xt744j09w807 https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt744j09w807/data/mets.xml Durrett, Reuben T. (Reuben Thomas), 1824-1913. 1893  books b92-46-26946441 English J.P. Morton, printers, : Louisville, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Louisville (Ky.) History. Centenary of Louisville  : a paper read before the Southern historical association, Saturday, May 1st, 1880, in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the city of Louisville as an incorporated town, under an act of tof the legislature of Virginia / by Reuben T. Durrett. text Centenary of Louisville  : a paper read before the Southern historical association, Saturday, May 1st, 1880, in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the city of Louisville as an incorporated town, under an act of tof the legislature of Virginia / by Reuben T. Durrett. 1893 2002 true xt744j09w807 section xt744j09w807 







FILSON CLUB PUBLICATIONS ANO. S.



THE CENTENARY OF LOUISVILLE


       A Paper read before the Southern Historical Association,
                 Saturday, May ist, 188o,

                 IN COMMEMORATION OF THE


ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY

                 OF THE BEGINNING OF THE


         CITY OF LOUISVILLE


             AS AN INCORPORATED TOWN,


   UNDER AN ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE OF VIRGINIA.




           By REUBEN T. DURRETT,
                 President of the Filson Club.






               LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY:
         JOHN P. MORTON AND COMPANY,
                fhters to 1te 5itzoi edtus.
                      1893

 































   COPYRIGHTED BY
REUBEN T. DURRETT,
        1893

 
                   PRE FACE.


T    HE historical paper read by Reuben T. Durrett,
      President of the Filson Club, to the Southern
Historical Association, May i, i88o, in commemora-
tion of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the birth
of Louisville, is here issued as No. 8 of the Filson
Club publications. Last year, i892, the Club published
"The Centenary of Kentucky" as Filson Club Publica-
tions No. 7, and it is thought that "The Centenary of
Louisville," the chief city of the State, will be a fitting
companion. Mr. Durrett has revised this paper so as
to free it from certain omissions and mistakes which
appeared in the newspaper reports at the time it was
delivered. It was too long for our daily papers to print
in full, and the attempt to condense it not only de-
stroyed its unity but marred it by important omissions.
Its publication in full, with foot-notes and appendices,
will restore an important historic document to what it
was intended by the author. It can hardly fail thus
published to be grateful to the descendants of the

 
Preface.



founders of the city whose names are mentioned, while
it must be invaluable to the future historian. Indeed
it is hardly too much to say that the future historian
of Louisville and the biographer of its founders can
not faithfully tell the story of the city and its pioneers
without either this publication or the original sources
from which its facts are taken, which sources are to a
large extent in manuscript in the possession of the
author.
                                   THOMAS SPEED,
                                Secretary of the Filson Club.
   LOuISVILLE, Ky., i893.



4

 

               CORRESPONDENCE.




                              LOUISVILLE, KY., April 24, i88o.
COL. R. T. DURRETT:
   Dear Sir: At a meeting of the Southern Historical Association,
held last night, the undersigned were appointed a committee to
invite you to read before our association, on next Saturday even-
ing, May i, i88o, at eight o'clock. a paper upon the settlement
and early history of Louisville, that being the one hundredth
anniversary of the birth of our city. This request has been made
with a desire to preserve for our association and for history all
the valuable facts and incidents upon the subject which you, with
a taste for such matters, have collected during all the years of
your residence in this city, eminently qualifying you for this duty.
Earnestly hoping that you will accept the invitation it affords us
so much pleasure to convey, we are, etc.,
                 Yours very truly,
                                         E. H. McDONALD,
                                         JOHN S. JACKMAN,
                                         R. H. THOMPSON,
                                                   Committee.


