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Title: Letters from the Alleghany Mountains
Author: Lanman, Charles
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters from the Alleghany Mountains" ***

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                        THE ALLEGHANY MOUNTAINS.

                            CHARLES LANMAN,
                     AND “ESSAYS FOR SUMMER HOURS.”

                     GEO. P. PUTNAM, 155 BROADWAY.

      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
                            GEO. P. PUTNAM,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                     Southern District of New-York.

                          JOSEPH GALES, ESQ.,

Mr Dear Sir,—

I have two reasons for embellishing this little volume with your
distinguished and honored name. In the first place, the material of
which it is composed, was originally published in the _National
Intelligencer_; and in the second place, I desire to record the fact,
that for many years past, in all matters appertaining to my pen you have
been to me an invaluable counsellor and friend.

      In love and gratitude,
          Very sincerely yours,
              Charles Lanman.
  Washington, D. C., August, 1849.


                               LETTER I.
                                                          Dahlonega,   9

                                LETTER II.
                                                 Trip to Track Rock,  20

                               LETTER III.
                                            Valley of the Nacoochee,  25

                                LETTER IV.
                                                 Cascade of Tuccoah,  31

                                LETTER V.
                                              The Falls of Tallulah,  36

                                LETTER VI.
                                             The Hunter of Tallulah,  47

                               LETTER VII.
                                                     Trail Mountain,  53

                               LETTER VIII.
                                                    Down the Owassa,  58

                                LETTER IX.
                                               Across the Mountains,  65

                                LETTER X.
                                      Notes on the Little Tennessee,  75

                                LETTER XI.
                                                 The Smoky Mountain,  84

                               LETTER XII.
                                          The Cherokees of Carolina,  93

                               LETTER XIII.
                                                   Cherokee Customs, 100

                               LETTER XIV.
                                                Cherokee Characters, 106

                                LETTER XV.
                                                    Hickory Nut Gap, 115

                               LETTER XVI.
                                              Down the French Broad, 122

                               LETTER XVII.
                                             Trip to Black Mountain, 131

                              LETTER XVIII.
                                                The Catawba Country, 139

                               LETTER XIX.
                                     The Mountains and their People, 151

                                LETTER XX.
                                                The Nameless Valley, 157

                               LETTER XXI.
                                             The Valley of Virginia, 166

                                 Geology of the Alleghany Mountains, 173
                                    Soil of the Alleghany Mountains, 182
                                Minerals of the Alleghany Mountains, 186
                   Miscellaneous Remarks on the Alleghany Mountains, 192


                               LETTER I.

                                    Dahlonega, Georgia, April, 1848.

The Cherokee word Dah-lon-e-ga signifies _the place of yellow
metal_; and is now applied to a small hamlet at the foot of the
Alleghany Mountains, in Lumpkin county, Georgia, which is reputed to
be the wealthiest gold region in the United States. It is recorded
of De Soto and his followers that, in the sixteenth century, they
explored this entire Southern country in search of gold, and
unquestionable evidences of their work have been discovered in
various sections of the State. Among these testimonials may be
mentioned the remains of an old furnace, and other works for mining,
which have been brought to light by recent explorations. But the
attention of our own people was first directed to this region while
yet the Cherokees were in possession of the land, though the digging
of gold was not made a regular business until after they had been
politely banished by the General Government. As soon as the State of
Georgia had become the rightful possessor of the soil (according to
_law_), much contention and excitement arose among the people as to
who should have the best opportunities for making fortunes; and, to
settle all difficulties, it was decided by the State Legislature
that the country should be surveyed and divided into lots of forty
and one hundred and sixty acres, and distributed to the people by
lottery. For several years subsequent to that period, deeds of wrong
and outrage were practised to a very great extent by profligate
adventurers who flocked to this El Dorado. In the year 1838,
however, the Government established a branch Mint at this place,
since which time a much better state of things has existed in

The appearance of this village, though not more than a dozen years
old, is somewhat antiquated, owing to the fact that the houses are
chiefly built of logs, and, having never been painted, are
particularly dark and dingy, but uncommonly picturesque in form and
location. The population of the place is about five hundred. It is
located upon a hill, and though the country around is quite uneven,
having been deeply ravined by atmospheric agents, when viewed in
connection with the mountains, (some ten or fifteen miles off,)
which seem to hem it on three sides, presents the appearance of a
pit to a magnificent amphitheatre. On approaching Dahlonega I
noticed that the water-courses had all been mutilated with the spade
and pickaxe, and that their waters were of a deep yellow; and having
explored the country since then, I find that such is the condition
of all the streams within a circuit of many miles. Large brooks (and
even an occasional river) have been turned into a new channel, and
thereby deprived of their original beauty. And of all the hills in
the vicinity of Dahlonega which I have visited, I have not yet seen
one which is not actually riddled with shafts and tunnels. The soil
is of a primitive character, quite yellowish in color, composed of
sand and clay, and uncommonly easy to excavate with the spade.
Heretofore the gold ore of Lumpkin county has been obtained from
what is called the deposit beds, but the miners are now beginning to
direct their attention to the veined ore, which is supposed to be
very abundant in all directions. It is generally found in quartz and
a species of slate stone. The gold region of Georgia, strictly
speaking, is confined to a broad belt, which runs in a northeastern
and southwestern direction from Dahlonega, which may be considered
its centre. Several auriferous veins traverse the town, and it is
common after a rain to see the inhabitants busily engaged in
_hunting_ for gold in the streets. That huge quantities are thus
accumulated in _these_ days I am not ready to believe, whatever may
have been done in former years. I know not that any very remarkable
specimens of gold ore have been found in the immediate vicinity of
Dahlonega, but an idea of the wealth of the State in this particular
may be gathered from the fact, that several lumps have heretofore
been found in different sections, which were worth from five hundred
to one thousand dollars. More valuable specimens have been found in
North Carolina; but while Virginia, the Carolinas, and Alabama have
all produced a goodly amount of gold, I have heard it conceded that
Georgia has produced the largest quantity and decidedly the best

And now with regard to the fortunes that have been made in this
region. They are very few and far between. But, by way of
illustration, I will give two or three incidents which have come to
my knowledge. In passing, however, I may repeat the remark made to
me by an intelligent gentleman, that the expenses of digging out the
gold in this section of country have ever exceeded the gain by about
one hundred per cent. Immense amounts of labor as well as money have
been expended, and, generally speaking, the condition of the people
has not been improved; the very wealth of the country has caused the
ruin of many individuals. The following story is a matter of popular
history. After the State Legislature had divided the Cherokee
Purchase into lots and regularly numbered them, it was rumored about
the country that lot No. 1052 was a great prize, and every body was
on tiptoe with regard to its distribution by the proposed lottery.
At that time 1052 _figured_ in the dreams of every Georgian, and
those figures were then far more _popular_ than the figures 54 40
have been in these latter days. Among the more crazy individuals who
attended the lottery was one Mosely, who had determined either to
draw the much talked of prize _or purchase it of the winner_, even
though it should be at the cost of his entire property, which was
quite large. The drawing took place, and 1052 came into the
possession of a poor farmer named Ellison. Mosely immediately
mounted his horse and hastened to Ellison’s farm, where he found the
child of fortune following his plough. The would-be purchaser made
known the object of his visit, and Ellison only laughed at the
impetuosity of his impatient friend. Ellison said he was not anxious
to sell the lot, but if Mosely _must_ have it, he _might_ have it
for $30,000. Mosely acceded to the terms, and in paying for the lot
sacrificed most of his landed and personal property. The little
property which was left him he was compelled to employ in working
his mines; he labored with great diligence for several years, but he
could never make both ends meet, for his mines were not at all
distinguished for their richness. In process of time he was
compelled to sell 1052 for what it would bring, and having
squandered that remnant of his former wealth, he left the country
for parts unknown, a veritable beggar. But, what is more singular
than all, the present proprietor of 1052 is that identical man
Ellison, who is annually realizing a handsome sum of money from the
newly-discovered gold ore found in the bowels of his lottery lot.

Another instance of good fortune, unattended with any _alloy_, is as
follows: Five years ago a couple of brothers, who were at work upon
the Georgia railroad, took it into their heads to visit Dahlonega
and try their luck in the mining business. They were hardworking
Irishmen, and understood the science of digging to perfection. They
leased one or two lots in this vicinity, and are now reputed to be
worth $15,000.

And now that it has come into my mind, I will mention another
_lottery_ anecdote, which was related to me by an old resident. By
way of introduction, however, I ought here to mention that this
region is famous for the number and size of its rattlesnakes, and
that our hero had an utter abhorrence of the reptile. Among those
who obtained prizes at the great drawing, before alluded to, was an
individual from the southern part of the State, who drew a lot in
this vicinity. In process of time he came to the north to explore
his property, and had called at the house of a farmer near his land,
for the purpose of obtaining a guide. In conversing with the farmer,
he took occasion to express his dislike to the rattlesnake;
whereupon the farmer concluded that he would attempt a speculation.
Remembering that in going to the stranger’s land he might (if he
chose to do so) pass through an out-of-the-way ravine which abounded
in the dreaded snake, the farmer beckoned to the stranger, and they
took their way towards the ravine. After they had arrived at the
spot, hardly a rod did the pedestrians pass without hearing the hiss
of a snake or seeing its fiery tongue, and the stranger was as
completely frightened as any one could possibly be by a similar
cause. In his despair he turned to his companion and said:

“Are snakes as plenty as this _all_ over the country?”

“I can’t say about that, stranger, but one of my neighbors killed
about a hundred last year, and I’ve hearn tell that your land is
very rich in snakes.”

“Now I ain’t a going any further in this infernal region, and I want
to know if you have a horse that you’ll give me for my land—gold
ore, snakes, and all.”

“I have, and a first-rate horse too.”

“It’s a bargain.”

On the following morning, the stranger, like the hero of a novel,
might be seen mounted on a Dahlonega steed, pursuing his devious
pathway along a lonely road towards the south pole.

Of the uncounted gold mines which are found in this region, the most
fruitful at the present times lies about twenty-five miles from
here, in a northerly direction, and is the property of Mr. Lorenzo
Dow Smith. And the success which has ever attended Lorenzo is worth
recording. In a conversation that I had with him in this place,
where he is now staying, I remarked that I should like to embody his
history in a paragraph of my note-book, and he replied to me as

“I was born in Vermont; I came into this Southern country
twenty-four years ago as a clock-pedler, where I drove a good
business. I used to spend my summers among the mountains of the
Cherokee country, partly for the purpose of keeping away from the
fever, and partly with a view of living over again the days of my
boyhood, which were spent among the Green Mountains. I made some
money, and when the gold fever commenced I took it and went to
speculating in gold lots, though I spent many years without finding
lots of gold. I associated with bear hunters, and explored every
corner and stream of this great mountain land, away to the north,
and have seen more glorious scenery than any other live man. I’m
forty years old, unmarried, love good liquor, and go in for having
fun. ’Bout four years ago, it came into my thinking mug that there
must be plenty of gold in the bed of Coosa creek, which runs into
Coosa river. I traded for a lot there, and went to work. I found a
deposit, gave up work, and went to leasing small sections, which are
now worked by a good many men, and give me a decent living. I have
had all sorts of luck in my day—good luck and bad luck. When I’m
prosperous I always hope to be more prosperous still, and when I
have bad luck, I always wish for worse luck—if it’ll only come. I
never allow myself to be disappointed. The longer I live the more
anxious am I to do some good to my fellow-men. I’ve passed the
blossom of my life, and I don’t expect to live many years longer; I
haven’t lived as I ought to have lived, but I hope it’ll be well
with me when I come to take my final sleep. But enough. I’m going
out to my mine on a visit to-morrow, and if you’ll go with me, I’ll
show you some real Vermont trout, and mountain peaks which would
shame the camel’s hump of old Yankee land.”

I did not accept Lorenzo’s tempting invitation, but I made up my
mind that he was an original. Some of the scenery to which he
alluded I shall visit in due time.

In former times, as before intimated, the miners of this region were
mostly foreigners, and an abandoned race, but the principal deposits
and veins are now worked by native Georgians, who are a very
respectable class of people. Among them are many young men, who
labor hard and are intelligent. The dangers of mining in this region
are rather uncommon, owing principally to the lightness of the soil.
Many of the accidents which occur, however, are the result of
carelessness; and the most melancholy one I have heard of is as
follows: A man named Hunt, together with his son and another man
named Smith, were digging for gold on the side of a neighboring
hill. At the end of a tunnel, which was some thirty feet long, they
excavated a large cave or hall, which they had neglected to support
in the usual manner. They apprehended no danger, but were told by a
neighbor that their conduct was imprudent. The elder Hunt thought he
would be on the safe side, and on a certain afternoon went into the
woods to cut the necessary timber, while his son and Smith continued
their labors in the cave. Night came on, and the father, having
accomplished his task, retired to his home. On taking his seat at
the supper table it came into his mind that his son and Smith were
somewhat later in coming home than usual. He waited awhile, but
becoming impatient set out for the cave, and, on reaching it, to his
utter astonishment and horror, he found that the roof of the cave
had fallen in. The alarm was given, and the whole village was
assembled to extricate the unfortunate miners, and by the aid of
torches the bodies were recovered. The boy was found in a running
attitude, as if overtaken while endeavoring to escape, and the man
Smith was found clinging to a single post, which had been vainly
used to prop the ceiling of the cave.

With regard to the means employed by the miners I have but one word
to say. The deposit gold is extracted from the gravel by means of a
simple machine called a rocker, which merely shifts and washes out
the metal. The vein gold is brought to light by means of what is
called a pounding mill, which reduces the rock to the consistency of
sand, when the ore is separated by the use of quick-silver. In this
particular department of their business the Dahlonega miners confess
themselves to be comparatively ignorant; and what proves this to be
the case is the fact, that some of their ore has frequently been
worked over a second time with considerable profit.

But the prominent attraction of Dahlonega, I have not yet touched
upon—I allude to the _Mint Establishment_. The building itself,
which is quite large, has a commanding appearance. It was erected in
1837, at an expense of $70,000, and the machinery which it contains
cost $30,000. It is built of brick, but stuccoed so as to resemble
stone. It gives employment to nine men, who receive for their
services, collectively, the sum of $12,000. The Superintendent, who
also acts as Treasurer, is J. F. Cooper, (son, by the way, of the
famous actor of that name;) the Coiner is D. H. Mason, who has a
very interesting cabinet of minerals, and the Assayer is J. L. Todd.
The Dahlonega Branch Mint and the one located at Charlottsville,
North Carolina, are the only ones in the United States which coin
the gold on the very spot where it is found. The New Orleans Branch,
as well as the mother Mint in Philadelphia, are chiefly occupied
with foreign ores. Of the two first mentioned, Dahlonega has thus
far been the most successful, the coinage in one year having
amounted to $600,000. At the present time, however, the business of
this Mint is said to be on the wane. The coinage of the three branch
Mints mentioned above is uniform with that of the mother Mint, and
it is all systematically tested there for approval. It thus appears
that the whole establishment is a branch of the Treasury Department
of the United States, and under the supervision of the Secretary of
the Treasury, and an account of the progress and condition of the
bureau is annually given to Congress.

The smallest amount of gold ore received at the Dahlonega Mint by
law has to be worth one hundred dollars. When the miner has obtained
a sufficient amount, he takes it to the Mint and delivers it to the
Superintendent. That officer takes an account of it, and passes it
over to the Assayer, who fixes its value, when the miner receives
the allotted sum of money. The operation of coining is performed by
the power of steam, and may be briefly described by the words
rolling, drawing, cutting, and stamping. Some of the Dahlonega gold
is said to be as pure as any in the world, but it is commonly
alloyed with silver. One or two specimens were shown me, which were
just one half silver: and yet it is said that _silver ore_ is
nowhere found in this section of country. The value of pure gold is
one dollar per pennyweight: and I have learned since I came here
that every genuine American eagle is made by law to contain
one-twentieth of silver and one-twentieth of copper. The word
_bullion_, which we hear so often mentioned among commercial men, is
a misnomer, for it is legitimately applied only to unwrought gold,
washed grains or gold dust, amalgamated cakes and balls, and melted
bars and cakes; and the word _ingot_ is applied to a bar of gold,
which may be manufactured into two hundred half eagles, or one
thousand dollars. To give a scientific account of what I have seen
in the Dahlonega Mint would probably please my scientific readers,
but, as I am not writing for them, they must excuse me. “What is
writ, is writ; would it were worthier!”

                             LETTER II.

                           Logan’s Plantation, Georgia, April, 1848.

During my stay at Dahlonega I heard a good deal said about a native
wonder, called “Track Rock,” which was reported to be some thirty
miles off, on the northwestern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On
revolving the information in my mind, I concluded that this rock was
identical with one which had been mentioned to me by Professor James
Jackson, of the University of Georgia, and I also remembered that
the Professor had shown me a specimen of the rock he alluded to,
which contained the imprint or impression of a human foot. My
curiosity was of course excited, and I resolved to visit the natural
or artificial wonder. I made the pilgrimage on foot, and what I saw
and heard of peculiar interest on the occasion the reader will find
recorded in the present letter.

In accomplishing the trip to “Track Rock” and back again to this
place I was two days. On the first day I walked only twenty miles,
having tarried occasionally to take a pencil sketch or hear the
birds, as they actually filled the air with melody. My course lay
over a very uneven country, which was entirely uncultivated,
excepting some half dozen quiet vales, which presented a cheerful
appearance. The woods were generally composed of oak and chestnut,
and destitute to a considerable extent of undergrowth; the soil was
composed of clay and sand, and apparently fertile; and clear
sparkling brooks intersected the country, and were the first that I
had seen in Georgia. I had a number of extensive mountain views,
which were more beautiful than imposing; and among the birds that
attracted my attention were the red-bird, mocking-bird, quail, lark,
poke, woodpecker, jay, king-bird, crow, blue-bird, and dove,
together with a large black-bird, having a red head, (apparently of
the woodpecker genus,) and another smaller bird, whose back was of a
rich black, breast a bright brown, with an occasional white feather
in its wing, which I fancied to be a species of robin. Since these
were my companions, it may be readily imagined that “pleasantly the
_hours_ of Thalaba went by.”

I spent the night at a place called “Tesantee Gap,” in the cabin of
a poor farmer, where I was most hospitably entertained. My host had
a family of nine sons and three daughters, not one of whom had ever
been out of the wilderness region of Georgia. Though the father was
a very intelligent man by nature, he told me that he had received no
education, and could hardly read a chapter in the Bible. He informed
me, too, that his children were but little better informed, and
seemed deeply to regret his inability to give them the schooling
which he felt they needed. “I have always desired,” said he, “that I
could live on _some public road_, so that my girls might
occasionally _see_ a civilized man, since it is fated that they will
never meet with them in society.” I felt sorry for the worthy man,
and endeavored to direct his attention from himself to the
surrounding country. He told me the mountains were susceptible of
cultivation even to their summits, and that the principal
productions of his farm were corn, wheat, rye, and potatoes; also,
that the country abounded in game, such as deer, turkeys, and bears,
and an occasional panther. Some of the mountains, he said, were
covered with hickory, and a peculiar kind of oak, and that on said
mountains gray squirrels were very abundant. The streams, he
informed me, were well supplied with _large minnows_, by which I
afterwards ascertained he meant the brook trout.

While conversing with my old friend, an hour or so before sunset, we
were startled by the baying of his hounds, and on looking up the
narrow road running by his home, we saw a fine-looking doe coming
towards us on the run. In its terror the poor creature made a sudden
turn, and scaling a garden fence was overtaken by the dogs on a spot
near which the wife of my host was planting seeds, when she
immediately seized a bean-pole, and by a single blow deprived the
doe of life. In a very few moments her husband was on the ground,
and, having put his knife to the throat of the animal, the twain
re-entered their dwelling, as if nothing had happened out of the
common order of events. This was the first deer that I ever knew to
be killed by a woman. When I took occasion to compliment the dogs of
my old friend, he said that one of them was a “powerful runner; for
he had known him to follow a deer for three days and three nights.”
Having in view my future rambles among the mountains, I questioned
my companion about the snakes of this region, and, after remarking
that they were “very plenty,” he continued as follows: “But of all
the snake stories you ever heard tell of, I do not believe you ever
heard of a _snake fight_. I saw one, Monday was a week, between a
black-racer and a rattlesnake. It was in the road, about a mile from
here, and when I saw them the racer had the other by the back of the
head, and was coiling his body all around him, as if to squeeze him
to death. The scuffle was pretty severe, but the racer soon killed
the fellow with rattles, and I killed the racer. It was a queer
scrape, and I reckon you do not often see the like in your country.”

I should have obtained some more mites of information from my host
had not a broken tooth commenced aching, and hurried me off to bed.

I left the habitation of my mountain friend immediately after
breakfast the following morning, and “ne’er repassed that hoary
threshold more.”

On the following day I passed through the Blue Ridge, and visited
the Mecca of my pilgrimage, and was—disappointed. I was piloted to
it by a neighboring mountaineer, who remarked, “This is Track Rock,
and it’s no great shakes after all.” I found it occupying an
unobtrusive place by the road side. It is of an irregular form and
quite smooth, rises gradually from the ground to the height of
perhaps three feet, and is about twenty feet long by the most
liberal measurement. It is evidently covered with a great variety of
tracks, including those of men, bears or dogs, and turkeys, together
with indistinct impressions of a man’s hand. Some of the impressions
are half an inch thick, while many of them appear to be almost
entirely effaced. The rock seemed to be a species of slate-colored
soapstone. The conclusion to which I have arrived, after careful
examination, is as follows: This rock is located on what was once an
Indian trail, and, having been used by the Cherokees as a resting
place, it was probably their own ingenuity which conceived and
executed the characters which now puzzle the philosophy of many men.
The scenery about Track Rock is not remarkable for its grandeur,
though you can hardly turn the eye in any direction without
beholding an agreeable mountain landscape. In returning through
Tesantee Gap and the valley below, I met with no adventures worth
recording, and will therefore conclude my present epistle with a
paragraph concerning the plantation where I am now tarrying.

The proprietor is an intelligent and worthy gentleman, who is
reputed to be the nabob of this region. He acquired a portion of his
wealth by digging gold, but is now chiefly devoting himself to
agriculture. He complains of the little advancement which the people
of Northern Georgia are making in the arts of husbandry, and thinks
that it would be much better for the State if the people could be
persuaded to follow the plough, instead of wasting their time and
money in searching for gold, which metal, he seems to think, is
nearly exhausted in this section of country. Among the curious
things which I have seen under his roof, is a small but choice
collection of minerals, fossil remains, and Indian relics, belonging
to his eldest son. Among the latter may be mentioned a heavy stone
pipe, made in imitation of a duck, which was found in Macon county,
North Carolina, fifteen feet below the surface; and also a small
cup, similar to a crucible, and made of an unknown earthy material,
which was found in this county about nine feet below the surface,
and directly under a large tree. But the mail boy’s horn is blowing
and I must close.

                            LETTER III.

                          Valley of Nacoochee, Georgia, April, 1848.

I now write from the most charming valley of this southern
wilderness. The river Nacoochee is a tributary of the Chattahooche,
and, for this country, is a remarkably clear, cold, and picturesque
stream. From the moment that it doffs the title of brook and
receives the more dignified one of river, it begins to wind itself
in a most wayward manner through a valley which is some eight or ten
miles long, when it wanders from the vision of the ordinary
traveller and loses itself among unexplored hills. The valley is
perhaps a mile wide, and, as the surrounding hills are not lofty, it
is distinguished more for its beauty than any other quality; and
this characteristic is greatly enhanced by the fact, that while the
surrounding country remains in its original wilderness the valley
itself is highly cultivated, and the eye is occasionally gratified
by cottage scenes which suggest the ideas of contentment and peace.
Before the window where I am now writing lies a broad meadow, where
horses and cattle are quietly grazing, and from the neighboring
hills comes to my ear the frequent tinkling of a bell, which tells
me that the sheep or goats are returning from their morning rambles
in the cool woods.

And now for the associations connected with the valley of Nacoochee.
Foremost among them all is a somewhat isolated mountain, the summit
of which is nearly three miles distant from the margin of the
valley. It occupies a conspicuous position in all the views of the
surrounding country, and from one point partially resembles the
figure of a crouching bear, from which circumstance it was named the
_Yonah_ Mountain—yonah being the Cherokee for bear. The mountain
bear seems to be proud of his exalted position, and well he may, for
he is the natural guardian of one of the sweetest valleys in the
world. Its height is nearly two thousand feet above the water in its

But the artificial memorials of Nacoochee are deserving of a passing
notice. On the southern side of the valley, and about half a mile
apart, are two mounds, which are the wonder of all who see them.
They are perhaps forty feet high, and similar in form to a half
globe. One of them has been cultivated while the other is covered
with grass and bushes, and surmounted, directly on the top, by a
large pine tree. Into one of them an excavation has been made, and,
as I am informed, pipes, tomahawks, and human bones were found in
great numbers. Connected with these is an Indian legend, which I
will give my readers presently.

Many discoveries have been made in the valley of Nacoochee
corroborating the general impression, that De Soto or some other
adventurer in the olden times performed a pilgrimage through the
northern part of Georgia in search of gold. Some twelve years ago,
for example, half a dozen log cabins were discovered in one portion
of the valley, lying upwards of ten feet below the surface; and, in
other places, something resembling a furnace, together with iron
spoons, pieces of earthenware, and leaden plates were disinterred,
and are now in the possession of the resident inhabitants. In this
connection might also be mentioned the ruin of an old fort, which
may now be seen a few miles north of Nacoochee valley. It is almost
obliterated from the face of the earth, but its various ramparts can
be easily traced by the careful observer. Its purpose we can easily
divine, but with regard to its history even the Indians are entirely

Connected with the valley of Nacoochee are the following legends,
which were related to me by the “oldest inhabitant” of this region.

In this valley, in the olden times, resided _Kostoyeak_, or the
“Sharp Shooter,” a chief of the Cherokee nation. He was renowned for
his bravery and cunning, and among his bitterest enemies was one
_Chonesta_, or the “Black Dog,” a chief of the Tennessees. In those
days there was a Yemassee maiden residing in the low country, who
was renowned for her beauty in all the land, and she numbered among
her many suitors the famous Kostoyeak and four other warriors, upon
each of whom she was pleased to smile; whereupon she discarded all
the others, and among them the Tennessee chief Chonesta. On
returning to his own country he breathed revenge against Kostoyeak,
and threatened that if he succeeded to the hand of the Yemassee
beauty the Cherokee’s tribe should be speedily exterminated. The
merits of the four rival chiefs was equal, and the Yemassee chief
could not decide upon which to bestow his daughter. Kostoyeak was
her favorite, and in order to secure a marriage with him, she
proposed to her father that she should accept that warrior who could
discover where the waters of the Savannah and those of the Tennessee
took their rise among the mountains. Supposing that no such place
existed the father gave his consent, and the great hunt was
commenced. At the end of the first noon Kostoyeak returned with the
intelligence that he had found a gorge—now called the gap of the
Blue Ridge as well as Rabun Gap—where the two great rivers “shake
hands and commence their several journeys, each singing a song of
gladness and freedom.” In process of time the Yemassee chief was
convinced that Kostoyeak told a true story, and he was, therefore,
married to the long-loved maiden of his choice.

Enraged at these events, Chonesta assembled his warriors, and made
war upon the fortunate Cherokee and his whole tribe. The Great
Spirit was the friend of Kostoyeak, and he was triumphant. He slew
Chonesta with his own hand and destroyed his bravest warriors, and
finally became the possessor of half the entire Tennessee valley.

Years rolled on and Kostoyeak as well as his wife were numbered
among the dead. They were buried with every Indian honor in the
valley of Nacoochee, and, to perpetuate their many virtues in after
years, their several nations erected over their remains the _mounds_
which now adorn a portion of the valley where they lived.

The other legend to which I have alluded is as follows: The meaning
of the Indian word Nacoochee is the “Evening Star,” and was applied
to a Cherokee girl of the same name. She was distinguished for her
beauty and a strange attachment for the flowers and the birds of her
native valley. She died in her fifteenth summer, and at the twilight
hour of a summer day. On the evening following her burial a
newly-born star made its appearance in the sky, and all her kindred
cherished the belief that she whom they had thought as lovely as the
star, had now become the brightest of the whole array which looked
down upon the world, and so she has ever been remembered (as well as
the valley where she lived) as Na-coo-chee; or the Evening Star. The
spot of earth where the maiden is said to have been buried is now
covered with flowers, and the waters of the beautiful Nacoochee seem
to be murmuring a perpetual song in memory of the departed.

That my letter may leave a permanent impression upon my reader’s
mind, I will append to it the following poem written by a Georgia
poet, Henry R. Jackson, Esq.

                   Mount Yonah—Vale of Nacoochee.

  Before me, as I stand, his broad, round head
    Mount Yohah lifts the neighboring hills above,
  While, at his foot, all pleasantly is spread
    Nacoochee’s vale, sweet as a dream of love.
    Cradle of Peace! mild, gentle as the dove
  Whose tender accents from yon woodlands swell,
    Must she have been who thus has interwove
  Her name with thee, and thy soft, holy spell,
  And all of peace which on this troubled globe may dwell!

  Nacoochee—in tradition, thy sweet queen—
    Has vanished with her maidens: not again
  Along thy meadows shall their forms be seen;
    The mountain echoes catch no more the strain
    Of their wild Indian lays at evening’s wane;
  No more, where rumbling branches interwine,
    They pluck the jasmine flowers, or break the cane
  Beside the marshy stream, or from the vine
  Shake down, in purple showers, the luscious muscadine.

  Yet round thee hangs the same sweet spirit still!
    Thou art among these hills a sacred spot,
  As if shut out from all the clouds of ill
    That gloom so darkly o’er the human lot.
    On thy green breast the world I quite forgot—
  Its stern contentions—its dark grief and care,
    And I breathed freer, deeper, and blushed not
  At old emotions long, long stifled there,
  Which sprang once more to life in thy calm, loving air.

  I saw the last bright gleam of sunset play
    On Yonah’s lofty head: all quiet grew
  Thy bosom, which beneath the shadows lay
    Of the surrounding mountains; deeper blue
    Fell on their mighty summits; evening threw
  Her veil o’er all, and on her azure brow
    A bright star shone; a trusting form I drew
  Yet closer to my side; above, below,
  Within were peace and hope life may not often know!

  Thou loveliest of earth’s valleys! fare thee well!
    Nor is the parting pangless to my soul.
  Youth, hope and happiness with thee shall dwell,
    Unsullied Nature hold o’er thee control,
    And years still leave thee beauteous as they roll.
  Oh! I could linger with thee! yet this spell
    Must break, e’en as upon my heart it stole,
  And found a weakness there I may not tell—
  An anxious life, a troubled future claim me! fare thee well!

                             LETTER IV.

                                  Clarksville, Georgia, April, 1848.

The little village where I am now staying is decidedly the most
interesting in the northern part of Georgia. There is nothing
particularly fine about its buildings, and it only contains some
three hundred inhabitants, but it commands a magnificent prospect of
two ranges of the Alleghany Mountains. It is remarkable for the
healthfulness of its climate, and is the summer resort of between
forty and fifty of the most wealthy and accomplished families of
Georgia and South Carolina, a number of whom have erected and are
erecting elegant country seats in its immediate vicinity. It
contains a mineral spring, which is said to have saved the lives of
many individuals; and it patronizes two hotels, where the tourist
may obtain all the luxuries of the North as well as the South, and
in a style which must gratify and astonish him, when he remembers
that he has reached the end of carriage travelling, and is on the
confines of an almost impassable wilderness. The water-power in its
neighborhood would supply at least fifty factories, and it yields
more than a sufficient quantity of iron ore to furnish constant
employment to an extensive smelting establishment and furnace. Its
soil is of the best quality, and yields in great abundance every
variety of produce peculiar to a temperate climate. But the chief
attraction of Clarksville is, that it is the centre of some of the
most romantic scenery in the world, and the stopping-place for all
those who visit Nacoochee Valley, Yonah Mountain, the Tuccoah
Cascade, Tallulah Falls, and Tray Mountain. The first two
curiosities alluded to have already been described, and I now
purpose to introduce to my reader the peculiar and beautiful Cascade
of Tuccoah, reserving the two other marvels of nature for future

The Tuccoah is a very small stream—a mere brooklet, and for the most
part is not at all distinguished for any other quality than those
belonging to a thousand other sparkling streams of this region; but,
in its oceanward course, it performs one leap which has given it a
reputation. On account of this leap the aborigines christened it
with the name of _Tuccoah_, or _the beautiful_. To see this cascade,
in your mind’s eye, (and I here partly quote the language of one who
could fully appreciate its beauty,) imagine a sheer precipice of
gray and rugged rock, one hundred and eighty-six feet high, with a
little quiet lake at its base, surrounded by sloping masses of
granite and tall shadowy trees. From the overhanging lips of this
cliff, aloft, between your upturned eyes and the sky comes a softly
flowing stream. After making a joyous leap it breaks into a shower
of heavy spray, and scatters its drops more and more widely and
minute, until, in little more than a drizzling mist, it scatters the
smooth, moss-covered stones lying immediately beneath. All the way
up the sides of this precipice cling, wherever space is afforded,
little tufts of moss and delicate vines and creepers, contrasting
beautifully with the solid granite. There is no stunning noise of
falling waters, but only a dripping, pattering, plashing in the
lake; a murmuring sound, which must be very grateful during the
noontide heat of a summer day. There comes also a soft cool breeze,
constantly from the foot of the precipice, caused by the falling
shower, and this ripples the surface of the pool and gently agitates
the leaves around and overhead.

Connected with the Cascade of Tuccoah is an Indian tradition, which
was related to me by a gentleman connected with the Georgia
University, who obtained it from a Cherokee Chief. The occurrence is
said to be well authenticated, and runneth in this wise: A short
time previous to the Revolution, the Cherokees were waging a very
bitter warfare against a powerful tribe of Indians who dwelt in the
country of the Potomac. During one of their pitched battles, it so
happened that the Cherokees made captive about a dozen of their
enemies, whom they brought into their own country safely bound.
Their intention was to sacrifice the prisoners; but, as they wished
the ceremony to be particularly imposing, on account of the fame of
the captives, it was resolved to postpone the sacrifice until the
following moon. In the meantime the Cherokee braves went forth to
battle again, while the prisoners, now more securely bound than
ever, were left in a large wigwam near Tuccoah, in the especial
charge of an old woman, who was noted for her savage patriotism.

