August 23, 1832
[Page 1:63]23 August: Early in the morning at five o’clock, we—Dr. Saynisch, Mr. Bodmer,
Moser and I—boarded our carriage. Dreidoppel remained behind in order to prepare immediately the larger animals of those we were to send back. The weather promised to become very nice. Fog covered the land, as it has done almost every day now. We drove up through Bethlehem and followed the road to Easton. Stubble stood in the fields. Large fields were covered with clover, corn, and also blooming buckwheat and potatoes. We drove intermittently through sparse woodlands with various kinds of oak, walnut, and other trees; when the fog lifted, we saw densely cultivated, gently hilly land alternating with field and forest far and wide. This entire region is part of a limestone formation. One frequently comes upon limekilns, particularly in the woods, and on the fields one sees heaps of quicklime, often very large, piled up in rows as fertilizer and later spread over the fields.
Individual farmsteads are situated everywhere along the road. For the most part, they have wooden houses, some of them very small; however, one also finds very prosperous planters all through Pennsylvania. The little gardens by these homes usually have various kinds of flowers [seen in] European gardens such as Helianthus annuus, which grows very tall, Convolvulus purpureus, Polygonum orientale, Hibiscus syriacus blooming with the most magnificent white or vivid red flowers, etc. In all these regions, a great many horses are raised, some of which are often very nice; the farmers often leave them out in the open day and night, as is done [with] the cattle. They are treated with little consideration: people ride them boldly but badly, and on the steep mountains, the wagons do not even have a brake. Phytolacca decandra and Juniperus attract numerous thrushes, which like their berries very much. The former grows along all the roads. Because there is no stall-feeding and cattle always graze out in the open, all the fields, pastures, and every piece of property are enclosed by wooden fences.
After several miles we drove through a region where there is a serious water shortage. During dry periods the farmers must drive their cattle to water, often 5 or 6 miles away, because the cisterns they have constructed are then also dry. This region is usually called “the dry country” and is part of the secondary limestone formation. Somewhat farther on, there appeared to our right the beautiful green, wooded elevations on the bank of the Lecha, which we were now again approaching. In the clover fields, very wet from nightly dew and fog, we heard the call of the partridge (Perdix virginiana),M14Tetrao virginianus (Wils. Orn., vol. 6). which consists of two whistling sounds abruptly expelled one after the other. The fence mouse (chipmunk, Sciurus striatus) ran on the fences. Redheaded woodpeckers flew from tree to tree. Several different kinds of flowers, often including Antirrhinum linaria, Phytolacca decandra, Verbascum thapsus, Rhus typhinum, a tall Eupatorium,M15Eupatorium purpureum the lovely yellow-flowered Solidago,M16Solid. ciliaris, and many other plants, were abundant along the way. Large orchards usually surround all the dwellings. On the trees, which were laden with rather small yellow apples, huge caterpillar nests are very frequent and certainly very harmful. Cultivation of fruit lags far behind here. Much cider is made from the apples. Large numbers of birds were flying to the cherry trees, as in Germany. After we had gone 12 miles, we reached the little city of Easton with about 2,000 inhabitants, the principal town of Northampton County, at the confluence of the Delaware and the Lecha. The town consists of rather nice, low houses along unpaved roads intersecting at right angles with brick sidewalks. At the square, on [Page 1:64]which the rather small courthouse is located, we stopped at the inn for breakfast. First of all, however, we took a short walk to the Delaware River, which glides past the city between beautiful banks overgrown with tall trees. Easton is situated on a gentle declivity. The main street leads directly to the Delaware, over which a large, long, very fine covered bridge with three arches (600 English feet, or 243 of my paces in length) has been constructed. On the outside it is completely covered with boards, painted bright yellow, and provided with fifteen windows on each side. This structure, like all similar things in the United States, is a private undertaking and yields a 30% return. A fare is paid for each crossing.
