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Early western travels 1748-1846 : A series of annotated reprints of some of the best and rarest contemporary… Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913 1904

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Array   Early Western Travels
Volume V
rrrmrfy—  Early Western Travels
A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best
and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, descriptive of the Aborigines and Social and
Economic Conditions in the Middle
and Far West, during the Period
of Early American Settlement
Edited with Notes, Introductions, Index, etc., by
Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D.
Editor of "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Wisconsin
Historical Collections," "Chronicles of Border Warfare,"
"Hennepin's New Discovery," etc.
Volume V
Bradbury's Travels in the Interior of America
;   ■
Cleveland, Ohio
The Arthur H. Clark Company
il Copyright 1904, by
Preface.    The Editor	
Travels in the Interior of America in the Years 1809,
1810, and 1811 ; including a description of Upper
Louisiana, together with the States of Ohio, Kentucky,
Indiana, and Tennessee, with Illinois and Western
Territories, and containing Remarks and Observations
useful to Persons emigrating to those Countries. John
Bradbury, F.L.S.
Copyright notice ....
Dedication to De Witt Clinton
Author's Preface (1817)
Author's Preface to Second Edition (1819)
Author's Table of Contents
I   Vocabulary of some words in the Osage
Language .....
Oration delivered by the Big Elk, the
Chief of the Maha Nation, over the
Grave of the Black Buffalo, Chief of
theTetons (July 14,1813) .
Interesting Narrative of the Expedition
of Mr. Hunt	
Description of the Missouri Territory
Remarks on the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, with the Illinois
and Western Territory, and on the
Emigrations to those Countries .
[i. e., VI] Catalogue of some of the more
rare or valuable Plants discovered in the
neighborhood of St. Louis and on the
Missouri .....
Map of the United  States of  America; comprehending
the Western Territory with the course of the Missouri     20
Facsimile of original title-page      .        .        .        .        .21
Comparatively little is known of the life of John
Bradbury, naturalist and traveller, beyond what is
disclosed in the volume here reprinted. By birth he
was a Scotchman ; but he had lived long in England, and
in 1809 was commissioned by the Botanical Society at
Liverpool to make some researches into plant life in
the United States. Arriving in this country during the
summer of that year, he brought letters of introduction
to Jefferson, and was invited to visit at Monticello.
The following letter from Jefferson to General Meriwether Lewis, governor of Louisiana Territory at St.
Louis,1 proves the estimation in which Bradbury was
held by that American savant and statesman:
Monticello Aug. 16. '09
Dear Sir:
This will be handed you . . . Mr Bradbury, an
English botanist, who proposes to take S*. Louis in his
botanizing tour, he came recommended to me by mr
Roscoe of Liverpool, so well known by his histories of
Lorenzo of Medicis & Leo X. & who is president of the
Botanical society of Liverpool., mr Bradbury comes
out in their employ, & having kept him here about ten
days, I have had an opportunity of knowing that besides
being a botanist of the first order, he is a man of entire
worth & correct conduct,   as such I recommend him
1 Miscellaneous Jefferson Papers, series 5, vol. 16, No. 7 K, in State
Department, Washington, D. C
Early Western Travels
to your notice, advice & patronage, while within your
government or it's confines,   perhaps you can consult
no abler hand on your Western botanical observations.2
Govr. Lewis. Ths. Jefferson
Acting upon Jefferson's advice, Bradbury decided to
make St. Louis the centre for his explorations, instead
of New Orleans, as originally intended. He arrived
at this then frontier town on the last day of 1809.
After the necessary inquiries and preparations, the
spring and summer of 1810 were spent in short excursions from St. Louis, not more than eighty or a hundred
miles at a time. In this manner he made an exhaustive study of the flora of that vicinity, and a considerable collection of living specimens; these he forwarded
in the autumn to Liverpool, by way of New Orleans.
Bradbury had intended to remove to the Arkansas
River, when, early the following year, he met at St.
Louis the leaders of the overland Astorian expedition.
Being invited to accompany them he gladly availed
himself of the opportunity. The major portion of his
journal, therefore, is concerned with the tour from
St. Louis to the Ankara villages, some eighteen hundred miles above the mouth of the Missouri. From
there, our author accompanied Ramsay Crooks to the
fur-trading station among the Mandan, two hundred
miles higher up the river.    On returning to the Ari-
2 Lewis and Clark had not yet published the voluminous journals kept
by them during their transcontinental expedition of 1804-06. Jefferson
was anxious that Lewis should get to press with these papers — hence this
reference. Later, upon Lewis's death, Clark arranged with Dr. Benjamin
Smith Barton, of Philadelphia, to prepare the scientific data for publication; but Barton's death intervened, and these data were not published until
1904, edited by the present writer. i8oo-i8ii]
kara, he found the Astorians in active preparation for
their journey across the continent by land.
Accompanying the party to the coast would not have
assured him of a return passage by sea, or the transportation of his collections, so Bradbury decided to
return down the river with his fellow traveller, Henry
M. Brackenridge, who was to descend in one of the
boats of a prominent fur-trader, Manuel Lisa. Embarking on July 17, their voyage down stream was so
rapid that in less than two weeks they were again in
St. Louis. The haste of the return voyage was a disappointment to Bradbury, who had hoped for delays
sufficient to secure specimens of the plants of the later
summer, or those that had evaded his notice on the
slower outward journey.
The sequel to the hardships of the Missouri expedition was an attack of fever, which lasted nearly four
months. At its conclusion, Bradbury embarked for
New Orleans, and after a perilous voyage, in which he
experienced the severe earthquake shocks which destroyed New Madrid (December, 1811), he arrived at
the mouth of the Mississippi and set sail for New York.
Before completing his preparations to return to England, the war between the two nations broke out, which
led to his remaining nearly four years longer in the
United States. It appears to have been after the conclusion of peace that he made that journey through the
central Western States and to Illinois, the observations
of which have been embodied in appendix v, "Remarks
on the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, with the
Illinois and Western Territory, and on the Emigrations
to those Countries.' '
1 12
Early Western Travels
Bradbury was in Liverpool when the first edition of
his volume of travels was published. According to
the editor's preface in the second edition (1819), the
author had by that time returned to America and taken
up his residence in St. Louis.
The volume was received with much favor both in
England and America. Appearing after the animosity
that had been aroused by the calumnies and caricatures of such travellers as Weld and Ashe, the just,
kind, and judicious spirit of Bradbury's book poured
oil upon troubled waters. The Edinburgh Review
commented at some length (December, 1818) upon the
first edition, describing it as worthy of attention. .
The principal portion of the book deals with a region
then beyond the pale of American settlement; hence it
was to appendix v that Americans were obliged to turn
for a favorable and appreciative estimate of the customs
and institutions of the Western territory. Therein,
after a brief summary of the vast resources of the
region, our author proceeds to describe the conditions
of settlement. He shows that the great Middle West
was in that early day fast filling with immigrants from
"almost every country of Europe;" that the "backwoodsman" was already passing — and, impatient
with the trammels of settled society, was disposing of
his "improvement" to the more tractable foreign
immigrant, who welcomed the clearing in preference
to the untamed forest. Passing to social conditions,
Bradbury comments upon the spirit of co-operation
and good neighborliness, by which every man aids
his fellow in the larger operations of clearing and housebuilding, and makes this necessary aid an occasion for i8oq-i8ii]
merry-making, only expecting in return that his neighbor will lend him a hand when a like opportunity offers.
He pictures the democratic manners of the West, as
the result of a sturdy, manly spirit, which feels no servility in honest labor. His remarks upon the hospitality of the people, and their moral character, compare
favorably with the sketches of the less sympathetic
Michauxs and Cuming. The article closes with some
practical advice to intending English emigrants.
Brief as this account of the Middle West is, its value
is considerable, not only for the spirit in which it is
couched, but for the light which it sheds upon conditions at the close of the War of 1812-15. Besides
noting the rush of immigration in 1816, Bradbury records
the beginnings of steam navigation, and the growth of
domestic manufactures. Incidentally, also, his lists of
prices show the great production of food stuffs, the
exclusively agricultural character of the population,
and the opportunity opened here for every man possessed of willing hands.
Aside from this brief picture of the Middle West, the
chief interest of Bradbury's Travels relates to the region
beyond the Mississippi. Since Lewis and Clark's
adventure (1804-06), no description of the Missouri
Valley had been given to the world.3 Moreover, Bradbury accompanied an expedition whose daring purpose
and breadth of scope have made it one of the most
renowned in trans-Mississippi annals. Whoever would
trace the history of the overland Astorian expedition,
3 Nicholas Biddle's paraphrase of Lewis and Clark's journals was published in February, 1814; Bradbury's Travels first appeared in 1817. But
the journal of Patrick Gass, one of Lewis and Clark's sergeants, had been
issued in 1807.
	 Early Western Travels
must depend upon this volume for information concerning the early part of the journey; while appendices
ii and hi briefly complete the account of the Astorians'
adventures as far as the Pacific. Washington Irving,
the classic, but not always accurate, historian of this
enterprise, acknowledges his indebtedness to our
Brackenridge — see volume vi of our series — tells
us that Bradbury had come to America imbued with
that enthusiasm for the simple, untutored life of the
savage which was felt by so many cultivated Europeans
of his day. His illusions being quickly dispelled, there
appears no "Atala" upon his pages. Lover of truth
as he was, he portrayed the Indian as he found him,
in all his savagery and degradation. Next to Lewis
and Clark's journals we have no better ethnological
authority for the Western Indians of this period, than
Bradbury. His accurate descriptions of habitations,
methods of agriculture, implements and weapons,
games and dances, tribal affinities and hostilities, are
most interesting. In regard to natural history — the
minerals of the regions through which he passed, and
observations upon plants and animals — Bradbury's
book is the report of one trained for this species of
observation, and an enthusiast whose zeal is unflagging.