Day followed day, and, as the unfortunate enemies lay in the lodge
of the old woman, she dealt out to them a scanty supply of food and
water. They besought the woman to release them, and offered her the
most valuable of Indian bribes, but she held her tongue and remained
faithful to her trust. It was now the morning of a pleasant day,
when an Indian boy called at the door of the old woman’s lodge and
told her that he had seen a party of their enemies in a neighboring
valley, and he thought it probable that they had come to rescue
their fellows. The woman heard this intelligence in silence, but bit
her lip in anger and defiance. On re-entering her lodge another
appeal for freedom was made, and the prisoners were delighted to see
a smile playing upon the countenance of their keeper. She told them
she had relented, and was willing to let them escape their promised
doom, but it must be on certain conditions. They were first to give
into her hands all their personal effects, which she would bury
under the lodge. She did not wish to be discovered, and they must
therefore depart at the dead of night. She did not wish them to know
how to find their way back to the lodge, whence they might see fit
to take away her reward, and she therefore desired that they should
be blindfolded, and consent to her leading them about two miles
through a thick wood, into an open country, when she would release
them. The prisoners gladly consented; and, while they were suffering
themselves to be stripped of their robes and weapons, a heavy cloud
canopied the sky, as if heralding a storm. At the hour of midnight
loud peals of thunder bellowed through the firmament, and terribly
flashed the lightning. The night and the contemplated deed were
admirably suited, thought the warriors, and so thought the woman
also. She placed leathern bands around the eyes of her captives;
and, having severed the thongs which confined their feet, bade them
follow whither she might lead. They were connected with each other
by iron withes; and so the woman led them to their promised freedom.
Intricate, and winding, and tedious was the way; but not a murmur
was uttered, nor a word spoken. Now has the strange procession
reached a level spot of earth, and the men step proudly on their
way. Now have they reached the precipice of Tuccoah; and, as the
woman walks to the very edge, she makes a sudden wheel, and, one
after the other, are the poor captives launched into the abyss
below. A loud wail of triumph echoes through the air from the lips
of the woman-fiend, and, with the groans of the dying in her ears,
and the very lightning in her path, does she retrace her steps to
her lodge to seek repose, and then on the morrow to proclaim her
cruel and unnatural deed.

In the bottom of the Tuccoah pool may now be gathered small
fragments of a white material, resembling soapstone, and many people
allege that these are the remains of the Indian captives who
perished at the foot of the precipice.

                             LETTER V.

                               Tallulah Falls, Georgia, April, 1848.

As a natural curiosity the _Falls of Tallulah_ are on a par with the
River Saguenay and the Falls of Niagara. They had been described to
me in the most glowing and enthusiastic manner, and yet the reality
far exceeds the scene which I had conceived. They have filled me
with astonishment, and created a feeling strong enough almost to
induce me to remain within hearing of their roar forever.

The Cherokee word _Tallulah_ or _Tarrurah_ signifies _the terrible_,
and was originally applied to the river of that name on account of
its fearful falls. This river rises among the Alleghany mountains,
and is a tributary of the Savannah. Its entire course lies through a
mountain land, and in every particular it is a mountain stream,
narrow, deep, clear, cold, and subject to every variety of mood.
During the first half of its career it winds among the hills as if
in uneasy joy, and then for several miles it wears a placid
appearance, and you can scarcely hear the murmur of its waters.
Soon, tiring of this peaceful course, however, it narrows itself for
an approaching contest, and runs through a chasm whose walls, about
four miles in length, are for the most part perpendicular; and,
after making within the space of half a mile a number of leaps as
the chasm deepens, it settles into a turbulent and angry mood, and
so continues for a mile and a half further, until it leaves the
chasm and regains its wonted character. The Falls of Tallulah,
properly speaking, are five in number, and have been christened
_Lodora_, _Tempesta_, _Oceana_, _Honcon_, and _the Serpentine_.
Their several heights are said to be forty-five feet, one hundred,
one hundred and twenty, fifty, and thirty feet, making, in
connection with the accompanying rapids, a descent of at least four
hundred feet within the space of half a mile. At this point the
stream is particularly winding, and the cliffs of solid granite on
either side, which are perpendicular, vary in height from six
hundred to nine hundred feet, while the mountains which back the
cliffs reach an elevation of perhaps fifteen hundred feet. Many of
the pools are very large and very deep, and the walls and rocks in
their immediate vicinity are always green with the most luxuriant of
mosses. The vegetation of the whole chasm is in fact particularly
rich and varied; for you may here find not only the pine, but
specimens of every variety of the more tender trees, together with
lichens, and vines, and flowers, which would keep the botanist
employed for half a century. Up to the present time, only four paths
have been discovered leading to the margin of the water, and to make
either of these descents requires much of the nerve and courage of
the samphire-gatherer. Through this immense gorge a strong wind is
ever blowing, and the sunlight never falls upon the cataracts
without forming beautiful rainbows, which contrast strangely with
the surrounding gloom and horror; and the roar of the waterfalls,
eternally ascending to the sky, comes to the ear like the voice of
God calling upon man to wonder and admire.

Of the more peculiar features which I have met with in the Tallulah
chasm the following are the only ones which have yet been
christened, viz.: the Devil’s Pulpit, the Devil’s Dwelling, the
Eagle’s Nest, the Deer Leap, Hawthorn’s Pool, and Hanck’s Sliding

_The Devil’s Pulpit_ is a double-headed and exceedingly ragged
cliff, which actually hangs over the ravine, and estimated to be
over six hundred feet high. While standing upon the brow of this
precipice I saw a number of buzzards sitting upon the rocks below,
and appearing like a flock of blackbirds. While looking at them the
thought came into my mind that I would startle them from their
fancied security by throwing a stone among them. I did throw the
stone, and with all my might too, but, instead of going across the
ravine, as I supposed it would, it fell out of my sight, and
apparently at the very base of the cliff upon which I was standing.
This little incident gave me a realizing sense of the immense width
and depth of the chasm. While upon this cliff also, with my arms
clasped around a small pine tree, an eagle came sailing up the chasm
in mid air, and, as he cast his eye upward at my insignificant form,
he uttered a loud shriek as if in anger at my temerity, and
continued on his way, swooping above the spray of the waterfalls.

The _Devil’s Dwelling_ is a cave of some twenty feet in depth, which
occupies a conspicuous place near the summit of a precipice
overlooking the Honcon Fall. Near its outlet is a singular rock,
which resembles (from the opposite side of the gorge) the figure of
a woman in a sitting posture, who is said to be the wife or
better-half of the devil. I do not _believe_ this story, and cannot
therefore endorse the prevailing opinion.

The _Eagle’s Nest_ is a rock which projects from the brow of a cliff
reputed to be seven hundred feet high, and perpendicular. The finest
view of this point is from the margin of the water, where it is
grand beyond compare. To describe it with the pen were utterly
impossible, but it was just such a scene as would have delighted the
lamented Cole, and by a kindred genius alone can it ever be placed
on the canvas.

The _Deer Leap_ is the highest cliff in the whole chasm, measuring
about nine hundred feet, and differs from its fellows in two
particulars. From summit to bottom it is almost without a fissure or
an evergreen, and remarkably smooth; and over it, in the most
beautiful manner imaginable, tumbles a tiny stream, which scatters
upon the rocks below with infinite prodigality; the purest of
diamonds and pearls appearing to be woven into wreaths of foam. It
obtained its name from the circumstance that a deer was once pursued
to this point by a hound, and in its terror, cleared a pathway
through the air, and perished in the depths below.

_Hawthorn’s Pool_ derives its name from the fact that in its
apparently soundless waters a young and accomplished English
clergyman lost his life while bathing; and _Hanck’s Sliding Place_
is so called because a native of this region once slipped off of the
rock into a sheet of foam, but by the kindness of Providence he was
rescued from his perilous situation not much injured, but immensely

But of all the scenes which I have been privileged to enjoy in the
Tallulah chasm, the most glorious and superb was witnessed in the
night time. For several days previous to my coming here the woods
had been on fire, and I was constantly on the watch for a night
picture of a burning forest. On one occasion, as I was about
retiring, I saw a light in the direction of the Falls, and concluded
that I would take a walk to the Devil’s Pulpit, which was distant
from my tarrying place some hundred and fifty yards. Soon as I
reached there I felt convinced that the fire would soon be in plain
view, for I was on the western side of the gorge, and the wind was
blowing from the eastward. In a very few moments my anticipations
were realized, for I saw the flame licking up the dead leaves which
covered the ground, and also stealing up the trunk of every dry tree
in its path. A warm current of air was now wafted to my cheek by the
breeze, and I discovered with intense satisfaction that an immense
dead pine which hung over the opposite precipice (and whose dark
form I had noticed distinctly pictured against the crimson
background) had been reached by the flame, and in another moment it
was entirely in a blaze. The excitement which now took possession of
my mind was absolutely painful; and, as I threw my arms around a
small tree, and peered into the horrible chasm, my whole frame shook
with an indescribable emotion. The magnificent torch directly in
front of me did not seem to have any effect upon the surrounding
darkness, but threw a ruddy and death-like glow upon every object in
the bottom of the gorge. A flock of vultures which were roosting far
down in the ravine were frightened out of their sleep, and in their
dismay, as they attempted to rise, flew against the cliffs and
amongst the trees, until they finally disappeared; and a number of
bats and other winged creatures were winnowing their way in every
direction. The deep black pools beneath were enveloped in a more
intense blackness, while the foam and spray of a neighboring fall
were made a thousand-fold more beautiful than before. The vines, and
lichens, and mosses seemed to cling more closely than usual to their
parent rocks; and when an occasional ember fell from its great
height far down, and still further down into the abyss below, it
made me dizzy and I retreated from my commanding position. In less
than twenty minutes from that time the fire was exhausted, and the
pall of night had settled upon the lately so brilliant chasm, and no
vestige of the truly marvellous scene remained but an occasional
wreath of smoke fading away into the upper air.

During my stay at the Falls of Tallulah I made every effort to
obtain an Indian legend or two connected with them, and it was my
good fortune to hear one which has never yet been printed. It was
originally obtained by the white man who first discovered the Falls
from the Cherokees, who lived in this region at the time. It is in
substance as follows: Many generations ago it so happened that
several famous hunters, who had wandered from the West towards what
is now the Savannah river, in search of game, never returned to
their camping grounds. In process of time the curiosity as well as
the fears of the nation were excited, and an effort was made to
ascertain the cause of their singular disappearance. Whereupon a
party of medicine-men were deputed to make a pilgrimage towards the
great river. They were absent a whole moon, and, on returning to
their friends, they reported that they had discovered a dreadful
fissure in an unknown part of the country, through which a mountain
torrent took its way with a deafening noise. They said that it was
an exceedingly wild place, and that its inhabitants were a species
of _little men and women_, who dwelt in the crevices of the rocks
and in the grottoes under the waterfalls. They had attempted by
every artifice in their power to hold a council with the little
people, but all in vain; and, from the shrieks they frequently
uttered, the medicine-men knew that they were the enemies of the
Indian race; and, therefore, it was concluded in the nation at large
that the long lost hunters had been decoyed to their death in the
dreadful gorge which they called Tallulah. In view of this little
legend, it is worthy of remark that the Cherokee nation, previous to
their departure for the distant West, always avoided the Falls of
Tallulah, and were seldom found hunting or fishing in their

P. S. Since writing the above, I have met with another local poem by
Henry R. Jackson, Esq., which contains so much of the true spirit of
poetry, that I cannot refrain from giving it to my readers. It was
inspired by the roar of Tallulah, and is as follows:—


  But hark! beneath yon hoary precipice,
    The rush of mightier waters, as they pour
  In foaming torrents through the dark abyss
    Which echoes back the thunders of their roar.
    Approach the frightful gorge! and gazing o’er,
  What mad emotions through their bosoms thrill!
    Hast ever seen so dread a sight before?
  Tallulah! by that name we hail thee still,
  And own that thou art rightly called THE TERRIBLE!

  In vain o’er thee shall glow with wild delight,
    The painter’s eye, and voiceless still shall be
  The poet’s tongue, who from this giddy height
    Shall kindle in thine awful minstrelsy!
    Thou art too mighty in thy grandeur—we
  Too weak to give fit utterance to the soul!
    Thy billows mock us with their tempest glee,
  As thundering on, while countless ages roll,
  Thou scornest man’s applause alike with man’s control!

  Yet standing here where mountain eagles soar,
    Among these toppling crags, to plant their nest,
  I catch an inspiration from thy roar,
    Which will not let my spirit be at rest.
    I cast me down upon the massive breast
  Of this huge rock, that lifts to meet the blast,
    Far, far above thy foam, his granite crest,
  And eager thoughts come gathering thick and fast,
  The voices of the future blending with the past!

  I gaze across the yawning gorge and seem
    Once more to see upon yon heights that rear
  Their summits up to catch the sunset gleam,
    The red man of the wilderness appear,
    With bounding step, and bosom broad and bare,
  And painted face, and figure lithe and tall,
    Wild as surrounding nature; and I hear
  From yonder precipice his whoop and call,
  That mingle fiercely with the roaring water-fall!

  But lo! he pauses, for he sees _thee_ now,
    Dread cataract!—he stands entranced—his yell
  Is hushed; appalled he looks where far below,
    Thy waters boil with a tumultuous swell.
    Thou glorious orator of Nature! well
  May his rude bosom own the majesty
    Of thy dread eloquence; he hears the knell
  Of human things—he bends the suppliant knee,
  To the Great Spirit of THE TERRIBLE in thee.

  Once more I look!—the dusky form has gone—
    Passed with the onward course of time, and passed
  To come no more; perhaps a king upon
    Yon height he sleeps, rocked by the winter’s blast
    In couch all regal, where dead hands have cast
  His glorious bones the nearest to the stars,
    And left him there to rest in peace at last,
  Forgetful of his glory, scalps and scars—
  The unsung Hector of a hundred bloody wars.

  Again I gaze, and other forms appear,
    Of milder mien and far more gentle grace,
  And softer tones are falling on my ear;
    And yet, methinks, less kindred with the place.
    Another, and (it may be) nobler race
  Have made these hills their own, and they draw near
    With kindling spirits, yet with cautious pace;
  Youth, age and wisdom, with his brow of care,
  And joyous beauty, that has never wept a tear.

  And through the lapse of many ages they
    Shall come; year after year to thee shall bring
  The searcher after knowledge, and the gay
    Who sport through life as though a morn in spring;
    And tears shall fall, and the light laugh shall ring
  Beside thee, and the lonely heart shall seek
    Relief from its eternal sorrowing—
  And all shall feel upon their spirits break,
  Thoughts wonderful; emotions which they may not speak.

  I turn towards the coming time and hear
    The voice of a great people which shall dwell
  Among these mountains, free as their own air,
    And chainless as thy current’s ceaseless swell.
    Behold them growing into power! They fell
  The old primeval forests which have stood
    For ages in the valleys; they dispel
  The shades from Nature’s face, and thickly strewed,
  Their villages spring up amid the solitude.

  I look again, and I behold them not;
    Silence resumes once more her ancient reign.
  A solitary form stands on the spot,
    Where mine had stood; around on hill and plain,
    The palace crumbles, and the gorgeous fane
  Sinks into dust; he weeps above the tomb
    Of human pride, and feels that it is vain;
  Yet shall thy voice arise amid the gloom
  Of silent hearths and cities, scornful of their doom.

  I look once more: behold ’tis changed again,
    And yet ’tis unchanged! Earth has upward shot
  Her twigs from naked mountain, vale and plain;
    How rankly have they grown above the spot,
    Where cities crumble, and their builders rot!
  Again the forest moans beneath the blast,
    The eagle finds on mountain, cliff and grot,
  Once more his eyrie undisturbed; the vast
  And melancholy wilderness o’er all is cast.

  And lo! upon the spot where I had stood,
    A second form—how like to mine! has ta’en
  His lonely place, and hears the solitude
    Return thy stunning anthem back again,
    Like distant roarings of some mighty main;
  The earth around lies in her primal dress:
    And far above, just entering on her wane,
  The full round moon with not a ray the less,
  Looks calmly forth as now, upon the wilderness.

  He treads the earth, nor dreams that he has trod
    On human dust. The oak that o’er him waves
  So proudly, tells him not how, through the sod,
    Its roots sucked nourishment from human graves.
    The renovated stream its channel laves
  Beside his feet as freshly as of old;
    Its moist bank not a lingering record saves
  Of those who dried its sources; flowers unfold
  Their tints, nor tell how they have fed on human mould.

  Now from the broad expanse his eye surveys,
    Ambition! summon forth thy votaries!
  Whose eagle vision drank the noontide blaze,
    Whose eagle pinions fanned the highest breeze.
    Power! thou that gloried’st in the bending knees
  Of millions of God’s humbled creatures—seek
    Thy favorites now, who strode through bloody seas
  To thrones, it may be, and upon the weak,
  Bade human passion all her vengeance wreak!

  Bid them arise! stand forth! each in his place
    From the broad waste, to greet the gazer’s sight
  With bright insignia, which in life did grace
    The brow, or give the bounding heart delight.
    Arise! each to the stature of his might,
  And tell of how he lived and how he died!
    Say! comes a single voice upon the night?
  Rises a single form above the common tide?
  Ambition! Glory! Power! oh! where do ye abide?

  Speak, Suffering! call thy pallid sons!
    And Poverty! thy millions marshal forth!
  Thy starving millions, with their rags and groans,
    Who knew hell’s tortures on God’s smiling earth!
    Name o’er thy thoughtless legions, reckless Mirth?
  And Disappointment! with thy sable brow,
    Summon thy slaves of great or little worth!
  And Suicide! thou child of darkest woe,
  Speak to thy bleeding victims, thou, who laid’st them low!

  Behold they come not! Still he stands alone—
    He gazes upward to the midnight sky,
  The same dim vault where orbs as brightly shone,
    When watched by the Chaldean’s wakeful eye,
    As now they shine; his dreamings are of high
  And holy things; to him the earth is young—
    The heavens are young; in joyous infancy
  A nation buds around—to whom belong
  No past, no memories, but a future bright and strong.

                             LETTER VI.

                               Tallulah Falls, Georgia, April, 1848.

The subject of my present letter is Adam Vandever, “the Hunter of
Tallulah.” His fame reached my ears soon after arriving at this
place, and, having obtained a guide, I paid him a visit at his
residence, which is planted directly at the mouth of the Tallulah
chasm. He lives in a log-cabin, occupying the centre of a small
valley, through which the Tallulah river winds its wayward course.
It is completely hemmed in on all sides by wild and abrupt
mountains, and one of the most romantic and beautiful nooks
imaginable. Vandever is about sixty years of age, small in stature,
has a regular built weasel face, a small gray eye, and wears a long
white beard. He was born in South Carolina, spent his early manhood
in the wilds of Kentucky, and the last thirty years of his life in
the wilderness of Georgia. By way of a frolic, he took a part in the
Creek war, and is said to have killed more Indians than any other
white man in the army. In the battle of Ottassee alone, he is
reported to have sent his rifle-ball through the hearts of twenty
poor heathen, merely because they had an undying passion for their
native hills, which they could not bear to leave for an unknown
wilderness. But Vandever aimed his rifle at the command of his
country, and of course the charge of cold-blooded butchery does not
rest upon his head. He is now living with his _third_ wife, and
claims to be the father of _over thirty children_, only five of
whom, however, are living under his roof, the remainder being dead
or scattered over the world. During the summer months he tills, with
his own hand, the few acres of land which constitute his domain. His
live stock consists of a mule and some half dozen of goats, together
with a number of dogs.

On inquiring into his forest life, he gave me, among others, the
following particulars. When the hunting season commences, early in
November, he supplies himself with every variety of shooting
materials, steel-traps, and a comfortable stock of provisions, and,
placing them upon his mule, starts for some wild region among the
mountains, where he remains until the following spring. The shanty
which he occupies during this season is of the rudest character,
with one side always open, as he tells me, for the purpose of having
an abundance of fresh air. In killing wild animals he pursues but
two methods, called “fire-lighting” and “still-hunting.” His
favorite game is the deer, but he is not particular, and secures the
fur of every four-legged creature which may happen to cross his
path. The largest number of skins that he ever brought home at one
time was six hundred, among which were those of the bear, the black
and gray wolf, the panther, the wild-cat, the fox, the coon, and
some dozen other varieties. He computes the entire number of deer
that he has killed in his lifetime at four thousand. When spring
arrives, and he purposes to return to his valley home, he packs his
furs upon his old mule, and, seating himself upon the pile of
plunder, makes a bee-line out of the wilderness. And by those who
have seen him in this homeward-bound condition, I am told that he
presents one of the most curious and romantic pictures imaginable.
While among the mountains, his beast subsists upon whatever it may
happen to glean in its forest rambles, and, when the first supply of
his own provisions is exhausted, he usually contents himself with
wild game, which he is often compelled to devour unaccompanied with
bread or salt. His mule is the smallest and most miserable looking
creature of the kind that I ever saw, and glories in the singular
name of “The Devil and Tom Walker.” When Vandever informed me of
this fact, which he did with a self-satisfied air, I told him that
the first portion of the mule’s name was more applicable to himself
than to the dumb beast; whereupon he “grinned horribly a ghastly
smile,” as if I had paid him a compliment. Old Vandever is an
illiterate man, and when I asked him to give me his opinion of
President Polk, he replied: “I never seed the Governor of this
State; for, when he came to this country some years ago, I was off
on ’tother side of the ridge, shooting deer. I voted for the
General, and that’s all I know about him.” Very well! and this,
thought I, is one of the freemen of our land, who help to elect our

On questioning my hunter friend with regard to some of his
adventures, he commenced a rigmarole narrative, which would have
lasted a whole month had I not politely requested him to keep his
mouth closed while I took a portrait of him in pencil. His stories
all bore a strong family likeness, but were evidently to be relied
on, and proved conclusively that the man knew not what it was to

As specimens of the whole, I will outline a few. On one occasion he
came up to a large gray wolf, into whose head he discharged a ball.
The animal did not drop, but made its way into an adjoining cavern
and disappeared. Vandever waited awhile at the opening, and as he
could not see or hear his game, he concluded that it had ceased to
breathe, whereupon he fell upon his hands and knees, and entered the
cave. On reaching the bottom, he found the wolf alive, when a
“clinch fight” ensued, and the hunter’s knife completely severed the
heart of the animal. On dragging out the dead wolf into the
sunlight, it was found that his lower jaw had been broken, which was
probably the reason why he had not succeeded in destroying the

At one time, when he was out of ammunition, his dogs fell upon a
large bear, and it so happened that the latter got one of the former
in his power, and was about to squeeze it to death. This was a sight
the hunter could not endure, so he unsheathed his huge hunting-knife
and assaulted the black monster. The bear tore off nearly every rag
of his clothing, and in making his first plunge with the knife he
completely cut off two of his own fingers instead of injuring the
bear. He was now in a perfect frenzy of pain and rage, and in making
another effort succeeded to his satisfaction, and gained the
victory. That bear weighed three hundred and fifty pounds.

On another occasion he had fired at a large buck near the brow of a
precipice some thirty feet high, which hangs over one of the pools
in the Tallulah river. On seeing the buck drop, he took it for
granted that he was about to die, when he approached the animal for
the purpose of cutting its throat. To his great surprise, however,
the buck suddenly sprung to his feet and made a tremendous rush at
the hunter with a view of throwing him off the ledge. But what was
more remarkable, the animal succeeded in its effort, though not
until Vandever had obtained a fair hold of the buck’s antlers, when
the twain performed a somerset into the pool below. The buck made
its escape, and Vandever was not seriously injured in any
particular. About a month subsequent to that time he killed a buck,
which had a bullet wound in the lower part of its neck, whereupon he
concluded that he had finally triumphed over the animal which had
given him the unexpected ducking.

But the most remarkable escape which old Vandever ever experienced
happened on this wise. He was encamped upon one of the loftiest
mountains in Union county. It was near the twilight hour, and he had
heard the howl of a wolf. With a view of ascertaining the direction
whence it came, he climbed upon an immense boulder-rock, (weighing
perhaps fifty tons,) which stood on the very brow of a steep hill
side. While standing upon this boulder he suddenly felt a swinging
sensation, and to his astonishment he found that it was about to
make a fearful plunge into the ravine half a mile below him. As
fortune would have it, the limb of an oak tree drooped over the
rock; and, as the rock started from its tottlish foundation, he
seized the limb, and thereby saved his life. The dreadful crashing
of the boulder as it descended the mountain side came to the
hunter’s ear while he was suspended in the air, and by the time it
had reached the bottom he dropped himself _on the very spot_ which
had been vacated by the boulder. Vandever said that this was the
only time in his life when he had been really frightened; and he
also added, that for one day after this escape he did not care a
finger’s snap for the finest game in the wilderness.

While on my visit to Vandever’s cabin, one of his boys came home
from a fishing expedition, and on examining his fish I was surprised
to find a couple of _shad_ and three or four _striped bass_ or
_rock-fish_. They had been taken in the Tallulah just below the
chasm, by means of a wicker-net, and at a point distant from the
ocean at least two hundred and fifty miles. I had been informed that
the Tallulah abounded in trout, but I was not prepared to find
salt-water fish in this remote mountain wilderness.

Since I have introduced the above youthful Vandever to my readers, I
will record a single one of his deeds, which ought to give him a
fortune, or at least an education. The incident occurred when he was
in his twelfth year. He and a younger brother had been gathering
berries on a mountain side, and were distant from home about two
miles. While carelessly tramping down the weeds and bushes, the
younger boy was bitten by a rattlesnake on the calf of his leg. In a
few moments thereafter the unhappy child fell to the ground in great
pain, and the pair were of course in unexpected tribulation. The
elder boy, having succeeded in killing the rattlesnake, conceived
the idea, as the only alternative, of carrying his little brother
home upon his back. And this deed did the noble fellow accomplish.
For two long miles did he carry his heavy burden, over rocks and
down the water-courses, and in an hour after he had reached his
father’s cabin the younger child was dead; and the heroic boy was in
a state of insensibility from the fatigue and heat which he had
experienced. He recovered, however, and is now apparently in the
enjoyment of good health, though when I fixed my admiring eyes upon
him it seemed to me that he was far from being strong, and it was
evident that a shadow rested upon his brow.

                            LETTER VII.

                                 Trail Mountain, Georgia, May, 1848.

I now write from near the summit of the highest mountain in Georgia.
I obtained my first view of this peak while in the village of
Clarksville, and it presented such a commanding appearance, that I
resolved to surmount it, on my way to the North, although my
experience has proven that climbing high mountains is always more
laborious than profitable. I came here on the back of a mule, and my
guide and companion on the occasion was the principal proprietor of
Nacoochee valley, Major Edward Williams. While ascending the
mountain, which occupied about seven hours, (from his residence,)
the venerable gentleman expatiated at considerable length on the
superb scenery to be witnessed from its summit, and then informed me
that he had just established a dairy on the mountain, which, it was
easy to see, had become his hobby. He described the “ranges” of the
mountains as affording an abundance of the sweetest food for cattle,
and said that he had already sent to his dairy somewhere between
fifty and eighty cows, and was intending soon to increase the number
to one hundred. He told me that his dairyman was an excellent young
man from Vermont, named Joseph E. Hubbard, to whom he was indebted
for the original idea of establishing the dairy. While journeying
through this region the young man chanced to stop at the major’s
house, and though they were perfect strangers, they conversed upon
matters connected with farming, and soon became acquainted; and the
stranger having made known the fact that he knew how to make butter
and cheese, a bargain was struck, which has resulted in the
establishment already mentioned. The Williams dairy is said to be
the only one in the entire State of Georgia, and it is worthy of
remark, in this connection, that Major Williams (as well as his
dairyman) is a native of New-England. He has been an exile from
Yankee land for upwards of twenty years, and though nearly seventy
years of age, it appears that his natural spirit of enterprise
remains in full vigor.

_Trail Mountain_ was so named by the Cherokees, from the fact that
they once had a number of _trails_ leading to the summit, to which
point they were in the habit of ascending for the purpose of
discovering the camp-fires of their enemies during the existence of
hostilities. It is the king of the Blue Ridge, and reported to be
five thousand feet above the waters of the surrounding country, and
perhaps six thousand feet above the level of the ocean. A carpet of
green grass and weeds extends to the very top, and as the trees are
small, as well as “few and far between,” the lover of extensive
scenery has a fine opportunity of gratifying his taste. I witnessed
a sunset from this great watch-tower of the South, and I know not
that I was ever before more deeply impressed with the grandeur of a
landscape scene. The horizon formed an unbroken circle, but I could
distinctly see that in one direction alone (across South Carolina
and part of Georgia) extended a comparatively level country, while
the remaining three-quarters of the space around me appeared to be a
wilderness of mountains. The grandest display was towards the north,
and here it seemed to me that I could count at least twenty distinct
ranges, fading away to the sky, until the more remote range melted
into a monotonous line. No cities or towns came within the limit of
my vision; no, nor even an occasional wreath of smoke, to remind me
that human hearts were beating in the unnumbered valleys. A crimson
hue covered the sky, but it was without a cloud to cheer the
prospect, and the solemn shadow which rested upon the mountains was
too deep to partake of a single hue from the departing sun. Grandeur
and gloom, like twin spirits, seemed to have subdued the world,
causing the pulse of nature to cease its accustomed throb. “At one
stride came the dark,” and, as there was no moon, I retreated from
the peak with pleasure, and sought the rude cabin, where I was to
spend the night. While doing this, the distant howl of a wolf came
to my ear, borne upward on the quiet air from one of the deep
ravines leading to the base of the mountain.

As I was the guest of my friends Williams and Hubbard, I whiled away
the evening in their society, asking and answering a thousand
questions. Among the matters touched upon in our conversation was a
certain mysterious “water-spout,” of which I had heard a great deal
among the people in my journeying, and which was said to have fallen
upon Trail Mountain. I again inquired into the particulars, and
Major Williams replied as follows:

“This water-spout story has always been a great botheration to me.
The circumstance occurred several years ago. A number of hunters
were spending the night in the very ravine where this shanty now
stands, when, about midnight, they heard a tremendous roaring in the
air, and a large torrent of water fell upon their camp and swept it,
with all its effects and its inmates, about a dozen yards from the
spot where they had planted their poles. There were three hunters,
and one of them was severely injured on the head by the water, and
all of them completely drenched. They were of course much alarmed at
the event, and concluded that a spring farther up the mountain had
probably broken away; but when morning came they could find no
evidences of a spring, and every where above their camping place the
ground was perfectly dry, while on the lower side it was completely
saturated. They were now perplexed to a marvellous degree, and
returned to the lower country impressed with the idea that a
water-spout had burst over their heads.”

I of course attempted no explanation of this phenomenon, but Mr.
Hubbard gave it as his opinion that if the affair actually did
occur, it originated from a whirlwind, which might have taken up the
water from some neighboring river, and dashed it by the merest
accident upon the poor hunters. But this reasoning seemed to me like
getting “out of the frying pan into the fire;” whereupon I concluded
to “tell the tale as ’twas told to me,” for the especial benefit of
Professor Espy.

But to return to the dairy, which is unquestionably the chief
attraction (though far from being a romantic one) connected with
Trail Mountain. Heretofore a cheese establishment has been
associated in my mind with broad meadow lands, spacious and
well-furnished out-houses, and a convenient market. But here we have
a dairy on the top of a mountain, distant from the first farm-house
some fifteen miles, and inaccessible by any conveyance but that of a
mule or well-trained horse. The bells of more than half a hundred
cows are echoing along the mountain side; and, instead of clover,
they are feeding upon the luxuriant weed of the wilderness; instead
of cool cellars, we have here a hundred tin pans arranged upon
tables in a log cabin, into which a cool spring pours its refreshing
treasure; instead of a tidy and matronly housewife to superintend
the turning of the curd, we have an enterprising young Yankee, a
veritable Green Mountain boy; and instead of pretty milkmaids, the
inferiors of this establishment are huge negroes, and all of the
masculine gender. And this is the establishment which supplies the
people of Georgia with cheese, and the material out of which the
scientific caterer manufactures the palatable Welsh Rabbit.

                            LETTER VIII.

                                  Murphy, North Carolina, May, 1848.

The distance from Hubbard’s Cabin, on Trail Mountain, to the Owassa
river, in a direct line, is eight miles, but by the ordinary
mule-route it is thirteen. In coming to this river I took the direct
route, albeit my only guide was an ancient Indian trail. My friend
Hubbard doubted whether I could make the trip alone, but I was
anxious to save time and labor, so I determined on trying the
experiment. I shouldered my knapsack and started immediately after
an early breakfast, and for a distance of two miles every thing
turned out to my entire satisfaction. I was now standing upon the
extreme summit of the Blue Ridge, and within a stone’s throw of two
springs which empty their several waters into the Gulf of Mexico and
the Ohio river. While stopping here to obtain a little breath, I
discovered a large spot of bare earth, which I took to be a deer
yard, and directly across the middle of it the fresh tracks of a
large wolf. I had no gun with me, and this discovery made me a
little nervous, which resulted, as I proceeded on my journey, in my
losing the trail upon which I had started. I soon came to a brook,
however, which rushed down an immense ravine at an angle of
forty-five degrees, and I continued my way feeling quite secure. My
course lay down, down, down, and then, as I wandered from the brook,
it was up, up, up. At the rate that I travelled I knew that I ought
to reach my place of destination in at least one hour, but four
hours elapsed and I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I was
most decidedly lost, and that, too, among what I fancied to be the
wildest and most lonely mountains on the face of the earth. Then
came the thought of spending the night in the wilderness, alone and
unprotected, to be destroyed by the wild animals or to be starved to
death. I resolved, however, to continue along the brook, knowing
that it must come out “somewhere;” and, as I was by this time in a
most painful state of excitement, I clambered up the cliffs and ran
down the hills at what now appears to me to have been a fearful
rate. The sun was excessively hot, and at every rivulet that I
crossed I stopped to slake my thirst. The brook was constantly
making a new turn, and leaping over ledges of rocks more than a
hundred feet high, and every new bluff that I saw (and there seemed
to be no end to them) began to shoot a pang to my bewildered brain.
At one time I startled a herd of deer from a cool ravine, where they
were spending the noontide hours; and on one occasion I was within a
single foot of stepping on a rattlesnake, and when I heard his
fearful rattle I made a leap which would have astonished even Sands,
Lent & Co., or any other circus magicians. It was now the middle of
the afternoon, and my blood seemed to have reached the temperature
of boiling heat; my heart began to palpitate, and I came to the
conclusion that the critics would never again have an opportunity of
doubting my adventures in the wilderness. Just in the nick of time,
however, I heard the howling music of a pack of hounds, and in a few
moments a beautiful doe and some half a dozen dogs shot across my
path like a “rushing mighty wind.” This little incident led me to
believe that I was not very far from a settlement, and had a
tendency to revive my spirits. The result was that I reached the
cottage of an old gentleman named Riley, in the valley of Owassa,
just as the sun was setting, where I was treated with the utmost
kindness by his consort—having travelled at least twenty miles on
account of my mishap. I had lost my appetite, but was persuaded to
drink two cups of coffee and then retire to bed. I slept until
daybreak, without being visited by an unpleasant dream, and arose on
the following morning a new man. On the following day I travelled
down the Owassa valley a distance of thirty miles, until I reached
the very pretty place where I am now tarrying. The Cherokee word
Owassa signifies _the main river, or the largest of the
tributaries_: and the paraphrase of this name into _Hiowassee_ by
the map-makers is only a ridiculous blunder. So I have been
informed, at any rate, by one of the oldest Cherokees now living.
The Owassa is a tributary of the noble Tennessee, and is as clear,
beautiful, rapid and picturesque a mountain river as I have ever
seen. At Wiley’s cottage it is perhaps one hundred feet wide, and at
this point it is not far from one hundred and fifty yards. It is
quite circuitous in its course, and the valley through which it runs
is narrow, but very fertile and pretty well cultivated. The people
live almost exclusively in log cabins, and appear to be intelligent
and moral, though apparently destitute of all enterprise.

