America, Volume 2
Category: History
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America, Volume 2 is part of the love letter of sorts politician Joel Cook wrote to the American public. Cook wrote the book to provide history, knowledge, and even geographic layouts of parts of the country he loved. Find out what attractions this Representative from Pennsylvania thought were must-see while in the United States.


Joel Cook

In Six Volumes

Volume II

Mammoth Hot SpringsMammoth Hot Springs

Crossing the Alleghenies


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.”

A few miles beyond is Paoli, preserving in its name the memory of the Corsican patriot Paoli, and the birthplace of the Revolutionary General “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Here the British defeated the American patriots in September, 1777. It stands on the verge of one of the garden spots of Pennsylvania, the Chester Valley, a charming region of broad and smiling acres, bounded on the northwest by the Welsh Mountain and Mine Hill, and a veritable land of plenty. The Brandywine and Valley Creeks water it, flowing out respectively to the Delaware and the Schuylkill. Beyond the long ridge of Mine Hill is Lancaster County, another land of rich farms, with many miles of grain and tobacco fields. Mine Hill is the watershed between the Delaware and the Susquehanna, the fertile Pequea Valley being at its western base. This is a great wheat country, and from here was sent the first American grain across the Atlantic to feed Europe, the Lancaster County wheat, in the days before the railroads brought it from the West, ruling prices for the American markets. It was hauled out in the ponderous Conestoga wagons, named after the Indian tribe which formerly ruled this region — their name signifying “the great magic land.” They were a quarrelsome people, fighting all the neighboring tribes, and becoming deadly foes of the whites. Repeated wars decimated them, until in 1763 their last remnant, being hunted almost to death, took refuge in the ancient jail at Lancaster, and were cruelly massacred by the guerillas called the “Paxton Boys.”

In the midst of the wheat lands and bordering the broad Conestoga Creek, flowing down to the Susquehanna at Safe Harbor, is the city of Lancaster, its red sandstone castellated jail being a conspicuous object in the view. This city was originally called Hickory Town, but in the eighteenth century its loyal people christened it Lancaster, and named the chief streets, intersecting at the Central Market Square, King and Queen Streets, with Duke Street parallel to the latter. Prior to 1812 it was the capital of Pennsylvania. Lancaster is an attractive and comfortable old city of thirty-five thousand population, with many mills and factories and large tobacco houses. It has a splendid Soldiers’ Monument in the Central Square, with finely sculptured guards, representing each branch of the service, watching at the base of the magnificent shaft. Upon the outskirts are the ornate buildings of Franklin and Marshall College, a foundation of the German Reformed Church, and it also has a Theological Seminary. The charm of Lancaster, however, is Woodward Hill Cemetery, on a bold bluff, washed by the Conestoga Creek, which forms a graceful circle around its base. Upon the surface and sides of the bluff the graves are terraced. Here is the tomb of James Buchanan, the only President sent from Pennsylvania, who died in 1868, at his home of Wheatland on the outskirts of the town. Another noted citizen of Lancaster was Thaddeus Stevens, who long represented it in Congress, and was the Republican leader in the House of Representatives during the Civil War, and afterwards until his death in 1868. He was the great champion of the emancipation of the negro race, and refused to be buried in the cemetery because negroes were excluded. Upon the grave which he selected in Lancaster are these words: “I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not from any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited by charter rules as to race. I have chosen it that I might be enabled to illustrate in death the principle which I have advocated through a long life — equality of man before his Creator.” When Lancaster was the chief town of the Colonial frontier in 1753, it was the place where Braddock’s unfortunate expedition against Fort Duquesne at Pittsburg was organized and equipped, the work being mainly directed by Benjamin Franklin. Robert Fulton was born in Lancaster County, and he grew up and was educated at Lancaster, going afterwards to Philadelphia.

The Susquehanna West of FalmouthThe Susquehanna West of Falmouth

The Susquehanna River

The line westward from Lancaster crosses one long ridge-like hill after another stretching broadly over the country, and finally comes to the outlying ridge of the Allegheny range, the South Mountain, beyond which is the great Appalachian Valley. One railroad route boldly crosses this mountain through the depressions in the Conewago hills, where the picturesque Conewago Creek, the Indian “long reach,” flows down its beautiful gorge to the Susquehanna, and this railroad finally comes out on that river at Middletown below Harrisburg; the other route follows a more easy gradient westward ten miles to Columbia, and this is used by the heavier freight trains. Coming towards it over the hills, the wide Susquehanna lies low in its broad valley, enclosed by the distant ridge of the Kittatinny bounding Cumberland County beyond the river. As it is approached, the thought is uppermost that this is one of the noblest, and yet among the meanest rivers in the country. Rising in Otsego Lake in New York, it flows over four hundred miles down to Chesapeake Bay, receives large tributaries, its West Branch being two hundred miles long, rends all the Allegheny Mountain chains, and takes a great part of the drainage of that region in New York and Pennsylvania, passes through grand valleys, noble gorges and most magnificent scenery, and yet it is so thickly sown with islands, rocks and sand-bars, rapids and shallows, as to defy all attempts to make it satisfactorily navigable excepting by lumber rafts, logs and a few canal boats. Thus the Indians significantly gave its name meaning the island-strewn, broad and shallow river, and it is little more than a gigantic drain for Central Pennsylvania.

