ACROSS THE PLAINS WAY BACK IN 1821
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.
ORGANIZED NEAR BLUE SPRINGS
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.
INTO RANGE COUNTRY
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.
BUFFALOES STAMPEDED THE HORSES
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.
HAD TO DIG FOR WATER
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.
IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE ROCKIES
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.
SAW MUCH POVERTY IN SANTA FE
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
The Evening Post Oct 10 1821 2500 Robes
The Evening Post Nov 28 1821 Buffalo Knives
The Evening Post Dec 4 1821 2500 Robes
The Evening Post Dec 17 1821 2500 Robes
The Evening Post Dec 22 1821 2500 Robes
The Evening Post Dec 31 1821 2500 Robes
Salisbury, North Carolina March 5 1822
FROM THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER
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
THE PAWNEE CHIEF.
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.
PAWNEE LOUP CHIEF
May 21 1822 London Times
The Pittsburgh Advertiser Sept 5 1823
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.
“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.”
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 Pittsburgh Advertiser Oct 29 1824 Robes
The Evening Post NY Sept 13 1824 10,000 Robes
The Evening Post NY Sept 20 1824 10,000 Robes
The Evening Post NY Sept 22 1824 Buffalo Bones
Pittsburgh Gazette and Manufacturing and Mercantile Advertiser Sep 24, 1824
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 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.”
Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, 12 May 1827
FROM THE KENTUCKY GAZETTE.
NOTES ON KENTUCKY Section 13.
Early in August 1782, large detachments of Indian warriors from the Cherokee, Wyanddots, Taway, and Pottwattomies, as well as several other tribes bordering on the lakes, assembled in grand council at Chillicothe, where they were met by Simon Girty and McKee, two renegade white men; unprincipled in disposition, and stained with the blood of innocent women and children, their lives were assimilated to the customs and habits of the Indians, from which, their general knowledge of the white people, they had acquired the confidence of the Indians, were faithful to their interest, and assisted at, and work and conspicuous in their councils.
Girty, in order to inflame the minds of the young warriors against the Kentuckians, took an elevated stand, when he disengaged his arm from his blanket, assumed the attitude of an Orator, and to the painted savage assembly, equipped in all the habiliments of war, delivered the following address:
the fertile region of Kentucky is the land of cane and clover – spontaneously growing to feed the buffalo, the elk and deer; the bear and the beaver are always fat – the Indians from all tribes, have had a right from time and immemoriable, to hunt and kill unmolested these wild animals, and bring off their skins, to purchase for themselves clothing – to buy blankets for their backs and rum to send down their throats to drive away the cold and rejoice their hearts after the fatigues of hunting and the toil of war, (great applause from the crowd.)
The long knives* have overrun your country and usurped your hunting grounds – they have destroyed the cane – trodden down the clover; killed the deer and the Buffalo, the bear and the raccoon; the beaver has been chased from his damn and forced to leave the country, (palpable emotion among the hearers.)
The intruders on your lands exalt in the success that has crowned their flagitious acts. They are building and making roads on the very ground of the Indian camp and war-path. They are planting fruit trees and ploughing the lands where not long since were the cane break and clover field. – Was there a voice in the trees of the forest, or articulate sounds in the gurgling waters, every part of this country would call on you to chase away these ruthless invaders who are laying it waste. – Unless you rise in the majesty of your might and exterminate the whole race, you may bid adieu to the hunting ground of your fathers – to the delicious flesh of the animals with which it once abounded, and to the skins with which you were once enabled to purchase your clothing and your rum.”
Inflamed to frenzy with his harangue, the young warriors expressed their approbations and evinced their determination to comply with the recommendations of the speaker, by extending an outstretched arm towards Kentucky, grasping the tomahawk and striking it into the ground with a hideous yell. – Signified their approbation by a loud sonorous grunt.
No sooner had Girty concluded his harangue, than the Indians took up the line of march for Kentucky, with the determination first to take Bryan’s station, after which to act as circumstances should direct.
Byran’s station contained about forty cabins, built so as to form a parallel, ogram of about 200 yards long and 50 wide and where the houses did not join, the vacancy, was filled up with pickets. The angles were strengthened by blockhouses which answered the purpose of bastions.
On the 15th day of August, in the year 1782, this formidable savage army appeared in hostile array before Bryan’s station; the inhabitants immediately on the discovery of their approach, closed the gates and made every preparation in their power to defend the place. Bryan’s station or fort, five miles east from Lexington, became the most exposed point in Kentucky, after the destruction of Ruddle’s and Martin’s stations in .