                              LOUISVILLE, KY., April 24, I880.
MESSRS. E. H. MCDONALD, J. S. JACKMAN, R. H. THOMPSON:
   Gentlemen: I have your communication of this morning, invit-
ing me to read a paper before the Southern Historical Association
next Saturday, the one hundredth anniversary of Louisville, as a

 

6                      Correspondence.

centennial address. While I would have preferred, if your rules
had permitted, to deliver an address to reading a paper, it never-
theless affords me great pleasure to accept the flattering invitation
with which I am honored.
   Louisville for the last one hundred years is history, and yours
being an historical association has very properly determined not to
let its one hundredth anniversary pass without making it part of the
society records. In the short time which I have I will, therefore,
endeavor to prepare the best paper I can on Louisville for an hun-
dred years, and read it before the Southern Historical Association
next Saturday evening. Respectfully,
                                                R. T. DURRETT.


 

   The Centenary of Louisville.



 A T its May session, one hundred years ago, the Leg-
      islature of Virginia passed an act, which took
effect on the first of May, I780, establishing the town of
Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio. Previous to this
date there was a settlement here known as the " Falls
of Ohio," and indeed one known as Louisville, but
to-day is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth
of Louisville as an incorporated town.
   In the barbarous ages of the world, periods of an
hundred years came and went without any remarkable
changes in the condition of man. Even under the
lights of early civilization centuries dawned and faded
without the effects produced in modern times by such
periods. We of to-day, with the arts and sciences to
help, crowd into a single year what our ancestors could
accomplish only in very long periods of time. The
contrast between the Louisville of i88o and the Louis-
ville of 1780 is very great; but between our city of

 
8           The Centenary of Louisville.

to-day and what it may be in i980 the contrast must
be much greater. The lightning with which we speak
and the iron horse on which we ride are but emblems
of the rapid age in which we rush on to grand achieve-
ments.
   As we stand at the distance of one hundred years
from the incorporation of the town of Louisville at
the Falls of the Ohio, and look back upon the changes
that have occurred, the space of time that is involved
naturally divides itself inito three periods: the first,
anterior to the act of the Virginia Legislature giving
Louisville legal existence; the second, the time during
which the town was governed by trustees, and the
third, the period in which as a city it has been sub-
ject to mayors and councils under charters. Let us,
in response to the suggestions of the occasion, recur
to such events in each of these periods as may be
worthy of the memory of the actors in them      and
explanatory of the changes which have brought our
city from what it was to what it is.

 

FIRST PERIOD.



         Arnterior to f[je Yirst of Wlay, 1780.


                  PREHISTORIC RACES.

W    ERE we disposed to look deeply into the distant
     past, to peer into a time to the confines of which
neither history nor tradition reaches, we have sonie evi-
dence to show that when all was dark and unknown
the place now occupied by the citizens of Louisville
was possessed by a race of human beings who lived
long upon the earth, progressed in some branches of
the arts, and passed away without a history, a tradition,
or a name. XWe call them  M\ound-Builders, and besides
attributing to themn certain tunmuli and works found
upon the surface of the earth, pieces of pottery for
domestic use, stone hatchets, flint arrow-heads, and
numerous articles of use and ornament supposed to
have been made by them have been found iningled
with human bones, in sinking wells and excavating
cellars, deep down below the present plane upon which
Louisville now stands. In a large mound s which stood
  St. Paul's Church, on the northwest corner of Walnut and Sixth streets,
stands on the site of a mound which also extended to the old Grayson House
                           2

 

to             The Centenary of Louisville.


at the intersection of Walnut and Sixth streets, and
in another at the northeast corner of Main and Fifth
streets, human bones, stone axes, flint arrow-heads, and
different articles of use and ornament belonging to the
paleolithic period were found. In cutting the channel
of the canal around the Falls there were found in the
alluvial deposit, twenty feet below the surface, a number
of implements made of stone, and plummets made of the
hematite of iron, and a hearth made of flat stones with
the charred ends of wood upon it, and human bones near
to it. In the lower part of the city, at the still greater
depth of forty feet below the present surface, were found
a stone hatchet and pestle near a hearth on which lay

