and before our departure the
priest came up to me with a silver plate in his hand, on which were
two fine looking pears, which he tendered me. He looked at first very
serious; but, remembering his good humor the previous evening, I
suspected his fun had not yet all run out. I eyed him pretty close,
and while thanking him, I rather hesitated, when he urged me to take
them. I knew no pears grew in that country. I finally took one,
weighed it in my hand, and looked at him, till he bursted out into a
loud laugh. They were ingeniously wrought out of stone or marble, and
looked exactly like pears. I brought them home and gave them to a

Arriving in New Orleans, we took lodgings, and our first business was
to wait on his excellency Governor Miro. Mr. Forman settling within
his government with so large a number of people, under an arrangement
with the Spanish ambassador at New York, Don Diego de Gardoque, gave
him a high standing. Uncle Forman was in person a fine-looking man,
very neat, prepossessing, and of genteel deportment, so that he was
always much noticed.

As there was then no vessel in port destined for the United States, I
had to delay a couple of weeks for one. At length the brig Navarre,
Captain McFadden, made its appearance, and soon loaded for
Philadelphia. There were a number of Americans in waiting, who engaged
their passage with me, on this vessel. Uncle Forman did not leave the
city until after the Navarre had taken its departure. He suggested
that I should take a formal leave of Governor Miro and his secretary,
Don Andre. The secretary was a large, fine-looking man. I politely
asked him if he had any commands for the cape--Cape Francois, a fine
town in the northern part of St. Domingo, usually dignified with the
designation of the _The Cape_--for which port, I believe, the vessel
cleared. "I know not," said the secretary, "to what cape you are
going--only take good care of yourself."

After all were on board, the brig dropped down two or three miles,
where the passengers went ashore, and laid in provisions enough, the
captain said, to have carried us to London after our arrival in
Philadelphia. I may mention something about distances as computed in
those days. From Natchez to New Orleans was called three hundred miles
by water, and only one hundred and fifty by land. From New Orleans to
the Balize, at the mouth of the Mississippi, was reckoned one hundred
and five miles. It was said that such was the immense volume of the
Mississippi river that it kept its course and muddy appearance for a
league out at sea.

There were no ladies among the passengers. We entered into an
arrangement that each passenger should, in rotation, act as caterer
for the party for each day. It fell to my lot to lead off in this
friendly service. We got along very nicely, and with a good deal of
mirthful pleasure, for a couple of weeks, enjoying our viands and wine
as comfortably as if at a regular boarding house. The captain's wife,
however, was something of a drawback to our enjoyment. She was a
vinegary looking creature, and as cross and saucy as her looks
betokened, was low-bred, ill-tempered, and succeeded in making herself
particularly disagreeable. During the pleasant weather portion of our
voyage, she managed, without cause, to raise a quarrel with every
passenger; and what added to her naturally embittered feeling, was
that we only laughed at her folly.

When we arrived in sight of Cuba, the wind arose, and blew almost a
hurricane, causing a heavy sea. We were in such danger of being cast
away on the Florida reefs that the captain summoned all hands on deck
for counsel. But, providentially, we escaped. For near two weeks no
cooking could be done, and each one was thankful to take whatever he
could obtain in one hand, and hold fast to something with the other,
such was the rolling and pitching of our frail vessel. Most of the
passengers were sea-sick; I was among the few who escaped from that
sickening nausea. One night the rain was so heavy, the lightning so
vivid, and thunder so tremendous, that the vessel trembled at every
clap; when I went to my friend Wyckoff, as well as others who were
asleep, informing them that it was a moment of no little danger and

Captain McFadden was a most profane man. But during the hours of our
distress and danger he became very mild and humble, but it lasted no
longer than the storm. The vinegary Mrs. McFadden, too, was very
sensibly affected during this trying period; for, standing in the
companion-way, leading to the cabin, she very humbly and demurely said
that she would go below and make her peace. We all thought she could
not be too quick about it. She was a veritable Katharine, but he was
not a Petruchio.

Before we arrived at the capes of the Delaware, an American sailor,
who had made his escape from a British man-of-war at the mouth of the
Mississippi, sickened and died on board our craft. When we got into
the Delaware, the sailors took his remains on shore and gave them a
decent sepulture. At length we reached Philadelphia in safety.