The only novelty that I noticed on the road to this place was the
spot known as _Fort Embree_. The only evidences that there ever was
a fortification here are a breastwork of timber, a lot of demolished
pickets, and two or three block-houses, which are now in a
dilapidated condition. The site is a commanding one, and takes in
some of the grandest mountain outlines that I have yet seen. This
fort, so called, was made by the General Government for the purpose
of herding the poor Cherokees previous to their final banishment
into exile—a most humane and christian-like work, indeed! How
reluctant the Indians were to leave this beautiful land may be shown
by the fact, that a number of women destroyed themselves within this
very fort rather than be driven beyond the Mississippi. And a
gentleman who saw the Indians, when they were removed, tells me that
they were actually driven along the road like a herd of wild and
unruly animals, a number of them having been shot down in the
vicinity of this place. All these things may have been published,
but I have never seen them in print; and I now put them in print
with the view of shaming our heartless and cruel Government for its
unnatural conduct in times past. The Cherokees were a nation of
mountaineers, and, had a wise policy been pursued with regard to
them, they might now be chasing the deer upon these mountains, while
all the valleys of the land might have been in a state of
cultivation, even as they are now. Not only would they have had the
happiness of hunting their favorite game upon their native hills,
but they might have been educated with more real satisfaction to
themselves than they can be in the Far West. In proof of the opinion
that they might have lived here in honor and comfort, it may be
mentioned that the few Cherokees who were permitted to remain in
Carolina, are now considered the most polite and inoffensive of the
entire population; and the United States District Attorney residing
in Cherokee county informs me, that of five hundred individuals whom
he has had to prosecute within the last five years, only one of them
was an Indian, and he was led into his difficulty by a drunken white
man. But this is a theme that I could write upon for days, so I will
turn to something more germain to my present purpose.

In coming down the valley of Owassa I met with a number of incidents
which I fancy worth mentioning. For example, in passing along a
certain road in Union county, Georgia, I approached a ricketty log
cabin, and was surprised to see the family and all the dogs vacate
the premises, as if I had been a personified plague. I was
subsequently informed that this was a common habit with the more
barbarous people of this region when they see a stranger passing
along the road.

Among the characteristic travelling establishments that I met in the
above country, was the following: a very small covered wagon, (drawn
by one mule and one deformed horse,) which was laden with
corn-husks, a few bedclothes, and several rude cooking utensils.
Behind this team marched a man and his wife, five boys, and eight
girls, and in their rear the skeleton of a cow and four
hungry-looking dogs. They had been farming in Union county, but were
now on their way into Habersham county in search of a new location.
The youngest daughter belonging to this family, as I casually found
out by giving her a small piece of money, was _Dorcas Ann Eliza Jane
Charlotte_ ——. On hearing this startling information I could not
wonder that the family were poor, and had a thorny road to pursue
through life.

But the most unique incident that I picked up on the day in question
may be narrated as follows: I was quietly jogging along the road,
when I was startled by the dropping of a snake from a small tree. I
stopped to see what was the matter, and discovered it to be a black
snake or racer, and that he had in his mouth the tail end of a
scarlet lizard about five inches long. It was evident the snake had
some difficulty in swallowing the precious morsel, and while he
seemed to be preparing for another effort, I saw the lizard twist
its body and bite the snake directly on the back of the head, which
caused the latter to loosen his hold. Again did I see the snake
attack the lizard, and a second time did the lizard bite the snake,
whereupon the serpent gave up the fight, and, while I was hunting
for a stick to kill the serpent, both of the reptiles made their

The little village of _Murphy_, whence I date this letter, lies at
the junction of the Owassa and Valley rivers, and in point of
location is one of the prettiest places in the world. Its Indian
name was _Klausuna_, or the _Large Turtle_. It was so called, says a
Cherokee legend, on account of its being the _sunning_ place of an
immense turtle which lived in its vicinity in ancient times. The
turtle was particularly famous for its _repelling_ power, having
been known not to be at all injured by a stroke of lightning.
Nothing on earth had power to annihilate the creature; but, on
account of the many attempts made to take its life, when it was
known to be a harmless and inoffensive creature, it became disgusted
with this world, and burrowed its way into the middle of the earth,
where it now lives in peace.

In connection with this legend, I may here mention what must be
considered a remarkable fact in geology. Running directly across the
village of Murphy is a belt of marble, composed of the black, gray,
pure white and flesh-colored varieties, which belt also crosses the
Owassa river. Just above this marble causeway the Owassa, for a
space of perhaps two hundred feet, is said to be over one hundred
feet deep, and at one point, in fact, a bottom has never been found.
All this is simple truth, but I have heard the opinion expressed
that there is a subterranean communication between this immense hole
in Owassa and the river Notely, which is some two miles distant. The
testimony adduced in proof of this theory is, that a certain log was
once marked on the Notely, which log was subsequently found floating
in the pool of the Deep Hole in the Owassa.

                             LETTER IX.

                                Franklin, North Carolina, May, 1848.

The distance from Murphy to this place is reported to be fifty
miles. For twenty miles the road runs in full view of Valley river,
which is worthy in every particular of the stream into which it
empties, the Owassa. It is a remarkbly cold and translucent stream,
and looks as if it ought to contain trout, but I am certain that it
does not. On inquiring of a homespun angler what fish the river did
produce, he replied: “Salmon, black trout, red horse, hog-fish,
suckers and cat-fish.” I took the liberty of doubting the
gentleman’s word, and subsequently found out that the people, of
this section of country call the legitimate _pickerel_ the “salmon,”
the _black bass_ the “black trout,” the _mullet_ the “red horse,”
and _a deformed sucker_ the “hog-fish.” And now, while I think of
it, I would intimate to my friends residing on the Ohio (to which
glorious river all the streams of this region pay tribute) that
_their_ salmon is none other than the genuine pickerel of the North
and South, their white perch only the sheep’s head of the great
lakes, and their black perch is but another name for the black or
Oswego bass. So much for a piscatorial correction.

The only _picture_ which attracted my particular attention in
passing up the fertile but generally neglected bottom lands of
Valley river, was a farm of twenty-five hundred acres, one thousand
acres being as level as a floor and highly cultivated. The soil
seemed exceedingly rich, and it was evident yielded a considerable
income to its possessor. I heard, in fact, that the proprietor had
been offered twenty-five thousand dollars for this farm. And in what
kind of a _house_ does my reader imagine this wealthy man resided?
In a miserable log hovel, a decayed and windowless one, which a
respectable member of the _swine_ family would hardly deign to
occupy. Instances something like to this had already come to my
knowledge, and caused me to wonder at the inconsistency and apparent
want of common sense manifested by some of the farmers of this
country, but this instance capped the climax. But again, the
individual alluded to is a _white man_, and prides himself upon
being more intelligent and acute than his neighbors; and yet one of
his neighbors is an _Indian woman_, who raises _only_ about _five
thousand_ bushels of potatoes per annum, but occupies a comfortable
dwelling and lives like a rational being.

After leaving the above valley, my course lay over two distinct
spurs of the Alleghanies, which are divided by the river
Nan-ti-ha-lah, and consequently called the Nan-ti-ha-lah Mountains.
In ascending the western ridge, I noticed that at the foot and
midway up the pass the trees were all arrayed in their summer
verdure, and among the forest trees were many chestnut and poplar
specimens, which were at least seven or eight feet in diameter;
while the more elevated portions of the ridge were covered with
scrub and white oak, which were entirely destitute of foliage and
not even in the budding condition. No regular cliffs frowned upon me
as I passed along, but the mountains on either side were almost
perpendicular, and in one or two places were at least twenty-five
hundred feet high. In the side of the highest of these mountains, I
was informed, is a deep fissure or cave, which extends to the summit
of the hill, where the outlet is quite small. When the wind is
blowing from the northwest it passes entirely through this long and
mysterious cavern, and when issuing from the top comes with such
force as to _throw out_ all the smaller stones which one may happen
to drop therein. In descending this spur, the road passes directly
along the margin of the most gloomy thicket imaginable. It is about
a mile wide and somewhat over three miles in length. It is rank with
vegetation, and the principal trees are laurel and hemlock. Even at
noonday it is impossible to look into it more than a half a dozen
yards, and then you but peer into the opening of leafy caves and
grottoes which are perpetually cool and very desolate. It is said to
abound in the more ferocious of wild animals, and no white man is
yet known to have mustered courage enough to explore the jungle.
During the existence of the Cherokee difficulties, the Indians were
in the habit of encamping on many places on its margin for the
purpose of easily eluding their pursuers; and it is reported of one
Indian hunter, who once entered the thicket, that he never returned,
having, as is supposed, been overpowered by some wild beast. It was
upon the margin of this horrible place, too, that the following
incident occurred. An Indian woman once happened to be travelling
down the mountain, unaccompanied by her husband, but with three
young children, two little girls and a papoose. In an unexpected
moment an enraged panther crossed their trail, and while it fell
upon and destroyed the mother and one child, the elder girl ran for
her life, carrying the infant on her back. The little heroine had
not gone over a half a mile with her burden before the panther
caught up with her, and dragged the infant from her grasp; and while
the savage creature was destroying this third victim, the little
girl made her escape to a neighboring encampment.

The river Nan-ti-ha-lah, or the _Woman’s Bosom_, was so named on
account of its undulating and narrow valley, and its own intrinsic
purity and loveliness. Upon this river is situated a rude but
comfortable cabin, which is the only one the traveller meets with in
going a distance of twenty miles. On first approaching this cabin, I
noticed a couple of sweet little girls playing on the greensward
before the door with a beautiful fawn, which was as tame as a lamb.
This group, taken in connection with the wildness of the surrounding
scene, gave me a most delightful feeling, the contrast was so
strange and unexpected. The proprietor of the cabin owns about five
thousand acres of land in this wilderness region, and is by
profession a grazing farmer. He raises a goodly number of cattle as
well as horses and mules, and his principal markets for them are
Charleston and Savannah, to which cities he performs a pilgrimage in
the autumn of every year. He is one of the “oldest inhabitants” of
the region, and as I spent one night under his roof, I took occasion
to draw from him a few anecdotes connected with his own experience.
On questioning him with regard to the true character of the panther,
he replied as follows: “I don’t know _much_ about this animal, but I
have had one chance to study their nature which I can’t forget. It
was a very dark night, and I was belated on the western ridge, near
the Big Laurel ravine. I was jogging along at a slow rate, when my
horse made a terrible leap aside, and I saw directly in front of me
one of the biggest of panthers. He soon uttered a shriek or scream
(which sounded like a woman in distress) and got out of the way, so
that I could pass along. Every bone in my horse’s body trembled with
fear, and I can tell you that my own feelings were pretty squally.
On my way was I still jogging, when the panther again made his
appearance, just as he had before, and gave another of his infernal
yells. I had no weapon with me, and I now thought I was a gone case.
Again did the animal disappear, and again did I continue on my
journey. I had not gone more than a hundred yards before I saw, on
the upper side of the road, what looked like a couple of balls of
fire, and just as I endeavored to urge my horse a little faster,
another dreadful scream rang far down the valley. But, to make a
long story short, this animal followed me until I got within a half
a mile of my house, and, though he _ran around_ me at least a dozen
times, and uttered more than a dozen screams, he never touched me,
and I got safely home. If you can gather any information from this
adventure you are welcome to it; but all I know about the animal is
this, that I hate him as I do the devil.”

My host informed me that he was one of the men appointed by the
Government to assess the property of the Cherokees at the time of
their removal, and was subsequently employed to aid in their coerced
removal. With a view of pacifying the Indians, it had been
stipulated that the cabin and improvements of each Indian should be
assessed, and an equivalent in money should be paid into his hands
for said property; and a part of the nation, it will be remembered,
including the head chief, were opposed to the treaty of banishment.
In fulfilling his duties as a Government officer, my informant
endured many hardships, subjected himself to much peril, and met
with many touching as well as some ridiculous scenes. In the course
of a few months he visited, in connection with his assistant and
interpreter, every cabin in the counties of Cherokee and Macon; and,
from the numerous adventures which he related to me, I will record
two or three.

“At one time,” said my friend, “we arrived at a cabin where we knew
resided, ‘solitary and alone,’ an old bachelor Indian. It was night,
and very cold and stormy. As we were tying our horses the Indian
heard us, and, knowing our business, immediately arose and fastened
his door that we should not get in. We remonstrated from without,
and told him we were almost frozen, and he must admit us, but never
a word would he answer; and this was repeated several times. We
finally got mad and knocked down the door and entered. The Indian
was lying upon a bench before the fire, and by his side were four
dogs. We asked him a number of questions, but still did he keep
silent. We had by this time made up our minds to ‘take care of
number one,’ and proceeded to cook our bacon. In doing this we had
great difficulty on account of the dogs, which were almost starved
to death, and were constantly grabbing up our victuals from the
coals. They were the ugliest animals that I ever saw, and did not
care a pin for the heavy licks that we gave them. And the only way
we could get along was for the interpreter to cook the meat, while
my assistant and myself seated ourselves at the two corners of the
hearth, and as the dogs jumped over the body of the Indian, (who was
yet lying on his bench,) we would grab them by the neck and tail and
pitch them across the room. So this interesting business continued
until the meat was cooked. I then took a slice, put it on a piece of
bread, and giving it to the Indian, said to him: ‘Now don’t be a
fool, take this meat and be good friends, for we don’t want to
injure you.’ Whereupon he got over his resentment, took the meat,
and began talking so that we could not stop him.”

But another incident related to me was truly affecting, and occurred
at the time of removal. “There was an old Indian,” continued my
host, “named _Euchellah_, who had thrown out the idea that he was a
strong man, and never would submit to leave his cabin willingly:
those who wanted him to go must take him by force. It was in the
forenoon, and a whole posse of officers entered his cabin, and after
a pretty severe scuffle we succeeded in fastening the old fellow’s
arms and hands with a rope. He now saw that he must go, and told his
wife to get ready, and she got ready _by going out to feed her pig
and the chickens_, just as if she was coming back in a few hours. We
then started with our prisoners, and just as we were crossing a hill
which overlooked the Indian’s cabin, he suddenly wheeled about, and
as his eyes fell upon his little garden and his hut, he burst into
tears, and I thought the man’s heart would break. And now when
people tell me that the Indian never weeps, I tell them it’s no such
thing; but, it was true, _Euchellah_ had some reason to feel bad;
for he had four children buried near his cabin, and had lived there
for fifty years. We continued on our way to the West, but in two
days our Indian made his escape with his wife. We hunted for them
among the mountains, and though we recaptured Euchellah, we never
could find his wife, and afterwards heard that she starved to death
on a distant mountain. The Indian was now guarded by four soldiers;
but, while crossing a certain gap, he suddenly rose upon his keepers
and killed three of them, while the other officer, as well as
himself, escaped. The Indian was again taken prisoner, tried by
court martial, and sentenced _to be executed_. When told that he was
to be shot down by a rifle ball, he manifested no fear, and, up to
the moment that he was shot down, not a tear made its appearance in
his eye. He could weep on leaving his home, but he would not weep
when he came to die. And the old man was buried on the road side,
half way between this place and Murphy.”

“But another removal incident that I remember,” continued my
landlord, “was to this effect. It was another old Indian who had a
large family and was religious. When we called to take him, he said
he only wanted to ask one favor, which was, that we would let him
_have one more prayer with his wife and children in his old cabin_.
We of course granted the request, and when he was through out came
the old fellow and said that he was ready. But just as we were
leaving the little clearing, the Indian called his wife and children
to his side, and talked to them in the most poetical and affecting
manner about their meager but much-loved possession, which they were
about to leave for ever. He then took the lead of our procession,
and without uttering a word, marched onward with a firm step. We
never heard this man’s voice again until we had passed beyond the

The scenery lying between the Nan-ti-ha-lah and this place is of the
wildest character. From the summit of the pass and along the road as
you descend to the eastward, a number of very imposing scenes
present themselves, but chief among all the hills rises the rugged
peak of _Bald Mountain_. The prospect from this point is similar to
that which I have described from Trail Mountain, but the legend
which commemorates the place is quite interesting, and accounts for
the baldness of the mountain’s top, which was formerly covered with
a dense forest. The Cherokees relate that there once existed among
those mountains a very large bird, which resembled in appearance the
green-winged hornet, and this creature was in the habit of carrying
off the younger children of the nation who happened to wander into
the woods. Very many children had mysteriously disappeared in this
manner, and the entire people declared a warfare against the
monster. A variety of means were employed for his destruction, but
without success. In process of time it was determined that the wise
men (or medicine men) of the nation should try their skill in the
business. They met in council and agreed that each one should
station himself on the summit of a mountain, and that, when the
creature was discovered, the man who made the discovery should utter
a loud halloo, which shout should be taken up by his neighbor on the
next mountain, and so continued to the end of the line, that all the
men might have a shot at the strange bird. This experiment was tried
and resulted in finding out the hiding-place of the monster, which
was a deep cavern on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge and at the
fountain-head of the river Too-ge-lah. On arriving at this place,
they found the entrance to the cavern entirely inaccessible by
mortal feet, and they therefore prayed to the Great Spirit that he
would bring out the bird from his den, and place him within reach of
their arms. Their petition was granted, for a terrible thunder-storm
immediately arose, and a stroke of lightning tore away one half of a
large mountain, and the Indians were successful in slaying their
enemy. The Great Spirit was pleased with the courage manifested by
the Cherokees during this dangerous fight, and, with a view of
rewarding the same, he willed it that all the highest mountains in
their land should thereafter be destitute of trees, so that they
might always have an opportunity of watching the movements of their

As a sequel to this legend, it may be appropriately mentioned, that
at the head of the Too-ge-lah is to be found one of the most
remarkable curiosities in this mountain-land. It is a granite cliff,
with a smooth surface or front, half a mile long, and twelve hundred
feet high, and generally spoken of in this part of the country as
the _White-side Mountain_, or _the Devil’s Court-house_. To think of
it is almost enough to make one dizzy, but to see it fills one with
awe. Near the top of one part of this cliff is a small cave, which
can be reached only by passing over a strip of rock about two feet
wide. One man only has ever been known to enter it, and when he
performed the deed he met at the entrance of the cave a large bear,
which animal, in making its escape, slipped off the rock, fell a
distance of near a thousand feet, and was of course killed. When the
man saw this, he became so much excited that it was some hours
before he could quiet his nerves sufficiently to retrace his
dangerous pathway.

                             LETTER X.

                                Franklin, North Carolina, May, 1848.

The little village of Franklin is romantically situated on the
Little Tennessee. It is surrounded with mountains, and as quiet and
pretty a hamlet as I have yet seen among the Alleghanies. On the
morning after entering this place, I went to the post office, for
the purpose of obtaining a peep at the last number of the National
Intelligencer, whereupon the officiating gentleman informed me that
I should find it at the office of a young lawyer whom he named. I
called upon the legal gentleman, and found him, like all the
intelligent people of the country, very polite and well informed. In
speaking of the surrounding pictorial associations he alluded to a
certain waterfall, and added that the gentleman who referred me to
him owned a plantation near the falls, on a famous trout-stream, and
was an _angler_. On this hint I sent a couple of handsome flies, as
a present, to my post-office friend, and in less than twenty minutes
thereafter he made his appearance at my lodgings, and insisted that
we should go upon a fishing excursion, and that the lawyer should
accompany us. Horses were immediately procured, and having rode a
distance of ten miles along a very beautiful stream called
_Kul-la-sa-jah_, or _the Sugar Water_, we came to the chasm leading
to the falls. Here we tied our horses, and while my companions
commenced throwing the fly, I proceeded to the more profitable
employment of taking sketches.

The chasm of the Sugar Water Falls is about half a mile long, and
immediately below the precipices are perpendicular and very
imposing, reaching an elevation of at least one thousand feet. The
falls themselves are three in number—the first and principal one
being about sixty feet high. Emptying into the Sweet Water, directly
at the lower end of the chasm, is a tiny brook without a name, upon
which I found a cascade of great beauty. The water falls near forty
feet, but sings its eternal song in a shadowy recess, where hoary
trees, mossy rocks, and exquisite vines, of every variety peculiar
to the country, remain in their original wildness. As I clambered up
the ravine leading to this cascade, I startled a doe from the green
couch where she had been spending the noontide hours. I added a
number of sketches to my portfolio, and after spending “alone in my
glory” the whole afternoon, wandering from one chasm to another, I
left the delightful valley with reluctance, musing upon the
marvellous beauty of every thing in the world formed by the hand of

On arriving at the spot where our horses were tied, I found my
companions both wearing uncommonly long faces, for they had not
succeeded in killing a single trout. I joked my post-office friend
about his “famous trout-stream,” and then, remounting our horses, we
paid a visit to his plantation, where we enjoyed a comfortable
supper, and continued on our way home by the light of the moon.
Under any circumstances this would have been an agreeable ride, but
on the present occasion my companions did all the talking, and the
substance of two of their stories I herewith subjoin merely as

“I can’t account for our bad luck in catching trout today,” said my
post-office friend; “but I do assure you that a couple of young men
named Hyatt, and myself, once went a fishing in the Sweet Water, and
we took one hundred and seventy-five trout. But this is not to the
purpose. On that occasion we fished up the stream; and when we came
to the mouth of the chasm, we saw a big buck, which we frightened
towards the falls as we ascended. When we came near the falls, one
of the Hyatts and myself stopped fishing, and went to work to corner
the buck, and see if we could kill him with stones, or cause him to
drown himself. There was no way for him to make his escape, except
by running directly over us, and this we did not suppose he would
dare attempt. He made many desperate efforts to get away, and at one
time managed to climb an almost perpendicular wall of rock to the
height of some twenty feet, when he lost his foothold and fell into
the pool below. He now became very much enraged, but we continued to
pelt him with stones, though without effecting any serious injury.
After bothering him for at least half an hour, the creature finally
got upon the rocks at the lower part of the pool, when he swept by
us with great fury, and started down the chasm, making some of the
most fearful leaps that I ever saw. And now it so happened that we
saw the younger Hyatt standing upon a rock and casting his fly upon
a pool, where we thought the deer must pass in his downward course,
and we immediately shouted to the angler to ‘look out.’ He did so,
and immediately drew out a hunting-knife which he had in his pocket,
and as the deer tumbled into the pool, young Hyatt actually _jumped
upon his back, and succeeded in giving him a fatal stab_, so that
the animal merely crawled upon the rocks to die. It was quite late
in the evening before we started for home, and we only brought the
skin along with us; but as we left the chasm, we saw a large panther
descending one of the cliffs of the gorge, as if hastening to have a
feast upon the dead deer.”

The “story” of my lawyer friend, or rather a fragment of his
entertaining conversation was as follows: “As it is important, Mr.
Lanman, that you should not leave our country without learning
something of our great personages, and as our companion here is a
modest man, I will give you a brief sketch of his character. He is a
gentleman of some property, for he not only owns the plantation
where we took supper, but one or two others of equal value. He is
one of the oldest residents in this mountain region—a gentleman of
fine moral character, and with a heart as guileless as that of a
child. He is a passionate lover of scenery, and has probably
explored the beauties of this mountain land more thoroughly than any
other man now living; he is also a great lover of botany, geology,
insectology, and a dozen other ologies, and I believe has made a
number of discoveries in all his favorite studies. As you have
heard, he tells a capital story, and, as you may see by looking into
some of our southern newspapers, he uses the pen with ease and a
degree of elegance. He cherishes a love for the ‘angle art,’ and I
must say usually succeeds in his fishing exploits much better than
he has to-day. By profession he is a knight of the needle; but,
being somewhat advanced in years, he amuses himself by fulfilling
the duties of deputy postmaster in the village of Franklin.”

The lawyer was here interrupted by the _hero_ of his story, who
_insisted_ upon his changing the “subject theme,” and the
consequence is, my readers will be disappointed in obtaining any
more information respecting the scientific deputy postmaster of the
Alleghany mountains.

But, leaving the intellectual out of view, the most interesting
character whom I have seen about Franklin is an old Cherokee Indian.
His name is _Sa-taw-ha_, or _Hog-Bite_, and he is upwards of one
hundred years of age. He lives in a small log hut among the
mountains, the door of which is so very low that you have to crawl
into it upon your hands and knees. At the time the greater part of
his nation were removed to the Far West, the “officers of _justice_”
called to obtain his company. He saw them as they approached, and,
taking his loaded rifle in hand, he warned them not to attempt to
lay their hands upon him, for he would certainly kill them. He was
found to be so resolute and so very old, that it was finally
concluded by those in power that the old man should be left alone.
He lives the life of a hermit, and is chiefly supported by the
charity of one or two Indian neighbors, though it is said he even
now occasionally manages to kill a deer or turkey. His history is
entirely unknown, and he says he can remember the time when the
Cherokee nation lived upon the shores of a great ocean, (the
Atlantic,) and the color of a white man’s face was unknown.

In the immediate vicinity of this place may be seen another of those
mysterious Indian mounds which we find beautifying nearly all the
valleys of this land. And here it may not be out of place for me to
introduce the opinions concerning their origin which prevail among
the Indian tribes of the South. By some they are said to have been
built by a race of people who have become extinct, and were formerly
used by the Cherokees merely as convenient places to have their
dances and their games. A superstition also prevails, that in the
ancient days every Indian brought to a certain place a small bark
full of the soil which he cultivated, as a tribute to the Great
Spirit, who in return sent them a plenteous harvest. Some allege
that they were the burial places of great warriors and hunters; some
that they were erected as trophies of remarkable victories; others
that they were built as fortresses; and others still that upon them
were performed the more sacred of religious rites. There is also a
tradition existing among the Cherokees that these mounds formerly
contained a species of sacred fire; and it is well known that an
Indian has never been known to deface one of them, and to see them
defaced by the white man always seems to make them unhappy. The only
light (in the way of opinion) that I can throw upon these mounds is,
that they owe their origin to some aboriginal custom similar to that
which has brought together the huge piles of stones which the
traveller meets with in various portions of the southern country.
But all this information is traditionary, the builders of these
mounds are unknown, and all that even the wise of the present
generation can do is to look upon them in silence and wonder.

The gentleman upon whose property the above mentioned mound is
situated is the nabob of the place, an intelligent man, and an old
resident. I am now his guest and he lives in comfortable style, his
dwelling being surrounded with a score or two of out-houses. He
carries on an extensive farming business, and is the owner of a
goodly number of tidy, respectful, and industrious slaves. Though
situated almost within rifle-shot of an impassable mountain, his
residence is associated with clover-fields, a well-managed garden
filled with flowers and vines, ancient trees where sing the katydids
in the evening hours, and above which swoop the joyous and noisy
martin and the beautiful dove; and also with meadow-fields, where
horses and cattle graze during the long summer day. But there is one
association connected with this farm-house which is still ringing in
my ears: I allude to a perpetual chorus of an everlasting quantity
of jackasses, peacocks, and guinea-hens. My host seems to have a
passion for these apparently accidental or unfinished specimens of
natural history; and I must say that I have never before been
privileged to enjoy such unearthly music as I have on his
plantation. The painful braying of a jackass awakens his household
from their slumbers, and the same braying, accompanied by the
screams of the peacock and guinea-hen, continues without ceasing
until the twilight hour, when the whippoorwill takes up her evening
lay, and the world lapses into its nightly repose.

Having spent a Sabbath in Franklin, I obtained a little information
with regard to the religious condition of the people in this section
of country. The only denominations who have preaching here are the
Methodists and Baptists. Among the latter class, the Bible custom of
_washing feet_ is still kept up with rigor. The preachers of both
denominations are itinerants, and, so far as I have seen, are worthy
upright, and sensible men. They seem to think more of preaching the
_doctrines of Christ_ than proclaiming their own learning or
advocating their own opinions, and it is therefore always a pleasure
to hear them; they know their duties, and faithfully fulfil them,
and I believe accomplish much good. The people attend the Sunday
meetings from a distance of ten and fifteen miles; and, as the men
and women all ride on horseback, and as they often come in parties,
their appearance on approaching the church is often exceedingly

On the day of my arrival in this village, a negro teamster met with
an accident while passing over a neighboring mountain, which
resulted in his losing one of his four horses, which happened to
step over a log, and, on being cut loose, fell down a precipice of
forty feet into a pool of water. On being questioned as to the
manner in which the animal fell, the negro briefly but _tell_ingly
replied, “_Ka wallup, ka wallup, ka wallup, ka swash!_” I thought
this a most forcible description, and could not but admire the man’s
ingenuity in representing each somerset by a single word.

Within a few days past I have become acquainted with two insects
which I have never seen described, but which are found in abundance
throughout the South. I allude to the dirt-dauber and the
stump-stinger. In their general appearance they both resemble the
wasp. The first lives in a cell, which it builds on the inner side
of a shed or piazza. It is a noted enemy of the spider, and
possesses the art and the habit of killing that insect in great
numbers. But what is really remarkable, they have a fashion of
stowing away the carcasses of their slaughtered enemies in their
dwellings, as if for future use; and after the cell is full, they
close it with mud, and proceed to build another cell, so that the
opulence of one of them may be calculated by the number of his
closed dwellings. The stump-stinger is remarkable for having
attached to the middle of his body a hard and pointed weapon, with
which he can dig a hole one inch in depth in the body of even a
hickory tree. This weapon he usually carries under his tail, but
when about to be used makes him resemble a gimlet in form. The
instrument is very hard, and composed of two pieces, which he works
up and down, like a pair of chisels. It is supposed that he makes
this hole for the purpose of depositing an egg, and it is alleged
that the tree upon which he once fastens himself always falls to

But this allusion to insects reminds me of an incident connected
with the ant which I lately noticed in one of my mountain rambles.
While watching an ant-hill, I discovered that the little creatures
were busily engaged in enlarging the hole of their miniature cavern.
While watching their movements with intense interest, my eyes
chanced to fall upon another detachment of the same insect, who were
approaching the hole in question with the dead body of a
grasshopper. The moment this party was discovered by those at the
hole, the whole multitude fell to work and tumbled their dead booty
along at a more rapid rate than before. On reaching the hole an
attempt was made to drag the grasshopper into it, but without
success, for it was too small. A movement to enlarge the hole was
then immediately made, and in a very few moments the slain creature
was out of my sight, and I could almost fancy that I saw the ants
clapping their tiny hands and congratulating themselves upon the
feat they had accomplished. Upon the whole it was one of the most
interesting little incidents that I ever witnessed, and I left the
spot feeling that I understood the words of Scripture which say, “Go
to the ant, thou sluggard, and be wise!”

And now, as the _desultory_ character of this letter will probably
fully satisfy my readers, I will bring it to a close, promising to
be somewhat more circumspect in the future.

                             LETTER XI.

                             Qualla Town, North Carolina, May, 1848.

In coming from Franklin to this place, a distance of thirty miles, I
travelled over a wild, mountainous, and thinly settled country,
where I was pained to witness the evil effects of intemperance, and
made happy by following the windings of a beautiful river. Having
been overtaken by a thunder-storm, I found shelter in a rude and
comfortless cabin, which was occupied by a man and his wife and
eight children. Every member of the family was barefooted, and one
or two of the children almost destitute of clothing; not one of the
children, though one or two of them were full-grown girls, could
read a single word; the mother was sickly and haggard in her
appearance, and one of the little boys told me that he had not eaten
a hearty meal for ten days. I subsequently learned that the head of
this household was a miserable drunkard.

The river to which I alluded is the Tuck-a-se-ja, which empties into
the Tennessee. It is a very rapid stream, and washes the base of
many mountains, which are as wild as they were a century ago.
Whenever there occurs any interval land, the soil is very rich, and
such spots are usually occupied. The mountains are all covered with
forest, where wild game is found in abundance. The fact is, the
people of this whole region devote more of their time to hunting
than they do to agriculture, which fact accounts for their
proverbial poverty. You can hardly pass a single cabin without being
howled at by half a dozen hounds, and I have now become so well
educated in guessing the wealth of a mountaineer, that I can fix his
condition by ascertaining the number of his dogs. A rich man seldom
has more than one dog, while a very poor man will keep from ten to a
dozen. And this remark with regard to dogs, strange as it may seem,
is equally applicable to the _children_ of the mountaineers. The
poorest man, without any exception, whom I have seen in this region,
lives in a log cabin with two rooms, and is the father of _nineteen
children_, and the keeper of _six hounds_.

On my arrival in this place, which is the home of a large number of
Cherokee Indians, (of whom I shall have much to say in future
letters,) I became the guest of Mr. William H. Thomas, who is the
“guide, counsellor, and friend” of the Indians, as well as their
business agent. While conversing with this gentleman, he excited my
curiosity with regard to a certain mountain in his vicinity, and,
having settled it in his own mind that I should spend a week or two
with him and his Indians, proposed (first excusing himself on
account of a business engagement) that I should visit the mountain
in company with a gentleman in his employ as surveyor. The proposed
arrangement was carried out, and thus was it that I visited _Smoky

This mountain is the loftiest of a large brotherhood which lie
crowded together upon the dividing line between North Carolina and
Tennessee. Its height cannot be less than five thousand feet above
the level of the sea, for the road leading from its base to its
summit is seven and a half miles long. The general character of the
mountain is similar to that already given of other Southern
mountains, and all that I can say of its panorama is, that I can
conceive of nothing more grand and imposing. It gives birth to a
pair of glorious streams, the _Pigeon river_ of Tennessee, and the
_Ocono lufty_ of North Carolina, and derives its name from the
circumstance that its summit is always enveloped, on account of its
height, in a blue or smoky atmosphere.

But the chief attraction of Smoky Mountain is a singular cliff known
throughout this region as the _Alum Cave_. In reaching this spot,
which is on the Tennessee side, you have to leave your horses on the
top of the mountain, and perform a pedestrian pilgrimage of about
six miles up and down, very far up and ever so far down, and over
every thing in the way of rocks and ruined vegetation which Nature
could possibly devise, until you come to a mountain side, which is
only two miles from your starting place at the peak. Roaring along
at the base of the mountainside alluded to is a small stream, from
the margin of which you have to climb a precipice, in a zigzag way,
which is at least two thousand feet high, when you find yourself on
a level spot of pulverized stone, with a rocky roof extending over
your head a distance of fifty or sixty feet. The length of this
hollow in the mountain, or “cave,” as it is called, is near four
hundred feet, and from the brow of the butting precipice to the
level below the distance is perhaps one hundred and fifty feet. The
top of the cliff is covered with a variety of rare and curious
plants, and directly over its centre trickles a little stream of
water, which forms a tiny pool, like a fountain in front of a
spacious piazza. The principal ingredients of the rock composing
this whitish cliff are alum, epsom salts, saltpetre, magnesia, and
copperas, and the water which oozes therefrom is distinguished for
its strong medicinal qualities. This strange and almost
inaccessible, but unquestionably very valuable cave, belongs to a
company of neighboring Carolinians, who have already made some money
out of the alum, but have not yet accomplished much in the way of
purifying and exporting the various products in which it abounds.