To the simple boatmen, the ways of our author were
inexplicable; a gentleman given to long rambling in
search of common shrubs and flowers might be an
eccentric, but when this peculiar being swam icy rivers
in March, braved the fatigues of long journeys on foot,
and the risk of captivity by hostile Indians, then amusement deepened into wonder.   At times, this became i8oo-i8ii]
alarm and annoyance, for it was sometimes necessary
to search for him before proceeding, and to guard him
against the hostiles whom he was so ready to tempt.
Nevertheless, the rivermen admired him for his unflinching endurance, his readiness to share all the
vicissitudes of the expedition, and his good humor and
kindness toward every member of the party. Even
during the earthquakes upon the Mississippi, Bradbury's calm reasonableness secured his party's safety.
It has been noted that in his description of the great
danger to which his craft and all its passengers were
once exposed in the fury of a tornado upon the Missouri, Bradbury was collected enough to note the
species of shrub to which the boat was moored, and
upon whose rooted tenacity the lives of all depended.
Another interesting feature of Bradbury's work is the
conversations he had with the pioneers of the trans-
Mississippi region. In the Femme Osage region he
met the aged Boone; to Bradbury we owe much of our
knowledge of John Colter's extraordinary adventures;
the half-breeds and Indian chiefs with whom Lewis and
Clark made us acquainted, appear again upon Bradbury's pages.
Taken as the record of a traveller of unusual intelligence, of a naturalist of rare enthusiasm, of a man
with human qualities, Bradbury's Travels in the Interior of America is worthy of a twentieth-century presentation.
Valuable assistance in the annotation has been received from Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D.
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., June, 1904. if
iifiiiif Bradbury's Travels in the Interior of America
in the Years 1809-1811
Reprint of the second edition (London, 1819)
M fi
wr '
nHflïfHmfflîW  m
"■ /
IllfflfWtt £< TRAVELS
Years 1809,1810, and 1811 ;
Sbttovto ISMttott*
Corresponding Member of the Liverpool Philosophical Society, and Honorary Mombc*of
the Literary and Philosophical Societies, New York, United States, America.
1819. Kjf;
Entered at Stationers' Hall
When I undertook to travel in Louisiana, it was
intended that I should make New Orleans my principal
place of residence, and also the place of deposit for the
result of my researches. This intention I made known
to Mr. Jefferson, during my stay at Monticello, when he
immediately pointed out the want of judgment in forming that arrangement, as the whole of the country round
New Orleans is alluvial soil, and therefore ill suited to
such productions as were the objects of my pursuit.
In consequence of bis representations, I changed my
intentions, and proceeded to St. Louis, one thousand
four hundred miles above Orleans by the course of the
Mississippi, where I employed myself, during the winter of 1810, in making such preparations as I deemed
necessary for the preservation of what might be collected during the ensuing [vi] summer. In my subsequent journey up the Missouri, although every facility
was afforded me that the nature of the expedition would
allow, yet the necessity of conforming to the rules laid
down to secure the safety of the party during the voyage,
added to the known or supposed proximity of the hostile Indians, during a considerable part of our route,
caused me to lose a great many opportunities, which, had
my exertions been free, I should not have done. Besides these impediments, I lost the opportunity of collecting a great number of new plants on my return,
through the breach of faith towards me by Mr. Lisa, '*pr
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
who agreed that his boats should land me at different
places; which promise he neither did, nor intended to,
perform. For these reasons, I am persuaded that
much yet remains to be done in that interesting country.
When the whole of my collection was embarked on the
Missouri, at the Aricara nation, it was extensive; but
being then two thousand nine hundred miles from New
Orleans, the losses by the way, and during my subsequent sickness at St. Louis, greatly diminished it. Immediately after my return to the United States, and
before I could make any arrangement, either for my
return to England, or for the publication of the plants
I collected, the war broke out with this country:—I
waited for its termination, and made some arrangements
which caused a necessity for my stay some time longer.
[vii]I have made the above statement, because I
think, that whoever undertakes a mission of the nature
which I did, where the duty is to be performed in a
wilderness, ought to give an account how he performed
it, even in his own defence; as it often happens that men
are found, who, from interested or malignant motives,
will vilify his character. I had intended that this
should have been accompanied by a description of the
objects collected, that had not been before discovered;
but on my return to England, I found that my design
was frustrated, by my collection having been submitted
to the inspection of a person of the name of Pursh, who
has published the most interesting of my plants in an
appendix to the Flora America Septentrionalis.
As my chief object has been to convey information
and to write the truth, I have not been particular in the
choice of words; if, therefore, the style meets withcrit-
y i
ItrTOrrrvfflfmWTOlfflnrlhW i8i7]
Bradbury's Travels
icism, I shall neither be surprised nor disappointed. A
catalogue of some of the more rare plants in the neighbourhood of St. Louis, and on the Missouri, is added,
together with their habitats. To many it will be of no
value; but as it may be of some use to naturalists who
may visit those parts hereafter, I have thought proper to
insert it. In what relates to the country west of the
Alleghanies, I have been brief, because a more dilated
[viii] account would have swelled the work much beyond the limits I had prescribed to myself. A second
visit to those parts, in which my movements shall be less
circumscribed, may enable me to give a more finished
picture. In what has been said on those countries, I
disclaim any design to encourage emigration; and may
be credited in the assertion, because I can have no
possible interest in promoting it. I have told the truth,
and I can see no reason why it should have been suppressed.
Liverpool, August i, 1817. noma
Shortly after the publication of the first Edition
of this Work, Mr. Bradbury returned to America,
and is now residing at St. Louis. The rapid sale
of the first Edition, and its favourable reception by
the Public, have induced the publication of a second,
to which a Map of the United States has been added,
carefully collated from the one published by Mr. Mel-
Mr. Bywatei^s ingenious speculations on animalcules, which were published in the first Edition, in a
letter addressed by hi™ to Mr. Bradbury, are omitted
in the second, at the request of the author, who, on
reconsidering the subject, wishes to make some alterations, that he does not feel himself at liberty to publish
in Mr. Bradbury's Work, without previously consulting
Liverpool, 1819. #"
i » lui
the Blackf oot Indians [note]
Arrival at St. Louis
Departure up the Missouri
Canadian Boatmen
Arrival at Bon Homme Island
Introduction to Daniel Boone
Colter's interesting escape from
Indian war parties .
Manitou rocks described .
Boone's Lick settlement .
The skunk     .
Arrival at a village near Fort Orleans
First appearance of sand-stone and iron ore
Increase of bees      ......
Arrival at Fort Osage      .....
Description of an Osage village, and the manners
inhabitants ......
Wood pigeons described .....
Coal discovered in the bluffs    ....
La Platte Riviere   ......
Indications of Indian war parties
Description of the lake and hills near Papillon creek
Departure overland for the Ottoes
Description of the Otto village ....
[xii] Thunder storm near Blackbird Creek .
Blackbird's monument    .....
Account of Blackbird (note)      ....
Maha village .......
Introduction to the Big Elk and White Cow
Prairie Dog   .......
The author meets with three Poncar Indians
Iron ore in the bluffs       .....
of the
■ -.-~'
1 ilili^ W
Early Western Travels
A large Indian war party attempts to oppose the progress
the boats    .....
Smoking the calumet
Character of the Sioux Indians
The boats meet another party of Indians
Mr. Lisa's boats come up
Herds of Buffaloes
Indian hunting (note)
Some account of the beaver (note)
Arrival at the Aricara town
Account of the Indian language
Indian council        ....
Medicine man ....
The Aricaras prepare to defend themselves against the Sioux
Journey over land to the Missouri Fur Company's Fort
Cannon-ball river   .
Arrival at the Mandan town
Journey continued .
Arrival at the Fort .
Dance of the squaws
Indian depository of the dead
Instance of cruelty in an Indian chief
Excursion to the Mandan village
Whimsical frolic of young squaws
Coal beds burning ....
The author's rencontre with an Indian
[xui] Return to the Aricara town
Return of an Indian war party .
Indian mode of hunting buffaloes
Customs of the Aricara Indians
Departure for St. Louis   .
Tremendous thunder storm
Battle of buffaloes  ....
Arrival at Fort Osage
Account of the Grand Saline, on the Arkansas river
White man's house at Boon's Lick
Arrival at St. Louis
- 103
. 107
. 109
. 112
- 117
. 124
.  124
- 125
. 127
. 128
. 129
.  132
.  142
- 145
- 151
• 152
- 153
- 159
. 160
. 161
. 162
. 164
- 165
. 166
. 167
.  168
• 173
- I7S
. 182
. 186
. 188
. 190
.  192
• 195
- 195 i8i7]
Bradbury's Travels
Departure for New Orleans      .        .        .   ■    .
Planters and Sawyers in the Mississippi
Dangerous interview with Chickasaws
Earthquake at the Devil's Channel    .
Singular notion of the cause of the earthquake    .
Arrival at Natchez .....
Sugar plantations above New Orleans
[Arrival at] New Orleans ....
Vocabulary of the Osage language    .
Oration of the Big Elk	
Narrative of a journey from the Aricara nation to the
Ocean        .......
Mr. Crooks's narrative    .....
Missouri Territory, or the country of Upper Louisiana
Its vast extent ......
Cheap purchase of (note) ....
Immense salt deposit in Upper Louisiana   .
Saltpetre generated in caves     ....
Appearances of coal .....
Lead Mines   .......
Fossil bones found in Upper Louisiana
General character of the country
Its climate     .......
[xiv] Wild productions of the Missouri Territory .
State of agriculture .....
Mode of hunting up swine ....
Situation of St. Louis      .....
Superior advantages of the Missouri Territory to new Settlers 262
Cultivation of cotton, and a description of the saw gin
Rapacity of the Spanish governors
Ohio State .......
Extent of land that furnishes water to the Ohio river
Abundance of coal .....
Beauty of the native woods       ....
Price of land, and amount of land tax
Trades and professions, and price of labour
. 264
. 269
. 272
- 274
- 275
. 276
- 279
. 281
■ 285 m
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
Constitution of the state of Ohio
Manners and hospitality of the Americans
Advantages of settling on the prairies
Remarks and observations useful to emigrants
Catalogue of plants ....
