from "The Wilderness Road"
The advanced guard
by Captain James Trimble reached the river and found it greatly swollen
by recent rains. Realizing it was impossible to cross at the usual
ford, Captain Trimble took his men to a big bend above the ford to
Because he believed that Col. Knox would be in advance party of the
Trimble did not leave a guide at the main ford. When Mrs. Trimble
arrived, on her horse with little William at her back and baby Allen in
her arms, she saw some of the guards on the other side. She supposed
they had crossed at that place and immediately plunged into the river.
Captain Trimble, sensing danger, shouted to them not to attempt it but
his voice was drowned by the rushing waters.
The horses of the
were soon swimming in the current and Mrs. Erwin's horse was sashed
a ledge of rocks. With great difficulty, the animal struggled to
get a footing and managed to clamber back to the bank. A huge wallet
thrown across her horse in which two Negro children were carried was
off into the current. A man coming up at the time plunged into the
stream and managed to save the children and the bags.
Mrs. Trimble's horse
continued to struggle against the current with his head turned toward
opposite shore. Firmly grasping the bridle and mane with her right
hand, clinging to her baby with the left and calling to William behind
her to hold fast, she urged her swimming horse forward and at least
to reach the opposite bank. Frightened and anxious, the men lifted
her and her children from the exhausted horse. She sank to the ground,
uttering a broken prayer, completely spent.
Knowing the ford
Knox supervised the party one by one without further incident and gave
orders for the company to fix tents for an overnight stay. Sentinels
posted, the tired and exhausted women slept unmolested through the
Next morning, dawn
was threatening. Eight horsemen rode past in a hurry to be on their
way. Knox warned them that Indians might kill them and that they
should attach themselves to his party but the men clattered off and were
soon out of sight.
Before the company
many miles, they came upon the mangled remains of the eight horsemen who
had passed their camp at the river. The bodies had been stripped,
tomahawked and scalped by Indians and torn and eaten by wolves. Knox
paused to bury the remains, and fearful of an ambush ahead, decided to
camp for the night. The travelers' sleep was disturbed during the
night by the excessive howling of wolves. Since Indians were known
to be in the neighborhood, it was believed that much of the terrifying
noise was made by the savages. But there was no attack, and the company
marched on the next day.
From George W.
Travelling Church (1910); MS of Dr.Thomas D. Clark, Lexington, Ky.
In his fascinating book "Snow
Remembered" Richard E Stevens (Heritage Press) quotes Ripley
Ohio: Its History and Families:
pioneer woman born in Maryland in 1797. Coming to Adams County Ohio
as a little girl, she remembers there was a pike out of Baltimore for
miles, then 400 rough miles of wilderness to Pittsburgh which she never
forgot. The roads across the mountains were so bad, she said, her
father and other men walked along the mountainside pulling on ropes tied
to the wagons to prevent them from upsetting.
The everlasting mud made
a lasting impression on her youthful mind, as she had walked most of the
way. She said Allegheny Mountain mud was known to every settler because
there was so much of it, especially in the grassy glades, where it was
kept churned into a batter by the numerous wagons."