The scenery upon which this cave looks down, however, interested me
quite as much as the cave itself. From the most comprehensive point
of view two mountains descend abruptly into a kind of amphitheatre,
where the one on the right terminates in a very narrow and ragged
ridge, which is without a particle of vegetation, while far beyond,
directly in front of the cave, rises a lofty and pointed mountain,
backed by some three or four of inferior magnitude. The ridge which
I have mentioned is itself very high, but yet the cave looks down
upon it, and it is so fantastic in its appearance that from
different points of view you may discover holes leading like windows
entirely through it, while from other places you might fancy that
you looked upon a ruined castle, a decayed battlement, or the
shattered tower of an old cathedral. To gaze upon this prospect at
the sunset hour, when the mountains were tinged with a rosy hue, and
the immense hollow before me was filled with a purple atmosphere,
and I could see the rocky ledge basking in the sunlight like a huge
monster on the placid bosom of a lake, was to me one of the most
remarkable and impressive scenes that I ever witnessed; and then
remember, too, that I looked upon this wonderful prospect from a
framework of solid rock, composed of the stooping cliff. It was a
glorious picture, indeed, and would have amply repaid one for a
pilgrimage from the remotest corner of the earth.

The ordinary time required to visit the Alum Cave is two days; but,
owing to bad weather, my friend and myself occupied the most of four
days in performing the same trip. To give a minute account of all
that we met with would occupy too much time, and I will therefore
only record in this place the incidents which made the deepest
impression on my own mind.

Our first night from home we spent in the cabin of a man who treated
us with the utmost kindness, and would not receive a penny for his
pains. So much for mountain hospitality. And now, to prove that our
friend was an intelligent man, it may be mentioned that he is an
adept in the following professions and trades, viz. those of
medicine, the law, the blacksmith, the carpenter, the hunter, the
shoemaker, the watchmaker, the farmer, and he also seemed to possess
an inkling of some half dozen sciences. Now, I do not exactly mean
to assert that the gentleman is a master practitioner in all these
departments of human learning and industry; but if you were to judge
of his ability by his use of technical words, you would not for a
moment imagine he could have a competitor. But so it is in this wild
region, one man has to perform the intellectual labor of a whole
district; and, what is really a hard case, the knowledge which is
thus brought to so good a market is nearly always the fruit of a
chance education, and not of a systematic one.

Among those who spent the night with us under the roof of the above
accomplished man, was one of the idle vagabonds of the country. This
individual, it appears, had met with a singular accident on the day
previous, and amused us by relating it. I regret that I cannot
remember all the singular epithets that he employed, but I will do
my best to report him faithfully:

“Now, the way the thing happened was this, and I reckon you never
heard sich like afore. A lot of us fellers was out in ‘Squire
Jones’s millpond a washing ourselves and swimming. Now, I allow this
pond, in a common way, is nigh on to half a mile long; but at this
time they were draining the pond, and it warnt so very large. Wall,
there was one spot, well nigh the middle—no, not exactly; I reckon
it was a little to the left—where the water poured out into a rale
catarock. The fellers I was with got the devil in ’em, and offered
to bet the tobaccer that I couldn’t swim near the big hole in the
dam without going through. I agreed, for I always counted myself a
powerful swimmer. I made one try, and just touched the outside of
the whirlpool. The fellers laughed at me and said I couldn’t come
it. I knew they said what was not so, and I got mad. I tried it
again, and went a bit nearer, when they yelled out again and said it
was no go. By this time I was considerable perplexed, but I swore to
myself I would have the tobaccer, and I made one more try. But this
time I got into the whirlpool, and couldn’t get out; and, in less
than no time, the water wheeled my head round to the hole, and in I
went quick as a streak. I went through the hole, ’bout four or six
feet long—no, I allow ’twas seven feet—and fell into the surge
below, and, in five minutes or so—perhaps six—I was on dry land,
sound as a button. The joke was on the fellers then, and when I told
’em to hand over my plunder, they said they would, and told me I
looked like a big frog when I come out of the hole into the pool
below the dam.”

On the following morning we travelled to the foot of Smoky Mountain,
and having obtained a guide, who happened to be one of the
proprietors of Alum Cave, we resumed our journey. In the immediate
vicinity of the cave we came across an Indian camp, where were two
Indians who were out bear-hunting. We were admitted under their bark
roof, and with them spent the night, sleeping upon the ground. We
remained a sufficient length of time to enjoy one supper and one
breakfast; the first was composed of corn bread and bear meat, and
the second of trout (caught in a neighboring stream) and a corn cake
fried in the fat of a bear.

On questioning our Indian landlords, as we sat around our watch
fire, with regard to the Alum Cave, I could only gather the fact
that it was originally discovered by the famous chief Yo-na-gus-ka,
who happened in his youth to track a bear to one of its corners,
where he had a den. Disappointed on this score, I then turned to our
guide to see what he could tell me about the cave that was not
connected with its minerals, and the substance of his narrative was
as follows:

I hav’n’t much to say about the cave that I knows of, excepting one
or two little circumstances about myself and another man. The first
time I come here it was with my brother and two Indians. The sight
of this strange gash in the mountain and the beautiful scenery all
around made me very excited, and I was for climbing on top, and no
mistake. The Indians and my brother started with me up the ledge at
the north end of the cave, but when we got up about half way, just
opposite to an eagle’s nest, where the creatures were screaming at a
fearful rate, they all three of ’em backed down, and said I must not
keep on. I told ’em I was determined to see the top, and I would. I
did get on top, and, after looking round a while and laughing at the
fellows below, I began to think of going down again. And then it was
that I felt a good deal skeered. I found I couldn’t get down the way
I got up, so I turned about for a new place. It was now near
sundown, and I hadn’t yet found a place that suited me, and I was
afraid I’d have to sleep out alone and without any fire. And the
only way I ever got down was to find a pine tree that stood pretty
close to a low part of the ledge, some three hundred yards from the
cave, when I got into its top, and so came down among my friends,
who said it was a wonder I hadn’t been killed.

“I generally have had to pilot all strangers to the cave since that
time, and I remember one circumstance that happened to a Tennessee
lawyer, who caused us a good deal of fun; for there was a party of
young gentlemen there at the time. We had a camp right under the
cave, where it’s always dry, and about midnight the lawyer I
mentioned suddenly jumped up as we were all asleep, and began to
yell in the most awful manner, as if something dreadful had
happened. He jumped about as if in the greatest agony, and called on
God to have mercy on him, for he knew he would die. O, he did carry
on at a most awful rate, and we thought he must have been bitten by
some snake or was crazy, so we tore off his clothes to see what was
the matter; and what do you suppose we found? Nothing but a harmless
little lizard, that had run up the poor man’s legs, all the way up
to his arm-pits, thinking, I suppose, that his clothes was the bark
of a dead tree. After the trouble was all over, the way we laughed
at the fellow was curious.”

Our second day at the Alum Cave (and third one from home) was a
remarkably cheerless one; for a regular snowstorm set in, mingled
with hail, and, before we could reach our horses and descend the
Smoky Mountain, some three or four inches of snow had fallen. We
spent that night under the roof of our good friend and worthy man,
the guide, and it was with difficulty that we could induce him to
receive a quarter eagle for all his trouble in piloting us and
treating us to his best fare. On that night we ate our supper at
nine o’clock, and what rendered it somewhat peculiar was the fact
that his two eldest daughters, and very pretty girls besides, waited
upon us at table, holding above our heads a couple of torches made
of the fat pine. That was the first time that I was ever waited upon
in so regal a style, and more than once during the feast did I long
to retire in a corner of the smoky and dingy cabin to take a sketch
of the romantic scene. At sunrise on the following morning my
companion and myself remounted our horses, and in three hours were
eating our breakfast in Qualla Town.

                            LETTER XII.

                             Qualla Town, North Carolina, May, 1848.

_Qualla Town_ is a name applied to a tract of seventy-two thousand
acres of land, in Haywood county, which is occupied by about eight
hundred Cherokee Indians and one hundred Catawbas. Their district is
mountainous from one extremity to the other, and watered by a number
of beautiful streams, which abound in fish; the valleys and slopes
are quite fertile, and the lower mountains are well adapted to
grazing, and at the same time are heavily timbered and supplied with
every variety of game. This portion of a much larger multitude of
aborigines, in consideration of their rank and age, and of valuable
services rendered to the United States, were permitted by the
General Government to remain upon their native soil, while the great
body of the Cherokee nation were driven into exile. They (the
exiles) amounted in all to more than sixteen thousand souls,
_eighteen hundred and fifty_ having died on their way to the
“_promised land_” beyond the Mississippi. And here it may with
propriety be added, that since the removal those in the West have
gradually decreased in numbers, while the remaining portion have
steadily increased by births at the rate of four per cent. per
annum. In addition to the Indians above mentioned, it ought to be
stated that there is a remnant of two hundred still remaining in the
county of Cherokee; of those, however, I know but little, and
therefore purpose to confine my remarks to those of Qualla Town

The Indians of this district, having formed themselves into a
regular company, with appropriate regulations, they elected an old
friend of theirs, named William H. Thomas, (mentioned in my last
letter,) to become their business chief, so that the connection now
existing between the two parties is that of father and children.
What the result of this arrangement has been will be fully
understood when I come to speak of the advance which the Indians
have made in the march of civilization. As they are organized at the
present time, the Qualla Town people are divided into seven clans,
and to each clan is assigned what is called a town, over each of
which presides a regular chief. The Cherokee nation was originally
divided into seven clans, which were probably descended from certain
noted families, and the old party feeling is still preserved with
jealous care among their descendants in this vicinity. The names of
the clans are: In-e-chees-quah, or Bird Clan; In-egil-lohee, or
Pretty-faced Clan; In-e-wo-tah, or Paint Clan; In-e-wah-he-yah, or
Wolf Clan; In-e-se-ho-nih, or Blue Clan; In-e-co-wih, or Deer Clan;
and In-e-eo-te-ca-wih, the meaning of which is not known. And among
the customs which prevail among these clans is one which prevents
their marrying among themselves, so that they have to select their
wives from a neighboring fraternity. Formerly such marriages were
prohibited by penalty of death.

With regard to the extent of their civilization and their existing
manner of life, the following may be looked upon as a comprehensive
summary: About three-fourths of the entire population can read in
their own language, and, though the majority of them understand
English, a very few can speak the language. They practise, to a
considerable extent, the science of agriculture, and have acquired
such a knowledge of the mechanic arts as answers them for all
ordinary purposes, for they manufacture their own clothing, their
own ploughs, and other farming utensils, their own axes, and even
their own guns. Their women are no longer treated as slaves, but as
equals; the men labor in the fields, and their wives are devoted
entirely to household employments. They keep the same domestic
animals that are kept by their white neighbors, and cultivate all
the common grains of the country. They are probably as temperate as
any other class of people on the face of the earth, honest in their
business intercourse, moral in their thoughts, words, and deeds, and
distinguished for their faithfulness in performing the duties of
religion. They are chiefly Methodists and Baptists, and have
regularly ordained ministers, who preach to them on every Sabbath,
and they have also abandoned many of their mere senseless
superstitions. They have their own courts and try their criminals by
a regular jury. Their judges and lawyers are chosen from among
themselves. They keep in order the public roads leading through
their settlement. By a law of the State they have the right to vote,
but seldom exercise that right, as they do not like the idea of
being identified with any of the political parties. Excepting on
festive days, they dress after the manner of the white man, but far
more picturesquely. They live in small log houses of their own
construction, and have every thing they need or desire in the way of
food. They are, in fact, the happiest community that I have yet met
with in this Southern country, and no candid man can visit them
without being convinced of the wickedness and foolishness of that
policy of the Government which has always acted upon the opinion
that the red man could not be educated into a reasonable being.

By way of giving my readers a correct idea of the present condition
of the Carolina Cherokees I will describe a visit that I paid to one
of their churches on the Sabbath. I was anxious to see how far they
were advanced in the ways of Christian instruction, and, though I
noticed many little eccentricities, I was, upon the whole, very much
pleased with what I saw and heard. I was accompanied by Mr. Thomas,
and we reached the rude but spacious log meeting-house about eleven
o’clock. The first hour was devoted to instructing the children from
a Cherokee Catechism, and the chiefs of the several clans were the
officiating teachers. At twelve o’clock a congregation of some one
hundred and fifty souls was collected, a large proportion of whom
were women, who were as neatly dressed as could be desired, with
tidy calico gowns, and fancy handkerchiefs tied over their heads.
The deportment of all present was as circumspect and solemn as I
have ever witnessed in any New England religious assembly. When a
prayer was offered they all fell upon their knees, and in singing
all but the concluding hymn they retained their seats. Their form of
worship was according to the Methodist custom, but in their singing
there was a wild and plaintive sweetness which was very impressive.
The women and children as well as the men participated in this
portion of the ceremony, and some of the female voices reminded me
of the caroling of birds. They sung four hymns; three prayers were
offered by several individuals, and two sermons or exhortations were
delivered. The prayers were short and pointed, and, as the shortest
might be considered a fair specimen of the others, I will transcribe
it for the edification of my readers:

“Almighty Lord, who art the father of the world, look down from
heaven on this congregation. Bless the Indians, and supply them with
all the food and clothing they may want; bless, also, the white men,
and give them every thing they may need. Aid us all, O Lord, in all
our good works. Take care of us through life, and receive us in
heaven when the world shall be burnt up. We pray thee to take care
of this young white man who has come to this Indian meeting. Protect
him in all his travels, and go with him to his distant home, for we
know by his kind words that he is a friend of the poor, ignorant,
and persecuted Indian. Amen!”

The first preacher who addressed the meeting was a venerable man,
_Big Charley_, and he took for his text the entire first chapter of
John; but, before proceeding with his remarks, he turned to Mr.
Thomas and wished to know if he should preach with the
“_linguister_,” or interpreter, for the benefit of the young
stranger. I told him no; but requested Mr. Thomas to take notes,
and, through his kindness, it is now my privilege to print the
substance of that Cherokee sermon. It was as follows:

“In the beginning of creation, the world was covered with water. God
spake the word and the dry land was made. He next made the day and
the night; also, the sun, moon, and stars. He then made all the
beasts and birds and fishes in the world, and was much pleased. He
wanted some one to take care of all these creatures, and so he made
man, and from his body a woman, to help him and be his companion. He
put them into a beautiful garden, which was filled with all kinds of
good things to eat, but told them that there was one fruit they must
not touch. That fruit was an apple, I believe. The woman was not
grateful to God, and when a wicked serpent told her she might eat of
the beautiful fruit which she was so curious to taste, she did eat
of it, and gave some to the man, and he took some too. God talked
with the man about his wicked conduct, and told him that he and his
children should always have to work very hard for all they had to
eat, so long as they lived in the world; and to the woman, God said,
she must always suffer very much when she had children, and that the
man should be her master. The man and woman were then turned out of
the beautiful garden, and they were the father and mother of all the
Indians in the world, as well as the white men and the black men.
They had a great many children, and the world was very full of
people. The people were very wicked, and God warned a good man that
he intended to destroy the world by covering it all with water, and
that this good man must build a large boat like a house, and get
into it with his family, that they might not perish. The people
laughed at this good man for believing such a story; but he took
into his house two kinds of all the animals in the world, and the
waters came; so the world was destroyed. After many days the good
man sent out a dove to find some land, but it could not find any and
came back. He sent it out again, and it never returned, and soon the
great house rested on the top of a high mountain. Another race of
people then covered the earth; and a great many good men lived upon
the earth. One of the greatest of them it was who received from God
the _ten commandments_, which direct all men how to be good and
happy; but the world was yet very wicked. Long after this, God sent
into the world his only Son, whose name was Jesus Christ. This
wonderful being it was who gave up his own life that all the wicked
of the world might be saved, and the justice of God be satisfied;
and so it is, that all the Indians, as well as the white men, who
live like Jesus Christ, can get to heaven when they die.”

In delivering his sermon the preacher occupied about thirty minutes;
and the above facts were cemented together by a great number of
flowery expressions, which made it quite poetical. His manner was
impressive, but not particularly eloquent. After he had taken his
seat, and a hymn had been sung, a young man stepped into the rude
pulpit, who has distinguished himself by his eloquence. His name is
Tekin-neb, or the Garden of Eden. He spoke from the same text, and
his remarks bore chiefly on the redemption by Christ. At the
conclusion of his address he gave a sketch of his own religious
experience, and concluded by a remarkably affecting appeal to his
hearers. His voice, emphasis, and manner were those of a genuine
orator, and his thoughts were poetical to an uncommon degree. In
dwelling upon the marvellous love of the Saviour, and the great
wickedness of the world, he was affected to tears, and when he
concluded there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

After the benediction had been pronounced, Mr. Thomas delivered a
short address to the meeting on Temperance and a few secular
matters, when the Indians quietly dispersed to their several homes.
I retired to my own temporary home, deeply impressed by what I had
seen and heard, for my pride had been humbled while listening to the
rude savage, whose religious knowledge was evidently superior to my

                            LETTER XIII.

                             Qualla Town, North Carolina, May, 1848.

The plan adopted for the civilization of the Carolina Cherokees
differs materially from any others adopted in the United States.
Their amusements are not interfered with, excepting when found to
have an immoral or unhappy tendency. A goodly number of their more
ridiculous games, however, they have abandoned of their own accord,
but the manly game of _ball-playing_ is still practised after the
ancient manner, with one or two restrictions. In the first place,
they are not allowed to wager their property on the games, as of
old, unless it be some trifle in the way of a woollen belt or cotton
handkerchief, and they are prohibited from choking each other, and
breaking their heads and legs, when excited, as was their habit in
former times. Since my arrival here the Indians have had one of
their ball games, and as it was gotten up especially for my
edification, I made it a point of etiquette to be present at the
preparatory dance and the game, as well as at the concluding
ceremony, and these I will now endeavor to describe.

The preparatory or training dance took place on the night preceding
the game, and none participated in it who were not to play on the
following day. There were sixty young men present, besides the
spectators, and they met on a grassy plot formed by a bend of a
neighboring stream called Soco Creek. The dancers were stripped of
every particle of clothing but their waistbands; they made their own
music, which was composed merely of a rapid succession of whoops and
shouts; and they danced round a large blazing fire. The night in
question was very beautiful, and when this strange group was looked
upon by the light of the full moon, and the wild mountain scenery on
every side, they presented a most romantic appearance indeed. They
kept up the dance for over an hour, and, when it was concluded, all
the men immediately ran towards a deep pool in the ice-cold stream,
and without waiting for the perspiration to cool, plunged into the
water, and, having finally emerged, started for their several homes.
This dance, I am informed, had its origin in an ancient custom,
which compelled all the candidates for a game of ball to inure
themselves to every hardship for ten days before the game took
place, and during all that time they were to eat but little food,
and were to refrain from gratifying any of their sensual appetites.

On the morning of the game a large plain, lying between two hills
and directly in front of the Indian Courthouse, (a large circular
lodge, built of logs,) was divested of every stone and stick on its
surface, and at ten o’clock the spectators began to assemble. These
were composed of the old men of the nation, a large number of boys,
and a still larger number of women and children. They were all
dressed in their holiday attire, so that feathers, shawl turbans,
scarlet belts, and gaudy hunting shirts were quite abundant; and,
scattered as they were in groups of from five to fifty on the hill
sides and under the shadow of the trees, they presented a most
picturesque appearance. During all this time the players had kept
out of sight, and it was understood that the two parties were among
the bushes, at the two ends of the plain, preparing themselves for
the game. Under the direction of the presiding chief or
game-director, two poles were now erected about six hundred yards
apart, on either side of a given centre, and in this centre was
placed the ball. From this point was the ball to be given to the
players, and the party which first succeeded in throwing it outside
of the pole belonging to their opponents to the number of twelve
times were to be considered the winners.

Every thing being ready, a shrill whoop was given from one end of
the plain, and immediately answered by the opposing party, when they
all made their appearance, marching slowly to the centre, shouting
and yelling as they passed along. Each party consisted of thirty
splendidly formed young men, who were unincumbered by any clothing,
(save their common waistband,) and every individual carried in his
hand a pair of ball sticks, made with a braided bag at one end. As
the parties approached the centre, the lady-loves of the players ran
out upon the plain and gave their favorite champions a variety of
articles, such as belts and handkerchiefs, which they were willing
to wager upon the valor of their future husbands. This little
movement struck me as particularly interesting, and I was greatly
pleased with the bashfulnesss and yet complete confidence with which
the Indian maidens manifested their preferences.

When the several parties were assembled at the centre of the plain,
each man selected his particular antagonist by placing his sticks at
his rival’s feet, after which the game-director delivered a long
speech, wherein he warned them to adhere to the existing
regulations; and, throwing the ball high up in the air, made his
escape to one side of the plain, and the game commenced. As it
proceeded, the players became greatly excited, and I noticed that
the ball was never taken in hand until after it had been picked up
by the _spoony_ stick, but the expertness with which these movements
were performed was indeed surprising. At one time the whole crowd of
players would rush together in the most desperate and fearful
manner, presenting, as they struggled for the ball, the appearance
of a dozen gladiators, striving to overcome a monster serpent; and
then again, as one man would secure the ball and start for the
boundary line of his opponent, the races which ensued were very
beautiful and exciting. Wrestling conflicts also occurred quite
frequently, and it often seemed as if the players would break every
bone in their bodies as they threw each other in the air, or dragged
each other over the ground; and many of the leaps, which single
individuals performed, were really superb. The exercise was of a
character that would kill the majority of white men. The game lasted
for about two hours, and the moment it was finished the entire body
of players, while yet panting with excessive fatigue, made a rush
for the neighboring river, and in a short time appeared on the plain
in their usual garb, and the old chief who had held the stakes
awarded the prizes to the winning party. A short time afterwards the
boys stripped themselves, and went through the same routine of
playing as already described, when the ball-playing was at an end,
and the people began to disperse with a view of getting ready for
the evening dance.

I employed the intervening time by going home with one of the
chiefs, and eating a comfortable supper in his log cabin. The
habitation of this chief was made of hewn logs, and occupied a farm
of twenty acres on the mountain side, about one-fourth of which was
in a state of cultivation, and planted with corn and potatoes. He
had a tidy wife and several children, and his stock consisted of a
pony, a cow, and some ten or a dozen sheep. At nine o’clock, I was
again in the midst of a crowd of Indians, assembled at the
court-house of the town. The edifice, so called, is built of hewn
logs, very large and circular, without any floor but that of solid
earth, and without any seats but one short bench intended for the
great men of the nation. In the centre of this lodge was a large
fire, and the number of persons who figured in the several dances of
the evening, was perhaps two hundred, all fantastically dressed, and
including men, women, and boys. Each dancer made his own music, and,
with one exception, the dances were of the common Indian sort. The
exception alluded to was particularly fantastic, and called “the
Pilgrim Dance.” They came in with packs on their backs, with their
faces strangely painted, and with gourds hanging at their sides, and
the idea seemed to be to represent their hospitality towards all
strangers who visited them from distant lands. The dancing continued
until midnight, when the presiding chief addressed the multitude on
the subject of their duties as intelligent beings, and told them to
return to their several homes and resume their labors in the field
and in the shops. He concluded by remarking that he hoped I was
pleased with what I had witnessed, and trusted that nothing had
happened which would make the wise men of my country in the East
think less of the poor Indian than they did at the present time: and
he then added that, according to an ancient custom, as I was a
stranger they liked, the several chiefs had given me a name, by
which I should hereafter be remembered among the Carolina Cherokees,
and that name was _Ga-taw-hough No-que-sih_, or _The Wandering

                            LETTER XIV.

                             Qualla Town, North Carolina, May, 1848.

In the present letter I purpose to give you a brief historical
account of certain celebrated Cherokee Indians, who are deservedly
considered as among the bright particular stars of their nation.
Some of them are dead, and some still living, but they were all born
in this mountain land, and it is meet that I should award to each a
“passing paragraph of praise.”

The first individual that I would mention is Yo-na-gus-ka, or the
_Drowning Bear_. He was the principal chief of the Qualla Indians,
and died in the year 1838, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
When the Cherokees were invited to remove west of the Mississippi in
1809, he petitioned President Jefferson that he might be permitted
to remain with his followers, among his native mountains, and his
prayer was granted. He was eminently a peace chief, but obstinately
declined every invitation of the Government to emigrate, and would
probably have shed his blood and that of all his warriors in
defending his rights. When about sixty years of age he had a severe
fit of sickness, which terminated in a trance; this apparent
suspension of all his faculties lasted about twenty-four hours,
during which period he was supposed to be dead. It so happened,
however, that he recovered, and on resuming his speech, told his
attendants that he had been to the spirit land, and held communion
with his friends who had been long dead, that they were all very
happy. He also stated that he had seen many white men, and that some
of them appeared to be unhappy. The Great Spirit talked with him,
and told him his time was not yet come to leave the world; that he
had been a good and honest man, and that he must return to his
people, and govern them with great care and affection, so that he
might finally come and live with the Great Spirit for ever.

Subsequently to that time his people gave him a new name, which was
Yon-na-yous-ta, or _How like an Indian_. He governed his people like
a father, and was universally beloved. It was at his suggestion that
Mr. Thomas was adopted into the Cherokee nation; the prominent
reasons assigned for such a desire on his part being that Thomas had
proved himself to be the Indian’s friend, and was alone in the
world, having no father or brother. Mr. Thomas exerted a great
influence over him, and among the measures which the former
recommended was the adoption of a temperance society for the
improvement of himself and people, who were all addicted to the
intoxicating bowl. He was a true patriot at heart, and on being
reasoned into a correct state of mind, he expressed his
determination to create a reform. He first reformed himself, and
then summoned a council of all his people, ostensibly but secretly,
for the purpose of establishing a temperance society. At this
council he made a speech to the effect that they knew he had been an
intemperate man, and had discouraged the use of strong drink, which
he was confident was rapidly annihilating his nation; he expected to
be with his people but a short time, and to extricate them from the
great evil he had mentioned was the real purpose of the Great Spirit
in prolonging his life; he also spoke of the many evils to families
and individuals resulting from intemperance; and when he concluded,
it is said that his entire audience were in tears. Taking advantage
of this triumph, he called his scribe, (for he himself was an
illiterate man,) and requested him to write these words upon a sheet
of paper: “The undersigned drink no more whiskey;” to which pledge
he requested that his name should be attached. Every member of the
council appended his name to the paper, and thus was established the
first temperance society among the Cherokees, which has already
accomplished wonders. Among the regulations which he afterwards
proclaimed, was one that each Indian should pay a fine of two
shillings for every offence committed in breaking the pledge, and
that the money thus collected should be expended in extending the
boundaries of their territory. And here it may be well to mention
the fact, that though this “father of temperance” among the Indians
had been extremely dissipated during a period of thirty years, he
was never known, even in _the way of medicine_, to touch a drop of
spirits after his first temperance speech.

The reputation of Yo-na-gus-ka as an orator was co-extensive with
his entire nation. He not only understood the art of working upon
the feelings and clothing his thoughts in the most appropriate
imagery, but the thoughts themselves were invariably sound, and his
arguments unanswerable. From many examples of his reasoning I select
one. When once invited by the officers of Government to remove
westward, even after he and his people had become citizenized, he
was informed that in the West he would have an abundance of the most
fertile land, with plenty of game; also a government of his own;
that he would be undisturbed by the whites, and that the United
States Government would ever protect him from future molestation. In
replying to this invitation, as he stood in the midst of armed
soldiers, he remarked in substance as follows: “I am an old man, and
have counted the snows of almost eighty winters. My hair, which is
now very white, was once like the raven’s wing. I can remember when
the white man had not seen the smoke of our cabins westward of the
Blue Ridge, and I have watched the establishment of all his
settlements, even to the Father of Waters. The march of the white is
still towards the setting sun, and I know that he will never be
satisfied until he reaches the shore of the great water. It is
foolish in you to tell me that the whites will not trouble the poor
Cherokee in the Western country. The white man’s nature and the
Indian’s fate tell a different story. Sooner or later one Government
must cover the whole continent, and the red people, if not scattered
among the autumn leaves, will become a part of the American nation.
As to the white man’s promises of protection, they have been too
often broken; they are like the reeds in yonder river—they are all
lies. North Carolina had acknowledged our title to these lands, and
the United States had guarantied that title; but all this did not
prevent the Government from taking away our lands by force; and, not
only that, but sold the very cow of the poor Indian and his gun, so
as to compel him to leave his country. Is this what the white man
calls justice and protection? No, we will not go to the West. We
wanted to become the children of North Carolina, and she has
received us as such, and passed a law for our protection, and we
will continue to raise our corn in this very land. The people of
Carolina have always been very kind to us, and we know they will
never oppress us. You say the land in the West is much better than
it is here. That very fact is an argument on our side. The white man
must have rich land to do his great business, but the Indian can be
happy with poorer land. The white man must have a flat country for
his plough to run easy, but we can get along even among the rocks on
the mountains. We never shall do what you want us to do. I don’t
like you for your pretended kindness. I always advise my people to
keep their backs for ever turned towards the setting sun, and never
to leave the land of their fathers. I tell them they must live like
good citizens; never forget the kindness of North Carolina, and
always be ready to help her in time of war. I have nothing more to

When Yo-na-gus-ka was about to die, he summoned his chiefs and
warriors by his bed-side, and talked to them at great length upon
the importance of temperance, and in opposition to the idea of their
emigrating to the West, and made them swear that they would never
abandon the graves of their fathers, or his own grave, which is now
marked by a pile of stones on the margin of the Soco. In personal
appearance he was very handsome, and left two wives. He was the
owner of considerable property, and among his possessions was an old
negro named _Cudjo_. This man is now living, and on questioning him
about his former master he replied: “If Yo-na-gus-ka had had
larning, I b’lieve he’d been a very great man. He never allowed
himself to be called _master_, for he said Cudjo was his brother,
and not his slave. He was a great friend o’ mine, and when he died,
I felt as if I didn’t care about living any longer myself; but
Yo-na-gus-ka is gone, and poor old Cudjo is still alive and well.”

The second character that I will introduce to my readers is now
living in Qualla Town. His name is _Salola_, or the _Squirrel_. He
is quite a young man, and has a remarkably thoughtful face. He is
the blacksmith of his nation, and with some assistance supplies the
whole of Qualla Town with all their axes and ploughs; but what is
more, he has manufactured a number of very superior rifles and
pistols, including stock, barrel, and lock; and he is also the
builder of grist-mills, which grind all the corn which his people
eat. A specimen of his workmanship, in the way of a rifle, may be
seen at the Patent-Office, in Washington, where it was deposited by
Mr. Thomas; and I believe Salola is the first Indian who ever
manufactured an entire gun. But, when it is remembered that he never
received a particle of education in any of the mechanic arts, but is
entirely self-taught, his attainments must be considered truly

That he labors under every disadvantage in his most worthy calling,
may be shown by the fact that he uses a _flint-stone_ for an anvil,
and a _water-blast_ for a bellows. In every particular he is a most
worthy man, and though unable to speak the English tongue, is a very
good scholar in his own language. He is the husband of a Catawba
woman, whom he married _before he could speak one word of her own
tongue, or she could speak Cherokee_; but they have now established
a language of their own, by which they get along very well. Salola,
upon the whole, is an honor to the country, and one whose services
in some iron or steel establishment of the eastern cities would be
of great value. Is there not some gentleman in Philadelphia or
New-York who would take pleasure in patronizing this mechanical
prodigy of the wilderness?

Another of the characters I intended to mention is named _Euchella_.
He is a very worthy chief, and now in the afternoon of his days. He
is quite celebrated among his people as a warrior, but is
principally famous for important services rendered by him to the
United States Government during the Cherokee troubles. He, and a
band of one hundred followers, first attracted public attention by
evading, for upwards of a whole year, the officers of Government who
had been commanded to remove the party beyond the Mississippi. It
having been ascertained, however, that Euchella could not easily be
captured, and would never submit to leave his country, it was
determined that an overture should be made, by which he and his
brotherhood of warriors could be secured to assist the whites in
their troublesome efforts to capture three Indians who had murdered
a number of soldiers. The instrument employed to effect a
reconciliation was the Indian trader, Mr. Thomas, who succeeded in
appointing a meeting with Euchella on a remote mountain-top.

During this interviev, Mr. Thomas remonstrated with Euchella, and
told him that, if he would join the whites, he might remain in
Carolina, and be at peace. “I cannot be at peace,” replied the
warrior, “because it is now a whole year that your soldiers have
hunted me like a wild deer. I have suffered from the white man more
than I can bear. I had a wife and a little child—a brave,
bright-eyed boy—and because I would not become your slave, they were
left to starve upon the mountains. Yes; and I buried them with my
own hand, at midnight. For a whole week at a time have I been
without bread myself, and this in my own country too. I cannot bear
to think upon my wrongs, and I scorn your proposition.” It so
happened, however, that he partially relented, and having submitted
the proposition to his warriors, whom he summoned to his side by a
whoop, they agreed to accept it, and from that time Euchella became
an ally of the army. It was by the efforts of Euchella and his band
that the _murderers_ already mentioned were arrested and punished.
They had been condemned by a court martial, and sentenced to be
shot, and the scorn of death manifested by one of them, named
Charley, is worth recording. He had been given into the hands of
Euchella, and when he was tied to the tree, by one arm, where he was
to die, (to which confinement he submitted without a murmur,) he
asked permission to make a few remarks, which was of course granted,
and he spoke as follows: “And is it by your hands, Euchella, that I
am to die? We have been brothers together; but Euchella has promised
to be the white man’s friend, and he must do his duty, and poor
Charley is to suffer because he loved his country. O, Euchella! if
the Cherokee people now beyond the Mississippi carried my heart in
their bosoms, they never would have left their beautiful native
land—their own mountain land. I am not afraid to die; O, no, I want
to die, for my heart is very heavy, heavier than lead. But,
Euchella, there is one favor that I would ask at your hands. You
know that I had a little boy, who was lost among the mountains. I
want you to find that boy, if he is not dead, and tell him that the
last words of his father were that he must never go beyond the
Father of Waters, but die in the land of his birth. It is sweet to
die in one’s own country, and to be buried by the margin of one’s
native stream.” After the bandage had been placed over his eyes, a
little delay occurred in the order of execution, when Charley gently
raised the bandage, and saw a dozen of Euchella’s warriors in the
very act of firing; he then replaced the cloth, without manifesting
the least anxiety or moving a muscle, and in a moment more the poor
savage was weltering in his blood. And so did all three of the
murderers perish.

Another name, famous in the unwritten annals of Cherokee history, is
that of an Indian named _Guess_, who was the inventor of the
Cherokee alphabet. This alphabet contains eighty-six characters,
each one of which represents a distinct sound. It can be acquired,
by an apt scholar, in the course of ten days, and is now the
foundation of the Cherokee literature. Guess died at the West in the
year 1842.

The individual who translated the New Testament was an educated
Indian, named _Elias Boudinot_, who lost his life by the hand of an
Indian assassin. At the time of his death he was engaged upon a
translation of the Bible, and was cut down in the midst of his
usefulness, in 1839, merely because he had the fearlessness and the
honesty to disagree with a majority of the Arkansas Cherokees in
regard to a certain treaty. _John Ridge_, also an educated Indian,
and his father, Major _Ridge_, were brave and honorable men, who
were the friends of Boudinot, and like him perished by the hands of
assassins, at the same time and for the same cause. The elder
_Ridge_ acted a conspicuous part in the battle of the Horse-Shoe, in
the Creek war; while the younger _Ridge_ was mainly distinguished
for his intelligence and the happy influence of his life and good

                             LETTER XV.