. 289
. 291
- 294
. 296
- 317
On the 31st December, 1809, I arrived at St. Louis,
in Upper Louisiana; intending to make that town
or neighbourhood my principal place of residence,
whilst employed in exploring the interior of Upper
Louisiana and the Illinois Territory, for the purpose
of discovering and collecting subjects in natural history,
either new or valuable. During the ensuing spring and
summer, I made frequent excursions alone into the
wilderness, but not farther than eighty or a hundred
miles into the interior. In the autumn of 1810 I dispatched for Orleans, in seven packages, the result of
my researches; but had the mortification, soon after,
to hear that the boat containing my collection had been
driven ashore and damaged, on an island near St.
Genevieve,1 sixty miles below St. Louis. As soon as I
received this information I went thither, but learned
that the boat had been repaired, and had [18] proceeded
on her voyage. On my return to St. Louis, I was informed that a party of men had arrived from Canada,
with an intention to ascend the Missouri, on their way
to the Pacific Ocean, by the same route that Lewis and
Clarke had followed, by descending the Columbia River.
I soon became acquainted with the principals of this
party, in whom the manners and accomplishments of
gentlemen were united with the hardihood and capa-
1 For the history of Ste. Geneviève, see Cuming's Tour, vol. iv of our
series, p. 266, note 174.— Ed.
Vtih 36
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
bility of suffering, necessary to the backwoodsmen.
As they were apprised of the nature and object of my
mission, Mr. Wilson P. Hunt, the leader of the party,
in a very friendly and pressing manner invited me to
accompany them up the River Missouri, as far as might
be agreeable to my views.2 I had intended to remove
from St. Louis to Ozark, (or more properly Aux-arcs)
on the Arkansas, and to spend the remaining summer on
that river; but considering this opportunity for exploring the Missouri too valuable to be lost, I gladly
accepted the invitation, to which an acquaintance
with  Messrs. Ramsey Crooks3 and Donald M'Ken-
2 The overland Astorian expedition which Bradbury was invited to
join, was led by Wilson Hunt, chief American partner of the Pacific Fur
Company. A native of New Jersey, Hunt came to St. Louis about 1804,
entering a commercial business in connection with one Hankinson. Detecting the abilities and energy of the young merchant, Astor invited Hunt's
co-operation in the Astoria enterprise, and the latter dissolved his St. Louis
partnership. After the adventures of this expedition, Hunt returned to St.
Louis, where in 1822 President Monroe appointed him postmaster, a position
he retained until his death or retirement in 1840.— Ed.
3 Ramsay Crooks was born at Greenock, Scotland, in 1787. When
but sixteen years of age he entered the service of the North West Company,
and as early as 1806 was trading in Wisconsin, under the direction of Robert
Dickson. Crooks then drifted to St. Louis (1807), and formed a fur-
trading partnership with Robert McClellan, their first enterprise being
balked by the hostility of the Teton on Missouri River. Crooks's division
of the overland expedition to Astoria did not arrive at that place until May n,
1812. After the failure of the project of the Pacific Fur Company, Crooks
returned overland to St. Louis, arriving April 30, 1813. The following
year saw him in Colonel Croghan's unsuccessful expedition against Mackinac,
attempting to protect Astor's interests at that post; and in 1815 Lockwood
met him on his way to reorganize the fur-trading interests at Mackinac
after its surrender to the United States — (Wisconsin Historical Collections,
ii, p. 101). When the American Fur Company absorbed the South West
Company (1817), Crooks was made a partner and the Western manager
of the business. His headquarters were in New York, but his journeys
to the West were frequent; for many years his advent at Mackinac was the
event of the fur-trading year.    In 1834, when Astor dissolved the American
iWfflinmfllHffl îîsl^^ 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
zie,4 also principals of the party, was no small inducement. As it would not be practicable to ascend the Missouri until the breaking up of the ice in spring, Mr. Hunt
concluded, that to avoid trfe expense of supporting his
party at St. Louis, it would be better to station them during the winter on some part of the Missouri, at a considerable [19] distance above its mouth, as, at any point
on that river above the settlements, five or six hunters
can easily provide for forty or fifty men. The party
therefore quitted St. Louis, and proceeded to the
mouth of the Naduet, which falls into the Missouri 450
miles from the Mississippi.6   In the beginning of March
Fur Company, Crooks bought out the Northern department, and continued
it under the same name, displaying executive ability of a high order. He
died in New York in 1859. Many of his letters to the Mackinac agents are
still preserved there, and others by the Wisconsin Historical Society; they
are valuable as sources for the history of the fur-trade during forty years.
Crooks was early interested in the Wisconsin Historical Society, and his
portrait is found in the museum of that institution.— Ed.
4 Donald McKenzie was a relative of the explorer Sir Alexander, and
had been in the North West Company before entering Aster's employ.
Being chosen to assist in the overland division of the enterprise, he felt
aggrieved that Hunt was made chief of the party, and his dissatisfaction
rendered him indifferent to the success of the project. He joined McDougal
in propositions for surrendering Astoria to the North West Company, and
upon the consummation thereof (1813) once more entered the North West
employ, returning via Canada to Fort William, where he arrived in July,
1814. Two years later he was again upon Columbia waters. After the
fusion of the Hudson's Bay and North West companies (1821), McKenzie
became chief factor of the former's post at Fort Garry on Red River (of
the North), and was for eight years governor of Assiniboia. In 1833 he
retired from the fur-trade, and settled at Mayville, New York, where he
died in 1851.— Ed.
' The river is now called Nodaway. Coues, in his History of the Lewis
and Clark Expedition (New York, 1893), says that the word is an Indian
term for a kind of snake. It is marked on the map of the Missouri River
Commission as being five hundred and six miles above the mouth of the
river, and separates Andrew and Holt counties in Missouri.— Ed. 38
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
Mr. Hunt returned to St. Louis in a boat with ten oars,»
and on the morning of the 12th, having completed his
arrangements, he again embarked for the Missouri.
As the post was expected to arrive the morning following, I put my trunks on board the boat, and determined
to wait until that time, and meet the party at St. Charles.
I must here observe, that the post to St. Louis is dispatched from Louisville, in Kentucky, a distance of
more than 300 miles, through a wilderness, and from
various causes is often retarded for several weeks, as
had been the case at that period. In the evening I was
informed by a gentleman in St. Louis, that a writ for
debt had been taken out against Dorion,7 (whom Mr.
Hunt had engaged as interpreter) by a person whose
object was to defeat the intentions of the voyage.
Knowing that the detention of Dorion would be of
serious consequence to the party, I left St. Louis at two
o'clock the following morning, in company with a
young Englishman of the name of Nuttall,8 determined
• Irving, who had access to the records of the Pacific Fur Company, says
in Astoria that Hunt left the Nodaway January i for St. Louis, where
he arrived on the twentieth of the same month. In consideration of the
business incident to the expedition, this would seem more probable than
Bradbury's dates.-— Ed.
7 Pierre Dorion (Durion) the elder was an early habitant of St. Louis,
who having taken the oath of fidelity to the United States upon the conquest
of Illinois by George Rogers Clark, requested permission to remove to
Cahokia in 1780 (see original letter in Draper MSS., Wisconsin Historical
Library, 50 J 34). Later he lived among the Yankton Sioux where was
born the younger Dorion, son of a Sioux woman. Both of the Dorions
were utilized as interpreters by Lewis and Clark. The younger performed
important services for the Astorians, but was killed by an Indian on the
Boise River, Idaho. His wife and two sons were living in Oregon as late
as 1850.— Ed.
8 Thomas Nuttall was a Yorkshireman, who having emigrated to Philadelphia as a journeyman printer, attracted the notice of Dr. B. S. Barton, i8o9-r8n]
Bradbury's Travels
to meet the boat previous to its arrival at St. Charles,
which I effected ; and Dorion was sent into the woods,
[20] his squaw accompanying him. We arrived at St.
Charles9 about noon, and soon after Mr. Samuel
Bridge, a gentleman from Manchester, then living at
St. Louis, arrived also, with letters for me from Europe,
the post having come in as was expected. We slept
on board the boat, and in the morning of the 14th took
our departure from St. Charles, the Canadians measuring the strokes of their oars by songs, which were generally responsive betwixt the oarsmen at the bow and
those at the stern: sometimes the steersman sung, and
was chorused by the men.10   We soon met with Dor-
the well-known Philadelphia scientist. The latter persuaded Nuttall to
devote himself to science, in whose interests he made extensive journeys into
the interior of North America. From 1822-28 he was professor at Harvard,
and curator of the botanical gardens. After a journey to the Columbia
(1834-35), he returned to England, where he passed the remainder of his
life on an estate near Liverpool, dying in 1859. For a more detailed sketch
of Nuttall, see preface to his Travels into the Arkansas Territory, to be published as volume xiii of the present series.— Ed.
8 St. Charles was a small town on the north side, about twenty-one miles
above the mouth of the Missouri. When Lewis and Clark embarked from
here in 1804, they described it as stretching for nearly a mile along the bank,
having one hundred houses and about four hundred and fifty population,
"Chiefly French." See Thwaites, Original Journals of Lewis and Clark
Expedition (New York, 1904), i, p. 18.— Ed.
10 A few verses of one of their most favourite songs is annexed; and to
show its frivolity to those unacquainted with the language, an imitation in
English is added.
Derrière chez nous, il y â un étang,
Ye, ye ment.
Trois canards s'en vont baignans,
Tous du long de la rivière,
Légèrement ma bergère,
Légèrement, ye ment. r*'
Early Western Travels
ion, but [21] without his squaw, whom it was intended
should accompany us. They had quarrelled, and he
had [22] beaten her, in consequence of which she ran
Trois canards s'en vont baignans,
Ye, ye ment.
Le fils du roi s'en va chassant,
Tous du long de la rivière.
Légèrement ma bergère,
Légèrement, ye ment.
Le fils du roi s'en va chassant,
Ye, ye ment
Avec son grand fusil d'argent,
Tous du long de la rivière,
Légèrement, ma bergère,
Légèrement, ye ment.— &c. &c.
