In The Shadow of the Cumberland Gap
We beg leave to insert here parts of a letter
recently received from a member of the Virginia Regiment who had occassion
to journey down the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road and visit the renowned
Cumberland Gap that opens the way for settlers to move into Kentucke and
beyond. It has been many years since the fall of Fort Duquesne, but
some of the great men we remember from the French and Indian War have made
fortunes by opening the lands to the west of the mountains.
"Dear Friends of the Regiment,
It has been quite a few years since the disastrous defeat of General Braddock, but several men who were at that unfortunate occassion have made names for themselves and perhaps fortunes in opening the verdant lands of the great Kentuck we heard from Indian lore.
Recently I had the honor to visit as Mr. Boone and Dr. Walker were gathering many people to travel with them into the new lands to the west. They had some surveyors to survey plots and land dealers to sell title to the land.
A surveyor from Williamsburg and a land agent doing good business.
Also on hand were many craftsmen and women preparing to set up shop in the new lands or to sell supplies to the settlers.
a skinner was cleaning hides and
a potter was making cups and plates.
Along side of these purveyors that one might find in any of our larger towns were some, shall we say, plainer folk from the backwoods plying their trades:
I was most amused to watch some of these unlearned folk from the mountains. Can you guess how many backwoods men it takes to saddle a cow?
It seems that it takes no less than four of these simple folk for one simple cow!
For those more used to higher forms of amusement, there was no shortage of music. Some seemed very impromptu, but everyone was most delighted with the entertainment and the multitude of instruments.
Professor Bodkin made wonderful music on his water glasses; it was a most interesting exhibition of what a little ingenuity and a few common items can do. The bagpipes reminded me of some of our regular British Highland units that stir the heart, but the mandolin player standing against the backdrop of those wonderful Kentucke mountains made me pray that all these settlers would find safety and contentment in their new homes.
Sir, I remain your humble servant....