                                Ashville, North Carolina, May, 1848.

The distance from Qualla Town to this place is sixty miles. The
first half of the route is exceedingly mountainous and almost
entirely uncultivated, but the valley of Pigeon river, down which
you have to travel for a considerable distance, is very fertile and
well cultivated. A pastoral charm seems to rest upon the scenery,
and in this particular forcibly reminded me of the upper valley of
the Mohawk. I occupied the most of two days in performing this trip,
and the only incident that I met with which was at all unique, was
upon this wise. I had stopped at a farm-house to take my dinner. It
so happened that my host was about to erect a new barn, and some
twenty of his neighbors were assembled for the purpose of raising
the framework to its proper position. An abundance of whiskey had
already been imbibed by a few of this rustic company, and among
these was one individual who had recently been grossly cheated in
purchasing a horse from a Tennessee horse-dealer. He had given a
mule and twenty dollars for the stranger’s gelding, and, though the
animal was quite respectable in appearance, it had turned out to be
old, unsound, and almost without a redeeming quality. The individual
in question was noted for making a fool of himself when intoxicated,
and on this occasion he was determined to prove true to himself. At
this time his horse speculation seemed to weigh heavily upon his
mind, and in his vehement remarks he took particular pains to curse
the entire State of Tennessee, including President Polk. The poor
man finally became so completely excited that he swore he would whip
the first man he met on the road who happened to be from Tennessee;
and so the matter rested. In about thirty minutes thereafter, as
fortune would have it, a man made his appearance on the road,
apparently from the West; and in jeering their noisy companion, the
farmers remarked that “now he would have a chance to revenge
himself.” The excitement of the horse-bitten speculator was
consequently greatly increased, and when the stranger reached the
hilltop he was accosted as follows:

“May I ask you, sir, if you come from Tennessee?”

“I do. What will you have?” replied the stranger.

The Carolinian then related his trading story, which he concluded by
carefully reiterating the determination he had made. The stranger
laughed at the idea, and was about to resume his journey, when the
reins of his horse were seized, and he found that it was indeed
necessary for him to fight his way out of the queer scrape. All
remonstrance on his part was in vain; but at the very moment the
fight was to commence, another horseman rode up, who was also
interrogated as to his native State. His presence had a tendency to
suspend hostilities; but when it was ascertained that he was _only_
a Kentuckian, the Carolinian insisted upon going on with his
business. The feelings of the Kentuckian were now enlisted, and he
declared his intention of regulating the fight; whereupon he made a
large ring, and taking out of his pocket a couple of pistols, he
told the combatants “to go ahead,” and at the same time warned the
bystanders that he would shoot the first man that interfered. The
conclusion of the whole matter was, that the intoxicated man
received a cruel thrashing for his ridiculous conduct, and the two
gentlemen from the West quietly resumed their several journeys.

On my way to this place, I stopped for a few hours at _Deaver’s
Sulphur Springs_, which are about four miles from the French Broad
river, on the road to Clarksville, Georgia. This is one of the most
popular watering-places in the South, not only on account of the
medicinal qualities of the water, but on account of the surrounding
scenery, which is remarkably interesting, and also for the
additional reason that the style in which people are entertained is
well worthy of even such places as Saratoga. The several buildings
connected with the establishment usually accommodate about two
hundred families during the summer months, and they are chiefly from
the cities of Charleston and Savannah. The people of Eastern North
Carolina do not seem to know that they have such a delightful
retreat within their borders which, to a man of genuine taste, is as
far ahead of Saratoga as a mountain stream is ahead of a canal.

With regard to Ashville, I can only say that it is a very busy and
pleasant village, filled with intelligent and hospitable
inhabitants, and is the centre of a mountain land, where Nature has
been extremely liberal and tasteful in piling up her mighty bulwarks
for the admiration of man. Indeed, from the summit of a hill
immediately in the vicinity of the village, I had a southwestern
view which struck me as eminently superb. It was near the sunset
hour, and the sky was flooded with a golden glow, which gave a
living beauty to at least a hundred mountain peaks, from the centre
of which loomed high towards the zenith _Mount Pisgah_ and the _Cold
Mountain_, richly clothed in purple, which are from twenty to thirty
miles distant, and not far from six thousand feet in height. The
middle distance, though in reality composed of wood-crowned hills,
presented the appearance of a level plain or valley, where columns
of blue smoke were gracefully floating into the upper air, and
whence came the occasional tinkle of a bell, as the cattle wended
their way homeward, after roaming among the unfenced hills. Directly
at my feet lay the little town of Ashville, like an oddly-shaped
figure on a green carpet; and over the whole scene dwelt a spirit of
repose, which seemed to quiet even the common throbbings of the

My first expedition on arriving here was to a gorge in the Blue
Ridge called the _Hickory Nut Gap_. How it came by that name I
cannot imagine, since the forests in this particular region, so far
as I could ascertain, are almost entirely destitute of the hickory
tree. It is true that for a distance of four miles the gorge is
watered by a brook called after the hickory nut, but I take it that
this name is a borrowed one. The entire length of the gap is about
nine miles, and the last five miles are watered by the Rocky Broad
River. The upper part of this stream runs between the Blue Ridge
proper and a spur of the Blue Ridge, and at the point where it
forces a channel through the spur its bed is exceedingly rocky, and
on either hand, until it reaches the middle country of the State, it
is protected by a series of mountain bluffs. That portion of the
gorge which might be called the gateway is at the eastern extremity.
From any point of view this particular spot is remarkably imposing,
the gap being not more than half a mile wide, though appearing to
narrow down to a few hundred yards. The highest bluff is on the
south side, and, though rising to the height of full _twenty-five
hundred feet_, it is nearly perpendicular, and midway up its front
stands an isolated rock, looming against the sky, which is of a
circular form, and resembles the principal turret of a stupendous
castle. The entire mountain is composed of granite, and a large
proportion of the bluff in question positively hangs over the abyss
beneath, and is as smooth as it could possibly be made by the rains
of uncounted centuries. Over one portion of this superb cliff,
falling far down into some undiscovered and apparently unattainable
pool, is a stream of water, which seems to be the offspring of the
clouds; and in a neighboring brook near the base of this precipice
are three shooting waterfalls, at the foot of which, formed out of
the solid stone, are three holes, which are about ten feet in
diameter and measure from forty to fifty feet in depth. But, leaving
these remarkable features entirely out of the question, the mountain
scenery in this vicinity is as beautiful and fantastic as any I have
yet witnessed among the Alleghanies. At a farm-house near the gap,
where I spent a night, I had the pleasure of meeting an English
gentleman and tourist, and he informed me that, though he had
crossed the Alps in a number of places, yet he had never seen any
mountain scenery which he thought as beautiful as that of the
Hickory Nut Gap. My best view of the gorge was from the eastward,
and just as the sun, with a magnificent retinue of clouds, was
sinking directly in the hollow of the hills, and as I gazed upon the
prospect, it seemed to me, as was in reality the case, that I stood
at the very threshold of an almost boundless wilderness of

Before visiting this remarkable passage through the mountains, I
endeavored to ascertain, from the Cherokees of Qualla Town, its
original Indian name, but without succeeding. It was my good
fortune, however, to obtain a romantic legend connected therewith. I
heard it from the lips of a Chief who glories in the two names of
_All Bones_ and _Flying Squirrel_, and, though he occupied no less
than two hours in telling the story, I will endeavor to give it to
my readers in about five minutes.

There was a time when the Cherokees were without the famous
_Tso-lungh_, or tobacco weed, with which they had previously been
made acquainted by a wandering stranger from the far East. Having
smoked it in their large stone pipes, they became impatient to
obtain it in abundance. They ascertained that the country where it
grew in the greatest quantities was situated on the big waters, and
that the gateway to that country (a mighty gorge among the
mountains) was perpetually guarded by an immense number of little
people or spirits. A council of the bravest men in the nation was
called, and, while they were discussing the dangers of visiting the
unknown country, and bringing therefrom a large knapsack of the
fragrant tobacco, a young man stepped boldly forward and said that
he would undertake the task. The young warrior departed on his
mission and never returned. The Cherokee nation were now in great
tribulation, and another council was held to decide upon a new
measure. At this council a celebrated magician rose and expressed
his willingness to relieve his people of their difficulties, and
informed them that he would visit the tobacco country and see what
he could accomplish. He turned himself into a mole, and as such made
his appearance eastward of the mountains; but, having been pursued
by the guardian spirits, he was compelled to return without any
spoil. He next turned himself into a humming-bird, and thus
succeeded, to a very limited extent, in obtaining what he needed. On
returning to his country, he found a number of his friends at the
point of death, on account of their intense desire for the fragrant
weed; whereupon he placed some of it in a pipe, and, having blown
the smoke into the nostrils of those who were sick, they all revived
and were quite happy. The magician now took it into his head that he
would revenge the loss of the young warrior, and at the same time
become the sole possessor of all the tobacco in the unknown land. He
therefore turned himself into a whirlwind, and in passing through
the Hickory Nut Gorge he stripped the mountains of their vegetation,
and scattered huge rocks in every part of the narrow valley;
whereupon the little people were all frightened away, and he was the
only being in the country eastward of the mountains. In the bed of a
stream he found the bones of the young warrior, and having brought
them to life, and turned himself into a man again, the twain
returned to their own country heavily laden with tobacco; and ever
since that time it has been very abundant throughout the entire

                            LETTER XVI.

                                Ashville, North Carolina, May, 1848.

I have just returned from an excursion down the French Broad River
to _Patton’s Warm Springs_, and the neighboring curiosities, and I
now purpose to describe the “wonders I have seen.” The original
Indian name of the French Broad was _Pse-li-co_, the meaning of
which I have not been able to ascertain. Its English name was
derived from a famous hunter named _French_. It is one of the
principal tributaries of the Tennessee, about one hundred miles
long, from one to two hundred yards wide, and, taking its rise in
the Blue Ridge near the border of South Carolina, runs in a
northwestern direction. Judging of the whole, by a section of fifty
miles, lying westward of Ashville, it must be considered one of the
most beautiful rivers in this beautiful land. In running the
distance above mentioned it has a fall of nearly fifteen hundred
feet, and its bed seems to be entirely composed of solid rock. In
depth it varies from five to fifteen feet, and, generally speaking,
is quite clear, abounding in a great variety of plebeian fish. Its
shores are particularly wild and rocky, for the most part nearly
perpendicular, varying from one to four hundred feet in height, and,
though usually covered with vegetation, they present frequent cliffs
of granite, freestone, and blue limestone, which actually droop over
the rushing waters and present a most imposing appearance. With
regard to its botanical curiosities, it can safely be said that a
more fruitful and interesting valley can nowhere be found in the
Union. Here we have not only every variety of American forest trees,
but bushes, plants, flowers, and vines in the greatest profusion,
and of the most vigorous growth; many of the grape vines, which
weigh down the mighty sycamore, seem to be long enough, and strong
enough, to link together a hundred ships of war. When it is
remembered, too, that the air is constantly heavy with the fragrance
of flowers, and tremulous with the perpetual roar of the stream, it
may be readily imagined that a ride down the French Broad is a
unique pleasure. Back of the river on either side the country is
hilly and somewhat cultivated, but its immediate valley contains
nothing that smacks of civilization but a turnpike road, and an
occasional tavern. This road runs directly along the water’s edge
nearly the entire distance, and, on account of the quantity of
travel which passes over it, is kept in admirable repair. It is the
principal thoroughfare between Tennessee and South Carolina, and an
immense number of cattle, horses, and hogs are annually driven over
it to the seaboard markets. Over this road also quite a large amount
of merchandise is constantly transported for the merchants of the
interior, so that mammoth wagons, with their eight and ten horses,
and their half-civilized teamsters, are as plenty as blackberries,
and afford a romantic variety to the stranger.

In riding down the French Broad, I overtook a gentleman on
horseback, who accompanied me about twenty miles. Immediately after
the first salutation was passed, and he had ascertained that I was
from the eastward, he questioned me with regard to _the latest news
from China_. I was surprised at the question, and after telling him
I had none to communicate, I could not refrain from asking him what
was the secret of his interest in that remote Empire. He replied
that he resided on the French Broad, and was a dealer in ginseng. I
had heard of the article before, and knew that it was found in
abundance throughout this mountain region. My friend described it as
a beautiful plant, with one stem and some twenty leaves at the top,
and growing to the height of eighteen inches. That portion of it,
however, which is prepared for market is the root. The Chinese are
the only people in the world who make any use of it whatever; but
with them it has been an article of commerce from time immemorial.
It is said to be associated in some way or other with an unexplained
superstition. Formerly it was obtained exclusively from Tartary, and
the Tartars were in the habit of saying that they could never find
it, excepting by shooting a magic arrow, which invariably fell where
the plant was abundant. It is not thought to possess any valuable
medicinal quality, and only has the effect of strengthening the
sensual appetite. It is used in the same manner that we use tobacco,
and to the tongue it is an agreeable bitter. It has been an article
of export from this country for half a century, and the most
extensive American shippers reside in Philadelphia. It is sold for
about sixty cents the pound, and my travelling companion told me
that his sales amounted to about forty thousand dollars per annum.
What an idea! that even the celestials are dependent upon the United
States for one of their cherished luxuries, and that luxury a common
unnoticed plant of the wilderness! Ours is, indeed, “a great

I come now to speak of the Warm Springs, which are thirty-six miles
from Ashville, and within six of the Tennessee line. Of the Springs
themselves there are some half dozen, but the largest is covered
with a house, and divided into two equal apartments, either one of
which is sufficiently large to allow of a swim. The temperature of
the water is 105 degrees, and it is a singular fact that rainy
weather has a tendency to increase the heat, but it never varies
more than a couple of degrees. All the springs are directly on the
southern margin of the French Broad; the water is clear as crystal,
and so heavy that even a child may be thrown into it with little
danger of being drowned. As a beverage the water is quite palatable,
and it is said that some people can drink a number of quarts per
day, and yet experience none but beneficial effects. The diseases
which it is thought to cure are palsy, rheumatism, and cutaneous
affections; but they are of no avail in curing pulmonic or dropsical
affections. The Warm Springs are annually visited by a large number
of fashionable and sickly people from all the Southern States, and
the proprietor has comfortable accommodations for two hundred and
fifty people. His principal building is of brick, and the ballroom
is 230 feet long. Music, dancing, flirting, wine-drinking, riding,
bathing, fishing, scenery-hunting, bowling, and reading, are all
practised here to an unlimited extent; but, what is more exciting
than all these pleasures put together, is the rare sport of
deer-hunting; and hereby “hangs a tale” to which I must devote a
separate paragraph.

My polite landlord had intimated his intention of affording me a
little sport, and immediately after a twelve o’clock dinner, on a
certain day, he stepped out upon his piazza and gave two or three
blasts with a small horn, the result of which was, that, in about
fifteen minutes, a negro mounted on a handsome horse made his
appearance, accompanied by some twenty yelping hounds. The horn was
next handed to the negro, and he was requested to go to a certain
spot on the mountains, about three miles off, and put the dogs out
after a deer. Two hours having elapsed, the landlord, his son, and
myself each took a rifle, and, after riding some three miles up the
French Broad, we stationed ourselves at different points for the
purpose of welcoming the deer, which was expected to take to the
water on the opposite side. We had scarcely been ten minutes in our
hiding places before the loud baying of the hounds was heard, as
they were coming down one of the mountain ravines, and in another
instant a very large buck (with his horns as yet only about a foot
long) plunged into the rapid stream. Instead of crossing the water,
however, he made his way directly down the river, now swimming and
now leaping, with the entire pack of hounds directly in his foamy
wake. It was evident that he considered himself hard pressed, and,
though now approaching a very rocky fall in the stream, he gave
himself to the current and went over, and it seemed as if he must
inevitably perish. But another call was immediately made upon our
sympathies, for we discovered the entire pack of hounds passing into
the same hell of waters. We remained in suspense, however, but a few
moments, for we saw the pursued and the pursuers all emerge from the
foam entirely unharmed, and still struggling in the race. Now the
deer took to an island, and then to another, and now again to the
water, and away did the whole pack speed down the river. By this
time the buck was evidently becoming tired, and certain of being
overtaken; and, having reached a shallow place in the river, he
turned upon the dogs and stood at bay. His movements during this
scene were indeed superb, and I could not but pity the noble
fellow’s condition. His sufferings, however, were of short duration,
for, while thus standing in full front of his enemies, the
landlord’s son sent a ball through his heart from the shore, and
with one frightful leap the monarch of the mountains was floating in
a crimson pool. The mounted negro now made his appearance, as if by
magic, and, having waded and swam his horse to the dead deer, took
the creature in tow, brought him to the land, threw him upon his
horse, and so ended the afternoon deer-hunt.

About six miles from the Warm Springs, and directly on the Tennessee
line, are located a brotherhood of perpendicular cliffs, which are
known as _the Painted Rocks_. They are of limestone, and rise from
the margin of the French Broad to the height of two, three and four
hundred feet. They are of a yellowish cast, owing to the drippings
of a mineral water, and in form as irregular and fantastic as can
well be imagined. They extend along the river nearly a mile, and at
every step present new phases of beauty and grandeur. Taken
separately, it requires but a trifling effort of the fancy to find
among them towers, ramparts and moats, steeples and domes in great
abundance; but when taken as a whole, and viewed from the opposite
bank of the river, they present the appearance of a once magnificent
city in ruins. Not only are they exceedingly beautiful in
themselves, but the surrounding scenery is highly attractive, for
the mountains seem to have huddled themselves together for the
purpose of looking down upon and admiring the winding and rapid
stream. With regard to historical and legendary associations, the
Painted Rocks are singularly barren; in this particular, however,
they are like the entire valley of the French Broad, where relics of
a by-gone people are few and far between. The rugged aspect of this
country would seem to imply that it was never regularly inhabited by
the Indians, but was their hunting ground; and what would appear to
strengthen this idea is the fact that it is, even at the present
day, particularly famous for its game.

On the day that I returned from my trip down the French Broad the
weather was quite showery, and the consequence was, the rain was
occasionally employed as an apology for stopping and enjoying a
quiet conversation with the people on the road. At one of the places
where I halted there was a contest going on between two Whigs
concerning the talents of the honorable gentleman who represents the
famous county of Buncombe in Congress. The men were both strongly
attached to the representative, and the contest consisted in their
efforts to excel each other in complimenting their friend, and the
climax of the argument seemed to be that Mr. Clingman was not “_some
pumpkins_,” but “PUMPKINS.” The strangeness of this expression
attracted my attention, and when an opportunity offered I questioned
the _successful_ disputant as to the origin and meaning of the
phrase he had employed, and the substance of his reply I might give
you if it was of a nature to interest the reader.

At another of the houses where I tarried for an hour, it was my
fortune to arrive just in time to witness the conclusion of a
domestic quarrel between a young husband and his wife. On
subsequently inquiring into the history of this affectionate couple,
I obtained the following particulars: The young man was reported to
be a very weak-minded individual, and ever since his marriage had
been exceedingly jealous of his wife, who (as I had seen) was quite
beautiful, but known to be perfectly true to her husband. Jealousy,
however, was the rage of the man, and he was constantly making
himself very ridiculous. His wife remonstrated, but at the same time
appreciated his folly, and acted accordingly. On one occasion she
was politely informed by her husband that he was very unhappy, and
intended to hang himself. “Very well,” replied the wife, “I hope you
will have a good time.” The husband was desperate, and having
obtained a rope, and carefully adjusted a certain stool, he slipped
the former over his head, and, when he knew that his wife was
looking on, he swung himself to a cross-beam of his cabin. In
playing his trick, however, he unfortunately kicked over the stool,
(which he had placed in a convenient spot for future use in
regaining his feet,) and was well nigh losing his life in reality,
but was saved by the timely assistance of his wife. His first remark
on being cut down was, “Jane, won’t you please go after the doctor:
I’ve twisted my neck dreadfully.”

I also picked up, while travelling along the French Broad, the
following bit of history connected with one of the handsomest
plantations on said river. About forty years ago a young girl and
her brother (who was a mere boy) found themselves in this portion of
North Carolina, strangers, orphans, friendless, and with only the
moneyed inheritance of one hundred and fifty dollars. With this
money the girl bought a piece of land, and, her little brother
having died, she hired herself out as a housekeeper. In process of
time she married, gave her little property into the keeping of her
husband, who squandered it, died a drunkard, and left her without a
penny. By the kindness of a friend she borrowed a couple of hundred
dollars, and came to Ashville and opened a boarding-house. In the
course of five years she made ten thousand dollars, married a second
time, and by the profligacy and death of her second husband again
lost every penny of her property. Years elapsed, and the unceasing
industry of the poor widow was recompensed by the smiles of fortune,
and she is now the owner of a large and valuable plantation, which
is the fruit of her own individual toil, and a number of strong and
manly sons are the comforts of her old age. But enough! I am now in
Ashville, and at the conclusion of my letter.

                            LETTER XVII.

                                Ashville, North Carolina, May, 1848.

Twenty-five miles from this place, in a northerly direction, stands
_Black Mountain_, which is the gloomy looking patriarch of the
Alleghanies, and claimed to be the most elevated point of land
eastward of the Mississippi. It is nearly seven thousand feet high,
and, with its numerous pinnacles, covers an area of territory which
must measure in length a distance of at least twenty miles. Unlike
its fellows in this Southern land, it is covered with a dense forest
from base to summit, where may be found nearly every variety of
American trees, from the willow and the elm, to the oak and the
Canada fir; and it is the parent of at least a hundred streams. Not
a rood of its rocky and yet fertile surface has ever been
cultivated, and its chief inhabitants are the panther, the bear, and
the deer. Almost its only human denizen is one Frederick Burnet, a
“mighty hunter,” who is now upwards of forty years of age, and is
said to have slain between five hundred and six hundred bears upon
this mountain alone. To obtain an adequate idea of its height and
grandeur, it should be viewed from at least a dozen points of the
compass, and with regard to the circular and apparently boundless
panorama which it commands, it can be far better imagined than
described. On questioning one of the wild natives of the region as
to the character of this prospect, he replied: “Good God! sir, it
looks down upon every seaport in the United States, and across the
whole of Mexico.” On learning this truly remarkable circumstance, my
curiosity was of course excited, and I questioned my informant as to
the facilities of looking off from the peak. “Directly on the
highest point,” said he, “stands a single fir-tree which you have to
climb, and thus look down on all creation.” “And how do you reach
the summit?” I continued. “O! it’s a very easy matter, stranger; you
only have to _walk_ about six miles, and right straight _up_ the
roughest country you ever _did_ see.”

With this intelligence I was fully satisfied, and thereupon
concluded that I should waste none of my strength merely for the
privilege of “climbing a tree,” even though it were the most
elevated in the land. One of my Ashville friends, however, to whom I
had brought letters of introduction, spoke to me of the Black
Mountain in the most enthusiastic terms, said that I ought to visit
it, and added that he had gotten up a party of one dozen gentlemen,
including himself, who were resolved upon visiting the foot of the
mountain in my company. They were described as lovers of scenery,
anglers, and hunters, and it was proposed that we should go on
horseback, though accompanied by a kind of tender, consisting of a
small wagon load of provisions, fishing-rods, and guns, which was to
be under the especial charge of an old negro named Sam Drymond. I
was of course delighted with this arrangement, and, as the
expedition was accomplished to the satisfaction of all concerned, I
will give an account of its principal incidents.

Our cavalcade started at the break of day, and, as Miss Fortune
would have it, in what we imagined a morning shower. It so happened,
however, that it rained almost without ceasing until we reached our
place of destination, which was a log shantee not far from the base
of the Black Mountain, and about six miles from its summit. Our
course lay up the valley of _the Swannanoah_, which, in spite of the
rain, I could not but admire for its varied beauties. This river
rises on the Black Mountain, is a charming tributary of the French
Broad, from five to twenty yards in width, cold and clear, very
rapid, and throughout its entire length is overshaded by a most
luxuriant growth of graceful and sweet-scented trees and vines. The
plantations on this stream are highly cultivated, the surrounding
scenery is mountainous, graceful, and picturesque, and among the
small but numerous waterfalls which make the first half of its
course exceedingly romantic, may be enjoyed the finest of trout

To describe the appearance of our party as we ascended the
Swannanoah, through the mud and rain, were quite impossible, without
employing a military phrase. We looked more like a party of “used
up” cavaliers, returning from an unfortunate siege, than one in
pursuit of pleasure; and in spite of our efforts to be cheerful, a
few of our faces were lengthened to an uncommon degree. Some of our
company were decided characters, and a variety of professions were
represented. Our captain was a banker, highly intelligent, and rode
a superb horse; our second captain was a Lambert-like gentleman,
with scarlet Mexican cloak: we had an editor with us, whose
principal appendage was a long pipe; there was also a young
physician, wrapped up in a blue blanket; also a young graduate,
enveloped in a Spanish cloak, and riding a beautiful pony; also an
artist, and then a farmer or two; also a merchant; and last of all
came the deponent, with an immense plaid blanket wrapped round his
body, and a huge pair of boots hanging from his legs, whose romantic
appearance was somewhat enhanced by the fact that his horse was the
ugliest in the country. Long before reaching our place of
destination, a freshet came pouring down the bed of the Swannanoah,
and, as we had to ford it at least twenty times, we met with a
variety of mishaps, which were particularly amusing. The most unique
incident, however, was as follows: The party having crossed a
certain ford, a motion was made that we should wait and see that old
Drymond made the passage in safety. We did so, and spent about one
hour on the margin of the stream, in a most impatient mood, for the
old man travelled very slowly, and the clouds were pouring down the
rain most abundantly. And what greatly added to our discomfort was
the fact, that our horses got into a cluster of nettles, which made
them almost unmanageable. In due time the negro made his appearance,
and plunged into the stream. Hardly had he reached the middle,
before his horse became unruly, and having broken entirely loose
from the wagon, disappeared down the stream, leaving the vehicle in
a most dangerous position, near the centre thereof, with a
tremendous torrent rushing on either side, and the poor negro in the
attitude of despair. He was indeed almost frightened to death; but
his woe-begone appearance was so comical, that in spite of his real
danger, and the prayer he offered, the whole party burst into a roar
of laughter. One remark made by the negro was this: “O Massa, dis is
de last o’ poor old Drymond—his time’s come.” But it so happened
that our old friend was rescued from a watery grave: but I am
compelled to state that our provisions, which were now transferred,
with old Drymond, on the back of the horse, were greatly damaged,
and we resumed our journey, with our spirits at a much lower ebb
than the stream which had caused the mishap.

We arrived at a vacant cabin on the mountain, our place of
destination, about noon, when the weather became clear, and our
drooping spirits were revived. The cabin stood on the margin of the
Swannanoah, and was completely hemmed in by immense forest trees.
Our first movement was to fasten and feed the horses; and having
satisfied our own appetites with a cold lunch, a portion of the
company went a fishing, while the remainder secured the services of
the hunter Burnet, and some half dozen of his hounds, and endeavored
to kill a deer. At the sunset hour the anglers returned with a lot
of two or three hundred trout, and the hunters with a handsome doe.
With this abundant supply of forest delicacies, and a few
“knick-knacks” that we had brought with us, we managed to get up a
supper of the first water, but each man was his own cook, and our
fingers and hands were employed in the place of knives and plates.
While this interesting business was going on we dispatched Burnet
after a fiddler, who occupied a cabin near his own, and when the
musical gentleman made his appearance, we were ready for the
“evening’s entertainment.”

We devoted two hours to a series of fantastic dances, and when we
became tired of this portion of the frolic, we spent an hour or so
in singing songs, and wound up the evening by telling stories. Of
the hundred and one that were related, only two were at all
connected with the Black Mountain, but as these were Indian legends,
and gathered from different sources, by the gentlemen present, I
will preserve them in this letter for the edification of those
interested in such matters. On the north side of Black Mountain
there was once a cave, where all the animals in the world were
closely confined; and before that time they had never been known to
roam over the mountains as they do now. All these animals were in
the keeping of an old Cherokee chief. This man, who had a
mischievous son, often came home with a fine bear or deer, but would
never tell his son or any other person where he found so much
valuable game. The son did not like this, and on one occasion when
his father went out after food he hid himself among the trees, and
watched his movements. He saw the old man go to the cave, already
mentioned, and, as he pushed away a big stone, out ran a fine buck,
which he killed with an arrow, and then rolled back the stone. When
the old man was gone home with his deer the boy went to the cave,
and thought that he would try his luck in killing game. He rolled
away the stone, when out jumped a wolf, which so frightened him that
he forgot to replace the stone, and, before he knew what he was
about, all the animals made their escape, and were fleeing down the
mountain in every possible direction. They made a dreadful noise for
a while, but finally came together in pairs, and so have continued
to multiply down to the present time. When the father found out what
the foolishness of his son had accomplished, he became very unhappy,
and in less than a week he disappeared, and was never heard of
again. The boy also became very unhappy, and spent many days in
trying to find his father, but it was all in vain. As a last resort
he tried an old Indian experiment which consisted in shooting
arrows, to find out in which direction the old man had gone. The boy
fired an arrow towards the north, but it returned and fell at his
feet, and he knew that his father had not travelled in that
direction. He also fired one towards the east and the south and the
west, but they all came back in the same manner. He then thought
that he would fire one directly above his head, and it so happened
that this arrow never returned, and so the boy knew that his father
had gone to the spirit land. The Great Spirit was angry with the
Cherokee nation, and to punish it for the offence of the foolish boy
he tore away the cave from the side of the Black Mountain, and left
only a large cliff in its place, which is now a conspicuous feature,
and he then declared that the time would come when another race of
men should possess the mountains where the Cherokees had flourished
for many generations.

Another legend was as follows: Once, in the olden times, when the
animals of the earth had the power of speech, a red deer and a
terrapin met on the Black Mountain. The deer ridiculed the terrapin,
boasted of his own fleetness, and proposed that the twain should run
a race. The creeping animal assented to the proposition. The race
was to extend from the Black Mountain to the summit of the third
pinnacle extending to the eastward. The day was then fixed, and the
animals separated. During the intervening time the cunning terrapin
secured the services of three of its fellows resembling itself in
appearance, and having given them particular directions, stationed
them upon the several peaks over which the race was to take place.
The appointed day arrived, and the deer, as well as the first
mentioned terrapin, were faithfully on the ground. All things being
ready, the word was given, and away started the deer at a break-neck
speed. Just as he reached the summit of the first hill he heard the
shout of a terrapin, and as he supposed it to be his antagonist, he
was greatly perplexed, but continued on his course. On reaching the
top of the second hill, he heard another shout of defiance, and was
more astonished than ever, but onward still did he continue. Just
before reaching the summit of the third hill, the deer heard what he
supposed to be the same shout, and he gave up the race in despair.
On returning to the starting place, he found his antagonist in a
calm and collected mood, and, when he demanded an explanation, the
terrapin solved the mystery, and then begged the deer to remember
that mind could sometimes accomplish what was often beyond the reach
of the swiftest legs.

With regard to the manner in which our party spent the night at the
foot of Black Mountain, I can only say that we slept upon the floor,
and that our saddles were our only pillows. The morning of the next
day we devoted to an unsuccessful hunt after a bear, and a portion
of us having thrown the fly a sufficient length of time to load old
Drymond with trout, we all started on our return to Ashville, and
reached the village just as the sun was sinking behind the western

                           LETTER XVIII.

                             North Cove, North Carolina, June, 1848.

I now write from a log cabin situated on the Catawba river, and in
one of the most beautiful of valleys. My ride from Ashville to
Burnsville, a distance of over forty miles, was unattended by a
single interesting incident, and afforded only one mountain prospect
that caused me to rein in my horse. But the prospect alluded to
embraced the entire outline of Bald Mountain, which, being one of
the loftiest in this section of country, and particularly barren,
presented a magnificent appearance. On the extreme summit of this
mountain is a very large and an intensely cold spring of water, and
in its immediate vicinity a small cave and the ruins of a log cabin,
which are associated with a singular being named David Greer, who
once made this upper world his home. He first appeared in this
country about fifty years ago; his native land, the story of his
birth, and his early history, were alike unknown. Soon after his
arrival among the mountains, he fell desperately in love with the
daughter of a farmer, but his suit was rejected by the maiden, and
strenuously opposed by all her friends. Soon after this
disappointment the lover suddenly disappeared, and was subsequently
found residing on Bald Mountain in the cave already mentioned. Here
he lived the life of a literary recluse, and is said to have written
a singular work upon religion, and another which purported to be a
treatise on human government. In the latter production he proclaimed
himself the sole proprietor of Bald Mountain, and made it known to
the world that all who should ever become his neighbors must submit
to the laws he had himself enacted. The prominent actions of his
life were “few and far between,” but particularly infamous. The
first that brought him into notice was as follows: A few years after
it was ascertained that he had taken possession of this mountain,
the authorities of the county sent a messenger to Greer, and
demanded a poll-tax of seventy-five cents. The hermit said he would
attend to it on the next court-day, and his word was accepted. On
the day in question Greer punctually made his appearance, but,
instead of paying over the money, he pelted the windows of the
court-house with stones, and drove the judges, lawyers, and clients
all out of the village, and then, with rifle in hand, returned to
his mountain dwelling. For some months after this event he amused
himself by mutilating all the cattle which he happened to discover
on what he called his domain, and it is said was in the habit of
trying the power of his rifle by shooting down upon the plantations
of his neighbors. The crowning event of David Greer’s life, however,
consisted in his shooting to the ground in cold blood, and in the
broad daylight, a man named Higgins. The only excuse that he offered
for committing this murder was that the deceased had been found
hunting for deer on that portion of land which he claimed as his
own. For this offence Greer was brought to trial and acquitted on
the ground of insanity. When this decision was made known, the
criminal was greatly enraged, and, when released, started for his
cabin, muttering loud and deep curses against the _injustice_ of the
laws. In process of time a number of attempts were made to take his
life, and it was a common occurrence with him to be awakened at
midnight by a ball passing through the door of his cabin. After
living upon the mountain for a period of twenty years, he finally
concluded to abandon his solitary life, and took up his abode in one
of the settlements on the Tennessee side of Bald Mountain. Here, for
a year or two, he worked regularly in an iron forge, but having had
a dispute with a fellow-workman, swore that he would shoot him
within five hours, and started after his rifle. The offending party
was named Tompkins, and after consulting with his friends as to what
course he ought to pursue, in view of the uttered threat, he was
advised to take the law in his own hands. He took this advice, and,
as David Greer was discovered walking along the road with rifle in
hand, Tompkins shot him through the heart, and the burial-place of
the hermit is now unknown. Public opinion was on the side of
Tompkins, and he was never summoned to account for the defensive
murder he had committed.