Behind our house there is a pond,
Fal lai de ra.
There came three ducks to swim thereon:
All along the river clear,
Lightly my shepherdess dear,
Lightly, fal de ra.
There came three ducks to swim thereon,
Fal lai de ra.
The prince to chase them he did run
All along the river clear,
Lightly my shepherdess dear,
Lightly, fal de ra.
The prince to chase them he did run,
Fal lai de ra.
And he had his great silver gun
All along the river clear,
Lightly my shepherdess dear,
Lightly, fal de ra.— &c. &c.— Bradbury.
A 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
away from him into the woods, with a child in her arms,
and a large bundle on her back. A Canadian of the
name of St. Paul was sent in search of her. The day
was very rainy, and we proceeded only nine miles, to
Bon Homme Island, where we encamped, and St.
Paul arrived, but without the squaw. I observed in
the broken banks of this island, a number of tuberous
roots, which the Canadians call pommes de terre.
They are eaten by them, and also by the Indians, and
have much of the consistence and taste of the Jerusalem
artichoke: they are the roots of glycine apios.
15th.— About two hours before day, we were hailed
from the shore by Dorion's squaw, who had been
rambling all night in search of us. She was informed,
that we would cross over to her at daybreak, which we
did, and took her on board. I walked the greater part
of this day on the north side of the river, which is partly
bounded by rocks of secondary lime-stone; at the foot
of which I observed crystals of quartz and calcarious
spar, or carbonate of lime. We encamped opposite
the remains of the village of St. Andrew, which is now
16th.— We this day passed the Tavern Rocks, so
called from a large cave therein, level with the [23] surface of the river.12 These rocks are nearly three hundred
feet high, and are of the same nature as those we passed
11 St. Andrews was a small settlement laid off by John Henry in St. Louis
County, early in the nineteenth century. It attained little note, and its
site is now engulfed in the Missouri River.— Ed.
"This cave is noted by all early travellers. The French traders had
scrawled names upon its walls, and painted images thereupon, which the
Indians regarded -ïgjth superstitious awe. It appears to have taken its
name from being a well-known lodging or camping place.— Ed.
rmirtiiiiiuniiii mm 42
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
yesterday, but more abundantly filled with organic
remains, consisting of anomice and entrochii. On
the islands which we passed there is abundance of
equisePum hyemale, called rushes by the settlers, by
whom this plant is held in high estimation, on account
of its affording winter food for their cattle. On the
first settlement of Kentucky, the borders of the rivers
were found to be thickly set with cane, (arundinaria
macrosperma of Michaux) and it was one of the strongest inducements with the first settlers to fix on a spot
if cane was abundant. On the Missouri, the rushes are
equally valuable, affording to the first settler winter
food for his cattle for several years, after which they
perish, being destroyed if fed on during the winter.
We this night arrived at Point L'Abaddie, where we
17th.— Early this morning I walked along the river,
and was much struck with the vast size to which the
cotton wood tree14 grows. Many of those which I
observed this day exceed seven feet in diameter, and
continue with a thickness very little diminished, to the
height of 80 or 90 feet, where the limbs commence.
After breakfast, we [24] crossed to the north side of
the river, and in the afternoon landed at a French
village, name Charette.16   In the woods surrounding
13 Point L'Abbadie was named for an early French settler, Sylvester
L'Abbadie, who came to St. Louis in 1769 and married one of the Chouteau
sisters.   He became a prominent merchant in the city, dying in 1794.— Ed.
uPopulus angulosa of Michaux, called by the French Liard.— Bradbury.
15 La Charette (sometimes called St. Johns) was a French outpost in the
Missouri Valley, founded probably as early as 1766. When Lewis and
Clark passed here they described it in their journals as composed of seven
small houses and as many poor families, the last establishment of whites
upon the Missouri.    The site of the town has long since been swept away 1809-1811] Bradbury's Travels
this place I observed a striking instance of the indolence
of the inhabitants. The rushes in the neighbourhood
had been already destroyed by the cattle, and from the
neglect of the owners to provide winter food for their
horses, they had been reduced to the necessity of gnawing the bark off the trees, some hundreds of which were
stripped as far as these animals could reach. The
cotton wood, elm, mulberry, and nettle trees (celtis
crassifolia) suffered the most. On leaving Charette,
Mr. Hunt pointed out to me an old man standing on
the bank, who, he informed me, was Daniel Boone,
the discoverer of Kentucky. As I had a letter of introduction to him, from his nephew Colonel Grant, I
went ashore to speak to him, and requested that the
boat might go on, as I intended to walk until evening.
I remained for some time in conversation with him.
He informed me, that he was eighty-four years of age;
that he had spent a considerable portion of his time
alone in the back woods, and had lately returned from
his spring hunt, with nearly sixty beaver skins.19   On
by the encroachments of the river. It was near the present Marthasville,
Warren County.— Ed.
16 Daniel Boone migrated to Missouri in 1798, when it was still Spanish
territory, and served for some years as syndic of the Femme Osage district,
wherein his sons and several friends from Kentucky had settled. His
son-in-law, Flanders Callaway, removed to the neighborhood of La Charette
about 1800. Boone, in his later life, usually made his home with the Calla-
ways. Bradbury was in error in regard to Boone's age, as the records show
and he himself frequently stated that he was born in 1734. He was but
eighty-six years old when he died in 1820. For further details of his later
years, see Thwaites, Daniel Boone (New York, 1901). Israel Grant of
Scott County, Kentucky, married Susan Bryan, a niece of Mrs. Boone.
His son, Israel B., was a silversmith, who after emigrating to Missouri
worked for some years at his trade in St. Louis, where Bradbury probably
knew him. Later, Grant took up land in Callaway County, and became
a local magistrate, serving twice in the state legislature. He was killed in
1835 by two of his slaves.— Ed.
I 44
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
proceeding through the woods, I came to the river Charette, which falls into the Missouri about a mile above
the village, and was now much swelled by the late
rains. As the boat had disappeared behind an island,
and was at too great a distance to [25] be hailed, I got
across by swimming, having tied my clothes together,
and inclosed them in my deer skin hunting coat, which
I pushed before me. I overtook the boat in about three
hours, and we encamped at the mouth of a creek called
Bœuf, near the house of one Sullens. I enquired of
Sullens for John Colter,17 one of Lewis and Clarke's
party, whom General Clark had mentioned to me as
being able to point out the place on the Missouri where
the petrified skeleton of a fish, above forty feet long, had
been found. Sullens informed me that Colter lived
about a mile from us, and sent his son to inform him of
our arrival; but we did not see him that evening.
18th.— At day-break Sullens came to our camp, and
informed us that Colter18 would be with us in a [26] few
17 John Colter (or Coalter) was of Virginian birth, but afterwards lived
at Maysville, Kentucky, where he joined the Lewis and Clark expedition
in the fall of 1803. On the return journey, Colter was discharged at his
own request near Fort Mandan, whence he went back to the wilderness on
another trapping expedition. In the spring of 1807, as he was returning
to civilization, he met the brigade of the Missouri Fur Company, and was
persuaded to accompany them to the waters of the Yellowstone. In the
summer of that year he was the first white man to cross what is now the Yellowstone National Park. It is supposed that the adventure here related
by Bradbury occurred in the spring of 1808, when Colter had been sent
on an embassy to the Blackfeet Indians. The meeting described by Bradbury is our last positive knowledge of this intrepid explorer; but the Missouri Gazette (December 11, r8i3) reports administration of the estate of a
"John Coulter deceased," who may have been the same man.— Ed.
18 This man came to St. Louis in May, 1810, in a small canoe, from the
head waters of the Missouri, a distance of three thousand miles, which he
traversed in thirty days.    I saw him on his arrival, and received from him
ttnmmrmrmnirmmimmn 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
minutes. Shortly after he arrived, and accompanied
us for some miles, but could not give me [27] the information I  wished for.   He seemed to have a great
an account of his adventures after he had separated from Lewis and Clarke's
party: one of these, from its singularity, I shall relate. On the arrival of the
party on the head waters of the Missouri, Colter, observing an appearance of
abundance of beaver being there, he got permission to remain and hunt
for some time, which he did in company with a man of the name of Dixon,
who had traversed the immense tract of country from St. Louis to the head
waters of the Missouri alone. Soon after he separated from Dixon, and
trapped in company with a hunter named Potts; and aware of the hostility
of the Blackfeet Indians, one of whom had been killed by Lewis, they set
their traps at night, and took them up early in the morning, remaining concealed during the day. They were examining their traps early one morning,
in a creek about six miles from that branch of the Missouri called Jefferson's
Fork, and were ascending in a canoe, when they suddenly heard a great
noise, resembling the trampling of animals; but they could not ascertain
the fact, as the high perpendicular banks on each side of the river impeded
their view. Colter immediately pronounced it to be occasioned by Indians,
and advised an instant retreat; but was accused of cowardice by Potts, who
insisted that the noise was caused by buffaloes, and they proceeded on. In
a few minutes afterwards their doubts were removed, by a party of Indians
making their appearance on both sides of the creek, to the amount of five
or six hundred, who beckoned them to come ashore. As retreat was now
impossible, Colter turned the head of the canoe to the shore; and at the
moment of its touching, an Indian seized the rifle belonging to Potts; but
Colter, who is a remarkably strong man, immediately retook it, and handed
it to Potts, who remained in the canoe, and on receiving it pushed off into
the river. He had scarcely quitted the shore when an arrow was shot at
him, and he cried out, "Colter, I am wounded." Colter remonstrated with
him on the folly of attempting to escape, and urged him to come ashore.
Instead of complying, he instantly levelled his rifle at an Indian, and shot
him dead on the spot. This conduct, situated as he was, may appear to
have been an act of madness; but it was doubtless the effect of sudden, but
sound reasoning; for if taken alive, he must have expected to be tortured to
death, according to their custom. He was instantly pierced with arrows so
numerous, that, to use the language of Colter, ' ' he was made a riddle of.' '
They now seized Colter, stripped him entirely naked, and began to consult
on the manner in which he should be put to death. They were first inclined
to set him up as a mark to shoot at; but the chief interfered, and seizing him
by the shoulder, asked him if he could run fast? Colter, who had been
some time amongst the Kee-kat-sa, or Crow Indians, had in a considerable
degree acquired the Blackfoot language, and was also well acquainted with 46
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
inclination to accompany the expedition; [28] but having been lately married, he reluctantly took leave of us.