on the north. This mound, though not more than fifteen feet in height when
first known, had a circumference of more than one hundred feet at its base.
In 1821 it was dug down by Frederick W. Grayson, and the material used for
filling up what was known as Grayson's Pond. This pond extended from
WXAlmitt Almart to Green and free Sixth to Center strects, and --was uie Wr the
attractions of the city in early times, on account of its clear water filled with
fish and the fine forest trees that shaded its margins. In winter, when cov-
ered with ice, it was the skating-rink of the city. In digging down this
mound many prehistoric relics, such as axes, arrow-heads, pipes, pieces of
pottery, etc., were found, also human bones almost gone to decay. The skull
of a supposed "Mound-Builder" and a number of paleolithic specimens from
this mound have been preserved and are now in the possession of the writer.
The ground on which the old Grayson House stands is considerably above
the street level, and is the only survival of this mound.
    The mound at the corner of Main and Fifth streets was of less dimen-
sions than the one at the corner of Walnut and Sixth, and yielded fewer
relics. This mound, however, was probably what determined the beginning

 

The Cenlencary of Louisville.



I I



a stick of wood burnt in the middle across the hearth;
and in a gravel pit at the corner of Fourteenth and
Kentucky streets, at the depth of twenty-five feet below
the surface, was found the tooth of a mastodon among
human bones and implements of the Stone Age. Here
we have facts from which the ethnologist might infer that
man bad been here cotemporary with the mastodon; that
a race of human beings dwelt where Louisville now
stands, possibly before the Pyramids were built, and that
we are now erecting a great city over the former habi-
tation of men so long passed away that the dust of ages
has accumulated to the depth of forty feet above the
place that knows them no more forever.

of lot-numbering in the city. Lot No. X was located at the northeast corner
of Main and Fifth streets, where this mound stood. It was at first regarded
as a natural hill by the pioneers, but was of such regular form as to attract
attention to the place, and to determine the point where the city should
Begin tO be 'ail, UO. 1iii U iL iuWeuiaLe vicinity were a large oak and a huge
poplar, which cast their shadows upon it and added to the attractiveness of
the locality. Michael Lacassagne, the first postmaster of Louisville, became
the owner of lot No. i. after several previous owners had possessed it, and
erected on it a beautiful French cottage, where he resided. He lived in lux-
urious style and kept open house. It was his intention to preserve this
mound as one of the picturesque features of his place, but he died in I797,
and in 1802 the last remains of the mound were removed by Evan Williams,
and the material used in equalizing the grade of Fifth Street between Main
and the river. In removing it the flint arrow-heads, stone axes, pieces of pot-
tery, and human bones found in it decided that it was an artificial mound
and not a natural hill.

 

I2           The Centenary      of Louisville.



                THE INDIAN OCCUPANCY.

   The Indians who claimed the possession of the land
swhen the first settlers camie to the Falls of the Ohio had
dispossessed the first occupants at a period too remote
for history, but their traditions tell us that the last great
battle between the red mien and the "long ago people"
wras fought on Sandy Island, at the Falls of the Ohio.
Here and at Clarksville, on the opposite side of the river,
the first settlers found great quantities of human bones
in the confusion in which the last struggle for life would
naturally have left themi, and the Indians claimed that
these were the bones of the " long ago people" extermi-
nated by their ancestors.


               THE INDIANS' GREAT PARK.

   When the first settlers of Louisville came to the Falls
of the Ohio the whole State of Kentucky, except that
portion known as the Barrens,' was covered by the pri-

   rlThe Barrens are laid down on Filson's niap of 1784 as lying between
Salt River on the north, Green River on the south, the knobs of the Mul-
draugh range on the east, and the Ohio River on the west. Here was a vast
treeless region covered with coarse grass Lhat grew as high as a man on
horseback, and over which roamed great herds of buffalo and deer. It was
thought to have been caused by the burning of the trees by the Indians for
the purpose of securing pasturage for these animals. This would seem to

 

The Centenary of Louisville.



