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and the settlements on Mississippi, from Point Coupee, upwards, lower than they can get it in New-Orleans and bring it up. Cathartic salts, and magnesia, might likewise be made in large quantities, if they understood it. The country all round the Sabine and Black lake is vacant, and from thence to Washita, a distance of about one hundred and twenty miles, which I am in. formed affords considerable quantities of well timbered good uplands, and well watered. There is a small stream we cross on the Washita road, the English call it Little River, the French Dogdimona, affording a wide rich bottom: this stream falls into the Acatahola lake ; from thence to Washita, it is called Acatahola river ; its course is eastwardly, and falls into Washita, near the mouth of Tensaw, where the road from Natchitoches to Natchez, crosses it; from the confluence of these three rivers, downwards, it is called Black river, which falls into Red river, sixty miles below. There is a good salt spring near the Acatahola lake.
Ascending Red river, above Natchitoches, in about three miles arrive at the upper mouth of the Rigula de Bondieu : there are settlements all along; plantations adjoining. From the upper mouth of the Rigula de Bondieu, the river is one channel through the settlement called Grand Ecore, of about six miles ; it is called Grand Ecore, (or in English the Great Bluff) being such a one on the left hand side, near one hundred feet high. The face next the river, almost perpendicular, of a soft, white rock ; the top, a gravel loam, of considerale extent, on which grow large oaks, hickory, black cherry, and grape vines. At the bottom of one of these bluffs, for there are two near each other, is a large quantity of stone-coal, and near them several springs of the best water in this part of the country ; and a lake of clear water within two hundred yards, bounded by a gravelly margin. I pretend to have no knowledge of military tacticks, but think, from the river in this place being all in one channel, the goodness of the water, a high, healthy country, and well timbered all round it, no height near it so high, its commanding the river, and a very publick ferry just under it, and at a small expense, would be capable of great defence with a small force. The road from it to the westward, better than from Nachitoch, and by land only about five miles above it, and near it plenty of good building stone. These advantages it possesses beyond any other place within my knowledge on the river, for a strong fort, and safe place of deposit. Just about this bluff, the river makes a large bend to the right, and a long reach nearly due east and west by it ; the bluff overlooks, on the opposite side, several handsome plantations. I have been induced, from the advantages this place appeared to me to possess, to purchase it, with four or five small settlements adjoining, including both bluffs, the ferry, springs and lake, the stone quarries, and coal ; and a field of about five hun. dred acres of the best low grounds, on the opposite side. After leaving Grand Ecore, about a mile,on the left side comes in a large bayau, from the Spanish lake, as it is called, boatable the greater part of the year. This lake is said to be about fifty miles in circumference, and rises and falls with the river, into which, from the river, the largest boats may ascend, and from it, up the mouths of several large bayaus that fall into it, for some distance, one in par. ticular called bayau Dupong, up which boats may ascend within one and a half mile of old fort Adaize. Leaving this bayau about two miles, arrive at a fork or division of the river ; the left hand branch bears westwardly for sixty or eighty miles; then eastwardly, meeting the branch it left, after form. ing an island of about one hundred miles long, and, in some places, nearly thirty miles wide. Six or seven years ago, boats used to pass this way into the main river again ; its communication with which being above the great raft or obstruction ; but it is now choaked, and requires a portage of three miles; but at any season, boats can go from Natchitoches, about eighty miles, to the place called the point, where the French had a factory, and a small station of soldiers to guard the Indian trade, and is now undoubtedly a very
Vol. III. Appendix. H.
eligible situation for a similar establishment. The country bounded to the east and north, by this branch or division of the river, is called the bayau Pierre settlement, which was begun, and some of the lands granted before Louisiana was ceded to Spain by France, and continued under the jurisdic. tion of the commandant of Natchitoches until about twenty years ago, when, by an agreement between a Mr. Vogone, then commandant of this place, and a Mr. Elibarbe, commandant at Natchitoches, the settlement called bayau Pierre, was placed under the jurisdiction of the latter, and has so continued ever since. The settlement, I believe, contains about forty families, and generally they have large stocks of cattle : they supply us with our cheese entirely, and of a tolerable quality, and we get from them some excellent bacon hams. The country is interspersed with prairies, resembling, as to richness, the river bottoms, and, in size, from five to five thousand acres, The hills are a good grey soil, and produce very well, and afford beautiful situations. The creek called Bavau Picrre, (stony creck) passes through the settlement, and affords a number of good mill seats, and its bed and banks lined with a good kind of building stone, but no mills are erected on it. Some of the inhabitants have tried the uplands in wheat, which succeeded well. They are high, gently rolling, and rich enough ; produce good corn, cotton, and tobacco. I was through the settlement in July last, and found good water, either from a spring or well, at every house. The inhabitants are all French, one family excepted. A few miles to the westward, towards Sabine, there is a Saline, where the inhabitants go and make their salt. On the whole, for health, good water, good living, plenty of food for every kind of animal, general conveniency, and handsome surface, I have seen few parts of the world more inviting to settlers.