*Long Knife. A name by which the Virginians were designated the Indians from other white people Ed. Gaz
**The Beaver build dams to catch fish, and to secret the avenue to their houses. Ed. Gaz-
the year 1780. The death of William Bryan, who died of a wound received near the mouth of Cane run, so discouraged his friends that they returned to North Carolina, and the greater part of the population from that state, left the fort about the same time, which would have so reduced the strength, as to compel the remainder to remove, if the fort had not acquired new strength in a number of families from Virginia. Robert Johnson, Esq. the father of the Hon. Richard M..Johnson, with several families of his connections, from the same section of Virginia, removed to Bryan’s station, and kept up the strength of the place at what it had been, if not greater than at any former period.
It has been stated that Bryan’s station was at that time the most exposed of the settlement in Kentucky, and that was to be ascribed to the residence of the hostile tribes and the guide they found in the Miami rivers on the north west side, and the Licking and Kentucky rivers on the south east of the Ohio. The former served to pilot them to the shores of the Ohio, and the latter served the same purpose to bring them to the vicinity of Bryan’s station. Lexington, Bryan s station, Boon’s station, M’Fee’s and Stroud’s were the only places occupied on the north side of the Kentucky river, at the period of the formidable attack on Bryan’s, which was conducted so secretly by Simon Girty and his brother James, that the fort was completely surrounded on the night of the 15th of August, 1782 while the men, women and children slept quietly, not dreaming of any danger until alarmed by the fire of the savages before sun rise, on those who first opened their doors.
The night before, the news had been received that Capt. Holder, with a party of men from M’Gee’s and Stroud’s stations, had been defeated, and the greater part of the force from Bryan’s were preparing to march to that quarter; and if the Indians had delayed the fire one hour longer, the fort would have been reduced to a mere handful, as the men were on the eve of departing. The greater danger at home now, called for united exertions of the whole country. Two men Nicholas Tomlinson and Thomas Bell, were mounted on good horses, and sent off at the first fire to Lexington; on arriving there the force of that place had gone to Boon’s station, on the way to Holder’s assistance. Tomlinson and Bell followed and overtook them at Boon’s station, where a force of sixteen mounted men and about 30 on foot immediately started to the aid of the besieged fort. The Indians agreeably to their modes of warfare, attempted to take the fort by stratagem of the following nature: It has already been stated, that the fire commenced early in the morning; this firing was by a party of 100 Indians on the south east side or angle of the fort, where the road from Lexington to Paris no passes, about 200 yards from the spot where Mr. Joseph Rodgers resides at present. The great body of the enemy (500) lay concealed in high weeds on the opposite side of the fort, within pistol shot of the spring, from which the supply of water was drawn.
The former practice of this fort, was known, and the Indians expected every man to run to the spot where the firing commenced, which would leave it undefended on the side where the main body lay; but the number of guns discharged, and the near approach of the party, convinced the people of the fort that it was a plan to draw the men out, and instead of falling into this trap, every man went to work in repairing the four, which required picketing in several places, and the women commenced supplying water from every spring near the ambuscade of the enemy. And although the Indians lay so near the spring, the women ventured to it from the assurance that the enemy would remain concealed until the men from the four fired on the party on the South side east side, which was perceived at wants to be the plan ; accordingly, when a sufficient quantity of water was drawn, the fort put in order, and the men at their posts, a party of 13 went out on the direction of the first fire from about 100; and at that moment the ambuscade rushed on the fort, believing the men were engaged on the other side. How they must have been disappointed to find every thing ready to receive them.
A heavy well directed fire from the fort put the savages to flight, a small body of the most daring reached the fort, and set fire to a few houses and stables, which were consumed; but the rest of the fort and the lives of the people were saved by an easterly wind, which drove the flames from the houses. This defeat about two hours after the first fire in the morning, drove the Indians to a respectful distance.
The enemy encamped on the bank of the creek where the road now crosses, convenient to the spring, at a place out of sight of fort.
