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The Journal of a Trip of M. M. Marmaduke  From Franklin Mo to Santa Fe
The  story of a trip across the plains from Franklin Mo to Santa Fe made In 1824 Is vividly told In the Journal of M M Marmaduke later lieutenant governor and governor of Missouri published in the October number of the Missouri Historical Review. Capt William Becknell made the same trip in 1821 and the Journal of his expedition was printed in the Boone’s Lick Advertiser in 1823, but even though his was not the first tramp into the mysterious Southwest. Marmaduke was in practically unexplored territory much of the time. The estimated distance from Franklin to Santa Fe was 931 miles. The Marmaduke party left Franklin May 16 and reached Santa Fe August 28. Of the start of the expedition the Journal says:

Crossed  the Missouri River at Hardiman’s Ferry six miles above Franklin Sunday, May 16,and encamped two miles from the ferry in a beautiful prairie May 23— Encamped in the prairie at Camp General Rendezvous, about three miles from any settlement on our way into the wilderness.

Camp General Rendezvous was about ten miles east of Blue Springs A few years later Independence became the place of organization for Santa Fe trips The journal continues:
Mav 24— Remained at camp making the necessary rules and regulations for the government of the company and in the evening held an election for three officers, when A. Legrand was chosen captain. Paul Anderson lieutenant and Simpson ensign.  We this evening ascertained the whole strength of our company to be eighty-one persons and two servants we also had two road wagons twenty dearborns, two carts and one small piece of canon. The amount of goods taken with us in supposed to be about $30,000. We have with us about two hundred horses and mules

May 25 — Traveled ten miles to Blue Springs and panned over a prairie country uneven and roiling but of fine rich soil. We this day travelled the Missionary road
May 26 — Travelled about twenty-two mile Saw several elk running across the prairie and our hunters brought into camp several deer.
May 27— Crossed several branches of the Big Blue and in one instance had to dig the banks and let the wagons and dearborns down by ropes. The prairie remarkable rich and the whole face of it covered with most beautiful flowers.
May 28 — Encamped on a branch of Kansas River
May 29 — Encamped on one branch of the Marius de Seine (Marais des Cygnes.)
June 3— Travelled over a very rolling hilly prairie the grass short and in many places covered with small pieces of rock, stone and limestone. Our hunters killed two antelopes and one elk.
June 4 — Travelled fourteen miles over a bad road of creeks and hills and encamped on the Verdigrises River.

June 6- Travelled over a road exceedingly bad and mountainous Haw great many prairie dogs and shot at one Heretofore with considerable difficulty we have been able to procure wood for cooking purposes this evening we have been obliged to use buffalo dung
June 7— Travelled fourteen miles over a very hilly and broken road This night had a tremendous gust of wind and ruin and the horses broke by the guard in defiance of every exertion to stop them
June 8 — Travelled fourteen miles and encamped on one of the branches of the Little Arkansas killed three buffalo and one antelope. An alarm was this evening given by our hunters that several hundred Indians were approaching a party went to reconnoiter, and found them to be buffalo.
June 9 — Encamped on the Little Arkansas River near the sand hills: killed nine buffaloe. Saw this day at least five thousand buffalo, chiefly bulls.
June 10 — Passed the Sand Hills — saw this day at least ten thousand buffaloe, the prairies were literally covered with them for many miles. Killed nine buffalo today — we this evening arrived at the O Arkansas River, and encamped on it; this river is at this place about two hundred yards wide but quite shallow as our hunters forded it and killed several buffaloe on the south side. At this place there is not the smallest appearance of any kind of tree or shrubbery of any kind; the whole country being entirely prairie. From Franklin Mo. to this place, I make the distance 355 miles and the course generally about W.S.W.

