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41 and about 20 minutes, when it breaks through its lofty barriers. Meeting the Lackawanna, it again changes its course and glides in a bright, broad and beautiful stream to the southwest. Easterly, within the great bend of the river, the land (comprising parts of Wyoming, Bradford, and the whole of Susquehanna counties) though used as hunting ground, was impervious to Indian labour, and remained until long after the revolutionary war, untouched by the axe of the white man-majestic in the extent, the depth and the loftiness of its forests-sublime as it came from the hand of the Creator. A solitary Indian path from the Lackawanna to Oquago, marked the chord of the arc, being about forty miles, while following the bow of the river, the distance exceeded one hundred and thirty miles. But we are now in the valley; lovely as ever enthusiast dreamed of, or poet sung. Standing on the bank of the river, a little below the mouth of the Lackawanna, and looking northward, it appears as if by some power, little short of Omnipotent, the solid rock had been cloven down near a thousand feet to open a passage for the water.* Being on the river bank, twelve years ago, with the able and lamented Mr. Packer, then chairman of the senatorial committee, to view the coal region of Luzerne, he pointed to a huge mass of broken and contorted rock, evidently out of place, which now lies at Pittston Ferry, between the canal and river, and expressed the decided and not improbable, opinion, that in the convulsion of nature, which separated the mountain above us, this mass must have been torn away, and borne by the rushing flood, to its present resting place. Twenty miles below, where the Susquehanna takes leave of the plains, the mountains are equally lofty and precipitous. In many places the rocks distinctly exhibit the abrasion of water, many feet above the highest pitch to which the river has ever been known to rise, going to show, that at some very remote period, this had been a lake, and indicating that there had been a chain of lakes, probably along the whole line of the stream. Banks of sand, hills covered with rounded stone, manifestly worn smooth by attrition, similar stones being found wherever wells are sunk, tend to confirm the opinion. The soil is chiefly alluvial, and the whole depth and surface, so far as examined, show great changes by the violent action of water.
* Near the summit of the northeastern cliff, the naked stone presents to the eye a grey crescent, which, precisely at twelve, receives the direct rays of the sun, and hence is called "Dial Rock,"--giving notice to the labouring husbandman, that it is time to turn out his team, and reposing under the shade of elm or walnut, to take his noontide repast.
The geological structure of Wyoming affords to the inquirer a matter of lively interest. Were I able to do the subject justice, this would not, perhaps, be deemed the fitting place. The richness and beauty of the coal formation, however, at least demand a moment's notice. On the top of the southern, or second range of mountains, strata of rocks make their appearance. The red-shale, for instance, lined by the pebbly conglomerate, (which is the cradle or bed in which the lower stratum of anthracite reposes,) with other accompanying rocks, are apparent, and easily traceable. On the opposite, the northwestern, or second mountain, the same rocks appear, though less distinctly, marking the outer limits of the coal basin, in that direction. Within the valley sixteen strata of coal, varying in thickness from four to twenty-six feet, have been clearly ascertained. The quality of this mineral is unsurpassed in purity; several veins, in an especial manner, being particularly excellent for the fusion of ores and the working of iron. During the war of the revolution, several boat-loads were taken down the Susquehanna, it is supposed, by Capt. Daniel Gore, for the use of the armory forges at Carlisle.
Bog ores exist in limited extent; argillaceous ores are known to prevail in near proximity with veins of coal, and an extensive stratum of mountain ore is now being wrought on one of the hills south of the Lackawanna.* These brief preliminary notices of the coal and ore of Wyoming have been made, that the distant reader may receive, at least, a partial idea of its slumbering wealth. The subject may be adverted to more in detail hereafter, if our limits shall permit.
The valley, itself, is diversified by hill and dale, upland and intervale. Its character of extreme richness is derived from the extensive flats, or river bottoms, which in some places extend from one to two miles back from the stream, unrivalled in expansive beauty; unsurpassed in luxuriant fertility. Though now generally cleared and cultivated, to protect the soil from floods, a fringe of trees is left along each bank of the river:-the sycamore, the elm, and more especially the black-walnut, while here and there scattered through the fields, a huge shellbark yields its summer shade to the weary laborer, and its autumn fruit to the black and gray squirrel, or the
* Sufficient proof exists to show that this rich vein of iron ore extends throughout the whole valley; beneath, and not far below, the red-shale, at Solomon's creek, in Hanover, fifteen miles southwest from the mine so successfully worked by the Messrs Scrantons & Co., in Lackawanna, the vein exposed by the deep cuttings of the Mauch Chunk Company's Railroad, and is expected soon to be wrought by Mr. Hibler, the fortunate owner.
rival plough-boy. Pure streams of water come leaping from the mountains, imparting health and pleasure in their course; all of them abounding with the delicious trout. Along those brooks and in the swales, scattered through the uplands, grow the wild plum and the butternut, while, wherever the hand of the white man has spared it, the native grape may be gathered in unlimited profusion. I have seen a grapevine bending beneath its purple clusters, one branch climbing a butternut, loaded with fruit; another branch resting on a wild plum, red with its delicious burden; the while growing in their shade, the hazlenut was ripening its rounded kernel.
Such were common scenes when the white people first came to Wyoming, which seems to have been formed by nature, a perfect Indian paradise. Game, of every sort, was abundant. The quail whistled in the meadow; the pheasant rustled in its leafy covert; the wild duck reared her brood, and bent the reed in every inlet; the red deer fed upon the hills, while in the deep forests, within a few hours walk, was found the stately elk. Several persons, now living, delight to relate their hunting prowess, in bringing down this noblest of our forest inhabitants. The river yielded, at all seasons, a supply of fish. The yellow perch, the pike, the catfish, the bass, the roach, and in the spring season, myriads of shad.*
From various points, the valley may be seen to advantage. Prospect Rock, on the eastern mountain, near the turnpike, affords a very fine, though rather distant, view. From Ross's Hill, on the Kingston side, looking up the river, Monockasy island, seeming to repose so sweetly, on the glassy bosom of the Susquehanna, is a landscape worthy the ablest pencil. But from Inman's Hill, the eye embracing part of Hanover, and the broad expanse of the Wilkesbarre and Kingston meadows, the prospect is eminently picturesque; presenting a scene rich in a single aspect, but in detail, studded with innumerable beauties.
*The fact is worth recording that this fish, excellent as it was justly esteemed, caught in the Chesapeake bay, or at the mouth of the river, attained to a superior size and flavour when taken so far up as Wyoming. In point of fatness and excellence, there could be no comparison. Probably, only the largest and strongest could stem the current for so great a distance; but a better reason, I apprehend, is to be found in a favorable change in quantity and quality of congenial food. In 1798 a haul was made, at Nanticoke, of uncounted thousands. The fishermen threw ashore while purchasers could be found, and then gave to those who were unable to buy. The supply of salt being exhausted, the seine was raised, and the rest allowed to escape. The Wilkesbarre Gazette announced, at the time, in an exulting paragraph, such was the multitude, "That Bonaparte (then playing the conqueror in Italy,) and all his army was captured!"
The name Wyoming was long supposed to mean, being interpreted, "A Field of Blood;" but Mr. Heckewelder, perfectly versed in Indian language, to the inquiry of Mr. Chapman, replied: "Wyoming is a corruption of Maughwauwama, by which it was designated by the Delaware Indians, being a compound of maughwau, meaning large, and wama, signifying plains, so that it may be translated "THE LARGE PLAINS."