Ohio History Journal

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406 Ohio Arch

406        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.



W. J. HOLLAND, D. D., LL. D.,

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Pa.

The Ohio River and the Ohio Valley are from the standpoint of

the geologist of very recent origin. There was a time when the greater

part of the water which is discharged through this great stream found

its way to the valley of the St. Lawrence, and thence to the Atlantic

Ocean. At the glacial epoch the great continental glacier creeping down

toward the south opposed barriers to the northward flow of the waters,

and in consequence they were turned toward the southwest, and the

great river, on the banks of which we are today assembled, came into

being. When the ice-sheet retreated, Flora, returning again from the

south, cast her garlands upon the desolated hills. The valleys, the

ravines, the mountains were clothed once more, as they had been clothed

before the Age of Ice, with splendid vegetation. The musk-ox, caribou,

and other boreal animals followed the ice as it retreated, and from the

region of the Gulf of Mexico there pressed up another fauna. And

later came man, moving northward and eastward from the region of

Mexico to which he had wandered, coming originally by way of Asia

and the Pacific coast. There were succeeding waves of human immigra-

tion into the great Valley from the southwest and from the southeast,

whether racially distinct, or not, is a question in relation to which there

is dispute. Traces of this early human occupation are left in objects

of stone and pottery, mounds and earthworks, sprinkled all over the

region. At the time of the discovery of the continent by Europeans

the great valley, so far as it possessed human inhabitants, was occupied

by Indian tribes of the Algonquin stock.

In honor of Queen Elizabeth the eastern shores of the new world

were called "Virginia." Even what we know today as New England

was called "North Virginia." In 1606 James I. issued a charter which

defines the territorial limits of Virginia as extending from the 34th to

the 45th parallel of latitude, the western boundaries being fixed one

hundred miles back of the Atlantic coast. A second charter issued three

years later, extends the boundaries westward from the Atlantic to the

Pacific. There was but a dim comprehension of the geography of the

continent in the minds of those who issued these old charters. In fact,

it was believed that the Pacific Ocean extended eastward as a great

body of water, marked in the old maps as the Gulf of Verrazano, which

was supposed to cover the whole of what we know to be the upper

valley of the Mississippi.

While England was active in establishing colonies along the Atlantic

coast, Frenchmen were equally active in the valley of the St. Lawrence,

and pushing westward by way of the Great Lakes, they discovered the