Friendly, 52.3 m. (650 alt., 170 pop.), named for Friend Cochran
Williamson, grandson of Thomas Williamson who settled here in 1785, is
situated at the head of a long straight stretch of river valley known
as the Long Reach since the days of Washington's explorations.
At Long Reach, 54.7 m. (612 alt., 25 pop.), are the remains of
Prehistoric Walls, two parallel earthen ramparts, about 120 feet apart
and 3 miles long, extending down the valley to Bens Run. Believed to
have been 12 feet high originally, the walls have been eroded and are
now so covered with vines and weeds that they are scarcely
distinguishable. They enclose an area of 400 acres, divided near the
center by a cross wall; the southern half is additionally divided by
two parallel curving walls running north and south. The northern
enclosure contains two burial mounds as yet unexplored. Near the walls
are two stone platforms, one on top of a knoll. The purpose of the
walls has puzzled archeologists.
The Long Reach, a broad stretch of river deceptive in its placidity,
has been known to rivermen since the first steamboats pioneered the
route from Pittsburgh to Louisville. In 1816, a series of shifting bars
at this point almost caused disaster for Captain Henry M. Shreve and
his steamboat, G. Washington, en route from Wheeling to New Orleans.
Constructed at Wheeling, the G. Washington was the initial double
decker on the western waterways, being the first steamboat to float on
the water rather than in it. Her sumptuously appointed cabins were
named for the States. Shreve's voyage to New Orleans was undertaken to
test the legality of the claims of the Robert Fulton interests, who had
been granted the exclusive right of operting steamboats on the lower
Mississippi by the legislatures of several States, following the
successful voyage of their New Orleans in 1811. Shreve was arrested in
New Orleans but was released under bond; later, a decision by the U. S.
Supreme Court opened the Mississippi to all comers. The G. Washington
was the first steamboat to demonstrate the practibility of river
navigation by making the voyage upstream from New Orleans to Louisville
in 25 days. Source: Federal Writers' Project - 1941, Transcribed by C.