I walked this day along the bluffs, [29] which were
Indian customs. He knew that he had now to run for his life, with the
dreadful odds of five or six hundred against him, and those armed Indians;
therefore cunningly replied that he was a very bad runner, although he was
considered by the hunters as remarkably swift. The chief now commanded
the party to remain stationary, and led Colter out on the prairie three or four
hundred yards, and released him, bidding him to save himself if he could.
At that instant the horrid war whoop sounded in the ears of poor Colter,
who, urged with the hope of preserving life, ran with a speed at which he
was himself surprised. He proceeded towards the Jefferson Fork, having
to traverse a plain six miles in breadth, abounding with the prickly pear,
on which he was every instant treading with his naked feet. He ran nearly
half way across the plain before he ventured to look over his shoulder, when
he perceived that the Indians were very much scattered, and that he had
gained ground to a considerable distance from the main body; but one
Indian, who carried a spear, was much before all the rest, and not more than
a hundred yards from him. A faint gleam of hope now cheered the heart
of Colter: he derived confidence from the belief that escape was within the
bounds of possibility; but that confidence was nearly being fatal to him, for
he exerted himself to such a degree, that the blood gushed from his nostrils,
and soon almost covered the fore part of his body. He had now arrived
within a mile of the river, when he distinctly heard the appalling sound of
footsteps behind him, and every instant expected to feel the spear of his
pursuer. Again he turned his head, and saw the savage not twenty yards
from him. Determined if possible to avoid the expected blow, he suddenly
stopped, turned round, and spread out his arms. The Indian, surprised
by the suddenness of the action, and perhaps at the bloody appearance of
Colter, also attempted to stop; but exhausted with running, he fell whilst
endeavouring to throw his spear, which stuck in the ground, and broke in
his hand. Colter instantly snatched up the pointed part, with which he
pinned him to the earth, and then continued his flight. The foremost of
the Indians, on arriving at the place, stopped till others came up to join
them, when they set up a hideous yell. Every moment of this time was im- •
proved by Colter, who, although fainting and exhausted, succeeded in gaining the skirting of the cotton wood trees, on the borders of the fork, through
which he ran, and plunged into the river. Fortunately for him, a little below
this place there was an island, against the upper point of which a raft of
drift timber had lodged. He dived under the raft, and after several efforts,
got his head above water amongst the trunks of trees, covered over with
smaller wood to the depth of several feet. Scarcely had he secured himself,
when the Indians arrived on the river, screeching and yelling, as Colter
iwwmrmHiwwwwwmimmHiitmiwmwHnwiiiiiiiHiiiiniiwii 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
beautifully adorned with anemone hepatica. We encamped near the lower end of Lutre (Otter) Island.19
The 19th commenced and continued rainy.— When
we had passed the lower settlements, we began to see
the river and its borders in a state of nature. The
rushes, equisetum hyemale, were so thick and tall, that
it was both painful and difficult to walk along, even at a
very slow pace.
20th.— The river on the south side, during this
day's travel, is mostly bounded by bluffs, or rocks, of
whitish limestone: their appearance is very picturesque;
the tops are crowned with cedar, and the ledges and
chinks are adorned with mespikis Canadensis, now in
flower. We encamped this night seven miles above
the mouth of Gasconade River.
21st.— The rain, which had been almost incessant
since our departure from St. Charles, had now ceased.
expressed it, "like so many devils." They were frequently on the raft
during the day, and were seen through the chinks by Colter, who was congratulating himself on his escape, until the idea arose that they might set
the raft on fire. In horrible suspense he remained until night, when hearing
no more of the TnrHans, he dived from under the raft, and swam silently
down the river to a considerable distance, when he landed, and travelled
all night. Although happy in having escaped from the Indians, his situation was still dreadful: he was completely naked, under a burning sun; the
soles of his feet were entirely filled with the thorns of the prickly pear; he
was hungry, and had no means of killing game, although he saw abundance
around him, and was at least seven days journey from Lisa's Fort, on the
Bighorn branch of the Roche Jaune River. These were circumstances
under which almost any man but an American hunter would have despaired.
He arrived at the fort in seven days, having subsisted on a root much esteemed
by the Indians of the Missouri, now known by naturalists as psoralea escu-
lenta.— Bradbury.
" Loutre (or Otter) Island was first settled in 1809, by an English emigrant named Hale Talbott. Not far from this place occurred the Indian
ambuscade wherein Captain James Callaway, grandson of Daniel Boone,
was slain (1815).— Ed.
- ^J,-.-.!-i--,-. f j'iHjlÉjriM 48
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
[30] I went ashore, after breakfast, intending to walk
along the bluffs, and was followed by Mr. Nuttall.
We observed that the boat immediately passed over to
the other side of the river, on account of its being more
easy to ascend. As this sometimes happened several
times in a day, we felt no concern about it, but proceeded on our researches. In the forenoon we came
to a creek or river, much swelled by the late rains: I
was now surprised to find that Mr. Nuttall could not
swim. As we had no tomahawk, nor any means of
constructing a raft, and were certain that the boat
was before us, we looked for no alternative but to cross
the creek by fording it. We therefore continued to
ascend, and in about half an hour arrived at a place
where a tree had fallen in on the opposite side of the
river, which reached about half way across it. I
stripped, and attempted to wade it, but found it impracticable. I then offered to take Nuttall on my
back, and swim over with him; but he declined, and we
continued our route. About a league further up, we
found a raft of drift-wood, which had been stopped by a
large tree that had fallen into the river; this we crossed
and with some difficulty overtook the boat. We arrived at a French village, called Cote sans Dessein,
about two miles below the mouth of Osage River.20
After we had formed our camp, the interpreter went
into the village, where he had some acquaintance. On
his return, he informed us that   [31] there was a war
20 Côte sans Dessein was a French settlement begun about 1808, three
years previous to this voyage. One of the most stubborn defenses during
the War of 1812-15 occurred here, wherein Baptiste Louis Roi, with two
men and two women, in a blockhouse fort kept a large number of savages
at bay for some hours, and finally caused their retreat. The town was near
the present Barkersville.— Ed.
HfflMmnm 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
party of Indians in the neighbourhood, consisting of
the Ayauwais, Potowatomies, Sioux, and Saukee
nations, amounting to nearly three hundred warriors.21
He had learned, that this party were going against the
Osages; but having discovered that there was an Osage
boy in the village, they were waiting to catch and scalp
him. He also informed us, that we might expect to
fall in with other war parties crossing the Missouri
higher up. This was unpleasant news to us, as it is
always desirable that white men should avoid meeting
with Indian war parties: for if they are going to war,
they are generally associated in larger parties than can
subsist by hunting, from which they refrain, to prevent
being discovered by their enemies, wherefore they are
almost certain to levy contributions of provisions or
ammunition on all they meet. When they return from
war, the danger is still greater; for, if successful, they
often commit wanton ravages; and if unsuccessful, the
shame of returning to their nation without having performed any achievement, often induces them to attack
those whom they would, in other circumstances, have
peaceably passed. As we were sixteen men, well armed,
we were determined to resist any act of aggression, in
case of a rencontre with them.
22nd,   23rd,   and   24th.— Almost   incessant   rain.
21 Tribes living at this time about the borders of the present state of
Iowa. The Sioux were probably the Yankton branch, with whom the other
tribes mentioned were at peace, the rest of the great Sioux nation being
their inveterate enemies. The Iowa (Ayauwais) were of Siouan stock, and
had their chief village on the Des Moines River. The Potawatomi and
Sauk were Algonquian tribes, formerly resident in Wisconsin, who at this
time had their chief villages west of the Mississippi. The Sauk had amalgamated with the Foxes, and were usually spoken of as the "Sauks and
Foxes.' ' Indians of all these tribes still live on government reservations in
Iowa, Kansas, and Indian Territory.— Ed.
1 ......
: -.    .. ■        ■ 5°
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
Our bread was now becoming very mouldy, not [32]
having been properly baked. Mr. Hunt anxiously
waited for a fine day to dry it, together with the rest of
the baggage.
25th.— Met a boat with sixteen oars coming from
Fort Osage to St. Louis, for supplies: news had arrived
at the fort, that the Great Osages had lately killed an
American at their village.22
26th.— It rained nearly the whole of this day: the
flats near the river still continue to be so thickly covered with rushes, that it is almost impossible to travel
over them.
27 th.— The north bank of the river now assumes a
most interesting appearance: it consists of a range of
rocks, nearly perpendicular, from 150 to 300 feet high;
they are composed of a very white limestone, and their
summits are covered to the edge with cedar. The
length of this range is about six miles, and at the upper
end they assume a semi-circular form. These are called
the Manitou Rocks, a name given to them by the Indians, who often apply this term Manitou to uncommon
or singular productions of nature, which they highly
venerate. On or near these Manitous, they chiefly
deposit their offerings to the Great Spirit or Father of
Life. This has caused some to believe that these Manitous are the objects that they worship; but this opinion
is erroneous.   The Indians believe that the [33] Great
22 The Osage Indians were a large tribe of Siouan stock, dwelling chiefly
on the river to which they gave their name. They were divided into three
bands — the Great Osage, Little Osage, and Arkansas band (i. e., those
living on the river of that name). Lewis and Clark praised their physical
appearance and advance in agriculture. They still have a population of
about eighteen hundred in Indian Territory.— Ed.
iiinminmiwmwHiWHHHniHiMnnmiHHiHwn 1809-i8ii]
Bradbury's Travels
Spirit either inhabits, or frequently visits, these manifestations of his power; and that offerings deposited
there, will sooner attract his notice, and gain his auspices, than in any other place. These offerings are
propitiatory, either for success in war or in hunting,
and consist of various articles, of which the feathers of
the war eagle (Jalco melanatos) are in the greatest estimation. On these rocks several rude figures have
been drawn by the Indians with red paint: they are
chiefly in imitation of buffaloe, deer, &c. One of these,
according with their idea of the Great Spirit, is not unlike our common representation of the devil. We encamped this night a little above the mouth of the Bonne
Femme, a small river on the north side," where the
tract of land called Boone's Lick settlement commences,
supposed to be the best land in Western America for
so great an area: it extends about 150 miles up the Missouri, and is near fifty miles in breadth.
