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´╗┐Title: Three Days on the Ohio River
Author: Alcott, William A. (William Andrus)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Three Days on the Ohio River" ***

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New-York.

[Illustration: A WESTERN STEAMBOAT. See page 9.]


CHAPTER                                        PAGE
   I.--PRELIMINARY REMARKS                        7

  II.--THE STEAMBOAT                              9

 III.--BEGINNING THE VOYAGE                      14

  IV.--SAILING UP THE RIVER                      17

   V.--MAYSVILLE                                 19

  VI.--IN THE CABIN                              22

 VII.--THE FOUR INDIANS                          26

VIII.--THE COAL COUNTRY                          30

  IX.--THE VARIETY OF FACES                      38

   X.--BLENNERHASSET'S ISLAND                    43

  XI.--THE ANCIENT MOUNDS                        46

 XII.--A SUSPENSION BRIDGE                       49

XIII.--LOGAN, THE MINGO CHIEF                    52

 XIV.--THIRD NIGHT ON THE RIVER                  54



A WESTERN STEAMBOAT                               2

POMEROY COAL-MINES                               35




I was once in the city of Cincinnati, and wished to go to Pittsburg by
way of the river. Not that this was the nearest way, or the swiftest, or
the cheapest; but I desired very much to see the country through which
the river runs: for, as I had read in the histories of the United
States, and particularly in the accounts of our wars with the Indians,
much about the Ohio River, with many of its towns and villages, my
curiosity was very active; and I was determined to behold it.

It was Monday, the 29th of March, and a most lovely morning, too, when
I went on board the steamboat Pittsburg, bound for the city of the same
name. I was careful to set out early in the week, so as, if possible, to
reach Pittsburg before Sunday.



Were you ever on board a Western river steamboat? As some of you may not
have had the opportunity, I will give you a short account of one.

Some of these boats are very large indeed. They would seem to you like a
little world of themselves.

The Pittsburg is about two hundred and eighty feet in length by sixty in
breadth. This boat, if placed in a field, would cover nearly half an
acre of land.

These boats are high as well as long. Besides the hold, as they call
it--a kind of cellar into which they stow away much of their heavy
freight--they have two or three other stories or decks for freight and

The one next above the hold is where they keep their cattle and horses
and hogs, if they have any on board; also their common freight. Here,
too, in some instances, they have at one end a clumsy kind of cabin
called the forecastle, or steerage.

This forecastle is occupied, for the most part, by the poorer
passengers, especially emigrants. They have berths or shelves to recline
on, but no bed-clothing; and their accommodations are generally very

On the next floor above are the cabins for the passengers in general.
They are usually in two great--rather long--rooms, one at each end. One
of them is used at meals as the dining-room. The berths or sleeping
places are at their sides. They, too, are mere broad shelves, but they
have bed-clothing and curtains.

On the upper deck the cabins are still more ample, as well as better
furnished. There, instead of shelves at the sides, there are small rooms
connected with the shelves, called state-rooms.

Were it not that the cabins on those upper decks are unusually long in
proportion to their breadth, and did you not feel the motion of the boat
while occupying them, the traveler would hardly know that he was not in
a large and comfortable hotel or dwelling-house.

There is still another deck or promenade above all these, but passengers
are not usually allowed to occupy it. The helmsman of the boat is
stationed here, and a crowd of people around him might obstruct his

I have thus described five stories or rows; but there is a difference in
boats in this particular, even in the large ones. Some have only four
stories--that is, three besides the hold. In the latter case, the lower
or freight deck is at one end of the boat, formed into a cabin which
communicates only by means of a stairway with the next deck above it.

The best cabins are carpeted as nicely as our best parlors, and the
furniture is often as costly. The state-rooms are also well furnished,
and sometimes well ventilated. The beds are narrow. But the beds on
board the Pittsburg, though narrow, were quite comfortable. The
passenger reclines on a mattress, which rests on coils of elastic wire,
like some of our sofas and carriage seats; and the beds are almost as
soft as feather beds.

The rules and regulations in many steamboats are exceedingly strict. In
some instances they are printed and hung up at the sides of the cabins
and elsewhere, in conspicuous places. They relate to the treatment of
furniture, the hours of rising, meals, retiring to rest, &c.

No person, for example, is allowed to let his chair, while sitting, rest
against the wall, or to put his feet on the cushions of the chairs or
sofas. No lights are permitted in the state-rooms--cases of severe
sickness or other extremity alone excepted.