In coming from Burnsville to this place, I enjoyed two mountain
landscapes, which were supremely beautiful and imposing. The first
was a northern view of Black Mountain from the margin of the South
Toe river, and all its cliffs, defiles, ravines, and peaks seemed as
light, dream-like, and airy as the clear blue world in which they
floated. The stupendous pile appeared to have risen from the earth
with all its glories in their prime, as if to join the newly-risen
sun in his passage across the heavens. The middle distance of the
landscape was composed of two wood-crowned hills which stood before
me like a pair of loving brothers, and then came a luxuriant meadow,
where a noble horse was quietly cropping his food; while the
immediate foreground of the picture consisted of a marvellously
beautiful stream, which glided swiftly by, over a bed of golden and
scarlet pebbles. The only sounds that fell upon my ear, as I gazed
upon this scene, were the murmurings of a distant water-fall, and
the hum of insect wings.

The other prospect that I witnessed was from the summit of the Blue
Ridge, looking in the direction of the Catawba. It was a wilderness
of mountains, whose foundations could not be fathomed by the eye,
while in the distance, towering above all the peaks, rose the
singular and fantastic form of _the Table Mountain_. Not a sign of
the breathing human world could be seen in any direction, and the
only living creature which appeared to my view was a solitary eagle,
wheeling to and fro far up towards the zenith of the sky.

From the top of the Blue Ridge I descended a winding ravine four
miles in length, where the road, even at midday, is in deep shadow,
and then I emerged into the North Cove. This charming valley is
twelve miles long, from a half to a whole mile in width, completely
surrounded with mountains, highly cultivated, watered by the
Catawba, and inhabited by intelligent and worthy farmers. At a
certain house where I tarried to dine on my way up the valley, I was
treated in a manner that would have put to the blush people of far
greater pretensions; and, what made a deep impression on my mind,
was the fact that I was waited upon by two sisters, about ten years
of age, who were remarkably beautiful and sprightly. One of them had
flaxen hair and blue eyes, and the other deep black hair and eyes.
Familiar as I had been for weeks past with the puny and ungainly
inhabitants of the mountain tops, these two human flowers filled my
heart with a delightful sensation. May the lives of those two
darlings be as peaceful and beautiful as the stream upon which they
live! The prominent pictorial feature of the North Cove is of a
mountain called _the Hawk’s Bill_, on account of its resemblance to
the beak of a mammoth bird, the length of the bill being about
fifteen hundred feet. It is visible from nearly every part of the
valley, and to my fancy is a more _picturesque_ object than the
Table Mountain, which is too regular at the sides and top to satisfy
the eye. The table part of this mountain, however, is twenty-five
hundred feet high, and therefore worthy of its fame.

The cabin where I am stopping at the present time is located at the
extreme upper end of the North Cove. It is the residence of the best
guide in the country, and the most convenient lodging place for
those who would visit the Hawk’s Bill and Table Mountains, already
mentioned, as well as the Lindville Pinnacle, the Catawba Cave, the
Cake Mountain, the Lindville Falls, and the Roan Mountain.

The _Lindville Pinnacle_ is a mountain peak, surmounted by a pile of
rocks, upon which you may recline at your ease, and look down upon a
complete series of rare and gorgeous scenes. On one side is a
precipice which seems to descend to the very bowels of the earth; in
another direction you have a full view of _Short-off Mountain_, only
about a mile off, which is a perpendicular precipice several
thousand feet high, and the abrupt termination of a long range of
mountains; in another direction still the eye falls upon a
brotherhood of mountain peaks which are particularly ragged and
fantastic in their formation—now shooting forward, as if to look
down into the valleys, and now looming to the sky, as if to pierce
it with their pointed summits; and in another direction you look
across what seems to be a valley from eighty to a hundred miles
wide, which is bounded by a range of mountains that seem to sweep
across the world as with triumphal march.

The _Catawba Cave_, situated on the Catawba river, is entered by a
fissure near the base of a mountain, and is reputed to be one mile
in length. It has a great variety of chambers, which vary in height
from six to twenty feet; its walls are chiefly composed of a porous
limestone, through which the water is continually dripping; and
along the entire length flows a cold and clear stream, which varies
from five to fifteen inches in depth. This cave is indeed a curious
affair, though the trouble and fatigue attending a thorough
exploration far outweigh the satisfaction which it affords. But
there is one arm of the cave which has never been explored, and an
admirable opportunity is therefore offered for the adventurous to
make themselves famous by revealing some of the hidden wonders of

The _Ginger Cake Mountain_ derives its very poetical name from a
singular pile of rocks occupying its extreme summit. The pile is
composed of two masses of rock of different materials and form,
which are so arranged as to stand on a remarkably small base. The
lower section is composed of a rough slate stone, and its form is
that of an inverted pyramid; but the upper section of the pile
consists of an oblong slab of solid granite, which surmounts the
lower section in a horizontal position, presenting the appearance of
a work of art. The lower section is thirty feet in altitude, while
the upper one is thirty-two feet in length, eighteen in breadth, and
nearly two feet in thickness. The appearance of this rocky wonder is
exceedingly tottleish, and though we may be assured that it has
stood upon that eminence perhaps for a thousand years, yet it is
impossible to tarry within its shadow without a feeling of
insecurity. The individual who gave the Ginger Cake Mountain its
outlandish name was a hermit named Watson, who resided at the foot
of the mountain about fifty years ago, but who died in 1816. He
lived in a small cabin, and entirely alone. His history was a
mystery to every one but himself, and, though remarkably eccentric,
he was noted for his amiability. He had given up the world, like his
brother hermit of the Bald Mountain, on account of a disappointment
in love, and the utter contempt which he ever afterwards manifested
for the gentler sex, was one of his most singular traits of
character. Whenever a party of ladies paid him a visit, which was
frequently the case, he invariably treated them politely, but would
never _speak_ to them; he even went so far in expressing his dislike
as to consume for firewood, after the ladies were gone, the topmost
rail of his yard-fence, over which they had been compelled to pass,
on their way into his cabin. That old Watson “fared sumptuously
every day” could not be denied, but whence came the money that
supported him no one could divine. He seldom molested the wild
animals of the mountain where he lived, and his chief employments
seemed to be _the raising of peacocks_, and the making of garments
for his own use, which were all elegantly trimmed off with the
feathers of his favorite bird. The feathery suit in which he kept
himself constantly arrayed he designated as his _culgee_; the
meaning of which word could never be ascertained; and long after the
deluded being had passed away from among the living he was spoken of
as Culgee Watson, and is so remembered to this day.

I come now to speak of _the Lindville Falls_, which are situated on
the Lindville river, a tributary of the beautiful Catawba. They are
literally embosomed among mountains, and long before seeing them do
you hear their musical roar. The scenery about them is as wild as it
was a hundred years ago—not even a pathway has yet been made to
guide the tourist into the stupendous gorge where they reign
supreme. At the point in question the Lindville is about one hundred
and fifty feet broad, and though its waters have come down their
parent mountains at a most furious speed, they here make a more
desperate plunge than they ever dared to attempt before, when they
find themselves in a deep pool and suddenly hemmed in by a barrier
of gray granite, which crosses the entire bed of the river. In their
desperation, however, they finally work a passage through the solid
rock, and after filling another hollow with foam, they make a
desperate leap of at least one hundred feet, and find a resting
place in an immense pool, which one might easily imagine to be
bottomless. And then, as if attracted by the astonishing feats
performed by the waters, a number of lofty and exceedingly fantastic
cliffs have gathered themselves together in the immediate
neighborhood, and are ever peering over each other’s shoulders into
the depths below. But as the eye wanders from the surrounding
cliffs, it falls upon an isolated column several hundred feet high,
around which are clustered in the greatest profusion the most
beautiful of vines and flowers. This column occupies a conspicuous
position a short distance below the Falls, and it were an easy
matter to imagine it a monument erected by Nature to celebrate her
own creative power.

With a liberal hand, indeed, has she planted her forest trees in
every imaginable place; but with a view of even surpassing herself,
she has filled the gorge with a variety of caverns, which astonish
the beholder, and almost cause him to dread an attack from a
brotherhood of spirits. But how futile is my effort to give an
adequate idea of the Lindville Falls and their surrounding
attractions! When I attempted to sketch them I threw away my pencil
in despair; and I now feel that I should be doing my pen a kindness,
if I were to consume what I have written. I will give this paragraph
to the world, however, trusting that those who may hereafter visit
the Lindville Falls, will award to me a little credit for my _will_
if not for my _deed_.

To be in keeping with my wayward wanderings in this Alpine
wilderness, it now becomes my duty to speak of the _Roan Mountain_
and the _Grand Father_. By actual measurement the former is only
seventy feet lower than the Black Mountain, and consequently
measures well nigh to seven thousand feet. It derives its name from
the circumstance that it is often covered with snow, and at such
times is of a roan color. It lies in the States of North Carolina
and Tennessee, and has three prominent peaks, which are all entirely
destitute of trees. The highest of them has a clearing containing
several thousand acres, and the cattle and horses of the surrounding
farmers resort to it in immense numbers, for the purpose of feeding
upon the fine and luxuriant grass which grows there in great
abundance. The ascent to the top of this peak is gradual from all
directions except one, but on the north it is quite perpendicular,
and to one standing near the brow of the mighty cliff the scene is
exceedingly imposing and fearful. That it commands an uninterrupted
view of what appears to be the entire world, may be readily
imagined. When I was there I observed no less than three thunder
storms performing their uproarious feats in three several valleys,
while the remaining portions of the lower world were enjoying a deep
blue atmosphere. In visiting Roan Mountain you have to travel on
horseback, and, by starting at the break of day, you may spend two
hours on the highest peak, and be home again on the same evening
about the sunset hour.

In accounting for the baldness which characterizes the Roan
Mountain, the Catawba Indians relate the following tradition: There
was once a time when all the nations of the earth were at war with
the Catawbas, and had proclaimed their determination to conquer and
possess their country. On hearing this intelligence the Catawbas
became greatly enraged, and sent a challenge to all their enemies,
and dared them to a fight on the summit of the Roan. The challenge
was accepted, and no less than three famous battles were fought—the
streams of the entire land were red with blood, a number of tribes
became extinct, and the Catawbas carried the day. Whereupon it was
that the Great Spirit caused the forests to wither from the three
peaks of the Roan Mountain where the battles were fought; and
wherefore it is that the flowers which grow upon this mountain are
chiefly of a crimson hue, for they are nourished by the blood of the

One of the finest views from the Roan Mountain is that of the Grand
Father, which is said to be altogether the wildest and most
fantastic mountain in the whole Alleghany range. It is reputed to be
5,600 feet high, and particularly famous for its black bears and
other large game. Its principal human inhabitants, par excellence,
for the last twenty years, have been a man named _Jim Riddle_, and
his loving spouse, whose cabin was near its summit. A more
successful hunter than Jim never scaled a precipice; and the stories
related of him would fill a volume. One of the funniest that I now
remember, is briefly as follows:—

He was out upon a hunting expedition, and having come to one of his
bear traps, (made of logs, weighing about a thousand pounds, and set
with a kind of figure four,) the bait of which happened to be
misplaced, he thoughtlessly laid down his gun, and went under the
trap to arrange the bait. In doing this, he handled the bait hook a
little too roughly, and was consequently caught in the place of a
bear. He chanced to have a small hatchet in his belt, with which,
under every disadvantage, he succeeded in cutting his way out. He
was one day and one night in doing this, however, and his narrow
escape caused him to abandon the habit of swearing, and become a
religious man.

To the comprehension of Jim Riddle, the Grand Father was the highest
mountain in the world. He used to say that he had read of the Andes,
but did not believe that they were half as high as the mountain on
which he lived. His reason for this opinion was, that when a man
stood on the top of the Grand Father, it was perfectly obvious that
“_all the other mountains in the world lay rolling from it, even to
the sky_.”

Jim Riddle is said to have been a remarkably certain marksman; and
one of his favorite pastimes, in the winter, was to shoot at
snow-balls. On these occasions, his loving wife, Betsey, was always
by his side, to laugh at him when he missed his mark, and to applaud
when successful. And it is reported of them, that they were
sometimes in the habit of spending entire days in this _elevated_
recreation. But enough; Jim Riddle is now an altered man. His cabin
has long since been abandoned, and he has become a travelling
preacher, and is universally respected for his amiability, and
matter-of-fact intelligence.

                            LETTER XIX.

                                Elizabethton, Tennessee, June, 1848.

The prominent circumstance attending my journey from the North Cove
to this place was, that it brought me out of the great mountain
wilderness of Georgia and North Carolina into a well-cultivated and
more level country. For two months past have I spent my days on
horseback, and the majority of my nights in the rudest of cabins;
and as I am now to continue my journey in a stagecoach, it is meet
that I should indite a general letter, descriptive of the region
through which I have passed. In coming from Dahlonega to this place,
I have travelled in a zigzag course upwards of four hundred miles,
but the intervening distance, in a direct line, would not measure
more than two hundred. The entire country is mountainous, and for
the most part remains in its original state of nature. To the
botanist and the geologist, this section of the Union is
unquestionably the most interesting eastward of the Mississippi, for
we have here nearly every variety of forest trees known in the land,
as well as plants and flowers in the greatest abundance, while the
mountains, which are of a primitive formation, abound in every known
variety of minerals. That the scenery of this region is highly
interesting, I hope my readers have already been convinced. More
beautiful streams can nowhere be found on the face of the earth.
But, when we come to speak of lake scenery, the South must yield the
palm to the North. Not a single sheet of water deserving the name of
lake have I yet seen in this Southern land, and yet every mountain
seems to be well supplied with the largest and the coldest of
springs. I know not but this fact has been explained by our
scientific men, but to me it is indeed a striking peculiarity. The
valleys, too, of this region, are remarkably narrow, and the
majority of them might with more propriety be called immense
ravines. The skies, however, which canopy this Alpine land, appeared
to me to be particularly blue, and as to the clouds which gather
around the mountains at the sunset hour, they are gorgeous beyond

With regard to climate, I know of no section of country that can be
compared with the highlands of Georgia and North Carolina. It is but
seldom that a foot of snow covers the earth even in the severest
winters; and, though the days of midsummer are very warm, they are
seldom sultry, and the nights are invariably sufficiently cool to
make one or two blankets comfortable. Fevers and other diseases
peculiar to the sea-side of the Alleghanies are hardly known among
their inhabitants, and heretofore the majority of people have died
of old age. I would not intimate that they are afflicted with an
epidemic at the present time, but I do say that there are many
households in this region, which have been rendered very desolate by
the Mexican war. When our _kingly_ President commanded the American
people to leave the plough in the furrow and invade a neighboring
republic, the mountaineers of Georgia and the Carolinas poured down
into the valley almost without bidding their mothers, and wives, and
sisters a final adieu; and the bones of at least one half of these
brave men are now mouldering away on the desert sands of the far

Generally speaking, the soil of this country is fertile, yielding
the best of corn, potatoes, and rye, but only an average quality of
wheat, on account of the late frosts. In some of the more extensive
valleys, the apple and the peach arrive at perfection; and while the
former are manufactured into cider, out of the latter the
mountaineers make a very palatable brandy. The principal revenue of
the people, however, is derived from the business of raising cattle,
which is practised to a considerable extent. The mountain ranges
afford an abundance of the sweetest grazing food, and all that the
farmer has to do in the autumn is to hunt up his stock, which have
now become excessively fat, and drive them to the Charleston or
Baltimore market. The only drawback to this business consists in the
fact that the cattle in certain sections of the country are subject
to what is called the milk sickness. This disease is supposed to be
caused by a poisonous dew which gathers on the grass, and is said
not only to have destroyed a great many cattle in other years, but
frequently caused the death of entire families who may have partaken
of the unwholesome milk. It is a dreaded disease, and principally
fatal in the autumn. From the foregoing remarks it will be seen that
a mountain farmer may be an agriculturist, and yet have an abundance
of time to follow any other employment that he has a passion for;
and the result of this fact is, that he is generally a faithful
disciple of the immortal Nimrod.

All the cabins that I have visited have been ornamented by at least
one gun, and more than one-half of the inhabitants have usually been
hounds. That the mountaineers are poor, is a matter of course, and
the majority of their cabins are cheerless places indeed to harbor
the human frame for life; but the people are distinguished for their
hospitality, and always place before the stranger the choicest of
their store. Bacon, game, and milk are their staple articles of
food, and honey is their principal luxury. In religion, generally
speaking, they are Methodists and Baptists, and are distinguished
for their sobriety. They have but few opportunities of hearing good
preaching, but I have never entered more than three or four cabins
where I did not see a copy of the Bible. The limited knowledge they
possess has come to them directly from Heaven as it were, and, from
the necessity of the case, their children are growing up in the most
deplorable ignorance. Whenever one of these poor families happened
to learn from my conversation that I was a resident of New-York, the
interest with which they gazed upon me and listened to my every
word, was both agreeable and painful. It made me happy to
communicate what little I happened to know, but pained me to think
upon their isolated and uncultivated manner of life. Give me the
wilderness for a day or month, but for life I must be amid the
haunts of refinement and civilization. As to the slave population of
the mountain districts, it is so limited that I can hardly express
an opinion with regard to their condition. Not more than one white
man in ten (perhaps I ought to say twenty) is sufficiently wealthy
to support a slave, and those who do possess them are in the habit
of treating them as intelligent beings and in the most kindly
manner. As I have found it to be the case on the sea-board, the
slaves residing among the mountains are the happiest and most
independent portion of the population; and I have had many a one
pilot me over the mountains who would not have exchanged places even
with his master. They have a comfortable house and no debts to pay:
every thing they need in the way of clothing and wholesome food is
ever at their command, and they have free access to the churches and
the Sunday schools of the land. What more do the poor of any country
possess that can add to their temporal happiness?

Another, and of course the most limited portion of the population
occupying this mountain country, is what might be called the
aristocracy or gentry. Generally speaking, they are descended from
the best of families, and moderately wealthy. They are fond of good
living, and their chief business is to make themselves as
comfortable as possible. They esteem solid enjoyment more than
display, and are far more intelligent (so far as books and the world
are concerned) than the same class of people at the North. The
majority of Southern gentlemen, I believe, would be glad to see the
institution of slavery abolished, if it could be brought about
without reducing them to beggary. But they hate a _political_
Abolitionist as they do the very—_Father of Lies_; and for this want
of affection I do not see that they deserve to be blamed. The height
of a Southern man’s ambition is to be a gentleman in every
particular—in word, thought, and deed; and to be a perfect
gentleman, in my opinion, is to be a Christian. And with regard to
the much-talked-of hospitality of the wealthier classes in the
South, I can only say that my own experience ought to make me very
eloquent in their praise. Not only does the genuine feeling exist
here, but a Southern gentleman gives such expression to his feeling
by his home-like treatment of you, that to be truly hospitable you
might imagine had been the principal study of his life.

But the music of the “mellow horn” is ringing in my ear, and in an
hour from this time I shall have thrown myself into a stagecoach,
and be on my way up the long and broad valley of Virginia.

                             LETTER XX.

                          The Nameless Valley, Virginia, June, 1848.

Since my last letter was written, my course of travel has led me
towards the fountain-head of the Holston river, whose broad and
highly cultivated valley is bounded on the northwest by the Clinch
Mountains, and on the southeast by the Iron Mountains. The
agricultural and mineral advantages of this valley are manifold, and
the towns and farms scattered along the stage-road all present a
thriving and agreeable appearance. Along the bed of the Holston
agates and cornelians are found in considerable abundance; and
though the scenery of its valley is merely beautiful, I know of no
district in the world where caves and caverns are found in such
great numbers. A zigzag tour along this valley alone will take the
traveller to at least one dozen caves, many of which are said to be
remarkably interesting. From my own observation, however, I know
nothing about them; and so long as I retain my passion for the
revealed productions of nature, I will leave the hidden ones to take
care of themselves.

On reaching the pleasant little village of Abingdon, in Washington
county, a friend informed me that I must not fail to visit the
salt-works of Smythe county. I did so, and the following is my
account of Saltville, which is the proper name for the place in
question: Its site was originally a salt-lick, to which immense
herds of elk, buffalo, and deer, were in the habit of resorting;
subsequently, the Indians applied the privilege to themselves, and
then an occasional hunter came here for his supplies; but the
regular business of transforming the water into salt did not
commence until the year 1790. Saltville is located at the head of a
valley near the base of the Clinch Mountains, and about one mile
from the Holston river. All the population of the place, numbering
perhaps three hundred inhabitants, are engaged in the manufacture of
salt. The water here is said to be the strongest and purest in the
world. When tested by a salometer, graded for saturation at
twenty-five degrees, it ranges from twenty to twenty-two degrees,
and twenty gallons of water will yield one bushel of salt, which
weighs fifty pounds, (and not fifty-six as at the North,) and is
sold at the rate of twenty cents per bushel, or one dollar and
twenty cents per barrel. The water is brought from a depth of two
hundred and twenty feet by means of three artesian wells, which keep
five furnaces or salt-blocks, of eighty-four kettles each, in
constant employment, and produce about two thousand bushels per day.
The water is raised by means of horse-power, and twenty-five teams
are constantly employed in supplying the furnaces with wood. The
salt manufactured here is acknowledged to be superior in quality to
that made on the Kanawha, in this State, or at Syracuse, in
New-York, but the Northern establishments are by far the most
extensive. The section of country supplied from this quarter is
chiefly composed of Tennessee and Alabama; generally speaking, there
is but one shipment made during the year, which is in the spring,
and by means of flat-boats built expressly for the purpose. A dozen
or two of these boats are always ready for business, and when the
Holston is swollen by a freshet they are loaded and manned at the
earliest possible moment, and away the singing boatmen go down the
wild, winding, and narrow but picturesque stream, to their desired
havens. The section of country supplied by the Kanawha is the
northwest and the extreme south, while Syracuse, Liverpool, and
Turk’s Island supply the Atlantic seaboard. The Saltville reservoir
of water seems to be inexhaustible, and it is supposed would give
active employment to at least a dozen new furnaces. As already
stated, the yielding wells are somewhat over two hundred feet deep;
but within a stone’s throw of these, other wells have been sunk to
the depth of four, five, and six hundred feet, without obtaining a
particle of the valuable liquid. The business of Saltville is
carried on by private enterprise altogether, and the principal
proprietor and director is a gentleman who comes from that noble
stock which has given to this country such men as Patrick Henry and
William H. Preston. I am at present the guest of this gentleman, and
therefore refrain from giving his name to the public; but as his
plantation is decidedly the most beautiful that I have seen in the
whole Southern country, I must be permitted to give a particular
description for the edification of my readers.

This heretofore nameless nook of the great world I have been
permitted to designate as _The Nameless Valley_, and if I succeed in
merely enumerating its charming features and associations, I feel
confident that my letter will be read with pleasure. It is the
centre of a domain comprising eight thousand acres of land, which
covers a multitude of hills that are all thrown in shadow at the
sunset hour by the Clinch Mountains. The valley in question is one
mile by three-quarters of a mile wide, and comprises exactly three
hundred and thirty-three acres of green meadow land, unbroken by a
single fence, but ornamented by about a dozen isolated trees,
composed of at least half a dozen varieties, and the valley is
watered by a tiny stream of the clearest water. It is completely
surrounded with cone-like hills, which are nearly all highly
cultivated half way up their sides, but crowned with a diadem of the
most luxuriant forest trees. A little back of the hills, skirting
the western side of the valley, are the picturesquely broken Clinch
Mountains, whose every outline, and cliff, and fissure, and ravine,
may be distinctly seen from the opposite side of the valley, where
the spacious and tastefully porticoed mansion of the proprietor is
located. Clustering immediately around this dwelling, but not so as
to interrupt the view, are a number of very large willows, poplars,
and elms, while the inclosed slope upon which it stands is covered
with luxuriant grass, here and there enlivened by a stack of roses
and other flowers. The numerous outhouses of the plantation are a
little back of the main building, and consist of neatly painted
cabins, occupied by the negroes belonging to the estate, and
numbering about one hundred souls; then come the stables, where no
less than seventy-five horses are daily supplied with food; then we
have a pasture on the hill side, where thirty or forty cows nightly
congregate to be milked, and give suck to their calves; and then we
have a mammoth spring, whose waters issue out of the mountain,
making only about a dozen leaps, throwing themselves upon the huge
wheel of an old mill, causing it to sing a kind of circling song
from earliest dawn to the twilight hour. In looking to the westward
from the spacious porticoes of the mansion, the eye falls upon only
two objects which are at all calculated to destroy the natural
solitude of the place, viz. a road which passes directly by the
house at the foot of the lawn, and one small white cottage situated
at the base of a hill on the opposite side of the valley. Instead of
detracting from the scene, however, these objects actually make it
more interesting, when the facts are remembered that in that cottage
did the proprietor of this great estate first see the light, and
that by its side are deposited the remains of five generations of
his ancestors; and as to the road, the people who travel it all
appear and move along just exactly as a poet would desire.

But to give my readers a more graphic idea of this truly delightful
valley, I will enumerate the living pictures which attracted my
attention from the book I was attempting to read on a single
afternoon. I was in a commanding corner of the porch, and had closed
the volume just as the sun was sinking behind the mountain. The sky
was of a soft silvery hue, and almost cloudless, and the entire
landscape was bathed in an exquisitely soft and delightful
atmosphere. Not a breeze was stirring in the valley, and the cool
shadows of the trees were twice as long as the trees themselves. The
first noise that broke the silence of the scene was a slow thumping
and creaking sound away down the road, and on casting my eyes in the
right direction I discovered a large wain, or covered wagon, drawn
by seven horses, and driven by a man who amused himself as he lazily
moved along, by snapping his whip at the harmless plants by the
road-side. I know not whence he came or whither he was going, but
twenty minutes must have flown before he passed out of my view. At
one time a flood of discord came to my ear from one of the huge
poplars in the yard, and I could see that there was a terrible
dispute going on between a lot of resident and stranger blackbirds;
and, after they had ceased their noise, I could hear the chirping of
the swallows, as they swooped after the insects, floating in the
sunbeams, far away over the green valley. And now I heard a laugh
and the sound of talking voices, and lo! a party of ten negroes, who
were returning from the fields where they had been cutting hay or
hoeing corn. The neighing and stamping of a steed now attracted my
attention, and I saw a superb blood horse attempting to get away
from a negro groom, who was leading him along the road. The mellow
tinkling of a bell and the lowing of cattle now came trembling on
the air, and presently, a herd of cows made their appearance,
returning home from the far-off hills with udders brimming full, and
kicking up a dust as they lounged along. Now the sun dropped behind
the hills, and one solitary night-hawk shot high up into the air, as
if he had gone to welcome the evening star, which presently made its
appearance from its blue watchtower; and, finally, a dozen women
came trooping from the cow-yard into the dairy house, with
well-filled milk-pails on their heads, and looking like a troop of
Egyptic water damsels. And then for one long hour did the spirits of
repose and twilight have complete possession of the valley, and no
sound fell upon my ear but the hum of insect wings.

But I was intending to mention the curiosities of the Nameless
Valley. Foremost among these I would rank a small cave, on the south
side, in which are deposited a curious collection of human bones.
Many of them are very large, while others, which were evidently
full-grown, are exceedingly small. Among the female skulls I noticed
one of a female that seemed to be perfectly beautiful, but small
enough to have belonged to a child. The most curious specimen,
however, found in this cave, is the skull of a man. It is entirely
without a forehead, very narrow across the eyes, full and regularly
rounded behind, and from the lower part of the ears are two bony
projections, nearly two inches in length, which must have presented
a truly terrible appearance when covered with flesh. The animal
organs of this skull are remarkably full, and it is also greatly
deficient in all the intellectual faculties. Another curiosity in
this valley is a bed of plaster which lies in the immediate vicinity
of a bed of slate, with a granite and limestone strata only a short
distance off, the whole constituting a geological conglomeration
that I never heard of before. But what is still more remarkable is
the fact, that within this plaster bed was found the remains of an
unknown animal, which must have been a mammoth indeed. A grinder
tooth belonging to this monster I have seen and examined. It has a
blackish appearance, measures about ten inches in length, weighs
four pounds and a half, and was found only three feet from the
surface. This tooth, as well as the skull already mentioned, were
discovered by the proprietor of the valley, and, I am glad to learn,
are about to be deposited by him in the National Museum at
Washington. But another attractive feature in the Nameless Valley
consists of a kind of Indian Herculaneum, where, deeply imbedded in
sand and clay, are the remains of a town, whence have been brought
to light a great variety of earthen vessels and curious utensils.
Upon this spot, also, many shells have been found, which are said
never to have been seen excepting on the shore of the Pacific. But
all these things should be described by the antiquarian, and I only
mention them for the purpose of letting the world know that there is
literally no end to the wonders of our beautiful land.

I did think of sketching a few of the many charming views which
present themselves from the hills surrounding the Nameless Valley,
but I am not exactly in the mood just now, and I will leave them “in
their glory alone.” Connected with a precipice on one of them,
however, I have this incident to relate. For an hour or more had I
been watching the evolutions of a superb bald-headed eagle above the
valley, when, to my surprise, he suddenly became excited, and darted
down with intense swiftness towards the summit of the cliff alluded
to, and disappeared among the trees. A piercing shriek followed this
movement, and I anticipated a combat between the eagle and a pair of
fishhawks which I knew had a nest upon the cliff. In less than five
minutes after this assault, the eagle again made his appearance, but
uttered not a sound, and, having flown to the opposite side of the
valley, commenced performing a circle, in the most graceful manner
imaginable. Presently the two hawks also made their appearance high
above their rocky home, and proceeded to imitate the movements of
the eagle. At first the two parties seemed to be indifferent to each
other, but on observing them more closely it was evident that they
were gradually approaching each other, and that their several
circles were rapidly lessening. On reaching an elevation of perhaps
five thousand feet, they finally interfered with each other, and,
having joined issue, a regular battle commenced, and as they
ascended, the screams of the hawks gradually became inaudible, and
in a short time the three royal birds were entirely lost to view in
the blue zenith.

Before closing this letter, I wish to inform my readers of a natural
curiosity lying between the Clinch and Cumberland Mountains, and
distant from this place only about a day’s journey. I allude to what
is called the Natural Tunnel. It is in Scott county, and consists of
a subterranean channel through a ragged limestone hill, the entire
bed of which is watered by a running stream about twenty feet wide.
The cavern is four hundred and fifty feet long, from sixty to eighty
feet in height, about seventy in width, and of a serpentine form. On
either side of the hill through which this tunnel passes are
perpendicular cliffs, some of which are three hundred feet high and
exceedingly picturesque. The gloomy aspect of this tunnel, even at
mid-day, is very imposing; for when standing near the centre neither
of its outlets can be seen, and it requires hardly an effort of the
fancy for a man to deem himself for ever entombed within the bowels
of the earth.

                            LETTER XXI.

                                         Harper’s Ferry, June, 1848.

Since the date of my last letter, I have been travelling through a
very beautiful but thickly-settled portion of the Alleghany country,
whose natural curiosities are as familiar to the world as a
thrice-told tale. For this reason, therefore, I shall be exceedingly
brief in describing what I have seen in the Valley of Virginia. That
portion of the “Ancient Dominion” known by the above name is about
two hundred miles long, ranging in width from thirty to forty miles.
It is bounded on the north by the Potomac, on the east by the Blue
Ridge, on the west by a spur of the Alleghanies called the North
Mountains, and on the south by the New River, or Kanawha, as it
should be called. Its principal streams are the Shenandoah, the
James River, and the Cacapon, which are in every way worthy of their
parent country. In ascending to the north, I was tempted to perform
a pilgrimage down the Kanawha, but my map told me that I could not
see the whole of its valley without travelling at least two hundred
miles, and I therefore concluded that its charming scenery, its
famous salt-works, and the still more celebrated White Sulphur
Springs, should remain undescribed by my pen. In fact, to visit all
the interesting objects among the Alleghany Mountains would occupy a
number of summers, and therefore, in making a single tour, I have
found it important to discriminate as I passed along. But it is time
that I should turn my attention to the prominent attractions of the
great Virginia Valley. They are as follows, and I shall speak of
them in the order in which I visited them, viz.: the Peaks of Otter,
the Natural Bridge, Wyer’s Cave, Cyclopean Towers, the Shenandoah,
and Harper’s Ferry.

The Peaks of Otter are situated upon the line which separates the
counties of Bedford and Bottetourt, and are the two highest
mountains on the Blue Ridge range, and therefore the highest in
Virginia. They derive their name from the fact that, at a very early
period in the history of our country, the otter was found in great
abundance in the smaller streams at their base. In appearance they
resemble a pair of regularly formed haystacks, and reach an
elevation of about five thousand feet above the level of the ocean.
Owing to the circumstance that the country on one side is nearly
level, and that the surrounding mountains are comparatively low,
their appearance is exceedingly imposing. The summits of these
watchtowers are destitute of vegetation, but crowned with immense
rocks, which have been scattered about in the most incomprehensible
confusion. And hereby hangs a story. About one year ago, a number of
persons ascended the highest peak in question, and having discovered
an immense rock, which appeared to be in a tottleish position, they
took into their heads to give it a start down the mountain side, and
see what would be the result. They accomplished their purpose and
something more, for it so happened that the rock travelled much
further than they expected, and having fallen into a very large
spring at the foot of the mountain, caused it to disappear from the
face of the earth. The owner of the spring felt himself injured by
this circumstance, and went to law about it, and the offending
parties, as I have been informed, were compelled to pay a heavy bill
of damages. That the sunrise and sunset prospects from the Peaks of
Otter are superb may readily be imagined. Those which present
themselves on the north, west, and south, seem to comprise the
entire Appalachian chain of mountains, but the oceanward panorama is
unique and particularly impressive. In this direction the whole
eastern portion of Virginia resembles a boundless plain, where even
the most extensive plantations appear no larger than the squares
upon a chessboard; and now that I have employed that figure, it
strikes me as particularly appropriate; for where is there a man on
the face of the earth who is not playing a game for the attainment
of happiness? From their position, the Peaks of Otter look down upon
all the fogs and vapors born of the sea breezes, and, by those who
have frequently beheld their fantastic evolutions, I am told that
they surpass even the wildest flights of poetry. Few mountains in
this country have been visited by so many distinguished men as the
Peaks of Otter; and it is said that it was while standing on their
loftiest pinnacle that John Randolph first had a realizing sense of
the existence and the power of God. To some minds a mountain peak
may be a thousand-fold more eloquent than the voice of man; and when
I think of the highly moral condition of the people in Central
Virginia, I am constrained to award a mite of praise even to the
Peaks of Otter for their happy influences.

It was a thousand years ago, and a mighty caravan of mammoths were
travelling across the American continent. Midway between two ranges
of mountains they came to a great ravine, over which they could not
find a passage, and they were in despair. The Great Spirit took pity
upon the animals, and having brought a deep sleep upon them, threw a
mass of solid rock completely across the ravine, and so, according
to an almost forgotten Indian legend, came into existence the
Natural Bridge of Virginia. The chasm over which this magnificent
limestone arch has been formed varies from sixty to ninety feet in
width, the surrounding precipices are nearly two hundred and fifty
feet high and perpendicular, and the lower line of the narrow arch
itself is two hundred feet above the stream which passes through the
gorge. The bridge and its cliff-like abutments are all crowned with
a luxuriant diadem of trees, which lends them an indescribable
charm, and directly on the north side of the former stands an
exceedingly picturesque gallery or parapet of solid rock, which
seems to have been formed by Nature for the especial purpose of
affording the most imposing prospect into the dell. From every
elevated point of view the eye falls into an abyss, which one might
easily fancy to be the birthplace of all the shadows in the world,
the gray and green gloom is so deep, so purely beautiful, and so
refreshing, even at the hour of noon; but from every point of view
at the bottom of the dell, the stupendous arch, as some writer has
finely said, “seems to offer a passage to the skies,” and the
massive masonry of Nature stands boldly out against the blue
heavens, thereby producing a most unique and poetical contrast. But
the location of this bridge is not less beautiful than its
structure. It is completely surrounded with hills, which seem to
cluster around the rare spectacle, as if to protect it from
sacrilege; and from the hills in question the eye is every where
delighted with mountain landscapes of uncommon loveliness.