'3



meval forest and set aside as the hunting-ground of the

Indians. No wigwam stood within its boundaries and

no crop of maize grew upon its soil. It was a park ded-
icated to the different tribes for hunting and fishing,
and no human habitation anywhere desecrated this com-

mon right to the forest and stream. A great flood in

the Ohio caused the Indians to erect a village  in Ken-
tucky, opposite to the mouth of the Scioto, about the

middle of the last century; but it passed away before

Louisville was settled, leaving the great park undis-
turbed. It was such a park as no civilized nation had
ever set aside    for angling     and   the  chase.    From    the

have been the cause, from the fact that so soon as the Indians were driven
from the country this region was covered with a new growth of young trees.
The trees here are not so large as in other parts of the forests of Kentucky,
because they have had but about a century of growth. Along the water-
courses, however, where the original trees were protected from the fire, there
are some of the giants of the original forest yet to be seen. It is diicult to
understand how the Indians could have set fire to an original forest; but if
this original forest had been once destroyed by drouth, insects, or any other
agent, it is easy to conceive how they might have kept new trees from growing
by the use of fire. WV\hatever mnay have becn the original cause of the Barrens,
they were there cotemporaneous with the Indians, and when the Indians were
gone the trees began to grow.
    When Christopher Gist was on his way down the Ohio to select lands
for the Ohio Company, in 1750, he stopped at the mouth of the Scioto River
and noted in his journal a Shawnee town on the Kentucky side of the Ohio,
containing about forty houses. George Croghan, in his journal of 1765, says
this town on the Kentucky side was built on the high lands of Kentucky by
the Indians because of a great flood in the Ohio, which rose nine feet over
the banks on1 the opposite side of the river and rendered uninhabitable the

 

[4             The   Centenary     of Louisville.


rugged mountains, that walled it in on the east, to the
mighty Mississippi and the lovely Ohio, which bound it
on the west and north, there was a succession of lovely

plains and gentle hills and smiling valleys and dark for-
ests and sunny canebrakes in which game of every kind
abounded. There were herds of buffalo and droves of

deer and flocks of turkeys on the hills and plains and in

the valleys such as mortal eye had not elsewhere seen,

and in the rivers and streams winding through every
part of the land there were shoals of fish that it seemed
could never be exhausted.

old Shawnee town which stood there. The banks on which this old Shawnee
town stood, on the north side of the river, were forty feet high, so that this
flood must have risen to a height of about fifty feet at the mouth of the Scioto.
Croghan says that during the French and Indian War the Indians abandoned
their Kentucky town for fear of the Virginians, and rebuilt on the plains of
the Scioto. James McAfee was there in I773, and noted in his journal of that
date that some of the houses built of logs, with board roofs, doors, and chim-
ney-s, wars jut standing, though not ...habited. lie specarks of the hou-ses as-
of the style usually built by the French, and it is probable that this Kentucky
towil was of joint French and Indian origin. Another Indian town in Ken-
tucky is laid down on the Pownal edition of the Evans map of 1755. It is
called Eskippakithiki, and is between the Kentucky and Licking rivers. The
Shawnees at an early date no doubt had other villages in Kentucky, as indi-
cated by the Indian Old Fields in Clark County and other remains elsewhere.
Dr. Franklin, in his answer to the report of the Lords Commissioners, in I772,
stated that the Shawnees had a large town on the Kentucky River in I752, and
another opposite to the mouth of the Scioto in 1755. All, however, had van-
ished before our pioneers settled in Kentucky. Nothing remained to indicate
previous occupancy that was so conspicuous as the mysterious earthworks of
the Mound-Builders.