June 11 –Traveled about eight miles on the Arkansas, and encamped on the bank at noon, at which time a great number of buffaloe came running by the camp, and frighten the horses so that many of them broke off from the encampment at full speed, and joined in with the buffaloe in the race, and with great difficulty were checked. I believe I must have seen this day at least ten or fifteen thousand buffaloe.
June 12—In consequence of the horses which ran off yesterday, we remained at the same encampment, and unfortunately for many of us, at 1 o’clock in the morning a number of Buffalo crossed the river at the encampment and passed through it, which frightened off about two thirds of the horses of the party, many of which were found in the course of the day and brought in.
June 16—Encamped on the Arkansas River and find ourselves pretty nearly on foot in the consequence of the loss of our horses, and the estimated distance to St. Miguel, the first Spanish settlement, about five hundred miles – a walk not altogether agreeable.
June 17 – Saw a considerable number of buffaloe: saw and pursued in Indian, but did not overtake him.
June 21—Passed Louse Island; saw several hundred wild horses.
June 22—Traveled about ten miles and stopped on the Arkansas River for the purpose of jerking buffaloe meat. Killed twelve or fifteen buffaloe and two wild horses.
June 28 – We this day crossed the Arkansas River and entered the North Mexican province. Encamped on the sand hills without wood or water for man or beast.

June 29—Traveled thirty miles: left our encampment at 4 o’clock a.m. and traveled without making any halt until 4 o’clock p.m., without a drop of water for our horses or mules, by which time many of them were exhausted, as well as a number of the men: a dog which had traveled with us during our journey this day fell down and expired, such was the extreme heat and suffering. Fortunately for us all about 4 o’clock a small ravine was discovered and pursued for a few miles, and after digging in the sand at the bottom of that water was procured in sufficient quantity to satisfy both man and horse, but not until five or six wells were sunk; and such was the extreme suffering of the animals that it was with the utmost difficulty that we kept them out of the holes until buckets could be filled for them.
June 30—We this day remained stationary for the purpose of recruiting our horses; several persons were sent in search of water, who returned in the evening after having succeeded.
July 3 – Traveled along up the Semerone Creek; water remarkably bad and scarce, having to dig for it at every place we stopped. One of our hunters wounded a wild horse, and brought him into camp; it is believed he can be recovered and made serviceable.
July 5 – Encamped on the same creek, where were three lodges of Indians.
July 8 – Traveled about twenty-three miles over a very sandy barren prairie, without water. Saw many green grapes, wild currants, etc.
July 12 – Traveled over and hunt even and mountainous country; we begin now to approach the Rocky Mountains and find the country uneven, with high a projecting knobs of mountains and rocks. Encamped on a stream that empties into the Canadian fork of the Arkansas. Saw great number of grasshoppers.
July 17 – Crossed Red River, the water of which is very deep red color, resembling thin blood.

July 19 – Traveled in the midst of the cliffs and knobs of the Rocky Mountains; the mountains at this place are not exceedingly high, but rise in stupendous knobs and points; but little timber to be seen in any direction; saw a number of wild and uncommon plants and weeds, some of which were extremely odoriferous and fragrant; also a considerable number of birds of various kinds.
July 22 – Arrived at the ranche or temporary residence of a Mr. Juan Peno, which is the first civilized habitation we have seen since we left the United States. This was to us a pleasing prospect, as we were politely received. This man is wealthy, having 160,000 head of sheep, and many cattle, horses and mules. We encamped near his house, where we had fine spring water.
July 23 – Traveled over a very hilly, broken country; encamped in the mountains without water; saw a number of herds of cattle and sheep. This sheep and cattle seem to be smaller than those of the U.S.
July 25 — Arrived and camped in their rear of St. Miguel. Considerable rejoicing appeared among the natives on our arrival, and they welcomed us with the best music the place afforded. A description of this place can best be given by comparing it to a large Brickyard where there are a number of kilns put up and not burnt; as all the houses are made of bricks dried in the sun, and none of them burnt; all the roofs are entirely flat; the inhabitants appeared to me to be a miserably poor people, but perfectly happy and contented, and appeared very desirous to make our situation as agreeable as possible.

July 28 – Arrived at Santa Fe about dusk. This is quite a populous place, but is built entirely of mud houses. The inhabitants appeared to be friendly and some of them are very wealthy, but by far the greater part are the most miserable, wretched, poor creatures that I have ever seen, yet they appear to be quite happy in their miserable and priest-ridden situation. This city is well supplied with good water; provisions very scarce; a great many taggers to be seen walking the streets.

