xt7pzg6g262s https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7pzg6g262s/data/mets.xml Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913. 1897  books b92-161-29919559 English Way & Williams, : Chicago : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Ohio River Description and travel. Afloat on the Ohio  : an historical pilgrimage of a thousand miles in a skiff, from Redstone to Cairo / by Reuben Gold Thwaites. text Afloat on the Ohio  : an historical pilgrimage of a thousand miles in a skiff, from Redstone to Cairo / by Reuben Gold Thwaites. 1897 2002 true xt7pzg6g262s section xt7pzg6g262s 
































AFLOAT ON THE OHIO

 
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Afloat on the Ohio


AN HISTORICAL PILGRIMAGE
OF A THOUSAND MILES IN A
SKIFF, FROM REDSTONE TO
            CAIRO



              BY
  REUBEN GOLD THWAITES
Secretary of the State Historical Society of
Wisconsin, Editor of "The Jesuit Rela-
  tions," Author of " The Colonies,
    1492.1750," "Historic Water-
    ways," " The Story of Wis-
      consin," "Our Cycling
        Tour in England,"
            etc., etc.



            CHICAGO
      WAY  WILL.IAMS
             _897

 












































       COPYRIGHT
BY REUBEN GOLD THWAITES
       A. V., 897

 





























                       To
    FREDERICKJACKSOAT TURNER, Ph. D.,
Professor of American History in the University of
        Wisconsin, who loves his native West
     and with rare insight and gzft of phrase
               interprets her story,
  this Log of the " Pilgrim" is cordially inscribed.

 
This page in the original text is blank.



 









                  CONTENTS.
                                               PAGC
PREFACE.                                         xi
                    CHAPTER I.
On the Monongahela-The over-mountain path-Red-
  stone Old Fort-The Youghiogheny-Braddock's
  defeat. -      -   -    -     -    -   -   -   I
                    CHAPTER II.
First day on the Ohio-At Logstown. -  -  -    - 22

                   CHAPTER III.
Shingis Old Town-The dynamiter-Yellow Creek.  - 29
                   CHAPTER IV.
An industrial regicn-Steubenville-Mingo Bottom-In
  a steel mill-Indian character.  -  -   -   - 39
                    CHAPTER V.
House-boat life-Decadence of steamboat traffic-
  Wheeling, and Wheeling Creek.  -  -    -   - 50
                   CHAPTER VI.
The Big Grave-Washington and Round Bottom-A
  lazy man's paradise-Captina Creek-George Rogers
  Clark at Fish Creek-Southern types.  -  -  - 64

                   CHAPTER VII.
In Dixie-Oil and natural gas, at Witten's Bottom-
  The Long Reach-Photographing crackers-Visitors
  in camp. -77
                        vii

 









CONTENTS



                   CHAFrER VIII.                PAGK
Life ashore and afloat-Marietta, " the Plymouth Rock
   of the West'"-The Little Kanawha-The story of
   Blennerhassett's Island. -                    87

                    CHAPTER IX.
Poor whites-First library in the West-An hour at
   Hockingport-A hermit fisher.   -   -    -   - 99)

                     CHAPTER X.
Cliff-dwellers, on Long Bottom-Pomeroy Bend-Le-
   tart's Island, and Rapids-Game, in the early day-
   Rainy weather-In a " cracker " home. -  -   - lo9

                    CHAPTER XI.
Battle of Point Pleasant-The story of Gallipolis-
   Rosebud-Huntington-The genesis of a house-
   boater. -    -   -    -   -    -   -    -   - 125

                   CHAPTER XII.
In a fog-The Big Sandy-Rainy weather-Operatic
  gypsies-An ancient tavern.-    -   -    -   - 139

                   CHAPTER XIII.
The Scioto, and the Shawanese-A night at Rome-
  Limestone-Keels, flats, and boatmen of the olden
  time.  -         --                    -    - 150
                   CHAPTER XIV.
Produce-boats-A dead town-On the Great Bend-
   Grant's birthplace -The Little Miami-The genesis
   of Cincinnati. -x--I68

                   CHAPTER XV.
The story of North Bend-The " shakes "-Driftwood-
  Rabbit hash-A side-trip to Big Bone Lick. -  - 182



v.iX

 