 

              The  Centenary    of Louisville.              I5

   The work of the first settlers of Louisville was not
therefore to dispossess a prior people of their ancestral
homes, but to turn the barrens and forests in which they
hunted into the farms and cities of civilization, and to
make the noble rivers in which they fished the highways
of commerce. Our ancestors found here in I773, On the
high bank of a noble river, a fine site for a city, with a
genial sky above and a generous soil around, which was
unoccupied, and at most only visited at long intervals
by roving bands of savages in search of game, or on the
lookout for beings of their own kind on whom to make
war.

     LA SALLE  THE DISCOVERER OF LOUISVILLE.

   In the year i8o8, while digging the foundation of
the great flouring mill of the Tarascons in that part of
Louisville known    as Shisppiugport, it becamle ilecessary

   Robert Cavalier de La Salle was a Frenchman, born at Rouen in x643.
He was of an honorable Burgher family, possessed of both wealth and political
influence. He was educated for the priesthood of the Jesuits, but when his
education was completed, and he had reached the years of manhood, he found
himself utterly unfitted for the duties of the followers of Loyola. There were
blended in his nature an invincible inclination to think and to act for himself,
and this was not compatible with the Jesuits' rule, which required all subor-
dinates to follow the thoughts of their superiors. He left the Jesuits in early
manhood and made his way to Canada, in North America, in i666. He prob-
ably came to this country for the purpose of being an explorer, and with the
hope of finding a water-way across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. He

 

r6              The   Centenary      of Louisville.


to remove a large sycamore tree, the trunk of which was

six feet in diameter, and the roots of which penetrated

the earth for forty feet around. Under the center of the

trunk of this tree was found an iron hatchet, which

was so guarded by the base and roots that no human

hand could have placed it there after the tree grew. It

made important discoveries, among which were the Ohio and Illinois rivers,
and was the first to descend the Mississippi from the Illinois River to the Gulf.
After a failure to find the mouth of the Mississippi by sea, he attempted to
reach Canada by land, and was murdered by his own employes, in i687, on a
branch of Trinity River in Texas.
   ` This hatchet when found passed into the hands of Jared Brooks, an early
engineer and journalist of Louisville. His plan of a canal around the Falls,
drawn in i8o6, was substantially adopted when the canal was made, a quarter
of a century later. He was the author of two of the best maps of Louisville,
one in i8o6 and the other in i812. We are indebted to him for the only scien-
tific account we have of the earthquake of I8I2, which formed Reelfoot Lake,
and changed the face of the country in the southwestern portion of the State.
He was for several years editor of the Louisville Gazette, and was noted for
his learning upon almost every subject. He died in i8i6, and after his death
there were found among his papers crayon likenesses of many of our most
eminent pioneers, and drawings of a number of the early buildings of the
city. lie seems to have contemplated and been at work upon an illustrated
history of Louisville, but died before finishing it. He was a man of sufficient
learning to know the value of this hatchet as an historic souvenir, and to him
it is possible its preservation is due. He got it from Mr. Tarascon, on whose
premises it was found, and afterwards passed it to Dr. McMurtrie, who men-
tioned it in his history of Louisville. When Dr. McMurtrie returned to Phila-
delphia it passed from him to William Marshall, who sold it to the present
owner. It is seven inches long and five inches wide across the cutting edge.
It is of light make, and seems to be of French nianufacture. When found
it was almost consumed by rust, but the flakes which came off when it was
exposed to the air have been re-cemiented with shellac, and the hatchet thus
restored to its original appearance.


 















































RENE-ROBERT CAVALIER, SIEUR DE LA SALLE.

      The Discoverer (If the Site of Louisville.



11
L 

 This page in the original text is blank.

