Cathedral Woods, Intervale, N. H
The American is naturally proud of his country, its substantial growth and wonderful development, and of the rapid strides it is making among the foremost nations of the world. No matter how far elsewhere the American citizen may have travelled, he cannot know too much of the United States, its grand attractions and charming environment. Though this great and vigorous nation is young, yet it has a history that is full of interest, and a literature giving a most absorbing story of rapid growth and patriotic progress, replete with romance, poetry and a unique folklore.
The object of this work is to give the busy reader in acceptable form such a comprehensive knowledge as he would like to have, of the geography, history, picturesque attractions, peculiarities, productions and most salient features of our great country. The intention has been to make the book not only a work of reference, but a work of art and of interest as well, and it is burdened neither with too much statistics nor too intricate prolixity of description. It covers the Continent of North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Dominion and Alaska. It has been prepared mainly from notes specially taken by the author during many years of extended travel all over the United States and Canada. A method of treatment of the comprehensive subject has been followed which is similar to the plan that has proved acceptable in “England, Picturesque and Descriptive.” The work has been arranged in twenty-one tours, each volume beginning at the older settlements upon the Atlantic seaboard; and each tour describing a route following very much the lines upon which a travelling sightseer generally advances in the respective directions taken. The book is presented to the public as a contribution to a general knowledge of our country, and with the hope that the reader, recognizing the difficulties of adequate treatment of so great a subject, may find in the interest it inspires, an indulgent excuse for any shortcomings.
Philadelphia, September, 1900.
The First Permanent Settlement in North America — Captain John Smith — Jamestown — Chesapeake Bay — The City of Washington — The Capitol — The White House — Elaborate Public Buildings — The Treasury — The State, War and Navy Departments — The Congressional Library — The Smithsonian Institution — Prof. Joseph Henry — The Soldiers’ Home — Agricultural Department — Washington Monument — City of Magnificent Distances — Potomac River — Allegheny Mountains — The Kittatinny Range — Harper’s Ferry — John Brown — The Great Falls — Alexandria — Mount Vernon — Washington’s Home and Tomb — Washington Relics — Key of the Bastille — Rappahannock River — Fredericksburg — Mary Ball, the Mother of Washington — York River — The Peninsula — Williamsburg — Yorktown — Cornwallis’ Surrender — James River — The Natural Bridge — Lynchburg — Appomattox Court-House — Lee’s Surrender — Powhatan — Dutch Gap — Varina — Pocahontas — Her Wedding to Rolfe — Her Descendants, the “First Families of Virginia” — Deep Bottom — Malvern Hill — General McClellan’s Seven Days’ Battles and Retreat — Bermuda Hundred — General Butler — Shirley — Appomattox River — Petersburg — General Grant’s Headquarters — City Point — Harrison’s Landing — Berkeley — Westover — William Byrd — Chickahominy River — Jamestown Island — Gold Hunting — The Northwest Passage — First Corn-Planting — Indian Habits — First House of Burgesses — Tobacco-Growing — Virginia Planters — Importing Negro Slaves — Newport News — Merrimac and Monitor Contest — Hampton Roads — Hampton — Old Point Comfort — Fortress Monroe — Fort Algernon — Fort Wool — Elizabeth River — Norfolk — Portsmouth — Great Dismal Swamp — The Eastern Shore — The Oyster Navy — William Claiborne — Kent Island — Lord Baltimore — The Maryland Palatinate — Leonard Calvert’s Expedition — St. Mary’s — Patuxent River — St. Inigoe’s — Severn River — Annapolis — United States Naval Academy — Patapsco River — Baltimore — Jones’s Falls — Washington Monument — Battle Monument — Johns Hopkins and his Benefactions — Baltimore and Ohio Railroad — Druid Hill — Greenmount Cemetery — Fort McHenry — The Star-Spangled Banner
