LOWER SHENANDOAH VALLEY.
THE DISCOVERERS OF AMERICA---RALEIGH'S EXPEDITION---THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME VIRGINIA---THE LONDON AND PLYMOUTH COMPANIES---LORDS HOPTON AND COLEPEPPER---SETTLEMENT OF JAMESTOWN---TOBACCO INTRODUCED---A SAD DAY---SOME OF OUR ANCIENT MOTHERS---FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH---INSTRUCTIONS TO GOV. WYATT---FIRST ACTS OF ASSEMBLY---COUNTIES ORGANIZED---BENJAMIN SYMMS---BERKELEY'S INFAMOUS REPORT---FREDERICK COUNTY CREATED---A SPARSE POPULATION---THE NORTHERN NECK OF VIRGINIA---HISTORY OF THE CULPEPPER-FAIRFAX GRANT.
9-27. Transcribed by Teri Ruddy.
Without entering into a detailed history of Virginia, a few prominent facts in relation to the early events leading up to the settlement of the Shenandoah Valley will not only be interesting as an example of the steady and certain march of progress, but necessary for the better understanding of the matters herein contained. And even after the recital of the events connected with the counties forming the Lower Shenandoah Valley shall have been commenced, it may be necessary to frequently diverge from the main current, in order to gather and make complete their annals, for much of the Colonial and Revolutionary history, as well as a large portion of the Civil War operations and incidents, so closely connect the counties of the Great Valley that a suppression of anything not immediately associated with the section indicated would make this work fragmentary, incomplete and unsatisfactory. Therefore an outline sketch of the earliest important movements toward the settlement of Virginia, inclusive of several ancient documents and portions of documents pertaining thereto, and never before appearing in a history of this section or of the State, will be given.
The first discoverers of the American continent, at least from its eastern coast, were undoubtedly the Sea Rovers of the North, or Norse men, the early settlers of Iceland. The evidence is indisputable, as Carlyle shows in his "Early Kings of Norway." In one of the Sagas (the word meaning sayings) of the early chroniclers of Iceland, an account is given of a voyage to a strange and large land by Eric the Red, who from the description given touched at Baffin's Bay, thence following down the coast touched land among other points at about Capes Henry and Charles, and as low as the Carolinas and the southern cape of Florida. The Icelanders, during their long winters, wrote a great deal, and, it seems, very accurately, for in other matters which they recorded they have been found, after investigation, to be entirely correct.
That still earlier voyages to the Western continent along the Pacific coast were made and settlements effected centuries before Eric and his Sea-Wolves saw the wild-grapes along the coast of what is now Rhode Island, is beyond question, for the splendid "barbaric civilizations" of the Aztecs and the Incas attest the fact. But the first practical discoverer of the land we now so much love was Christopher Columbus, whom circumstances ruthlessly robbed of the honor of conferring upon it his name, it being awarded to another, Americus Vespucius, a Florentine, notwithstanding the untiring zeal and exertion, the trials and sufferings of the immortal Genoese. Yet Columbus had not seen the continent proper until 1498, about one year after John Cabot and his son Sebastian had landed upon what is now known as Newfoundland. This mariner, Cabot, an Italian, sailed under the patronage of King Henry VII., and having ranged the coast from Labrador to Florida, claimed the country in the name of the crown of England, in July, 1497.
The entire eastern coast of the continent remained for many years, nominally only, in the possession of the English government, for not until 1584 did the crown send out any expedition to take formal possession of the same. In that year, however, Queen Elizabeth dispatched her favorite, Sir Walter Raleigh, to the new domain, who arrived in Pamlico Sound, thence proceeded to Albemarle Sound, raised the English standard, thanked God for the conquest, returned to his royal mistress and gave such a glowing description of the country that the Virgin Queen bestowed upon the beautiful virgin land, in attestation of her own unmarried state, the now honored and loved name---VIRGINIA.
Historians state that another assembly was held in 1620, and
still another in November and December, 1621. On the 24th of July, 1621,
Sir Francis Wyatt received a commission as Governor, and with it a set of
"Instructions," a summary of which is as follows:
"To keep up religion of the church of England; to be obedient to the King; do justice; not injure the natives; forget old quarrels.
