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Part 1

This webpage reproduces part of an item in the
Tennessee Historical Magazine

published by the
Tennessee Historical Society

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Appendix A

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

A Tour in 1807
down the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
from Nashville to New Orleans.

By Dr. John R. Bedford

Vol. V
p107
(Continued from April No. Vol. V page 63.)

Before continuing the text of this Journey it is well to call attention to a few errors appearing in the first installment, and give record to other items of interest with reference to Dr. Bedford.

On page 42 appears a document with reference to the exploiting of the town of Cotton-Port, and it is incorrectly identified with the present town of Florence. The latter place is not located on Limestone Creek, but on Cypress Creek, and while the exploiters were not identical, yet some of the personnel were the same — as is shown by the following:

Public Sale of Lots59
In Florence.

On the 24th day of July next, at the town of Florence, the Trustees of the Cyprusº Land Company, in conformity with the articles of association, will commence the sale of the property belonging to the company, to the highest bidder, on a credit of eighteen and thirty months, and continue from day to day until all is sold. Much of the property yet to be sold is very desirable and valuable. The large Brick Tavern and purtenances, all the unsold Lots in the town, a great many out-lots and small tracts of land, the ferry lot on the north side of the river, and Campbell's ferry and the fraction of land attached to it on the north side of the river, and the house and lot now in the occupation of Dr. Woodcock, will then be offered for sale. The terms of sale, one half of the purchase money payable in eighteen months and the other half in thirty months from the day of sale. Bond and approved security will be required.

Leroy Pope

Thomas Bibb,

John Coffee,

James Jackson,

Dabney Morris, (by John Craig, his atty. in fact)

J. McKinley.

Trustees.

Nov. 27, 1822.

On page 61, footnote 54, error is made in identifying the Mr. Bond mentioned in the text, with Hon. Shadrack F. Bond, first Governor of Illinois. Re-examination of the much-blurred text discloses that the name is "E. F. Bond" and refers to Edward F. Bond, one of the appointees of Gen. Wilkinson, first p108Governor of Louisiana Territory, in the District of Cape Girardeau.

"General Wilkinson was visited by representatives of the several districts, and among others by one Edward F. Bond, a delegate from Cape Giredeau District. Wilkinson received him, so Bond says, with 'politeness and complacency' and bestowed on him 'a small share of his confidence' in giving him several appointments 'within his gift.' "60

Collector of Internal Revenue.

On January 9th, 1815, Congress passed a revenue bill providing for a direct revenue tax on certain personal properties of each citizen of the United States. Dr. Bedford was appointed collector for what was designated the Fifth Collection District of Tennessee, embracing the counties of Lincoln, Bedford, Rutherford, Williamson and Davidson.

In connection with this office the following notice appeared:

Public Notice61
is hereby given

To the Citizens & owners of property in the 5th. collection district subject to the direct Tax, that I will attend at Fayetteville in Lincoln county on the 11th & 22nd, at Shelbyville in Bedford county on the 23rd and 24th, at Murfreesborough in Rutherford county on the 26th. and 27th, at Franklin in Williamson county on the 30th daysº of June & 1st. day of July, and at Nashville in Davidson county on the 3rd. and 4th days of July, to receive appeals relative to any erroneous or excessive valuations or enumerations, which will be determined according to law and right, and in the manner prescribed in the 14th section of the act of Congress of the 9th. of January 1815; which requires that the question to be determined by the Principal Assessor shall be, whether the valuation complained of be, or be not, in a just relation or proportion to other valuation in the same assessment district; and that all appeals shall be made in writing, and shall specify the particular cause matter or thing, respecting which a decision is requested, and shall moreover state the ground or principle of inequality or error complained of.

My Assistant Assessors are hereby notified and requested to attend at the time and places above specified for each county, in which they severally act.

J. R. Bedford,

Principal Assessor,

5th Collection District.

June 11. 1815.

In respect to this special tax and its collection, the Hon. Park Marshall submits further interesting data:

"On Jany 18, 1815 Congress passed a very peculiar revenue act. It taxes watches and household furniture. Each silver watch $1, gold watch $2. Furniture valued from $200 to $400, $1; $400 to $600, $1.50, and so on.

There were exemptions from taxation the following: (1) All watches not in use; (2) Furniture and goods to value of $200; (3) p109Kitchen furniture and bedding; (4) All articles made from the products of Tennessee.

Capt. Thos. P. Henderson has a list of these articles dated Dec. 17, 1815, signed by 'J. R. Bedford, Principle Collector of Revenue for the Fifth District of Tennessee.' The list covers only Williamson county, and appears to be the original tax list, with Bedford's original signature.

The number of persons thus listed for taxation in Williamson county is only 138. The number of watches listed on it is 112, of which 16 were gold.

Of course the names of these taxpayers are given, and that makes it quite interesting locally. There was one citizen of Frankfort, a merchant, whose household goods were valued at as much as $850, after allowing (presumably) the exemptions above mentioned. There were others whose household goods were valued at $200 to $300.

Watches were taxed without reference to value.

This law is peculiar, especially for that day, in view of the fact that it was very direct in its operation and application."62

Removal63

J. R. Bedford,

Has removed his Medicine and Drug Store a short distance up College Street nearly opposite to Doctor Robertson's brick house.

He has just received from Philadelphia, in addition to his former supply, an extensive assortment of Medicine, Patent Medicine, Medical Books, Surgical Instruments, Glass Furniture, Paints, Oil and Hatters Materials.

Physicians orders for Medicines, will be thankfully received and promptly attended to.

Nashville, 14th. of June, 1815.

Tour

Thursday, 19th. Started at an hour's sun — morning very cold and frosty — after the morning weather greatly moderated and became clear, warm and serene — more pleasant than any day since our departure from Nashville. Sailed64 upwards of 30 miles — passing the 1 1st, 2 2d, 3 3d Chickasaw Bluffs, and the 4 Devil's race ground,65 so‑called from the rapidity of the current and multiplicity of snags and sawyers — supposing every thing vile and dangerous and alarming is, somehow or other, subject to the Devil — encamped 5 miles below this place on I.66 shore.

In the text, I've color-coded the travel days to the corresponding segments in this map. The lack of numbered markers along the middle stretch is a good indication of how wild the region was: which is confirmed by other travelers of the time, for example by the unnamed writer in the Addendum to Cuming's Tour to the West, Feb. 11, 1799.

