Through Ohio And Kentucky
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Sunday, Oct. 18.–Myself and friend proceeded on our journey. We arrived at Siers, a distance of thirty miles, at dusk, much relieved by the change from our horses to the wagon. The roads were muddy, the weather drizzly and the country hilly. Buildings indifferent. The land very fertile and black. Trees uncommonly tall. Passed the little village of Cadis. In this country a tavern, a store, a smith shop and two or three cabins make a town. Passed ten or fifteen travelers. Great contrast between the quality of the land from Chambersburg to Pittsburg, and that which we have already traveled over from Steubenville in Ohio.
Monday, Oct. 19.–Left Siers at 6 o’clock a. m. The morning fair and cold. Roads extremely rough. Country fertile, but hilly. Log cabins, ugly women and tall timber. Passed a little flourishing village called Freeport, settled by foreigners. Yankee Quakers and mechanics. Remarkable, with two taverns in the village, there was nothing fit to drink, not even good water. The corn fields in the woods among dead trees and the corn very fine. We arrived at Adairs, a distance of twenty-seven miles, at 6 o’clock p. m. Passed some peddlers and a few travelers. Value of land from Steubenville to Adairs from $2 to $30 per acre. Lots in Freeport, eighteen months old, from $30 to $100. This day being Monday and the end of the second week since leaving home, our feelings were warm and our hearts beat high for those that are dear and behind us.
Tuesday, Oct. 20.–Left Adairs at 6 o’clock a. m. The country extremely hilly and not quite so fertile. Independent people in log cabins. They make their own clothes, sugar and salt, and paint their own signs. They picture a lion like a dove, a cat like a terrapin, and Gen. Washington like a bird’s nest. Salt wells and sugar orchards are common in this country. Steep hills, frightful precipices, little or no water, and even a scarcity of new whisky. Ragged and ignorant children and but little appearance of industry. Met a number of travelers inclining to the east, and overtook a larger number than usual bound to the land of promise. The evening being rainy, the roads soon became muddy. We arrived at Silver’s Travelers’ Rest at 6 o’clock. Distance twenty-nine miles. Passed a little village called Cambridge.
Wednesday, Oct. 21.–Left Silver’s at 7 o’clock and breakfasted at Zanesville, a very growing and flourishing village. It is situated on the Muskingum river, which is navigable for flat-bottomed boats. Zanesville is a lively and busy little town. There are several mills and manufactories in and at the place. Neat bridges and a canal cut at great labor and expense through a solid rock for a considerable distance, by which very important water power is gained. Left Zanesville and traveled twenty-three miles to a village called Somerset. The country very hilly and the lands not so fertile as those met with near Cadis. Rain continues. Roads extremely slippery. Met and overtook about sixty travelers, many on foot–Scotch, Irish, and Yankees. Oats, 25 cents; butter, 12-1/2 cents; brandy, 50 cents a half-pint; hay, $8 a ton.
Thursday, Oct. 22.–Left Somerset at 7 o’clock a. m. Dull, drizzly weather. Deep roads. Horse lame in consequence of bad shoeing in Pittsburg. Heart a little heavy. Thought of home. Rallied again and arrived at a neat little town at the foot of a hill. It is called New Lancaster. Distance, eighteen miles. Stopped on the road for refreshment and found a Pennsylvania family whose kindness and hospitality deserve mention, as we had been denied water and sometimes other refreshments by the almost wild inhabitants west of Pittsburg to this place. Some brick houses and a few neat frame dwellings to be seen in the last two days’ ride.
Friday, Oct. 23–Left New Lancaster at 8 o’clock and arrived at Chillicothe, a distance of thirty-four miles. Passed some elegant farms and some neat dwellings. The people appear more polite and better educated. Chillicothe is situated on the Sciota, a stream navigable for flat-bottomed boats. The bridge over the Sciota is long, substantial and handsome. Chillicothe is a town of considerable business for its size. One of the branches of the United States bank is at this place. The bank was entered lately by a man named Harper, acting under the authority of the state, and a large amount of money was taken out. Harper and his attendants in gaol. Mob threatens to release them. Bank of the United States and all its branches are much abused by the inhabitants and some very impudent threats made. When the bank was entered by Harper no resistance was made by its officers. Passed Tarlton and Kingston, two inconsiderable villages.
Saturday, Oct. 24.–Left Chillicothe at 7 o’clock a. m. Arrived at Sinking Springs, a little village, after traveling a distance of thirty-three miles. Passed over some rich bottoms, neat farms and very fertile prairies. A few poor ridges, part level, part mountainous. People look healthy, but are extremely impudent and lazy. Game is abundant deer, turkeys, partridges and squirrels.
