Warrior's Spirit

As the Sandy Creek Expedition wore on, hunger and desperation began turning into mutiny among the Virginians. Their Cherokee partners, however, kept their spirits high:

“The conduct and concord that was kept up among the Indians might shame us, for they were in general quite unanimous and brotherly.”

- Lt. Thomas Morton

Driving Tour Sites:

  1. Dry Fork
  2. Canebrake
  3. Berwind Gap
  4. War Creek
  5. Wet Camps
  6. Sandy Creek Forks
  7. Johnnycake Branch
  8. War Branch
  9. Panther
  10. Starvation Camp

 


Driving Tour Sites

Seventh Stop: Johnnycake Branch


Lt. Morton wrote that they made camp below the forks “and turned our horses out among the Reads” (native cane).  The first bottom below the forks is the only bottom downstream of the forks on the north side for miles that could have harbored 340 men.  The downstream end of this bottom was at the mouth of a small stream, called Johnnycake Branch today. 

Johnnycake dough
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The branch’s mouth is just south of the junction of CR-1 and US-52/WV-80.  Downstream from here, particularly on the north bank, you can see remnant patches of cane growing between the railroad and the river.  At this place, the men were on their sixth day of rationing their flour at a half pound per man per day.  Journey cakes were made by mixing the flour or cornmeal with a little water, and then frying the batter in small pans or on hot rocks.  This meager fare was so welcomed by the hungry men  that they began calling the bottom and the tributary stream by their fry-bread’s name. 

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Eventually, Journey cake evolved into Johnnycake and the name stuck.  Starvation and mutiny were dogging the Virginians like a brace of hounds on wounded quarry. 

The Cherokees, who were accustomed to the difficulties of the warrior’s way, were in better spirits.  Lt. Morton recorded:

“The conduct and concord that was kept up among the Indians might shame us, for they were in general quite unanimous and brotherly.”




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