After breakfast we took a second walk over the bridge. The locality is very beautiful. The Lecha emerges from its romantic valley and below the city, along rocky hills partially overgrown with deciduous trees and firs, joins the Delaware. The Mauch Chunk Canal runs beside the Lecha; a short distance below the city, another canal branches off in a northeasterly direction. This is the Morris Canal, which leads to New York. It has a noteworthy feature: locks, where the ships are brought up dry on sloping surfaces. From the Delaware as far as the first lock of the canal, an incline has been built with stone and provided with two iron rails. Between these rails, iron rollers are periodically located on which the chains lie with which the ships are drawn upward. The ship or barge is brought into a kind of ferry, which is then winched upward. The water of the canal drains away under the sloping surface, and only a very small amount flows over the stones.
Datura tatula [and] tall Juniperus virginiana grow on the
sandy bank of the Delaware, and Verbena [——] etc. grows in the sand below. Noteworthy rocky crags appear at the confluence of the Lecha and the Delaware. Beautiful trees and forest cover the elevations, and all this creates a most scenic landscape. A [garter] snake, the three-striped adder (Coluber sirtalis), raced past us through the short plants.
After returning to the inn, we loaded our guns and continued the journey. As soon as one leaves the city, one follows the
southern western bank of the Delaware, and a bridge adjacent to the houses leads across a scenic brook, the Bushkill, which flows between tall shady trees and green plants. From now on, the road is very pleasant. The gleaming surface of the Delaware, about 200 paces wide, sparkles close beside the road, which, higher along the mountain, continues in the shade of tall trees. Old Platanus, Liriodendron, oaks, walnut trees, chestnuts, etc., provide deep shade. Directly to the left, there is the steep mountain with forest and low plants of all kinds growing among the stones and boulders. Filices, Solidago, Eupatorium, Aster, Rubus, Smilax, Rosa, Rhus, along with Actaea racemosa and a thousand other plants, form a green wall.
The river flows between picturesquely wooded banks, but soon the place where [Page 1:65]we were driving widened and we reached farmers’ homes. We stopped at one of them to send back a rider, since Mr. Bodmer had forgotten his sketching portfolio in Bethlehem. When we reached the river again, we were delighted by its picturesque banks. Especially on our side, high, rugged cliffs descend vertically, so close to the riverbank that often there is scarcely enough room for two vehicles. Tall forest trees provide deep shade. Here there are tulip trees thicker than a fully grown man, old basswoods, maples, all kinds of oaks, Juglans, ashes, elms, dogwood (Cornus florida), some intertwined with wild grape, which had thick, hanging stems. To the left, in the rocks, the beautiful red-flowered Rubus odoratus, which I had not yet seen here, Hibiscus syriacus with its seed capsules, Impatiens fulva, Eupatorium purpureum—in short, a dense wickerwork of beautiful plants. In a quarry the limestone formation appeared that we soon were no longer able to see. Dr. Saynisch chipped off beautiful pieces of saussurite and limestone with mica. Soon we were glad we had taken them with us, since the clay argillite formation suddenly appeared and deprived us of the possibility of obtaining such samples. We deeply regretted that we could not stay here longer and make sketches of this interesting landscape.
Continuing on our way along the river through this shade, we repeatedly came upon new precipitous and rugged rocks until the region again afforded room for settlements, where we stopped at the so-called white house to water our horses. In the tall trees nearby, Dr. Saynisch shot a red squirrel (Sciurus hudsonius) close to a spring
that quenches our thirst where the residents of the house get their water. The house was nicely located in the shade of old trees: Platanus, acacias, elms, tulip trees, etc. From here on, the region had more variety—now more cultivated, now forest—but we always stayed close to the river. Geese and ducks were swimming in the river, on which we caught sight of barges. Various kinds of birds appeared along the way, including the beautiful golden-winged woodpecker (Picus auratus). From a small lateral valley, Muddy Run Creek appears most picturesquely here in the dark, tall timber, a brook whose surrounding forest scenery is incomparably beautiful. The tall tulip tree, Platanus, oak, and other trees spread out their branches with dense foliage so closely intertwined that not a ray of the sun can reach the water.
Somewhat farther on, we turned away from the Delaware for a while to climb over rather impressive elevations to Martin’s Creek. In a lateral valley, we followed Martin’s Creek, which has swampy spots of meadow where the beautiful Lobelia cardinalis with its scarlet red flower, which normally appears on all these riverbanks, grew and was now in bloom. On the bank of the brook, magnificent tall shade-giving forest trees along walls of argillite. Soon we left this brook, too, and the region lost its charm as soon as we moved away from the streams. In a side ravine leading up toward the mountain, the area had a bare appearance. Grain stubble, clover fields, and deciduous forest in the distance were a perfect reminder of our German homeland. The path over the hills led intermittently past oak and walnut forests, gently uphill and downhill, until we reached the market town or, actually, the village Richmond, where we watered the horses.