"To be industrious; suppress drunkenness, gaming and excess in cloaths; to permit none but the council and heads of hundreds to wear gold in their cloaths; none to wear silk till they make it.
"Not to offend foreign princes; punish piracies; to teach children; to convert the heathen.
"To make a catalogue of the people and their condition; of deaths, marriages, and christenings; to take care of estates; keep list of all cattle.
"Not to plant above one hundred pounds of tobacco per head; to sow great quantities of corn; to keep cows, swine, poultry, &c.; to plant mulberry trees and make silk, and take care of the French men in that work; to plant an abundance of vines.
"To put prentices to trades, and not let them forsake their trades for planting tobacco, or any such useless commodity.
"To take care of the Dutch sent to build mills; to build watermills and block-houses in every plantation.
"That all contracts be performed and breaches thereof punished; tenants not to be enticed away.
"To make salt, pitch, tar, soap, oil of walnuts, search for minerals, dyes, gums, &c., and send small quantities home, (England.)
"To make small quantities of tobacco, and that very good, and to keep the store houses clean.
"To take care of Capt. William Norton and certain Italians sent to set up a glass house."
Then follows a number of instructions to Governor Wyatt's officers and others, and closing with the oath to be administered to the governor himself. And thus began the first regular and systematic administration of the law in Virginia, and although the customs of the times, and the necessities of the occasion, demanded harsh measures, even bordering on barbarism, yet in the main the most of the enactments of these primitive legislatures were ordinarily just and humane, of course with a due allowance of leniency and favoritism toward those in whose veins was thought to run the blue blood of nobility. From these initial acts of over two hundred and fifty years ago have resulted a set of laws now within the statute books of Virginia that have no superiors and few equals in any country for intensity of justice and breadth of learning.
proceeding to the organization of counties and the grant of the Northern Neck of
Virginia, from which sprang, through successive development, the now populous
and productive Lower Shenandoah Valley, it will be interesting to many to peruse
a few of the first recorded acts of the first session whose proceedings appear
in regular order and numbered from 1 to 35. The following are some of the
1. That there shall be in every plantation where the people use to meete for the worship of God, a house or roome sequestred for that purpose, and not to be for any temporal use whatsoever, and a place empaled in, sequestered only to the burial of the dead.
2. That whosoever shall absent himselfe from divine service any Sunday without an allowable excuse shall forfeite a pound of tobacco, and he that absenteth himselfe a month shall forfeit fifty pounds of tobacco.
3. That there be an uniformity in our church as neere as may be to the canons in England; both in substance and circumstance, and that all persons yield readie obedience unto them under paine of censure.
4. That the 22d of March be yearly solemnized as a holiday, &c. [This act was in relation to the escape of the colony from massacre by the Indians on March 22, 1622.--ED.]
That no minister be absent from his church above two months in all the yeare upon penalty of forfeiting halfe his means, and whosoever shall absent above fowre months in the yeare shall forfeit his whole means and cure.
7. That no man dispose of his tobacco before the minister be satisfied, [paid] upon pain of forfeiture double his part of the minister's means, and one man of every plantation to collect his means out of the first and best tobacco and corn.
9. That the governor shall not withdraw the inhabitants from their private labors to any service of his own upon any colour whatsoever, and in case the public service require ymployments of many hands before the holding a General Assembly to give order for the same, &c.
14. For the encouragement of men to plant corne, the prise shall not be stinted, but it shall be free for every man to sell it as deere as he can.
17. That all trade for corne with the salvages (Indians) as well publick as private after June next shall be prohibited.
19. That the proclamations for swearing and drunkenness sett out by the governor and counsell are confirmed by this assembly.
21. That the proclamation for the rates of commodities be still in force, and that there be some men in every plantation to censure the tobacco.
22. That there be no waights nor measures used but such as shall be sealed by officers appointed for that purpose.
23. That every dwelling house shall be pallizaded in for defence against the Indians.
24. That no man go or send abroad without a sufficient partie well armed.
25. That men go not to worke in the ground without their arms (and a centinel upon them).
26. That the inhabitants go not aboard ships or upon any other occasions in such numbers as thereby to weaken and endanger the plantations.