28th.— I left the boats early, intending to walk to
the Lick settlements, which are the last on the river,
excepting those occupied by one or two families near
Fort Osage. After travelling eight or ten miles, I was
surprised in the woods by a severe thunder storm.
Not knowing whether I could reach the settlements
before night, I returned to meet the boat, and found
our two hunters, who [34] had sheltered themselves in
a hollow tree : they had killed a buck, on a part of which
we dined, and carried the remainder to the boat, and
soon after we arrived at the first house, belonging to a
23 Lewis and Clark note these painted rocks, and describe one as having
the bust of a man and the horns of a stag. The Bonne Femme River is in
Howard County, Missouri.— Ed. 52
Early Western Travels
planter named Hibband.24 This evening we had a
most tremendous thunder storm; and about nine o'clock,
a tree, not more than fifty yards from our camp, was
shivered by Kghtning. Mr. Hunt, Mr. Nuttall, and
myself, who were sitting in the tent, sensibly felt the
action of the electric fluid.
29th.— As Mr. Hunt had some business with one of
the settlers, we walked to his house, where we heard
that war had already commenced between the O sages
and the confederate nations, and that the former had
killed seven of the Ayauways. This determined us to
continue our practice of sleeping on our arms, as we
had done since the 21st. We slept this night about a
league above the settlements.
30th.— We were now beyond all the settlements,
except those at Fort Osage, and Mr. Hunt resolved to
send the hunters out more frequently, as game might
now be expected in abundance. I accompanied them,
and we killed a buck and a doe. I found the country,
three or four miles from the river, very broken or stony.
The almost incessant rains had now raised the Missouri
24 Boone's Lick was discovered early in the nineteenth century — possibly by Daniel Boone, upon one of his long hunting excursions — but took
its name from his sons, Daniel Morgan and Nathan, who came hither in
1807 to make salt. The next year some emigrants moved to the neighborhood, but Governor Meriwether Lewis sent them word of his inability to
protect so distant an outpost, whereupon they returned to the older settlements. The second colony came to this region in 1810. Although but a
year old at the time Bradbury passed, the settlement already contained
seventy-five families, and Boone's Lick road became one of the best-travelled
in the Missouri District. Brackenridge calls this "by far the best settlement on the Missouri," Views of Louisiana (Pittsburgh, 1814), p. 115.
The settler Bradbury calls Hibband was probably Hubbard, several of
that name being in 1812 at Fort Kincaid, about a mile north of where the
Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway crosses the river.— Ed.
mimiimmifHiHHnimrmtmimiimimimmiw 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
to within a few [35] feet of its annual flood, which rendered the navigation very difficult.'
31st.—The morning was rainy, and was succeeded
by a strong north wind, which caused a sudden change
in the temperature of the weather: the 30th had been
warm, but this night the water, in a tin cup of a pint
measure, that had been left full in the boat, was found to
be nearly all solid ice on the morning of the first of April.
April 1 st.— After breakfast I went ashore with the
two hunters, Harrington and Mears, but soon separated
from them in order to visit the bluffs. In the evening
I descended into the valley, and on my way to find the
boat, observed a skunk,25 (Viverra mephitis) and being
desirous of procuring the skin, fired at it, but with shot
only, having that day [36] taken out my fowling-piece
instead of my rifle. It appeared that I had either
missed entirely, or only slightly wounded it, as it turned
round instantly, and ran towards me. Being well
aware of the consequence if overtaken, I fled, but was
so closely pursued, that I was under the necessity of
re-loading whilst in the act of running. At the next
discharge I killed it; but as it had ejected its offensive
liquor upon its tail, I could not touch it, but cut a slender
vine, of which I made a noose, and dragged my prize
15 This animal in its defence discharges a few drops of a liquid so foetid,
that the stench can scarcely be endured by any animal. Clothes on which
the smallest particle has fallen, must be buried in the earth for at least a
month before they can be worn. This liquor is highly inflammable, and is
secreted in a gland beneath the tail, from which it is thrown with a force that
will carry it to the distance of three or four yards. Only a very few of the
American dogs can be induced to attack it, and those are so powerfully
affected by the horrid stench, that they continue to howl for a considerable
time afterwards, and instinctively relieve themselves by scratching holes in
the earth, into which they put their nose.— Bradbury. M\\
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[Vol. s
i  i
to the boat. I found that the Canadians considered it
as a delicacy, and were desirous of procuring it to eat:
this enabled me to obtain the skin without having to
perform the disgusting operation of taking it off myself.
Soon after my arrival, Harrington came in, and brought
the intelligence that they had killed a large bear about
four miles off. He had left Mears engaged in skinning
it, and came to request that one or two men might be
sent to assist in fetching it in. As it was near night, Mr.
Hunt determined to stop, and two of the Canadians
were sent along with Harrington; I also accompanied
them. Although our course lay through a very thick
wood, Harrington led us with great precision towards
the place, and when he supposed himself near it, he
stopped, and we gave a shout. In a few seconds afterwards we heard the discharge of a rifle, and also a shout
from Mears, who was within two hundred [37] yards
of us. On joining him we were surprised to find that
he had two bears. He informed us, that after the departure of Harrington he re-loaded his rifle, and laid it
beside him whilst he was skinning and cutting up the
bear: he had nearly completed this operation, when he
heard a rustling, as if an animal was coming towards
him. To defend himself, he seized his piece, and at the
moment we shouted, a bear appeared in view. Not
seeing Mears, he laid his fore paws on the trunk of a
fallen tree, and turned his head to look back. Mears
could not have wished for a better opportunity; he shot
him through the head. The bears were very large,
and as the night had set in before the latter was skinned
and cut up, it was too late to send to the boat for assistance: I therefore offered to carry a part, provided they
Nik 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
would allot to me the skins, as they were the only clean
part of the spoil. This proposition was agreed to,
and we set out. Before we.had proceeded far, it became
quite dark, which caused us to take a wrong direction,
that led to a swamp. In addition to our difficulties,
the underwood consisted chiefly of the prickly ash,
(zanthoxylon clava Hercules) by which our faces and
hands were continually scratched: there was also an
abundance of small prickly vines entwined among the
bushes, of a species of smilax. These were easily
avoided during [38] day-light, but they were now almost
every instant throwing some of us down. Whilst we
were deliberating whether it would not be advisable to
stop, make a fire, and remain there during the night,
we heard the report of a gun, which we thought proceeded from the boat: we therefore steered our course
in the direction of the sound. Shortly afterwards we
perceived before us a fight glimmering through the trees,
and in less than half an hour we had a full view of it.
Mr. Hunt, from our long delay, had become apprehensive of what had really happened, viz. that we had lost
our way, and having observed near the camp a very
large cotton-wood tree, which was dead, and evidently
hollow, he caused a hole to be cut into the cavity near
the root, and a quantity of dry weeds being put in, it
was set on fire. The trunk was at least seventy or
eighty feet in length before the broken limbs commenced; several of these projected eight or ten feet, and
were also hollow. The flames, impelled by so long a
column of rarefied air, issued from the top, and from
the ends of the limbs, with a surprising force, and with
a noise equal to that of a blast furnace.   Although
P if *'
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[Vol. 5
smarting with pain, weary, wet, and hungry, not having
eaten any thing since morning, I sat down to enjoy the
scene, and have seldom witnessed one more magnificent. On relating to the hunters this evening that I had
[39] been pursued by a skunk, they laughed heartily,
and said it was no uncommon thing, having been often
in the same predicament themselves.
2nd.— We this day passed the scite of a village on
the north-east side of the river, once belonging to the
Missouri tribe. Four miles above it are the remains of
Fort Orleans, formerly belonging to the French; it is
240 miles from the mouth of the Missouri.2' We passed
the mouth of La Grande Riviere, near which I first
observed the appearance   of prairie27   on   the   allu-
24 The Missouri Indians, from whom the river takes its name, were a
prominent tribe of Siouan stock, who appear to have lived originally at the
mouth of the river; but about the beginning of the eighteenth century they
had moved up to this place, where their principal village was found by early
French explorers. The Spaniards, alarmed by the alliance of these Indians
with the French, sent an expedition (1720) against them, which was, however, betrayed into the hands of the savages and cut off to a man. The
commandant in Illinois thereupon (1722) sent De Bourgemont to found an
outpost upon the Missouri. This was the origin of Fort Orleans, whose
site cannot now be definitely determined, owing to the changes of the river
bed. Du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane (Paris, 1758), places it upon an
island in the river. Lewis and Clark speak of all traces thereof being gone.
The fort was abandoned in t726. Later, the French had another post upon
the Missouri, among the Kansas Indians. See note 37, post. W. B.
Douglas, of St. Louis, thinks that Fort Orleans was just above the mouth
of Wakenda Creek, in the present Carroll County, which; is a little below
the former mouth of the Grand River.— Ed.
27 Prairie is the term given to such tracts of land as are divested of timber. In travelling west from the Alleghanies they occur more frequently,
and are of greater extent as we approach the Mississippi. When we proceed
to the distance of two or three hundred miles west of that river, the whole
country is of this description, which continues to the Rocky Mountains
westward, and from the head waters of the Mississippi to near the Gulf of
Mexico; an extent of territory which probably equals in area the whole
empire of China.— Bradbtjb.y.
