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ET. 16.] EXPEDITION BEYOND THE BLUE RIDGE-LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS.
gentle swells and slopes, admirably adapted to | home, or at Mount Vernon, he found himself cultivation. The Blue Ridge bounds it on one on a couch of matted straw, under a threadside, the North Mountain, a ridge of the Alle- bare blanket, swarming with unwelcome bedganies, on the other; while through it flows fellows. After tossing about for a few mothat bright and abounding river, which, on ments, he was glad to put on his clothes again, account of its surpassing beauty, was named and rejoin his companions before the fire. by the Indians the Shenandoah-that is to say, "the daughter of the stars."
The first station of the travellers was at a kind of lodge in the wilderness, where the steward or land-bailiff of Lord Halifax resided, with such negroes as were required for farming purposes, and which Washington terms "his lordship's quarter." It was situated not far from the Shenandoah, and about twelve miles from the site of the present town of Winchester.
In a diary kept with his usual minuteness, Washington speaks with delight of the beauty of the trees and the richness of the land in the neighborhood, and of his riding through a noble grove of sugar maples on the banks of the Shenandoah; and at the present day, the magnificence of the forests which still exist in this favored region justifies his eulogium.
He looked around, however, with an eye to the profitable rather than the poetical. The gleam of poetry and romance, inspired by his "lowland beauty," occurs no more. The real business of life has commenced with him. His diary affords no food for fancy. Every thing is practical. The qualities of the soil, the relative value of sites and localitiés, are faithfully recorded. In these his early habits of observation and his exercises in surveying had already made him a proficient.
His surveys commenced in the lower part of the valley, some distance above the junction of the Shenandoah with the Potomac, and extended for many miles along the former river. Here and there partial "clearings " had been made by squatters and hardy pioneers, and their rude husbandry had produced abundant crops of grain, hemp, and tobacco; civilization, however, had hardly yet entered the valley, if we may judge from the note of a night's lodging at the house of one of the settlersCaptain Hite, near the site of the present town of Winchester. Here, after supper, most of the company stretched themselves in backwood style, before the fire; but Washington was shown into a bed-room. Fatigued with a hard day's work at surveying, he soon undressed; but instead of being nestled between sheets in a comfortable bed, as at the maternal
Such was his first experience of life in the wilderness; he soon, however, accustomed himself to "rough it," and adapt himself to fare of all kinds, though he generally preferred a bivouac before a fire, in the open air, to the accommodations of a woodman's cabin. Proceeding down the valley to the banks of the Potomac, they found that river so much swollen by the rain which had fallen among the Alleganies, as to be unfordable. To while away the time until it should subside, they made an excursion to examine certain warm springs in a valley among the mountains, since called the Berkeley Springs. There they camped out at night under the stars; the diary makes no complaint of their accommodations; and their camping-ground is now known as Bath, one of the favorite watering-places of Virginia. One of the warm springs was subsequently appropri ated by Lord Fairfax to his own use, and still bears his name.
After watching in vain for the river to subside, they procured a canoe, on which they crossed to the Maryland side; swimming their horses. A weary day's ride of forty miles up the left side of the river, in a continual rain, and over what Washington pronounces the worst road ever trod by man or beast, brought them to the house of a Colonel Cresap, opposite the south branch of the Potomac, where they put up for the night.
Here they were detained three or four days by inclement weather. On the second day they were surprised by the appearance of a war party of thirty Indians bearing a scalp as a trophy. A little liquor procured the spectacle of a war-dance. A large space was cleared, and a fire made in the centre, round which the warriors took their seats. The principal orator made a speech, reciting their recent exploits, and rousing them to triumph. One of the warriors started up as if from sleep, and began a series of movements, half-grotesque, half-tragical; the rest followed. For music, one savage drummed on a deerskin, stretched over a pot half filled with water; another rattled a gourd, containing a few shot, and decorated with a horse's tail. Their strange outcries, and uncouth forms and garbs, seen by
CAMPING OUT-WASHINGTON AS PUBLIC SURVEYOR.
the glare of the fire, and their whoops and | and children, like dogs and cats; and happy is yells, made them appear more like demons than he who gets the berth nearest the fire." human beings. All this savage gambol was no novelty to Washington's companions, experienced in frontier life; but to the youth, fresh from school, it was a strange spectacle, which he sat contemplating with deep interest, and carefully noted down in his journal It will be found that he soon made himself acquainted with the savage character, and became expert at dealing with these inhabitants of the wilder
Having completed his surveys, he set forth from the south branch of the Potomac on his return homeward; crossed the mountains to the great Cacapehon; traversed the Shenandoah valley, passed through the Blue Ridge, and on the 12th of April found himself once more at Mount Vernon. For his services he received, according to his note-book, a doubloon per day when actively employed, and sometimes six pistoles.*
The manner in which he had acquitted himself in this arduous expedition, and his accounts of the country surveyed, gave great satisfaction to Lord Fairfax, who shortly afterwards moved across the Blue Ridge, and took up his residence at the place heretofore noted as his quarters." Here he laid out a manor, containing ten thousand acres of arable grazing lands, vast meadows, and noble forests, and projected a spacious manor house, giving to the place the name of Greenway Court.