CONTENTS



                    CHAPTER XVI.                 PAGE
New Switzerland - An old-time river pilot - House-
   boat life on the lower reaches-A philosopher in
   rags-Wooded solitudes-Arrival at Louisville.  - 202

                   CHAPTER XVII.
Storied Louisville-Red Indians and white-A night on
   Sand Island-New Albany-Riverside hermits-The
   river falling--A deserted village-An ideal camp. - 2 1S

                   CHAPTER XVIII.
Village life-A traveling photographer-On a country
   road-Studies in color-Again among colliers-In
   sweet content-A ferry romance. -    -    -   - 233

                    CHAPTER XIX.
Fishermen's tales-Skiff nomenclature-Green River-
   Evansville-Henderson-Audubon and Rafinesque-
   Floating shops-The Wabash.     -    -   -    - 251

                    CHAPTER XX.
Shawneetown-Farm-houses on stilts-Cave-in-Rock-
   Island nights. - -    -    -   -    -   -    - 267
                    CHAPTER XXI.
The Cumberland and the Tennessee-Stately soli-
  tudes-Old Fort Massac-Dead towns in Egypt-
  The last cump-Cairo.  -                        280


Afpendix A.-Historical outline of Ohio Valley settle-
  ment. -             ----                       296
Apendix B.-Selected list of Journals of previous trav-
  elers down the Ohio.   -    -    -    -      - 320



INDEX.     -                                   3



ix



- 329

 
This page in the original text is blank.

 






PREFACE.



  THERE were four of us pilgrims-my Wife,
our Boy of ten and a half years, the Doctor,
and I. My object in going-the others went
for the outing-was to gather "local color"
for work in Western history. The Ohio River
was an important factor in the development
of the West. I wished to know the great
waterway intimately in its various phases, -to
see with my own eyes what the borderers saw;
in imagination, to redress the pioneer stage,
and repeople it.
  A motley company have here performed
their parts: Savages of the mound-building
age, rearing upon these banks curious earth-
works for archaeologists of the nineteenth cen-
tury to puzzle over; Iroquois war-parties,
silently swooping upon sleeping villages of the
Shawanese, and in noisy glee returning to the
New York lakes, laden with spoils and cap-
tives; La Salle, prince of French explorers
and coureurs de bois, standing at the Falls of
                    xi

 






PREFACE



the Ohio, and seeking to fathom the geograph-
ical mysteries of the continent; French and
English fur-traaers, in bitter contention for
the patronage of the red man; borderers of
the rival nations, shedding each other's blood
in protracted partisan wars; surveyors like
Washington and Boone and the McAfees, clad
in fringed hunting-shirts and leathern leggings,
mapping out future states; hardy frontiers-
men, fighting, hunting, or farming, as occasion
demanded; George Rogers Clark, descending
the river with his handful of heroic Virginians
to win for the United States the great North-
west, and for himself the laurels of fame;
the Marietta pilgrims, beating Revolutionary
swords into Ohio plowshares; and all that
succeeding tide of immigrants from our own
Atlantic coast and every corner of Europe,
pouring down the great valley to plant power-
ful commonwealths beyond the mountains.
A richly-varied panorama of life passes before
us as we contemplate the glowing story of
the Ohio.
  In making our historical pilgrimage we might
more easily have " steamboated " the river,
to use a verb in local vogue; but, from the
deck of a steamer, scenes take on a different



xii

 






PREFACE



aspect than when viewed from near the level
of the flood; for a passenger by such a craft,
the vistas of a winding stream change so rap-
idly that he does not realize how it seemed to
the canoeist or flatboatman of old; and there
are too many modern distractions about such
a mode of progress. To our minds, the man-
ner of our going should as nearly as possible
be that of the pioneer himself-hence our skiff,
and our nightly camp in primitive fashion.
  The trip was successful, whatever the point
of view. Physically, those six weeks " Afloat
on the Ohio" were a model outing-at times
rough, to be sure, but exhilarating, health-
giving, brain-inspiring. The Log of the " Pil-
grim " seeks faintly to outline our experiences,
but no words can adequately describe the
wooded hill-slopes which day by day girt us
in; the romantic ravines which corrugate the
rim of the Ohio's basin; the beautiful islands
which stud the glistening tide; the great afflu-
ents which, winding down for a thousand
miles, from the Blue Ridge, the Cumberland,
and the Great Smoky, pour their floods into
the central stream; the giant trees-syca-
mores, pawpaws, cork elms, catalpas, walnuts,
and what not-which everywhere are in view



xii

 






