The discovery of Patrick Gass's two letters to Lyman Draper are of sufficient interest, that they follow in their entirety. No attempt has been made to annotate them, but simply to transcribe and print them. Suffice it to say that Gass makes a number of interesting and informative statements. Of particular interest is of course his role as courier, as is his estimate of Drouillard's height and the fact that the latter remained in the West, not coming east with either party. Being at an advanced age and nearly blind, Gass was not capable of writing to Draper himself. Instead, he enlisted the assistance of his son James W. Gass, who is listed as the amanuensis. It is interesting to note that a middle initial is included for Gass in both letters. The standard biographical sources for Gass do not include a middle initial. What the "M" in Patrick M. Gass stood for is not known. Perhaps McLene, his mother's maiden name. Perhaps something else. Another little mystery to maybe one day be solved.
Wellsburg, W. Va.
Dec. 1st 1866
Lyman C. Draper, Esqr.
My Dear Sir:
Your favor of Nove. 16th is before me, and with pleasure I will endeavor to reply, but will state here that the information which you seek, will, I fear, be very limited from this quarter.
It is true I have seen all of these characters mentioned except the two women named walker, whom I know nothing of. I seen Genl. George R. Clark in 1790 . believe it was after he had taken fort Charters, again in 1806. I carried a letter from Capt. Clark (his Brother) which I delivered to him (the Genl.) at the falls of the Ohio, and which he published. it contained an account of the heavy snows on the mountains. At that time he [George Rogers Clark] lived at the falls.
In 1793 I seen Col. Dan Boone at Lewisville Ky. and again in 1806 at Boonsboro on the Mo. [Missouri River] but I did not learn anything concerning the early services or adventures of any of those men except that which I have read. in 1790 or thereabouts I seen Lewis Witzell & Capt. Saml. Brady though I have frequently seen the latter I never learned much concerning them but what I have read, I left Druyer at Kaskaskia in 1806 I know nothing of him since. You wished to know my age you shall have it with pleasure. I was born at falling springs, Cumberland Co., Pa. near what is now Chambersburg, Franklin County, in 1775 my Father moved the family over the South mountain into Maryland and in 1782 moved to the west of the Allegheny mountains, and located near uniontown, then called Besontown the next year we moved to catfish Camp where Washington now stands.
I was 95 years old on the 12th of June last. My general health continues good, but am troubled considerably with rheumaties, and weakness in the limbs. I walk but little and that is confined to my room. my eyesight is very much impaired, having lost the use of one eye in the service of Government, the other is allmost blind. I wish you success in your enterprise, and am sorry I could give you no useful information.
I am &c.
per Jas. W. Gass
Wellsburg West Virginia
Jan. 11th 1867
Mr. Lyman C. Draper
Your favor of Dec. 10th '66 is before me. I beg pardon for delaying a reply to it.
You seem to think that I can give you some information. but I can not promise much. for many years have passed by since I have seen your proposed heroes. I think it was in 1793 that I saw Genl. Clarke. believe he was at that time in the army. I saw him at Lowisville Ky. think he was dressed in uniform I was going to N Orleans on a flat boat we merely landed there for a short time and the "Genl" came on board But did not remain long. In 1806 at the same place I delivered to him his Brother's letter but did not converse with him think he was still connected with the army and retained both his legs. appearance much the same as in 1793.
Col Boone in the spring of 1793 had been out on the Kentucky river among the Indians. In 1806 he had removed his family to Boonsboro on the northern Bank of the Mo [Missouri] above Jefferson City, if I mistake not. We were anxious to get home and did not stop long to converse with him. I can not describe his dress.
Capt. Saml Brady & Lew Wetzell I believe were at Wheeling in 1792. they were Spies. dressed in britchclouts & leggings. dont remember any of their conversation
Druyer was a half Indian about 5 ft. 10 in height was an excellent hunter we left him at St Louis in 1806 I knew Robert McClellan he was born near where I was in canicogig[?] valley Pa. he was a little older than myself. as we were coming home we met him going west, got some whiskey from him, a good fellow I know not what became of him You mention other names but I have no knowledge of them.
I would be glad to impart all the information you desire but my memory seems trecherous. I was born in 1771. thought I stated it so in my last letter but posibly I did not.
With great respect
P. M. Gass
per Jas. W. Gass