The female passengers have every reasonable convenience for washing,
dressing, &c., in their state-rooms. For the rest of the passengers
there is a common washroom, with which the barber's room is also
sometimes connected.

Thus you see that the art and ingenuity of man have converted these
great prisons on the water into so many magnificent hotels. Some
inconveniences and even privations there are, and must be. As a general
rule, the traveler may be very comfortable in them, and, if he chooses,
quite self-indulgent.

This word self-indulgent refers to the articles of food on the tables.
These are just what is to be expected when it is considered what the far
greater part of our travelers place their chief happiness in--what they
most think of and talk of, at least when they have little else to do.

In this respect, the steamboat is about on a par with the hotel. If
there be any difference, it seems to me to consist in this: that the
dishes at the table on board the steamboat are more complicated and more
costly, and at the same time more unhealthy, than those of the hotel.

But enough of description, for the present. We will now return to the
narration of my adventures.



The distance from Cincinnati to Pittsburg, following the course of the
river, is four hundred and seventy-seven miles; the distance by land
being, as I suppose, on the shortest road, about three hundred and

The Ohio River is very crooked. It turns to nearly every point of the
compass. In one instance, in going up it, for example, I well remember
that after going for some time in a northerly and then in a
north-westerly direction, we suddenly turned to the west, as if we were
going back again to Cincinnati.

The hour at which the steamer was to sail, according to the
advertisement in the papers, was ten o'clock. Most of the passengers
were on board before this time. There was, however, a large amount of
freight to come on board afterward. There was also delay from another
and very different cause.

Just opposite to Cincinnati, on the Kentucky side, are the villages of
Newport and Covington. In one of the houses, in one of these places, a
thief had entered, during the night, and taken away considerable money
and other property. The officers of justice were in pursuit of him.

They came to the Pittsburg, and asked permission to search that. This
being granted, they went in company with one of the officers, and made
diligent search everywhere, especially among the emigrants. The thief,
however, was not found, and the search was discontinued.

At about twelve o'clock we were under weigh, and slowly proceeding up
the river, which is here, as I judged, about a quarter of a mile wide,
and pretty deep. Every passenger, or nearly every one, was now on deck
enjoying the prospect.

The Pittsburg sailed about eight or ten miles an hour. We were soon out
of sight of Cincinnati. The last portion of it which we saw was
Fulton--which is the name given to a long arm of the city, extending
several miles along in a north-eastern direction.

I was almost sorry to leave Cincinnati, for it is, in many respects, a
beautiful place. The central or business part is not peculiarly
handsome, I admit; but the Walnut Hills, Mount Auburn, and other places,
forming a semicircle, and inclosing it on all sides except on the
south-east and south, are, for the beauties of nature and art, almost



As you proceed up the river, your attention is arrested, from time to
time, by small villages. These are more numerous on the Ohio side than
on that of Kentucky. Whether this is owing to the effects of slavery, or
to other reasons, I am not informed. One thing is certain--that nature
is not at fault in the construction of the country; for never in my life
have I seen a prettier variety of hills and dales than on the Kentucky
side of the Ohio River.

The water of the river was high, and the boat could stop at nearly every
considerable village. The principal places we passed, for the first
sixty miles, were Columbia, Point Pleasant, Neville, Higginsport,
Ripley, and Aberdeen, in Ohio; and Mechanicsburg, Belmont, Augusta, and
Charleston, in Kentucky.

Augusta, in Kentucky, is a considerable village, and has one or two
important schools. It has also a few antiquities. So full is the earth
of decaying human bones, that they can hardly dig a hole for a post
without finding some of them.

The water of the Ohio at this season has a turbid or milky appearance.
It is used, on board the steamboats, for all purposes, even for
drinking. To me it was disagreeable; but to some of the passengers it
was more than disagreeable to their taste, for it deranged their
stomachs. This result is probably owing to the lime it contains.

Most of the passengers were on deck during the greater part of the day,
viewing the country, which I have already told you was beautiful. The
villages, in general, had a sooty appearance, caused by coal smoke.



Before night we came to Maysville, in Kentucky. This is quite a large
village, with some appearance of thrift and prosperity.

Here we stopped for two hours or more--partly to take in one hundred and
twenty head of cattle. Our number of passengers was not large--less, I
believe, than one hundred--and probably did not much more than pay
expenses, especially when they kept so extravagant a table. The fare to
Pittsburg was $7. True, there was on board a large amount of freight of
various kinds, which perhaps made up the deficiency.