Marmaduke remained in Mexico about ten months, observing the manners and customs of the people, and started back to Missouri May 31, 1825. His Journal does not detail the return trip.


The Evening Post Oct 9 1821 2500 Robes

1821 - 1830 The Evening Post Oct 9 1821 2500 Robes


The Evening Post Oct 10 1821 2500 Robes

The Evening Post Oct 10 1821 2500 robes

The Evening Post Nov 28 1821 Buffalo Knives

The Evening Post Nov 28 1821 buffalo knives

The Evening Post Dec 4 1821 2500 Robes

The Evening Post Dec 4 1821 2500 Robes

The Evening Post Dec 17 1821 2500 Robes

The Eve Post Dec 17 1821 2500 robes

The Evening Post Dec 22 1821 2500 Robes

The Eve Post Dec 22 1821 2500 robes

The Evening Post Dec 31 1821 2500 Robes

The Evening Post Dec 31 1821 2500 robes

Western Carolina
Salisbury, North Carolina March 5 1822



Speeches of several of the Chiefs of the Delegation of Indians, under Maj. O’Fallon, to the President of the United States, in Council, on 4 February, 1822


My Great Father– Some of your good chiefs, as they are called, (missionaries,) have proposed to send some of their good people among us to change our habits, to make us work and live like the white people. I will not tell a lie– I am going to tell the truth. You love your country— you love your people– you love the manner in which they live , and you think your people brave . I am like you , my Great Father, I love my country– I love my people– I love the manner in which we live, and think myself and warriors brave– spare me, then, my Father, let me enjoy my country, and pursue the buffalo, and the beaver, and the other wild animals of our country, and I will trade their skins with your people. I have grown up, and lived thus long, without work– I am in hopes you will suffer me to die without it. We have plenty of buffalo, beaver, deer, and other wild animals– we have also an abundance of horses–we have everything we want– we have plenty of land, if you will keep your people off it. My Father has a piece on which he lives, (Coucil Bluffs) and we wish him to enjoy it– we have enough without it– but we wish him to live near us to give us good counsel– to keep our ears and eyes open, that we may continue to pursue the right road– the road to happiness. He settles all differences between us and the whites, and between the red skins themselves– he makes the whites do justice to the red skins, and he makes the red skins do justice to the whites. He saves the effusion of human blood, and restores peace and happiness on the land. You have already sent us a father; it is enough, he knows us and we know him– we have confidence in him– we keep our eye constantly upon him, and since we have heard your words, we will listen more it tentatively to his.

It is too soon, my Great Father, to send those good men among us– we are not starving yet– we wish you to permit us to enjoy the chase until the game of our country is exhausted– and tell the wild animals become extinct. Let us exhaust our present resources before you make us toil and interrupt our happiness– let me continue to live as I have done, and after I have passed to the Good or Evil Spirit from off the wilderness of my present life, the subsistence of my children may become so precarious as to need and embrace the assistance of those good people.

There was a time when we did not know the whites– our wants were then fewer than they are now. They were always within our control– we had then seeing nothing which we could not get. But since our intercourse with the whites, (who have caused such a destruction of our game,) when we could lie down to sleep and we awoke we could find the buffalo feeding around our camp– but now we are killing them or their skins, and feeding the wolves with their flash to make our children cry over their bones.




May 21 1822 London Times

Buffalo Cow & Calf to be sold


The Pittsburgh Advertiser Sept 5 1823 

The Pittsburgh Advertiser Sept 5 1823 robes for sale

The Sandusky Clarion
September 10, 1823

From the New-York American.

We have pursued with much pleasure the narrative of the life of Mr. John Hunter, in his account of the manners, customs, etc. of the Indians, which have recently been published and are for sale by our booksellers. Mr. Hunter is the white man whose escape from the Indians, with whom he had been domesticated from childhood, was noticed some time since in the papers, and considerable interest was then excited by the statements of his intelligence and progress in improvement, as well as by the hope that through him much new light might be thrown on the true character and condition of our bordering savages.

(skip forward)

“The conflicts of the male buffaloes and deer, the attack of the latter on the rattlesnake, the industry and ingenuity of the beaver in constructing its dam, etc., and the attacks of the panther on its prey afforded much interest, and engrossed much time.”