Returning back again to the fork of the main river we left, for the purpose of exploring the Bayau Pierre branch, we find irregular settlements, includ. ing Campti, where a few families are settled together on a hill near the river, northeast side. For about 20 miles, the river land is much the same every where, but the Campti settlement is more broken with bayaus and lagoons than any place I am acquainted with on the river, and for want of about a dozen bridges is inconvenient to get to, or travel through. The upper end of this settlement is the last on the main branch of Red river, which, straight by land, does not exceed 25 miles above Natchitoches. At the upper house the great raft or jam of timber begins ; this raft choaks the main channel for upwards of 100 miles, by the course of the river ; not one entire jam from the beginning to the end of it, but only at the points, with places of several leagues that are clear. The river is very crooked, and the low grounds are wide and rich, and I am informed, no part of Red river will afford better plantations than along its banks by this raft, which is represented as being so important as to render the country above it of little value for settlements ; this opinion is founded entirely upon incorrect information. The first or lowest part of the raft is at a bend or point in the river, just below the upper plantation, at which, on the right side, a large bayau, or division of the river, called Bayau Channo, comes in, which is free of any obstructions, and the greater part of the year boats of any size may ascend it, into lake Bistino, through which, to its communication with the lake, is only about three miles ; the lake is about 60 miles long, and lays nearly parallel with the river, from the upper end of which it communicates again with the river, by a bayau called Daichet, about 40 miles above the upper end of the raft; from the lake to the river, through Bayau Daichet, is called nine miles; there is always in this bayau sufficient water for any boat to pass ; from thence upwards Red river is free of all obstructions to the mountains. By lake Bistino, and these two bayaus, an island is formed, about 70 miles long, and three or four wide, capable of affording settlements inferiour to none on the river. From the above account you will perceive, that the only difficulty in opening a boat passage by this raft, through the lake, which is much shorter than by the course of the river, and avoid the current, and indeed, was the river unobstructed,
would always be preferred, is this small jam of timber at the point, just below the bayau Channo, as it is called.
After the receipt of your letter, I had an opportunity of seeing some of the inhabitants who live near this place, who informed me, that that small raft was easily broken, and that they had lately been talking of doing it. I per. suaded them to make the attempt, and they accordingly appointed the Friday following, and all the neighbours were to be invited to attend and assist. They met accordingly, and effected a passage next to one bank of the river, so that boats could pass, but did not entirely break it ; they intend to take another spell at it, when the water falls a little, and speak confidently of succeeding:
The country about the head of lake Bistino, is highly spoken of, as well the high lands, as the river bottom. There are falling into the river and lake in the vicinity, some handsome streams of clear wholesome water from towards Washita, one in particular called bayau Badkah by the Indians, which is boatable at some seasons; this bayau passes through a long, narrow and rich prairie, on which, my informant says, 500 families might be desirably settled ; and from thence up to where the Caddos lately lived, the river banks are high, bottoms wide and rich as any other part of the river. From thence it is much the same to the mouth of the Little river of the left ; this river is generally from 50 to an 100 yards wide ; heads in the great prairies, south of Red river, and interlocks with the head branches of the Sabine and Trinity rivers ; and in times of high water is boatable 40 or 50 leagues, affording a large body of excellent, well timbered and rich land, the low grounds from 3 to 6 miles wide : but the quality of the water, though clear, is very inferiour to that of the streams that fall into Red river on the north side. The general course of the Red river from this upwards is nearly from west to east, till we arrive at the Panis towns, when it turns northwestwardly. After leaving the mouth of the Little river of the left, both banks are covered with strong, thick cane for about 20 miles; the low grounds very wide, rich, and do not overflow; the river widening in proportion as the banks are less liable to overflow; you arrive at a handsome, rich prairie, 25 miles long on the right side, and 4 or 5 miles wide ; bounded by handsome oak and hickory woods, mixed with some short-leaved pine, interspersed with pleasant streams and fountains of water. The opposite, or left side is a continuation of thick cane ; the river or low lands 10 or 12 miles wide. After leaving the prairie,the cane continues for about 40 miles ; you then arrive at another prairie, called Little prairie, left side, about 5 miles in length, and from 2 to 3 in breadth ; opposite side continucs cane as before s low lands wide, well timbered, very rich, and overflow but little ; the river still widening. Back of the low grounds, is a well timbered, rich upland country ; gently rolling and well watererl; from, the Little prairie, both banks cane for 10 or 12 miles, when the oak and pine woods come bluff to the river for about 5 miles ; left hand siile, cane as before ; then the same on both sides, for from 10 to 20 miles wide, for about 15 miles, when the cedar begins on both sides, and is the principal growth on the wide, rich river bottom for 40 miles ; in all the world there is scarcely to be found a more beautiful growth of ccdar timber ; they, like the codars of Libantis, are Large, lofty and straight.
