The Log of Thomas Powell

As copied from "The Kernel of Greatness"...The first white men on record to set foot in what is now Bedford County, Pennsylvania, were those of the Thomas Powell expedition in 1625. Thomas Powell was the brother of John Powell, who as captain of the "Seafoam" came into the James River (VA.) country in 1620.

Thomas fitted out an expedition to explore the western part of Virginia. His report was made to the ancestor of Martin L. Cresap, as follows: "I have the pleasure of reporting to your Highness, that after going many days, a little northwest through the wilderness we came to a high plateau of land, which abounds in all kinds of game. We camped and killed and ate our fill: when rested, we continued about the same direction, when we came upon water that drained north-ward; we followed it, and it got bigger, when to our great chagrin we heard thunder noise. We were then close to a great mountain when all of a sudden it disappeared and from all of its noise I think it fell through the earth. I know not what to name it unless "Lost Water." as it can never get on top of ye earth. (This could be "Lost River," West Vir.) We then went towards the setting sun for two days when we came to other waters going towards the North Star. We continued along its bank till it got larger. We found it not so good traveling, and crossed to the other side. In doing these things we lost one of our men, George South, which I much regret. We got him and of course buried him in his clothes near a big pine tree, that we marked. We came on down this water two days travel when we came to a large water. By making log rafts all got over safe, then we rested and fished two days. We took our course towards the North Star one day's journey and came to (1) another water as though it came from the North Star; we followed it three days travel; we came to where three waters came together, one was near the star. (2) This water had a sweetish taste; was full of the most beautiful speckled fish we have ever seen. There were lots of Indians here; they showed us all the friendship they could; we continued up this till we came to (3) high ground; we went beyond that, where the water runs towards the North Star; then we turned." Powell ended, "I assign myself your humble servant": Captain Thomas Powell, October 25th day 1625.

Indians around Jamestown had told the white men that there was silver and lead to the north, but that north of the great waters, where other waters ran toward the North Star, the natives were not friendly. Having no previous knowledge of this county, when this expedition crossed the Potomac River, they believed it to be the Indians' "Great Waters," so that when they found the stream running north (in what is believed to be Friend's Cove), they went only a short distance, then turned back toward Jamestown.

It is believed by several exploring groups that followed Powell's directions (1) that the stream with three forks is Town Creek, (2) the stream with sweet-tasting water is Little Sweet Root Creek, (3) the high ground is Martin Hill: and the place where Powell turned around is near Ashcom of today. None of Powell's group ever settled in Pennsylvania, but Joseph, a grand-son of Powell, led a group to this section over one hundred years later. They settled in the area south of Chaneysville.

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