“In one of my excursions, while seated in the shade of a large tree, situated or a gentle declivity, with a view to procure some mitigation from the oppressive heat of the midday sun, I was surprised by a tremendous rushing noise. I sprang up and discovered a herd, I believe, of the 8000 buffaloes running at full speed directly towards me; with a view, as I supposed, to beat off the flies, which at this season are inconceivably troublesome to those animals.”

“I place myself behind the tree, so as not to be seen, not apprehending any danger; because they ran with too great rapidity, and too closely together, to afford any one of them an opportunity of injuring one, while protected in this manner.”

“The buffaloes passed so near me on both sides, that I could have touched several of them merely by extending my arm. In the rear of the herd was wind on which a huge panther had fixed, and was voraciously engaged in cutting off the muscle of its neck. I did not discover the circumstance till it had nearly passed beyond rifle shot distance, when I discharged my peace and wounded the panther.”

(story cont.)


The Sandusky Clarion
September 24, 1823

John Slover Tale.

He was captured by Indians and trying to make his escape.


One of the warriors now got up and stirred the fire. I was apprehensive that I should be examined, and thought it was over with me; but my hopes revived when he laid down again. I then attempted to unloose the rope around my neck, and tried to gnaw it, but in vain, as it was as thick as my thumb, and as hard as iron, being made of a buffalo hide; I wrought with it a long time, gave it up and could see no relief.

(he does get rescued)


The Evening Post Oct 5 1824 10,000 Robes

The Evening Post Oct 5 1824 10,000 Robes


The Pittsburgh Advertiser Oct 29 1824 Robes 

The Pittsburgh Advertiser Oct 29 1824 robes ads



The Evening Post NY Sept 13 1824 10,000 Robes

The Evening Post NY Sept 13 1824 10000 robes



The Evening Post NY Sept 20 1824 10,000 Robes

The Evening Post NY Sept 20 1824 10000 robes


The Evening Post NY Sept 22 1824 Buffalo Bones

The Evening Post NY Sept 22 1824 Buffalo Bones


Pittsburgh Gazette and Manufacturing and Mercantile Advertiser  Sep 24, 1824

Pittsburgh Gazette Sept 24 1824 Robes



The Sandusky Clarion
September 25, 1824

Alexander McConnell’s Escape From Five Indians.

Early one morning in the year 1781 Mr. Alexander McConnell, who resided in the neighborhood of Lexington, wandered into the woods on foot in pursuit of game. Having succeeded in killing a deer at some distance from home, he found it necessary to return for a horse to carry it off– While he was gone, five Indians came to the spot where the deer lay, and naturally concluding that someone would soon return thither for it, three of them remain to watch it, and to place themselves in ambuscade near the path, along which they rightly suppose the huntsman would pass. As he rode, therefore, near their place of concealment, they shot at him, killed the force under him, and consequently took him prisoner. For several days he traveled quietly with them, and as he had a good rifle, and was an excellent marksman, they required him to shoot deer, buffalo etc., for them.

(He eventually disguises himself as one of them, wearing their clothes and gear, and is able to fight his way out to escape.)


The Evening Post NY Sep 16 1826 9,500 Robes

The Evening Post NY Sep 16 1826 9500 Robes


The Sandusky Clarion
Sandusky, Ohio Nov. 18, 1826

Québec, October 23.

Extract from a letter dated at Riviere Rogue (Red River), ___ July last.

“The inhabitants of this place have never raised enough to pass the winter without the aid of the carcasses of the buffaloe and other wild animals of the prairies: last year’s crop having been indifferent, many families left then homes as early as the fall to pass the winter in the prairies. It was expected that the chase would be as abundant as usual, but in vain! It is difficult to imagine the deplorable situation of these desolate families. After feeding on their dogs and dead horses, and boiling their shoes and the harness to support their existence, a few of the most robust of the voyageurs, by forest marches and after long fast, reached at last hour post. Subscriptions are collecting, and we dispatched at that late., Provisions, to the assistance of the unfortunate starving people in the prairies. When they were met several had already died with hunger others were expiring and could get no relief from the food offered them. Those who could return to the settlement have necessarily reduced the rest to famine.—

The grain reserved for seed has been eaten although we took but one light repast a day.