28. That there be dew watch kept by night.
30. That such persons of quality as shall be founde delinquent in their duties, being not fit to undergoe corporal punishment, may, notwithstanding, be ymprisoned at the discretions of the commander, and for greater offences to be subject to a ffine inflicted by the monthlie court, so that it exceed not the value aforesaid.
32. That at the beginning of July next the inhabitants of every corporation shall fall upon their adjoining salvages as we did the last yeare, those that shall be hurte upon service shall be cured at the publique charge; in case any be lamed to be maintained by the country according to his person and quality.
34. That no person within this colony upon the rumor of supposed change and alteration, presume to be disobedient to the present government, nor servants to their private officers, masters or overseers, at their uttermost peril.
In 1634 the entire country comprised in what was then known as Virginia was divided into eight shires, or counties, and to be governed as the shires of England were; Lieutenants to be appointed more especially to take care of those under them in their contests with the Indians. Sheriffs, sergeants and bailiffs, also, were to be appointed. Thus began the more perfect subdivision of the country. In one of the acts passed by the Assembly in February, 1644-5, appears the name of Rappahannock, as applied to a district of country, and it is barely possible that it had been created a county by the governor and council without any note of it being made for a time by the burgesses, as was sometimes the case. In 1648, however, Act I of the Grand Assembly recites that "for the reducing of the inhabitants of Chickcoun and other parts of the Neck of land between Rappahannock river and Potomack river be repealed, and that the said tract of land be hereafter called and knowne by the name of the county of Northumberland." The reference in this quotation to the famous "Northern Neck of Virginia" is the first upon record that the editor has been able to find.
About this time, that is 1642, an act appears in Hening's Statutes at Large, p. 252, that should immortalize the subject thereof, and who deserves a monument far more than the arrogant, despotic fawner-at-the-feet-of-royalty, Lord Berkeley,* whose infamous ideas on liberty and education are given below the following enactment, which was a confirmation of the testator's will by the General Assembly:
Passed March 1642-3.---18th Charles I.
Be it also enacted and confirmed upon consideration had of the godly disposition and goodly intent of Benjamin Symms, decd., in founding by his last will and testament a Free school in Elizabeth county, for the encouragement of all others in the like pious performances, that the said will and testament with all donations therein contained concerning the free school and the situation thereof in the said county, and the land appurteining to the same, shall be confirmed according to the true meaning and godly intent of the said testator without any alienation of conversion thereof to any place or county.
undoubtedly the first private bequest to the cause of education in the entire
southern half of the country, if not the entire continent, and the name of the
glorious old devisor should be kept green in the memory of all who love their
fellow man. Contrast this act of grand old BENJAMIN SYMMS with the annexed
ideas on the same subject of Lord Berkeley, thirty years later. His
lordship, who was then Governor of Virginia, had addressed to him a series of
questions from Charles II., through his commissioners, in regard to the state of
the colony in Virginia. To the twenty-third conundrum propounded,
*This was not Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, who was governor of Virginia a few years prior to the American Revolution, and who was known as the "good Governor Berkeley."
which was in relation to "instructing the people, religion, ministry, &c," this peculiar man closed his reply as follows:
"But I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both."
Another important event happened about this time. In 1645 coined money was introduced by act of the Grand Assembly, all currency up to this time being "tobacco," which was the standard of value-- so many pounds of tobacco bought so much of anything else. In 1652 Lancaster county was formed, Westmoreland in 1653, and Rappahannock in 1656. In 1659 the notorious act for the "suppression of Quakers" was passed. Vessel masters were prohibited from bringing them to the colony, and when one of that faith was caught he was imprisoned and sent out of the country; if he returned he was treated still more severely, and again sent away, but if he returned the third time he was treated as a felon and executed with the promptitude that distinguished our forefathers in such matters. In 1692 Rappahannock county was divided, and Richmond county formed from that portion north of the Rappahannock river, and that south of the river to be called Essex. An act for the "establishment of a post office in the country" was passed in March, 1692-3, and in October of the same year an act for "ascertaining the place for erecting the College of William and Mary," the first college on the American continent. It is supposable that had the Rt. Hon. Lord Berkeley been then living that he would have put his official foot flat down on that educational scheme, but despots drop beneath the scythe of Old Time, as well as other mortals, and his lordship had passed to his reward many years before.