When Captain Christopher Newport’s expedition of three little ships and one hundred and five men, sent out by the “Virginia Company” to colonize America, after four months’ buffeting by the rough winter storms of the North Atlantic, sought a harbor of refuge in May, 1607, they sailed into Chesapeake Bay. These three little ships were the “Susan Constant,” the “Good Speed” and the “Discovery;” and upon them came Captain John Smith, the renowned adventurer, who, with Newport, founded the first permanent settlement in North America, the colony of Jamestown. The king who chartered the “Virginia Company” was James I., and hence the name. As the fleet sailed into the “fair bay,” as Smith called it, the headlands on either side of the entrance were named Cape Charles and Cape Henry, for the king’s two sons. Their first anchorage was in a roadstead of such attractive character that they named the adjacent land Point Comfort, which it retains to this day; and farther inland, where Captain Newport afterwards came, in hopes of getting news from home, is now the busy port and town of Newport News. Sir Walter Raleigh, in the previous century, had sent out his ill-starred expedition to Roanoke, which had first entered this great bay; and at the Elizabeth River, which they had named in honor of Raleigh’s queen, they found the Indian village of Chesapik, meaning “the mother of waters;” and from this came the name of Chesapeake Bay. Raleigh had landed colonists here, as well as at Roanoke, and when the “Virginia Company” sent out Newport’s expedition it laid three commands upon those in charge: First, they were to seek Raleigh’s lost colonists; second, they were to find gold; and third, they were to search for the “northwest passage” through America to the Pacific Ocean. So strong was the belief in finding gold in the New World that the only consideration King James asked for his charter was the stipulation that the “Virginia Company” should pay him one-fifth of the gold and silver found in its possessions.
As none of Raleigh’s colonists could be found, the expedition sailed up the James River after considerable delay, and, selecting a better place for a settlement, landed at Jamestown May 13, 1607, where Smith became their acknowledged leader, and preserved the permanency of the colony. This famous navigator and colonist was a native of Willoughby, in Lincolnshire, England, born in January, 1579. When scarcely more than a boy he fought in the wars of Holland, and then he wandered through Europe and as far as Egypt, afterwards returning to engage in the conflict against the Turks in Hungary. Here he won great renown, fighting many desperate combats, and in one engagement cutting off three Turks’ heads; but he was finally wounded and captured. The sober, investigating historians of a later day have taken the liberty to doubt some of Smith’s wonderful tales of these remarkable adventures, but he must have done something heroic to season him for the hardy work of the pioneer who was the first to succeed in planting a colony in North America. After the Turks made him a prisoner, he was sold as a slave in Constantinople, being condemned to the hardest and most revolting kinds of labor, until he became desperate under the cruelties and escaped. Then he was for a long time a wanderer through the wilderness, traversing the forests of Russia, and pushing his way alone across Europe, until, almost worn out with fatigue and hardships, he arrived in England just at the time Newport’s expedition was being fitted out; and still having an irrepressible love for adventure, he joined it.
There can be no better place for beginning a survey of our country than upon this great bay, which Smith and his companions entered in 1607. Chesapeake Bay is the largest inland sea on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. It stretches for two hundred miles up into the land, between the low and fertile shores of Virginia and Maryland, both of which States it divides, and thus gives them valuable navigation facilities. In its many arms and estuaries are the resting-places for the luscious oysters which its people send all over the world. It is one of the greatest of food-producers, having a larger variety of tempting luxuries for the palate than probably any other region. Along its shores and upon its islands are numberless popular resorts for fishing and shooting, for its tender and amply-supplied water-foods attract the ducks and other wild fowl in countless thousands, and bring in shoals of the sea-fishes, which are the sportsmen’s coveted game. Its terrapin are famous, while its shores and borderlands, particularly on the eastern side, are a series of orchards and market-gardens, providing limitless supplies of fruits, berries and vegetables for the Northern markets. It receives in its generally placid bosom some of the greatest rivers flowing down from the Allegheny Mountains. The broad Susquehanna, coming through New York and Pennsylvania, makes its headwaters, and it receives the Potomac, dividing Maryland from Virginia, and the James, in Virginia, both of them wide estuaries with an enormous outflow; and also numerous smaller streams, such as the Rappahannock, York, Patuxent, Patapsco, Choptank and Elizabeth Rivers. Extensive lines of profitable commerce, all large carriers of food-supplies, have transport over this great bay and its many arms and affluents. Canals connect it with other interior waters, and leading railways with all parts of the country, while there are several noted cities upon its shores and tributaries.