On its bank is Columbia, a town of busy iron and steel manufacture, as the whole range of towns are for miles up to and beyond Harrisburg. At Columbia first appeared, about 1804, that mysterious agency known as the “Underground Railroad,” whereby fugitive slaves were secretly passed from one “station” to another from “Mason and Dixon’s Line” to Canada, mainly through the aid and active exertions of philanthropic Quakers. All through Chester and Lancaster Counties and northward were laid the routes of this peculiar line, whose ramifications became more and more extensive as time passed, making the Fugitive Slave Law almost a nullity during the decade before the Civil War. There were hundreds of good people engaged in facilitating the unfortunate travellers who fled for freedom, and many have been the escapades with the slave-hunters, whose traffic long ago happily ended. At Middletown the Swatara River flows in from the hills of Lebanon County, there being all along the Susquehanna a prodigious development of the steel industry as well as rich farms on the fertile bottom lands. Here is the historic estate of Lochiel, which was the home of Simon Cameron, who for many years ruled the political destinies of Pennsylvania. He was born in 1799 at Maytown, near Marietta, on the Susquehanna, a few miles above Columbia, in humble circumstances, and came as a poor printer’s boy to Harrisburg, rose to wealth and power, and when he was full of years and honors placed the mantle of the United States Senatorship upon his son. Their “Clan Cameron” which ruled Pennsylvania for two generations has been regarded as the best managed political “machine” in the Union, having in its ranks and among its allies not only politicians, but bankers, railway managers, merchants, manufacturers and capitalists, and men in every walk of life, ramifying throughout the Keystone State.

Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, stands upon the sloping eastern bank of the river in the grandest scenery. Just above, the Susquehanna breaks through the Kittatinny at the Dauphin Gap, giving a superb display of the rending asunder of the towering mountain chain. Opposite are the forest-clad hills of York and Cumberland bordering the fertile Cumberland Valley spreading off to the southwest, while behind the city this great Appalachian Valley continues between its enclosing ridges as the Lebanon Valley northeast to the Schuylkill River at Reading. Market Street is the chief Harrisburg highway, and the Pennsylvania Railroad is the back border of the town. The State Capitol, set on a hill, was burnt, and is being rebuilt. A pleasant park encloses the site, and from the front a wide street leads down to the river, making a pretty view, with a Soldiers’ Monument in the centre, which is an enlarged reproduction of Cleopatra’s Needle. The Front Street of the city, along the river bank, is the popular promenade, and is adorned with the Executive Mansion and other fine residences, which have a grand outlook across the broad expanse of river and islands. Bridges cross over, among them the old “camel’s back,” a mile long, and having its shelving stone ice-breakers jutting up stream. This is the old wooden covered bridge that Charles Dickens wrote about in his American Notes. On his first American visit he came into Harrisburg from York County on a stage-coach through this bridge, and he wrote: “We crossed the river by a wooden bridge, roofed and covered on all sides, and nearly a mile in length. It was profoundly dark, perplexed with great beams, crossing and re-crossing it at every possible angle, and through the broad chinks and crevices in the floor the river gleamed far down below, like a legion of eyes. We had no lamps, and as the horses stumbled and floundered through this place towards the distant speck of dying light, it seemed interminable. I really could not persuade myself at first as we rumbled heavily on, filling the bridge with hollow noises — and I held down my head to save it from the rafters — but that I was in a painful dream, and that this could not be reality.” The old bridge is much the same to-day as when Dickens crossed it.

Harrisburg was named for John Harris, who established a ferry here, and alongside the river bank is the little “Harris Park” which contains his grave. The stump of the tree at the foot of which he was buried is carefully preserved. A drunken band of Conestoga Indians came this way in 1718, and, capturing the faithful ferryman, tied him to the tree to be tortured and burnt, when the timely interposition of some Indians from the opposite shore, who knew him and were friendly, saved him. His son succeeded him and ran the ferry, and an enclosure in the park preserves this spot of historic memory.