given in brief some of the most important events that led to the settlement of
the state east of the Blue Ridge mountains, the progress made and the movements
westward brings the writer to the period when the division of the territory led
to the formation of the counties of the Great Valley. Accordingly, in
1720, the General Assembly passed an act for the erection of the counties of
Spottsylvania and Brunswick, the preamble of which and that portion relating to
Spottsylvania are here given:
PREAMBLE, That the frontiers towards the high mountains are exposed to danger from the Indians, and the late settlements of the French to the westward of the said mountains,
Enacted, Spottsylvania county bounds upon Snow creek up to the Mill, thence by a southwest line to the river North Anna, thence up the said river as far as convenient, and thence by a line to be run over the high mountains to the river on the northwest side thereof, so as to include the northern passage thro' the said mountains, thence down the said river till it comes against the head of Rappahannock, thence by a line to the head of Rappahannock, and down that river to the mouth of Snow creek; which tract of land from the first of May, 1721, shall become a county, by the name of Spottsylvania county.
immense county, named in honor of the then governor, Alexander Spottswood,
included, in addition to the territory within the bounds stated in the act lying
east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, all of the fertile region now known as the
Shenandoah Valley from the Potomac to the southern limits of what is now Augusta
county, and extending westward to the uttermost limits, which meant as far as
the English could carry their conquering flag, for the French had extended their
settlements along the Mississippi. In 1734 another division
occurred. Spottsylvania was divided and its northern half erected into the
county of Orange, as will be seen by the following act of the General Assembly,
passed in August of the year stated:
WHEREAS divers inconveniences attend the upper inhabitants of Spottsylvania county, by reason of their great distance from the court house and other places, usually appointed for public meetings, Be it therefore enacted, &c., that from and immediately after the first day of January, now next ensuing, the said county of Spottsylvania be divided, by the dividing line, between the parish of St. George, and the parish of St. Mark; and that that part of the said county, which is now the parish of St. George, remain, and be called, and known by the name of Spottsylvania county; and all that territory of land, adjoining to, and above said line, bounden southerly by the line of Hanover county, northerly, by the grant of Lord Fairfax, and westerly, by the utmost limits of Virginia, be thenceforth erected into one district county, and be called and known by the name of the county of Orange.
years later than the above date, 1734, the county of Frederick was created by an
act passed in November, 1738, the district comprising what is now Shenandoah, a
portion of Page, Warren, Frederick, Clarke, Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan, and
the counties exactly westward of this section. Previous to the erection of
Orange county the portion of the Valley comprised in this work, the Lower
Shenandoah Valley, had so few inhabitants other than the Indians that it was not
taken into consideration. Just think of that for a moment! This
wonderful valley, one of the richest spots on the face of the earth, with its
vast mineral and agricultural wealth, its teeming busy thousands, only one
hundred and fifty years ago not thought worthy to be even accounted a portion of
the county. The act of 1738 is as follows:
WHEREAS great numbers of people have settled themselves of late, upon the rivers of Sherrando,* Cohongoruton,** and Opeckon, and the branches thereof, on the northwest side of the Blue ridge of mountains, whereby the strength of this colony, and its security upon the frontiers, and his majesty's revenue of quit-rents, are like to be much
increased and augmented: For giving encouragement to such as shall think fit to settle
* Shenandoah. **Potomac.
Be it enacted, &c., That all that territory and tract of land, at present be deemed to be a part of the county of Orange, lying on the northwest side of the top of the said mountains, extending from thence northerly, westerly, and southerly, beyond the said mountains, to the utmost limits of Virginia, be separated from the rest of the said county, and erected into two distinct counties and parishes; to be divided by a line to be run from the head spring of Hedgman river to the head spring of the river Potowmack; And that all that part of the said territory, lying to the northeast of the said line, beyond the top of the said Blue ridge, shall be one distinct county, and parish; to be called by the name of the county of Frederick, and parish of Frederick; and that the rest of the said territory, lying on the other side of the said line, beyond the top of the said Blue ridge, shall be one other distinct county, and parish; to be called by the name of the county of Augusta, and parish of Augusta.
