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they discovered a Cavalier (parapet) twenty feet high, the summit of which covered nearly the sixth part of an acre and upon which one of these colonists has since built his house.
Several miles Easterly of Nash Ville a small mountain is visible on the top of which was found the ruins of a considerable village surrounded by a rampart of great length and near the bottom a great number of tombs each of them is provided with two stones, one placed near the head and the other towards the feet -in opening them they discovered that each body was enclosed within three flat and well jointed stones.
The course of the Cumberland River is navigable during six months of the year as far as 80 miles above Nash Ville, as are all the transapalachien rivers it has very high banks which however have not prevented floods from inundating several times certain parts of the country from its mouth for sixty miles it is deep but from that point to the end of navigation it is only an alternation of little rapids and of gentle and tranquil currents.
Nash-Ville is today considered to be the Capitol of the new county of Cumberland separate from that of Franklin and of Kentukey. It consists of 800 families and it is already divided into two counties, namely Davison and Somner. Would you believe that it is the English of Detroit who provide them with merchandise. So easy and so comfortable are the communications provided by all these rivers.
This is the route followed by them
From Detroit they are sent in canoes to the mouth
of Lake Erie
From there crossing the Lake to the mouth of
They then travel up the Miamis River as far as a
The length of this river as far as the Muskingham
They then descend this river as far as the Sa
And the same as far as Oxeyatanon where fifteen
The same as far as the village of Vermillon where
there is located a settlement of the Pians-
Same to the high lands
Also to the Post of Vincennes a great Canadian
Again as far as the junction of the Wabash with
Then the Ohio as far as its junction with the
Finally they ascend this last named River as far
as Nash Ville
On the other side
About 200 miles above Nash Ville beyond the junction of the three branches which form the Cumberland River not far from the mouth of the River of Rock Castle, three hunters have recently discovered regular fortifications and in the neighborhood many tombs upon the tops of which were found Inscriptions but such was their ignorance that they could not read them. Next autumn more particular details are expected.
Not far from the Long Island in the Holston River (one of the principal branches of the Ténézee) 200 miles above the spot so well known under the name of Muscle Shoals and a quarter of a mile from the line which divides Virginia from North Carolina there was found in a tunnel of lime stone (Pierre Calcaire) the skeleton of a man who must have been of extraordinary size. Colonel Selby, upon whose estate it was found, has with the greatest care collected all parts of the skeleton. The lower bone of the jaw is so large that the Colonel without inconveniencing himself places it under his own jaw and the two tibias are 2 inches longer than those of an ordinary man.
A Calumet weighing seven pounds was found under the head of the skeleton, which represented an eagle and is of a very hard black marble. You can see the hollow which was made to hold the tobacco, also the hole into which the pipe stem was placed. A second was also found under the feet of the skeleton but of less weight. Nobody travels in these countries without stopping at Colonel Selby's place to examine these objects.
Nearly all the salt springs found in the countries about which I have had the honor of speaking to you, give only in their natural state a very small quantity of salt; the Americans have invented a method of boring to a great depth by drills made of several pieces. As soon as this operation is completed, the waters of these
springs are suddenly charged with a great quantity of salt,- in carrying on this operation in a Salt Marsh or Lick situated on the Holston River, they discovered seven feet deep a bed or immense heap of great bones, like those known for more than 30 years on the Bigbone Creek descending the Ohio River and which are believed to be the remains of a Mammoth.
I hope that you will not disapprove my action in calling these details to your attention. I thought they might excite your
curiosity and merit perhaps some moments of your interest.
I shall have the honor in my first letter to give you an account of the useful and interesting experiments which have been made here in coal tar upon the outside and inside of vessels. On the outside it prevents the worms (de Metz) from attacking the planking. On the inside it drives out the rats. When the paints which they use to paint an apartment, are mixed with the oil of this same coal tar, they become an infallible preservation against every sort of vermin.
The nails, the hinges of vessels, previously heated and then dipped into this new form of coal tar are no longer exposed to the ravages of rust. A cargo of this coal tar has just arrived from Scotland, which has been sold on the spot.
Permit me to recall myself to the Memory of Madam your mother, of Madame the Duchesse, of Monsieur and Madam de Leon and to offer to them proof of my gratitude and respect. Accept yourself I pray you the same sentiments which I shall preserve during my whole life.