Vf 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
vion of the river. Our hunters went out, but soon returned without attempting to kill any thing, having
heard some shots fired, which they discovered proceeded
from Indians in pursuit of elk. The navigation had
been very difficult for some days, on account of the
frequent occurrence of, what is termed by the boatmen,
embarras. They are formed by large trees falling into
the river, where it has undermined the banks. Some
of these trees remain still attached by their [40] roots
to the firm ground, and the drift-wood being collected
by the branches, a dam of the length of the tree is
formed, round the point of which the water runs with
such velocity, that in many instances it is impossible to
stem it. On account of these obstacles, we were frequently under the necessity of crossing the river. This
day the carcases of several drowned buffaloes passed
3rd.— I walked the greatest part of the day, but
found it troublesome, being much annoyed by the
prickly ash. In the evening we had another severe
thunder storm.
4th.— The navigation became less difficult, as the
river had fallen four feet.
5th.—Went out with the hunters, who shot nothing
but a goose, (anas Canadensis) that was sitting on a
tree beside its nest, in which was the female. Observed for the first time that the rocks bordering the
river were sandstone. In these I found nodules of
iron ore imbedded.
6th.—Walked all day, and in the afternoon met the
hunters, who had found a bee tree,28 and were [41] re-
28 The term given in America to a hollow tree, containing a swarm of
bees.— Bradbtjry.
\ - 58
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[Vol. 5
turning to the boat for a bucket, and a hatchet to cut
it down. I accompanied them to the tree. It contained a great number of combs, and about three gallons of honey. The honey bees have been introduced
into this continent from Europe, but at what time I
have not been able to ascertain. Even if it be admitted
that they were brought over soon after the first settlement took place, their increase since appears astonishing, as bees are found in all parts of the United States;
and since they have entered upon the fine countries of
the Illinois and Upper Louisiana, their progress westward has been surprisingly rapid. It is generally known
in Upper Louisiana, that bees had not been found westward of the Mississippi prior to the year 1797.29 They
are now found as high up the Missouri as the Maha
nation, having moved westward to the distance of 600
miles in fourteen years. Their extraordinary progress in these parts is probably owing to a portion of the
country being prairie, and yielding therefore a succession of flowers during the whole summer, which is
not the case in forests. Bees [42] have spread over this
continent in a degree, and with a celerity so nearly
corresponding with that of the Anglo-Americans, that
it has given rise to a belief, both amongst the Indians
and the Whites, that bees are their precursors, and that
to whatever part they go the white people will follow.
I am of opinion that they are right, as I think it as im-
29 At that time the natural history of the bee was not very well known at
St. Louis. They relate there, that a French lady of that place having received a present of honey from Kaskaskias, was much delighted with it,
and being told it was produced by a kind of fly, she sent a negro with a small
box to Kaskaskias (60 miles) to get a pair of the flies, in order that she
might obtain the breed.— Bradbtjry. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
possible to stop the progress of the one as of the other.
We encamped this night at the bottom of an island.
7th.— This morning I went upon the island, accompanied by one of the Frenchmen named Guardepée,
to look for game. We were wholly unsuccessful in our
pursuit, although the island is of considerable extent.
On arriving at the upper end of it, we perceived a small
island, of about two acres, covered with grass only,
and separated from the large one by a narrow channel,
the mouth of which was covered with drift timber. We
passed over, and walked through the grass, and having
given up all hopes of game, we were proceeding to the
river to wait for the boat, when my companion, who
was before me, suddenly stopped, fired, and jumped
aside, crying out, ' ' Voila, O diable, tirez,' ' at the same
time pointing towards the grass a few steps before him.
I looked, and saw a bear not five yards from us. I immediately fired, and we retired to a short distance to
reload, but on our [43] return found the animal expiring.
It was a female, with three small cubs in her bed, about
two yards from where she was killed. She had heard
us approach, and was advancing to defend them. I
took one of the cubs in my arms. It seemed sensible
of its misfortune, and cried at intervals. It was evident that whenever it uttered a cry, the convulsions of
the dying mother increased, and I really felt regret that
we had so suddenly cut the ties of so powerful an affection.80   Whilst we breakfasted the bear was cut up,
50 The great attachment which the she bear has for her young is well
known to the American hunter. No danger can induce her to abandon
them. Even when they are sufficiently grown to be able to climb a tree,
her anxiety for their safety is but little diminished. At that time, if hunted
and attacked by dogs, her first care is to make her young climb to a place of
m 6o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
W !
and, with the young ones, taken on board. We encamped this night about. twelve miles below Fort
8th.— About ten o'clock we came in sight of the fort,
about six miles distant. We had not been long in
sight before we saw the flag was hoisted, and at noon
we arrived, when we were saluted with a volley as we
passed on to the landing place, where we met Mr.
Crooks, who had come down from the [44] wintering
station at the mouth of the river Naduet to meet us.
There were also collected at the landing place about
200 Indians, men, women, and children, of the Petit
Osage nation, whose village was then about 300 yards
from the fort. We passed through them to pay our
respects  to  Lieutenant  Brownson,   who  then  corn-
safety. If they show any reluctance, she beats them, and having succeeded,
turns fearlessly on her pursuers. Perhaps in animal economy maternal
affection is almost always commensurate with the helplessness of the young.
—i Bradbury.
sl Lewis and Clark, on their outward journey in 1804, observed a bluff
of high land on the south side of the river (near the present town of Sibley
in Jackson County), as a site suitable for a fort, and laid down the place
upon their map as ' ' Fort Point." When, in 1808, Clark was requested by
the secretary of war to choose a place for a trading factory and fort, he reverted
to this site, and sent out a detachment under Captain Clemson to begin the
post. Clark following, made a treaty thereat with the Osage, whereby they
surrendered land^between the Arkansas and Missouri rivers, and the federal
government on its part promised to keep a garrison at Fort Osage (Fort
Clark) for their protection. This treaty was later repudiated by the Osage
chiefs, but a similar one was signed (November 10, 1808) by Pierre Chouteau
on behalf of the United States. In i8r3, after the outbreak of the war with
England, this post was evacuated; the garrison was restored in i8r6, but
was thereafter only intermittently maintained. One trader reported (1822)
that it consisted of an officer and two soldiers, the latter of whom had deserted. The treaty with the Osage made by Clark in 1825, released the government from its obligation to maintain the post, and upon the erection of
Fort Leavenworth (r827) Fort Osage was permanently abandoned.— Ed.
mrmwnwwwHnwuninm 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
manded in the absence of Captain Clemson.32 He
received us very politely, and insisted that we should
eat at his table during our stay. I had with me an
introductory letter to Dr. Murray, physician to the
garrison, whom I found disposed to give me every
information relative to the customs and manners of the
Osage nation, and from him also I received a vocabulary of a considerable number of words in that
language.83 He walked with me down to the boats,
where we found several squaws assembled, as Dr. Murray assured me, for the same purpose as females of a
certain class in the maritime towns of Europe crowd
round vessels lately arrived from a long voyage, and
it must be admitted with the same success. Towards
evening an old chief came down, and harangued the
Indians assembled about the boats, for the purpose of
inviting the warriors of the late expedition to a feast
prepared for them in the village. I was told it was
intended that the dance of the scalp should be performed, on the [45] occasion of the war party having
brought in seven scalps from the Ayauwais, a village
belonging to whom they had destroyed, and killed two
old men and five women and children. All the rest
had fled at their approach; but as rain came on the
dance was not performed.   At evening Dr. Murray
a Captain Eli B. Clemson was a native of Pennsylvania, and was commissioned lieutenant of the 1st United States infantry in 1789, being promoted to a captaincy in 1807. He served as major of the same regiment
during the War of 1812-15, and was made colonel of the 6th in i8r4. After
the close of the war, he retired to private life, dying in 1845. Lieutenant
John Brownson enlisted in 1804, was three years later made lieutenant,
and a captain in 1814. After the second war with Great Britain, he retired
from the service.— Ed.
33 See Appendix, No. I.— Bradbury.
imi »N
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[Vol. 5
Ira/    <
proposed that we should walk into the village, which I
found to consist of about one hundred lodges of an
oblong form, the frame of timber, and the covering
mats, made of the leaves of flag, or typha palustris. On
our return through the town, we called at the lodge
belonging to a chief named Waubuschon, with whom
Dr. Murray was particularly acquainted. The floor
was covered with mats, on which they sat; but as I was
a stranger, I was offered a cushion. A wooden bowl
was now handed round, containing square pieces of
cake, in taste resembling gingerbread. On inquiry I
found it was made of the pulp of the persimon, (dio-
spyros Virgmiana) mixed with pounded corn. This
bread they called staninca. Shortly afterwards some
young squaws came in, with whom the doctor (who understood the Osage language) began to joke, and in a
few minutes they seemed to have overcome all bash-
fulness, or even modesty. Some of their expressions,
as interpreted to me, were of the most obscene nature.
The squaw of our host laughed heartily, and did all in
her power to promote this kind of conversation. I expressed [46] my surprise to Dr. Murray, but was informed by him that similar conduct would have been
pursued at any other lodge in the village. We left the
lodge of Waubuschon, and went to that of the chief.
On the roof the seven scalps were placed, tied to sticks
ornamented with racoons' tails. We were shewn to
the upper end of the lodge, and sat down on the ground.
I learned that the chief was not present; that he was a
boy of six years of age, his name Young White Hair, and
that the tribe was now governed by a regent. Immediately a warrior came in, and made a speech, frequently
immmmimnimiimimmw 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
pointing to the scalps on the roof, as they were visible
through the hole by which the smoke escaped. I understood that he had distinguished himself in the late
expedition against the Ayauways. After shaking hands
with all round, we left the lodge, and in our return to
the boat we met the squaw belonging to our interpreter, who being of the Ayauway nation, appeared to be
much afraid of the Osages during our passage up the
river, and it was thought with reason, as on our first
interview with the commandant, it had been debated
whether or not it would be prudent to send a file of
men to conduct her from the boat to the fort during
our stay. On inquiry we found that she had been invited up to the village by some of the Osages, and of
course, according to Indian custom, would be as safe
with them as in the fort.
