HINTON, W.Va. -- Two hundred years to the day after John Marshall beached his large wooden boat at what is now Hinton to prepare for a descent into the uncharted rapids of the New River Gorge, a program honoring Marshall and commemorating his epic 1812 journey will be held in Hinton."The John Marshall Expedition: An 1812 Survey Through the Virginias," will be presented at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the courtroom of the Summers County Courthouse by National Park Service Ranger Frank Sellers.Using images and notes from Marshall's original survey map and Marshall's report to Congress, Sellers will tell the story of Marshall's 227-mile expedition across the Alleghenies and down the Greenbrier and New Rivers to explore a possible canal route linking Richmond to the Ohio River.At the same time Marshall was serving as leader of the 20-man expedition down the New River he also served as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before arriving in Hinton, Marshall's party poled up the James and Jackson rivers to present-day Covington, and then hauled their large wooden boat, known as a batteau, to what is now Caldwell in Greenbrier County, to begin a descent of the Greenbrier and New rivers. It took the chief justice and his crew 11 days to make whitewater passage between Hinton and Kanawha Falls. Marshall was optimistic about the potential for a trade route along the path taken by his expedition, but the War of 1812 took precedence over the need for infrastructure development.