You now arrive at the mouth of the Little river of the right ; this river is about 150 yards wide : the water clear as chrystal ; the bottom of the river stony, and is boatable, at high water, up to the great prairies near 200 miles by the course of the river; the low grounds generally from 10 to 15 miles wile, abounding with the most luxuriant growth of rich timber, but subject to partial inundation at particular rainy seasons. After leaving this river, both banks of Red river are came as before, for about 20 miles, when you come to the round prairie, right side, about 5 miles in circumference. At this place Red river is fordable at low water ; a hard stony bottom, and is the first place from its mouth where it can be forded. This round prairie is high and pleasant, surrounded by handsome oak and hickory uplands ; side cane as before, and then the same both sides for 20 miles, to the basi prairie, left side, 40 miles long; opposite side cane as before ; near middle of this prairie, there is a lake of about 5 miles in circumference, an oval form, neither tree nor shrub near it, nor stream of water ruteg either in or out of it ; it is very deep, and the water so limpid that a fer may be seen 15 feet from the surface. By the side of this lake the Cake quies have lived from time immemorial About one mile from the like i the hill on which, they say, the great spirit placed one Caddo family, wte were saved when, by a general deluge, all the world were drowned; fro which family all the Indians have originated. For this little natural en nence all the Indian tribes, as well as the Caddoquies, for a great distance, pay a devout and sacred homage. Here the French, for many years before Louisiana was ceded to Spain, had erected a small fort ; kept some soldies to guard a factory they had here established for the Indian trade, and several French families were settled in the vicinity, built a flour mill, and cultivated wheat successfully for several years ; and it is only a few years ago that the mill irons and miú stones were brought down : it is about 25 years since those French families moved down, and 14 years since the Caddoquies left Here is another fording place when the river is low. On the opposite side a point of high oak, hickory, and pine land comes bluff to the river for about a mile ; after which, thick cane to the upper end of the prairie ; then the side on both sides for about 12 miles ; then prairie on the left side for 20 mikes, ne posite side cane ; then the same for 30 miles, then an oak high bluff 3 miles, Cane again for about the same distance, on both sides; then for about me league, left side, is a beautiful grove of pacans, intermixed with no other growth ; after which, cane both sides for 40 miles; then prairie, left side, for 20 miles, and from one to two miles only in depth ; about the middle of which comes in a bayau of clear running water, about 50 feet wide ; then čane again both sides the river for about 40 miles ; then, on the right side, a point of high pine woods bluff to the river for about half a mile, cane again 15 or 16 miles; then a bluft of large white rocks for about half a mile, near 100 feet high, cane again about 45 miles, to a prairie on the right side, of about 30 miles long, and 12 or 15 miles wide ; there is a thin skirt of Food along the bank of the river, that when the leaves are on the trees, the prairie is, from the river, scarcely to be seen. From the upper end of this prairie it is thick cane again for about six miles, when we arrive to the mouth of Bayau Galle, which is on the right side, about 30 yards wide, a beautiful, clear, running stream of wholesome well tasted water ; after passing which it is thick cane again for 25 miles, when we arrive at a river that falls in on the right side, which is called by the Indians Kiomitchie, and by the French La Riviere la Mine, or Mine river, which is about 150 yards wide, the water clear and good, and is boatable about 60 miles to the silver mine, which is on the bank of the river, and the ore appears in large quantities, but the richness of it is not known. The Indians inform of their discovering another, about a year ago, on a creek that empties into the Kiomitchie, about three miles from its mouth, the ore of which they say resembles the other. The bottom land of this river is not wide, but rich ; the adjoining high lands are rich, well timbered, well watered and situated. About the mine the current of the river is too strong for boats to ascend it, the country being hilly. After passing the Kiomitchie, both banks of the river are covered with thick cane for 25 miles, then, left side, a high pine bluff appears again to the river for about half a mile, after which nothing but cane again on each side for about 40 miles, which brings you to the mouth of a handsome bavau, left side, called by the Indians Nahaucha, which, in English, means the Kick; the French call it Bois d'Arc, or Bow-wood creek, from the large quantity of that wood that grows upon it. On this bayau trappers have been more successful in catching beaver than on any other water of Red river; it communicates with a lake, three or four miles from its mouth, called Swan lake,