It was also enacted that the new counties should remain a part of the county of Orange till it should appear to the governor and council that there were enough inhabitants for appointing justices of the peace and other officers, and for erecting courts for the administration of justice. Five years elapsed from the passage of the act till the population was sufficient to justify the appointment of the necessary officials for the conduct of public business, as the records show that the first court in Frederick was held in November, 1743. The organization of this court, the names of its officers and the incidents accompanying that event will be deferred to another chapter.
For the better understanding of the situation of matters (especially in regard to land titles) in Frederick at the time of the organization, an account of what it known as the "Fairfax Grant" will be in place at this juncture, for Frederick, it will be remembered, then, and until 1772, comprised the entire section known as the Lower Shenandoah Valley, which was a considerable portion of that immense grant, the famous Northern Neck of Virginia.
For many years succeeding the settlement at Jamestown grants or charters were made to persons in England, generally favorites of the sovereigns, for tracts of land in the New World, and among those so granted was one that was afterward known as the tract of the Northern Neck of land in Virginia, the history of which is as follows: At or about the beginning of the reign of Charles the Second, whose father Charles the First was beheaded by order of Cromwell in 1649, a party of gentlemen applied for a grant to the tract named and their desires were acceded to, and to confirm the same the grant was re-issued and made more explicit in the twenty-first year of the same monarch, Charles II. The parties receiving this princely gift were "Ralph, Lord Hopton; Henry, Earl of St. Albans, by the then name of Henry, Lord Jermyn; John, Lord Culpepper; John, Lord Berkeley, of Stratton, by the name of Sir John Berkeley; Sir William Morton, one of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, by the then name of Sir William Morton; Sir Dudley Wyatt; and Thomas Culpepper." They were given, as the record states, "their heirs and assigns forever, all that entire tract, territory, or parcel of land situate, lying, and being in America, and bounded within the head of the rivers Rappahannock and Quiriough or Patomack rivers, the courses of said rivers as they are commonly called and known by the inhabitants, and descriptions of those parts, and Chesapeak bay, together with the rivers themselves, and all the islands within the banks of those rivers, and all woods, underwoods, timber, trees, streams, creeks, mines, &c., &c." The above named grantees in the course of time having either died or sold their interests, the property passed into the possession of Henry, Earl of St. Albans; John, Lord Berkeley; Sir William Morton, and John Tretheway, and these gentlemen, in turn, conveyed their rights in the grant to Thomas, Lord Culpepper, eldest son and heir of John, Lord Culpepper. Now this "Thomas, Lord Culpepper," had an only daughter who married the young "Thomas, Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland," and the old gentleman (Culpepper) having died, left the young Lord Fairfax in possession of the richest tract of land on this continent. Thus it was that came about the term "Fairfax Grant," but it was not a Fairfax grant, simply an inheritance by marriage, yet one that held just the same, and the son of that Lord Fairfax not only got all out of it he could, but tried to get more, as will be shown farther along.
It is thought, and with good reason, that the original grant only contemplated the section of country in the Neck east of the Blue Ridge mountains, as the slender geographical knowledge of this continent and its vastness led all to suppose that the Rivers Rappahannock and Potomac had their head-waters in the Blue Ridge; but a few thousand square miles of land did not make any difference to a king when he was giving away farms, that cost him nothing, to his friends, and it is altogether probable that if Lord Hopton et al had requested that the grant should extend from the Chesapeake to sundown the generous monarch would have so "nominated it in the bond." But Lord Fairfax, who had an eye to business, discovering that the Potomac headed in the Alleghany mountains, went to England and instituted suit for extending his grant to the head spring of the Potomac, and his suit being successful, with certain conditions, it gave him what are now Page, Shenandoah, Warren, Clarke, Frederick, Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hardy and Hampshire counties, in addition to the section east of the Ridge now known as Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, Stafford, King George, Prince William, Fairfax, Alexandria, Loudoun, Fauquier, Culpeper and Madison. The "certain conditions" mentioned were that the extension of the grant should not interfere with any grants made by the General Assembly of Virginia, and confirmed by the Crown, for that body had already granted to various parties large tracts of land in the Valley, which confirms the idea that it was generally the impression that the grant of Charles II only included the section as above stated east of the Ridge. Notwithstanding this stipulation of the Court of King's Bench, Fairfax endeavored to dispossess those who held land through the colonial government, and especially did he fight in the courts the claim of one of the first settlers of this section.