“As a climax to our misfortunes, the spring having been very cold, the ice instead of moving off in April, only went away in May. The sudden melting of the snows produced and extraordinary inundation, and the damage has been most afflicting: very few houses have resisted the torrent and the shocks of the drifting ice.

“In the Catholic Church, which is on a small hill, the water rose six feet perpendicularly, so that the ornaments of the altar were destroyed.

“This fish which is generally abundant and April did not appear before May.—

The ground did not begin to appear from under the snow until the middle of June. Such persons as had a little rye left, hastened than to sow in the hopes, at so late a period, of its ripening.”


The Evening Post NY Jan 3 1827 327 Robes

The Evening Post NY Jan 3 1827 327 Robes

The Evening Post NY Jan 8 1827 327 Robes

The Evening Post NY Jan 8 1827 327 Robes

The Evening Post NY Jan 20 1827 327 Hides

The Evening Post NY Jan 20 1827 327 Hides

The Evening Post NY March 13 1827 9,500 Hides

The Evening Post NY March 13 1827 9500 Hides

Norwalk Reporter and Huron Advetiser
Nowalk, Ohio June 9 1827

Account Of Their Condition, Manners, Etc.

Description of the Osages of the Missouri, by the Rev. William F Vaill, superintendent of one branch of the mission to that tribe.

Condition of their Females. – Among the Osages, a plurality of wives is allowed. Each husband, if he proved himself to be a man of character, is entitled to all the sisters of the same family by the same mother. In marrying the oldest, or first wife, they have great ceremonies, such as Pro sessions, roasting, firing, displaying the U.S. colours, etc. and she is the wife or the best beloved. The rest fall into the rank of wives, as a matter of course, when they become of suitable age. There is, indeed a good degree of affection between the parties, but always attended with a spirit of servitude and fear on the part of the women. And their condition is truly degraded; for while the man are _____ing at their ease in their camps, striking or telling stories, or engaged in the sport of war, or of hunting; the females have to build their houses, plant their corn, dress the skins, transport the baggage, and wood, and water, and bear a many a heavy burden. Instead of one day of rest in seven, they have not one from their marriage until death. It is one of increasing round of servitude and drudgery. And shall it be always thus? Shell their daughters be trained to servitude only? No- is the response of every female breast. Let us send them the gospel, that they too may become respected, and useful, and happy.

Sufferings. – Some seem to suppose Indians are so hardy, that they are incapable of suffering. I have taken notice of this; and I see, that the Indian feels pain and sorrow, as well as other men. When he travels over the bleak plains, amid-the rains and cold of January, with only a single blanket to cover him by day, and make his bed at night, then it is that he suffers by the cold. When his family is without food, and his gun misses fire, and the deer leaps away– perhaps the only deer he has seen for many___, _ than it is he suffers by hunger.

And in sickness, they greatly suffer, for want of suitable medicine and care. They have doctors; but their doctors are only miserable conjurors, who, and their applications  occasion more pain than they relieve.

Their principal remedy for almost all kinds of disease, is cupping. – That preparations are made by the point of a large hunting knife sharpened on a stone. Then the small end of a buffalo horn is applied, and the blood drawn out by sucking with the mouth.

And they have another still more painful operation. The lands are punctured over in stripes and, checks, till the blood gushes out. The object is by means of a composition of green powder, to imprint durable marks which shall designate the person as victorious and Hon. But the poor patient suffers exceedingly, from the consequent swelling and inflammation.

I will mention another instance. A father sat in sadness on the floor of his lodge. I knew not the cause, till he opened his blanket, and showed his infant emancipated to skin and bones. He sat expecting it would die. Our physician gave the child some simple medicine, and we left the village. Two years after, I happen to enter the same lodge, and the father called a little playful child, and said, to my surprise, “This is the child your doctor cured.”

In their ways they suffer much for want of medical and surgical aid, and much more, by that universal tremor and distress, which fills their minds, and agitates even their little children, lest their enemies should fall upon them in some defenseless hour.