It was probably through the influence of Lord Fairfax that Washington received the appointment of public surveyor. This conferred authority on his surveys, and entitled them to be recorded in the county offices, and so invariably correct have these surveys been found that, to this day, wherever any of them stand on record, they receive implicit credit.
From this encampment the party proceeded to the mouth of Patterson's Creek, where they recrossed the river in a canoe, swimming their horses as before. More than two weeks were now passed by them in the wild mountainous regions of Frederick County, and about the south branch of the Potomac, surveying lands and laying out lots, camped out the greater part of the time, and subsisting on wild turkeys and other game. Each one was his own cook; | forked sticks served for spits, and chips of wood for dishes. The weather was unsettled. At one time their tent was blown down; at another they were driven out of it by smoke; now they were drenched with rain, and now the straw on which Washington was sleeping caught fire, and he was awakened by a companion just in time to escape a scorching. The only variety to this camp life was a supper at the house of one Solomon Hedge, Esquire, his majesty's justice of the peace, where there were no forks at table, nor any knives, but such as the guests brought in their pockets. During their surveys they were followed by numbers of people, some of them squatters, anxious, doubtless, to procure a cheap title to the land they had appropriated; others, German emigrants, with their wives and children, seeking a new home in the wilderness. Most of the latter could not speak English; but when spoken to, answered in their native tongue. They appeared to Washington ignorant as Indians, and uncouth, but "merry, and full of antic tricks." Such were the progenitors of the sturdy yeomanry now inhabit-menced. On a green knoll overshadowed by ing those parts, many of whom still preserve their strong German characteristics.
"I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed," writes Washington to one of his young friends at home, "but after walking a good deal all the day I have lain down before the fire upon a little straw or fodder, or a bear skin, whichever was to be had, with man, wife,
For three years he continued in this occupation, which proved extremely profitable, the vast extent of country to be surveyed and the very limited number of public surveyors. It made him acquainted, also, with the country, the nature of the soil in various parts, and the value of localities; all which proved advantageous to him in his purchases in after years. Many of the finest parts of the Shenandoah valley are yet owned by members of the Washington family.
While thus employed for months at a time surveying the lands beyond the Blue Ridge, he was often an inmate of Greenway Court. The projected manor house was never even com
trees was a long stone building one story in height, with dormer windows, two wooden belfries, chimneys studded with swallow and martin coops, and a roof sloping down in the old Virginia fashion, into low projecting eaves that formed a verandah the whole length of
* A pistole is $3 00.
ENGLISH AND FRENCH CLAIMS TO THE OHIO VALLEY.
the house. It was probably the house originally occupied by his steward or land agent, but was now devoted to hospitable purposes and the reception of guests. As to his lordship, it was one of his many eccentricities, that he never slept in the main edifice, but lodged apart in a wooden house not much above twelve feet square. In a small building was his office, where quitrents were given, deeds drawn, and business transacted with his tenants.
About the knoll were out-houses for his numerous servants, black and white, with stables for saddle-horses and hunters, and kennels for his hounds, for his lordship retained his keen hunting propensities, and the neighborhood abounded in game. Indians, halfbreeds, and leathern-clad woodsmen, loitered about the place, and partook of the abundance of the kitchen. His lordship's table was plentiful but plain, and served in the English fashion.
Here Washington had full opportunity, in the proper seasons, of indulging his fondness for field sports, and once more accompanying his lordship in the chase. The conversation of Lord Fairfax, too, was full of interest and instruction to an inexperienced youth, from his cultivated talents, his literary taste, and his past intercourse with the best society of Europe, and its most distinguished authors. He had brought books, too, with him into the wilderness, and from Washington's diary we find that during his sojourn here he was diligently reading the history of England, and the essays of the Spectator.
Such was Greenway Court in these its palmy days. We visited it recently and found it tottering to its fall, mouldering in the midst of a magnificent country, where nature still flourishes in full luxuriance and beauty.
DURING the time of Washington's surveying campaigns among the mountains, a grand colonizing scheme had been set on foot, destined to enlist him in hardy enterprises, and in some degree to shape the course of his future fortunes.
The treaty of peace concluded at Aix-laChapelle, which had put an end to the general war of Europe, had left undefined the boundaries between the British and French possessions in America; a singular remissness, considering that they had long been a subject in dispute, and a cause of frequent conflicts in the colonies. Immense regions were still claimed by both nations, and each was now eager to forestall the other by getting possession of them, and strengthening its claim by occupancy.