But as the grave, according to Solomon, is never satisfied--never says
enough--so the men who are engaged in carrying passengers and freight
seem never satisfied as long as they can carry any more.

Those who drive large numbers of cattle from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio,
&c., to New-York and the Eastern States, find it very tedious to drive
them all the way by land, as well as very expensive; so they sometimes
make a bargain with the superintendents of railroads and the captains of
steamboats to have them transported.

The price paid for carrying one hundred and twenty cattle from Maysville
to Pittsburg--above four hundred miles by water--was $4 50 each; or, in
the whole, $540.

The cattle were to be brought upon the lower deck, next to the hold, and
tied with short ropes to the posts and other timbers of the boat. But
how were they to be got on board? I will describe the method.

The steamboat was brought close to the wharf, from which a broad
platform, made of strong planks, was thrown across to the deck of the
boat, forming a bridge. Still, however, the animals were afraid.

The difficulty was surmounted in the following manner: One old ox was
procured who had been trained for the purpose, and was not at all
afraid. A rope was attached to his horns, and he was slowly led on
board, while the others, with a little urging, followed him. But as
they could not manage more than six or eight at a time, the trained ox
had to be led on board, and brought back again a great many times before
the drove were fairly in their places.

One poor bullock made them a deal of trouble, after he was taken on
board. Uneasy and restless, he somehow or other got loose, leaped
overboard, and swam down the river about a mile, before a company in the
long-boat could reach and secure him, and drive him back.

While this embarkation of the cattle was going on, I went on shore and
took a survey of the village. It is the most important place in this
part of Kentucky, containing, as I judged, some four or five thousand
inhabitants, and having considerable trade, with some manufactures.

This place was formerly called by the characteristic name of Limestone,
and was one of the first-settled places in the state. The famous Daniel
Boone at one time resided here; and an old shattered warehouse is shown
to travelers, which, it is said, he built.



It was nearly night when we left Maysville, and most of the passengers
were glad to go below, and remain there. The hour for rest was also
approaching: of this also we were glad; for, to most of us, it had been
a very fatiguing day.

There was, however, an interval of two or three hours between "tea" and
bedtime; and the question was, how this time should be employed? I say
this _was_ the question; but I mean rather that it _should_ have been:
for I do not suppose, on further reflection, that one person in ten of
those who were on board was in the habit of asking himself any such
question--whether on land or on water, at home or abroad. They took "no
note of time, but by its loss." And they who do not live by system or
rule elsewhere, will not be likely to do so while on board a steamboat.

In truth, it is very difficult for those who are the most careful,
economical, and systematic in regard to their time, to keep everything
straight while traveling, especially while traveling at the rapid rate
of modern times, and with such crowds. It costs even the most
conscientious--those who fear God the most--quite a struggle.

Do you ask what the fear of God has to do with matters of this
kind?--and whether we have time to think closely and continuously about
the right and wrong of everything, on board a steamboat?

My reply is, that some persons do it, in spite of the difficulties.
There were a few on board the Pittsburg who did it, although their
number, as I have already intimated, was very few.

I have said that some persons try to have a conscience void of offense
toward God and man, not only while at home, but when they travel abroad,
whether in the steamboat, or in the railroad car: they believe that God
sees them there as well as elsewhere: they believe that for every
thought, word, and deed--alone or in company, at home or abroad--they
must give account in the day of judgment: they believe that whether they
eat or drink, or whatsoever they do, and whenever they do it, they are
required to do all to the glory of God.

I saw one or two groups of passengers on board the Pittsburg, in one of
the cabins where there was the most merriment of all kinds, as well as
the most thoughtlessness on the part of many, who had their Bibles in
their hands for a long time, during the progress of the evening, and who
appeared to be reading and studying.

I know, full well, that all this may be done--sometimes _is_ done--for
mere effect. Some read the Bible that they may appear to be good. Some
read it to keep down the upbraidings of their consciences. Some do it
from mere habit. And some do it in the vain hope that somehow or
other--they know not when or how, but at some _time_ or other--a
blessing will come out of it.

When I saw those persons reading the Bible on board the Pittsburg, I
did not at once set them down as certainly and always religious; I did
not set them down as persons who, if they were religious on occasions,
or at stated times, carried out their religion into dayly and hourly
practice: I mean I did not set them down as _necessarily_ so, or such
merely because they read the Bible.