Lincoln’s Midnight Ride

It was from Harrisburg that Lincoln took the famous secret midnight ride, “in long cloak and Scotch cap,” which enabled him to escape attack and possible assassination when going to be inaugurated President in 1861. Lincoln arrived in Philadelphia on his way to Washington February 21st, and had arranged to visit Harrisburg next day, address the Pennsylvania Legislature, and then proceed to Washington by way of Baltimore. In Philadelphia General Scott and Senator Seward informed him that he could not pass through Baltimore at the time announced without great peril, and detectives who had carefully examined the situation declared his life in danger. Lincoln, however, could not believe that anyone would try to assassinate him and made light of the matter. On the morning of February 22d he raised a flag on Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and then went by railway to Harrisburg. There his friends again urged him to abandon his plan and avoid Baltimore. He visited the Legislature, and afterwards, at his hotel, met the Governor, several prominent people being present, among them Colonel Thomas A. Scott, then Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Again the subject was discussed, and he was urged to avoid the danger threatening next day, being reminded that the railway passenger coaches were drawn through the Baltimore streets by horses, thus increasing the chances of doing him harm. He heard them patiently and answered, “What would the nation think of its President stealing into the Capital like a thief in the night?” But they only the more strenuously insisted, and finally he yielded, consenting to do whatever they thought best. Colonel Scott undertook the task, and during the early evening quietly arranged a special train to take Lincoln to Philadelphia, where he would get aboard the regular night express and be in Washington by daylight. Colonel Ward H. Lamon, a personal friend, was selected to attend Lincoln. As the party left the hotel a large crowd cheered them, and the Governor, Andrew G. Curtin, the better to conceal the intention, called out in a loud voice, “Drive us to the Executive Mansion.” This was done, and when they had got away from the crowd the carriage was taken by a roundabout route to the station. Lincoln and Lamon were not noticed by the few people there, and quietly entering the car, left for Philadelphia. As soon as they had started Scott cut every telegraph wire leading out of Harrisburg, so nothing could be transmitted excepting under his control. Lincoln got to Philadelphia without trouble, was put aboard the express at midnight, and then at dawn Scott reunited his wires and called up Washington, a group of anxious men around him. Soon the message came back, slowly ticked out from the instrument, “Plums delivered nuts safely.” Scott knew what it meant; he jumped to his feet, threw up his hat and shouted, “Lincoln’s in Washington.” The Baltimore plotters were thus foiled, as the new President passed quietly through that city before daylight, and several hours earlier than they had expected him.

The Cumberland and Lebanon Valleys

Harrisburg stands in the centre of the great Appalachian Valley, where it is bisected by the broad Susquehanna. To the southwest it stretches away to the Potomac as the Cumberland Valley, and to the northeast it spreads across to the Schuylkill as the fertile Lebanon Valley. The high mountain wall of the Kittatinny bounds it on the northwest, with all the rivers, as heretofore described, breaking out through various “gaps.” In the Colonial days, when Indian forays were frequent, the Province of Pennsylvania defended the entrances to this fertile valley by a chain of frontier forts located at these gaps, with attendant block-houses, each post garrisoned by from twenty to eighty Provincial soldiers, as its importance demanded. Benjamin Franklin, who was then commissioned as a Colonel, was prominent in the advocacy of these frontier defences, and he personally organized the settlers and arranged the garrisons. Fort Hyndshaw began the chain on the Delaware, there were other forts on the Lehigh and Schuylkill, and Fort Henry located on the Swatara, now Lebanon, while just above Harrisburg was Fort Hunter, commanding the passage of the Susquehanna through the Dauphin Gap.

Over in the Cumberland Valley, about nineteen miles from Harrisburg, is Carlisle, a town of some nine thousand people, in a rich country, and the chief settlement of that valley. Here is located in what were formerly the army barracks, coming down from the time when this was a frontier post, the Government Indian Training School, where about eight hundred Indian boys and girls are instructed, being brought from the far western tribes to be taught the arts and methods of civilization. These Indian children are numerous in the streets and on the railway trains, with their straight hair, round swarthy faces and high cheek bones, and show the surprising influence of a civilizing education in humanizing their features and modifying their nomadic traits. They have quite a noted military organization and band at the School. Dickinson College, a foundation of the Methodist Church, is at Carlisle, having begun its work in 1783, when it was named after John Dickinson, then the President of Pennsylvania, who took great interest in it and made valuable gifts. Among its graduates were President James Buchanan and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. Carlisle was President Washington’s headquarters in 1794, during the “Whisky Insurrection” in Western Pennsylvania. After the United States Government got fairly started, the Congress in 1791 imposed a tax of seven cents per gallon on whisky. This made a great disturbance among the frontier settlers of Pennsylvania, who were largely Scotch-Irish, the population west of the Kittatinny to the Ohio River being then estimated at seventy thousand. They had no market for their grain, but they made it into whisky, which found ready sale. A horse could carry two kegs of eight gallons each on the bridle paths across the mountains, and it was worth a dollar a gallon in the east. Returning, the horseback load was usually iron worth sixteen cents a pound, or salt at five dollars a bushel. Every farmer had a still, and the whisky thus became practically the money of the people on account of its purchasing value. Opposition to the tax began in riots. A crowd of “Whisky boys” from Bedford came into Carlisle and burnt the Chief Justice in effigy, setting up a liberty pole with the words “Liberty and No Excise on Whisky.” President Washington called for troops to enforce the law, and this angered them. One John Holcroft, a ready writer, appeared, and wrote sharp articles against the law and the army, over the signature of “Tom the Tinker.” These were printed in handbills, and the historian says “half the trees in Western Pennsylvania were whitened with Tom the Tinker’s notices.” Officials sent to collect the tax were roughly treated, farmers who paid it were beaten by masked men, and one man who rented his house to a tax collector was captured at midnight by a crowd of disguised vigilants, who carried him into the woods, sheared his hair, tarred, feathered and tied him to a tree.