Sunday, Oct. 25.–Left Sinking Springs at 7 o’clock a. m. Traveled to West Union, a little village. Distance twenty-three miles. Lands of three qualities, broken, barren and mountainous. Miserable log huts. Inhabitants more polite and civil. Crossed Brush creek at the foot of a small mountain. At this place met some travelers, among them some Philadelphians. The inhabitants in this part of the country generally emigrants. Real Ohios, real savages in appearance and manners, destitute of every degree of politeness. Not uncommon for a man to follow three or four occupations. For example, John Noble follows both tailoring and saddlering. My barber is also a waiter on the table, assistant cook and hostler. In this town one man is a lawyer, a merchant and an apothecary.
Monday, Oct. 26.–Left West Union at 10 o’clock a. m. My friend having business here, we lost one day. Traveled over a poor, hilly and mountainous country for seventeen miles and arrived at Limestone. Crossed the Ohio in a horse-boat and landed at Maysville, Ky., at 5 o’clock p. m., bidding a willing adieu to Ohio, not leaving behind a single individual whom we ever wished to see again. I must confess from the many favorable representations made of the habits, manners and state of society and quality of the lands in the state of Ohio, I was prepared to meet a different soil and a different people from those just left. Before I take a final leave of Ohio I must mention an occurrence that transpired a few days previous to our arrival in New Lancaster. Ten or fifteen friendly Indians were traveling from near New York to visit their red brethren in the west. They were poor, but peaceable and well behaved. When they were within about twenty-five miles of New Lancaster three of the Indians were unable to keep up with the leading party, a man, a young squaw and a child. Those unoffending and unfortunate people were waylaid by three monsters in human shape, ruffians belonging to the neighborhood. They lay hid until those three Indians got in a rake, and then fired upon them, intending to kill all at the same shot. The child and man escaped unhurt, but the unfortunate female had her thigh broken and received a ball in the abdomen. No hope was entertained of her recovery. The villains were taken and committed to prison. The only reason given by them for committing this extraordinary outrage was that during the war the Indians had murdered in battle some of their connections or relatives.
Tuesday, Oct. 27.–Maysville is a growing little village, situated on the Ohio and reaching in a southerly direction to the foot of a small mountain. Left Maysville at 6 o’clock a. m. and arrived four miles beyond the Blue Licks at 5 o’clock, a distance of thirty miles. Passed Washington, May Licks and some smaller villages. Some good land, some very poor. Country mountainous and stony. Great difficulty in obtaining meat or drink during the day, although taverns are plenty. The Blue Licks are rude, uncultivated, stony barrens, poor beyond description and extremely difficult to travel over. Passed several dead horses on the road. An infectious disease called the sore tongue had produced their deaths, and was to be found at every stable for hundreds of miles. Men, cows, hogs and sheep were subject to it. Being tired, hungry and disappointed in the appearance of the country, I retired to bed early. On the 25th inst. the ground was covered with snow. Little or no rain had fallen in this part of the country for near six months. Many creeks nearly dry. Great difficulty in obtaining water to drink. Passed some salt springs and wells. Salt $2.50 per bushel, coffee 50 cents per pound. Those prices will sound very high to the merchants of Philadelphia.
Wednesday, Oct. 28.–Left Artis’ tavern, thirty miles from Maysville, at 7 o’clock a. m. Traveled over a very fertile country, a distance of seventeen miles, and arrived at a neat little town called Paris. Passed some handsome houses. Saw many Negroes. They were ragged, foolish, and, in appearance, miserable. Paris, as a town, has some claim to beauty. It is placed on an eminence. Many of the houses are brick and of handsome shape. There is constantly that stir and bustle which denotes a place of business. The country around is fertile, and, although there is no navigable stream near, the eye is prevented from falling too heavily on the neighboring fields and valleys by the winding of a small stream, upon which there is a busy-looking mill.
“How often have I paused on every charm–The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm, The never-failing brook, the busy mill, The decent church that topped the neighboring hill.”
In this little town we met a hearty welcome. The inhabitants are polite and hospitable. The singular variety which is to be found in the human family by a traveler is difficult to be described. Indeed, every hundred miles would take a small volume. Straggling play-actors and tightrope dancers had found their way to Paris, besides other amusements which were to be found in this sprightly little town, which had a tendency to make our time pass very agreeably. On Wednesday night at 11 o’clock, I was called to visit Miss Craughan, sister of Col. Craughan, an old acquaintance. I found her dangerously ill with quinsy. Large bleedings and some other medicines gave relief. Was compelled to leave her and proceed on my journey. Heard of her recovery. Interesting lady.
Thursday, Oct. 29.–Left Thorgmorton’s tavern at 9 o’clock a. m. Good roads; fair weather; generous people; good land and neat dwellings. Dined in Lexington, a town of considerable size, and a place of great business. Saw large numbers of country people dealing in stores. Met and overtook but few travelers the last three or four days. Traveled this day thirty-two miles to Cole’s. The lands not so fertile and a little hilly.