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

Friday, 20th. Sailed thirty miles without any impediment, but occasional head winds — and made 5 the 4th, or lower, Chickasaw Bluffs p110at an hour's sun. At the lower end of which, two miles from their commencement, which is at the mouth of Wolf River,67 is a garrison built some years ago by Capt., now Major, Pike — called 6 Fort Pickering,68 in honor of, I suppose, of Timothy Pickering69 and in imitation of the absurd and insignificant custom, which has become now very prevalent, of adopting the names of living characters to places of public notoriety. 20 soldiers are stationed here commanded by a Lieut. Jackson, who kindly invited Doctor Claiborne and myself to his quarters to lodge this night — which was gladly accepted — being heartily sick of the rough fare offered at the barge. We arrived here without money, without a single acquaintance and without many necessary articles of diet — being detained on the voyage so much longer than calculated on — supped and had a very comfortable lodging with the Lieut.

Saturday, 21st. Breakfasted with Lieut. — Wrote Parry W. Humphreys, Doctor J. L. Armstrong, Nat. W. Williams and Wm. Curry. Procured from Mr. Vanhorn, Deputy to the U. States Factor, petricana whiskey, sugar, coffee and other small articles — 12 o'clock, sailed — cloudy and prospects of rain — proceeded 15 miles and encamped on L. shore.

Sunday, 22d. Passed an uncomfortable night — rain very heavy, accompanied with much thunder and lightning — bed clothes wet — rain continued until 9 o'clock — abated — was joined by a flat boat having African negroes commanded by a Mr. Harrison from Washington County, Kentucky, — proceeded on together — 10 miles — rain and wind forced us in — encamped on the L. shore — trampling around camp worked up mud 3 or 4 inches deep — full of water — Doctor Claiborne and I slept on board Harrison's boat, having a shelter of plank — slept soundly.

Monday, 23d. Weather clear — river rose last night 8 or 9 inches — sailed 10 miles — stormy wind forced us in on south side of Island No. 55 — wind continued very high till night, frequently beating the barge on ground — encamped on the bank — wind abated about sunsetting — weather moderate and pleasant. Harrison was forced to shore about a mile above us.

Tuesday, 24th. Rose before day — morning clear and a little cold. Set out just after twilight — proceeded 6 miles, passed a boat which p111had been wrecked 3 weeks — load, flour and apples, and a considerable quantity of peltry, received on freight the U. States Factor at Chickasaw Bluffs — wreck was repaired and expected to set out in the course of this day — no special damage to load — 10 miles further arrived at what is called the Big Prairie,70 3 miles below the mouth of the St. Francis River,71 which enters the Mississippi 75 miles below Fort Pickering. This river is of considerable size and well adapted to boating a considerable distance up — were informed the land adjacent to its waters not fertile, hilly and poor — 12 or 14 families live at and about the Prairie — possess little property — partly hunters and partly cultivators — sell their little surplus produce to the boats passing and repassing. No other settlement nearer them than the village of Ozark,72 which is sixty miles distant. This place was first settled five years ago — passed 18 miles beyond Prairie and encamped on L. shore, 10 p112miles down a 20 mile stretch — having run upwards of 40 miles this day.

Wednesday, 25th. Set out a little after twilight — morning cloudy and every prospect of rain — progressed rapidly without difficulty between 40 and 50 miles — encamped at hour's sun on I. shore — light rain ensued which abated at 8 o'clock — night warm and pleasant — restless and not disposed to sleep — walked frequently to the boat to examine a hook I cast out for fish — it was taken off about mid-night and the hempen rope to which it was suspended bit squarely asunder. The fish must be a huge one.

Thursday, 26th. Morning clear and calm. The pleasant temperature of the atmosphere, the various and lively musical notes of the birds, and the shrill sound of the frogs, indicated a speedy approach of spring — proceeded rapidly — to White River73 15 miles — 20 miles further to Arkansas or Ozark River74 — both emptying into the Mississippi on the north or Louisiana shore, opposite mouth of the latter river on the south or I. shore, were encamped 12 or 15 Indians of the Ozark, or Arkansas, tribe, accompanied by two Frenchmen, hunters, with them, from the village of Ozark — near which live this tribe of Indians. This village72b is said to be fifty miles up the Ozark river, from its mouth — inhabitants almost exclusively French — contains fifty or sixty families — ignorant and little ameliorated by civilization — generally without any uniform or steady means of subsistence — agriculture extremely imperfect and limited — land generally beautiful and champlain but not fertile — U. States have established a Factor for the benefit of the Indian tribes and citizens under the directions of Jos. M. Treet, who is also chief magistrate of the court of the district of Arkansas, and is said to be arbitrary and oppressive to the inhabitants. If this be true, the policy is extremely bad and unlucky — and such is calculated to injure and degrade our government in these distant provinces — prevent their forming national attachment, but instead thereof, engender resentment and enmity. White River enters the Mississippi behind a large island lying close to that shore, wherefore did not see its mouth. It is said to be a little larger than the Cumberland — of deep and very gentle current, which renders navigation up more easy. It is said to be without obstruction a long distance up. The Cherokee Indians75 have a village or settlement p113on this river 60 miles above its mouth — 300 of this tribe having emigrated hither. Spoke, this morning, two men on the bank about 5 miles above the mouth of White River, who live near the village — they were hunters. Between these two rivers is a more fertile body of land than usual in this country — it is extensive enough for a large country — encamped 22 miles below the mouth of Arkansas on the I. shore, near a camp of Indians — tribe of the same name — having made a run this day of 57 miles — purchased of the Indians 2 large buffalo perch, a turkey and some venison — sleped moderately well — little restless — night cloudy and windy.

Friday, 27th. Weather cloudy and indication of rain — wind sometimes very high — was forced to make shore — detained an hour and sailed, it being calm — and 2:30 o'clock wind again very high — heavy rain ensued — fog became so dense as to make every spot but where we were invisible — therefore floated without knowing in what direction — afterwards was some little dissipated and we made shore with much difficulty and hazard. Rain continued very heavy until 8 o'clock in the night. Doctor Claiborne and myself again lodged with Mr. Harrison and Doctor Mallory, whose boat was yet in company. Sleped moderately well — was again restless. Run only thirty miles this day.

