Friday, July 27, 2012

Face to Face

Geography will often define the boundaries for settlement.  Where to go and how to get there will be directed by water, hills, mountains, fertile land and the like.  Figuring things out will often take time and adjustments.

Now, who occupied the land was always a problem for those who wanted to occupy the land.  The geography of the mountains had separated a land grabbing group of folks [on the east] who wanted it all, from a number of ethic groups [on the west] who had been fighting one another for a good long while.  These ethic groups had settled their own differences following a warfare that had lasted until around 1700.  Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Miami had generally laid claim to their homeland on the western side of this Cumberland-Allegheny mountain ridge.  You can see on the drawing above the general areas occupied by these groups.  The Shawnee and Cherokee were to have the most say about coming into this Ohio Valley after the Wyandot got things rolling with those folks on the eastern side of the mountains.  Anyway you went, down the water (Ohio) or around the mountains (to become the Cumberland Gap) you would have to face the Shawnee or Cherokee.  Face to face was yet to come.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Coming Round The Mountains

Getting to this new land [what was to become Kentucky] was some kind of chore.  The New River (Wood's River) offered a pathway to the west, but gave all kinds of trouble to those who were on the other side of the mountains.  All these mountains stood in the way.  For many years, the Blue Ridge Mountains seem to be the greatest barrier.  Once over these, there were the Shenandoah Mountains separated by a valley area that gave a little brake to the mountains.  Then came the Allegheny Highlands  that seemed to go on forever into the distance.  What were these poor folks along the coast to do?

The drawing to the right shows the general idea about these mountains.  The "Blue Ridge" in blue, the "Shenandoah" in purple, and the Cumberland-Allegheny Highlands in green are outlined.    The river road is again shown in orange, and one can get a sense of why those folks above the mountains [PA, NY, etc.]would find the river route a much better avenue.  The folks from VA, NC, and MD would have to figure out another way perhaps...coming round the mountains.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Yet to Come

Abraham Wood and his crew were the first to record a "New River" that flowed to the "West" instead of back to the "East".  This "English" discovery opened the doors to a potential route to China.  No one knew what was really out there, but Abraham and his associates were determined to find out.  At 37 degree parallel, they had some idea that China would lay to the south.  This New River [at first called Wood's River], seemed to flow north, and this would have put some damper on the exploration.   But, who was to know that this river flowed to a larger, and then larger River which was to run southwest.

The drawing to the right shows roughly the 37 degree parallel as it runs though Virginia and Kentucky.   Abraham Wood started somewhere past Roanoke [most likely near Blacksburg], and the record begins.  Following the orange colored line, the flow of the river formed a u-shaped pattern, up to the Ohio River, down to the Kentucky, and off to the Dix River, meeting the land that would become Danville, Kentucky.  The colonies of PA, MD, VA, and NC are shown to place their settlement along this new river.  All certainly wanted to get there, and the story of Danville, connects these dots.  Being at the head waters of the Ohio, PA would certainly have an advantage to this water way.   Of course the mountains lying between would play a mayor roll in the settlement pattern, but that is yet to come.