Wyer’s Cave is in Augusta county, and the entrance to it is from the
side of a limestone hill, which commands a very charming prospect of
the highly cultivated Valley of the Shenandoah. It was originally
discovered by one Bernard Wyer in the year 1804, whose fortune it
was to capture a bear within a few paces of its entrance. Its entire
length is not far from one thousand yards, so that its size is not
to be wondered at; but when you come to speak of its beauty, the
variety, number, and imposing appearance of its apartments, the
novelty of its concretions, its fantastic projections, its
comparative freedom from dampness, and the whiteness of its walls, I
suppose it must be considered as unsurpassed by any thing of the
kind in the country, excepting the Cave of Kentucky. But the
pleasure of roaming about this darksome emblem of perdition is
greatly enhanced by the huge pine torches which you and your guide
have to carry over your heads, and then if you can possibly bribe
your friend _not_ to utter a single one of the abominably classical
names with which all the nooks and corners of the cave have been
christened, your gratification will indeed be real, and your
impressions strange, unearthly, and long-to-be-remembered in your
dreams. To enjoy a visit to this cave, as it ought to be enjoyed, a
man ought to have an entire summer day at his disposal; ought to be
alone, should have a torch that should need no trimming, and under
his arm a well-printed copy of Dante. Thus prepared, his enjoyment
would be truly exquisite.

The Cyclopean Towers are also in Augusta county, and were so called
on account of their resemblance to the Cyclopean walls of the
ancients. They are formed of limestone, and as they stand at the
outlet of a valley, through which it is probable a mighty river once
flowed, they were evidently formed by the water while forcing its
way around the point of the neighboring hill. There are five or six
of them, and they vary from forty to ninety feet from base to
summit, and are covered with trees. When viewed at the twilight hour
they appear like the mouldering ruins of a once magnificent castle,
and the wildness of the surrounding scenery is not at all calculated
to dissipate this illusion.

With regard to the Valley of the Shenandoah, I can only say that a
more beautiful section of country I have never seen. The soil is
exceedingly rich and highly cultivated; its yeomanry are descended
from the German population of the older times; and throughout all
its borders, I am certain that peace and plenty abound. As to the
river itself, I can only say that it is worthy of its vague but
poetical and melodious Indian name, the interpretation of which is
said to be _Daughter of the Stars_.

And now a single word in regard to Harper’s Ferry. When I close my
eyes and bring the scenery of this portion of the Potomac before my
mind, I am disposed to agree, in every particular, with all those
writers who have sung the praises of this remarkable gorge; but when
I look upon it as it now appears, despoiled by the hand of
civilization of almost every thing which gives a charm to the
wilderness, I am troubled with an emotion allied to regret, and I
again instinctively close my eyes, that I may look into the past,
and once more hear the whoop of the Indian hunter following the
fleet deer.


[The following highly interesting and valuable communications, are
reprinted in this place by permission of the several writers, and
for the purpose of concluding my little volume with an appropriate
climax. The first was addressed to the Editors of the _National
Intelligencer_, and published in that journal subsequently to the
appearance of my “Letters from the Alleghany Mountains.” The second
was addressed to J. S. Skinner, Esq., but also published in the
Intelligencer; and the third, introducing a letter from Professor C.
U. Shepard, was originally addressed to the Editor of the _Highland
Messenger_, (Ashville, N. C.) in which paper it made its first
appearance: and the fourth communication, by Professor E. Mitchell,
addressed to the Hon. Mr. Clingman, was published in the New-York

                                                               C. L.

          _To the Editors of the National Intelligencer._

                            Ashville, North Carolina, October, 1848.

Gentlemen: As you have recently been publishing a series of letters
in relation to that portion of the Alleghany range which is situated
in North Carolina, you may, perhaps, find matter of interest in the
subject of this communication. My purpose in making it is not only
to present to the consideration of those learned or curious in
geology facts singular and interesting in themselves, but also, by
means of your widely disseminated paper, to stimulate an inquiry as
to whether similar phenomena have been observed in any other parts
of the Alleghany range.

A number of persons had stated to me that at different periods,
within the recollection of persons now living, a portion of a
certain mountain in Haywood county had been violently agitated and
broken to pieces. The first of these shocks remembered by any person
whom I have seen, occurred just prior to the last war with England,
in the year 1811 or 1812. Since then some half a dozen or more have
been noticed. The latest occurred something more than three years
ago, on a clear summer morning. These shocks have usually occurred,
or at least been more frequently observed, in calm weather. They
have generally been heard distinctly by persons in the town of
Waynesville, some twenty miles off. The sound is described as
resembling the rumbling of distant thunder, but no shaking of the
earth is felt at that distance. In the immediate vicinity of the
mountain, and for four or five miles around, this sound is
accompanied by a slight trembling of the earth, which continues as
long as the sound lasts—that is, for one or two minutes. After each
of these shocks the mountain was found to be freshly rent and broken
in various places.

Having an opportunity afforded me a few days since, I paid a visit
to the locality, and devoted a few hours to a hurried examination.
It is situated in the northeastern section of Haywood county, near
the head of Fine’s creek. The bed of the little creek at the
mountain is probably elevated some twenty-six or seven hundred feet
above the level of the ocean. The valley of the French Broad, at the
Warm Springs, some fifteen miles distant, is twelve hundred feet
lower. They are separated, however, by a mountain ridge of more than
four thousand feet elevation above the sea, and there are high
mountains in all directions around the locality in question. The
immediate object of interest is the western termination of a
mountain ridge nearly half a mile to the east of the house of Mr.
Matthew Rogers. The top of this ridge, at the place where it has
been recently convulsed, is some three or four hundred feet above
the creek, at its western extremity, but it rises rapidly for some
distance as it goes off to the eastward towards the higher mountain
range. The northern side of this ridge I had not time to examine,
but the marks of violence are observable at the top of the ridge,
and extend in a direction nearly due south, down the side of the
mountain four or five hundred yards, to a little branch; thence
across it, over a flat or gentle slope, and up the side of the next
ridge as far as I went, being for three or four hundred yards. The
tract of ground examined by me was perhaps half a mile in length
from north to south. The breadth of the surface subjected to
violence was nowhere more than two hundred yards, and generally
rather less than one hundred. Along this space the ground has been
rent in various places. The fissures or cracks most frequently run
in a northern and southern direction, and towards the tops of the
mountains, but they are often at right angles to these, and in fact
some may be found in all directions. While some of them are so
narrow as to be barely visible, others are three or four feet in
width. The annual falling of the leaves and the washing of the rains
has filled them so that at no place are they more than five or six
feet in depth. Along this tract all the large trees have been thrown
down, and are lying in various directions, some of them six feet in
diameter. One large poplar, which stood directly over one of the
fissures, was cleft open, and one half of the trunk, to the height
of more than twenty feet, is still standing. Though the fissure,
which passed directly under its centre, is not more than an inch in
width, it may be observed for nearly a hundred yards. All the roots
of trees which crossed the lines of fracture are broken. The rocks
are also cloven by these lines. The top of the ridge, which seems
originally to have been an entire mass of granite, is broken in
places. Not only have those masses of rock, which are chiefly under
ground, been cleft open, but fragments lying on the surface have
been shattered. All those persons who have visited it immediately
after a convulsion, concur in saying that every fallen tree and rock
has been moved. The smallest fragments have been thrown from their
beds as though they had been lifted up. In confirmation of this
statement I observed that a large block of granite, of an oblong
form, which, from its size, must have weighed not less than two
thousand tons, had been broken into three pieces of nearly equal
size. This mass was lying loosely on the top of the ground, in a
place nearly level, and there were no signs of its having rolled or
slidden. The fragments were separated only a few inches, rendering
it almost certain that it had been broken by a sudden shock or jar,
which did not continue long enough to throw the pieces far apart.

Some parts of the surface of the earth have sunk down irregularly a
few feet, other portions have been raised. There are a number of
little elevations or hillocks, some of a few feet only in extent,
and others twenty and thirty yards over. The largest rise at the
centre to the height of eight or ten feet, and slope gradually down;
some of these have been surrounded on all sides by a fissure, which
is not yet entirely filled up. In some instances the trees on their
sides, none of them large, are bent considerably from the
perpendicular, showing that they had attained some size before the
change of level took place on the surface where they grow.

The sides of the mountain generally are covered by a good vegetable
mould, not particularly rocky, and sustaining trees of large size.
But along the belt of convulsion the rocks are much more abundant,
and there are only young trees growing, the elasticity of which
enabled them to stand during the shocks.

With reference to the mineral structure of the locality, it may be
remarked that that entire section seems to constitute a hypogene
formation. It consists of granites, gneiss, sometimes porphyritic,
hornblende rock, micaceous schists, clay slate, and various other
metamorphic strata. The nearest aqueous rocks that I know of are the
conglomerate sandstone and sedimentary limestone, in the vicinity of
the Warm Springs, fifteen miles distant in a direct line. If any
volcanic rock has been found in hundreds of miles I am not aware of
it. The mountain itself bears the most indubitable marks of plutonic
origin. It consists mainly of a grayish white granite, in which the
felspar greatly predominates, but it is sometimes rendered dark by
an excess of mica in minute black scales. This latter mineral I saw
also there in small rather irregular crystals. Some portions of the
rock contained, however, its three ingredients, in nearly equal
proportions; the quartz, in color, frequently approaching ash gray.
In several places I observed that the granite was cut vertically by
veins of gray translucent quartz, of from one to six inches in
thickness. There were also lying in places on the ground lumps of
common opaque white quartz, intersected by narrow veins, not
exceeding half an inch in thickness, of specular iron, of the
highest degree of brilliancy and hardness that that mineral is
capable of possessing. It may be remarked that there are, in
different directions within two miles of the locality, two
considerable deposits of magnetic iron ore. The only rock which I
observed there possessing any appearance of stratification seems to
consist of mica, hornblende and a little felspar, in a state of
intimate mixture. Having but a few hours to remain there, I do not
pretend that there are not many other minerals at the locality; but
I have no doubt but that the predominating character of the
formation is such as I have endeavored to describe it, and I have
been thus minute, in order that others may be able to judge more
accurately in relation to the cause of the disturbances.

Before visiting the locality I supposed that the phenomena might be
produced by the giving way of some part of the base of the mountain,
so as to produce a sinking or sliding of the parts; but a moment’s
examination was decisive on this point. It not unfrequently happens
that aqueous rocks rest on beds of clay, gravel, &c., which may be
removed from underneath them by the action of running water or other
causes. Cavities are thus produced, and it sometimes happens that
considerable bodies of secondary limestone and other sedimentary
strata sink down with a violent shock. This, however, is found to be
true only of such strata as are deposited from water. But at the
locality under consideration the rocks are exclusively of igneous
origin, and, I may add, two of the class termed _hypogene_ or
“_netherformed_.” For though felspar and hornblende have been found
in the lower parts of some of the lavas, where the mass had been
subjected to great pressure and cooled slowly, yet quartz and mica
have never been found as constituents of any volcanic rock, not even
in the basaltic dikes and injected traps, where there must have been
a pressure equal to several hundred atmospheres. It is universally
conceded by geologists that those rocks of which these minerals
constitute a principal part, have been produced at great depths in
the earth, where they were subjected to enormous pressure during
their slow cooling and crystallization. Prior, therefore, to the
denudation which has exposed these masses of granite to our view,
they must have been overlaid and pressed down while in a fluid state
by superincumbent strata of great thickness and vast weight. It is
not probable, therefore, that any cavities could exist, nor, even if
it were possible that such could be the case, is it at all likely
that a granite arch which once upheld such an immense weight would
in our day give way under the simple pressure of the atmosphere; or,
even if we were to adopt the improbable supposition that the mass of
granite composing this mountain had been formed at a great depth
below the present surface of the earth, and forced up _bodily_ by
plutonic action, there is as little reason to believe that any
cavities could exist. In fact, they are never found under granites.
On looking at the surface of the ground at this place there is no
appearance to indicate any general sinking of the mass. At the top
of the ridge, where the fractures are observable across it, there is
no variation in the slope of the surface or depression of the broken
parts. Immediately below it, where the mountain has great steepness,
equal at least to an inclination of forty-five degrees, where the
line of fracture is parallel to the direction of the ridge, the
surface is sunk suddenly ten or fifteen feet. This state of things,
however, would inevitably be produced at such an inclination by the
force of gravity alone, causing the parts separated by the shock to
sink somewhat as they descend the mountain side. Lower down, where
the steepness is not so great, the elevations much exceed the
depressions. The same is true of the appearances on the south side
of the branch, where the surface is almost level for several hundred
yards; and I think that any one surveying the whole of the disturbed
ground will be brought to the conclusion that there has been a
general upheaval rather than a depression, and that the
irregularities now observable are due to a force acting from below,
which has, during the shocks, unequally raised different parts of
the surface. One of the earlier geologists, while this science was
in its infancy, would probably have ascribed these phenomena to the
presence underneath the surface of a bed of pyrites, bituminous
shale, or some other substances capable of spontaneous combustion,
which had taken fire from being penetrated by a stream of water or
some other accidental cause. If such a combustion were to take place
at a considerable depth below the surface, and should to a great
extent heat the strata above, they would thereby be expanded and
thickened so as to be forced upward. Such an expansion, though it
would be less in granite than in some other strata, as shown by your
fellow-townsman, Col. Totten, would nevertheless, if the heated mass
were thick and the elevation of temperature considerable, be
sufficient to raise the surface as much as it appears to have been
elevated; such expansion, however, being necessarily from its nature
very gradual, would not account for the various violent shocks nor
for the irregular action at the surface. On the other hand, if the
burning mass were near the surface, so as to cause explosion by
means of gases generated from time to time, it is scarcely
conceivable that such gases, while escaping through fissures of the
rock above, should fail to be observed, inasmuch as a great volume
would be necessary to supply the requisite amount of force, nor is
it at all probable that such a state of things would not be
accompanied by a sensible change of temperature at the surface. The
difficulty in the way of such a supposition is greatly increased
when we consider the form of the long narrow belt acted on, and from
the recurrence of the sudden violent shocks after long intervals of
quiet. Such a hypothesis in fact I do not regard as entitled to more
respect than another one which was suggested to me at the place. As
it has no other merit than that of _originality_, I should not have
thought it worth repeating but for the statement of fact made in
support of it. While I was observing the locality, my attention was
directed to an elderly man who was gliding with a stealthy step
through the forest, carrying on his left shoulder a rifle, and in
his right hand a small hoe, such as the diggers of ginseng use. His
glances, alternating between the distant ridges and the plants about
his feet, showed that while looking for deer he was not unmindful of
the wants of the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire. On my
questioning him in relation to the appearances, he said that he had
observed them often after the different shocks; that the appearances
were changed each time at the surface; that I ought to see it just
after a shock, before the rain and leaves had filled the cracks,
adding that it did “not show at all now.” He expressed a decided
opinion that the convulsions were produced by _silver_ under the
surface. On my remarking that though I knew that that metal, in the
hands of men, was an effective agent in cleaving rocks and
excavating the earth, yet I had not supposed it could exert such an
influence when deeply buried under ground, he stated in support of
his opinion, that one of his neighbors had, on the north side of the
mountain, found a spring hot enough to boil an egg. He also added
that some three years since he had seen on the mountain, two miles
to the north of this one, but in the direction seemingly of the line
of force, a blazing fire for several hours, rising up sometimes as
high as the tops of the trees, and going out suddenly for a moment
at a time at frequent intervals. He declared that at the distance of
a mile from where he was, the brightness was sufficient to enable
him to see small objects. Several other persons in the vicinity I
found subsequently professed to have seen the same light from
different points of view, and described it in a similar manner. As
no one of them seems to have thought enough of the matter to induce
him to attempt to approach the place, though some persons
represented that they had subsequently found a great quantity of
“cinder” at the point, the statement of fact is not perhaps entitled
to more weight than the hypothesis it was intended to support.

It is probable, however, that some difficulty will attend any
explanation that can be offered in relation to the phenomena at this
place. We know that the elevation of the surface of the earth is at
many places undergoing a change, so gradual as not to be observed at
any one time. Some of the northwestern parts of Europe, for example,
are experiencing a slow upheaval equal to five or six feet in a
century, while on the coast of Greenland the _subsidence_, or
depression, is such that even the ignorant inhabitants have learned
that it is not prudent for them to build their huts near the edge of
the water. Similar changes are observed in various other places, but
they obviously bear no analogy to the facts under consideration.
Again, it is well known that earthquakes from time to time agitate
violently portions of the earth’s surface, of greater or less
extent; that while one single shock has permanently raised two or
three feet the coast of Chili for several hundred miles, others have
elevated or depressed comparatively small spaces. It usually
happens, however, that when the shock is so forcible at one point as
to break the solid strata of the globe, the surrounding parts are
violently agitated for a considerable distance. In the present
instance, however, the shock for half a mile at least in length, and
for the breadth of one hundred yards, is such as to cleave a mass of
granite of seemingly indefinite extent, and so quick and sudden as
to displace the smallest fragments on the surface; and yet at the
house of Mr. Rogers, less than half a mile distant, a slight
trembling only is felt, not sufficient to excite alarm, while at the
distance of a few miles, though the sound is heard, no agitation of
the ground is felt. Should we adopt the view of those who maintain
that all the central parts of the earth are in a state of fusion,
and that violent movements of parts of the melted mass give rise to
the shocks which are felt at the surface, the explanation of this
and similar phenomena is still not free from difficulty. Upon the
supposition that the solid crust of the globe has no greater
thickness than that assumed by Humboldt, some twenty-odd miles, it
would scarcely seem that such a crust, composed of rocky strata,
would have the requisite degree of elasticity to propagate a violent
shock to so small a surface, without a greater agitation of the
surrounding parts than is sometimes observed. Volcanic eruptions,
however, take place through every variety of strata; but these
volcanoes are rarely if ever isolated; on the contrary, not only the
volcanoes now active, but such as have been in a state of rest from
the earliest historic era, are distributed along certain great lines
of force, or belts, the limits of which seem to have been pretty
well defined by geologists. But I am not aware of there being any
evidence afforded of volcanic action, either in recent or remote
geological ages, within hundreds of miles of this locality. Even if
such exist beneath the sea, it must be at least two hundred miles
distant. If then we attribute these convulsions to the same causes
which have elsewhere generated earthquakes and volcanoes, is it
probable that this is the only point in the Alleghany range thus
acted on? The fact that nothing else of the kind has been, as far as
I know, published to the world, is by no means conclusive, since the
disturbances here have not only been unnoticed by writers, but are
even unknown to nine-tenths of those persons living within fifty
miles of the spot. Is it then improbable that different points of
the great mountain range are sensibly acted on from year to year? It
is true that this may be the only locality affected. It might be
supposed that there is at this place a mass of rock, separated
wholly or partially from the adjoining strata, reaching to a great
depth, and resting on a fluid basin, the agitation of which
occasionally would give a shock to the mass. Though such be not at
all probable, yet it is conceivable that such a mass might possess
the requisite shape; and if at the top, instead of being a single
piece, it should have a number of irregular fragments resting on it
below the surface, then it might be capable of producing
inequalities observable after each successive convulsion. From the
form, however, of the belt acted on, as well as from other
considerations, such a hypothesis is only possible, not probable. It
would perhaps more readily be conceded that there was in the solid
strata below an oblong opening, or wide fissure, connected with the
fluid basin below, and filled either with melted lava, or more
probably with elastic gas, condensed under vast pressure, so that
the occasional agitations below would be propagated to the surface
at this spot. Or if we suppose that steam, at a high heat, or some
of the other elastic gaseous substances, should escape through
fissures from the depths below, but have their course obstructed
near the surface, so as to accumulate from time to time, until their
force was sufficient to overpower the resistance, then a succession
of periodic explosions might occur. Such a state of things would be
analogous to the manner in which Mr. Lyell accounts for the Geysers,
or Intermittent Hot Springs, in Iceland, except that the intervals
between the explosions in this instance are much greater than in the
other. It is easy to conceive that the shocks of some former
earthquakes may have produced the requisite condition in the strata
at that place.

Or, should we reject all such suppositions, it might be worth while
to inquire whether this and similar phenomena may not be due to
electricity? The opinion seems to have become general with men of
science, that there are great currents of electricity circulating in
the shell of the globe, mainly if not entirely in directions
parallel to the magnetic equator. The observations and experiments
of Mr. Fox have, in the opinion of a geologist so eminent as Mr.
Lyell, established the fact that there are electro-magnetic currents
along metalliferous veins. Taking these things to be true, it may
well be that the electricity in its passage should be collected and
concentrated along certain great veins. During any commotion in the
great ocean of electricity, the currents along such lines, or rather
where they are interrupted, might give rise to sensible shocks. The
exceedingly quick vibratory motion, often observed on such
occasions, seems analogous to some of the observed effects of
electricity. In the present instance the line of force appears to
coincide with the direction of the magnetic needle. It is also
represented that the sound accompanying the convulsions is heard
more distinctly at Waynesville, twenty miles south, than it is
within two or three miles to the east or west of the locality,
seeming to imply that the force may be exerted in a long line,
though it is more intense at a particular point. In adverting,
however, to the manner in which the phenomena observed at this place
might possibly be accounted for, it is not my expectation to be able
to arrive at their cause. One whose attention is mainly directed to
political affairs, and who at most gets but an occasional glimpse of
a book of science, ought neither to assume, nor to be expected to
accomplish this. I have adopted the above mode of making suggestions
as to the causes, solely to enable me to explain the facts observed
in a more intelligible manner than I could do by a mere detail of
the appearances and events as narrated. Perhaps those whose minds
are chiefly occupied with the consideration of such subjects will
find an easy solution of these phenomena. Should this letter be
instrumental in eliciting information in relation to similar
disturbances elsewhere in the Alleghany range, then its publication
may answer some valuable purpose.

                     Very respectfully, yours,
                                                     T. L. CLINGMAN.

  Messrs. Gales & Seaton.

P. S. Since writing this letter, I have been apprized of a similar
convulsion which occurred six or seven years ago, at a place some
forty miles distant from this in a southwesterly direction. My
informant says that at his house the ground was agitated for some
minutes during a rumbling sound, and that a few miles off, the earth
was rent and broken for the distance of two miles in length and
nearly a half mile in breadth. Though I have not seen the locality,
I have no doubt of the truth of the statement, nor of the general
resemblance of the phenomena to those I have described above.

                                                            T. L. C.

                      _To J. S. Skinner, Esq._

                             House of Representatives, Feb. 3, 1844.

Dear Sir: Your favor of the 30th ultimo was received a day or two
since, and I now avail myself of the very first opportunity to
answer it. I do so most cheerfully, because, in the first place, I
am happy to have it in my power to gratify in any manner one who has
done so much as yourself to diffuse correct information on subjects
most important to the agriculture of the country; and, secondly,
because I feel a deep interest in the subject to which your
inquiries are directed.

You state that you have directed some attention to the sheep
husbandry of the United States, in the course of which it has
occurred to you that the people of the mountain regions of North
Carolina, and some of the other Southern States, have not availed
themselves sufficiently of their natural advantages for the
production of sheep. Being myself well acquainted with the western
section of North Carolina, I may perhaps be able to give you most of
the information you desire. As you have directed several of your
inquiries to the county of Yancey, (I presume from the fact, well
known to you, that it contains the highest mountains in any of the
United States,) I will, in the first place, turn my attention to
that county. First, as to its elevation. Dr. Mitchell, of our
University, ascertained that the bed of Tow river, the largest
stream in the county, and at a ford near its centre, was about
twenty-two hundred feet above the level of the ocean. Burnsville,
the seat of the court-house, he found to be between 2,800 and 2,900
feet above it. The general level of the county is, of course, much
above this elevation. In fact, a number of the mountain summits rise
above the height of six thousand feet. The climate is delightfully
cool during the summer: there being very few places in the county
where the thermometer rises above 80° on the hottest day. An
intelligent gentleman who passed a summer in the northern part of
the county (rather the more elevated portion of it) informed me that
the thermometer did not rise on the hottest days above 76°.

You ask, in the next place, if the surface of the ground is so much
covered with rocks as to render it unfit for pasture? The reverse is
the fact; no portion of the county that I have passed over is too
rocky for cultivation, and in many sections of the county one may
travel miles without seeing a single stone. It is only about the
tops of the highest mountains that rocky precipices are to be found.
A large portion of the surface of the county is a sort of elevated
table-land, _undulating_, but seldom too broken for cultivation.
Even as one ascends the higher mountains, he will find occasionally
on their sides flats of level land containing several hundred acres
in a body. The top of the Roan (the highest mountain in the county
except the Black) is covered by a prairie for ten miles, which
affords a rich pasture during the greater part of the year. The
ascent to it is so gradual, that persons ride to the top on
horseback from almost any direction. The same may be said of many of
the other mountains. The soil of the county generally is uncommonly
fertile, producing with tolerable cultivation abundant crops. What
seems extraordinary to a stranger is the fact that the soil becomes
richer as he ascends the mountains. The sides of the Roan, the
Black, the Bald, and others, at an elevation of even five or six
thousand feet above the sea, are covered with a deep rich vegetable
mould, so soft, that a horse in dry weather often sinks to the
fetlock. The fact that the soil is frequently more fertile as one
ascends, is, I presume, attributable to the circumstance that the
higher portions are more commonly covered with clouds, and the
vegetable matter being thus kept in a cool moist state while
decaying, is incorporated to a greater degree with the surface of
the earth just as it is usually found that the north side of a hill
is richer than the portion most exposed to the action of the sun’s
rays. The sides of the mountains, the timber being generally large,
with little undergrowth and brushwood, are peculiarly fitted for
pasture grounds, and the vegetation is in many places as luxuriant
as it is in the rich savanna of the low country.

The soil of every part of the county is not only favorable to the
production of grain, but is peculiarly fitted for grasses. Timothy
is supposed to make the largest yield, two tons of hay being easily
produced on an acre, but herds-grass, or red-top, and clover,
succeed equally well; blue-grass has not been much tried, but is
said to do remarkably well. A friend showed me several spears, which
he informed me were produced in the northern part of the county, and
which by measurement were found to exceed seventy inches in length;
oats, rye, potatoes, turnips, &c., are produced in the greatest

With respect to the prices of land, I can assure you that large
bodies of uncleared rich land, most of which might be cultivated,
have been sold at prices varying from twenty-five cents to fifty
cents per acre. Any quantity of land favorable for sheep-walks might
be procured in any section of the county, at prices varying from one
to ten dollars per acre.

The few sheep that exist in the county thrive remarkably well, and
are sometimes permitted to run at large during the winter without
being fed, and without suffering. As the number kept by any
individual is not large enough to justify the employment of a
shepherd to take care of them, they are not unfrequently destroyed
by vicious dogs, and more rarely by wolves, which have not yet been
entirely exterminated.

I have been somewhat prolix in my observations on this county,
because some of your inquiries were directed particularly to it, and
because most of what I have said of Yancey is true of the other
counties west of the Blue Ridge. Haywood has about the same
elevation and climate of Yancey. The mountains are rather more
steep, and the valleys somewhat broader; the soil generally not
quite so deep, but very productive, especially in grasses. In some
sections of the county, however, the soil is equal to the best I
have seen.

Buncombe and Henderson are rather less elevated—Ashville and
Hendersonville, the county towns, being each about 2,200 feet above
the sea. The climate is much the same, but a very little warmer. The
more broken portions of these counties resemble much the mountainous
parts of Yancey and Haywood, but they contain much more level land.
Indeed the greater portion of Henderson is quite level. It contains
much swamp land, which, when cleared, with very little if any
drainage, produces very fine crops of herds-grass. Portions of Macon
and Cherokee counties are quite as favorable, both as to climate and
soil, as those above described. I would advert particularly to the
valleys of the Nantahalah, Fairfield, and Hamburg, in Macon, and of
Cheoh, in Cherokee. In either of these places, for a comparatively
trifling price, some ten or fifteen miles square could be procured,
all of which would be rich, and the major part sufficiently level
for cultivation, and especially fitted, as their natural meadows
indicate, for the production of grass.

In conclusion, I may say that, as far as my limited knowlege of such
matters authorizes me to speak, I am satisfied that there is no
region that is more favorable to the production of sheep than much
of the country I have described. It is every where healthy and well
watered. I may add, too, that there is water power enough in the
different counties composing my Congressional district, to move more
machinery than human labor can ever place there—enough, certainly,
to move all now existing in the Union. It is also a rich mineral
region. The gold mines are worked now to a considerable extent. The
best ores of iron are found in great abundance in many places;
copper, lead,[1] and other valuable minerals exist. That must one
day become the great manufacturing region of the South. I doubt if
capital could be used more advantageously in any part of the Union
than in that section.

For a number of years past the value of the live stock (as
ascertained from books of the Turnpike Company) that is driven
through Buncombe county is from two to three millions of dollars.
Most of this stock comes from Kentucky and Ohio, and when it has
reached Ashville it has travelled half its journey to the more
distant parts of the Southern market, viz. Charleston and Savannah.
The citizens of my district, therefore, can get their live stock
into the planting States south of us at one half the expense which
those of Kentucky and Ohio are obliged to incur. Not only sheep, but
hogs, horses, mules, and horned cattle can be produced in many
portions of my district as cheaply as in those two States.

Slavery is, as you say, a great _bugbear_, perhaps, at a distance;
but I doubt if any person from the North, who should reside a single
year in that country, whatever might be his opinions in relation to
the institution itself, would find the slightest injury or
inconvenience result to him individually. It is true, however, that
the number of slaves in those counties is very small in proportion
to the whole population.

I have thus, sir, hastily endeavored to comply with your request,
because you state that you would like to have the information at
once. Should you find my sketch of the region a very unsatisfactory
and imperfect one, I hope you will do me the favor to remember that
the desk of a member during a debate is not the most favorable
position for writing an essay.

                  With very great respect, yours,
                                                     T. L. CLINGMAN.

  J. S. Skinner, Esq.

             _To the Editor of the Highland Messenger._

You published a few weeks since an extract from an article in
Silliman’s Journal, contributed by Prof. Shepard, in which he
described a diamond sent him from this region a few months since. As
that extract excited some interest in the minds of a number of my
friends who are engaged in the mining business, I inclose you a
letter from Prof. Shepard, the publication of which I am sure would
be acceptable to many of your readers. I may remark in explanation,
that within the last few years I have sent Prof. Shepard some
hundreds of specimens of minerals collected in this and some of the
other western counties of the State. In some instances a doubt as to
the character of a particular mineral induced me to take this
course, but more frequently it was done to gratify those of my
acquaintances who wished to have their specimens examined by one in
whose decision there would be absolute acquiescence. I knew too,
that I should by these means be able favorably to make known to the
public the existence in Western North Carolina, of such minerals as
might be valuable in a commercial point of view, or interesting to
the scientific world. The letter which I send you, was received in
reply to an inquiry directed to Prof. Shepard, as to what was his
opinion generally in relation to the minerals of this region, and
what he thought of the propriety of a more careful survey of it than
has hitherto been made. The answer, though merely in reply to my
inquiries, is of such a character that I feel quite sure that its
publication will be alike creditable to the writer and beneficial to
the public. Even should it fail to produce any such impression on
the minds of our legislators as might induce them to direct a
complete geological survey of the State, its publicity may in other
respects prove beneficial.

I have been pleased to observe that the letter of Prof. Mitchell, in
relation to some of the minerals of this region, which appeared in
your paper a year or two since, aroused the attention of a number of
persons to that subject, and has been the means of bringing under my
observation several interesting minerals. By going (whenever leisure
has been afforded me,) to examine such localities as from their
singular appearance or any peculiarity of external character, had
aroused the attention of persons in the neighborhood,—I have induced
many to manifest an interest in such subjects, so that there is in
this region a considerable increase in the number of individuals who
will lay up and preserve for examination singular looking minerals.
Others are deterred from so doing, lest they should be laughed at by
their neighbors as unsuccessful _hunters of mines_. Doubtless they
deserve ridicule, who, so ignorant of mineralogy as not to be able
to distinguish the most valuable metallic ores from the most common
and worthless rocks, nevertheless spend their whole time in
travelling about the country under the guidance of _mineral rods_ or
dreams, in search of mines. But, almost every one may without
serious loss of time and with trifling inconvenience to himself,
preserve for future examination specimens of the different mineral
substances he meets with in his rambles. He ought to remember that
by so doing he may have it in his power to add to the knowledge,
wealth and happiness of his countrymen. Partially separated as this
region of country is by its present physical condition from the
commercial world, it is of the first consequence to its inhabitants
that all its resources should be developed. Opening valuable mines,
besides diverting labor now unprofitably, because excessively,
applied to agriculture, would attract capital from abroad and
furnish a good home market to the farmer.

Should the proposed Railroad from Columbia to Greenville, S. C., be
completed. I am of opinion that the manganese and chrome ores in
this and some of the adjoining counties would be profitably
exported. Though the veins of sulphate of baryta in the northern
part of this county, contain pure white varieties suitable to form
an adulterant in the manufacture of the white lead of commerce, yet
for want of a navigable stream, it is not probable that they will
ever be turned to account in that way. They have, however, at some
points, a metallic appearance at the surface, they lie at right
angles to the general direction of the veins of the country, go down
vertically, and being associated abundantly with several varieties
of iron pyrites, oxides of iron, fluor spar and quartz, and
containing traces of copper and lead, will doubtless at no very
distant day, be explored to a greater or less extent. There is not a
single county west of the Blue Ridge, that does not contain in
abundance rich iron ores. In some instances these deposits are
adjacent to excellent water power and lime-stone, and are surrounded
by heavily timbered cheap lands. The sparry carbonate of iron, or
_steel ore_, of which a specimen some years since, fell under the
observation of Prof. Mitchell, though he was not able to ascertain
the locality from which it came, is abundant at a place rather
inaccessible in the present condition of the country. It is not
probable that in our day the beautiful statuary marble of Cherokee,
both white and flesh-colored, will be turned to much account for
want of the means of getting it into those markets where it is
needed. Besides the minerals referred to in Prof. Shepard’s letter,
some of the ores of copper exist in the western part of this State.
I have the carbonate, (green malachite,) the black oxide, and some
of the sulphurets. Whether, however, these, as well as the ores of
lead and zinc, (both the carbonate and sulphuret exist here,) are in
sufficient abundance to be valuable, cannot be ascertained without
further examination than has yet been made.