Saturday, 28th. Weather very cloudy and somewhat colder than yesterday. Set out at sunrise — weather soon after became cold and windy — run about 6 or 8 miles and were forced to the shore — continued without alteration till 2 o'clock P.M. — then became tempestuous, which obscured every prospect of proceeding further — weather was quite chilly — encamped on the Indian or Chickasaw shore in a cane thicket.

Sunday, March 1st. Weather clear and cold, the north wind having continued nearly the whole night — standing water froze nearly half an inch — this encampment is little upwards an 100 miles above the Walnut Hills and about 200 miles above Natchez with the meanderings of the Mississippi — which is extremely winding — reducing the direct course to Natchez, to, perhaps, 130 miles. Therefore our camp was probably 33° 50′ N. Latitude.b — Run upwards of fifty miles this day and encamped on the L. shore. The day was quite clear and only moderately warm — the night cold, again froze very considerably.

Monday, 2d. Morning cold, having froze considerably last night. Sleped better last night than the three preceding nights, although was colder. Set out at twilight — weather moderated and become warm and pleasant, about the meridian of the day. Run without interruption, about fifty miles — encamped on the Indian shore — 20 miles above the Walnut Hills — the distance found to be greater than calculated on yesterday. Evening become quite warm and cloudy — promising rain — we are in a climate perceptibly milder — saw a large quantity of black briar, with leaves green all the last winter, and others about half grown and evidently the growth of the present season — likewise discovered the elder to have vegetated — leaves one-third grown — and the buds of the box-elder to be springing — two kinds of weed — names unknown to me, though have often seen them before, of considerable p114growth already, and dispersed pretty thickly about the bottom — which afforded a pleasant and enchanting view, similar to the springing of the tender grass in the meadows of Kentucky or Tennessee, early in the spring.

Tuesday, 3d. Set out as usual at twilight — the moderate temperature of the weather and the clouds indicate speedy rain — these and the lucid intervals of sun-shine, still resemble the commencement of spring. Run ten miles to the mouth of the Yazoo — a river so celebrated by means of a fraudulent speculation in lands on its waters by a company of speculators, mostly of Georgia76 — the validity of which has been so warmly and doubtfully contested in Congress the two last sessions. This river at its mouth is fully an half mile in width and is said to run nearly parallel with the Mississippi — its source being near the Great Bend of the Tennessee. As to the general size of this river, its facility or difficulty of navigation, or the nature and fertility of the soil adjacent to its waters, I possess no information. It exhibits a beautiful view at its entrance into the Mississippi, which extends probably two miles up — 9 or 12 miles further is the Walnut Hills77 on the east side of the Mississippi and is part of the Mississippi Territory. Doctor Claiborne and I went on land and tarried a few moments — purchased some tobacco and made some enquiries of one of its inhabitants — who was so extremely ignorant, as not to be able to inform us of the name of county including the Walnut Hills — only "that they lived there and the one half of the Walnutsº Hills belonged to one Turnbull in Charleston, S. C., and that the other half belonged to themselves" — four or five families live on or about the Hills in log houses or rather huts — most of them were in view — they were preparing for planting cotton — having chopped up and collected the stocks of last crop into small parcels, ready for burning. We saw but one peach tree and that very small — which was in full bloom. This was the only fruit tree to be seen. 7 The Walnut Hills is the most beautiful place on the Mississippi above, (Natchez) — more elevated and more romantic — not having seen any place above it worth notice but the lower Chickasaw Bluffs. They are perhaps 150 feet above water, going off in a plane — The Walnut Hills is perhaps 300 feet above water and variegated by gentle elevations and depressions — sometimes very abrupt. They continue about a mile down the river where lives a family in a tolerably comfortable house — far superior to the others. Twenty-five miles below the Walnut Hills is a settlement on the east side of the river in the Mississippi Territory, extending down the river about three miles, immediately on the bank — about twenty families compose this settlement who are nearly all Yankees — and live in some more respectable style and decency than those about W. Hills — possess very little property besides their land, which is rich and admirably situated for culture, which they pursue with p115great diligence — cotton is almost the exclusive article of agriculture — corn, &c., barely sufficient to support them. A citizen of this settlement, which is called Palmyra,78 informed us that from 16 acres of ground, he gathered the last season 26000 lbs of seed cotton, or 6500 ginned cotton, which he sold for $18 cash in Natchez, the whole amounting to $1170. — therefore every acre of ground produced $69.37.c The active preparations for planting cotton, the bloom of the peach trees, which are pretty numerous here, and the general springing of vegetation, evince the actual presence of spring — and the greater mildness of the climate than that of Tennessee. From a little above the W. Hills to opposite this place on the west side of the river are scattered a number of little huts few more than 10 feet square and more the resemblance of fowl-houses than human tenements. However, even these gratified the sight and revived us from dulness, after having traversed such a distance of uninhabited wilderness. Reluctant to leave this settlement so soon, we encamped at the lower end and last house of it at nearly an hour's sun — and were kindly favored with room for our pallet in the house — Fearful rain would come on in the course of the night — sleped moderately — was affected with feelings of great lassitude and perturbed dreams.

Wednesday, 4th. Morning cloudy and rain beginning — Set out very early and proceeded through wind and rain 30 miles to Colo. Bruin's,79 a mile below 8 Bayou Pierred — having been once forced into shore about two hours. Doctor Claiborne and I procured lodging at Colo. Bruin's — night being cold and somewhat rainy. Being strangers we would not expect to be received with cordiality — therefore were entertained with reservedness and formal civility — we were inquisitive — being so long without society and feeling an interest in the transactions and news of the Territory — were here informed of Colo. Burr's arrest about the mouth of Bayou Pierre, his trial and acquittal by grand-jury — his flight and subsequent apprehension on the Tombigby.