But I will tell you what I _did_ think of them then, and what I think of
them still. I have no doubt that they were people who had good purposes,
and who lived by system, and not at random or mere hap-hazard: I have no
doubt that they were church-going people when at home: I doubt not at
all that they were Sabbath-keeping people; and I have very little doubt
that they prayed, at least sometimes.



During the progress of the evening, and while at the dinner and supper
table, I had opportunity to survey the crowd, and to recognize in it the
representatives of many distinct and different nations.

Americans, the lineal descendants of the true European race, of course
predominated. Among the subdivisions of this race were English, Scotch,
Irish, and German.

Africans, too, were numerous; but were found chiefly among the "hands"
employed on board the steamboat. The waiters at table, the two stewards,
the barber, the cooks,--from first to last, for there was almost an army
of them,--were more or less of African origin. Some of them were jet
black; but the far greater part were of commingled blood. Some were so
light colored, that at first sight one would hardly recognize them as
having ever belonged to the race of "Uncle Tom," or "Aunt Chloe."

Besides, there were with us four American Indians, of the Shawnee tribe.
They were just from their home, among the upper branches of the Arkansas
River, and were on their way to Washington, on business in behalf of
their nation.

They were dressed in a full American costume, and two of them could
converse in English very well. One of them--a young man--appeared to
have no knowledge of any but his native dialect.

With one of the elder of these men I had some conversation myself. He
answered my questions very readily and frankly, but seldom, in return,
made any inquiries of me. Yet he was not destitute of curiosity. On
several occasions I saw him looking with interest while mechanical and
manufacturing operations were going on, both on board and on shore.

I found to my surprise that these Indians were not, even when at home,
naked or half-naked savages, ignorant of the arts and decencies of
life; but respectable farmers, more than half civilized, and some of
them Christianized. They had cultivated fields and frame houses, with
great numbers of horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs.

The younger of them even expressed a good deal of religious feeling, and
said by an interpreter that he wished his nation read more in the New
Testament and religious books. Another, who was a half-breed, and was
older, appeared to be a professor of religion. One bad habit, so common
among the whites, they had caught by contact: I mean that of smoking
tobacco; and it is fortunate if they have been contaminated by us in
nothing else.

But ten o'clock came, the hour when we were expected to retire to our
berths, and it was not long before silence and darkness reigned, except
where it was needful for men to watch and labor to see that the boat
pursued her onward, ascending course.

Some of us, before retiring, took a short walk upon deck. The moon had
not yet risen, but it was starlight. The surface of the river, and the
waving outline of the adjacent shores and hills, with here and there a
house, and one or two small villages, were all that we could see. After
taking proper care of my little state-room, to see that the ventilators
were so arranged as to give on the one hand a free circulation, and on
the other to prevent a current of damp night air from falling directly
upon me, and after remembering, too, that there was a God in the heavens
in whom, as the supreme director on the water as well as on the land, I
could trust, I resigned myself to sleep, and did not rise till the day
had dawned, and the moon had reached the middle of the heavens.



During the night we had passed by several important villages,
Manchester, Rome, Rockville, Portsmouth, Wheelersburg, Hanging Rock,
Burlington, and Proctorsville, in Ohio; and Concord, Vanceburg,
Greenupsburg, and Catlettsburg, in Kentucky.

The face of the country was still interesting, but that of the Kentucky
and Virginia side had become less so than the other. We had lost the
opportunity of seeing the mouths of the Scioto and Big Sandy Rivers, as
well as many other curious and interesting objects.

But what we regretted most was the loss of Portsmouth. This fine place
at the mouth of the Scioto River we had hoped to pass by daylight.
However, we could not expect to see every place we passed.

We were now approaching the coal country; and this morning we had a
fine opportunity of observing the method by which these huge steamboats
provide themselves with this important article. Some of them, I believe,
use wood for fuel; but not all, by any means.

They do not go to the wharves of the villages they pass and wait to have
some twenty, or thirty, or fifty tons of coal shoveled into the boat.
They have another and much simpler way, and one which does not hinder
them a moment.

Long flats or scows, deeply laden with this necessary article,
proceeding from the shore meet the steamer in the middle of the river,
and by means of chains or ropes are immediately lashed to her
sides--usually two of them--one on each side. The men on board the
flats, aided perhaps by the crew of the steamer, immediately fall to
work with their shovels and throw the coal on board when it is wanted.

