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Beyond Penn's Treaty

Journal of a Journey

Page out of 37
Ninth month 6th. [1799].

Set off early from Pitts-

and immediately crossed the Allegheny river, a
beautiful stream about a quarter of a mile wide. For
about two or three miles after crossing, we rode
through the richest piece of land I think I ever be-
held, for so much. The stately walnuts [were] four
feet through, and a great length, and other timber in
proportion, every herb and plant appearing as luxu-
riant as if it had grown out of a dung heap. Soon
after that, a declension of soil took place and pro-
gressed until it became, as I thought, very poor,
rough, and hilly, until we came to one Duncan's,
where we fed our horses and dined from the supply
of our bags, it being eighteen miles; from thence to
one Bovear's, where three of our company lodged.
James Cooper and myself rode six miles further to
my cousin, Abner Coats's, who is just newly settled in
the woods; has got about ten acres of land cleared
and seems in a likely way to make a living. He was
very kind and glad to see me; tied up our horses,
fed them with bran and cut corn-tops, with which
they seemed to do very well. All this stage appeared
to me to be very poor, until we turned off the road
and got near Abner's, where the land appears tolera-
bly level and pretty good soil. We crossed one large
and one lesser stream running to the right, called
Conyconeys. Divers places the road was intolerable
for short steep hills,--so much so that going down
some of them, leading our horses, we seemed in dan-
ger of their falling down upon us. This day, rode
thirty-four miles.


Rode from Abner Coats's

to Funk's, seventeen
miles; it being a very rainy day, which made the
road so bad, together with the bills, rocks, and sloughs
or little guts descending out of the mountains, that
for bad traveling it exceeded all I have yet met with.
We crossed two large streams, the first called Mud
Creek; the second, Slippery Rock. From thence to
McClern's, nine miles. The road tolerably good for
this country and the land about middling, being much
covered with white oak. At this place we arrived
about two in the afternoon; appearing to be good quar-
ters for ourselves and horses, we stayed all night, and
lodged comfortably in the barn.


Set off early and rode to Franklin

seat of Venango county, Pa.], a small town of perhaps
ten or fifteen houses, on French creek, a small dis-
tance above the fort at the junction of said creek and
the Allegheny river, thirteen miles. The most of
this stage is stony chestnut land. About four miles
before we got to Franklin, we crossed Sandy Creek,
the descent and ascent of the mountains on each
side being each of them about half a mile, and in
some places, I think near forty-five degrees of eleva-
tion. Going down the hill I discovered my mare had
lost one of her shoes, and by the time I got to this
place she began to limp pretty much, and no smith
here. The prospect looks dull to proceed from here
to Jonathan Titus's, on Oil Creek, eighteen miles. Im-
mediately after leaving Franklin we crossed French
Creek, and soon entered very poor, barren land
which continued for several miles; then came to land
more level than any we have seen the west side of
Allegheny river, for so much; some bottoms, very
rich abounding with plums, some of it rather too
much upon a dead level to be very good for wheat,
and exceeding thick set with small timber, partic-
larly quaking asp. About twelve miles from Frank-
we came across a cabin and a few acres of
ground cleared, where the people looked clean and
decent; had abundance of watermelons with which
they regaled us plentifully without charge. A few
more cabins and small lots cleared we saw on our way
between French Creek and Oil Creek. Rattlesnakes
abound here. I saw a large one of about three feet
nine inches long, and about as thick as my wrist. I
alighted and killed it; cut off the rattles, being nine.
Great numbers of wild tur-
keys are here; we saw several flocks containing forty
or more and might easily have shot some of them if
we had had guns and ammunition.

We arrived at Titus's

a little before sunset; got our
horses to good pasture, and lodged comfortably in his
barn. Said Titus being a young man, settled here on
Oil Creek in the woods about two and a half years
ago, has made a great improvement for the time;
owns 400 acres of land, the most of it a rich bottom;
has got about twenty-six acres of excellent corn in
the ground, a considerable quantity of wheat in stack;
a spring of excellent water near the door, large enough
to turn a breast-mill; so that upon the whole I think
this farm likely in time to be of most inestimable
value, Oil Creek being boatable this high, which is
about eighteen miles from the mouth where it empties
into Allegheny. Oil Creek took its name from the oil