Berkeley Springs



9/4/84....GWD .....

"having finished my business with my tenants (so far as partial payments could put a close to it) and provided a waggon for the transportation of my baggage to the Warm Springs to give relief to my horses, which from the extreme heat of the weather began to rub and gaul. I set out after dinner, and reached Captn. Stroads, a substantial farmer's betwn Opecken Creek and Martinsburgh ...."


"Dispatched my waggn at day light; and at 7 o'clock followed it. -- bated at one Snodgrasses, on Back Creek and dined there; about 3 o'clock pm we arrived at the Springs, or Town of Bath after travelling the whole day through a drizzling rain."

Snodgrass' still stands along SR9 just west of Hedgesville.


"Remained at Bath all day and was showed the model of a boat constructed by the ingenious Mr. Rumsey, for ascending rapid currents by mechanism; the principles of this were not only shown, and fully explained to me, but to my very great satisfaction, exhibited in practice in private under the injunction of secresy, untill he saw the effect of an application he was about to make to the Assembly of this State, for a reward.

"The model, and its operation upon the water, which has been made to run pretty swift, not only convinced me of what I before thought to be next to, if not quite impracticale, but that it might be turned to the greatest possible utility in inland navigation; and in rapid currents; that are shallow -- and what adds vastly to the discovery, is the simplicity of its works; as they may be made by a common boat builder or carpenter, and kept in order as easy as a plow, or any common impliment of husbandry on a farm."

"Having obtained a plan of this Town (Bath) and ascertained the situation of my lots therein, which I examined; it appears that the disposition of a dwelling house, kitchen and stable cannot be more advantageously placed than they are marked in the copy I have taken from the plan of the Town; to which I refer for recollection of my design; and Mr. Rumsey being willing to undertake those buildings, I have agreed with him to have them finished by the 10th of next July. The dwelling house is to be 36 feet by 24, with a gallery of 7 feet on each side of the house, the whole fronts, -- under the house is to be a cellar half the size of it, walled with stone, and the whole underpinned. On the first floor are to be 3 rooms; one of them 24 by 20 feet, with a chimney at the end (middle thereof) the other two to be 12 by 16 feet with corner chimneys -- upon the upper floor there are to be two rooms of equal sizes, with fireplaces; the staircase to go up in the gallery -- galleries above also. The kitchen and stable are to be of the same size -- 18 by 22; the first with a stone chimney and a good floor above. The stable is to be sunk in the ground so as that the floor above on the north, or side next the dwelling house, shall be level with the yard, to have a partition therein, the west part of which to be for a carriage, harness, and saddles -- the east for hay or grain."

9/7/1784....GWP .... Washington's certificate to Rumsey.

"I have seen the model of Mr. Rumsey's boats, constructed to work against the stream; examined the powers upon which it acts; been eye-witness to an actual experiment in running water of some rapidity, and give it as my opinion (although I had little faith before) that he has discovered the art of working boats by mechanism and small manual assistance against rapid currents; that the discovery is of vast importance, may be of the greatest usefulness in our inland navigation, and if it succeeds (of which I have no doubt) that the value of it is greatly enhanced by the simplicity of the works which, when seen and explained, may be executed by the most common mechanic. Given under my hand at the town of Bath, County of Berkeley, in the state of Virginia, this 7th day of September, 1784."

Rumsey used Washington's certificate above to obtain patents and support from various state legislatures. One of the motivations for the development of a Constitution for the United States was the need to establish a unified patent system so that inventors like Rumsey would no longer have to run from state to state.


"Set out about 7oclock with the Doctr, his son William, and my nephew Bushrod Washington, who were to make the tour with us. -- About ten I parted with them at 15 Miles Creek, and recrossed the Potomack (having passed it abt. 3 miles from the Springs before) to a tract of mine on the Virginia side which I find exceedingly rich and covered with walnut of considerable size, many of them. I requested a Mr. McCracken at whose house I fed my horses, and got a snack, and whose land joins mine -- to offer mine to any who might apply for 10 pounds the first year, 15 pounds the next, and 25 pounds the third -- the tenant not to remove any of the walnut timber from off the land; or to split it into rails; as I should reserve that for my own use."

"After having reviewed this land I again crossed the river and getting into the Waggon Road pursued my journey to the Old Town where I overtook my company and baggage -- lodged at Colo. Cresaps...."

In his will, Washington mentions both pieces of property he owned in today's Morgan County.


"Rumsey's discovery of working boats against stream, by mechanical powers principally, may not only be considered as a fortunate invention for these states in general but as one of those circumstances which have combined to render the present epoche favorable above all others for securing (if we are disposed to avail ourselves of them) a large portion of the produce of the Western Settlements, and of the fur and peltry of the lakes also -- the importance of which alone, if there were no political considerations in the way, is immense."


Washington letter to Governor Harrison ...."not only a fortunate invention for these states but as one of the circumstances which have been combined to render the present epoch favorable above all others for securing (if we are disposed to avail ourselves of them) a large portion of the produce of the western settlements and of the fur and peltry of the lake also."

10/19/84 GWP...Rumsey to Washington....

"I have been geting of Mr. Herbert a few coarse clothes for my workmen, and a few materials toward building and has taken the liberty to draw on you in his favour for forty pound currency payable at twenty days light. I thought it my duty to give you notice of it. The honor you did me at Bath by giveing me so ample a certificate I shall evermost gratefully acknowledge. It convists every person that see it and puts quite a new face on my scheme. I long to have the opertunity of convinceing those that remain unbelievers that you are not mistaken in your opinion."