When the flats are emptied, the ropes are loosened, and they are set
free to return to their place, now several miles down the river. The
steamer is thus supplied for twelve, eighteen, or it may be twenty-four

But what most struck me was the facilities which the miners possess for
procuring this coal from the hills: for the reader should know that the
hills between which we were now passing, all contain this useful

This coal is in a layer, somewhat different in thickness in different
places, but varying from four to five feet. In the hills which the
Pittsburg was now passing, the layer, as I was informed, is about four
feet thick.

This layer, in countries west of the Alleghany, is horizontal, or nearly
so, and this without reference to the shape of the hill that covers it.
At the base of the hills it is usually found pretty near the surface;
but as you proceed inward its distance from the surface increases with
the ascent of the hill.

In Tallmadge, Ohio, last winter, I penetrated one of these coal mines,
accompanied by the workmen, nearly one thousand feet. I found the
stratum of coal at that place not far from four feet thick.

This coal is split out, by means of drilling and blasting, as in the
case of removing any other rock. They usually proceed in a narrow way at
first, perhaps eight or ten feet broad and as many high. As they go on,
they place props under the incumbent hill; or, what is more common, they
place at suitable distances a framework around the sides to prevent its
falling in.

When they have penetrated several hundred feet into these coal hills,
and the air does not circulate freely enough, and especially does not
carry away the smoke of their powder far enough, they sometimes dig a
well or hole from the top of the hill directly over the line of the
excavation till it meets it. This serves as a chimney and ventilator,
and is of great and lasting service.

To carry the coal, they have in general small cars drawn by one horse
each. For this purpose a railroad is made, as far as the excavation

When the coal is brought out of the excavation, there are many curious
ways of unloading it; but I have not time to describe them all. In some
instances the coal is slid down an inclined plane a long distance, by
means of ropes and pulleys, and the emptied cars brought back by the
same means.

I found the bases of the hills on the banks of the Ohio, especially on
the northern side, full of these excavations. The amount of coal which
is dug here yearly must be immense.

For myself, I can never think of this wonderful provision of God for
human wants without feelings of gratitude. In a few years only, the
native wood in many of these regions would in a natural course be used
up in houses, factories, steamboats, &c.; and what would the people do
then for fuel, had not the great Eternal filled the hills with this
never-failing substitute?

One region in particular attracted my attention. The villages of
Pomeroy, Coalport, and Sheffield, were so near each other as to seem to
form one continuous village, about three miles in length. And here, a
stranger would be apt to think, the people do little else but dig coal
and burn it. The houses were almost as black with soot as the hill-sides

[Illustration: POMEROY COAL-MINES.]



I was much interested, while on board the Pittsburg, as I have often
been before, in noticing the vast variety in human faces and features.

Go where you will, on board steamboats, into railroad-cars, public
meetings, &c., where are found assemblages of from one hundred to one
thousand--or even several thousand--persons, and survey narrowly every
face; and will you find any two alike?

Examine, if you please, the faces of nearest relatives--brothers,
sisters, parents, children, and even twins themselves--and though you
may and sometimes will find a very striking similarity, yet you will,
after all, find a difference in some one or more particulars. No two, in
any assembly or company, look exactly alike.

Nay, more than all this. If you were to travel the world as much as I
have done, and to see, in the course of half a century, several millions
of people, you would find no two, anywhere, with features exactly alike.
In the eight hundred millions which now inhabit our globe there is a
shade of difference, such as would enable a careful eye to distinguish
every one from all others.

And how is it with the mind that shines out in these varied faces? Is
that as distinguishable on a close acquaintance as the exterior--the
features? Is there any reason why it should not be? I am not quite
certain it is so; but did not the great Creator intend it should be?

I do not mean to say, of course, that there are not some things alike in
every face. So there are some things which must be expected to be alike
in our mental formation.

Every one on board this steamboat--every one in the world--resembles his
fellows in the general structure and aspect of his features. Every one
looks forward and upward, and not downward like the beasts that perish.
Every one has the projecting brow, with the well-defended eye under it,
the more prominent nose and chin, &c.

So every one thinks highly of himself, his friends, possessions, home,
&c. Every one, unless by divine grace made a true Christian, is more or
less selfish. Every one loves, and, in his way, seeks happiness, and
hates misery. "Who will show us any good?" is the almost universal cry.
If people do not say it, in so many words, they do so by their actions.