Soon there were gathered at Carlisle an army of thirteen thousand men from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, under Governor Henry Lee of Virginia. President Washington and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton came to Carlisle, and accompanied the troops, in October, 1794, on their march across the mountains to Bedford. The Governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania led the troops of their respective States, and in the army were many Revolutionary veterans. As they advanced they found Tom the Tinker’s notices on the trees, of which the following is a specimen:

“Brethren, you must not think to frighten us with fine arranged bits of infantry, cavalry and artillery, composed of your watermelon armies taken from the Jersey shores. They would cut a much better figure in warring with crabs and oysters about the banks of the Delaware. It is a common thing for Indians to fight your best armies in the proportion of one to five; therefore we would not hesitate to attack this army at the rate of one to ten.”

The soldiers riddled these notices with bullets and pressed on, hunting for “Tom Tinker’s men,” as the insurgents came to be called. But they never seemed able to find them. All the people seen told how they were forced by threats, and when asked where the persons were who threatened them, replied, “Oh, they have run off.” The army finally reached Pittsburg, the people submitted to the law and paid the tax, the insurrection was suppressed, and the army returned and was disbanded. The whisky excise was peacefully collected afterwards until the tax was repealed.

In the Lebanon Valley east of Harrisburg are important iron furnaces, and here are the “Cornwall Ore Banks,” which is one of the greatest iron-ore deposits in the world — less rich than some others, possibly, but having a practically exhaustless supply almost alongside these furnaces. There are three hills of solid iron ore, one of them having been worked long before the Revolution, the original furnace, still existing, dating from 1742. This great Cornwall iron mine was bought in 1737 for $675, including a large tract of land. A half-century later $42,500 was paid for a one-sixth interest, and to-day a one-forty-eighth interest is estimated worth upwards of $500,000. These ores have some sulphur in them, and are therefore baked in ovens to remove it. They yield about 50 per cent. of iron. A geologist some time ago reported upon the ore banks that there were thirty millions of tons of ore in sight above the water-level, being over three times the amount taken out since the workings began in the eighteenth century. The deposits extend to a depth of several hundred feet under the surface, thus indefinitely multiplying the prospective yield.

The Susquehanna Headwriters

Otsego Lake, the Source of the Susquehanna River, is one of the prettiest lakes in New York State, and is at an elevation of eleven hundred feet above tide. It is nine miles long and about a mile wide, the Susquehanna issuing from its southern end at Cooperstown, a hamlet of two thousand people, beautifully situated amid the high rolling hills surrounding the lake. The name of the lake comes from the “Ote-sa-ga rock” at the outlet, a small, round-topped, beehive-shaped boulder a few rods from the shore, just where the lake condenses into the river. This was the Indian Council rock, to which they came to hold meetings and make treaties, and it was well-known among the Iroquois and the Lenni Lenapes. James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist, who has immortalized all this region, called the lake the “Glimmerglass.” His father, Judge William Cooper, founded the village of Cooperstown in 1786, afterwards bringing his infant son from Burlington, New Jersey, where he was born in 1789. Here the great American novelist lived until his death in 1851, his grave, under a plain horizontal slab, being in the little churchyard of Christ Episcopal Church. There is a monument to him in Lakewood Cemetery, about a mile distant, surmounted by a statue of his legendary hunter “Leatherstocking,” who has been described as “a man who had the simplicity of a woodsman, the heroism of a savage, the faith of a Christian, and the feeling of a poet.” The old Cooper mansion, his home, Otsego Hall, was burnt in 1854, and its site is marked by a rock in the middle of the road, surrounded by a railing. “Hannah’s Hill,” named after his daughter, and commanding a magnificent view, which he always described with rapture, is on the western shore of the lake, just out of town. The charm of Cooper’s genius and the magic of his description have given Otsego Lake a world-wide fame. In one place he described it as “a broad sheet of water, so placid and limpid that it resembled a bed of the pure mountain atmosphere compressed into a setting of hills and woods. Nothing is wanted but ruined castles and recollections, to raise it to the level of the scenery of the Rhine.” and thus has the poet sung of it:

“O Haunted Lake, from out whose silver fountains
The mighty Susquehanna takes its rise;
O Haunted Lake, among the pine-clad mountains,
Forever smiling upward to the skies, —
A master’s hand hath painted all thy beauties;
A master’s mind hath peopled all thy shore
With wraiths of mighty hunters and fair maidens,
Haunting thy forest-glades forevermore.”