Mourning for the dead. – Another scene arises to our view. The wretched mother is now in that deepest distress. She cries and howls, and tears her hair, and smites upon her breast, and wrings her hands. Then, for a moment, she ceases, until the conjuror has done his last office; which is to paint the face of the dying youth, that it may be known in the other world to what clan he belongs, and that he may please God, and be accepted by him. The young man dies it is seen that he is gone. And now the lamentations of surviving friends increase seven fold. And when one company of mourning the women is exhausted, another comes, and takes up and prolongs the sad lamentations. They then carry forth the dead, wrapped in the skin of a buffalo, lay him upon the earth and raise over him a mound of earth or stone. From this time the father may be seen sitting by the side of the mound, day after day, fasting – his hair growing long – his face covered with earth. And so in intent is he upon his loss, that he sees not the strangers, that pass by him into the town, though there is no event which attracts more attention from the Indians generally, then the approach of white people.

But this man is in sorrow. And he cries to his departed son; ‘My son! -you make me unhappy – you are not with me – I must hunt and go to war alone.” Then raising his voice to his God he says, “my God, have pity on me, my son is gone, I am for, pity me, help me to go to war, and secure the scalp of mine enemies, that I may feast and make my heart glad again.

It has been the custom of these people, and is still, not to cease morning till they have sacrificed some enemy. Many of their war excursions against the Pawnees, and indeed most of them, are to comfort someone that mourns, by preparing the way for a war feast.

Religion. – Whither goes the spirit of the dead? The Osage cannot tell you. No land of promise, no heaven of pure delight, rises before the dim vision of an Indian. All that he sees, is a dark and narrow land & land of shadows and of ghost. He sees something beyond the grave, but what he sees is not distinctly. He knows not what sort of life it is. He rather conjectures it is something like the present.

So he sets a dish of food beside the deceased, and gives back his hunting or war implements. And if it be some brave man, they say, – “let him have his favorite horse, or he will be restless in his grave.” So they shoot down his horse by the grave-side.

They have no idea of one great invisible Spirit. Tell them of such a being, and they will triumphantly inquire, “Who is he? Where is he? I want to see him. Show him to me, and I will believe. Is he like my shadow? Is he like my breath? Is he like the wind? What is he like?” Asked them how many gods they were shipped, and they will never put up less than four fingers, and say

Meh –Wok-kun-dah. The sun is God;”

Me um-pah Wok-kun-dah “The moon is God;”

Grah  Wok-kun-dah “Thunder is God;”

Moi  neh kah Wok-kun-dah, “The earth is God”

others will name five, and others six and others seven or eight.

Morning Prayers. – These commands before the break of day. They rise and cover their faces with earth. Then go forth into the field round about the village, and sitting down on the ground offer their prayers. And you may hear hundreds, at the same time all praying aloud in different directions. And the God to whom they pray is some imaginary God, like the sun, moon, etc.

Ceremonies. – They eat not except they wash their hands and face. Sometimes and their trouble they do part of the day. If you invite them to eat your ___must be seconded by a bowl of water, or it will be of no use. They ___tom and smoking, which is quite significant. The ____which they offer to their God, ________________________ may be literally translated ____ “Tobacco, Tobacco, I smoke to the God; gives me a good path, make me a good warrior.” The great religious ceremony of the Osage shall be communicated at another time.

~William F Vaill.


The Torchlight and Public Advertiser
Hagerstown, Maryland Sep 20, 1827

The Niagara Exhibition. – The vessel which was condemned to go over the falls of Niagara, on the 8th instant, was precipitated, after losing her mast, and being reduced to a mere hull, in passing the rapids, at about 3 o’clock of that day. There were about 30,000 persons present on both shores. Goat Island was crowded. In her fall she was dashed into a thousand pieces. After being cut loose, two bears swam ashore, and were sold for 5 dollars a piece. There were also on board a buffalo, two foxes, a raccoon, a dog, a cat, and four geese. The dog also escaped to Cross Island, unhurt. The buffalo was seen to pass over the Falls, but was not visible afterwards. What became of the other animals is not known; except two of the geese and the cat, which were taken up, after passing the Falls, unhurt. Major Fraser obtained one goose, and an English gentleman purchased the other for two dollars.  Not a cracker nor a glass of water could be obtained at the Hotels, after the exhibition. It is said that all parties were so delighted, that it is already propose to get up something more splendid next year. By actual fathoming, the height of the falls is ascertained to be 158 feet 4 inches.