 
             The Centenary of Louisville.            17

must have occupied the spot where it was found when
the tree began to grow. The hatchet was made by bend-
ing a flat bar of iron around a cylinder until the two
ends met, and then welding them together and hammer-
ing them to a cutting edge, leaving a round hole at the
bend for a handle. The annulations of this tree were
two hundred in number, thus showing it to be two hun-
dred years old according to the then mode of computa-
tion. Here was a find which proved to be a never-ending
puzzle to the early scientists of the Falls of the Ohio.
The annulations of this tree made it two hundred years
old, and so fixed the date earlier than any white man or
user of iron was known to have been at the falls. One
thought that Moscoso, the successor of De Soto, in his
wanderings up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, might
have entered the Ohio and left the hatchet there in 1542;
another, that it might have come from the Spaniards
who settled St. Augustine in i565; another, that the
Spaniards who went up the Ohio in i669 in search of
silver might have left it where it was found; and another,
that Marquette, when he discovered the Upper Mississippi
in i673, or La Salle, when he sailed down to its mouth
in i682, might have given the hatchet to an Indian, who
left it at the Falls. But from these reasonable conjectures
their learning and imagination soon led these savants
                          3

 
The Centenary of Louisville.



into the wildest theories and conjectures. One thought
that the Northmen, whoni the Sagas of Sturleson made
discoverers of Amnerica in the eleventh century, had
brought the hatchet to this country; another, that Prince
Madoc, who left a principality in Wales in the twelfth
century for a home in the western wilderness, might have
brought it here; and another, that it might have been
brought here by those ancient Europeans whom Diodorus
and Pausanius and other classical writers assure us were
in communication with this country in ancient times.
One of these learned ethnologists finally went so far
as to advance the theory of the Egyptian priests, as
related by Plato, that the autochthons of our race brought
it here before the Island of Atlantis, lying between Europe
and America, went down in the ocean and cut off all
further communication between the continents.t

   See Antendix A.
   t The philosophers of Louisville who so learnedly discussed the iron
hatchet were men of the highest standing in their day. They were Louis A.
Tarascon, the author of several pamphlets and newspaper articles published
here in early years; Jared Brooks, an accomplished engineer, scientist, and
journalist; Fortunatus Cosby, a learned lawyer and Judge of the Jefferson Cir-
cuit Court; Richard Ferguson, an eminent physician and surgeon; Joshua Vail,
associate editor and owner of the Farmers' Library, the first newspaper pub-
lished in Louisville; John J. Audubon, the distinguished ornithologist and
author; James C. Johnston, a learned physician and accomplished scholar, and
William Marshall, an antiquarian. Dr.Johnston was the youngest of the party,
but he made up in brains and learning what he lacked in years. William
Marshall made no pretensions to culture, but he was an antiquarian, and got



t8

 

The Centenary of Louisville.



   This hatchet, however, really furnished no occasion
for such strained conjectures and wild speculations. If
the sycamore under which it was found was two hundred
years old, as indicated by its annulations, it must have
begun to grow about the time that Jamestown in Virginia
and Quebec in Canada were founded. It would have been
no unreasonable act for an Indian or white man to have
brought this hatchet from the English on the James, or
from the French on the St. Lawrence, to the Falls of the
Ohio in i6o8, just two hundred years before it was dis-
covered by removing the tree that grew over it. The
known habit of the sycamore, however, to make more
than one annulation in years particularly favorable to
growth suggests that two hundred annulations do not
necessarily mean   that many years.      If we allow    about
fifty per cent of the life of the tree to have been during

admission to the learned circle by the curious specimens and souvenirs he
was always finding and showing. He got hold of a translation of the Timaeus
of Plato, and became a convert to the theory of the Sunken Continent as
related to Solon by the Egyptian priests. It was he who suggested that the
hatchet might have come from the Island of Atlantis before it went down and
cut off all communication between the Eastern and Westeru hemispheres. He
lived to extreme old age, and supported himself in the pinching poverty of
his last years by the sale of the souvenirs and specimens he had collected
when in better circumstances. He managed to get possession of this old
hatchet when Dr. McMurtrie returned to Philadelphia, and held it for a long
time as the gem of his little collection. He finally sold it to secure, as he
stated, bread to save him from starvation.



