At the end of the Prologue we left Andrew Jackson traversing the great Appalachian range. His migration could not have been pleasant, for travel was then an endurance contest. He and his companions would have first climbed the steep eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, then made their way through the high, rugged Asheville plateau, and finally over the mighty Unaka Mountains, consisting of several parallel ranges averaging five thousand feet, before beginning their descent to the great green valley of East Tennessee. 1 He did not leave a record of his journey, but another traveler in that spring of 1788, who sought souls, not position and fortune, recorded his own travail.
The Methodist missionary Bishop Francis Asbury, who crossed the Appalachians sixty times, left North Carolina on 28 April 1788. “After getting our horses shod, we made a move for the Holston, and entered upon the mountains, the first of which I called Steel, the second Stone, and the third Iron … they are rough, and difficult to climb. We were spoken to on our way by the most awful thunder and lightning, accompanied by heavy rain. We crept for shelter into a dirty little house, where the filth might have been taken up from the floor with a spade; we felt the want of fire, but could get little wood to make it, and what we gathered was wet. At the head of the Watauga we fed … Coming to the river next day we hired a young man to swim over for the canoe, in which we crossed, while our horses swam to the other shore. The waters being up we were compelled to travel an old road over the mountains. Night came on. I was ready to faint with a violent headache, the mountain was so steep on both sides. I prayed to the Lord for help … my pack horse would neither follow, lead nor drive, so fond was he of stopping to feed on the green herbage. I tried the lead and he pulled back. I tied his head up to prevent his grazing, and he ran back. The weather was excessively warm. I was much fatigued and my temper not a little tried.” When the good bishop finally arrived at the Holston
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Publication information: Book title: Jackson's Way: Andrew Jackson and the People of the Western Waters. Contributors: John Buchanan - Author. Publisher: John Wiley & Sons. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 39.
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