The Evening Post NY Nov 5 1827 Bales of Buffalo Robes

1821-1830 The Evening Post NY Nov 5 1827 Bales of Buffalo Robes


The Hillsborough Recorder May 28 1828
Scenes in Louisiana

The following extracts are copied from the Journal of a Methodist minister, who circuit was in the southwestern parts of Louisiana.

Thursday, December 2

The scenery all this day, was delightful. The immense prairies of Opelousas , and Attakapas and the still more extensive meadows on the west, may be called the American Sahara. But how different in appearance the rich grassy plains of America, to the dry parched sands of Africa. These wide savannas bear at the most striking resemblance to the ocean; when in them, you readily fancy yourself at sea, for that I may travel in almost any direction without meeting any object but the sky and grass; and if you see the far distant woods, they have the appearance of a high beach beautifully indented with coves and harbors. The vast herds of cattle scattered over them, afford one of the most grateful prospects of nature. From a small eminence you may observe thousands of horses, cows, and other domestic animals, spread over this interminable mead, in every direction, feeding on a sea of plenty. And nearly as numerous where the former herds of deer and buffalo, before the white man hunted them and their owners from these lovely savannas. At certain seasons of the year, this heterogeneous herd will embody defense, against the common and formidable enemy, the mosquito. I have seen seven or eight thousand closely pressed together, and remain so for hours, till urgent hunger drove them asunder for food. In passing these natural meadows, you will often start up the timid deer, which at site of the un-frequent passenger will bound off till he loses himself from you in the high distant grass. The wolf __ may be seen here, but no longer lank and lean, among the numerous fawns and lambs. The herdsman, who are generally excellent horseman, and admirably skilled in casting a rope, will frequently than their steeds after those wolves, and run them down, or take them round the neck with a slipping knot.


The Evening Post, New York, September 11, 1828
Extract of a letter from Capt. Thomas Anthony,

  Cant. Gibson, Arkansas T. July 1, 1828.

“General Chilly M’Intosh  and twenty-seven of our Creek Indians have been on a Buffalo hunt; and after absence of twenty days, returned with meat of 24 buffaloes, which they killed. They saw about 600 buffaloes, and an immense number of deer, whilst out, and would have killed more, but had not the means of bringing the meat home, every horse having as much as he could carry. A second party will go out next month, when they anticipate much sport. All the Indians are delighted with this country, which is rich and well calculated for our people, who can live well by agriculture and hunting. We have no fears of their suffering, as the crops look well. We shall have roasting ears of corn in two weeks, out of new ground cultivated since March last. We have some good gardens with cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, plenty of Irish and sweet potatoes, beans, peas, beets, watermelons, and etc. Col. Brearley will raise 1500 bushels of corn, which we have planted since I have been here.”

“We have had a deputation of Delaware Indians amongst us, who claim to be the grandfather of all Indian tribes. I went to our Public Square with them, and held a talk. They presented beads and tobacco, which was received in ancient form; and received presence of the same articles in return. All this is right; and we do not anticipate difficulty with any of the Indian tribes. We shall avoid all alliances. This has been my advice to the Indians. There are, however, a number of Indians who do not respect the rights of any nation: that go upon a war expedition to gain the name and character of warriors, and will take any person scalps, and run the risk of the consequences.”


1821-1830 Lithograph ca.-1830-1860.jpgLopez Yucati and the Bison North America lithograph with applied watercolor ca.1830-1860.

The Evening Post, March 15th 18301821-1830 The Evening Post, March 15th 1830

The Evening Post, April 5th 1830

1821-1830 The Evening Post, April 5th 1830

According to historian Pekka Hämäläinen, a few Native American tribes also partly contributed to the collapse of the bison in the southern Plains. By the 1830s the Comanche and their allies on the southern plains were killing about 280,000 bison a year, which was near the limit of sustainability for that region.

Hämäläinen, Pekka (2008). The Comanche Empire. Yale University Press.