Then we went up an elevation on which a church of plain design at Upper Mount Bethel was being provided with a new tin roof. From here one passes over [Page 1:66]alternating gradual slopes and, as soon as one reaches the plateau, has on the left, to the west, a view of the first chain of the Allegheny Mountains (here called Blue Mountains), a long but not very high, picturesque chain of mountains with a rather level ridgeline without higher rounded summits [and] covered by dense primeval forests. It extends from the north to the southwest and has a deep gorge on the horizon and a little to the left, which is called Delaware Water Gap or, simply, Delaware Gap, where this river cuts through the mountain chain. This place was our destination today. It is 23 miles from Bethlehem, and we were merely a few miles away from it.
We drove through the small town [of] Williamsburg and saw luxuriantly green forests and hill after hill rising before us in nearly all directions. The closer we came to the valley—our gray horses here briskly trotted along—the higher the mountain diagonally to the left and ahead of us appeared. Finally we caught sight of the gleaming Delaware. We drove past a sawmill through a dark, shady little wood of oaks and walnut trees and then soon reached the bank. The beautifully shining surface of the river reflected the surrounding forest in a most picturesque way, like a camera obscura. On both banks there is nothing but forest, and this marks the boundary of the state of New Jersey. Beyond it we caught sight of a wellknown glassworks (founded by a German) called Columbia Glasshouse, which has already led a whole series of owners (at least four) into bankruptcy. It is now in the hands of Schmaus and Heiberger.
We then followed the bank of the river upstream; the road is not far away from it. Tall timber forms a nice border: very old Platanus with thick trunks; tulip trees; basswood with large leaves; maples; Betula lenta; several species of oaks, such as Quercus coccinea, tinctoria, monticola, prinus, alba, etc.; farther [upriver], sassafras, Rhus, and Rhododendron maximum, whose trunks are often 15 feet high and as thick as an arm, form a dense, pleasing understory. Grapevines overgrow some of these shrubs. To the left there are cornfields and other fields and habitations with fences, but soon one reaches the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, from which the river issues most picturesquely through a most interesting narrow opening. This narrow opening, or deep gorge, is called the Delaware Water Gap or, simply, Delaware Gap. Engrossed in the observation of the beautiful forest and the picturesque river, we rode toward the mountain when suddenly we saw an interesting snake swimming down the river. The carriage stopped immediately. My traveling companions reached for their guns, but the reptile immediately noticed our movements and submerged. It was probably the same species I obtained the following day at Dutotsburgh.M17Most probably Coluber porcatus Bosc. (Harlan Synops., p. 40. La couleuvre sillonnée Daud. Copper belly snake. Catesby—Carol., vol. 2, 46).
We had by then reached the mountain range that boldly rose on both sides of the river. To the left the valley, too, was already narrow; the mountain wall rose more steeply with every step, and the valley became more and more narrow. Here, immediately before the Gap, there is an inn behind which, barely a few hundred steps away,
a vertical rock the mountain steeply rises; its center is a vertical wall of graywacke of the local prevailing mountain variety with clay slate up to its summit. On this high wall, one sees coniferous forest above, but with some deciduous trees also; lower down there is deciduous forest, but it is mixed. At the foot of the mountain lie several pretty meadows, where cattle grazed picturesquely, and several fields that belong to the inn. From here on, the mountain moves more and more closely to the river, the bank of which is rough and wild; it is covered with many trees that are broken off, white, stripped of their bark, entangled, and [Page 1:67]shattered, some still lying in the water. This is the result of high ice breakups and floods in the spring, and the river is said to have inflicted very great devastations last spring, more than ever before. Wherever the shore has sandy banks and rather flat areas (and, indeed, in most places), it is overgrown with trees, as in Europe. There the riverbanks are overgrown with willows, and here with thickets of Platanus, which especially like water and are called water beeches by the German farmers and buttonwood or sycamore by English speakers. All these young Platanus thickets were white, stripped, and practically without bark and leaves.
