Tyler County West Virginia

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. Anthony


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