GEOLOGY---ITS APPLICATION TO AGRICULTURE---THEORY ON THE ORIGIN OF MATTER---NATURE'S GREAT FORCES---PRE-HISTORIC LIFE---OUTLINES OF GEOLOGICAL STUDY---"A QUESTION OF ROCKS"---TOPOGRAPHY AND BOUNDARIES---THE QUIRIOUGH---FERTILITY OF THE VALLEY---MINERAL RESOURCES---TIMBER---THE GARDEN OF VIRGINIA---SPLENDOR OF THE SCENERY---WHAT THE VALLEY ORIGINALLY WAS---AND WHAT IT NOW IS.
Although the matter has been until a very recent date, and is still to a large degree, ignored, yet the fact is gaining greater weight with every day, all over the civilized world, that the geology of a country is the most important feature to the inhabitants of that country, for within the crust of the earth lie all the elements of wealth that man may enjoy in this world.
The soil, as the result of rock-disintegration, is the great depository of all the wealth within the possible grasp of man; not only mineral, but vegetable and animal, as well. Upon the geological structure of a country depend the pursuits of its inhabitants. Agriculture is the outgrowth of a fertile soil, mining results from mineral resources, and as a consequence commerce and all industries which produce it, springs from these two sources. The permanent effect of the soil upon the populations that subsist through the products of that soil is as strong and inevitable as upon the vegetation that also springs from it. It is a maxim in geology that the soil and its underlying rocks forecast to the trained eye the character of the inhabitants, their number, and the quality of the civilization of those who will in the coming time occupy it. Indeed, so close are the relations between man and geology that the law is plain and fixed that a new country may have its outlines of history written, when first looked upon, and it is not, as many suppose, one of those deep, abstruse subjects, that must be relegated to a few investigators and thinkers, whilst to the practical masses it shall be as a sealed book. The youth of the country may learn the important outlines of geology, and apply the inevitable laws of that science thereby obtained to their own localities, with no more trouble than to master the multiplication table; nor need they be possessed of any extraordinary attainments other than those required to understand a few of the technicalities of the study, which they will find as entertaining as profitable. To educate the son of the average farmer usually means to send him off to college and give him what is termed a classical education, and he returns to his home, perhaps as a graduate, yet as incapable, except in rare instances, of telling the geological story of his father's farm as any of the "hands" engaged thereon. Of how much more practical value would it have been had this youth dropped his "political economy" and a few theoretical studies, and taken up in earnest the analyzation of soils, and learned to hammer out the geological history of the rocks upon the farm where he was born! A few lessons during his collegiate course would have enabled this young gentleman to comprehend how the soil was formed, from what it originated, what it contained, and what it lacked to bring it up to full productiveness. He would realize that every step in farming is a purely scientific operation and that the better the matter is understood, the better will be the class of farming.
