America, Volume 2, Joel Cook
America, Volume 2
Joel Cook
6:37 h History Lvl 7.71
America, Volume 2 of 6. This set of books is aimed to give the reader comprehensive knowledge of geography, history, peculiarities and picturesque attractions of America. Joel Cook was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1907 to 1910.

America

by
Joel Cook

In Six Volumes

Volume II


Mammoth Hot Springs

Crossing the Alleghenies

IV.

Crossing the Alleghenies

The Old Pike — The National Road — Early Routes Across the Mountains — Old Lancaster Road — Columbia Railroad — The Pennsylvania Route — Haverford College — Villa Nova — Bryn Mawr College — Paoli — General Wayne — The Chester Valley — Pequea Valley — The Conestogas — Lancaster — Franklin and Marshall College — James Buchanan — Thaddeus Stevens — Conewago Hills — Susquehanna River — Columbia — The Underground Railroad — Middletown — Lochiel — Simon Cameron — The Clan Cameron — Harrisburg — Charles Dickens and the Camel’s Back Bridge — John Harris — Lincoln’s Midnight Ride — Cumberland Valley — Carlisle — Indian School — Dickinson College — The Whisky Insurrection — Tom the Tinker — Lebanon Valley — Cornwall Ore Banks — Otsego Lake — Cooperstown — James Fenimore Cooper — Richfield Springs — Cherry Valley — Sharon Springs — Howe’s Cave — Binghamton — Northumberland — Williamsport — Sunbury — Fort Augusta — The Dauphin Gap — Duncannon — Duncan’s Island — Juniata River — Tuscarora Gap — The Grasshopper War — Mifflin — Lewistown Narrows — Kishicoquillas Valley — Logan — Jack’s Narrows — Huntingdon — The Standing Stone — Bedford — Morrison’s Cove — The Sinking Spring — Brainerd, the Missionary — Tyrone — Bellefonte — Altoona — Hollidaysburg — The Portage Railroad — Blair’s Gap — The Horse Shoe — Kittanning Point — Thomas Blair and Michael Maguire — Loretto — Prince Gallitzin — Ebensburg — Cresson Springs — The Conemaugh River — South Fork — Johnstown — The Great Flood — Laurel Ridge — Packsaddle Narrows — Chestnut Ridge — Kiskiminetas River — Loyalhanna Creek — Fort Ligonier — Great Bear Cave — Hannastown — General Arthur St. Clair — Greensburg — Braddock’s Defeat — Pittsburg, the Iron City — Monongahela River — Allegheny River — Ohio River — Fort Duquesne — Fort Pitt — View from Mount Washington — Pittsburg Buildings — Great Factories — Andrew Carnegie — George Westinghouse, Jr. — Allegheny Park and Monument — Coal and Coke — Davis Island Dam — Youghiogheny River — Connellsville — Natural Gas — Murrysville — Petroleum — Canonsburg — Washington — Petroleum Development — Kittanning — Modoc Oil District — Fort Venango — Oil City — Pithole City — Oil Creek — Titusville — Corry — Decadence of Oil-Fields.


The Old Pike

The American aspiration has always been to go westward. In the early history of the Republic the Government gave great attention to the means of reaching the Western frontier, then cut off by what was regarded as the almost insurmountable barrier of the Alleghenies. General Washington was the first to project a chain of internal improvements across the mountains, by the route of the Potomac to Cumberland, then a Maryland frontier fort, and thence by roads to the headwaters of the Ohio. The initial enactment was procured by him from the Virginia Legislature in 1774, for improving the navigation of the Potomac; but the Revolutionary War interfered, and he renewed the movement afterwards in 1784, resulting in the charter of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, of which Washington was the first President. Little was done at that early period, however, in building the canal, but the Government constructed the famous “National Road,” the first highway over the Allegheny Mountains, from Cumberland in Maryland, mainly through Southwestern Pennsylvania, to wheeling on the Ohio. This noted highway was finished and used throughout in 1818, and, until the railways crossed the mountains, it was the great route of travel to the West. It was familiarly known as the “Old Pike,” and Thomas B. Searight has entertainingly recorded its pleasant memories, for it has now become mainly a relic of the past:

“We hear no more of the clanging hoof,
And the stage-coach, rattling by;
For the steam king rules the travelled world,
And the Old Pike’s left to die.”