All around Otsego Lake and its neighborhood are the scenes which Cooper has interwoven into his novel, The Deer-Slayer. About seven miles northwest are the well-known Richfield Springs (magnesia and sulphur), near Candarago Lake. This Indian name, meaning “on the lake,” has recently been revived to supersede the old title of Schuyler’s Lake for this beautiful sheet of water, enbosomed in green and sloping hills, which is the chief scenic charm of Richfield. To the eastward from Otsego Lake is the romantic Cherry Valley, another attractive summer resort, and the scene of a sad Indian massacre in 1778, the site of the old fort that was then captured being still exhibited, with the graves of the murdered villagers, to whom a monument has been erected. A few miles farther, in a narrow upland wooded valley surrounded by high hills, are the Sharon Springs (sulphur and chalybeate), which in earlier times were so popular with our German citizens, who were attracted by the resemblance to the Fatherland, that the place was called the “Baden-Baden of America.” The name of Sharon came from Sharon in Connecticut, and the spring water is discharged with a crust of white and flocculent sulphur into a stream not inappropriately called the Brimstone Brook. In this valley, east of the springs, one of the last Revolutionary battles was fought, Colonel Willett’s American force in 1781 routing a detachment of Tories and Indians with severe loss. There are grottoes in the neighborhood abounding in stalactites and beautiful crystals of sulphate of lime. Not far away is the noted Howe’s Cave, an immense cavern, said to extend for eleven miles underground, being an old water-channel in the lower Helderberg limestone, and which has many visitors, attracted by its fine display of stalactites and grand rock chambers, with the usual subterranean lake and stream. All this region was originally settled by Germans from the Palatinate.

The Susquehanna, steadily gaining in volume, flows in wayward course down rapids and around many bends to Binghamton, near the southern border of New York, where it receives the Chenango River, and its elevation has declined to eight hundred and sixty feet. This is a busy manufacturing city and railway junction, having forty thousand inhabitants. The first settlers came in 1787, and William Bingham of Philadelphia owning the land at the confluence of the rivers, the town was afterwards named for him. The Chenango Canal connects the Susquehanna waters from here with the Erie Canal, about ninety miles northward, at Utica, the Indian word Chenango meaning “the bull thistle.” Entering Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna now flows many miles past mountain and village, around great bends and breaking through the Allegheny ridges, passes along the Wyoming Valley, already described, and finally going out through the Nanticoke Gap, reaches Northumberland, where it receives its chief tributary, the West Branch. This great stream comes for two hundred miles from the westward through the Allegheny ranges, passing Lewisburg, the seat of the Baptist University of Lewisburg, Milton, and the noted lumber town of Williamsport, famous for its great log boom. This arrangement for collecting logs cost a million dollars, and extends about four miles up the river above the town, with its massive piers and braces, and will hold three hundred millions of feet of lumber. The river front is lined with basins and sawmills. In earlier years this boom has been so filled with pine and hemlock logs in the spring that the river could almost anywhere be crossed on a solid floor of timber. Unfortunately, however, the vast forests on the slopes of the Alleghenies have been so generally cut off that the trade has seriously declined. At Northumberland lived Dr. Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen gas, who died there in 1804, and is buried in the cemetery.

The Susquehanna now becomes a broad river, and just below flows past Sunbury, the railway outlet of the extensive Shamokin coal district. This town was originally Fort Augusta, built in 1756 to guard the Susquehanna frontier just below the junction of its two branches. In the French and Indian War it had usually a garrison of a regiment, and it was then regarded as the best defensive work in Pennsylvania. After that war it gradually fell into decay, although during the Revolution it was always a refuge for the Susquehanna frontier settlers fleeing from Indian brutality and massacre. Many prominent officers of the Revolutionary army received their military training at this fort. The settlement was originally called Shamokin, from the Indian name of the creek here falling into the Susquehanna — Schakamo-kink, meaning, like Shackamaxon, “the place of eels.” For fifty miles below Sunbury the broad Susquehanna winds among the mountain ranges, traversing one after another, until its channel is narrowed to pass through the great Dauphin Gap in the Kittatinny, five miles above Harrisburg, where the river bed has descended to an elevation of three hundred and twenty feet above tide.

