The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, edited by Lincoln MacVeagh (New York: The Dial Press, 1924), 68-75.

Saturday, April 29th 1775.
This morning we were joined by Mr. James Nourse, an English gentleman going down to the Kentucky River to take up land in right of his Brother who is an Officer in the navy, Mr. Benjamin Johnston and Captn. Edmund Taylor, who are going to take up land on the Kentucky River. Got all our provisions on board. Mr. Nourse, Captn. Taylor, Mr. Nourse’s servant, and me in the Charming Sally, Mr. Johnston, his servant, George Rice, Captn. Taylor’s Brother and a servant of his in the Charming Polly, proceeded down the River to the mouth of Saweekly Creek/ The navigation very bad. Obliged to push the Canoes over the shoals for two miles together. A great number of rapids, is a very dangerous navigation. Mr. Nourse insists on me taking one half of his tent; this is very agreeable.

Sunday, April 30th, 1775.
This day we have been detained by the rain. Settled our accounts concerning Vessels and provisions. The Land from the foot of the Laurel Mountain to Fort Pitt is rich beyond conception. Walnut and Cherry Trees grow to an amazing size. I have seen several three foot diameter and 40 foot before they come to a limb. Great plenty of Wild Plum Trees and a Species of the Pimento, these are small Bushes. The soil in general is Black and of a Fat Loamy nature. Coal and Limestone in the same quarry. I have seen stratums of Coal 14 feet thick equal in quality to the English Coal. Land is at a very low rate, 100 acres might be purchased for 100 [pounds] Pennsylvania Currency. Very thinly inhabited. The few there is, are in general great rascals.

Yaughagany River, Virginia – Monday, May 1st, 1775.
After breakfast left Saweekly and stood down the River. Crossed several Fish pots. These fish pots are made by throwing up the small stones and gravel something like a mill weir, beginning at the side of the River and proceeding in a diagonal line, till they meet in the middle of the stream, where they fix a thing like the body of a cart, contracted where the water flows in just to admit the fish, but so contrived as to prevent their return or escape. Got over the shoals by hauling our canoes. Fell into the Mon-in-ga-ha-ley about noon. Eat our dinner at Magee’s Fort. This is a stockade fort, built the last summer.

Mon-in-ga-ha-ley River – Monday, May 1st, 1775.
This River is about 100 yards broad and it confluxes with the Yaughagany, and has continued its breadth. Upon the banks of this river, where they are high and broken, I observed stratums of leaves about a foot thick twenty foot below the surface of the earth. They appeared to be sound and not concreted together, much like those that are driven together by winds in autumn. Fell down a little below Braddock’s Field, where we camped in a heavy show of rain. One of our company shot a wild Turkey, which made us an excellent supper.

Ohio River – Tuesday, May 2nd, 1775.
Proceeded down the River. Our Canoes are so heavily loaded that we are in great danger of oversetting, the water is within three inches of the gunnel which adds to the exceeding crankness of our vessel and makes me uneasy. Called at Fort Pitt and bought some necessaries such as lead, flints and some silver trinkets to barter with the Indians. Dined at Mr. John Campbell’s. After dinner proceeded down the Ohio River. Passed McKey’s Island, it is about a mile long and belongs to Captn. Alexander McKey, Superintendent of Indian affairs. Camped at the lower end of Monture’s Islands, three find Islands belonging to John Monture, a half Indian. The Lan exceedingly rich.

Wednesday, May 3rd, 1775.
This morning Mr. Robert Bell and one Harrison left us to go to their plantations in this neighbourhood. They had come with us from Yaughangany River and have been very serviceable in instructing us how to navigate our little barks. Proceeded down the River, passed Logg’s Town (an old Indian town but now deserted). It is on the W. side, then Bigg Beaver Creek on the W., then little Beaver Creek on the W., neither of them so large, but they may be foul in dry weather. A little before dark stopped at a farmer’s house to bake bread. Agreed to lash our vessels together and float all night. The River is very high and rapid, suppose we can float two miles in an hour.

Thursday, May 4th, 1775.
In the morning found ourselves opposite Yellow Creek on the W. Very heavy rain for several hours. Very few inhabitants, not a house to be seen in 40 miles, tho’ the land is exceedingly rich, in general The River is exceedingly crooked, full of small islands and rapid. If there is high land on one side there is always a rich level bottom on the opposite shore. Got to Wheeling Creek, Fort Fincastle on the East side of the River. This is a quadrangular picketed Fort on a little hill beside the River, built last summer by Lord Dunmore, a small garrison in int. Here we took into our company Captn. George Clark. Lashed our canoes together and drifted all night. Stopped at Grave Creek about 2 in the morning.