PREFACE



in this woodland world; the strange and lovely
flowers we saw; the curious people we met,
black and white, and the varieties of dialect
which caught our ear; the details of our
charming gypsy life, ashore and afloat, during
which we were conscious of the red blood
tingling through our veins, and, alert to the
whisperings of Nature, were careless of the
workaday world, so far away,-simply glad to
be alive.
  For the better understanding of the numer-
ous historical references in the Log, I have
thought it well to present in the Appendix
a brief sketch of the settlement of the Ohio
Valley. To this Appendix, as a preliminary
reading, I invite those who may care to follow
" Pilgrim" and her crew upon their long jour-
ney from historic Redstone down to the Father
of Waters.
  A selected list of Journals of previous trav-
elers down the Ohio, has been added, for the
benefit of students of the social and economic
history of this important gateway to the con-
tinental interior.
                                 R. G. T.
MADISON, Wis., October, I897.



XIV


 







AFLOAT ON THE OHIO


              CHAPTER I.

ON THE MONONGAHELA-THE OVER-MOUNTAIN
  PATH-REDSTONE OLD FORT-THE YOUGH-
  IOGHENY-BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT.

  IN CAMP NEAR CHARLEROI, PA., Friday,
May 4.-Pilgrim, built for the glassy lakes
and smooth-flowing rivers of Wisconsin, had
suffered unwonted indignities in her rough
journey of a thousand miles in a box-car. But
beyond a leaky seam or two, which the Doc-
tor had righted with clouts and putty, and
some ugly scratches which were only paint-
deep, she was in fair trim as she gracefully lay
at the foot of the Brownsville shipyard this
morning and received her lading.
There were spectators in abundance.
Brownsville, in the olden day, had seen many
an expedition set out from this spot for the
                   1

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



grand tour of the Ohio, but not in the per-
sonal recollection of any in this throng of
idlers, for the era of the flatboat and pirogue
now belongs to history. Our expedition is a
revival, and therein lies novelty. However,
the historic spirit was not evident among our
visitors-railway men, coal miners loafing
out the duration of a strike, shipyard hands
lying in wait for busier times, small boys
blessed with as much leisure as curiosity, and
that wonder of wonders, a bashful newspaper
reporter. Their chief concern centered in the
query, how Pilgrim could hold that goodly
heap of luggage and still have room to spare
for four passengers It became evident that
her capacity is akin to that of the magician's
bag.
  "A dandy skiff, gents!" said the foreman
of the shipyard, as we settled into our seats-
the Doctor bow, I stroke, with W- and the
Boy in the stern sheets. Having in silence
critically watched us for a half hour, seated on
a capstan, his red flannel shirt rolled up to his
elbows, and well-corded chest and throat bared
to wind and weather, this remark of the fore-
man was evidently the studied judgment of an
expert. It was taken as such by the good-



2

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



natured crowd, which, as we pushed off into
the stream, lustily joined in a chorus of " 'Good-
bye!" and "IGood luck to yees, an' ye don't
git th' missus drowndid 'fore ye git to Cairo!"
  The current is slight on these lower reaches
of the Monongahela. It comes down gayly
enough from the West Virginia hills, over
many a rapid, and through swirls and eddies
in plenty, until Morgantown is reached; and
then, settling into a more sedate course, is at
Brownsville finally converted into a mere mill-
pond, by the back-set of the four slack-water
dams between there and Pittsburg.   This
means solid rowing for the first sixty miles of
our journey, with a current scarcely percep-
tible.
  The thought of it suggests lunch. At the
mouth of Redstone Creek, a mile below Dun-
lap Creek, our port of departure, we turn in to
a shaly beach at the foot of a wooded slope,
in semi-rusticity, and fortify the inner man.
  A famous spot, this Redstone Creek. Be-
tween its mouth and that of Dunlap's was
made, upon the site of extensive Indian forti-
fication mounds, the first English agricultural
settlement west of the Alleghanies. It is un-
safe to establish dates for first discoveries, or



