From charlesreid1


Author: Imlay

Year: 1797

Title: A topographical description of the western territory of North America

"Everything here assumes a dignity and splendor I have never seen in any other part of the world. You ascend a considerable distance from the shore of the Ohio, and when you would suppose you had arrived at the summit of a mountain, you find yourself upon a n extensive level. Here an eternal verdure reigns, and the brilliant sun of latitude 39 degrees, piercing through the azure heavens, produces in this prolific soil an early maturity which is truly astonishing. Flowers, full and perfect, as if they had been cultivated by the hand of a florist, with all their captivating odours, and with all the variegated charms which color and nature can produce, here, in the lap of elegance and beauty, decorate the smiling groves."

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From Limestone to Licking Creek the country is immensely rich, and covered with cane, rye grass, and the native clover. The cane is a reed which grows the to the height frequently of fifteen or sixteen feet, but more generally about ten or twelve feet, and in thickness from the size of a goose quill, to that of two inches diameter; sometimes, yet seldom, it is larger. When it is slender, it never grows higher than from four to seven feet; it shoots up in one summer, but produces no leaves until the following year. It is an evergreen, and is, perhaps, thje most nourishing food for cattle upon earth. No other milk or butter has such flavor and richness as that which is produced from cows which feed upon cane. Horses which are fed upon it work nearly as well as if they were fed upon corn, provided care is taken to given them once in three or four days a handful of salt, otherwise this food is liable to heat and bind their bowels. The rye-grass, when it arrives to maturity, is from two feet and a half high to three and a half, and the head and beard resemble the real rye, and sometimes produces a small grain, long and slender, not unlike rye.

The native strawberry is found in these plains in the greatest abundance, as are likewise plums of different sorts; and if we can form any idea of the native grape that grows spontaneously here, what the same soil is capable of producing where they are cultivated, it would appear that no climate or soil in the world is more congenial to the vine, for I have never tasted more delicious grapes; and it is the opinion of some judicious foreigners, who have visited these Arcadian regions that as good wine as can be made in any part of hte globe might be produced from the native grape properly cultivated. There is nothing more common than to meet with a pleasant wine made here by the settlers, who know nothing of the use of vats, or the degree of fermentation necessary to the perfection of hte art of wine-making.

Pulaski and Crab Orchard and Somerset are between the Green and Cumberland Rivers:

The country between Green and Cumberland Rivers is, in general, rich and finely watered. There is in it a most valuable lead mine, and several salt springs, and two of bitumen, which, when analyzed, is found to be amber. But so much do we stand in need of chemists and mineralists, that we remain ignorant of the properties nad value of many fossils which have been discovered.

After you leave the plains which extend into the Cumberland country, in your course to the Tenasee, the country is somehwat broken, but mostly rich. Great part of the land lying between these rivers was in military grants, made by Virginia to their officers and soldiers, and is esteemed a valuable situation for its proximity to the Ohio and Mississippi. Their grants extend as low on the Mississippi as the partition line between Virginia nad North Carolina, all of which is a beautiful country, and the banks of the river, which are very high, prevent it from overflowing, which is not the case lower down.