George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 27 October 1770]

Saturday 27. Left our Incampment a Quarter before Seven, and after passing the Creek near wch. we lay, & another much the same size & on the same side (West);1 also an Island2 abt. 2 Miles in length (but not wide) we came to the Mouth of Muskingham,3 distant from our Incampment abt. 4 Miles. This River is abt. 150 yards wide at the Mouth; a gentle currant & clear stream runs out of it, & is navigable a great way into the Country for Canoes.

From Muskingham to the little Kanhawa4 is about 13 Miles. This is about as wide at the Mouth as the Muskingham, but the water much deeper. It runs up towards the Inhabitants of Monongahela, and according to the Indians Acct. Forks about 40 or 50 Miles up it; and the Ridge between the two Prongs leads directly to the Settlement.5 To this Fork, & above, the Water is navigable for Canoes. On the upper side of this River there appears to be a bottom of exceeding rich Land and the Country from hence quite up to the 3 Islands level & in appearance fine. The River (Ohio) running round it in the nature of a horse shoe, forms a Neck of flat Land wch. added to that rung. up the 2d. long reach (aforementiond) cannot contain less than 50,000 Acres in view.

About 6 or 7 Miles below the Mouth of the Canhawa we came to a small Creek on the west side, which the Indns. calld little Hockhocking; but before we did this, we passd another sml. Creek6 on the same side near the Mouth of the River & a cluster of Islands afterwards. The lands for two or three Miles below the Mouth of the Canhawa on both sides the Ohio, appear broken & indifferent; but opposite to the little hockhocking there is a bottom of exceeding good Land, through wch. there runs a smal water course. I suppose there may be of this bottom & flat Land together, two or three thousand Acres. The lower end of this bottom is opposite to a smal Island wch. I dare say little of it is to be seen when the River is high. About 8 Miles below little Hockhocking we Incampd opposite to the Mouth of the great Hockhocking, which tho so calld is not a large water; tho the Indians say Canoes can go up it 40 or 50 Miles.

Since we left the little Kanhawa the Land neither appear so level nor good. The Bends of the River & Bottoms are longer indeed but not so rich, as in the upper part of the River.

1Duck Creek is almost opposite Devol’s Island.

2Devol’s or Meigs’ Island, now called Buckley Island (cook description begins Roy Bird Cook. Washington’s Western Lands. Strasburg, Va., 1930. description ends , 21).

3The Muskingum River flows into the Ohio from the west at Marietta, Ohio.

4The Little Kanawha flows into the Ohio from the east at Parkersburg, W.Va.

5the settlement: that is, the settled area in the vicinities of Fort Pitt and Red Stone.

6The small creek is probably Putnam’s Run or Davis Run, entering the Ohio from the west. At this time there were five islands in the stretch of river between the Little Kanawha and the Little Hocking rivers, known later as Blennerhassett, Four Acre, Towhead, Newbury, and Mustapha. “It seems evident that Washington passed the head of Blennerhassett without observing the Virginia channel. . . . The ‘cluster of Islands’ would not have been observed until Washington’s party had proceeded down the river to the foot of the large island, when, would have come into view, the ‘Four Acre’ lying in the Virginia channel, and ‘Towhead’ just below.” Changes in the course of the river have now made both part of Blennerhassett Island (cook description begins Roy Bird Cook. Washington’s Western Lands. Strasburg, Va., 1930. description ends , 22–23). GW later acquired land in this area. On 1 Feb. 1796, he offered for sale “the first large bottom below the mouth of the Little Kenhawa, beginning 3 or 4 miles therefrom, and about 12 or 15 miles below Marietta. Its breadth on the river is 5 miles and 120 poles, and contents 2314 [acres]” (writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 34:438).

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