3

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



for first settlements. The wanderers who,
first of all white men, penetrated the fast-
nesses of the wilderness were mostly of the
sort who left no documentary traces behind
them. It is probable, however, that the first
Redstone settlement was made as early as
1750, the year following the establishment of
the Ohio Company, which had been chartered
by the English crown and given a half-million
acres of land west of the mountains and south
of the Ohio River, provided it established
thereon a hundred families within seven years.
  "Redstone Old Fort"-the name had ref-
erence to the aboriginal earthworks-played
a part in the Fort Necessity and Braddock
campaigns and in later frontier wars; and,
being the western terminus of the over-moun-
tain road known at various historic periods as
Nemacolin's Path, Braddock's Road, and
Cumberland Pike, was for many years the
chief point of departure for Virginia expedi-
tions down the Ohio River. Washington, who
had large landed interests on the Ohio, knew
Redstone well; and here George Rogers Clark
set out (1778) upon flatboats, with his rough-
and-ready Virginia volunteers, to capture the
country north of the Ohio for the American



4

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



arms-one of the least known, but most mo-
mentous conquests in history.
  Early in the nineteenth century, Redstone
became Brownsville. But, whether as Red-
stone or Brownsville, it was, in its day, like
most " I jumping off" places on the edge of
civilization, a veritable Sodom. Wrote good
old John Pope, in his Journal of I 790, and in
the same strain scores of other veracious chron-
iclers: "At this Place we were detained about
a Week, experiencing every Disgust which
Rooks and Harpies could excite. " Here thrived
extensive yards in which were built flatboats,
arks, keel boats, and all that miscellaneous
collection of water craft which, with their
roisterly crews, were the life of the Ohio before
the introduction of steam rendered vessels of
deeper draught essential; whereupon much of
the shipping business went down the river to
better stages of water, first to Pittsburg, thence
to Wheeling, and to Steubenville.
  All that is of the past. Brownsville is still
a busy corner of the world, though of a differ-
ent sort, with all its romance gone. To the
student of Western history, Brownsville will
always be a shrine-albeit a smoky, dusty
shrine, with the smell of lubricators and the



6

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



clang of hammers, and much talk thereabout
of the glories of Mammon.
  The Monongahela is a characteristic moun-
tain trough. From an altitude of four or five
hundred feet, the country falls in sharp steeps
to a narrow alluvial bench, and then a broad
beach of shale and pebble; the slopes are
broken, here and there, where deep, shadowy
ravines come winding down, bearing muddy
contributions to the greater flood. The higher
hills are crowned with forest trees, the lower
ofttimes checkered with brown fields, recently
planted, and rows of vines trimmed low to
stakes, as in the fashion of the Rhine. The
stream, though still majestic in its sweep, is
henceforth a commercial slack-water, lined
with noisy, grimy, matter-of-fact manufactur-
ing towns, for the most part literally abutting
one upon the other all of the way down to
Pittsburg, and fast defiling the once picturesque
banks with the gruesome offal of coal mines
and iron plants. Surprising is the density of
settlement along the river. Often, four or five
full-fledged cities are at once in view from our
boat, the air is thick with sooty smoke belched
from hundreds of stacks, the ear is almost



6

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



deafened with the whirr and roar and bang of
milling industries.
  Tipples of bituminous coal-shafts are ever
in sight-begrimed scaffolds of wood and iron,
arranged for dumping the product of the mines
into both barges and railway cars.  Either
bank is lined with railways, in sight of which
we shall almost continually float, all the way
down to Cairo, nearly eleven hundred miles
away. At each tipple is a miners' hamlet; a
row of cottages or huts, cast in a common
mold, either unpainted, or bedaubed with that
cheap, ugly red with which one is familiar in
railway bridges and rural barns. Sometimes
these huts, though in the mass dreary enough,
are kept in neat repair; but often are they
sadly out of elbows-pigs and children pro-
miscuously at their doors, paneless sash stuffed
with rags, unsightly litter strewn around,
misery stamped on every feature of the home-
less tenements. Dreariest of all is a deserted
mining village, and there are many such-the
shaft having been worked out, or an unquench-
able subterranean fire left to smolder in neg-
lect. Here the tipple has fallen into creaking
decrepitude; the cabins are without windows
or doors-these having been taken to some