Friday, Oct. 30.–Left Cole’s at 6 o’clock a. m. Breakfasted at Frankfort, the seat of the government of Kentucky. It is situated in a deep valley near a stream, surrounded with high and uneven hills, and at a distance, from its shape and situation, it resembles a garden laid off in squares. A very handsome bridge, neatly painted, is thrown across the Kentucky river, which, together with some public buildings erected with considerable taste, assist much in enlivening and adding beauty and elegance to the appearance of the town. Left Frankfort at 9 o’clock. Crossed the Kentucky river, which was only three feet wide, owing to the uncommon drought. Foot passengers were crossing on a rail. Passed through Shelbyville, a small village. Many creeks, rivers and branches entirely dry. Every animal suffering for water. The farmers compelled to cart a sufficient quantity to support life, many miles. No water to be obtained in the village for our horses. Fortunately we were enabled to purchase some on the road. Traveled twenty-nine miles to Smith’s. Lands rich. Country broken on the old road. Deep valleys. Frightful precipices. Beech woods. Large trees. Good corn. Warm and dry weather.
Saturday, Oct. 31.–Left Smith’s at 7 o’clock a. m. Traveled over a very rich and flat country. Passed through Middletown, and at 4 o’clock arrived at Louisville, after traveling twenty-eight miles. This day being Saturday, and having met some old friends and acquaintances, a party was made up to visit the Louisville theater. Philadelphia being the theater for all great performers, curiosity was on tip-toe to view the players of Louisville. The theater is a neat little building. It was but thinly attended, owing to the pressure of the times. The play was “Wives as They Were and Maids as They Are,” Mr. Drake and Mrs. Grochong supporting the principal characters. Their persons, features, voices and gestures were fine, appearing to possess the nicest feelings and tenderest sympathies, and, in my opinion, they were well suited to a better stage. The play better performed than expected. Indeed, I may say well performed, if I may be permitted to add there was more than one of the actors who was unfeeling, unmeaning, made of wood and more like a gate-post than an animated being. This had the happiest of effects, for after shedding tears of grief at interesting parts of the play they were kept flowing with laughter at those ridiculous performers making tragedy into comedy. Louisville is a flourishing town immediately on the banks of the Ohio. The town and business principally confined to one street. The inhabitants are polite, hospitable and live fast.
Sunday, Nov. 1.–This day was spent in visiting a family near Louisville, friends of my youthful days, whom I had not seen for eighteen years. As I approached the dwelling, happy days that are never to return, pleasant hours, youthful, happy and blooming faces, joyous scenes and many dear moments, flashed suddenly across my mind. But judge of my disappointment on meeting the remains of this amiable family. I will not attempt to express feelings that in the human language know no description. Mrs. M—-, a truly good woman, had been borne to that shore “from whence no traveler returns.” Her daughter, who was the admiration of all that knew her, soon followed. The remains of the family which eighteen years ago was young and fashionable, elegant and beautiful, had become sedate, crooked, wrinkled and even gray. To witness the ravages of time produced a gloom which lasted several days. I took an affectionate leave of them, never expecting to see them again.
Tuesday, Nov. 3.–Remained in Louisville Monday and part of today. Left Aleen’s the 2d. Passed through Shipping Port, on the bank of the Ohio, two and one-half miles below Louisville. A very promising little village. Twelve or thirteen steamboats lying at this place aground, owing to the unusual drought. Curiosity induced me to go on board the largest steamboat in the world, lying at this place. She is called the United States, and is owned by a company of gentlemen. I have taken down her dimensions: Length of keel, 165 feet 8 inches; depth of hold, 11 feet 3 inches; breadth of beam and girder, 56 feet; length on deck, 176 feet 8 inches; breadth of beam without girder, 37 feet. This mammoth boat has eight boilers and elegant accommodations for a large number of passengers. Many of the steamships lying at this place are built on improved plans and are very handsome. We crossed the Ohio at a point where it is three-quarters of a mile wide. Passed through New Albany, Ind., a little village inhabited by tavern keepers and mechanics. Traveled to Miller’s, a distance of six miles over the knobs. Country very much broken. Some steep hills and sugar-loaf knobs. The woods being on fire, a scene truly sublime presented itself at night. The lands indifferent. Weather warm and dry. Passed many travelers bound to the west, and met three or four wagons with families returning from the promised land. Slept in a house without glass in the windows and no fastenings to the doors. The inhabitants impudent and lazy beyond example. Supped on cabbage, turnips, pickles, beets, beefsteak made of pickled beef, rye coffee and sage tea. The people of Indiana differ widely from Kentuckians in habits, manners and even dialect. Whilst hospitality, politeness and good sense characterize Kentuckians, ignorance, impudence and laziness has stamped the Indianians.