Sunday, January 13, 2008

1799 Tennessee Boundary Survey (part 4)

From Western North Carolina: A History (1730-1913), by John Preston Arthur, published 1914, Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., North Carolina, pp. 43-45:

    MOUNTAIN MOONSHINE. On Monday they "proceeded on between the head of Rock creek and Doe river, and encamped in a low gap between these two streams. The next day they went five or six miles to the foot of the Iron mountain to a place they called Strother's Camp, where they had some good songs, "then raped [wrapped] ourselves up in our blankets and slep sound till this morning." Here "Cols. Vance and Neely went to the Limestone settlements for a pilot, returned to us on the line at two o'clock with a Mr. Collier as pilot and two gallons whiskey, we stop, drank our own health and proceeded on the line. Ascended a steep spur of the Unaker mountain, got into a bad laurel thicket, cut our way some distance. Night came on, we turned off and camped at a very bad place, it being a steep laurelly hollow," but the whiskey had such miraculous powers that it made the place "tolerably comfortable."

    BAD LUCK ON THE THIRTEENTH. On Thursday the 13th, if they were superstitious, the expected bad luck happened; for here they were informed that for the next two or three days' march the pack-horses could not proceed on the line—that is, could not follow the extreme height of the mountain crest. This was a calamity indeed; but what was the result? How did these men meet it? We read how:

    BETWEEN HOLLOW POPLAR AND GREASY COVE. "Myself [John Strother] together with the chain-bearers and markers packed our provisions on our backs and proceeded on with the line, the horses and rest of the company was conducted round by the pilot a different route. We continued the line through a bad laurel thicket to the top of the Unaker mountain and along the same about three miles and camped at a bad laurelly branch." On Friday, however, they came "to the path crossing [the Unaker mountain] from Hollow Poplar to the Greasy Cove and met our company. It rained hard. We encamped on the top of the mountain half a mile from water and had an uncomfortable evening."

    DEVIL'S CREEK AND LOST COVE. It seems that the information Mr. Collier had given "respecting the Unaker mountain was false," and Mr. Strother prevailed upon the commissioners to discharge him on Saturday the 15th of June. They then crossed the Nolechucky "where it breaks through the Unaker or Iron mountain." Here it is that that matchless piece of modern railroad engineering, the C. C. &. O. R. R., disputes with the "Chucky" its dominion of the canon and transports from its exhaustless coal mines in Virginia hundreds of tons of the finest coal to its terminus on the Atlantic coast.

    ROBERT HENRY MEETS HIS FATE. Here, too, it being again found "impracticable to take horses from this place on the line to the Bald mountain, Mr. Henry, the chain-bearers and markers, took provisions on their backs [and] proceeded on the line and the horses went round by the Greasy Cove and met the rest of the ompany on Sunday on the top of the Bald mountain, where we tarried till Tuesday morning."

    "TARRYING" IN THE GREASY COVE. One cannot help wondering why they "tarried" here so long; but no one who has ever visited that "Greasy Cove" and shared the hospitality of its denizens need long remain without venturing a guess; for it is a pleasant place to be, with the "red banks of Chucky" still crumbling in the bend of the river and the ravens croaking from their cliffs among the fastnesses of the Devil's LookIng Glass looming near. The C. C. & O. have their immense shops here now, covering almost a hundred acres of land.