7

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



newer hamlet; ridge-poles are sunken, chim-
neys tottering; soot covers the gaunt bones,
which for all the world are like a row of. skel-
etons, perched high, and grinning down at you
in their misery; while the black offal of the
pit, covering deep the original beauty of the
once green slope, is in its turn being veiled
with climbing weeds-such is Nature's haste,
when untrammeled, to heal the scars wrought
by man.
  A mile or two below Charleroi is Lock No.
4, the first of the quartet of obstructions be-
tween Brownsville and Pittsburg. We are
encamped a mile below the dam, in a cozy
little willowed nook; a rod behind our ample
tent rises the face of an alluvial terrace, occu-
pied by a grain-field, running back for an hun-
dred yards to the hills, at the base of which is
a railway track. Across the river, here some
two hundred and fifty yards wide, the dark,
rocky bluffs, slashed with numerous ravines,
ascend sharply from the flood; at the quarried
base, a wagon road and the customary railway;
and upon the stony beach, two or three rough
shelter-tents, housing the Black Diamond
Brass Band, of Monongahela City, out on a



8

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



week's picnic to while away the period of the
strike.
  It was seven o'clock when we struck camp,
and our frugal repast was finished by lantern-
light. The sun sets early in this narrow trough
through the foothills of the Laurel range.

  MCKEESPORT, PA., Saturday, May 5th.-
Out there on the beach, near Charleroi, with
the sail for an awning, Pilgrim had been con-
verted into a boudoir for the Doctor, who,
snuggled in his sleeping-bag, emitted an occa-
sional snore-echoes from the Land of Nod.
W- and our Boy of ten summers, on their
canvas folding-cots, were peacefully oblivious
of the noises of the night, and needed the kiss
of dawn to rouse them. But for me, always
a light sleeper, and as yet unused to our airy
bedroom, the crickets chirruped through the
long watches.
  Two or three freighters passed in the night,
with monotonous swish-swish and swelling
wake. It arouses something akin to awe, this
passage of a steamer's wake upon the beach,
a dozen feet from the door of one's tent.
First, the water is sucked down, leaving for a
moment a wet streak of sand or gravel, a dozen



9

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



feet in width; in quick succession come heavy,
booming waves, running at an acute angle with
the shore, breaking at once into angry foam,
and wasting themselves far up on the strand,
for a few moments making bedlam with any
driftwood which chances to have made lodg-
ment there. When suddenly awakened by
this boisterous turmoil, the first thought is
that a dam has broken and a flood is at hand;
but, by the time you rise upon your elbow, the
scurrying uproar lessens, aiid gradually dies
away along a more distant shore.
  We were slow in getting off this morning.
But the dense fog had been loath to lift; and
at first the stove smoked badly, until we dis-
covered and removed the source of trouble.
This stove is an ingenious contrivance of the
Doctor's-a box of sheet-iron, of slight weight,
so arranged as to be folded into an incredibly
small space; a vast improvement for cooking
purposes over an open camp-fire, which Pil-
grim's crew know, from long experience in far
distant fields, to be a vexation to eyes and soul.
  Coaling hamlets more or less deserted were
frequent this morning-unpainted, window-
less, ragged wrecks. At the inhabited mining
villages, either close to the strand or well up



10

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



on hillside ledges, idle men were everywhere
about. Women and boys and girls were stock-
ingless and shoeless, and often dirty to a de-
gree. But, when conversed with, we found
them independent, respectful, and self-respect-
ing folk. Occasionally I would, for the mere
sake of meeting these workaday brothers of
ours, with canteen slung on shoulder, climb the
steep flight of stairs cut in the clay bank, and
on reaching the terrace inquire for drinking
water, talking familiarly with the folk who
came to meet me at the well-curb.
  There are old-fashioned Dutch ovens in
nearly every yard, a few chickens, and often
a shed for the cow, that is off on her daily
climb over the neighboring hills. Through
the black pall of shale, a few vegetables strug-
gle feebly to the light; in the corners of the
palings, are hollyhocks and four-o'clocks; and,
on window-sills, rows of battered tin cans,
resplendent in blue and yellow labels, are the
homes of verbenas and geraniums, in sickly
bloom. Now and then, a back door in the
dreary block is distinguished by an arbored
trellis bearing a grape-vine, and furnishing for
the weary housewife a shady kitchen, alfresco.
As a rule, however, there is little attempt to