If I had more marked ability I should have sent you details much more interesting upon the political condition of these Republics which at this very moment are meeting a crisis which will reunite them in stronger ties or divide them into two or three confederations. We shall know in a month which it will be. I have the honor of being very respectfully, Monsieur le Duc, your very humble and very obedient servant.
ST. JEAN DE CREVECOEUR MONSIEUR LE DUC DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.
Dr. ALLEN read the following on
CAPTAIN HECTOR MCNEILL, CONTINENTAL NAVY.
Last year Mr. Frederick W. Denton, of Cambridge, presented to the Society a letter-book of Captain Hector McNeill of the Continental Navy, which was reported at the
May meeting of 1920. Captain McNeill commanded the frigate Boston in 1777 and the letter-book covers the period of an eventful cruise made in that year. When McNeill turned the ship over to her next commander, Captain Tucker, early in 1778, he presumably left the book on board. In 1780, when Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to the British, the Boston, being in the harbor at that time, also fell into their hands. The letter-book had probably been taken ashore before the surrender. It was found many years later among the papers of Mr. Denton's aunt, Mrs. W. S. Adams, of 28 Church Street, Charleston, a pre-revolutionary house, though not occupied at that early period by Mrs. Adams's family. Whether the book remained in this house for nearly a century after it left the Boston or whether it led a migratory existence is a matter of conjecture.
The contents of this letter-book comprise not quite a third of the material which has been collected for publication in the Proceedings of the Society. A still larger proportion of the whole is furnished by a collection of papers belonging to the Hon. Charles W. Gray, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who has kindly allowed us to take copies; these were heirlooms in the McNeill family, descending through his youngest daughter. Some of them were printed several years ago in the New Hampshire Genealogical Record. The remaining papers come chiefly from the Massachusetts Archives and the Library of Congress, the latter mostly John Paul Jones manuscripts. The Chamberlain Collection in the Boston Public Library and the Bostonian Society each contributes one letter. To the officials of all these institutions we are indebted for very interesting and valuable material. A number of other items are reprinted from the Proceedings of this Society; also two letters from the Publications of the Naval History Society and two from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.
Among the papers in the Gray collection is an autobiographical sketch which throws much light on McNeill's antecedents and early life. Unfortunately it comes down only to the period of the French and Indian War. From this account it appears that he was of Scotch descent and was 1 January, 1907.
born in County Antrim, Ireland, October 10, 1728. He came to Boston with his parents in his ninth year, arriving September 7, 1737. He was educated in the Boston schools and in later life followed the sea. November 12, 1750, he was married in the First Presbyterian Church to Mary Wilson.1 Their first child, Robert, was born April 12, 1752, and died in September the following year. In November, 1753, came the birth of another son, Hector, and just two years later that of the eldest daughter, Mary. Another daughter, Lettice, was born at some time after the period covered by this sketch.
Entering the king's service in April, 1755, McNeill, then master of a vessel, carried General Monckton to Nova Scotia and apparently remained during the siege of Beauséjour. He returned to Boston in October, but about the end of the year 1775 was again in the Bay of Fundy. He was soon captured with his ship by Indians, near Passamaquoddy Bay. With this incident the sketch comes abruptly to an end. We have a bit of information, however, derived from Indian sources and recorded in a journal kept in 1764 by James Boyd, a settler on Passamaquoddy Bay. Boyd learned from the natives of that region that McNeill, after his capture, had been taken to St. Andrews and thence to Quebec.2 He there disappears from recorded annals for more than nine years. He may have been held a prisoner until the end of the war, but at all events he resumed his seafaring life in course of time.
In a list of "Port Arrivals" it is noted that on April 19, 1765, "Hector McNeill, Sloop Phenix from Hallyfax," with a considerable number of passengers, arrived in Boston, and on November 24, 1766, he came from Quebec in the sloop Fanny and Jeany. Three other entries of his vessels from Quebec are reported: August 10, 1767, the sloop Brittania, August 25 and December 15, 1768, the sloop Swallow.3 This last arrival is mentioned in the Dairy of John Rowe.*
1 Boston Records, xxvIII. 341, where the date given is November 10.
2 2 Proceedings, III. 91. There is no record in the Massachusetts Archives
of any service of Captain McNeill in the French and Indian War. 3 Boston Records, XXIX. 264, 288, 295, 307, 311.
4 2 Proceedings, X. 71.