The Delaware Gap Inn, as I was told, has an elevation 600 feet higher than Philadelphia, and the mountain with the steep cliff behind this house has an elevation of 600 to 700 feet higher than the house. We could have spent the night in this isolated house, but we preferred another one located beyond the Gap. The road now ran along the bank of the river in such a way that we could see the bank close to our right and the mountain rising abruptly beside our wheels. Here was a majestic primeval wilderness. The tall forest rises here [and] is densely crowded with a varied understory and ⟨[other]⟩ plants. In the midst of the trunks stand rock fragments covered with moss, lichens, and beautiful ferns over which water trickles. They form picturesque nooks and shady hollows, while all the local forest trees, occasionally mixed with coniferous trees, especially with hemlock (Pinus canadensis) and individual Weymouth pines (white pine, Pinus strobus), create a majestic, cool wilderness.
In the same gorge, which we followed gradually upward through the Gap, and which turns somewhat to the left, I noticed several interesting plants we had not seen before, especially Diervilla canadensis; Rubus odoratus with blossoms and large, almost ripe fruits, which do not develop on this beautiful bush in our homeland; in addition, Hamamelis virginiana, with its little nuts; several [species of] maple, including a low, shrublike one with small fruits and striped bark, the Acer pensylvanicum; Betula lenta; as well as other species. Several varieties of Quercus. The live oak, too, is said to occur here occasionally, but this does not appear to be the case; Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, Hydrangea arborescens. M18Comptonia asplenifolia, Ceanothus amer. Among the plants I noticed here are several nice asters.M19Including Aster acuminatus Gerardia quercifolia; Impatiens fulva; several species of Convallaria; Oxalis; several beautiful plants of the Syngenesia family, including Eupatorium purpureum, Solidago ciliaris, etc.; in short, a dense jungle that was already being refreshed by the beginning evening temperature.
The river passes through a gorge that is only as wide as the river. The mountains forming the Gap rise highly and steeply, and after one has passed this place and turns around, one then faces a high, rugged mountain. Mr. Bodmer sketched this view, since it is extremely wild and interesting. In the river there are several islands, which, however, have been partly stripped of their timber, mostly through the high floods. Several of them, however, are still quite covered with tall forest.M19A snake shot past us into the rocks in the thicket; it was of the variety with three stripes mentioned several times already (Coluber sirtalis). About a quarter of an hour’s journey before the Gap, one reaches an isolated inn along the narrow road. It belongs to a certain Dietrich, a six-foot-tall, heavy man who, however, was unable to stable our horses. Therefore, we did not stay there either.
We continued to drive gradually upward. The valley opens somewhat more, and the mountains in the distance are no longer so high. On an eminence [above] the valley, a lone house is located, in which there lives an old Frenchman, Mr. Dutot, who was formerly a planter in St. Domingo and is now impoverished. From here the road leads over several gradual elevations, and small valleys one reaches a large open area with a gentle basin shape in the woods; it takes about one- quarter to one-half hour to cross it, and here, too, several persons have settled. Here we [Page 1:68] found quarters at the rather fine inn, which is also a post office for the stages and is managed by a certain Broadhead, also a big, tall man. Here there are about twelve or thirteen houses made of wood (laths, boards, and shingles), of rather uneven construction, scattered along the road; [together these] bear the name Dutotsburgh.
Old Dutot, whose house we passed, was the first settler in this place; the town was named for him. We found him here, and he told us about his strange lot in life, how he had lost his wealth and had become impoverished. As a wealthy plantation owner with 150 black slaves, he had been driven out during the revolution in St. Domingo with forty-eight hours’ notice. His ships being seized, he lost practically all his wealth. He bought some land in the United States, and then lost a good part of it here as well, perhaps through bad management. He built and sold houses again and again, so that he became the builder of almost the entire pretty town of Dutotsburgh.
That very evening Mr. Bodmer made a short hunting excursion and saw a bright red bird with a black face—probably a cardinal ( Loxia cardinalis Linn.), which we had not yet seen—but was unable to shoot it. While it was still light outside, many Caprimulgus americanus flew over the fields surrounding us and the town.