    Prefatory note, 3

    Memoir of Major S. S. Forman, 5

    Forman's narrative, 5

    Tunis Forman captures two Tories, 6

    Major Lee's strategy, 6

    British foray at Middletown Point, 6, 7

    Major Burrows's loss and captivity, 7

    Denise Forman's services, 7

    General David Forman, 7

    German town battle, 7

    Capture of a British sloop, 8

    A British and Tory scout, 9

    Services of Major Burrows, 9

    Major Burrows's narrow escape, 9, 10

    Denise Forman and Philip Freneau, 10

    Sufferings in British prison ships, 10, 11

    Captain Freneau's after-life, 11, 12

    Monmouth battle, 12

    Fugitives return to New York, 12

    British evacuate New York, 13-15

    Lieutenant-Colonel J. N. Cumming, 14

    Anthony Glean noticed, 14

    Washington parting with his officers, 15

    Washington and Franklin in Federal Convention, 15

    Washington's second inauguration, 16

    Major Forman settles at Cazenovia, N. Y., 17

    His subsequent career, 17, 18

    His narrative--departure for the Ohio, 19

    Detention at Lancaster, 20

    Meeting Charley Morgan, 22

    Scant of funds for traveling, 22

    Arrival at Pittsburg, 23

    Flat-bottomed boats for the journey, 23

    Colonel Turnbull's entertainment, 24

    Departure down the river, 25

    Difficulties of navigation, 25, 26

    Arrival at Wheeling, 26

    Flocks of wild turkeys, 26

    Arrival at Marietta, 27

    Limestone and Columbia, 27

    Arrival at Cincinnati, 27

    General Harmar's hospitality, 27, 28

    Captain Kirby _vs._ Captain Kersey, 28, 29

    General Jonathan Forman noticed, 29

    General Harmar's defeat, 30

    Indian rendezvous at Scioto, 30

    Gallipolis settlement, 30, 31

    Anecdote of Captain Osmun, 31

    Arrival at Louisville, 32

    Fort Jefferson; Fort Steuben, 32

    Ensign Luce and North Bend, 32, 33

    Lacassangue and his station, 33, 34

    Early dancing parties at Louisville, 35, 36

    Generals Wilkinson and St. Clair, 35

    Dr. John F. Carmichael, 36

    Ezekiel Forman starts for Natchez, 36

    Effort to lure ashore and destroy Forman's party, 37

    Louisville incidents; Ashby and family; Mr. Smith; moccasins at
      balls, 38, 39

    An egg-nog frolic, 39, 40

    The Sabbath kept by S. S. Forman, 40

    A billiard-table at Louisville, 40, 41

    A fleet of tobacco boats, 41

    Mr. Buckner purchases Mr. Forman's goods, 42

    Mr. Forman's mishap, 42

    Departure from Louisville, 42, 43

    Incident at Fort Massac, 43

    Planters and sawyers, 44

    Mouth of the Ohio, 44, 45

    An Indian alarm, 45

    Indian visit; dinner, 46

    Visit Indian village, 46, 47

    Arrival at _L'Anse a la Graisse_, 47

    Lieutenant Foucher's hospitality, 48-50

    Lieutenant Foucher noticed, 47, 48-50

    Colonel Pope's tour cited, 50

    Colonel P. B. Bruin noticed, 51, 52

    A cub bear, 52

    Arrival at Natchez, 52

    Walnut Hills settlement project, 52, 53

    Dr. O'Fallon; General Clark; Colonel Holder, 52, 53

    Natchez and surroundings, 53

    Sir Wm. Dunbar noticed, 54

    S. S. Forman's land grant, 55, 58, 59

    Fine society at Natchez, 56

    Mons. and Madam Mansanteo, 56

    Major Stephen Minor noticed, 56, 57

    Colonel Anthony Hutchins noticed, 56

    Sickly at Natchez in 1790, 56, 57

    A round of visits, 57, 58

    Bad treatment of servants, 59

    Colonel Osmun noticed, 59, 60

    Departure for New Orleans, 60

    A genial priest, 60, 61

    Voyage and incidents to Philadelphia, 61-63



Major Forman's Narrative.

Narrative of a Journey down the Ohio and Mississippi in 1789-90. By
Major Samuel S. Forman, of New Jersey. With a Memoir and Illustrative
Notes. By Lyman C. Draper, LL.D. of Wisconsin.

12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

General David Forman of New Jersey in 1789, entered into a negotiation
with the Spanish minister Don Diego de Gardoque, for his brother
Ezekiel Forman of Philadelphia, to emigrate with his family, and about
sixty colored people, men, women and children, and settle in the
Natchez country, then under Spanish authority. Major Samuel S. Forman
accompanied this emigrating party, and in this narrative gives a
minute account of their trip, the places they passed through and at
which they stopped, prominent people they met, with many curious

This book has not been stereotyped, and the edition is a limited one.

_Sent by mail, prepaid, on receipt of the price._

  ROBERT CLARKE & CO., _Publishers_,
    Cincinnati, O.

Transcriber's Note

Archaic spelling is preserved as printed.

Inconsistency in the use of apostrophes in date ranges is preserved as

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

There were some instances of a single inconsistent spelling of a
proper noun where it appears more than once. These, along with
apparent typographic errors, have been repaired as follows:

    Page 19--Foreman amended to Forman--General David Forman, ...

    Page 37--beech amended to beach--... ran on the beach,
    imploring ...

    Page 37--Osmnn amended to Osmun--But for the circumstance of
    Captain Osmun ...

    Page 51--à amended to a--... from _L'Anse a la Graisse_ to
    _Bayou Pierre_, ...

    Page 57--afflcted amended to afflicted--Uncle Forman was
    severely afflicted ...

    Page 58--Pittsburgh amended to Pittsburg--... which had
    traveled with me from Pittsburg ...

    Page 60--ta amended to at--... of the country to exchange
    work at times; ...

    Page 63--Wickoff amended to Wyckoff--... when I went to my
    friend Wyckoff, ...

    Page 66--mocassins amended to moccasins--... Mr. Smith;
    moccasins at balls, ...

    Page 67--Madame Mansant amended to Madam Mansanteo--Mons. and
    Madam Mansanteo, 56

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