p116 Thursday, 5th. Rose very early before any of the family were out of bed and proceed — morning cloudy and strong threat of rain — proceeded with some difficulty on account of the strong winds — clouds at length dispersed and weather become very cold, strongly resembling winter — Arrived at 9 Natchez80 3 o'clock P.M. Barge stationed about two hundred paces above the upper end of the town and twice that distance above the naval forces stationed there in the river to guard the pass, and prevent the conveyance of arms or ammunition below, for the vile purposes of the Burrites. Immediately after landing throwed off our very dirty clothes, that had not been in contact with water since Nashville, except when we were wet with rain or by an accidental tumble into the river — dressed in the best and cleanest we had, barely then reaching common decency and tripped up into the town. Doctor Claiborne to see a brother who resides here, I without any specific object separate from those of a stranger who has nothing to do but enquire, observe and add to my little stock of information of places, persons, &c. Went together to Colo. Claiborne's81 — he was absent a considerable distance from home — were introduced by the principal clerk in Colo. Claiborne's store (for he is a merchant of extensive business) to Mrs. Claiborne, who received the Doctor with the most ardent cordiality and affection of a brother, and me, with all the ease and affability of an accomplished and amiable woman and the sincerity inseparable from chaste and virtuous sentiments. The solicitation of the Doctor, in the absence of his brother, and the polite civilities and affable condescension of Mrs. Claiborne manifested some inclination that I too should be a sojourner at her home. Therefore, not dreading the risk of the imputation of intrusion, was placed perfectly at ease and did not feel the customary solicitude for lodgings at an Inn — was flattered to consider myself as a temporary member of the family — and this appearance of welcome was not, as is often the case, deceitful — but its sincerity was indubitably realized.

This evening and night were entertained by the company not only of Mrs. C. equal to that of any, but of Doctors Speed, Latimore82 and McCreary, all the most pleasant and excellent of men. A particular intimacy soon sprang up between Doctor Speed and myself, both natives of the same county, students of the same professional man, Doctor Brown, and an early and permanent attachment having subsisted between our fathers. Retired to bed about 12 o'clock and reposed very comfortably in a well furnished bed room.

Friday, 6th. Passed the morning within doors — with that comfort and pleasurable security irresistably inspired by chaste and amiable intercourse. After breakfast, visited Doctors Speed and Latimore who are partners in the business of their profession. Two hours were here beguiled away. Then visited Mr. G. Bell, Thos. Maury and Nat p117McNairy,83 who lodged at Mickie'sº — they were from Tennessee. Returned to Colo. Claiborne's where was a considerable company of gentlemen specially invited — none remarkably interesting — but the three doctors mentioned last night: the rest being civil enough. Ate of a sumptious and grateful dinner — after quaffing a great deal of the best of Madeira, almost to inebriety and gulping down of three courses at table — 1st, meats and sallads of every kind, most delicious in quality — 2d, sweetmeats of the finest flavor and 3d, pastry, apples, cheese &c., I felt constrained to abscond the company rather abruptly, with Mr. G. Bell, whose disposition at this moment happened to be similar to my own — strolled about the suburbs of the city viewing the scenery as attentively and correctly as our deranged faculties would permit until somewhat restored. Returned and gladly, because luckily for ourselves found the balance not quite so fond of repetition in the taking of glasses it being supplied with a liberal hand till near the close of the evening. This was the night of an assembly dance. Having a wish to see a collection of the most genteel and respectable persons, males and females, of the Territory, presuming this to be the most favorable place and time, presuming on what I knew of their place and its customs, resolved to be one of the party and prevailed on my Tennessee friends for their company — We went — was introduced by Mrs. Thos. Maury to the principal manager, John Wood, who, it was expected would render my situation, as a stranger to all but a few, somewhat more pleasant and agreeable. But was noticed by him no more during the evening — no more than were I a vagabond — his civilities ended with the ceremony of introduction — without even a word to me afterwards. About forty men and fourteen or sixteen women made the party. They began preparation for a country dance about 8 o'clock. I was requested by a friend to get a number for the dance — replied, the manager would visit us presently with the numbers to be drawn — no, he said, the drawing was going on in the other room and he pulled me by the elbow to the drawing in an adjacent apartment, which I should probably never have seen otherwise, nor others who were equal strangers with me. Entered the room — saw a red-headed, hump-shouldered, hard looking fellow, resembling the baboon tribe, perched on an elevated step of a flight of stairs, with something in his hand, something of which a numerous crowd that pressed round seemed extremely anxious to obtain, and when obtained, some looked on the prize, as I did not know what else to esteem it, with pleasurable emotions — others — with discontented and grim faces. They dispersed after a little, and I was pulled up by my friend to draw a ticket — Now the mystery was explained, and I understood this was drawing tickets for the country dance. I intruded my hand to his, which contained the tickets. He admitted me to draw with the careless indifference, inseparable from rusticity — drew No. 10 — The partners, according to the lottery, were arranging — I was called out to face the lady whose number corresponded with mine — met her with some confidence — but my modesty was as much ruffled as hers, when the manager introduced her by a wrong name and me by no name at all. Finding an unobjectionable apology in his unaffected want of politeness, regained my confidence, which inspired some more confidence in my very modest partner — and flirted through the dance, with all the little gracefulness and activity that I possess — seated my partner and returned to the society of Dr Doctor McCreary and one or two more — conversation miscellaneous — Shortly after, Doctor Speed p118appeared before me — said he did not learn of my being there till a few moments before and that he had come for my accommodation — my thanks of course could not be otherwise than numerous and cordial. He introduced me to only a few gentlemen and two ladies — one a married woman — Mrs. Lintot and Miss Reed, her relative — then replied, aside, that these only merited an introduction and were interesting. And thus I was enabled to account for the inattentive and selfishness that prevailed generally this evening — which was a source of some ease and comfort of sensation, and observing others in a similar situation meet similar affability from the managers and others. Supper came on about 12 or 1 o'clock — not a word from the managers — after the ladies supped — all flocked like hungry shoats to a stye — little and big — young and old, without distinction — took two cups of coffee in the corner without anything else, with Doctor McCreary — Heavy rain, which began about 10 o'clock, detained the company till after four o'clock in the morning — Lodged the balance of this night with my Tennessee acquaintances at Meckie's.º

Saturday, 7th. Rose this morning at 9 o'clock — Breakfasted with Tennessee friends at their boarding house — saw Mess. Speed and Latimore awhile — then Mrs. C — Sat and talked of last night's scenes awhile. Then withdrew to the counting room to address my correspondence in Tennessee — wrote Robert White, Nat W. Williams, Thos. Talbot — Doct'r J. L. Armstrong, Alex Porter and (Stephen Bullock, of Port Gibson, M. Territory) — while writing, Colo. Claiborne arrived — but that I should not interrupt the meeting of him and his brother, after finishing the letters, walked over to Speed & Latimore's and returned at the dusk of evening — was introduced to him by Mrs. C and received with great cordiality and politeness. Supped and conversed till past 12 o'clock — reposed badly — restlesness great.

