History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE WEST.
1784–1785.

THE desire to hold and to people the great western domain mingled with every effort for imparting greater energy to the union. In that happy region each state saw the means of granting lands to its soldiers of the revolution and a possession of inestimable promise. Washington took up the office of securing the national allegiance of the transmontane woodsmen by improving the channels of communication with the states on the Atlantic. For that purpose, more than to look after lands of his own, he, on the first day of September, began a tour to the westward to make an examination of the portages between the nearest navigable branches of the Potomac and James river on the one side and of the Ohio and the Kanawha on the other. Wherever he came, he sought and closely questioned the men famed for personal observation of the streams and paths on each side of the Alleghanies.

From Fort Cumberland he took the usual road over the mountains to the valley of the Yohogany,* and studied closely the branches of that stream. The country between the Little Kanawha and the branches of the James river being at that moment infested with hostile Indians, he returned through the houseless solitude between affluents of the Cheat river and of

* Yohogany is the “phonetieal” mode of spelling for yOugHIOgany, as the English wrote the Indian name; the French, discarding the gutturals, wrote Ohio. So at the North-east the French dropped the first two syllables of Passam-Aquoddy, and made of the last three Acadie. The name Belle Rivière is a translation of Allegh-any.

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