One thing that is true and can be counted on no matter where you are located, man has relied on water since the beginning of time. I am currently reading a book by Allan Eckert called “the dark and bloody river” I am only 97 pages into this 636 page book and although it is all about Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky it has reminded me that I can count on the creeks and rivers here in Texas to find old sites.
The dark and bloody river starts out in the 1760’s and even at this early time there was a lot of activity on the Ohio River and the streams going off into Kentucky and Ohio. Mr. Eckert mentions several small settlements along the Ohio River and even many miles inland up creeks both in Ohio and Kentucky.
Many of these first settlements turned into thriving cities but for one reason or another so many of them disappeared. You can always count on water to lead you to the earliest settlements and homesteads. Considering Ohio was settled in 1803 it is amazing that there were settlements and homesteads so early even miles into Ohio several years before we were a state. The streams and rivers were heavily utilized and counted on.
When I was living in Ohio it was easy to find houses by referring to the maps from the 1850’s-1880’s but I often found much earlier sites by following streams and looking for high places in the fields. Water was such a vital necessity to the early settlers and they relied on it for daily needs. Rivers and creeks were the highways of the time and even long before Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio were states, Allan Eckert talks about people passing each other on the Ohio River even in the earlier days of those states being explored.
If you’re looking for the oldest sites and finds in your area look no further than your rivers and streams. Even if you’re not interested in the early history of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, Allan Eckert’s books will help you to understand the early settlers into any new area and I will bet you will find it hard to put his books down!