Many persons are deterred from making any search, and are
discouraged because valuable ores are not easily discovered on the
surface of this country. This is not usually the case any where.
Gold, it is true, because it always exists in the metallic state,
and because it resists the action of the elements better than any
other substance, remains unchanged, while the _gangue_, or mineral
containing it crumbles to pieces and disappears, and hence it is
easily found about the surface by the most careless observer. Such,
however, is not generally the case with metallic ores. On the
contrary, many of the best ores would, if exposed to the action of
the elements, in progress of time be decomposed, or so changed from
the appearances which they usually present when seen in cabinets,
that none but a practised eye would detect them at the surface. In
the counties west of the Blue Ridge, there has been as yet no
exploration to any depth beneath the surface of the ground, with
perhaps the single exception of the old excavations in the county of
Cherokee. According to the most commonly received Indian tradition,
they were excavated more than a century ago, by a company of
Spaniards from Florida. They are said to have worked there for two
or three summers, to have obtained a white metal, and prospered
greatly in their mining operations, until the Cherokees, finding
that if it became generally known that there were valuable mines in
their country, the cupidity of the white men would expel them from
it, determined in solemn council to destroy the whole party, and
that in obedience to that decree no one of the adventurous strangers
was allowed to return to the country whence they came. Though this
story accords very well with the Indian laws which condemned to
death those who disclosed the existence of mines to white men, yet I
do not regard it as entitled to much credit. At the only one of
these localities which I have examined, besides some other favorable
indications, there is on the surface of the ground in great
abundance that red oxide of iron, which from its being found in
Germany above the most abundant deposites of the ores of lead and
silver, has been called by the Germans the _Iron Hat_. Also
something resembling that iron ore rich in silver, which the
Spaniards called pacos, is observable there. It seems more probable,
therefore, that some of those companies of enterprising Spaniards,
that a century or two since were traversing the continent in search
of gold and silver mines, struck by these appearances, sunk the
shafts in question and soon abandoned them as unproductive. But
which of these is the more probable conjecture, cannot perhaps be
determined, until some one shall be found adventurous enough to
re-open those old shafts. I am, however, keeping your readers too
long from the interesting letter of Prof. Shepard.

                                                     T. L. CLINGMAN.

                                   New Haven, Conn., Sept. 15, 1746,

Hon. Mr. Clingman,—Dear Sir:—To your inquiry of what I think of the
mineral resources of Western North Carolina, it gives me pleasure to
say that no part of the United States has impressed me more
favorably than the region referred to. It is proper, however, to
state, that my acquaintance with it is not the result of personal
observation, but has been formed from a correspondence of several
years standing with yourself and Dr. Hardy, and from the inspection
of numerous illustrative specimens supplied to me at different times
by my colleague, Dr. S. A. Dickson, of Charleston, S. C., and by the
students of a Medical College of South Carolina, who have long been
in the habit of bringing with them to the college samples of the
minerals of their respective neighborhoods. I may add to these
sources of information, the mention of not unfrequent applications
made to me by persons from North Carolina, who have had their
attention called to mines and minerals, with a view to their
profitable exploration. Nor shall I ever forget the pleasure I
experienced a year or two since, on being waited upon in my
laboratory by a farmer from Lincolnton, who had under his arm a
small trunk of ore in lumps, which he observed that he had selected
on account of their size, from the gold washings of his farm during
the space of a single year. The trunk contained not far from twelve
hundred dollars in value, and one of the specimens weighed two
hundred and seventy-five dollars.

I have recognized in the geological formation of the southwestern
counties of North Carolina, the same character which distinguishes
the gold and diamond region of the Minas Geraes of Brazil, and the
gold and platina district (where diamonds also exist) of the Urals,
in Siberia. It is this circumstance, beyond even the actual
discoveries made with us, that satisfies my mind of the richness of
the country in the precious metals and the diamond. The beautiful
crystal of this gem which you sent me last spring, from a gold
washing in Rutherford, however, establishes the perfect identity of
our region with the far-famed auriferous and diamond countries of
the South and the East.

Neither can there remain any doubt concerning the existence of
valuable deposites of manganese, lead, crome and iron, in your
immediate vicinity, to which I think we are authorized to add zinc,
barytes and marble. I have also seen indications of several of the
precious stones, besides the diamond, making it on the whole, a
country of the highest mineralogical promise.

Enough has already been developed, as it appears to me, in the
minerals of the region under consideration, to arouse the attention
of prudent legislators to this fertile source of prosperity in a
State. If a competent surveyor of the work were obtained, under
whose direction a zealous and well-instructed corps of young men,
(now easily to be obtained from those States in which such
enterprises are just drawing to a close,) could take the field, I
have no doubt that numerous important discoveries would immediately
be made, and that the entire outlay required for carrying forward
the work, would in a very short time be many times over returned to
the people from mineral wealth, which now lies unobserved in their
very midst. But the highest advantages of such a survey would no
doubt prove with you as it has done elsewhere, to be _the spirit of
inquiry which it would impart to the population generally_,
producing among their own ranks an efficient band of native
mineralogists and geologists, whose services, in their own behalf,
in that of their neighbors and the State at large, would, in a few
years, greatly outweigh all that had been achieved by the original
explorers. It is thus in the States of New-England, New-York, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, that there are scattered
every where through those communities, numbers of citizens, who
having first had their attention called to the subject by the
scientific men appointed by the Legislature, have now become fully
competent to settle most of the questions which arise relating to
the values of the unknown mineral substances, which from time to
time are submitted by their less informed neighbors for
determination. A very observable impulse has in this way been given
to the development of underground wealth; and many valuable mines
are in the course of active exploration, which but for these surveys
and the attendant consequences of them, would now remain not only
unproductive but unknown. Nor is the mere mineral yield of these
mines to be considered in determining the advantages that accrue to
a community from such enterprises. The indirect results to the
neighborhood in which the mines are situated, are often very great;
such for example as those flowing from the increased demand for
farming produce, from the free circulation of capital, the
improvement of roads, and the general stimulus which is always
imparted by successful enterprise to the industry of a country. I
may be permitted to add in conclusion also, that an important
service is always rendered true science, in restraining the
uninformed from unprofitable adventures.

I have a wish to see the public survey of North Carolina undertaken,
not only on account of its economical bearings, but from the
conviction with which I am impressed, that it will equally promote
the progress of science, and elevate the character of our country at

I have the honor to remain very truly and obediently yours.

                                              CHARLES UPHAM SHEPARD.

_To Hon. T. L. Clingman, but originally published in the New-York Albion._

My Dear Sir,—I promised my friends in the Western counties that they
should hear from me through the Highland Messenger, and to the
editor of that paper that he should receive one or two
communications. As the person who undertakes to inform the public on
subjects not strictly in the line of his profession is likely to
fall into some errors, and to say some things which will not be
thought very wise, I have wished that what I have to offer, might,
before going to press, pass under the eye of one, who, like
yourself, has long taken a deep interest in every thing connected
with the mountain region, is well acquainted with the larger part of
it, and in whose friendly feeling I could fully rely. The statements
and remarks that are to follow, will fall naturally under the four
heads of _Elevation of the Country and Height of the Mountains_,
_Soil and Agriculture_, _Minerals and Scenery_.

The elevation of the highest mountain peaks was ascertained by me
within certain limits of accuracy about eight years ago. So little
was known about them before that time, that the Grandfather was
commonly regarded as the highest of all. With the view of coming
somewhere near the truth, one barometer was stationed at Morganton,
and another carried to the tops of the mountains. Their elevation
above that village was thus ascertained; but in order to get their
height above the level of the sea, that of Morganton must be known,
and for this there were no data in which implicit confidence could
be placed. I finally fixed upon 968 feet as a moderate estimate, and
in my desire to avoid an extravagant and incredible result, it now
appears that the elevation assigned to Morganton, and therefore to
all the heights measured, was somewhat too small.

In the first report of the President and Directors of the
Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad, it is stated as one
of the results of the surveys and measurements made with reference
to that work, that “the elevation of the summit of our mountain
passing above a line drawn along what may be regarded as their base
about twenty miles below, does not exceed 1054 feet.” This will
leave 1114 feet for the height of that line above the sea, or 146
feet more than I had allowed for Morganton.

But the surveys referred to were carried along the French Broad
river, in the immediate vicinity of Ashville, and therefore afford a
base, or starting point, from which all the heights in that region
could be conveniently ascertained. Dr. Dickson having undertaken to
observe the barometer at Ashville, and knowing that in his hands it
would afford results in which confidence could be placed, I
determined to try the Black once more, in which mountain I was well
satisfied that the highest points are to be found, as I was, also,
that I had never yet been upon the highest.

The Black Mountain, as you well know, is a long curved ridge, 15 or
20 miles in length, its base having somewhat the form of a common
fish-hook, of which the extremity of the shank is near Thomas
Young’s, in Yancey. It sweeps round by the heads of the South fork
of the Swannanoe, Rim’s Creek and Ivy, and ends at the Big Butt, or
Yates’s Knob—Caney river drains by a number of forks the hollow of
the curve. The summit of the ridge is depressed at some points, and
rises at others into peaks or knobs, 2, 3 or 400 feet higher than
the rest, and it is a matter of considerable difficulty to determine
before ascending which is the highest, as we cannot tell how much
the apparent elevation is affected by the distance of the different
points. The general elevation of the ridge may be stated at 600
feet. The following are the heights measured, which are likely to
have most interest for the readers of the Messenger.

  Ashville,                                    2200
  French Broad at Ashville,                    1977
  Lower Ford of Pigeon,                        2475
  Waynesville,                                 2722
  Head of Scott’s Creek,                       3240
  Tuckaseege Ford,                             1927
  Cullywhee Gap,                               3397
  Blue Ridge head of Tuckaseege,               3795
  Col. Zachary’s Cashier’s Valley,             3324
  Chimney Top,                                 4433
  Chimney Top above Zachary’s,                 1109
  Burnsville,                                  2763
  Top of Black,                                6672
  Morganton,                                   1031
  Table Rock,                                  3584
  Grandfather,                                 5719
  Roan,                                        6187

It appears that the valley of the French Broad is a trough, or
depression, extending quite across the great back-bone of the United
States, having the parallel, but considerably higher valleys of the
Nolachucky and Pigeon on its two sides. Ivy Ridge is the boundary of
this valley on the north-east, the ford of Ivy creek, near Solomon
Carters, having very nearly the height of Ashville. The difference
of temperature and climate corresponds to the indications of the
barometer, grain and wild fruits ripening sooner about Ashville,
than in the neighborhood of either Burnsville or Waynesville. At the
ford of the Tuckaseege, on the road to Franklin, we are at the
bottom of another deep and warm valley, but this does not, like that
of the French Broad, extend across the whole range of the

These measurements are not altogether without value, to the people
of Haywood and Macon, showing as they do, what is the amount of
obstacle that has to be overcome in carrying a road from Tennessee
into South Carolina, along the Tuckaseege. Such a road should be
made, or rather the existing one should be greatly improved, and the
route altered in some places. There is likely to be a good deal of
travel along it, but the gap in the Blue Ridge, where it is to pass,
is about 1500 feet higher than that at the head of the French Broad.

There are but two routes by which the highest peaks of the Black
Mountains can be reached, without an amount of labor which few
people are willing to undergo. One is by the head of Swanannoe. This
brings us to a point a little higher than the top of the White
Mountains in New Hampshire. The other is from the south fork of Tow.
It is represented as quite practicable, and leads to the highest

_Agriculture._—The mountain counties, Ashe, Yancey, Buncombe,
Henderson, Haywood and Macon, do not appear to have adopted fully
those modes of culture which are the best suited to their soil and
climate, and which are likely ultimately to prevail. For this two
reasons may be assigned.

1. The great amount of travel, through the counties of Ashe,
Henderson and Buncombe, (but especially the two last,) between the
Atlantic states and the West, has created a demand for the different
kinds of grain, and given a direction to the industry of the
population of those counties, which but for the circumstance
mentioned, would be neither natural nor profitable. The roads have
consumed all the corn that could be raised. The practice of the
farmers living near the roads, which will answer very well for them,
(especially if somewhat more attention be paid to the cultivation of
the grasses), may be expected to have an under influence in the
remote parts of those counties.

2. The families by whom these counties were settled, were from below
the ridge, and carried with them into the mountain region, the kind
of husbandry to which they have been accustomed in the warmer and
drier parts from which they came. It is only gradually that men
change the habits and practices of their earlier days. This
influence of custom is exhibited on the northernmost range of
counties in North Carolina, along the Virginia line, where the
culture of tobacco prevails much more extensively than a little
farther south, where the soil is equally well adapted to the growth
of that noxious weed.

The latitude and elevation—and of course the temperature of the
mountain counties as far as it depends upon these two, are very
nearly the same with those of ancient Arcadia—the country of
herdsmen and shepherds. Their soil is different, having been formed
by the decomposition of primitive rocks—granite, gneiss and mica
slate—whilst limestone abounds in Arcadia, as well as other parts of
Greece. But it is to the raising of cattle and sheep and the making
of butter and cheese for the counties below the ridge, that it may
be expected there will be a tendency in the industry of the mountain
region for many years. The quantity of rain falling there, is
greater than in the eastern parts of the state, and luxuriant
meadows of the most valuable grasses, but especially of timothy, may
be easily formed. This is for winter food. But the summer pastures,
too, are susceptible of great improvement.

Whilst the Indians held possession of the country it was burnt over
every year. The fire destroyed the greater number of the young
trees, that were springing up, and the large ones remained thinly
scattered, like the apple trees in an orchard with large open spaces
between. In these, the different kinds of native vines and other
wild plants,—pea vine, &c., contended for the mastery, and each
prevailed and excluded the other according to the vigor of its
growth. Macon county still exhibits in some parts the appearance
which the whole back country of North Carolina may be supposed to
have borne when the first settlements of the whites were made. But
after the Indians had been removed and large quantities of stock
were introduced, the cattle and horses lent their aid in this
contest of the different vegetable species and in favor of the worst
kinds. They ate out and destroyed such as they found palatable and
suitable for the nourishment of animals, whilst such as are
worthless were permitted to grow and occupy the ground. In the mean
time the annual firing of woods that had been practised by the
Indians having ceased, bushes and small trees have overspread and
shaded a large space that was formerly covered with herbage. For
these two reasons, therefore, because the best kinds of vegetables
have been in a great measure eaten out, and destroyed, and because
of the thickening of the forests, the range (even if the population
were still the same) would be greatly inferior to what it was fifty
years ago.

It is necessary here as in other cases that the industry and
ingenuity of man should come in to direct, and to some extent,
control the operations of nature. The best grasses—best for
pasturage, must be introduced and made to take the place of such as
are worthless. The milk, butter, and cheese would be improved in
quality as well as increased in quantity. As the wild onion, where
eaten by cows, gives milk a flavor that is intolerable to some
persons, so it may be expected that bitter and unpalatable weeds of
every kind will give it a wild and savage taste; that it will be
inferior in purity and richness to such as is yielded where the
sweetest and best grasses are the only food. It appeared to me as I
rode down from the Flat Rock to Ashville that there were very
extensive tracts in Henderson and in the southern part of Buncombe
now almost waste and worthless, which would, in the course of a few
years, be converted into artificial pastures; not the most fertile
in the world—but such as would amply repay an outlay of capital upon
them; that the marshes and low grounds would be drained, and rank
timothy take the place of sedge and other coarse grasses that afford
no nourishment. In the immediate neighborhood of the Flat Rock I saw
that the good work had been begun and made a considerable progress.

The sides of the mountains are too steep to be cleared and converted
into pastures that will have any permanent value. The soil that is
exposed would be washed away. But there are tracts, some of no
inconsiderable extent, and especially near the crest of the ridge
and along the head springs of the western waters, where the surface
is comparatively livid, the soil sufficiently moist and fertile, and
where capital might be advantageously invested for the purpose of
converting them into meadows and pastures. The tops of the mountains
also, where the ridge is broad or a single summit has a rounded
surface instead of a sharp peak, will afford a few grazing farms. I
do not altogether despair of living to see the time when the highest
summit of the Black shall be inclosed and covered with a fine coat
of the richest grasses, and when the cheese of Yancey shall rival in
the market of the lower counties that which is imported from other

For accomplishing this a good deal of labor will be required. But
the person to whom it has happened to visit Burnsville soon after it
was fixed upon as the seat of Justice for Yancey county, and during
the present year, will have good hopes of very rough and unsightly
places. A more doleful spot than it was in the year 1834, cannot
well be imagined; and though there is ample room for improvement
yet, it is not difficult to see that the time is near when there
will be a range of meadows passing by and near it, alike productive
and beautiful.

If an inhabitant of the mountains shall be desirous of calling in
the experience of other parts of our widely extended country for the
purpose of directing his own labors, there is no section of the
United States which he would visit with more advantage than the
genuine Yankee land—the New England States. The soil is to a great
extent the same with his own, having been produced by the
decomposition of primitive rocks; elevation compensating for
difference of latitude, there is a considerable similarity of
climate. And if after seeing what the labor of two centuries has
accomplished there, he shall pass through the mountain region of
North Carolina, whilst he will be pleased to see how much has been
done in his own section, he will fix upon many spots that are now in
a great measure neglected, as those which a patient industry will in
the course of a few years render the most productive and valuable.
Extensive tracts in Henderson county, the moist grounds inclining to
swamp in the neighborhood of Waynesville, the valley of Scott’s
creek, bordering the road, the head waters of the Tuckaseege and
those of the Savannah on the south side of the Blue Ridge, are cited
as examples because they fell under my immediate observation.

Closely connected with agriculture as affording access to a market
are good roads, and it was with some surprise that I noticed certain
indications that the road scraper has never been introduced into the
western part of the State, but that all the difficult passes in the
mountains had been wrought out with the plough, the hoe, and shovel.
The Warm Spring turnpike has inequalities, elevations and
depressions, even between the village of Ashville and the point
where it first comes into contact with the river, that would not be
permitted to continue for a year if this excellent labor-saving
instrument were once to come into use. For removing earth through
short distances, for a hundred feet to a hundred yards, there is
nothing comparable to it. A single man and horse will accomplish as
much as six or eight men with the ordinary tools.

                      I am respectfully yours,
                                                        E. MITCHELL.

  To Hon. T. L. Clingman.

                              THE END.


[1]Since writing this letter I have discovered there the diamond,
    platina, blue corundum in large masses, of brilliant colors, and
    the most splendent lustre, sapphire, ruby, emerald, euclase,
    amethyst; also in various localities, zircon, pyropian garnet,
    chrome ore; and manganese, and barytes in large veins; likewise
    plumbago of the finest quality.

                      155 Broadway, New-York,
                           _July, 1849_.

                           G. P. PUTNAM’S
                         NEW PUBLICATIONS.

              _Travels, Adventures, and Discoveries._
                            IN THE EAST.

          [Illustration: Assyrian bas-relief: charioteer]

                                         _Nineveh, and its Remains_;

With an Account of a Visit to the Chaldæan Christians of Kurdistan,
and the Yezidis, or Devil-Worshhippers; and an Inquiry into the
Manners and Arts of the Ancient Assyrians.


     With Introductory Note by Prof. E. Robinson, D. D., LL. D.

Illustrated with 13 Plates and Maps, and 90 Woodcuts. 2 vols. 8vo.
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“We cannot doubt it will find its way into the hands of scholars and
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“As a record of discoveries it is equally wonderful and important;
confirming in many particulars the incidental histories of Sacred
West, disentombing temple-palaces from the sepulchre of ages, and
recovering the metropolis of a wonderful nation from the long night
of oblivion.”—_Com. Advertiser._

           [Illustration: Assyrian bas-relief: spearmen]

“Taking this only as a book of travels, we have read none for a long
time more interesting and instructive.”—_Quarterly Review._

“We repeat that there has been no such picture in any modern book of
travels. Park is not brave or more adventurous, Burkhaph is not more
truthful, Eöthen not more gay or picturesque than the hero of the
book before us.”—_London Examiner._

whether with reference to the wonderful discoveries it describes,
its remarkable verification of our early biblical history, or of the
talent, courage, and perseverance of its author. * * * * * * We will
only add in conclusion, that in those days, when the fulfilment of
prophecy is engaging so much attention, we cannot but consider that
the work of Mr. Layard will be found to afford many extraordinary
proofs of biblical history.”—_London Times._

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Introductory Note._

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Its narration of wonderful discoveries is of high and absorbing
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“The work of Layard is the most prominent contribution to the study
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dust of 3000 years, we are ready to cry out with the astonished
Arabs, ‘Wallah, it is wonderful, but it is true!’”—_Independent._

                                          _Egypt and Its Monuments_,

               As Illustrative of Scripture History.

BY FRANCIS L. HAWKS, D.D., LL.D., &c., &c.

Illustrated with Engravings from the Works of Champollion,
Rosellini, Wilkinson, and others, and Architectural Views of the
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This work presents a comprehensive and authentic, and at the same
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⁂ The following are some of the architectural illustrations,
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                              _Visits to Monasteries in the Levant._


One vol., post 8vo. Illustrated with 17 spirited Engravings. $1 50.


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            [Illustration: Staff with pendant ornaments]

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                  Travels, Adventures, &c.—Europe.

                                              _The Genius of Italy_;

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                     _The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus._

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addition of a COPIOUS and USEFUL INDEX of about 40,000 names; but
the maps being transferred in facsimile on stone, the American
publisher is enabled to supply it at the low price of $20—elegantly
and substantially bound in half morocco, gilt edges. The maps are
clearly and beautifully executed, and are practically fully equal to
the original edition. The work contains 41 large and splendid maps.

“Having examined many of the Maps of the National Atlas, I have no
hesitation in saying, that they are as accurate in their
geographical details as they are beautiful in their execution.”—_Sir
David Brewster._

“So far as I have yet examined the National Atlas, it is, in beauty
of execution and accuracy of detail, unrivalled in this, and, I
believe, in any other country.”—_Prof. Traill._

“Those who are not familiar with the places referred to in the
History of the French Revolution will frequently find a reference to
Maps of great service: and the Military student of Napoleon’s
campaigns in Germany and France will see the theatre of war
admirably delineated in Mr. Johnston’s Maps of those
countries.”—_Alison’s History of Europe._

“I have devoted a considerable time to a rigorous examination of the
National Atlas, just published, and, in impartial justice, I must
admit, that in accuracy of construction, and elegance of execution,
it is superior to any other with which I am acquainted.”—_William
Galbraith_, F.R.S. S.A., F.R.A.S.

“These beautiful, accurate, and admirably engraved Maps and
Illustrations, are deserving of every praise and
encouragement.”—_Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal._

“The National Atlas is truly a splendid publication, and fully
deserves not only the distinctive name it bears, but also national
patronage.”—_Literary Gazette._

                    Washington Irvings’s Works.

                     AUTHOR’S REVISED EDITION.

Elegantly printed in 15 vols. (including new works) and neatly bound
in dark cloth.

      I.   _Knickerbocker’s New-York_                 1 vol.   $1 25.
     II.   _The Sketch Book_                          1 vol.    1 25.
    III.   }
     IV.   } _Columbus and His Companions_           3 vols.    4 00.
      V.   }
     VI.   _Bracebridge Hall_                         1 vol.    1 25.
    VII.   _Tales of a Traveller_                     1 vol.    1 25.
   VIII.   _Astoria_, (pp. 510 with map)              1 vol.    1 50.
     IX.   _The Crayon Miscellany_                    1 vol.    1 25.
      X.   _Capt. Bonneville’s Adventures_, map       1 vol.    1 25.
    *XI.   _Oliver Goldsmith, a Biography_            1 vol.    1 25.
   *XII.   _Mohammed and his Successors_               1 vol.
  *XIII.   _The Conquest of Granada_                  1 vol.    1 25.
    XIV.   _The Alhambra_                             1 vol.    1 25.
     XV.   [A new volume.]                            1 vol.    1 25.

* Those marked thus are not yet ready, June, 1849.

⁂ Either volume, or complete sets may also be had substantially
bound in half calf, 75 cts. extra; half morocco $1 extra; full calf,
$1 25 extra.


“The typography of this series is all that could be desired. Nothing
superior to it has issued from the American press. Irving will be
among American classics what Goldsmith is among those of the
Fatherland. His works have not been crowded from our shelves by the
hosts of new claimants for public favor, who have appeared since the
Sketch Book was in every body’s hands. We have often wondered in
common with other readers, why there was no good American edition of
his writings; but his place in our literary affections remains as
high as ever. The desideratum of which we speak, is now to be
supplied by Mr. Putnam; and we are now to have an elegant uniform
edition of the works of our foremost writer in the _belles-lettres_
department of literature.”—_Boston Evening Transcript._

“The announcement that a new edition of the works of this admired
author was in progress, has led us to revert with pleasure to the
delight we enjoyed in our first acquaintance with him through his
charming books. He was the first of American writers in the
department of elegant literature who obtained a wide name and fame
in the old world. Great Britain, France, Northern and Southern
Europe, are alike familiar with his delightful and most healthful
writings, and doubtless his own good standing abroad has done more
than any other single cause to introduce the names and works of
others of our countrymen. There is a charm about his writings to
which old and young, the educated and the simple, bear cheerful
witness. * * * Several new works have not yet seen the light. Among
these is announced a Life of Mohammed, and a Life of Washington. As
to the latter subject for a volume, we can only say, that if another
Life of Washington needs be written—which we doubt—we should prefer,
of all men, to have Washington Irving undertake it. The other
promised biography, the Life of Mohammed, is a grand, an
unexhausted, and a most inviting theme. It has never yet been well
treated, nor is it probable that there is a man on this Continent
better qualified to treat it with discrimination and power, and with
faithfulness to the truth, than Washington Irving. If our country
can be covered with a large issue of his writings, it will make some
amends for the flood of trumpery which the Press has poured over
it.”—_Christian Register._

“The most tasteful and elegant books which have ever issued from the
American Press.”—_Trib._

                     Belles Letters—New Works.

                   Fenimore Cooper’s Early Works.
                   THE AUTHOR’S REVISED EDITION.

                            _The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground._

New Edition. Revised, &c., with Introduction and Notes, handsomely
printed, uniform with the Sketch-Book, &c. 12mo, cloth, $1 25.

                                     _The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea._

12mo. $1 25. In September. To be followed by other vols. at

                       MR. COOPER’S NEW WORK.

                                             _The Ways of the Hour._

             12mo, uniform with “The Spy.” _In press._

“The public will cordially welcome a new and complete edition of
this author’s admirable tales, revised, corrected, and illustrated
with notes by himself. This is No. 1 of the new series, and is got
up in the style of Irving’s works, which we have over and over again
commended. As for the tale itself, there is no need to speak of it.
It has a place on every shelf, and at once made the fame of its
author. It is an absolute pleasure to the lover of books to find the
ultra cheap system going out of vogue.”—_N. Y. Albion._

“We are happy to see Mr. Putnam bringing out these American
classics, the works of Cooper and Irving, to refresh the present
generation as they amused the last. We belong, as their two fine
authors do, to both, if men of a buoyant temper and an unflagging
spirit ever pass from one generation to another. We remember, as of
yesterday, with what eagerness we drank in the tale of ‘The Spy,’
when it first saw light; and how we admired the genius of its
author, from the beauty of its production. We can enjoy it still;
and so will every American who has taste enough to appreciate an
American narrative, told so well by an American writer.”—_Washington

“‘The Spy’ is the most truly national fiction ever produced in
America. * * * It is esteemed abroad even more than at home, for it
has been translated into almost every European language, and the
prejudiced critics of the North British Review have almost consented
to give it rank with ‘The Antiquary’ and ‘Old Morality.’”—_Richmond

                           Miss Sedgwick.

                                  _Clarence; or Twenty Years Since._

The Author’s Revised Edition; complete in one vol. Uniform with
Irving’s Works. _In August._


 The Author’s Revised Edition; complete in one vol. _In September._

                                               _A New England Tale_;

                 Complete in one vol. _In October._


                    “Kaloolah will be THE book.”

                    _Kaloolah; or, Journeyings to the Djébel Kumri._

                  An Autobiography of Jona. Romer.


 Illustrations by Darley, beautifully engraved and printed in tint,
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“The most singular and captivating narrative since Robinson
Crusoe.”—_Home Journal._

“‘Kaloolah’ will be ‘The Book.’ If it does not excite a sensation in
the reading public we will be perfectly contented to distrust our
judgment in such matters in future.”—_Merchant’s Journal._

“By far the most attractive and entertaining book we have read since
the days we were fascinated by the chef d’œuvre of Defoe or the
graceful inventions of the Arabian Nights. It is truly an American
novel—not wholly American in scenery, but American in character and
American in sentiment.”—_U.S. Magazine and Democratic Review._

“We have never read a work of fiction with more interest, and we may
add, profit—combining, as it does, with the most exciting and
romantic adventures, a great deal of information of various kinds.
The heroine, Kaloolah, is about as charming and delicate a specimen
of feminine nature, as we recollect in any work of imagination or
fancy. We will answer for it that all readers will be perfectly
delighted with her.”—_Journal of Education._

“We have met with no modern work of fiction that has so entranced
us. The former part of Kaloolah carries the reader captive by the
same irresistible charm that is found in the pages of Robinson
Crusoe, than which imperishable work, however, it presents a wider
and more varied field of adventure; while the latter part expands
into scenes of splendor, magnificence, and enchantment, unsurpassed
by those of the Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.”—_Com. Advertiser._

                             _Letters from the Alleghany Mountains._


    _Librarian of the War Department: Author of “A Summer in the
                         Wilderness,” &c._

                            12mo, 75cts.

⁂ These letters are descriptive of one of the most interesting
regions in the old states of the Union, which has never before been
described by any traveller, and they will be found to contain a
great amount of valuable information, as well as many characteristic
anecdotes and legends of the western parts of North and South
Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

                               _The Turkish Evening Entertainments_:

The Wonders of Memorials and the Rarities of Anecdotes. By Ahmed Ben
Hemden, the Kiyaya. Translated from the Turkish.


_Dragoman of the Legation of the United States, at Constantinople_.

                       12mo. _In September._

“It is by far the most interesting book that has been published at
Constantinople for a long time. * * * The historical and amusing
interest of the two hundred and seven curiosities, which I might
call anecdotes, is so obvious,” &c.—_Von Hammer, the celebrated
Orientalist, to the Translator._

“This book is one of the most interesting and amusing which has
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                     Choice Illustrated Books.

_The Illustrated Knickerbocker; The History of New-York_,

From the Beginning of the World to the end of the Dutch Dynasty:
containing, among many surprising and curious matters, the
Unutterable Ponderings of Walter the Doubter; the Disastrous
Projects of William the Testy, and the Chivalric Achievements of
Peter the Headstrong—the Three Dutch Governors of New-Amsterdam:
Being the only authentic History of the Times that ever hath been or
ever will be published.


Illustrated with 15 superior engravings on wood, by the most eminent
artists, from Designs by Darley, viz:

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  _Vision of Oloffe the Dreamer, of the future city of
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  _Portrait of Wouter Van Twiller, from authentic sources._
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  _Portrait of Diedrich Knickerbocker, from an original painting
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  _Dutch Lover._
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  _Knickerbocker making his bow to the public._

And a larger illustration on stone, from a drawing by Heath, of
London; a humorous representation of Peter Stuyvesant’s Army.

Elegantly printed in Royal Octavo. Price in cloth, $3 50; extra dark
cloth, gilt edges, $4; dark calf, antique style, $5; morocco extra,
$6. _In September._

                                      _The Illustrated Sketch-Book._

                         _The Sketch-Book._


Illustrated with a series of highly-finished Engravings on Wood,
from Designs by Darley and others, Engraved in the best style by
Childs, Herrick, &c. One volume, square octavo, cloth extra, $3 50;
cloth gilt $4; morocco extra, $6.

“We confess that we know of none in this country so competent, to
the task of illustrating this work as the young artist selected for
the purpose, Felix Darley, some of whose designs we have had the
pleasure of seeing. They are full of the quiet, Crayonish humor
peculiar to the author, and drawn with the same elegant finish and
freedom from blemish which distinguish all his works. Until we saw
these designs we were incredulous as to the ability of any of our
native artists to properly illustrate the humorous passages of
Irving’s writings.”—_Evening Mirror._

                             _The Illustrated Tales of a Traveller._

                      _Tales of a Traveller._


Illustrated with 15 designs by Darley, engraved on wood in the first
style by Childs, Herrick, Leslie, Bobbet, Edmonds, &c. One volume,
Royal 8vo, same style and prices as the Knickerbocker.

⁂ It is intended that the engravings in this volume and in the
Knickerbocker shall exceed in excellence any thing of the kind yet
produced in this country. It will be ready in October.

                                        _The Illustrated Goldsmith._

                  _Oliver Goldsmith, a Biography._


With about 40 Illustrations selected by the publisher from Forster’s
Life of Goldsmith, beautifully engraved on wood by W. Roberts. 8vo.
_In August._

                                   _Family Pictures from the Bible._


Comprising original articles by Rev. Dr. Bethune, Rev. H. Field,
Rev. Mr. Burchard, and other Eminent Divines.

Illustrated with designs by Darley, elegantly printed, 12mo. _In

                               _The Illustrated Monuments of Egypt._

                     _Egypt and Its Monuments._

               As Illustrative of Scripture History.


With Architectural and other Views finely executed on stone, and
numerous engravings on wood, from the works of Rossellini,
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                                          _The Illustrated Nineveh._

                _Layard’s Nineveh and its Remains._

With 103 Illustrations on wood and on stone. 2 vols. in one,
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antique style, $6.

                                            _The Illustrated Italy._

                       _The Genius of Italy_,

       Or Sketches of Italian Life, Literature and Religion.


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and the Lake of Como, beautifully engraved on wood, elegantly bound
in extra cloth, gilt edges, $2. _In September._

                          Belles Lettres.

                                                  _Chaucer’s Poems._

Selections from the Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. By Charles
D. Deshler. 1 vol., 12mo, green cloth, 63 cts.

                                              _Chaucer and Spenser._

Selections from the Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. By Charles
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                                           _Gilman, Mrs.—The Sibyl_;

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                                _Goldsmith.—The Vicar of Wakefield._

By Oliver Goldsmith. 1 vol., 12mo, neatly printed, cloth, 50 cts.

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where no crude surfeit reigns.”—_London Examiner._

                             _Hunt.—Stories from the Italian Poets_:

Being a Summary in Prose of the Poems of Dante, Pulci, Boiardo,
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“Mr. Hunt’s book has been aptly styled, a series of exquisite
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⁂ See “History,” “Travels,” &c.

N. B. Any of the above may be had in extra bindings: half calf, 75
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mind contemplative in its turn, but keenly alive to the absurdity of
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  ‘All philosophers, who find
  Some favorite system to their mind,
  In every point to make it fit,
  Will force all nature to submit.’”
                                                 _Cincinnati Atlas._

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brings it to us.”—_Mirror._

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                                            _Bibliotheca Americana._

A Catalogue of American Publications, including Reprints and
Original Works, from 1824 to 1848, inclusive. Compiled by O. A.
Roorbach. Royal 8vo, pp. 359, $4.

⁂ A very useful book to all librarians and booksellers.

                        Transcriber’s Notes

--Retained the copyright notice from the printed edition (although
  this book is in the public domain.)

--Created an original cover image for free, unrestricted use with
  this Distributed-Proofreaders Project-Gutenberg eBook.

--Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

--In the text versions only, delimited italicized text in

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