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ty, my situation was rather alarming. Here the violence of the current being opposed by deeper and more placid water, produces a sort of heaving motion. The sidelong motion over this swelling surface, was much aggravated by a top-heavy load. Travellers are fortunate when they arrive early in the season, as the stream at that period propels a boat much quicker than the most laborious rowing can do now.
After having passed several rapids, which are commonly called ripples in this country, I attempted to land for the night, on the head of Dead Man's Island, a low bar covered with small willows, but found the water to be so shallow that I could not approach the dry ground, and that with a short rope, I could not effect a mooring to any log, bush, or fixed object. The possibility of an unforeseen rise of water in such a long river caused me to determine not to sleep aground, without being securely fastened. It was now nearly dark, and I judged it impossible to cross to the opposite shore to find a mooring, as the roaring of the Dead Man's Ripple, (a furious rapid, between the island and the right hand shore,) convinced me that I was already almost within its draught. The only alternative which remained, was to push into the principal stream. I adopted it, and was soon carried through an impetuous winding channel, where I could perceive large dark-coloured masses, supposed to be rocks, above water, at small distances on each side.
October 15. Last night I put ashore about half a mile below the Dead Man's Ripple. The margin was of a convenient depth, admitting my lying aground, to avoid the danger of my leaky bark's sinking in the night. Having made it fast to a log, and piled up my boxes toward the prow, and spread three pieces of board over the seats behind for a
bed, I covered the three hoops with a sheet for a canopy, laid down my portmanteau for a pillow, and wrapping myself in a blanket, I went to rest.
As I neither saw any light, nor heard the voice of a human being, I imagined that I was far from the neighbourhood of any house. The only sounds that saluted my ear, arose from bells attached to cows in the woods, and from the breakers produced by the Ripple. The sheet which served me for a roof, was not long enough to reach the sides of the boat, a cold wind that blew down the river, passed in a constant current through my lodgement, and for a considerable time prevented me from sleeping. About midnight I heard the noise of footsteps approaching me on the gravel, and looked out to see what my visitor might be: a faint glimmering of moon-light enabled me to discover the white face of a young cow that had come down to drink.
It would be imprudent to sleep ashore and leave goods in a boat on the river, boatmen being much blamed for stealing.
I put off about seven o'clock in the morning. A continuation of the same ridges of hills, and the same woods, bounded the view on both sides of the river. The bottom land is narrow, and the parts which have been cleared are chiefly covered with crops of Indian corn. Bottom land is of two sorts; the lower by the margin of the river; and the higher by the foot of the ridge. The lower bottoms are about twenty feet higher than the surface of low water; but as the trees on the beach are piled up by ice and drifted wood, to the height of four or five feet above the level of the ground, occasioned by floods; it follows that the lower bottoms are subject to inundation, and that their height must be increased
by the earth deposited from every high rising of the waters. Nothing, in the present state of things, seems to offer a solution of the formation of the higher bottoms, which are here about twenty feet higher than the lower ones, and appear to be equally flat, and forming plains parallel to them. I shall hereafter be very attentive to facts with regard to this anomaly.
About six hundred yards above the mouth of Big Beaver Creek, my skiff ran upon the top of a large mass of stone under water, which the ripplings occasioned by a slight breeze of wind, prevented me from seeing. In attempting to push her off, she upset, so as to admit a gush of water all along the lower side. The hoops over her after part, not allowing me to leap directly upon the stone, I plunged into the water and mounted the stone just in time to catch the bark by the after part, and prevent it from being carried down by the stream. By a considerable exertion, I succeeded in keeping the after end close to the stone, while the fore part sunk obliquely to a great depth in the water. Here the cargo must unavoidably have slipped into the bottom of the river, except for a large box, that wedged itself into the narrow forepart of the boat, and the others, resting on it, were kept in their places. Two black men came in a skiff to my relief. They took me in, and rowed toward the shore, while I still retained my hold of the wreck, and succeeded in getting it safely moored. This interruption happened exactly before the door of a tavern, where I was accommodated with board, and the means of having my baggage dried.
Afternoon. While exposing my books to the wind, a respectable looking man, apparently a farmer, entered into conversation with me. His inquiries
respecting the scientific and literary personages of Edinburgh, and his acquaintance with the poetry and provincial dialect of Scotland, were more minute than I could have expected in this part of the world.
October 16. I have discovered that my skiff is too weak for carrying any considerable weight. It is so much strained, that many of the nails have their heads drawn half an inch out of the tim. ber, and others much more. The misfortune of the 15th, has probably saved me from a worse one. The system of boat building at Pittsburg cannot be too strongly reprobated. Defects in caulking, in the number, and in the strength of the nails, were in the case of my boat, disgraceful.
October 19. A farmer, in removing Indian corn from an island to his residence, had his flat sunk, and much of the cargo lost, within a few yards of the point where I stopped short. I am resolved on procuring a better skiff, and waiting a few days in hopes of a rise of water. Floods at or before this season of the year, are considered annual occurrences. The oldest residents recollect of only one year in which there was no autumnal rise of the Ohio.
October 20. The mornings and evenings are now cool, usually about 34° of Fahrenheit's scale. To-day, at two o'clock P.M. the temperature of the sun's rays was 90°. Thick fogs continue over the river in the mornings, till eight or nine o'clock. These are no doubt occasioned by the water being hotter than the air. The radiant heat passing upward, necessarily carries humidity with it, which is immediately condensed, and rendered visible by the colder air. Whenever the heat of the air is of a temperature equal to that of the water, the phenomenon disappears. The same principle may be
very plausibly applied, in explaining the autumnal risings of the Ohio. The great and long continued heats of summer in this country, render the air capable of accumulating a great quantity of moisture. It is not till the sun recedes considerably to the southward, and till a great portion of the atmosphere is cooled, that rains are precipitated over any great extent of the country. The Allegany mountains, and other high parts, are soonest cooled, and first produce a deposition of rain. Hence autumnal floods occur, which proceed from the higher country alone, without corresponding risings in the lower tributaries of the Ohio. In seasons when the heat continues long, the flood occurs late. With such hot days as we now enjoy, a rising in the river is not to be expected.
26th. Went up Beaver Creek. This is a large stream, with a rapid descent over a sandstone bottom. Within three miles of its mouth there are three saw-mills, a grist-mill, an iron furnace and forge, a fulling-mill, a carding-mill, and a mill for bruising flax-seed. At the iron furnace, cast goods are fabricated, the coarsest that I have ever seen. Coal is abundant, but not used in reducing the ores.
It has been suggested, that a navigation connecting Cayahogo, on Lake Erie, with Alexandria on the Potomak, should pass through Big Beaver Creek; but it appears altogether improper that such a communication should descend so low as the mouth of this creek, thereby incurring the ascent of the Ohio to Pittsburg, and the Monongahela to the bases of the Allegany ridge. The longer route to New York seems to be vastly preferable, and, as it is now in progress, it must supersede the Pennsylvanian line.
I saw some people thrashing buck wheat: they had dug a hollow in the field, about twenty feet in