Sunday, 8th. Rose early, although after a restless night — morning very rainy — and extremely wet — passed the day within doors — dined very sumptuously with a large company — Doctor Lyon, Mr. Hardin, the most eminent attorneº of the Territory, Judge Brookes and others, mostly of the party of the other day. Rain continued the whole of this day, with but little abatement.

Monday, 9th. Passed another sleepless night — know no other cause but too free indulgence in meat and drink — which clogs digestion and oppresses the vital powers. Weather clear — breakfasted, closed my letters, delivered them to the care of Colo. C., prepared some little supplies for the balance of the voyage, took leave of Colol. C. and Lady, whose kindness and polite hospitality, I hope never to be so degenerate as to forget, also of Doctors Speed and Latimore — and made for the boat in company with Thos. Maury, who joined us for the balance of the voyage. Delayed two hours for Doctor Claiborne, who seemed very tedious and reluctant to depart. In the mean time was boarded by a small party from the navy to examine our loading, &c — to ascertain whether we were of the party of Burr. They seemed satisfied and intimated their report would be satisfactory to the commander, if not they would again board us in their skift without the inconvenience of us going to shore — This seemed generous and liberal — as our large craft was far more unmanageable than their small one, which was more of the resemblance to a terrapin's shell than to anything else — Therefore when all other things were in readiness, we put out and passed on without any more notice of the navy than if they had been so many traffic barges in the Mississippi, for although p119they at first excited the attention of curiosity, this motive to observation had ceased, from its frequent operation before — We passed then near half a mile, and heard the report of a musket — the ball whistled over head — presumed they were amusing themselves only with the implements of their profession — but that they were impertinent with all — soon after another fired ball again whistled over head — cursed the officers silently for not chastizing the rascals for their rude impertinence that seemed to threaten danger to us — not all presuming that they designed to bring us to — continued on without further notice, still thinking they were unmannerly enough to amuse themselves at our hazard — Soon after off went a cannon with a sound that seemed as great as the rending of earth and Heaven, and the ball buzzed over head and struck the water two hundred yards beyond the bow of the boat. This was a strong hint to put in — and although much irritated because their conduct seemed inconsistent, we obeyed them — choosing rather to submit to the over-bearing spirit of the military than to be hurt by their incivility. Two of their boats well manned and armed boarded us and forbid our continuing without a scrap of permission from the commander — which could not be obtained without returning to the fleet near two miles back — adopted the only alternative and was honored with a seat in the officers boat — not bound hand and foot as civil prisoners — but unfettered, in the presence of men, guns and bayonets, like prisoners of war — Some little sensation of degredation could not be restrained — but that it might be divided as much as possible and thereby diminished, Doctor C., Thos. M. and I, all went on board the little bark, sailed up to the fleet and was conducted aboard the schooner Revenge, which was the guardship of the day. The commanding officer, Capt. Reid happened to be an acquaintance of Doctor C. and Mr. M. — we were therefore received with great politeness and apparent cordiality, with an apology for their previous military salute, after being informed of the previous visit before we had left the wharf — were invited under deck, partook of two bottles of excellent Madeira and entertained with much politeness — became acquainted with Capt. Bainbridge, a younger brother of the celebrated Capt. Bainbridge of the Mediterranean — as genteel and gentlemanly young man as I ever saw, — and if he lives a length of time and continues in the navy, I have little doubt of his future celebrity. He might shine as a statesman and warrior were those talents advantageously cultivated. — After one and a half hours' stay, when the bottom of the two bottles were uncovered, were conveyed across to land and trudged on foot to the barge — Run 12 miles by night.

Natchez is situated on the east side of the Mississippi — a small part of the town immediately on the bank and under the hill — the houses here are small — being little else but hucksters' shops — The main body of the town lies an half mile from the river after rising an elevated bluff of 100 or 150 feet by a serpentine road winding obliquely up the hill. The site of the town is not a plane, but much diversified by gentle elevations and depressions — which, where houses are not erected, are covered with verdue,º — giving the town, and suburbs especially, an appearance considerably picturesque — All stores, taverns, and families of any importance or respectability are here — most of the houses are of wood and in the French style — elevated 7 or 8 feet from the ground — above which is one story only — and piazzas or galleries all round — under the galleries are their storerooms — which have a great resemblance to cellars — Natchez contains about 2000 inhabitants — Merchants of considerable wealth — some retail $70. or $80,000 worth of goods per annum. The Mississippi Territory contains p120a great deal of wealth — many planters sell annually 100 or 200 bales of cotton — which is their staple article. The general produce in cotton is 250 nett per acre.

Tuesday, 10th. Set out early, having run last night 15 or 20 miles after dark, narrowly escaping a dangerous sawyer that nearly touched the stern — becoming very cloudy, were forced to put in about mid-night — run 12 miles this morning to 10 Loftus Height84 or Fort Adams, which is on the east bank of the river 45 miles below Natchez — Here is a garrison — a store of considerable importance kept by a Mr. Evans & Co. The neighborhood of this place is wealthy, producing much cotton. It is remarkable for being one of the loftiest pinnacles on the whole of the Mississippi — a bottom extends up and down the river a long way and off about 100 yards — then commences a bluff similar to that at Natchez, rising and falling in an undulating manner — but in a sudden freak bounded and formed the pinnacle called Loftus Height, two hundred feet above water mark, on which stands a block house only, under which is the barracks and arsenal in the bottom — Sauntered about here 2 or 3 hours — just before departing was very agreeably surprised by the sudden appearance of Thos. Butler on board the barge, in company with a Capt. Sample — Sincerely regretted the necessity of setting out so soon, because I wished to have much conversation with him, as I esteem him a good and sensible young man and one every way interesting to me — He had lately arrived in the Territory and then intended to settle thereabouts — The best of friends must part — and therefore took an affectionate farewell and set out from Fort Adams about 11 o'clock A.M. — run 16 miles and passed the mouth of Red River, emptying in on the west or Louisiana side — so much celebrated latterly for the fertility of its soil and salubrity of its climate — It probably derives its name from the red colour of its waters, which is very perceptibly redder than that of the Mississippi — and continues perceptibly different for a considerable distance below the mouth — It is ¾ of a mile wide at its entrance. Came up with Hunt & Foreman from Natchez in two barges, laden with cotton. Stopped at sun-set, procured some wood, put out again and drifted till about an hoursº before day 30 miles to 11 Point Coupee.85