The most desirable of these regions lay west of the Allegany Mountains, extending from the lakes to the Ohio, and embracing the valley of that river and its tributary streams. An immense territory, possessing a salubrious climate, fertile soil, fine hunting and fishing grounds, and facilities by lakes and rivers for a vast internal commerce.
The French claimed all this country quite to the Allegany Mountains by the right of discovery. In 1673, Padre Marquette, with his companion, Joliet, of Quebec, both subjects of the crown of France, had passed down the Mississippi in a canoe quite to the Arkansas, thereby, according to an alleged maxim in the law of nations, establishing the right of their sovereign, not merely to the river so discovered and its adjacent lands, but to all the country drained by its tributary streams, of which the Ohio was one; a claim, the ramifications of which might be spread, like the meshes of a web, over half the continent.
To this illimitable claim the English opposed a right derived, at second hand, from a tradi
Three or four years were thus passed by Washington, the greater part of the time beyond the Blue Ridge, but occasionally with his brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. His rug-tionary Indian conquest. A treaty, they said, ged and toilsome expeditions in the mountains, among rude scenes and rough people, inured him to hardships, and made him apt at expedients; while his intercourse with his cultivated brother, and with the various members of the Fairfax family, had a happy effect in toning up his mind and manners, and counteracting the careless and self-indulgent habitudes of the wilderness.
had been made at Lancaster, in 1744, between commissioners from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and the Iroquois, or Six Nations, whereby the latter, for four hundred pounds, gave up all right and title to the land west of the Allegany Mountains, even to the Mississippi, which land, according to their traditions, had been conquered by their forefathers.
It is undoubtedly true that such a treaty was made, and such a pretended transfer of title
INDIAN TRADERS LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.
did take place, under the influence of spirituous liquors; but it is equally true that the Indians in question did not, at the time, possess an acre of the land conveyed; and that the tribes actually in possession scoffed at their pretensions, and claimed the country as their own from time immemorial.
Such were the shadowy foundations of claims which the two nations were determined to maintain to the uttermost, and which ripened into a series of wars, ending in a loss to England of a great part of her American possessions, and to France of the whole.
As yet in the region in question there was not a single white settlement. Mixed Iroquois tribes of Delawares, Shawnees, and Mingoes, had migrated into it early in the century from the French settlements in Canada, and taken up their abodes about the Ohio and its branches. The French pretended to hold them under their protection; but their allegiance, if ever acknowledged, had been sapped of late years by the influx of fur traders from Pennsylvania. These were often rough, lawless men; half Indians in dress and habits, prone to brawls, and sometimes deadly in their feuds. They were generally in the employ of some trader, who, at the head of his retainers and a string of pack-horses, would make his way over mountains and through forests to the banks of the Ohio, establish his head-quarters in some Indian town, and disperse his followers to traffic among the hamlets, hunting-camps, and wigwams, exchanging blankets, gaudy colored cloth, trinketry, powder, shot, and rum, for valuable furs and peltry. In this way a lucrative trade with these western tribes was springing up and becoming monopolized by the Pennsylvanians.
To secure a participation in this trade, and to gain a foothold in this desirable region, became now the wish of some of the most intelligent and enterprising men of Virginia and Maryland, among whom were Lawrence and Augustine Washington. With these views they projected a scheme, in connection with John Hanbury, a wealthy London merchant, to obtain a grant of land from the British government, for the purpose of forming settlements or colonies beyond the Alleganies. Government readily countenanced a scheme by which French encroachments might be forestalled, and prompt and quiet possession secured of the great Ohio valley. An association was accordingly chartered in 1749, by the name of "the
Ohio Company," and five hundred thousand acres of land was granted to it west of the Alleganies; between the Monongahela and Kanawha Rivers; though part of the land might be taken up north of the Ohio, should it be deemed expedient. The company were to pay no quitrent for ten years; but they were to select two-fifths of their lands immediately; to settle one hundred families upon them within seven years; to build a fort at their own expense, and maintain a sufficient garrison in it for defence against the Indians.
Mr. Thomas Lee, president of the council of Virginia, took the lead in the concerns of the company at the outset, and by many has been considered its founder. On his death, which soon took place, Lawrence Washington had the chief management. His enlightened mind and liberal spirit shone forth in his earliest arrangements. He wished to form the settlements with Germans from Pennsylvania. Being dissenters, however, they would be obliged, on becoming residents within the jurisdiction of Virginia, to pay parish rates, and maintain a clergyman of the Church of England, though they might not understand his language nor relish his doctrines. Lawrence sought to have them exempted from this double tax on purse and conscience.