It is an old maxim that actions speak louder than words; and it is of
high, very high authority, that out of the abundance of the heart (or
_mind_) the mouth speaketh.

It is not very difficult, therefore, to guess how the various minds on
board this steamer are occupied. No one is talking about the wants, the
ignorance, or the means of improving the condition of his neighbor. No
one is talking, unless the thought is suggested by another, about the
welfare of the great Jehovah's kingdom.

But I mean not quite so much. There are a few blessed exceptions to the
apparent severity of this remark. For here, just by my side, sits a
woman some fifty years of age or more, who has, for more than thirty
years, cared for and thought of other people as well as herself.

She is the wife of Mr. Byington, a famous missionary to the Choctaw
Indians. It is, I believe, nearly thirty years since she and her husband
devoted themselves to the great work of trying to instruct and improve
those poor people, and make Christians of them. Such a person will care
for the good of others, and the honor of God, even on board a steamboat.
Those who have been philanthropists and Christians as long as Mr. and
Mrs. Byington, will not soon or easily forget their former habits and
become selfish like the rest of the world.

I am greatly afraid that most persons who seem to be religious at home,
forget their religion when they go abroad. Indeed, I have known many who
were given to prayer, watchful over their tongues, mindful of the
Sabbath, and self-denying at home, who were none of these when a
thousand miles from home, or even half that distance.

True, we cannot always know whether people pray or not, when they are
abroad, because most of what deserves the name of prayer is offered
where no eye can reach but that of God. There is an opportunity for
closet prayer everywhere; and it is quite possible that they who break
the Sabbath, indulge their appetites, and do not bridle their tongues,
sometimes pray. Still I must say that, judging as well as I can, the
fear already expressed is but too well grounded.



Nearly every person who knows anything at all about the history of the
United States has heard of Blennerhassett's Island.

This island is one hundred and ninety miles from Pittsburg, and two
hundred and eighty-seven from Cincinnati. It is a beautiful island; but
has at present an appearance of desolation, that forcibly reminds the
traveler what it once was.

Blennerhassett, the owner, was a man of great taste, and, till his
connection with Burr, quite an inoffensive man, and a good citizen. But
no one could be long in peace and quiet who had anything to do with the
seditious, ambitious, and treasonable Aaron Burr. It is true he was not
legally convicted of treason, but he was finally ruined in character and
property, as a cause of his evident wrong doing.

Instead of a beautiful mansion fifty-four feet square, two stories
high, and well proportioned, with two wings, and a charming little
garden, with every delicacy of fruit, vegetables, and flowers which
could be made to grow in that climate, with the most beautiful walks,
and shrubbery--nothing now is seen but a heap of ruins.

All day long, this second of our days on the river, we were hoping the
boat would reach Blennerhassett's Island before night, or at least
before bedtime. But we were doomed to disappointment. At the latest hour
which it was proper for us to be awake, the boat was some thirty to
fifty miles below.

We passed the next day the mouths of two beautiful rivers on the
Virginia side, the Big Sandy and the Great Kanawha. It was curious to
see the line formed by the junction or union of the two rivers--the one
with its blue clear waters, the other with its turbid, milky current.
They seemed as if made of entirely different materials. We also passed,
besides the coaling places I have named, several considerable villages,
among which were Point Pleasant, Murraysville, and Belleville,
Virginia; and Gallipolis and Millersburg in Ohio.

We also lost sight, during the night, of Marietta, at the mouth of the
Muskingum River, now quite a large and pleasant village, near which are
several very remarkable ancient fortifications and mounds of earth,
supposed to have been the depositories of the dead, by some now unknown



The morning of the third day found us passing Sisterville, in Virginia.
Soon afterward we passed New-Martinsville. We saw several mounds. One
was very small. Another was large, but somewhat disfigured by having
been excavated.

We were now approaching a village on the Virginia side called
Elizabethtown, near which a small stream joins the Ohio, known by the
name of Big Grave Creek. In this village of Elizabethtown is one of the
largest, most perfect, and most beautiful mounds to be found in the
whole Ohio country.

We were told of this curiosity before we reached the place; so that we
were not taken by surprise. Besides, the boat stopped a few moments at
the wharf, in full sight of it, not a quarter of a mile distant.

This mound is about one hundred and eighty feet in diameter at its
base, and some seventy or seventy-five feet high. On its top is an old
tower or observatory, around which are several trees, some of them of
considerable age. One, a venerable oak, is four feet in diameter.

