Ohio History Journal




SALEM, September 9. Extract of a letter from a gentleman at the

new settlement on the Muskingum, to a person in this town, dated July 20th.

We had a beautiful passage down the Ohio from Pittsburg, in com-

pany with 3 Kentucke boats. Without sails or oars, we glided down the

fair* river, and in 48 hours arrived at the enchanting spot. It is really a

delightful situation. The first thing which presented itself, when we

ascended the bank by a grand and easy pair of stairs, was a fine level

spot covered with huts and tents. Ranging the Muskingum, was a fine

bowery, where our people celebrated the fourth of July; An oration was

delivered by general VARNUM; and a fine dinner was provided; among

other things, there were on the table pearch that weighed 24 pounds--

pickerel of 22 pounds--roast pig, venison, &c. While dining, there was

a discharge of cannon from the garrison, which is so near, that, with the

settlement on the Virginia shore, it makes this point very lively. The

day after we arrived was the time appointed for governor St. Clair to

make his first public appearance. At 5 o'clock, P.M. there was a general

muster in the bowery. His excellency came over from the garrison to

this place, escorted by the corps of officers, the secretary, &c. The secre-

tary then read the ordinance of congress, the governor's commission, the

judges', and his own. The governor was then congratulated on his

arrival at the seat of government; and three cheers closed the ceremony.

The Rev. Mr. BRECK is here, and this day preached the first sermon

that ever was delivered on the banks of the Muskingum, from Exodus

xix. 5,6; "Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed and keep my

covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me, above all people;

for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,

and an holy nation."

Now for the land. There is not a single person that has ever been

upon the ground, but what is pleased with its situation and fertility.

Vegetation is equal to any thing you ever heard of it, except the pigs

tails. Col. B. tells me, it is a fact, that they drove a stake into a cornhill,

and measured the corn, and that in 24 hours it grew 9 1/2 inches. There

are many very fine gardens here; and the city ground is clearing as fast

as possible: But the situation of affairs is such, at present, respecting

the Indians, that people cannot with safety go to their lands.

Concerning the treaty, there is no probability of a general one at

this time. The place that was designed for the treaty is about 80 miles

up the Muskingum, and the stores were deposited there; and a few days

before we arrived, the place was attacked by about a dozen poltroons, of

the Chippawas; who killed two centinels, and a mulatto; but they lost 3

or 4 of their own party. Information was brought of this affair to the

garrison by some friendly Indians, and a boat was dispatched to bring off

the stores. Captains Tunis and White Eyes, chiefs of the Delawares, who

are friendly disposed, went up with our people. By the stratagem of the

chiefs some of the scoundrels were taken. They came in with the

* Meaning of the word Ohio.

1 Reprinted from Hudson (New York) Weekly Gazette, September 28, 1788.



"NEWS FROM THE MUSKINGUM"                         209



friendly Indians to drink whiskey, &c. When our boat arrived, the In-

dians were all paraded, about 70, without arms, to hear something, they

did not know what. There were about 28 of our people; some with cords

in their pockets; Six Indians were pitched upon, as rogues; and the of-

ficer told them, that six must go to the garrison as hostages: And, with

out any ceremony, our people seized each his man, as had been concerted,

and tied his arms behind him, put the six into the boat, and pushed off

with them; telling the rest if they wished to treat, they must come to the

garrison. The prisoners are now in irons in the garrison. Two or three

of them, if not all, were concerned in the murder. It is probable they

will soon be executed here. This is not a national affair: The party was

a lawless banditti; and spirited measures, it is thought, will be the best

for us, as the Indians are very much afraid of the Yankees--much more

so than of the Long Knife, as they call the Virginians at Kentucke. We

must wait the event of these difficulties. We feel ourselves pretty secure,

so near the garrison, and are venturing to build our house about one

stone's throw from the stockade, and one mile from the point. The

directors are determined to clear the city ground as fast as possible.

Living is exceedingly cheap here, while a person has any thing to buy

with: We get what venison we want for a copper a pound. If we can go

on to our lands in safety, happiness is within our reach.

Extract of a letter of later date (Aug. 2) from the same.

We have some favorable communications from the Indian council.

A friendly Indian arrived at the garrison on Thursday, with intelligence

to the governor, that there had been a dissension in the council: The

Chippawas and Ottawas would not come in: The other tribes told

them, if they would not, they must fight their own battles for they would

not assist them. Finally they all concluded to come into the treaty; and

about twelve o'clock this day, 13 of their chiefs came in to the garrison

in pomp, all mounted on horses, bearing the flag of the United States.

Every thing is expected from their pacific disposition.