11

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



better the homeless shelter furnished by the
corporation.
  We restocked with provisions at Mononga-
hela City, a smart, newish town, and at ElizP
abeth, old and dingy. It was at Elizabeth,
then Elizabethtown, that travelers from the
Eastern States, over the old Philadelphia Road,
chiefly took boat for the Ohio-the Virginians
still clinging to Redstone, as the terminus of
the Braddock Road. Elizabethtown, in flat-
boat days, was the seat of a considerable boat-
building industry, its yards in time turning out
steamboats for the New Orleans trade, and
even sea-going sailing craft; but, to-day, coal
barges are the principal output of her decaying
shipyards.
  By this time, the duties of our little ship's
company are well defined. W- supervises
the cuisine, most important of all offices; the
Doctor is chief navigator, assistant cook, and
hewer of wood; it falls to my lot to purchase
supplies, to be carrier of water, to pitch tent
and make beds, and, while breakfast is being
cooked, to dismantle the camp and, so far as
may be, to repack Pilgrim; the Boy collects
driftwood, wipes dishes, and helps at what he



12

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



can-while all hands row or paddle through the
livelong day, as whim or need dictates.
  Lock No. 3, at Walton, necessitated a por-
tage of the load, over the left bank. It is a
steep, rocky climb, and the descent on the
lower side, strewn with stone chips, destructive
to shoe-leather. The Doctor and I let Pilgrim
herself down with a long rope, over a shallow
spot in the apron of the dam.
  At six o'clock a camping-ground for the night
became desirable. We were fortunate, last
evening, to find a bit of rustic country in which
to pitch our tent; but all through this after-
noon both banks of the river were lined with
village after village, city after city, scarcely a
garden patch between them-Wilson, Coal
Valley, Lostock, Glassport, Dravosburg, and
a dozen others not recorded on our map, which
bears date of I882. The sun was setting be-
hind the rim of the river basin, when we
reached the broad mouth of the Youghiogheny
(pr. Yock-i-o-gai'-ny), which is implanted
with a cluster of iron-mill towns, of which
McKeesport is the center. So far as we could
see down the Monongahela, the air was thick
with the smoke of glowing chimneys, and the
pulsating whang of steel-making plants and



13

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



rolling-mills made the air tremble. The view
up the I Yough " was more inviting; so, with
oars and paddle firmly set, we turned off our
course and lustily pulled against the strong
current of the tributary. A score or two of
house-boats lay tied to the McKeesport shore or
were bolstered high upon the beach; a fleet of
Yough steamers had their noses to the wharf;
a half-dozen fishermen were setting nets; and,
high over all, with lofty spans of iron cobweb,
several railway and wagon bridges spanned
the gliding stream.
  It was a mile and a half up the Yough before
we reached the open country; and then only
the rapidly-gathering dusk drove us ashore,
for on near approach the prospect was not
pleasing. Finally settling into this damp,
shallow pocket in the shelving bank, we find
broad-girthed elms and maples screening us
from all save the river front, the high bank in
the rear fringed with blue violets which emit
a delicious odor, backed by a field of waving
corn stretching off toward heavily-wooded
hills. Our supper cooked and eaten by lan-
tern-light, we vote ourselves as, after all,
serenely content out here in the starlight-at



14

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



peace with the world, and very close to Na-
ture's heart.
  There come to us, on the cool evening
breeze, faint echoes of the never-ceasing clang
of McKeesport iron mills, down on the Mo-
nongahela shore. But it is not of these we
talk, lounging in the welcome warmth of the
camp-fire; it is of the age of romance, a hun-
dred and forty odd years ago, when Major
Washington and Christopher Gist, with fam-
ished horses, floundered in the ice hereabout,
upon their famous midwinter trip to Fort Le
Boeuf; when the "IForks of the Yough" be-
came the extreme outpost of Western advance,
with all the accompanying horrors of frontier
war; and later, when McKeesport for a time
rivaled Redstone and Elizabethtown as a cen-
ter for boat-building and a point of departure
for the Ohio.
  PITTSBURG, Sunday, May 6th.-Many of
the trees are already in full leaf. The tril-
lium is fading. We are in the full tide of
early summer, up here in the mountains, and
our long journey of six weeks is southward and
toward the plain. The lower Ohio may soon
be a bake-oven, and the middle of June will
be upon us before far-away Cairo is reached.