The center of its top is a kind of crater or basin, four feet deep and
eight or ten across it. Elsewhere the top of the mound is perfectly

One puzzler to the traveler is, where the earth was obtained for
building such a huge pile; for it is situated almost in the middle of a
large plain, on and near which is no appearance of any former excavation
for this purpose. There are, however, several smaller mounds a little
east of it.

The country near the Ohio abounds with these mounds. What they were, and
by whom they were formed, is quite uncertain. The general opinion that
they are the graves of some ancient people is sustained by the fact that
they contain human bones, sometimes in considerable numbers.

A gentleman on board the boat, a man of intelligence, informed me, that
he had seen, in Eastern Tennessee or Western North Carolina, a species
of mounds of a very different description. They were composed
essentially of small stones, between which were layers of bones. And
what made the case very remarkable indeed, there are no stones, of the
kind found in these mounds within many miles of them, and there is no
appearance of there ever having been any.



About noon the third day, we came in sight of Wheeling, in Virginia.
This is a considerable place. It contains about ten thousand

The boat stopped at Wheeling an hour or more to unload a part of her
freight. This gave us a fine opportunity to go on shore and view the
town. It is well built, but, like most of the places all the way from
Cincinnati to Pittsburg, has quite a sooty appearance, caused by the
dust of the coal, which they burn here in large quantities. Wheeling is,
moreover, a place of considerable manufacture.

But the greatest curiosity at this place, and one of the greatest I have
ever seen, is the suspension bridge thrown over the Ohio. It must be
something like one thousand feet in length, as broad as most bridges
are, and not far from ninety feet above the surface of the river when
the water is low; though much less, of course, at times when the river

This bridge is much more remarkable than the suspension bridge first
built over Niagara River; for while that is much higher above the water
than this, it is, in comparison, very narrow indeed. The suspension
bridge at Wheeling is broad enough for several carriages to go side by
side on it; but that below Niagara Falls is only just broad enough for

I would have visited it; but I was afraid the boat in which I was
traveling would leave the wharf by some means sooner than was expected,
and it would be a sad thing to be left in port, with our trunks all on
board. Many of the company did venture, however, and they returned, too,
in good time.

Bridgeport, a small but flourishing village, is on the Ohio side of the
river, just opposite Wheeling. This whole region is noted for burnings
and massacres, during the wars of our country with the Indians little
more than fifty years ago.

One anecdote I will relate very briefly. In March, 1793, about
fifty-nine years ago, as two brothers by the name of Johnson, one of
them twelve, the other nine years of age, were playing by the side of
the river some ten or twelve miles above Wheeling, they were suddenly
seized by two Indians and carried about six miles into the woods. Here
the savages built a fire and halted for the night. When they lay down to
rest, each Indian took a boy on his arm. As may easily be conjectured,
however, the boys did not sleep. Finding the Indians to be very sound
asleep, they concerted a plan, young as they were, for destroying them
and effecting their escape. The plan succeeded. One of the Indians was
shot with his own rifle; the other was killed with a tomahawk. The boys
returned to their own homes the next day in safety.



On board our steamboat was one man, a citizen of Cincinnati, whose
extensive and intimate acquaintance with the country through which we
were traveling made his society both interesting and valuable.

As we were passing between some very abrupt hills, he took occasion to
remark that all this was once the hunting ground of Logan, the
celebrated Mingo chief, whose sad story is familiar, as I suppose, to
nearly every school-boy in the country.

Logan was a savage; but he was, at the same time, a man, and had a man's
heart. Indians are men, and have the feelings of men; and one cannot
help pitying them. How greatly to be regretted that they were not
treated, by everybody, as William Penn treated them, in and about

The books we had on board, purporting to be travelers' guides--most of
which were doubtless correct--pointed out to us, as did also our
Cincinnati friend, the plain on which Logan resided, as well as the
place where his family was so wickedly murdered. We would have lingered
at the last-mentioned spot, but had only time to drop a tear and hasten



Night was once more approaching, and we were, as yet, some sixty-five or
seventy miles from Pittsburg. The last place we saw, by daylight, was
Steubenville, on the Ohio side, a large and flourishing village. We were
anxious to see Wellsville, Ohio, and Beaver and Economy in Pennsylvania;
but it was late at night when we passed the latter two, and too dark to
see much when we passed the former.

Economy is a neat little place, first settled by the celebrated German
named Rapp. It still bears the marks he made on it, in the appearance of
neatness and thrift which are everywhere visible.