He tells of the long lines of Conestoga wagons, each drawn by six heavy horses, their broad wheels, canvas-covered tops and huge cargoes of goods; of the swaying, rushing mail passenger coach, the fleet-footed pony express; the flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, the droves of horses and mules sent East from the “blue-grass” farms of Kentucky; and occasionally of a long line of men and women, tied two and two to a rope, driven by a slave-master from the South, to be sold in the newer region of the Southwest. He describes how the famous driver, Sam Sibley, brings up his grand coach at the hotel in Uniontown with the great Henry Clay as chief passenger, and then after dinner whirls away with a rush, but unfortunately, dashing over a pile of stone in the road, the coach upsets. Out crawls the driver with a broken nose, and a crowd hastens to rescue Mr. Clay from the upturned coach. He is unhurt, and brushing the dust from his clothes says: “This is mixing the Clay of Kentucky with the limestone of Pennsylvania.” Many are the tales of the famous road. One veteran teamster relates his experience of a night at the tavern on the mountain side — thirty six-horse teams were in the wagon-yard, one hundred mules in an adjoining lot, a thousand hogs in another, as many fat cattle from the West in a field, and the tavern crowded with teamsters and drovers — the grunts of the hogs, the braying of the mules, the bellowing of the cattle and the crunching and stamping of the horses, “made music beyond a dream.” In 1846 the message arrived at Cumberland at two o’clock in the morning that war was declared against Mexico, and a noted driver took the news over the mountains, past a hundred taverns and a score of villages, one hundred and thirty-one miles to Wheeling, in twelve hours. Over this famous road the Indian chief Black Hawk was brought, but the harness broke, the team ran away and the coach was smashed. Black Hawk crept out of the wreck, stood up surprised, and, wiping a drop of blood from his brow, earnestly muttered, “Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!” Barnum brought Jenny Lind over this road from Wheeling, paying $17.25 fare apiece to Baltimore. Lafayette came along it in 1825, the population all turning out to cheer him. Andrew Jackson came over it four years later to be inaugurated the first Western President, and subsequently also came Presidents Harrison, Polk and Taylor. What was thought of the “Old Pike” in its day of active service was well expressed at a reception to John Quincy Adams. Returning from the West, he arrived at Uniontown in May, 1837, and was warmly welcomed. Hon. Hugh Campbell, who made the reception address, said to the ex-President: “We stand here, sir, upon the Cumberland Road, which has broken down the great wall of the Appalachian Mountains. This road, we trust, constitutes an indissoluble chain of Union, connecting forever, as one, the East and the West.”

In the early part of the nineteenth century, Lancaster in Pennsylvania was the largest inland city of the United States. It is sixty-nine miles from Philadelphia, and the “old Lancaster Road,” the finest highway of that period, was constructed to connect them. This began the Pennsylvania route across the Alleghenies to the West, which afterwards became the most travelled. In 1834 the Pennsylvania Government opened its State work, the Columbia Railroad between the Delaware and the Susquehanna. In 1836 there were four daily lines of stages running in connection with this State railroad between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, making the journey in sixty hours. Gradually afterwards the Pennsylvania Railroad was extended across the mountains, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was completed to Wheeling, and they then took away the business from the “Old Pike” and all the other wagon or canal routes to the Ohio River.


Chester and Lancaster Valleys

Let us go westward across the Alleghenies by the Pennsylvania route. East of the mountains it traverses a rich agricultural region, limestone valleys, intersected by running streams and enclosed between parallel ridges of hills, stretching, like the mountain ranges, across the country from northeast to southwest. It is a land of prolific farms and dairies, and for miles beyond Philadelphia the line is adjoined by attractive villages and many beautiful suburban villas. Three noted institutions of learning are passed — Haverford College, the great Quaker College, standing in an extensive wooded park; the Roman Catholic Augustinian College at Villa Nova, with its cross-surmounted dome and twin church spires; and the Bryn Mawr College for women, one of the most famous in the United States. This is a region first settled by Welsh Quakers, and the name Bryn Mawr is Welsh for the “great hill.” It is a wealthy and extensive settlement, and its College has spacious buildings and over three hundred students. At the Commencements they all join in singing their impressive College hymn:

“Thou Gracious Inspiration, our guiding star,
Mistress and Mother, all hail Bryn Mawr,
Goddess of wisdom, thy torch divine
Doth beacon thy votaries to thy shrine,
And we, thy daughters, would thy vestals be,
Thy torch to consecrate eternally.”

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