Friday, 25 March 2011

Doctor Thomas Walker's Journal 2

Doctor Thomas Walker's Journal (6 Mar 1749/50 - 13 Jul 1750)
A Record of His Travels in Present-day Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

9th. We travelled to a river, which I suppose to be that which the Hunters call Clinches River from one Clinch a Hunter, who first found it.  we marked several Beeches on the East Side. we could not find a ford Shallow enough to carry our Baggage over on our Horses. Ambrose Powell Forded over on one horse and we drove the others after him. We then made a raft and carried over one load of Baggage, but when the raft was brought back, it was so heavy that it would not carry anything more dry.

April 10th. we waded and carried the remainder of our Baggage on our shoulders at two turns over the River, which is about one hundred and thirty yards wide, we went on about five miles and Camped on a Small Branch.

April 11th. Having travelled 5 miles to and over an High Mountain, Cumberland Gap, we came to Turkey Creek, which we kept down 4 miles. It lied between two Ridges of Mountains, that to the Eastward being the highest.

12th. We kept down the creek 2 miles further, where it meets with a large Branch coming from the South West and thence runs through the East Ridge making a very good pass; and a large Buffaloe Road goes from that Fork to the Creek over the west ridge, which we took and found the Ascent and Descent tollerably easie. From this Mountain we rode on four miles to Beargrass River.  Small Cedar Trees are very plenty on the flat ground nigh the River, and some Barberry trees on the East side of the River. on the Banks is some Beargrass. We kept up the River 2 miles. I found Small pieces of Coal  and a great plenty of very good yellow flint. The water is the most transparent I ever saw. It is about 70 yds. wide.

April 13th. We went four miles to large Creek which we called Cedar Creek being a Branch of Bear-Grass, and from thence Six miles to Cave Gap,  the land being Levil. On the North side of the Gap is a large Spring, which falls very fast, and just above the Spring is a small Entrance to a Large Cave, which the spring runs through, and there is a constant Stream of Cool air issueing out. The Spring is sufficient to turn a Mill. Just at the Foot of the Hill is a Laurel Thicket and the spring Water runs through it. On the South side is a Plain Indian Road. on the top of the Ridge are Laurel Trees marked with Crosses, others Blazed and several Figures on them. As I went down the other Side, I soon came to some Laurel in the head of the Branch. A Beech stands on the left hand, on which I cut my name.  This Gap may be seen at a considerable distance, and there is no other, that I know of, except one about two miles to the North of it which does not appear to be So low as the other. The Mountain on the North Side of the Gap is very Steep and Rocky, but on the South side it is not so. We Called it Steep Ridge. At the foot of the hill on the North West side we came to a Branch, that made a great deal of flat land. We kept down it 2 miles, several other Branches Coming in to make it a large Creek, and we called it Flat Creek. We camped on the bank where we found very good coal. I did not Se any Lime Stone beyond this ridge. We rode 13 miles this day.

April 14th. We kept down the Creek 5 miles chiefly along the Indian Road.

April 15th. Easter Sunday. Being in bad grounds for our Horses we moved 7 miles along the Indian Road, to Clover Creek. Clover and Hop vines are plenty here.

April 16th. Rain. I made a pair of Indian Shoes, those I brought out being bad.

17th. Still Rain. I went down the Creek a hunting and found that it went into a River about a mile below our camp. this, which is Flat Creek and some others join'd I called Cumberland River.

18th. Still Cloudy. We kept down the Creek to the River along the Indians Road to where it crosses. Indians have lived about this Ford some years ago. We kept on down the South Side. After riding 5 miles from our Camp, we left the River, it being very crooked. In Rideing 3 miles we came on it again. It is about 60 or 70 yds. Wide. We rode 8  miles this day.

19th. We left the River but in four miles we came on it again at the Mouth of Licking Creek, which we went up and down another. In the Fork of Licking Creek is a Lick much used by Buffaloes and many large Roads lead to it. This afternoon Ambrose Powell was bit by a Bear in his Knee. We rode 7 miles this day.

20th. we kept down the Creek  2 miles to the River again. It appears not any wider here at the mouth of Clover Creek, but much deeper. I thought it proper to Cross the River and begin a bark Conoe.

April 21st. We finished the Conoe and tryed her. About Noon it began to Thunder, lighten, hail and rain prodigously and continued about 2 hours.

Author's Note. I can only think that as distance in this journal is measured in miles, that they must have a means of triangulating to measure the distance.


Fimbulmyrk said...

Most interesting read again, thanks!

Gorges Smythe said...

For what it's worth, Samuel Stalnaker, mentioned somewhere in Walker's writings is an ancestor of mine. I think he was living futhest from civilization of anyone on the Holston River at the time.

Le Loup said...

Good one!