We were much annoyed during the last two days and nights, especially the
very last, by the cattle on board. Had there been a cow-yard with
contiguous stables that were seldom if ever cleansed, the air from the
lower deck could hardly have been more offensive.

I often wondered why the owners of the boat should dare to go in the
face of the public sentiment to an extent like this. Would it not be
reported, by the passengers, that we suffered from this annoyance? And
would not travelers shun the boat in time to come?

However, we slept well, for the most part, during the night; and it was
well for those of us who were going further than Pittsburg that we did.
A few were distressed with the effects of drinking so much lime water
during the voyage; but the far greater part of us rose in the morning
refreshed, and in fine health and spirits.



The morning had come, and we were now approaching Pittsburg. It was just
about sunrise when we came in view of its spires and buildings. The
passengers were scrambling up, now, in every direction.

Some of the passengers were now at the end of their journey. Others had
to go further; and some of us many hundred miles further. However, we
were all alike glad to get on shore.

But our trunks--where were they? They had, for the greater part, been
piled together in a certain place on the deck of the boat, under the
care of the steward: they were safe, only it was difficult, at first, to
find them.

Here is mine. It must be marked for the railroad across the Alleghany
Mountains to Philadelphia. All this was easily disposed of. And now it
is to go with a baggage-wagon, and to be taken to the railroad depot.

On removing the trunk to the baggage-wagon, the steward reminded me that
it was his custom to receive a small sum of each traveler for taking
care of his trunk while on board. I asked him how much. Anything, said
he, you please to give.

I was not satisfied with the charge; for I supposed he had his pay by
the month, or in some such way, and his regular compensation was
sufficient for every purpose: but though a colored man, he was quite a
gentleman, and I could not well refuse him.

How many little taxes one must pay, in a busy world like this! Well, an
honest, Christian man has no very strong objection to paying them
whenever, in so doing, he does not go contrary to the principles of
right; and these little taxations, as you travel along, by servants and
porters, and stewards, though they are annoyances, seem to me to be of
this description.

I was at length in Pittsburg. I had always heard that it was a smoky
city, and was not, therefore, at all disappointed. In truth, I did not
see it to be more sooty than several other places below it on the river.

Pittsburg is about half as large as Cincinnati; and is pleasantly
situated, at the junction of two large rivers. It seems to be a very
busy, bustling place; for though it was yet early in the morning--quite
early--the streets were pretty well filled with travelers and carriages.

Opposite Pittsburg--that is, across the Alleghany River--is Alleghany,
which of itself would make quite a large city. It is at least as large
as New-Haven, or Salem, or, perhaps, Troy.

And now, though I am soon to proceed, yet as the cars are not yet ready,
I have a little time for reflection, and I avail myself of it.

The world, itself, seems to me like a great steamboat--larger, indeed,
than the Pittsburg, and yet a huge passenger-boat. People are
continually coming on board, and continually leaving it.

To-day we form an acquaintance with a few of the vast variety of faces
we see; to-morrow, perhaps, they are separated from us, to go, we know
not whither.

One striking difference there is in the two cases. When the passengers
separated at Pittsburg--and so also of other separations at Wheeling and
other places below--it was not with a certainty that the separation was
final, for this world. There was, at the least, a possibility of meeting
again, somewhere, and at some time.

But when we separate in the great steamboat of the world at the verge of
eternity, when we step forth upon its immeasurable shore, it is with
positive certainty of meeting no more in this world.

We _may_ meet again--we shall, most undoubtedly. We shall meet at the
sound, not of the little bell to which we are accustomed on board the
boats of Western rivers, but of the trump of God. We shall meet, but it
will be at the general judgment. We shall meet, but it will be in the
immediate presence of God.

Will our meeting be a pleasant one? Will it be pleasant to all, or only
to a part? And who will be the happy ones, and who the unhappy? Shall
you, reader, or I, be of the former number; or shall it be our lot to be
of the latter?

God, in his mercy in Christ, has left the matter to our own choice. This
is right, is it not? He has made us free to choose about other
matters--why not about this? He certainly would not compel us to a
joyful meeting.

Be it our first business, then, our great business, our only business,
so to conduct while on the passage-boat of life, that whether we are
sailing on the Ohio River, or traveling elsewhere, we may always be
found in the path of duty, and always ready for anything whatever to
which we may be called, here or hereafter.


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