Ohio History Journal

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I went to woork a tuseday morning for Mr. Gilman at 12 Shilings pr

day he is a bulding 2 Ships and thare top timbers are all red seder and lokes

I have worked wales 68 feet long fine timber in this Countery and as good

land as Ever lay out adors I dont think I shall Stay in the Sittey maney

months Ales is the wellest she has bin this five years but dont like Meriette.

... thank God i am well and hartey But Alles is Cros as yousyell.

Thus wrote a settler newly-arrived in the Northwest Terri-

tory, in the spring of 1801, to his home folks back in the "State

of Rhodisland." Perhaps Alice had her reasons for being as cross

as usual, for in a letter which she wrote to her mother, she said:

"I have had to part with some of my childrens close & some of

my dishes since I comb. . . . we have not had any tea for three

months only what we borrowed, and we cant by a paper of pins

nor a grane of snuff to save our Lives." However that may be,

the indications are that there was, indeed, "fine timber in this

countery;" timber fine, especially, for shipbuilding.

As early as 1770, Lord Hillsborough, secretary of state for

the Department of America, reported to Parliament:

No part of North America has less need of encouragement in order to

furnish rigging for ships, and the raw materials destined for Europe, and to

furnish to the West India Islands building materials, provisions, etc., than

the Ohio Country....

The Ohio River is navigable at all seasons of the year for large boats.

... It is possible to construct large vessels upon it and send them to the

ocean, loaded with hemp, iron, flax, silk, tobacco, cotton, potash, etc. Flour,

wheat, beef, planks for shipbuilding and other things not less useful can

descend the Ohio to Western Florida and go thence to the West India

Islands more cheaply and in better condition than the same merchandise can

be sent from New York or Philadelphia to the same islands.

This was more in the nature of an optimistic forecast than

a statement of fact. As though in recognition of this Hillsborough

continued in the future tense:

When the farmers who dwell upon the Ohio set about providing for

transportation they will build vessels of all kinds . . . or, as they will have