Friday, May 5th, 1775.
Got up very early and went to view the Grave It bears East of the River, about a mile from it and above the mouth of the Creek. The great Grave is a round hill something like a sugar loaf about 300 feet in circumference at bottom, 100 feet high and about 60 feet diameter at top where it forms a sort of irregular basin. It has several large trees upon it, but I could not find any signs of brick or stone on it, seems to have been a trench about it. There is two other hills about 50 yards from this, but not much larger than a Charcoal pit and much in that shape, with other antique vestiges. Some appear to have been works of defence but very irregular.

Friday, May 5th, 1775.
All these Hills appear to have been made by human art, but by whom, in what age, or for what use I leave it for more able antiquarians to determine. The Indians’ tradition is that there was a great Battle fought here and many great Warriors killed. These mounds were raised to perpetuate their memory. The truth of this I will not pretend to assert. Proceeded down the River, entertained with a number of delightful prospects in their nature, wild yet truly beautiful. Passed several Creeks and small Islands, few inhabitants but rich land. Got to the head of the long reach where we have a view of the River for 15 miles. Drifted all night.

Saturday, May 6th, 1775.
Found ourselves opposite Muddy Creek. The heavy rain obliged us to take shelter in a lone house and stay all night.

Sunday, May 7th, 1775.
This morning Captn. Clark (who I find is an intelligent man) showed me a root that the Indians call pocoon, good for the bite of a Rattle Snake. The root is to be mashed and applied to the wound and a decoction made of the leaves which the patients drink. The roots are exceedingly red, the Indians use it to paint themselves with sometimes. Left Muddy Creek, passed two small Islands to the Big tree Island, so called from the number of large trees upon it. Went ashore on the Big tree Island and measured a large Sycamore tree. It was 51 feet 4 inches in circumference one foot from the ground, and 46 foot circumference five feet from the ground, and I suppose it would have measured that twenty feet high. There were several large trees, but I believe that these exceed the rest. One of the company caught a large Catfish which made a most delicious pot of Soup. Past the Muskingum River on the W. Fine land between that and the little Muskingum. Passed by the Little Kanhawa River on the East. Barren land about the mouth of it. Stopped to cook our supper at Four Gower, a little picked Fort built last summer, but now deserted at the mouth of Hokkskin on the W. Drifted all night.

Monday, May 8th, 1775.
Heavy rain this morning which obliged us to make a sort of awning with our tent cloths and blankets. Got round the Horseshoe, a large curve of about 4 Miles made by the River in the form of a horseshoe from whence it takes its name. Here is excellent land. Passed a number of small Islands. River continues rapid. Camped about 4 Miles below the Horseshoe, where we met with some people who gave us very bad encouragement, say that the Indians are broke out again and killed four men on the Kentucky River. My courageous companions’ spirits begin to droop.

Tuesday, May 9th, 1775.
Proceeded down the River. Passed four Islands. About noon go to the mouth of the Great Kanhaway or Conhanway River. Here is a large picketed for called Fort Blair, built last summer by Colnl. Andrew Lewis, who entirely defeated the Shawannee Indians about a mile from it, in August 1774. It is now garrisoned with 100 Men, under Captn. Russell, who invited us to dine with him, and treated us as well as his situation would admit. Confirms the account we heard yesterday. My companions exceedingly fearful and I am far from being easy, but am determined to proceed as far as anyone will keep my company. Drifted all night.

Wednesday, May 10th, 1775.
Found ourselves opposite Guiandot Creek on the east side the River. Rowed hard and got to Sandy Creek to cook breakfast, where we found Captn. Charles Smith encamped with 22 men. He was taking up land as we are now out of the inhabitants. I intend to stay here for Captn. Lee.

Thursday, May 11th, 1775.
Employed in washing our linen and mending our clothes.

Friday, May 12th, 1775.
This day held a Council whether we should proceed or turn back. After much altercation our company determined to persevere, tho’ I believe they are a set of Dammd cowards. With much persuasion prevailed upon them to let me endeavour to make our Vessels more safe and commodious., This has been a most arduous task to effect, so difficult it is to beat these people out of their own course when it is for their safety.

Saturday, May 13th, 1775.
Camped at the mouth of Sandy Creek. Employed in fixing our Canoes together by two beams, one athwart the heads, the other at the stern, setting the Canoes about one foot apart. In the middle of the aftermost piece, I fixed a strong pin, on that hung the rudder, made something like an oar, but bent down towards the water and projected about two feet astern of the Vessel, rigged her out with four oars and called her the Union. Some of our company laughs at it and declare she will not answer the helm. But it pleases me well and hope it will deceive them.

Sunday, May 14th, 1775.
Camped at the mouth of Sandy Creek. This morning very wet. After breakfast Mr. Edmund Taylor and I entered into discourse on politics which ended in high words. Taylor threatened to tar and feather me. Obliged to pocket the affront. Find I shall be torified if I hold any further confab with these red-hot liberty men. (Mem. Taylor’s usage to be remembered.)

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