"It has ever been my opinion," said he, "and I hope it ever will be, that restraints on conscience are cruel in regard to those on whom they are imposed, and injurious to the country imposing them. England, Holland, and Prussia I may quote as examples, and much more Pennsylvania, which has flourished under that delightful liberty, so as to become the admiration of every man who considers the short time it has been settled. This colony (Virginia) was greatly settled in the latter part of Charles the First's time, and during the usurpation by the zealous churchmen; and that spirit, which was then brought in, has ever since continued; so that, except a few Quakers, we have no dissenters. But what has been the consequence? We have increased by slow degrees, whilst our neighboring colonies, whose natural advantages are greatly inferior to ours, have become populous."
Such were the enlightened views of this brother of our Washington, to whom the latter owed much of his moral and mental training. The company proceeded to make preparations for their colonizing scheme. Goods were imported from England suited to the Indian
GEORGE CROGHAN-CHRISTOPHER GIST.
it would be better to clinch it with presents, and that as soon as possible. An envoy accordingly was sent off early in October, who was supposed to have great influence among the western tribes. This was one George Croghan,
had been frequently to the Ohio country with pack-horses and followers, and made himself popular among the Indians by dispensing presents with a lavish hand. He was accompanied by Andrew Montour, a Canadian of half Indian descent, who was to act as interpreter. They were provided with a small present for the emergency; but were to convoke a meeting of all the tribes at Logstown, on the Ohio, early in the ensuing spring, to receive an ample present which would be provided by the assembly.
trade, or for presents to the chiefs. Rewards | friendship, and suggested to the assembly that were promised to veteran warriors and hunters among the natives acquainted with the woods and mountains, for the best route to the Ohio. Before the company had received its charter, however, the French were in the field. Early in 1749, the Marquis de la Galisonniere, Gov-a veteran trader, shrewd and sagacious, who ernor of Canada, despatched Celeron de Bienville, an intelligent officer, at the head of three hundred men, to the banks of the Ohio, to make peace, as he said, between the tribes that had become embroiled with each other during the late war, and to renew the French possession of the country. Celeron de Bienville distributed presents among the Indians, made speeches reminding them of former friendship, and warned them not to trade with the English. He furthermore nailed leaden plates to trees, and buried others in the earth, at the confluence of the Ohio and its tributaries, bearing inscriptions purporting that all the lands on both sides of the rivers to their sources appertained, as in foregone times, to the crown of France.* The Indians gazed at these mysterious plates with wondering eyes, but surmised their purport. 66 They mean to steal our country from us," murmured they; and they determined to seek protection from the English. Celeron finding some traders from Pennsyl-pher Gist, a hardy pioneer, experienced in woodvania trafficking among the Indians, he summoned them to depart, and wrote by them to James Hamilton, Governor of Pennsylvania, telling him the object of his errand to those parts, and his surprise at meeting with English traders in a country to which England had no pretensions; intimating that, in future, any intruders of the kind would be rigorously dealt with.
It was some time later in the same autumn that the Ohio company brought their plans into operation, and despatched an agent to explore the lands upon the Ohio and its branches as low as the Great Falls, take note of their fitness for cultivation, of the passes of the mountains, the courses and bearings of the rivers, and the strength and disposition of the native tribes. The man chosen for the purpose was Christo
craft and Indian life, who had his home on the banks of the Yadkin near the boundary line of Virginia and North Carolina. He was allowed a woodsman or two for the service of the expedition. He set out on the 31st of October, from the banks of the Potomac, by an Indian path which the hunters had pointed out leading from Wills' Creek, since called Fort Cumberland, to the Ohio. Indian paths and buffalo tracks His letter, and a report of his proceedings are the primitive highways of the wilderness. on the Ohio, roused the solicitude of the gov- Passing the Juniata, he crossed the ridges of ernor and council of Pennsylvania, for the pro- the Allegany, arrived at Shannopin, a Delatection of their Indian trade. Shortly after-ware village on the south-east side of the Ohio, wards, one Hugh Crawford, who had been or rather of that upper branch of it, now called trading with the Miami tribes on the Wabash, brought a message from them, speaking of the promises and threats with which the French were endeavoring to shake their faith, but assuring the governor that their friendship for the English "would last while the sun and moon ran round the world." This message was accompanied by three strings of wampum. Governor Hamilton knew the value of Indian
* One of these plates, bearing date August 16, 1749, was found in recent years at the confluence of the Mus kingum with the Ohio.
the Allegany, swam his horses across that river, and descending along its valley arrived at Logstown, an important Indian village a little below the site of the present city of Pittsburg. Here usually resided Tanacharisson, a Seneca chief of great note, being head sachem of the mixed tribes which had migrated to the Ohio and its branches. He was generally surnamed the half-king, being subordinate to the Iroquois confederacy. The chief was absent at this time, as were most of his people, it being the hunting season. George Croghan,