The Beautiful Blue Juniata

A long, low bridge carries the Pennsylvania Railroad across the river in front of Dauphin Gap, and a short distance above, in a delta of fertile islands, the Susquehanna receives its romantic tributary, the Juniata, flowing for a hundred miles from the heart of the Alleghenies, and breaking out of them through a notch cut down in the long ridge of the Tuscarora Mountain. Here is the iron-making town of Duncannon, settled by the sturdy Scotch-Irish, who were numerous along the Juniata and in its neighboring valleys, and who suffered greatly from Indian forays in the early days of the frontier. Upon Duncan’s Island, the chief one in the delta, at the mouth of the Juniata, was the place of the council-fire of the Indian tribes of all this region. Now, this island is mainly a pleasure-ground, having spacious and shady groves, while the canal, crossing it from the Susquehanna to the Juniata, goes directly through an extensive Indian mound and burial-place. We will enter the fastnesses of the Alleghenies by the winding gorge of the “beautiful blue Juniata,” flowing through magnificent scenery from the eastern face of the main Allegheny range out to the great river. It breaks down ridge after ridge, stretching broadly across the country, and presents superb landscapes and impressive mountain views. The route is a series of bends and gorges, the river crossing successive valleys between the ridges, now running for miles northeast along the base of a towering mountain and then turning east or southeast to break through it by a romantic pass. The glens and mountains, with ever-changing views, give an almost endless panorama. Softness of outline, massiveness and variety, are the peculiarities of Juniata scenery. The stream is small, not carrying a great amount of water in ordinary seasons, and it seems as much by strategy as by power to have overcome the obstacles and made its mountain passes. The rended mountains, steep tree-covered slopes and frequent isolated sentinel-like hills rising from the glens, have all been moulded into rounded forms by the action of the elements, leaving few abrupt precipices or naked rocks to mar the regularity of the natural beauties. The valleys and lower parts of the mountain sides are generally cultivated, the fields sloping up to the mantle of forest crowning the flanks and summits of the ridges. Every change of sunshine or shadow, and the steady progress of the seasons, give new tints to these glens and mountains. At times the ravines are deep and the river tortuous, and again it meanders across the rich flat bottom lands of a broad valley. In its winding course among these mountain ranges, this renowned river passes through and displays almost the whole geological formation of Pennsylvania. The primary rocks are to the eastward of the Susquehanna, and the bituminous coal measures begin on the western Allegheny slope, so that the river cuts into a rock stratification over six miles in thickness, as one after another formation comes to the surface.

We go through the narrow Tuscarora Gap, and are journeying over the lands of the Tuscaroras, one of the Iroquois Six Nations, who came up from the South, and were given the name of Tuscarora, or the “shirt-wearer,” because long contact with the whites had led them to adopt that garment. Beyond the Gap, the Tuscarora Valley is enclosed on its northwest side by the Turkey Mountain, the next western ridge, and it was a region of terrible Indian conflicts and massacres in the pioneer days, when the first fort built there was burnt, and every settler either killed or carried off into captivity. Here was fought the “Grasshopper War” between the Tuscaroras and Delawares. They had villages on opposite sides of the river, and one day the children disputed about some grasshoppers. The quarrel involved first the squaws and then the men, a bloody battle following. Mifflin, an attractive town, is located here, and to the westward the Juniata breaks through the next great ridge crossing its path, passing a massive gorge formed by the Shade and Blue Mountains, flowing for miles in the deep and narrow winding canyon between them, the far-famed “Lewistown or Long Narrows,” having the railway hanging upon one bank and the canal upon the other. Broken, slaty shingle covers most of the hill-slopes, and in the broad valley, above the lengthened gorge, is Lewistown, nestling at the base of a huge mountain at the outlet of the beautiful Kishicoquillas Valley, spreading up among the high hills to the northward — its name meaning “the snakes are already in their dens.” The hero of this attractive region in the eighteenth century, and then its most distinguished inhabitant, was Logan, the chief of the Mingoes and Cayugas, whose speeches, preserved by Thomas Jefferson, are a favorite in school declamation. He was of giant mould, nearly seven feet high, and lived at Logan’s Spring in the valley. He was the friend of the white men, but when the frontier became too well settled for him longer to find the deer on which he subsisted, selling their skins to the traders, he went westward to the Ohio River, locating near Wheeling. Here, without provocation, his family were cruelly massacred, and this ended Logan’s love for the whites. He became a relentless foe, wreaking indiscriminate vengeance, until killed in the Shawnee wars beyond the Ohio, having joined that hostile tribe. The Lewistown Narrows are the finest mountain pass of the Juniata, the peaks precipitously rising over a thousand feet above the river, which forces a passage between them for more than eight miles, the densely wooded cliffs so enclosing and overshadowing the gorge as to give it an appearance of deepest gloom.