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AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



It behooves us to be up and doing. The river-,
flowing by our door, is an ever-pressing invi-
tation to be onward; it stops not for Sunday,
nor ever stops-and why should we, mere
drift upon the passing tide
  There was a smart thunder-shower during
breakfast, followed by a cool, cloudy morning.
At eleven o'clock Pilgrim was laden. A south-
eastern breeze ruffled the waters of the Yough,
and for the first time the Doctor ordered up
the sail, with W- at the sheet. It was not
long before Pilgrim had the water "Isinging at
her prow." With a rush, we flew past the
factories, the house-boats, and the shabby
street-ends of McKeesport, out into the Mo-
nongahela, where, luckily, the wind still held.
  At McKeesport, the hills on the right are of
a relatively low altitude, smooth and well
rounded. It was here that Braddock, in his
slow progress toward Fort Duquesne, first
crossed the Monongahela, to the wide, level
bottom on the left bank. He had found the
inner country to the right of the river and
below the Yough too rough and hilly for his
march, hence had turned back toward the
Monongahela, fording the river to take ad-
vantage of the less difficult bottom. Some



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AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



four miles below this first crossing, hills reap-
proach the left bank, till the bottom ceases;
the right thenceforth becomes the more favor-
able side for marching. With great pomp, he
recrossed the Monongahela just below the
point where Turtle Creek enters from the east.
Within a hillside ravine, but a hundred yards
inland, the brilliant column fell into an am-
buscade of Indians and French half-breeds,
suffering that heart-sickening defeat which will
ever live as one of the most tragic events in
American history.
  The noisy iron-manufacturing town of Brad-
dock now occupies the site of Braddock's de-
feat. Not far from the old ford stretches the
great dam of Lock No. 2, which we portaged,
with the usual difficulties of steep, stony banks.
Braddock is but eight miles across country
from Pittsburg, although twelve by river. We
have, all the way down, an almost constant
succession of iron and steel-making towns,
chief among them Homestead, on the left
bank, seven miles above Pittsburg. The great
strike of July, i892, with its attendant horrors,
is a lurid chapter in the story of American in-
dustry. With shuddering interest, we view the
famous great bank of ugly slag at the base of
    2



17

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



the steel mills, where the barges housing the
Pinkerton guards were burned by the mob.
  To-day, the Homesteaders are enjoying
their Sunday afternoon outing along the town
shore-nurses pushing baby carriages, self-
absorbed lovers holding hands upon riverside
benches, merry-makers rowing in skiffs or
crossing the river in crowded ferries; the elec-
tric cars, following either side of the stream
as far down as Pittsburg, crowded to suffoca-
tion with gayly-attired folk. They look little
like rioters; yet it seems but the other day
when Homestead men and women and children
were hysterically reveling in atrocities akin to
those of the Paris commune.
  Approaching Pittsburg, the high steeps are
everywhere crowded with houses-great masses
of smoke-color, dotted all over with white
shades and sparkling windows, which seem, in
the gray afternoon, to be ten thousand eyes
coldly staring down at Pilgrim and her crew
from all over the flanking hillsides.
  Lock No. I, the last barrier between us and
the Ohio, is a mile or two up the Mononga-
hela, with warehouses and manufacturing
plants closely hemming it in on either side.
A portage, unaided, appears to be impossible



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AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



here, and we resolve to lock through. But it
is Sunday, and the lock is closed. Above, a
dozen down-going steamboats are moored to
the shore, waiting for midnight and the re-
sumption of business; while below, a similar
line of ascending boats is awaiting the close
of the day of rest. Pilgrim, however, cannot
hang up at the levee with any comfort to her
crew; it is necessary, with evening at hand,
and a thunder-storm angrily rising over the
Pittsburg hills, to get out of this grimy pool,
flanked about with iron and coal yards, chim-
ney stacks, and a forest of shipping, and to
quickly seek the open country lower down on
the Ohio. The lock-keepers appreciated our
situation. Two or three sturdy, courteous
men helped us carry our cargo, by an intricate
official route, over coils of rope and chains.
over lines of shafting, and along dizzy walks
overhanging the yawning basin; while the
Doctor, directed to a certain chute in mid-
stream, took unladen Pilgrim over the great
dam, with a wild swoop which made our eyes
swim to witness from the lock.
  We had laboriously been rowing on slack-
water, all the way from Brownsville, with the
help of an hour's sail this morning; whereas,



19

 






AFLOAT ON THE OHIO



now that we were in the strong current below
the dam, we had but to gently paddle to glide
swiftly on our way. A hundred steamers,
more or less, lay closely packed with th