August 24, 1832
24 August: Early today the region looked beautiful. We were underway by five o’clock and roamed about with our shotguns. Mr. Wöhler and the son of our innkeeper had gone into the large mountainous forests to hunt for squirrels and other animals. A pretty brook, Cherry Creek, shaded by beautiful tall trees, flowed in the gentle little valley below our house. Here many birds were flying in the cool morning air. From the nearby high forested mountain, the shots of the hunters resounded majestically. After breakfast we went down the romantic road toward the Gap.
The old Frenchman Dutot, who had largely forgotten his mother tongue, invited me into his house, where his son and family lived; they no longer spoke French at all. Here I was shown various roots to which very great curative powers were attributed. One of them, called lion heart here, is said to be an infallible cure for snakebite. The plant, Prenanthes rubicunda, is from the 19th class.M21See Palisot de Beauvois in Daudin, Hist. nat. des rept., vol. 5, 71, and Latreille, Hist. nat. des Reptiles, article “Vipère." The plant forms a tall shaft with many flowers and has large, arrow-shaped leaves. Part of the root is long, part tuberous, moderately large and branched, reddish yellow, and has a milky sap. It is cooked in milk; two tablespoonfuls are taken at a time. The swelling is said to disappear even if the root is merely chewed. The old Frenchman’s wife had been bitten by a snake and her leg had become severely swollen; she recovered immediately after taking this remedy. An old man still living in the vicinity had provided information about the remedy, which he had received from Indians, the Delawares, who left this region sixty years ago.M22The river and the Indians received the name Delaware from the English Lord Delaware. The original name of those Indians is Lenni-Lenape (for information on this large linguistic branch see the Mithridates and other works). They regarded themselves as the original and principal tribe of all Indians. The river along which they dwelled they called Lennapewi Hittup (which means “Indian river”). They were the Loups of the French. For samples of their language based on Zeisberger and Heckewelder, see p. 258
The old man had lived among these Indians. Thirty years ago there was still not a single house in this region. Those Delawares buried their dead on river islands, which now belong to old Dutot. One still finds bones when working there. At one time the dead were said to be found buried in an upright position with numerous arrows, stone axes, and the like. No consideration was given any of these objects, and they were cast aside. The old Frenchman still owned one of the long stones with which those Indians ground their Indian corn. I was shown yet another root which is said to staunch immediately the most profuse flow of blood from every type of wound; I believe it was [Virginia] snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria).
We went down to the Gap Inn to get Mr. Bodmer’s sketching bag, which the stage had fortunately brought in, and bought a live fox (Canis vulpes americanus), [Page 1:69]which at first we tried to lead home alive on a rope but soon killed and carried. I looked for many interesting plants and the roots of lion heart, and then we occupied ourselves with [various] tasks.
Mr. Wöhler returned home with three nice big squirrels (Sciurus cinereus). Then he went out again and returned with a magnificent beetle (Necrophorus grandis), black with orange-colored spots,M23I later found it again along the Wabash. It smells bad, since it lives on dead animals that it buries in the ground like Silpha as well as many salamanders (Salamandra aurantia), which he had caught on the rocks and tree trunks in the woods. He had shot several golden-winged woodpeckers (Picus auratus) and a large hairy woodpecker (Picus villosus).
Toward evening Mr. Bodmer returned from the valley of the Gap, where he had sketched all afternoon. He brought back a beautiful sketch, which, however, he had just begun. He had caught various insects, among others an interesting large beetle. The innkeeper of the lower inn on this side of the Delaware Gap had thought that Mr. Bodmer had gone home. He was therefore surprised to see him, and in his bad German asked [Mr. Bodmer], “Have you been sitting here the entire time?”
We had been occupied in our rooms, writing and stuffing animals, because of which we missed lunch. The inn people thought we wanted to wait until evening, and when we asked about lunch, there was nothing there. We had to wait until after six o’clock, and then we received nothing except one of the squirrels we had bagged served with potatoes and coffee, for at the present time, because of the cholera, we tried somewhat to avoid sweets and fruit served to us.