The Standing Stone and Sinking Spring

Westward beyond the valley rises the next ridge pierced by the Juniata in its outflow, Jack’s Mountain, and its gorge is known as “Jack’s Narrows.” Here penetrated Captain Jack Armstrong in the early colonial days, a hunter and Indian trader, whose cabin was burnt and wife and children massacred, making him always afterwards an avenging Nemesis, roving along the Juniata Valley and killing Indians indiscriminately. Jack’s Narrows is a pass even more contracted than that below Lewistown, and a profusion of shingle and broken stone covers its mountain sides, the deranged limestone strata in places standing almost upright. Mount Union is in the valley east of this pass, and beyond it is the chief town of the Juniata, Huntingdon, which has about eight thousand people. This was the oldest settlement on the river, ninety-seven miles west of Harrisburg, the ancient “Standing Stone,” where the Indians of the valley for centuries met to hold their councils. The earliest white settlers came in 1754. The original Standing Stone of Huntingdon, erected by the Indians, was a granite column, about fourteen feet high and six inches square, covered with strange characters, which were the sacred records of the Oneidas. Once the Tuscaroras stole it, but the Oneidas followed, and, fighting for their sacred treasure, recaptured it. When the whites came along, the Oneidas, who had joined the French, went west, carrying the stone with them. Afterwards, a second stone, much like the first, was set up, and a fragment of it is now preserved at Huntingdon. Here was built a large fort anterior to the Revolution, which was a refuge for the frontier settlers. The “Standing Stone” is engraved as an appropriate symbol on the city seal of Huntingdon, being surrounded by a representation of mountains, and the name of “Oneida” (the granite) is preserved in a township across the river. Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon, who was a benefactor of the University of Pennsylvania, had her titled name given the city. The then University Provost, Dr. William Smith, became owner of the town site, and thus remembered her generosity. About fifty miles southwest of Huntingdon, amid the mountains, is Bedford, noted for its chalybeate and sulphur springs, discovered in 1804, which have long been a favorite resort of Pennsylvanians on account of their healing waters. The whole country thereabout is filled with semi-bituminous coal measures, furnishing a lucrative traffic.

Diminishing in volume, our attractive Juniata flows through a rough country above Huntingdon, after threading the pass in the lofty Warrior Ridge. Extending off to the southwestward is Morrison’s Cove, a rich valley under the shadow of the long mountain ridge, which was settled in 1755 by the Dunkards. These singular people, among whose cardinal doctrines are peace and non-resistance, were attacked by the Indians in 1777, who entered the valley and almost exterminated the settlement. Most of them bowed submissively to the stroke of death, gently saying “Gottes wille sei gethan” (God’s will be done). One, however, resisted, killed two Indians and escaped; but afterwards returning, the Dunkard Church tried him for this breach of faith, and he was excommunicated. In this region is the Sinking Spring, a strange water course originally appearing in a limestone cave, where it comes out of an arched opening, with sufficient water to turn a large mill; but it soon disappears underground, the concealed current being heard through fissures, bubbling far below. Then it returns to the surface, flowing some distance, enters another cave, passing under Cave Mountain, and finally reappears and falls into the Juniata, making, in its peculiar waywardness, as remarkable a stream as can anywhere be found. Here our famous Juniata River, dwindled to a little creek, comes down the mountain side, and we penetrate farther by following up the Little Juniata. It has brought us, through the great ridges, into the heart of the Appalachian region, to the eastern base of the main Allegheny Mountain, on the flanks of which are its sources. It has displayed to us a noted valley, full of the story of early Colonial contests, massacres and perils, the scenes of the fearless missionary labors of Brainerd the Puritan and Loskiel the Moravian. Brainerd recognized the pagan idolatry of the Indians, and did not hesitate to take the Bible to their solemn religious festivals and expound its divine principles, to spoil the incantations and frustrate the charms of their medicine men. Once a Nanticoke pontiff got into a hot argument with Brainerd, saying God had taught him religion and he would never turn from it; that he would not believe in the Devil; and he added that the souls of the dead passed to the South, where the good lived in a fair city, while the evil hovered forever in outer darkness. Many are the romances of the attractive Juniata:

“Gay was the mountain song
Of bright Alfarata,
Where sweep the waters of
The blue Juniata:
‘Strong and true my arrows are,
In my painted quiver,
Swift goes my light canoe
Adown the rapid river.’”