Wednesday, 11th. Morning quite chilly. Put off at sunrise and run four miles to 12 the mouth of Bayou Sara in West Florida and opposite Point Coupee settlement, included in the county of the same name. This country is included in the Territory of Orleans, in which is said to be more wealth than in any other country of the Territory. Great appearance of opulence was exhibited in the settlements on the margin of the river which continued ten or twelve miles and is said to extend thirty or forty miles back — good dwelling houses in the French style, the inhabitants being almost exclusively of that nation. Negro houses innumerable — being disposed almost contiguous to one another in a hurdle and adjacent to the manor house exhibit the view of small towns with their capitals. For the planters live generally not more than one half mile from each other. All are opulent, having from fifty, to one hundred or one hundred and fifty negroes, whose p121houses are arranged in lines parallel to one another, one or two hundred yards from the manor.

While at Bayou Sara86 the wind blew high, which checked uniform progress the balance of the day. Ellis & Stewart reside here, merchants in copartnership and very jovial, generous Irishmen — to whom I was introduced by Mr. M. and liberally entertained. This is the first time that my feet ever trod Spanish soil — and perhaps it may not be the last time. Walked an half mile off from the river to view something of the country and saw Mr. James Carpenter, a school mate of 6 or 7 years ago — who was then a merchant — An half mile from the river the land rises above 60 or 80 feet — from which, the land is said to make off quite level and rich continuing thus 40 or 50 miles in every direction — constituting the best and most productive cotton land in all the Mississippi country — and was it emancipated from the Spanish government would be the most pleasant and desirable country in this quarter. Its elevated situation so far above the river probably constitutes its health — the rich soil must be a great source of wealth. It extends down from the Mississippi territory 60 miles, to the Bayou Manchac87 which makes from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain and which with the Mississippi forms the Island of New Orleans below. The settlements part of West Florida are rich — much cotton is produced here, and is a desirable place by all who I heard speak of it.

Thursday, 12th. Rain very heavy — therefore could not proceed. The liberal hospitality of Messrs. Ellis & Stewart seemed undiminished, therefore the detention was not so disagreeable as on a desert shore. There was an acquisition to our numbers of Mr. Hoggatt & Dunbar from Natchez, bound to New York. Ate and drank this day and yesterday very sumptuously. Rain ceased considerably — and got under way about four o'clock P.M. — run 9 miles — likely to be very dark — put in to camp on Point Coupee side. — The ground was wet — prospects of rain continued — walked to a house close by to get a bed for the night — It belonged to a widow who was not within. Saw a grave gentleman walking the piazza — addressed him and communicated the object of our coming — he replied the house belonged to a widow woman — she was rich and did not keep tavern — and at any rate the French did not like to entertain strangers. He pointed out a negro tavern in view, where we might obtain lodgings. Indignant at this impertinence we returned to our boat — suspecting him to be a Priest or Father, whose amorous desires had for the moment got the better of his devout forbearance and that if we staid we might spy him. After the hands had cooked and made supper, we concluded to drift this night, and immediately made off.

Friday, 13th. Found ourselves four miles above 13 Baton Rouge having drifted near 30 miles last night — continued on to the Fort and landed to report ourselves to the commandant — detained here 3 or 4 hours and put out again — were introduced to the commandant Grandprie, — a man of polite address and reverend countenance — upwards of 50 years old.

Baton Rouge is situated on the Florida side, on a considerable eminence, which commands an extensive prospect up and down the river. p122Proceeded from here about 12 o'clock, run upwards of 20 miles and encamped on the east shore. The settlements here commence on both sides of the river pretty thick — being some distance below Bayou Manchac.

Saturday, 14th. Run 40 miles — Settlements on both sides of the river, resembling the sides of a street on which inhabitants are numerous — 50 or 60 and sometimes more, manor houses are in view — Seventy miles above N. Orleans is the first plantation, — which is on the west side — 10 or 12 miles further, they become more numerous — and orange trees decorate almost every garden.

Sunday, 15th. Drifted last night 30 miles within 9 leagues, or 27 miles of New Orleans — continued on till 10 o'clock and was forced in by head winds — wind abated and attempted to proceed again — run 4 or 5 miles and was forced in a second time — wind high the balance of the day — Continued here, 12 miles above New Orleans, this day and night.

Monday, 16th. Set out at twilight and run to New Orleans by half after eight o'clock — passing every mile, large sugar plantations — with buildings and other appendages that indicated great wealth. Fine gardens — finely decorated with orange groves, which seem larger as we approach the city. Attended the unloading the barge this day.

[The End.]


The Editor's Notes:

59 (Nashville Whig. Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, 1823. Vol. XI, No. 25.)

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60 "History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. II, p403.

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61 ("Nashville Examiner," Tuesday, June 27th, 1815. Vol. II, No. 8.)

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62 Letter to Editor, date, Franklin, Tenn., Sept. 28, 1919.

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63 (Nashville Examiner, Vol. II, No. 8, June 27, 1815.)

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64 The country west of the Tennessee River is a large plateau gradually rising until it breaks off near the Mississippi River into the bottom land. This highland plateau touches the river at four points, forming what appears from the river view, four bluffs.

In the Indian days these four points were known as the Chicasawº Bluffs and were numbered one, two, three and four as you descend the river. The first is near the town of Fulton, the second Randolph, and the third near the boundary between Tipton and Shelby counties and the fourth the site of the city of Memphis.

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65 Name given the sound between the island and mainland, about three miles long. Called by the French "Chenal du Diable." (Bradbury, p203.)

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66 The abbreviations used are, "I." for Indian shore and "L." for Louisiana shore.

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67 This stream has received various designations. It was first known as Riviere de Mayot, the French giving it this name from the circumstance that at this point a Loup (Delaware) Indian of the party of La Salle bearing this name was lost here. The French map-makers of the earlier date, however, term it Riviere de Margot. Since a trail leadº from the Mississippi up this stream over the watershed to the Chickasaw villages in what is now northern Mississippi, other Frenchmen called it Riviere de Chichicha — Chicasawº River. To the English it was known as Wolf River. Possibly this is an echo of the original French tradition of the "Loup" — French for wolf — Indian.