It was known to the savages that two men had been sent early in the morning on the direction to Lexington, and they formed a party of about 300 of their best warriors at the upper end of the lane leading to Lexington, to intercept the expected reinforcement, on the south east side of the fort. On the right of the present road to Paris, grew a field of more than 100 acres of com, through which the Indians passed and repassed, from the encampment on the bank of the creek to the party at the head of the lane. At about 2,P.M. the men from Lexington and Boon’s station arrived insight of the fort, at a moment that the tiring had ceased and no indication of danger appeared; this reinforcement believed it had been a false alarm, and the sixteen mounted men approached the fort the usual route along a narrow lane which was lined for more than a hundred yards by the enemy on both sides, who “commenced a fire unperceived at few feet distance. It is believed the great dust which was raised by the horses feet, in a considerable degree protected the party: they got safe into the fort without the slightest wound to man or horse, but the party on foot were less fortunate. They were approaching through the large cornfield on the right and could have passed into the fort unseen by the savages, but on hearing the firing at the head of the lane on their comrades, they run to their aid, without reflecting that from the number of guns that the force was an over match for them. When they reached the head of the lane, the mounted men were gone, and the enemy were in great force between them and the fort, augmenting every moment from the camp on the bank of the creek. A sharp firing commenced, and nothing but the thickness of the corn saved this party of 30 brave men from destruction; two only were killed and four wounded.
The white men separated and sought safety in flight, and the force of their rifles, in many instances where parties of 6 or 8 Indians were pursuing one man, they were kept off by the knowledge of the danger of approaching a man with a gun in his hand supposed to be loaded. James Girty, with a half dozen savage brethren, pushed on one of the white men so hard, that he fired, and Girty fell, which stopped the rest of the party and saved the man from certain death. Unfortunately for many suffering victims who fell by the hands, or by the influence of this monster, he had bound to the strap of his powder horn, a piece of the leather just stolen from tanvats, the folds of which saved him, and he only received a severe shock, which brought him to the ground. Mr. John Sharp, the father of the present jailor of Fayette, was of this party, and too infirm to make his escape, if he had not been able to keep the Indians at bay, from tear of his ride, until he readied a thicket of cane.
In the evening the cattle and stock attempted to return as usual to the fort, were totally destroyed.
A little after sunset, Simon Girty approached under cover of a thick growth of hemp, to a large stump of a tree, which stood about the spot where the dwelling house of Mr. Rogers now stands, and hailed the fort-demanding a surrender; stating that the forces were commanded by him, and inquired if he was known to the people of that fort. He declared that the prisoners should be protected if they would surrebder, which was out of his power if the place was taken by storm, is it would be that night, on the arrival of his cannon and strong reinforcements which were hourly expected. This language from Girty, and the recollection by the people in the fort, that cannon were employed in the reduction of Ruddle’s and Martin’s stations, was calculated to create considerable alarm. It was so handsomely parried by Aaron Reynolds, a young man remarkable for wit and sprighthness, that in justice to the individual his name is mentioned, as it will be hereafter in a noble act at the battle of the Blue Licks, a few days after. Mr. Reynolds observing the discouraging influence of Girty’s lofty commanding address, took the liberty of replying to him. In the first place, Mr, Reynolds admitted the name of Girty was so well known, & held in such detestation, that he named a worthless dog after him; and as to reinforcements, that the fort would receive a strong one in time to meet the cowardly army commanded by him. . For his party he felt so concern or apprehension from such an enemy, that he considered it disgraceful to use fire arms in repelling them; and should in the event of his party breaking into the fort resort to switches, which he had no doubt would be sufficient to drive the ranked rascals from the country. Girty took great offense at the levity and want of politeness of his adversary, and pretended to deplore the consenquences resulting from such obstinacy, and left his position very quickly.
During the night a small party was left to keep up occasional firing, but the main body marched of in great haste to the lower Blue Licks, where a battle the most distressing that Kentucky had witnessed, occurred in a few days.
I recapitulating the preceding attack, there are some very singular circumstances worthy of attention. The firing in the morning was in time to prevent the march of nearly all the men to a distant point, and the enemy so far overrated their plan, that instead of drawing the men out, every one prepared for a siege-. and although there were more than 100 guns discharged, not a solitary person was touched; the singular circumstance of the wind springing up from the east and saving the place from the flames: the fortunate parsing out and return of Tomlinson and Bell, the two expresses, and the passage of 16 mounted men through a fire at several hundred Indians unhurt all these things are singular. There were 500 Indians and about 60 Canadians and tories, forming an army of more than 600 to fight 42 men. The whole number in the fort was 44 men, but two wore sent off as expresses, and two were killed in the fort. The persons killed were Mitchell and Atkinson; and *Tomlinson slightly wounded in the arm after his return from the express. The loss of the Indians was very considerable, but the precise number not known.
*Nicholas Tomlinson continued one of the most active defenders of this country and was employed in Harmer’s expedition in 1790, as a spy – at the defeat of a detachment of the Army under Col. John Hardin, on the Auglaize, Tomlinson being in advance, was literally shot to pieces by an ambuscade of more than 1000 Indians.
The Evening Post NY Jan 3 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 March 13 1827 9,500 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
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.”
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.