|An early traveler's report|
By J.J. Williams|
Excerpted from his 1854 Diary
uesday, Oct. 24th: We started by sun up, it was still cloudy and misting
this morning. Two miles from camp we came to the town of Marion, the county
seat of Crittendon County a new town and a very pretty little place; here we
met several acquaintances formerly of Logan County who seemed very glad to
see us. William Rutherford, Merida Ragsdale and Cowtton were the persons of
whom I speak. At Marion I saw the smallest speciman of a man I ever saw
anywhere. His name is John Nelson Martin, he is a saddler by trade, about 3
feet high and 25 years old. From this place to the Ohio River the road is
awful hilly and rocky and the land along the road looks poor. We arrived at
the River between 3 and 4 oąclock, we crossed at Barkerąs Ferry, they took
our waggon and carriage at the first load, our dog Watch did not go in, and
was left. I went back after him and we met in the middle of the river,
swimming, and the boat ran over (him); he came out however and swam back to
the Kentucky side I didnąt get him this time but I did the next time. Fairly
landed on the Illinois shore. I took one last look at the Kentucky shore and
here I am, in a state that I claim not as my own, my native state. FAREWELL,
KENTUCKY, beloved Kentucky, a long, long farewell. I bid you, with all your
noble sons and lovely daughters, a long adieu. I may never more see thee: I
may never tread thy soil again, but I will ever remember my native state,
though far, far away I roam. Ohio, thou art beautiful, ah passing beautiful,
but you are rolling between me and the loved home of my youth. Home, did I
say Home, but I am a wanderer on earth. Camped 1 1/2 miles from the river,
traveled 16 miles.
Oct. 25th: Food for horses being scarce, we provided ourselves with corn
directly after we started. The road was still hilly this morning as it had
been for two days. Soon after leaving camp on coming to the top of a hill a
beautiful sight burst upon our vision: the hills stretched far away in the
distance, some trees were clothed in the variegated hues of Autumn; some of
them were yellow, some red and some still wore the fresh green of spring.
The scene as it lay all bathed in the morning light and the hill after hill
stretching away below and around us, was truly enchanting and beautiful. We
came to the foot of Patzą hill about ten oąclock; there is a house at the
foot of the hill where legend says many a man has stopped for the night and
never been heard of more. It looks like a place for deeds dark and dreadful.
The hills and rocks around have a wild and fearful look about and seem to be
a fit place for the ghosts of the murdered dead, to howl in. It may be
fancy, but the house itself has a forbidding appearance, every shutter was
closed but those that were broken off and looked like they might have been
shut for half a score of years. Came to some tolerable level ground and
camped within four miles of Equallity, near a salt spring and several salt
wells and the remains of some old salt works; travelled 19 miles.
Thursday, October 26th: Got a tolerable late start but went on very well
after we got started. We came to the town of Equality, 3 miles from camp and
crossed the Saline Creek on a toll bridge. We put three letters in the
office here, Dick Bryant one, Austin one and myself one. After passing
Equality, the country is very level and inclined to be swampy. Water and
provisions are scarce and hard to get. The road is very dry and dusty as
much so as it was in Logan (County, Kentucky) in the summer. Equality is
situated on a hill and commands a splendid view to the south. The town is a
pretty little place containing some fine buildings and some not so fine.
Autumn is farther advanced here than anywhere I have seen. Camped 16 miles
west of Equality and I drank water from a creek with no rocks about it,
having travelled 19 miles. . .
The above is an excerpt from a diary written by J.J. Williams who moved, with his
family from Keysburg, Kentucky, to southwest Missouri in October-November, 1854.
The family traveled by covered wagon caravan. The wagons crossed the Ohio
River on Barker's Ferry, probably in the area of Cave-In Rock State Park,
then proceeded north up Potts Hill, past an old salt spring, and through the
town of Equality, Illinois. This excerpt picks up on the Kentucky side of the
river. J.J. Williams was 20 at the time of the trip, and died in 1896 in
Copyright - Permission is granted for Jon Musgrave to post whatever portions
of this diary he deems appropriate on websites which have a historical
focus. All other rights reserved by
Donald E. Skinner.
©2000 Jon Musgrave
You are our [an error occurred while processing this directive] visitor thanks for stopping by!