from the great number of swan that frequent it ; it is believed that this bayau is boatable at high water, for 20 or 30 leagues, from what I have been informed by some hunters with whom I have conversed, who have been upon it. The low grouuds are from three to six miles wide, very rich, the principal growth on it is the Bois d'arc. The great prairies approach pretty near the low grounds on each side of this creek ; leaving which it is cane both sides for about eight miles, when we arrive at the mouth of the Vaz. zures, or Boggy river, which is about 200 yards wide, soft miry bottom, the water whitish, but well tasted. Attempts have been made to ascend it in perogues, but it was found to be obstructed by a raft of logs, about 20 miles up. The current was found to be gentle, and depth of water sufficient ; was the channel not obstructed might be ascended far up The low grounds on this river are not as wide as on most of the rivers that fall into Red river, but very rich ; the high lands are a strong clay soil ; the principal growth oak. After leaving this river the banks of Red river are alter. nately cane and prairie ; timber is very small and scattered along only in places; it is only now to be seen along the water courses. From the Boggy river to the Blue river is about 50 miles, which comes in on the right side. The water of this river is called blue, from its extreme transparency ; it is said to be well tasted, and admired, for its quality, to drink. The bed of this river is lined generally with black and greyish Aint stones ; it is about 50 yards wide, and represented as a beautiful stream ; perogues ascend it about 60 or 70 miles. The low grounds of Blue river are a good width for plantations, very rich; the growth pacan, and every species of the walnut, The whole country here, except on the margin of the water courses, is one immense prairie. After passing this river, copses of wood only are to be seen here and there along the river bank for about 25 miles, to a small turgid river, called by the Indians Bahachaha, and by the French Fouxoacheta ; some call it the Missouri branch of Red river; it emits a considerable quantity of water ; runs from north to south, and falls into Red river nearly at right angles, and heads near the head of the Arkensa, and is so brackish it cannot be drank. On this river, and on a branch of the Arkensa, not far from it, the Indians find the salt rock; pieces of it have often been brought to Natchitoches by hunters, who procured it from the Indians. From the mouth of this river, through the prairie, to the main branch of the Arkensa, is three days journey ; perhaps 60 or 70 miles in a straight line.. From this to the Panis, or Towrache towns, by land, is about 30 miles, and by water, double that distance ; the river is nearly a mile wide. The country on each side, for many hundreds of miles, is all prairie, except a skirt of wood along the river bank, and on the smaller streams ; what trees there are, are small; the grass is green summer and winter. In between 33 and 34 degrees of north latitude, the soil is very rich, producing, luxuriously, every thing that is planted in it: the river, from this upwards, for 150 miles, continues at least a mile wide, and may be ascended in perogues.
Mr. Grappe, to whom I am indebted for the foregoing accurate descrip. tion of Red river, informed me, that his personal knowledge of it did not extend but little above the Panis towns ; but Mr. Brevel, of the Isle Brevel, who was born at the Caddo old towns, where he was, had been farther up it, and that whatever account lie gave me might be relied on.
I therefore sought an opportunity, a few days after, to obtain from Mr, Brevel the following narrative, which I wrote down from his own mouth, as he related it :
“ About 40 years ago, I sat off, on foot, from the Panis nation (who then lived about 50 leagues above where they now live) in company with a party of young Iudian men, with whom I had been partly raised, on a hunting voyage,and to procure horses. We kept up on the south side of Red river, as near it as we could conveniently cross the small streams that fall in, sometimes at some distance, and at others very near it, and in sight of it. We