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68 See Appendix "E."

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69 Timothy Pickering was born at Salem, Mass., July 17th, 1745, and died at the same place — Salem, January 29th, 1829.

Graduated at Harvard in 1763, admitted to the bar in 1768. 1775 made colonel of local militia and served in the Revolutionary War. In 1780 was appointed Quartermaster General of the American Army to succeed Gen. Greene, resigned. 1792, on resignation of Knox, Secretary of Wear, he succeeded him. Founded West Point Military Academy and superintended the building of the frigates Constitution, United States and Constellation. On the resignation of Randolph as Secretary of State, he served in his place and after three months was duly appointed to that office, which he held until dismissed by President Adams, May 12, 1800. (Appleton's Cyclo. of Biog.)

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70 The Big Prairie was some seven miles above the present site of Helena. "It is a natural savannah of about sixty acres open to the river on the right bank. It is covered with a fine rich short herbage, very proper for sheep. Immediately behind at it at less than a half a mile from the river, is a small lake eight or nine miles in circumference, formed in the spring and summer by the Mississippi, which in that season rising, flows up a small canal (or in the language of the country, bayou) and spreads itself over the prairie. As the river falls the lake discharges its waters again by the bayou, and become a luxuriant meadow, covered with a tall but nutritive tender grass. While a lake, it abounds in fish of every species natural to the Mississippi, and when a meadow it is capable of feeding innumerable herds of cattle. It is then watered by a rivulet which descends from some low hills about three miles to the westward of the river bank. From its regular annual inundation, this appears to be a fine situation for rice grounds, if the water goes off soon enough to allow the rice to ripen."

(Cuming. Early West. Travels. Vol. IV, p297.)

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71 St. Francis River. The headwaters of this stream are found not a great distance southwest of the city of St. Louis, and pass southward in a general parallel direction at times through swamps and enlarged into considerable lakes, some three to four hundred miles to where it empties into the Mississippi. From the earliest days of the French and Indian hunters this region was looked upon as a paradise of game, and even today the hunter's lodge can be found here and there near its banks. The tongue of land lying between the St. Francis and the Mississippi ranges from six to twenty miles in breadth and during the wet season is largely inundated. Further north the western bank of the St. Francis consists of a chain of hills and in them is located the lead mines so long known as the Genevieve field, which in the early days practically supplied the inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley. (Cuming, ibid.)

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72 "Village of Ozark." This is commonly reckoned the oldest white settlement in the south Mississippi valley. However, it is probable that the earliest post or settlement was further down the river, and closer to the Mississippi than what was later known as Arkansas Post, or Village of Ozark. The French designated the country of the Arkansa Indians as "Des Arcs," and the post or settlement was commonly referred to as "aux Arcs," which was Americanized into Ozark. This later post was located up the Arkansas river about fifty miles from its mouth and by those descending the Mississippi was commonly reached either by landing at Big Prairie and proceeding in a southwest direction overland about seventy miles, (crossing White River at thirty-five), or by descending the river to the mouth of the White River, thence up this stream a few miles to the Cut-Off, a bayou eight or nine miles in length leading to the Arkansas River — and then up the latter to the post. After the transfer of Louisiana to the United States the Americans occupied this post in 1804. The Louisiana Cession was divided at first into two territories, the lower known as Territory of Orleans stretched north to the present boundary of the State of Arkansas, the remainder was known as Upper Louisiana and at first was placed under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Territory, as a "district." Later, March 3rd, 1805, it was erected into a separate government as "Louisiana Territory," Gen. James Wilkinson being appointed the first governor, with headquarters at St. Louis. This territory was then divided into districts, and that portion north of the present south boundary of the State of Arkansas extending into what is now the southern part of Missouri, became the District of New Madrid, the next year the Territorial Legislature of Louisiana divided the District of New Madrid, constituting the lower part into the District of Arkansas, viz.: all that portion north of the present south boundary of the State of Arkansas to a point opposite the Second Chicasaw Bluff.

(Hemstead's School Hist. of Arkansas, pp46‑47. Houck's Hist. of Mo., Vol. II, p412.)

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73 The White River is now regarded as emptying into the Mississippi, but the older authorities represent it as a northwest branch of the Arkansas River, the region bounded by the Mississippi, the two rivers and the "cut-off" being regarded as an island. Hutchins' amp of 1778 so notes it.

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74 So named by Marquette as he found the Arkansa tribes of Indians located near its mouth.

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75 As early as 1775 the Spanish Governor at St. Louis speaks of the Cherokee Indians as having been west of the Mississippi and of their having driven the miners away from the lead mine, Mine La Motte, on the headwaters of the St. Francis River. Again in 1782 certain Cherokee chiefs visited St. Louis. The Bowl's party of Cherokees settled on the lower part of the St. Francis River in what is now Arkansas in 1794. Their story is that a party of Cherokee Indians was returning from the Agency at Tellico and had encamped on the side of the Tennessee River near the Musselº Shoals. A party of whites under one Scot, stopped to trade with them and finding they possessed an amount of money soon caused them to be drunken and swindled them out of all of it. When the Indians sobered they demanded the return of their money, which was not only refused but they were attacked and two of them killed by the whites. Whereupon the Indians killed all the men in Scot's party, took possession of his boat, together with the women, children and slaves. Proceeding down the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi till they reached the mouth of the St. Francis, where the women and children were placed in their boat with slaves to care for them and sent on down the river to the settlements. The Bowl and his party ascended the St. Francis and made settlements over this part of what is now the State of Arkansas.

(See Houck's Spanish Regime, I p100 & Hist. of Mo. I p221.)

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76 See note 22, p50. Also Claiborne's "Miss. as a Province," etc., p98. "The Yazoo Land Company," Amer. Hist. Asso. Papers, N. Y., Vol. V, pp395‑437.

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77 Walnut Hills. Present site of Vicksburg. The territory between 31 and 32½ degrees north latitude was for many years in dispute between Spain and the United States — from 1783 to 1795. In 1789 the Spanish built here Fort Nogales, but even after the treaty of 1795 was concluded they refused to vacate their posts and pursued dilatory tactics until 1798, when the United States forces finally occupied the fort, changing its name to Fort McHenry in honor of the then Secretary of War. Cuming, in 1807, speaks of the place as: "Where are seen the earthen ramparts of Fort McHenry, now abandoned." This locality was involved in the land schemes of the fraudulent Yazoo Company, entailing much litigation with regard to titles, etc. The present city of Vicksburg was laid out in 1811.

