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Beyond Penn's Treaty

Journal of a Journey

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which is skimmed off the water in great quantities,
resembling the Seneca or British oil in smell; its
length being about thirty-six miles from its mouth to
the place where it issues out of a small lake.


Being very rainy, I rode two miles to a black-
smith at Oil Creek mill, got a shoe on my mare and
returned to my company at Titus's

, where we remained
all this day, it being very wet, and lodged in the same


Being a fine morning, we set off early and
rode twenty-nine miles near the mouth of a large
stream called Brokenstraw, where we pitched our
tent, kindled a fire, and lodged in the woods. I am
not furnished with language or memory to describe
the particulars of this day's journey, but may en-
deavor to note some particulars. After leaving Titus's

we rode two miles to a newly erected mill and saw-
mill on a branch of Oil Creek, which the Holland
Company have erected in order to supply the new
settlers with flour, etc., and divers of them come there
twenty, twenty-five, and more miles with bags of
grain on a horse, to be ground; there being no road
that any carriage can pass, and indeed, (to such who
have not seen those mountainous new countries), it
would appear to impraticable to pass with a single
horse. After leaving the mill we soon entered a
forest of white pine, hemlock and divers other sorts
of timber not necessary to mention, and great part of
our ride this day was through timber of that sort;
some of the way tolerably level, but a great part of it
such mountains thickly set with stones and rocks,
which together with the interlocking of the roots
of the timber, a little comparable to a corn-rid-
dle, and the deep swampy guts, it was with difficulty
we got along over roots and rock the cavities be-
tween them being so deep and so close together that
had our horses got their legs in, (and this to appear-
ance seemed almost unavoidable), they must have
been broken. But I suppose the way to be much bet-
ter than it was two years ago, being now a cut path
all the way, which was not the case then. In many
places the timber is, I believe, from one hundred to
two hundred feet high, and thickly set, insomuch that
a great part of the face of the ground and rocks
is scarcely ever saluted with the luminous rays of the
sun, which I think is the reason of the rocks and old
logs being very thick set with coats of moss; and as
the seed of different kinds of trees falls on this moss
which the rocks and old logs contain, there being
moisture enough contained in it to occasion a vegeta-
tion, the body or trunk ascends and the roots crawl
on the surface of the rock or log to the edge, and then
descend into the gorund, and great numbers of that
description are grown into large trees the roots of
which clasp a rock a little similar to the clasp of an
eagles claw; and on many of these rocks there are
several trees. I saw one rock about twenty feet in
diameter, which had seven trees on it, some of
which were two or three feet over and perhaps
one hundred and fifty feet high and the rock
ten or twelve feet high. I think we saw neither
house nor improvement for twenty miles; neither
can I suppose much of it will be settled for many
years to come, We came on the Brokenstraw about
seven miles above the mouth and rode sixe miles down
the stream to the place of our encampment, through
a very rich bottom. As I rode along this day
I frequently experienced a transition of ideas;
while passing through the dark shades of the thick
and lofty timber which sometimes appeared like a
desolate, gloomy wilderness comparable to the gloom
of eternal night; and other times so great, so grand,
so magnificent that it became truly transporting.


Set off early, without taking breakfast or
feeding our horses. Rode down the aforesaid creek
almost to the mouth and with some difficulty got
along, the Indian path up the river being in many
places hard to be discovered, to a place called War-

[now the county seat of Warren county], being a
newly laid out town, but without much building ex-
cept one cabin and a storehouse built by the Hol
land Company near the mouth of another large
stream called Connowongo. Here we breakfasted
and fed our horses. The people in the cabin were
very kind, made our chocolate for us and gave us
some good pigeon soup. [Distance] nine miles. Here
we hired a guide; rode over the Connowongo, and
followed our guide with undescribable difficulty
about sixteen miles to Cornplanter's settlement. The
logs, the brush, and thick-set young timber rendered
this stage extremely difficult and tiresome; almost a
continual succession of logs, in many places three or
four in a perch, as high as our horses could step over,
and many of them they had to jump; and the young
growth being so thick that if we were two rods apart
we would have to call out to each other in fear of be-
ing lost. About an hour before sunset we reached the
new house which Cornplanter is getting built, and
the schoolhouse where Henry Simmons teaches the
young Indians, at which place we met with Henry,
greatly to our mutual comfort, and where we tarried
all night in the schoolhouse. At this place there are
several comfortable houses building, it being about
one mile lower down the river than where Cornplan-
ter's village
stands, and appears to be on more suita-
ble ground, which with the advice of our young men,
the Indian inhabitants of the town just above, pro-
posed to move. Cornplanter and many others of the
nation came this evening to visit us, and appeared to
be much pleased with our coming.


This morning the old chief and some of his
connections brought us some cucumbers to help out
our breakfast, and immediately returned to his vil-
lage. We then soon set off up the river, Henry Sim-

bearing us company, and in about one mile we
came to the town. Stopped a few minutes with the
Indians who gathered around us apparently much
pleased with our arrival. We proposed a council or
conference with them, to be held in two days after
that time, to which they readily assented, and agreed
to send out some runners to inform their people.
We then took leave of them for the present and pro-
ceeded up and across the river twice to Genesinguhta,
to our dear friends, Halliday Jackson and Joel
, whom we met with mutual joy, and rested
pretty much in the house the remainder of this day,