As we sped onward we soon made acquaintance with a traditionally familiar feature, the "pitch-holes," or "chuck-holes" -- the ugly word is not inappropriate -- which render traveling over the prairies at times a sore task. They are gullies and gutters, not unlike the Canadian "cahues" of snow formation: varying from 10 to 50 feet in breadth, they are rivulets in spring and early summer, and -- few of them remain perennial -- they lie dry during the rest of the year. Their banks are slightly raised, upon the principle, in parvo , that causes mighty rivers, like the Po and the Indus, to run along the crests of ridges, and usually there is in the sole a dry or wet cunette, steep as a step, and not unfrequently stony; unless the break be attended to, it threatens destruction to wheel and axle tree, to hound and tongue. The pitch-hole is more frequent where the prairies break into low hills; the inclines along which the roads run then become a net work of these American nullahs.
Burton, Richard. 1861. The City Of The Saints. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.