(Cuming's Tour, Early West. Travels, IV, p306.)

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78 Palmyra. A settlement of New England emigrants commenced about 1801. Was most favorably situated on a peninsula in a four‑mile bend of the Mississippi on which some sixteen families occupied a frontage of forty rods in a straggling village. The soil was exceedingly fertile, producing as much as five hundred pounds of clean cotton per acre, which exceeded that of West India or Georgia, where two hundred and seventy-five pounds was esteemed a good crop. The place is characterized as "one of the most beautiful settlements in Mississippi Territory, the inhabitants having used all that neatness and industry so habitual to the New Englanders."

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79 Col. Peter Brien Bruin. His father having become implicated in the Irish rebellion of 1756, he paid the usual penalty of having his property confiscated and he himself exiled. The Irish spelling of his name was doubtless O'Brien. The father brought with him to America an only son, Peter Brien O'Bruin, who on the outbreak of the Revolution joined in with the Colonies, entering the army as a lieutenant, in Morgan's company of riflemen. He was present at the siege of Quebec, — being the first officer inside the barrier, where he was wounded badly by the same discharge of grape shot that killed Gen. Montgomery, — being near where he stood at the time. Taken as a prisoner he was kept in rigorous confinement aboard a prison-ship, became infected with small-pox and was not exchanged for six months. Rejoining the army he was promoted to rank of major in the Virginia continental line, which position he retained through the rest of the war. After the Revolution General Morgan conceived a plan for an American colony in the Spanish domain west of the Mississippi and laid out the town of New Madrid. He was followed here by Col. Bruin, but he was not pleased and later settled at Natchez as a planter near the mouth of Bayou Pierre. Under the Spanish government he served as the local officer or alcalde and on the organization of the Mississippi Territory became one of the three judges appointed by the government. When Burr planned his operations in the southwest he visited Col. Bruin and won him over, greatly deceiving him. He remained in office till 1810, when he retired to plantation life on his lands at Bruinsburg near the mouth of Bayou Pierre, where he died.

(Claiborne's Miss. as a Province, etc., p161.)

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80 See Appendix "F."

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81 Gen. Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne. See Appendix "B," p65.

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82 Drs. David and Wm. Lattimore from near Norfolk, Virginia, settled at Natchez in 1801 and became eminent in the practice of medicine. Were men of cultivation and wrote with fluency and force and in private life highly esteemed. Wm. Lattimore settled in that part of Wilkinson County which subsequently became the county of Amite; was elected to Congress in 1805 and re-elected a second time, when he was succeeded by George Poindexter. The latter after serving four years declined a re-election, when he was succeeded in turn by Dr. Lattimore, who served until Mississippi Territory became a State in 1817. His last service rendered was serving on a commission to locate the State capital, which was decided in favor of Jackson. Dr. Lattimore died in Amite County April 3, 1843.

(Claiborne, Miss. as Province, etc., p263.)

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83 George Bell and Nathaniel McNairy were both representatives of very prominent families at Nashville.

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84 See Appendix "G."

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85 Point Coupee. An old settlement on the west side of the Mississippi. The French originally gave the name because the course of the river here at an early date was changed, forming a "cut-off" from the longer detour of its ancient bed. The Spanish term it Punta Cordaº and is represented today as a village and the name given to the parish.

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86 Bayou Sara. The first settlement over the old Spanish line in the present parish of New Feliciana. The stream from which the settlement takes its name is a small one, only about thirty yards wide.

Thayer's Note: The Tiber at Rome is not much more (37 meters, or 40 yards, at the Sublician Bridge). Such is the scale of the New World that what in Europe passes for a fairly large river, in America is a small stream.

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87 See Appendix "H."


Thayer's Notes:

a My best efforts haven't availed me, including searches of the Web and the OED for a number of reasonable variant spellings: I have no idea what petrican whiskey might be. I suspect, however, that petrican should be capitalized, as a proper noun: a Petrican family is found in the records of western Pennsylvania, the region that was the heart of the then recent Whiskey Rebellion (see note 36 for example), and that some member of the family made a particularly good whiskey worth noting by name: in sum, a premium brand. I have not a shred of evidence to back up this chain of surmises; if you know what petrican whiskey is, please drop me a line, of course.

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b No it wasn't: that encampment, by their own reckoning, was about 59 river miles downstream from the mouth of the Arkansas — which is already a little south of that, at 33°46′.

In general, when the place Bedford mentions is not a recognizable settlement, it's pretty much impossible to locate, since, quite understandably, his mileages can't be relied on either. For example, he gives his river distance from the mouth of the Arkansas to Walnut Hills as about 180 miles, and a distance calculation from satellite maps makes it about 138. On my map above, I've marked the distances for each day by prorating Bedford's distances to the satellite distance: e.g., when on March 1st he says he traveled 50 miles, I had to call it 35, and so on; otherwise his daily stages wouldn't fit.

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c The figures don't tally. The first error is easy to fix: 6500 lbs selling for $1170 must have been not $18 a pound, but $1.80: the manuscript must have had $1.8.

The second error is more puzzling, since the first calculation shows that $1170 is almost certainly the true figure — but for 16 acres, that gives $73.13, not $69.37. I believe Bedford mistranscribed his own arithmetic: prices were commonly expressed in dollars and eighths of dollars (see for example Cuming's Tour, in Thwaites, Vol.  IV, p262: a system that remained in effect in the stock market as late as the year 2000). At any rate, the correct figure, $73.13, is $73⅛, or 585/8; misreading that as 555/8 gave him $69⅜, or $69.37. If I've guessed right, this is interesting since we can not only correct a mistake made by the original writer himself, but also gain an idea how people of the time did their sums.

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d The Mississippi has seen significant changes in her course since 1807, chief among them those due to the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811‑1812; so that tracking Bedford's route on the river as she appears in 2009 is just an approximation: and here we have an interesting example. When we zoom in on the map at the end of the segment traveled on March 4, we see to the W of the present-day Mississippi a "Lake Bruin" that looks very much like a meander of the river now bypassed — and, although I don't pretend to have looked into it, the name must surely mark Col. Bruin's property, more or less. Bedford's route was very likely on today's lake.


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