George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 10 September 1784]

10th. Set off a little after 5 Oclock altho’ the morning was very unpromissing. Finding from the rains that had fallen, and description of the Roads, part of which between the old Town & this place (old Fort Cumberland) 1 we had passed, that the progress of my Baggage would be tedeous, I resolved (it being Necessary) to leave it to follow; and proceed on myself to Gilbert Simpson’s, to prepare for the Sale which I had advertised of my moiety of the property in co-partnership with him and to make arrangements for my trip to the Kanhawa, if the temper & disposition of the Indians should render it advisable to proceed. Accordingly, leaving Doctr. Craik, his Son, and my Nephew with it, I set out with one Servant only. Dined at a Mr. Gwins at the Fork of the Roads leading to Winchester and the old Town, distant from the latter abt. 20 Miles2 & lodged at Tumbersons at the little Meadows 15 Miles further.3

The Road from the Old Town to Fort Cumberland we found tolerably good, as it also was from the latter to Gwins, except the Mountain which was pretty long (tho’ not steep) in the assent and discent;4 but from Gwins to Tumberson’s it is intolerably bad—there being many steep pinches of the Mountain—deep & miry places and very stony ground to pass over. After leaving the Waters of Wills Creek which extends up the Mountain (Alligany) two or three Miles as the road goes, we fell next on those of George’s Creek, which are small—after them upon Savage River which are more considerable; tho’ from the present appearance of them, does not seem capable of Navigation.5

1Abandoned since 1765, the fort lay in ruins. The town of Cumberland, Md., was laid out here in 1785 and was established officially by act of the General Assembly 20 Jan. 1787 (VAUGHAN description begins Samuel Vaughan. “Minutes Made by S. V. from Stage to Stage on a Tour to Fort Pitt or Pittsburgh in Company with Mr. Michl. Morgan Obrian, from Thence by S. V. Only through Virginia, Maryland, & Pensylvania (18 June to 4 Sept. 1787).” Manuscript diary in the collection of the descendants of Samuel Vaughan. description ends , 30; LOWDERMILK description begins Will H. Lowdermilk. History of Cumberland, (Maryland): From the Time of the Indian Town, Caiuctucuc, in 1728, Up to the Present Day, Embracing an Account of Washington’s First Campaign, and Battle of Fort Necessity, Together with a History of Braddock’s Expedition, &c., &c., &c. 1878. Reprint. Baltimore, 1971. description ends , 256, 258–61).

2Evan Gwin (Gwyn, Gwynne) ran a well-known tavern on Braddock Run about five miles west of Fort Cumberland near present-day Allegany Grove, Md. (VAUGHAN description begins Samuel Vaughan. “Minutes Made by S. V. from Stage to Stage on a Tour to Fort Pitt or Pittsburgh in Company with Mr. Michl. Morgan Obrian, from Thence by S. V. Only through Virginia, Maryland, & Pensylvania (18 June to 4 Sept. 1787).” Manuscript diary in the collection of the descendants of Samuel Vaughan. description ends , 29; WESTERN MD. description begins “Journeys of George Washington thru Western Maryland.” Glades Star 1 (1941–49): 289–95. description ends , 290).

3The Red House tavern was built at Little Meadows in the 1760s by Joseph Tomlinson (d. 1797) and was taken over eventually by his son Jesse Tomlinson (c.1753–1840). Several travelers refer to the place as “Tumblestone’s” or “Tumbleston’s,” apparent corruptions of “Tomlinson’s”; in GW’s ledger entry for this date, it is called “Tumblestowns” (TOMLINSON description begins “Jesse Tomlinson of the Little Meadows” and “More about the Tomlinsons.” Glades Star 1 (1941–49): 69–71, 96. description ends , 69–71, 96; LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 200). Traces of Braddock’s 1755 camp at Little Meadows were still “easily discernable” as late as 1794 (WELLFORD description begins “A Diary Kept by Dr. Robert Wellford, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, during the March of the Virginia Troops to Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) to Suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794.” William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 11 (1902–3): 1–19. description ends , 10).

4Between Fort Cumberland and Gwin’s tavern the main road went over Wills (now Haystack) Mountain at Sandy Gap rather than around the mountain by the longer, leveler route which Braddock’s army took through the Narrows of Wills Creek (LACOCK description begins John Kennedy Lacock. “Braddock Road.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 38 (1914): 1–38. description ends , 6–12).

5the waters of wills creek: apparently Braddock Run, a tributary of that creek. West of Gwin’s tavern the road followed the narrow valley of Braddock Run through the front of the Allegheny Range, passing Piney Mountain on the north and Dans Mountain on the south. About 2½ miles upstream, near present-day Clarysville, Md., the road left the run and continued west to the headwaters of George’s Creek in the vicinity of present-day Frostburg, Md., and then over Big Savage Mountain to the headwaters of the Savage River, a tributary of the North Branch of Potomac. Beyond the Savage River the road crossed Little Savage Mountain, Wolf Swamp, and Meadow Mountain, at the western foot of which lay the Little Meadows (LACOCK description begins John Kennedy Lacock. “Braddock Road.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 38 (1914): 1–38. description ends , 12–18; TOMLINSON description begins “Jesse Tomlinson of the Little Meadows” and “More about the Tomlinsons.” Glades Star 1 (1941–49): 69–71, 96. description ends , 69).

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