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for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book:
CHAPTER II BUILDING THE ROAD IN THE WEST THE tales of those who
knew the road in the West and those who knew it in the East are
much alike. It is probable that there was one important distinction
? the passenger traffic of the road between the Potomac and Ohio,
which gave life on that portion of the road a peculiar flavor, was
doubtless not equaled on the western division. For many years the
center of western population was in the Ohio Valley, and good
steamers were plying the Ohio when the Cumberland Road was first
opened. Indeed the road was originally intended for the
accommodation of the lower Ohio Valley.9 Still, as the century grew
old The early official correspondence concerning the route of the
road shows plainly that it was really built for the benefit of the
Chillicothe and Cincinnati settlements, which embraced a large
portion of Ohio's popu- and the interior population became
considerable, the Ohio division of the road became a crowded
thoroughfare. An old stage-driver in eastern Ohio remembers when
business was such that he and his companion Knights of Rein and
Whip never went to bed for twenty nights, and more than a hundred
teams might have been met in a score of miles. When the road was
built to Wheeling, its greatest mission was accomplished ? the
portage path across the mountains was completed to a point where
river navigation was almost always available. And yet less than
half of the road was finished. It now touched the eastern extremity
of the great state whose public lands were being sold in order to
pay for its building. Westward lay the growing states of Indiana
and Illinois, a per cent of the sale ofwhose land had already been
pledged to the road. Then came another moment when the great work
paused and the original ambition of its friends...
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