Original Document
Original Document
John Bartram, On the woods along the Upper Susquehanna River, 1743.

July 20, 1743
 We continued our journey in this pleasant vale until we ascended a hill, beyond which a slant brought us to two ponds that ran into a branch of Susquehanah; crossing this we joined a part from the Carugas country; then over a rich level to another branch big enough to turn a mill where we crossed it. It was now three-quarters after 10, then good land to half an hour after 12 yet no hickery nor oak, but elm, sugar, maple, beech, birch, white walnuts, hop, hornbeam, and abundance of ginseng. After dinner we passed a branch of the great Susquehanah down which lake canoes may go quite to where the river is navigable for boats. On the banks I found the gale like the European. This is the nearest branch of Susquehanah river to that of Onondago. …
Our way hence, lay over fine rich level land as before, but when we left it, we enter'd a miserable thicket of spruce, opulus, and dwarf yew, then over a branch of Susquehanah big enough to turn a mill, came to ground as good as that on the other side the thicket; well cloathed with tall timber of sugar birch, sugar maple, and elm. In the afternoon it thunder'd hard pretty near us, but rained little;
We observed the tops of the trees to be so close to one another for many miles together, that there is no seeing which way the clouds drive, nor which way the wind sets : and it seems almost as is the sun had never shone on the ground, since the creation. About sun set it cleared up, and we encamped on the last branch of Susquehanah the night following it thundred and rained very fast, and took us at a disadvantage, for we had made no shelter to keep off the rain, neither could we see it till just over our heads, and it began to fall.
One of our Indians cut 4 sticks 5 feet long, and stuck both ends into the ground, at 2 foot distance, one from another; over these he spread his match coat and crept through them, and then sell to finding : in the mean time we were setting poles nantwise in the ground, tying others cross them, over which we' spread our blanket and crept close under it with a fire before us and sell fast asleep.
I waked a little after midnight, and found our fire almost out, so I got the hatchet and felled a few saplings which I laid on, and made a rousing fire, tho' it rained stoutly, and laying down once more, I slept sound all night.

Credit: John Bartram, Observations on the inhabitants, climate, soil, rivers, productions, animals, and other matters worthy of notice made by Mr. John Bartram, in his travels from Pensilvania [sic] to Onondago, Oswego and the Lake Ontario, in Canada (London: J. Whiston & B. White, 1751), 36-8.
Back to Top