I9

 
20            The   Centenary    of Louisville.

years exceptionally favorable to its growth, and assign
double annulations to these favorable years, we shall have
this tree to have made its two hundred annulations in
about one hundred and thirty-nine years, and to have
sprung from its seed and to have begun its growth about
the year i669 or i670, when La Salle, the great French
explorer, is believed to have been at the Falls of the
Ohio. We have no account of any one at the Falls in
i6o8, or about this time, to support the conjecture that
it might have come from Jamestown or Quebec; but we
have La Salle at this place in i669 or i670, and it is not
unreasonable that he should have left it here at that time.
In this sense the old rusty hatchet, which is fortunately
preserved, becomes interesting to us all for its connec-
tion with the discovery of Louisville. It is a souvenir
of the first white man who ever saw the Falls of the
Ohio. It is a memento of Robert Cavalier de La Salle,
the discoverer of the site of the city of Louisville.
   1 Thcrc is no little confusion about the time that La Salle was at the Falls
of the Ohio. That he was the discoverer of the Ohio River, and descended it
to the Falls in i669 or i670, is generally conceded; but whether he was at the
Falls in 1669 or i670 is in doubt. Francis Parkman, the learned historian, with
all the lights of modern research before him, was to the last in doubt whether
it was i669 or i670. I have no means of positively determining whether it was
in i669 or i670, but I want a fixed date for the discovery of the site of Louis-
ville, and can afford to reason on the subject. I believe that La Salle was on
the site of Louisville late in the fall or early in the winter of 1669, and that the
evidence that we have will justify this conclusion. He is known to have been

 

The Cen/enary of Louisville.



2I



     OTHER WHITE PERSONS EARLY AT THE FALLS.

   After La Salle discovered the Falls in i669 or i670,

no white man is known to have done more than to pass

the site in ascending or descending the Ohio, as did the

French in military movements, and the traders in going

from place to place, for nearly one hundred years. In

I766 Captain Thomas Hutchins  was at the Falls of the

at the head of Lake Ontario on the last of September, 1669, on his way to the
discovery of the Ohio River. This would allow him two months to find the
Ohio and descend it to the Falls before the beginning of winter. What La
Salle himself says of the Falls leaves the impression that lie visited the rapids
when the river was low. There have been years when the low water of the
Ohio was prolonged through the fall and into the early winter for want of
rains, and it is probable that 1669 was this kind of year. La Salle speaks of
the Falls as a "tombe de fort haul," a sight which he could only have seen at
low water, if indeed he could have seen it at all. The place where the hatchet
was found was oln the Shippingport point, from which, looking in a northwest
directin alove; the lau U f Goose isiand, a perpendicular fall of eight or more
feet was to be seen, and was often seen at a later date and until the United
States Government began to change the character of the falls. It is not likely
that this fall could have been seen in the winter of i670, when the water was
presumably high, and La Salle was in Canada in the spring of i670. I am
of the opinion, therefore, that the discoverer of the Ohio and of the site of
Louisville made his discovery late in the fall or early in the winter of the
year 1669.
   Captain Thomas Hutchins was a native of New Jersey, where he was born
in 1730. He was an accomplished engineer, and was the only official geogra-
pher the United States ever had. He received the title of "Geographer Gen-
eral" while with General Greene in South Carolina. In the Revolutionary War
he promptly took sides with the Colonies, and on this account was impris-
oned in England, and lost the greater part of his fortune while incarcerated.

 

22            The   Centenary    of Louisville.

Ohio, and made a sketch of the place which was en-
graved for his Topographical Description of Virginia,
etc., published at London in I778. This picture of the
Falls did more to call attention to the future site of
Louisville than all the previous descriptions of traders
and adventurers and explorers combined. It was a strik-
ing picture of a broad river, with sunny islands here and
there in its midst, and noble forest trees standing upon
its shores and casting their huge shadows in its crystal
waters. It is a striking picture even to this day, pre-
senting as it does the original Ohio, with its forest-clad
islands and shores, and its ample waters rolling over the
rocky wall that causes its rapids, before a tree has been
cut on its shore