Crossing the Mountain Top

At the eastern base of the main Allegheny range a long mountain valley stretches broadly from the far northeast to the southwest, and here is Tyrone, a settlement of extensive iron works, and the outlet of the greatest bituminous coal-fields of Central Pennsylvania, the Clearfield district, the town of Clearfield being about forty miles to the northwest. Northeast of Tyrone, this valley is called the Bald Eagle Valley, a picturesque and fertile region; and to the southwest it is the Tuckahoe Valley. At the base of the Bald Eagle Mountain, thirty-three miles from Tyrone, is the town of Bellefonte, another iron region, handling the products of the Bald Eagle and Nittany Valleys, and receiving its name from the “Beautiful Fount” which supplies the town with water. This is one of the most remarkable springs in the Alleghenies, pouring out two hundred and eighty thousand gallons of the purest water every minute. Following the Tuckahoe Valley southward, at the base of the main Allegheny range we come to the Pennsylvania Railroad town of Altoona, and eight miles farther to Hollidaysburg. Each is a representative town — Hollidaysburg of the past methods of crossing the mountain top, and Altoona of the present.

In 1836 Mr. David Stephenson, the famous British railway engineer, made a journey across Pennsylvania by the methods then in vogue, and wrote that he travelled from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, three hundred and ninety-five miles by the route taken, in ninety-one hours, at a cost of three pounds sterling, about four cents a mile, and that one hundred and eighteen miles of the journey, which he calls “extraordinary,” were by railroads, and two hundred and seventy-seven miles by canals. This was the line used for twenty years, a main route of travel from the seaboard to the West, having been put into operation in 1834. It followed the Columbia Railroad from Philadelphia to Columbia on the Susquehanna, the canal up the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers to Hollidaysburg, a portage railroad by inclined planes over the main Allegheny Mountain ridge to Johnstown, and the canal again, down the Conemaugh and Allegheny Rivers to Pittsburg. There were one hundred and seventy-two miles of canal from Columbia to Hollidaysburg, which went through more than a hundred locks and crossed thirty-three aqueducts, having risen about six hundred feet above the level at Columbia when it reached the eastern face of the mountain. The canal west of Johnstown was one hundred and five miles long, descended sixty-four locks, and went through a tunnel of one thousand feet. The Portage Railroad of thirty-six miles crossed the mountain by Blair’s Gap, above Hollidaysburg, at twenty-three hundred and twenty-six feet elevation, through a tunnel nine hundred feet long. There were ten inclined planes, five on each side. The steepest side of the Allegheny Mountain being its eastern face, the railway from Hollidaysburg to the summit, though only ten miles long, ascended fourteen hundred feet, while twenty miles of railway on the western side descended eleven hundred and seventy-two feet. The cars hauled up the planes each carried three tons of freight, and three cars were hauled at a single draft. There could be twenty-four cars carrying seventy-two tons passed over in one hour, which was ample for the traffic at that time, the average business being three hundred tons of freight a day. This amount would be carried in less than ten of the big cars of to-day. It took passengers eight hours to go over the mountain, halting one hour on the summit for dinner.

This route was superseded by the Pennsylvania Railroad crossing above Altoona, opened in 1854, a road made for ordinary trains; and then Hollidaysburg became a town of iron manufacture, losing the bustle and business of the Portage, which was abandoned. The railroad company acquired a large tract of land between the main Allegheny range and the Brush Mountain to the southward, which has a deep notch, called the “Kettle,” cut down into it, opening a distant prospect of gray mountain ridges behind. Here has been established the most completely representative railway city in the world, having enormous railway shops, a gigantic establishment, and a population of thirty-five thousand, almost all in one way or another dependent on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Altoona is at an elevation of about eleven hundred feet above tide, and the railway climbs to the summit of the mountain by a grade of ninety feet to the mile, winding around an indented valley to get the necessary elevation. At its head this valley divides into two smaller glens, with a towering crag rising between them. Having ascended the northern side, the railway curves around, crossing the smaller glens upon high embankments, doubling upon itself, and mounting steadily higher by running up the opposite side of the valley to the outer edge of the ridge. This sweeping curve gives striking scenic effects, and is the noted Pennsylvania “Horse Shoe,” and the huge crag between the smaller glens, in which the head of the Horse Shoe curve is partly hewn, is Kittanning Point. This means the “great stream,” two creeks issuing out of the glens uniting below it; and here was the route, at sixteen hundred feet elevation, of the ancient Indian trail across the mountain, the “Kittanning Path,” in their portage between the Juniata and Ohio waters. It shows how closely the modern railroad builder has followed the route set for him by the original road-makers among the red men. The Pennsylvania Railroad carries four tracks over the mountain, piercing the summit by two tunnels at about twenty-two hundred feet elevation, with two tracks in each. The mountain rises much higher, and has coal mines, coke ovens and miners’ cabins on the very top. This is the watershed dividing the Atlantic waters from those of the Mississippi, flowing to the Gulf, and Gallitzin, a flourishing mining village, is the summit station of the railway.

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