The science of geology makes a stride backward in the physical history of the planet we inhabit to a point considered by man as the "beginning," yet which is, possibly, as far from the beginning as is the incomprehensible End to the Now, for to the Creator a million years is as a day. Geology digs down into the crust of the earth and traces through successive stages of development the history of this rolling ball to its rudimental condition in a state of fusion. The theory has come to be almost generally accepted that the sun and its planetary system were originally a common mass, "without form and void," the planets became detached at the creation whilst in a gaseous state, and being separated from the grand central mass of heat, cooled and finally crystallized upon their surfaces. Thus the earth began to write its own history upon the imperishable rocks, where the geologist may go and read the strange, eventful story. The earth as a wheeling ball of fire, set in motion by the Omnipotent, having eventually cooled at the surface, and formed a crust in the slow process of time, prepared the way for animal and vegetable life. In its center intense heat and fierce flames still rage with undiminished vigor. Volcanoes are outlets for these deep-seated fires, where are generated those inconceivable forces, illustrated by a column of molten rock (lava) thrown to a height of over 10,000 feet above the crater whence it issued, and which has caused upheavals within a few years past that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives, as in the case of Java; laid waste one of the loveliest spots on earth, Ischia, in the bay of Naples; and sent consternation and ruin to hundreds in South Carolina. The amount of lava ejected at a single eruption from one of the volcanoes of Iceland would cover a space of ground ten miles square, and as high as the tallest peak of the Rocky Mountains. Our world is still in process of congealing, and has been through untold ages, yet the crust is estimated to be only about thirty of forty miles in thickness. The globe being 25,000 miles in circumference, and its diameter, as per consequence, about 8,333 miles, deduct forty miles from the last figures, and then try to realize in what close proximity man is to the seething, boiling mass of metal and stone of over 8,000 miles in diameter. The conditions are about the same as the shell of an egg and its contents. Is it any wonder, then, that this molten mass occasionally breaks through the crust? Is it not more wonderful that man is here at all ? Yet he is here, and has, seemingly, almost penetrated the great secret of "original origin." In the silent depths of the rocks he has delved and dragged to the light the skeletons of living organisms of ages so remote that to think of them bewilders the mind. Those fossil remains are fragments of history, which enable the geologist to extend his researches into that immeasurable past and not only determine their former modes of life, but to study the contemporaneous history of their rocky sepulchres, and group them into systems. Such was the profusion of life that the great limestone formations of the globe consist almost entirely of organic remains, and the soil of a considerable portion of the earth originated from them by disintegration and erosion. The same process is now going on. First, as nourishment it enters into the structure of plants, forming vegetable tissue; passing thence as food into the animal, it becomes endowed with life, and when death occurs it returns to Mother Earth, whence it sprung, and adds fertility to the soil.
There are two kinds of rocks, forming two systems, and are known respectively as stratified and unstratified, the former having been produced by sedimentary action, that is, organic or animal life, and other matter, being deposited at the beds of oceans or streams; and the latter formed by the action of intense heat. These two systems are called, also, for convenience igneous and sedimentary. They are further distinguished as crystalline and uncrystalline, and the reader can better understand these distinctions when it is stated that the action of fire produced the crystalline, whilst water was principally the agent in forming the uncrystalline. A magnifying glass of even small power will show the difference between the two classes. Take, for instance, a bit of gneiss or granite and you will see well defined crystals; then examine a piece of ordinary, or better still, fossiliferous limestone, and you will see the skeletons, or shells, of innumerable marine organisms, that lived and moved at the beds of primeval oceans. These two systems are composed of four great divisions, viz: Eozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. The lowest division, the Eozoic, which signifies dawn of life, was formerly known as Azoic, meaning without life, and so called from the fact that no traces of life could be found in it; it was supposed to be, and now doubt is, the base of all the accumulations above it, and the roof or shell inclosing the internal fires, being the first crust formed after the gaseous, or semi-liquid globe began to cool; it is composed of primitive gneiss and granite. Comparatively recent researches, however, have revealed the fact that even in this oldest of all uncovered things traces of life are to be found, and consequently the term Azoic had to be changed to Eozoic. This division consists of four subdivisions: First, Laurentian, from the fact that its physical outcroppings are along the St. Lawrence river, and consists mostly of granitoid gneiss. Second, Huronian, or Green Mountain, and outcrops as imperfect gneisses along the shores of our great upper lakes. Third, Montalban, or White Mountain, with outcroppings at the mountains after which it is named, and consists of gneisses, but lithologically dissimilar from the Laurentian gneisses. Fourth, Norian, or Labradorian, so called from its principal outcroppings being of Labrador feldspar. The second division, the Paleozoic, is subdivided into five groups, known as the Cambrian (lower, middle and upper); Silurian; Devonian; Carboniferous; and Permian. In the Permian occurs the magnesian limestone of the western States, and in the Carboniferous the coal measures, the millstone-grits and the beautiful fossiliferous limestones, as well as the limestones of this valley. The third division, the Mesozoic, is composed of three groups: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, consisting of what are known as secondary rocks, sandstones, shales, and sometimes overlaid by fossiliferous limestones. The fourth great division is the Cenozoic, or recent formations, and consists of glacial drift, peat bogs, alluvial deposits, and ordinary soil, varying in character as the underlying rocks vary.