[47] I inquired of Dr. Murray concerning a practice
which I had heard prevailed among the Osages, of
rising before day to lament their dead. He informed
me that such was really the custom, and that the loss
of a horse or a dog was as powerful a stimulus to their
lamentations as that of a relative or friend; and he assured me, that if I should be awake before day the following morning, I might certainly hear them. Accordingly on the 9th I heard before day that the howling
had commenced; and the better to escape observation,
I wrapped a blanket round me, tied a black handkerchief on my head, and fastened on my belt, in which I
stuck my tomahawk, and then walked into the village.
The doors of the lodges were closed, but in the greater
part of them the women were crying and howling in a
tone that seemed to indicate excessive grief.    On the 64
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
outside of the village I heard the men, who, Dr. Murray had informed me, always go out of the lodges to
lament. I soon came within twenty paces of one, and
could see him distinctly, as it was moonlight: he also
saw me, and ceased, upon which I withdrew. I was
more successful with another, whom I approached
nearer unobserved. He rested his back against the
stump of a tree, and continued for about twenty seconds
to cry out in a loud and high tone of voice, when he
suddenly lowered to a low muttering, mixed with
sobs: in a few seconds he again raised to the [48] former
pitch.34 We breakfasted with the commandant, and
afterwards walked out to view some improvements he
had made in the fort. In our walk we observed what,
on the first view, appeared to be two squaws carrying a
tub of water, suspended on a pole. Mr. Crooks desired me to notice them, which I did, and remarked
that one of them had more the appearance of a man
than of a woman. He assured me that it was a man,
and that there were several others in the village, who,
like the one we saw, were condemned for life to associate with the squaws, to wear the same dress, and do
the same drudgery. I now learned, that when the
Osages go to war, they keep a watchful eye over the
young men who are then making their first essay in
arms, and such as appear to possess the necessary
qualifications are admitted to the rank of warriors, or,
according to their own idiom, brave men.    But if any
341 have been informed, that when the Osages were in the habit of robbing the white settlers, it was customary with them, after they had entered
the house, and before they proceeded to plunder, to blacken their faces, and
cry. The reason they gave for this was, that they were sorry for the people
whom they were going to rob.— Bradbury.
timfliirmimilimiwmwinimiiimmmimia 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
exhibit evident proofs of cowardice, on the return of
the party they are compelled to assume the dress and
character of women, and their doom is fixed for life,
as no opportunity is afterwards afforded them to retrieve [49] their character.86 The men do not associate
with them, nor are they suffered to marry, or have any
intercourse with the women: they may be treated with
the greatest indignity by any warrior, as they are not
suffered to resent it. I found, on inquiry, that the late
war party had not been conducted by any of the principal chiefs, a circumstance which often happens, as any
of the noted warriors may lead a party, provided he can
obtain adherents, and he finds no difficulty in procuring
the sanction of the chiefs; but in this case he must
travel without mockasons, or even leggings. He goes
the foremost of the party, makes the fire at night, and
stands to keep watch whilst the party lie down to sleep,
nor can he lie down unless a warrior rises [50] and
takes his place. This indulgence he must not require,
but may accept, if voluntarily offered. In pursuing
the object of the expedition, his commands are absolute,
œ It is customary amongst the Missouri Indians to register every exploit
in war, by making a notch for each on the handle of their tomahawks, and
they are estimated as being rich or poor in proportion to the number of
notches. At their war dances, any warrior who chuses may recount his
exploits. This is done by pointing to each notch, and describing the particular act that entitled him to it. The Nodowessies, or Sioux, fix up a post
near the war fire, to represent the enemy of each warrior in succession whilst
he is recounting his deeds. During his harangue, he strikes the post when
in the act of describing how he struck his enemy, and, like Alexander,
"fights his battles o'er again." Mr. Crooks informed me, that the day
before our arrival at the fort, he saw an Osage beating and kicking another,
who suffered it patiently. Mr. Crooks asked him why he did not defend
himself? "Ohl" said he, shewing the handle of his tomahawk, "I am too
poor; he is richer than I am.' '— Bradbury.
"Ill 66
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[Vol. s
and he is obeyed without a murmur. The Osages are
so tall and robust as almost to warrant the application
of the term gigantic: few of them appear to be under six
feet, and many are above it. Their shoulders and
visages are broad, which tend to strengthen the idea of
their being giants. On our return from viewing the
improvements in the fort, I was introduced to Mr.
Sibly, the Indian agent there, who is the son of Dr.
Sibly of Natchitoches.86 He informed me that he
purposed shortly to attend the Petits Osages in their
annual journey for salt, and invited me to accompany
him, offering as an inducement, to procure two horses
from the Indians for my own use. Learning that the
place where the salt is procured is that which has occasioned the report of a salt mountain existing in Upper
Louisiana, I was very much inclined to accept his invitation; but finding Mr. Hunt unwilling to release me
from my promise to attend him, I declined it. I accompanied Mr. Sibly and Dr. Murray in the evening,
to see the dance of the scalp. The ceremony consisted
in carrying the scalps elevated on sticks through the
village, followed by the warriors who had composed
the war party, dressed in all their ornaments, and
painted as for war.
88 George C. Sibley was born in Massachusetts in 1782, and reared in
North Carolina. His father, who had been a surgeon in the Revolution,
removed to Louisiana, and his account of Red River exploration was embodied (1806) by Jefferson in his message presenting Lewis and Clark's
expedition as far as the Mandan. George Sibley came to St. Louis as an
employé of the Indian department, and for several years was stationed at
Fort Osage as factor. He made various journeys of exploration, one of
which was published. In 1825 he was appointed one of three commissioners
to open a road to New Mexico. Upon his retirement from the public
service, he lived on his estate in St. Charles County, Missouri, where his
benefactions to education made him much esteemed.— Ed.
hwihiiiimw mnw 1809-1811]
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[51] On the 10th we again embarked on the river,
although it rained very hard. Our number was now
augmented to twenty-six by the addition of Mr. Crooks
and his party. We had not proceeded more than two
miles, when our interpreter, Dorion, beat his squaw
severely; and on Mr. Hunt inquiring the cause, he told
him that she had taken a fancy to remain at the Osages
in preference to proceeding with us, and because he
had opposed it, she had continued sulky ever since.
We were obliged to encamp early this day, as the rain
became excessive.
nth, 12th, 13th, and 14th.— We had a fair wind, and
employed our sail, wherefore I could not go ashore
without danger of being left behind. During these
days the bread was examined, and being found wholly
unfit for use, it was thrown overboard.
15th.— We passed the scite of a village which formerly belonged to the Kansas Indians.87 I had an
opportunity of going ashore, and found the soil to
have the appearance of the greatest fertility.    On the
*T Lewis and Clark mention this deserted village, saying that the Kansas
Indians have (1804) withdrawn to the river which takes its name from
them, because of the hostile attacks of the Sauk and Iowa; the latter, coming
more in contact with traders, are better armed than the Kansas. This
was an important site in the early history of the river. Here was built the
second French fort, mentioned by Bougainville in his list of 1757—in
Northern and Western Boundaries of Ontario (Toronto, 1878), pp. 80-85.
Later (1827), Colonel Leavenworth chose the place as adapted for a United
States post. The Kansas Indians were an important branch of the Siouan
stock, numbering at this time about thirteen hundred. They are now
reduced to less than two hundred, and live beside the Osage on a reservation
in Oklahoma. In the early history of white settlement, they were an annoying tribe, plundering traders and committing petty depredations. For a
full account of their customs, etc., see James's account of Long's expedition
(1819-20), which will be published as volumes jriv, xv, xvi, and xvii of our
series.— Ed. f
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
• li
sides of the hills I noticed abundance of the hop plant,
(humulus lupulus.)
16th.— We began to notice more particularly the
great number of drowned buffaloes that were floating
on the river; vast numbers of them were also [52]
thrown ashore, and upon the rafts, on the points of the
islands.38 The carcases had attracted an immense
number of turkey buzzards, (vultur aura) and as the
preceding night had been rainy, multitudes of them
were sitting on the trees, with their backs towards the
sun, and their wings spread out to dry, a common practice with these birds after rain.
17th.— Arrived at the wintering houses, near the
Naduet River, and joined the rest of the party.
18th.— I proceeded to examine the neighbouring
country, and soon discovered that pigeons (columba
migratoria) were in the woods. I returned, and exchanged my rifle for a fowling-piece, and in a few
hours shot two hundred and seventy-one, when I desisted. I had an opportunity this day of observing
the manner in which they feed: it affords a most
singular spectacle, and is also an example of the rigid
discipline maintained by gregarious animals. This
species of pigeon associates in prodigious flocks: one
of these flocks, when on the ground, will cover an area
of several acres in extent, and the birds are so close
to each other that the ground can scarcely be seen.
This phalanx moves through the woods with considerable celerity, picking up, as it passes along, every
thing that will serve for food.   It is evident that the
38 It was at this point on the river that the hunters of Lewis and Clark's
party met their first buffalo.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
foremost [53] ranks must be the most successful, and
nothing will remain for the hindermost. But that
all may have an equal chance, the instant that any rank
becomes the last, it rises, and flying over the whole
flock, alights exactly ahead of the foremost. They
succeed each other with so much rapidity, that there is
a continued stream of them in the air; and a side view
of them exhibits the appearance of the segment of a
large circle, moving through the woods. I observed
that they cease to look for food a considerable time
before they become the last rank, but strictly adhere
to their regulations, and never rise until there is none
behind them.
19th.— On the bluffs39 under which the wintering
[54] house was placed, there is a considerable number
of flat stones. On examining one, I found beneath it
several snakes, in a half torpid state, arising probably
from the cold state of the weather, and I found on
further examination, that the number of snakes under
these stones was astonishing. I selected this day eleven
species, and killed a great number.
39 As the term bluff may not be understood, an explanation will render
the application more intelligible. The alluvion of the great rivers west of
the Alleghannies is considerably lower than the surrounding country, and
is of a breadth nearly in the ratio of the magnitude of the river; that of the
Missouri is from two to six or eight miles in breadth, and is for the most
part from a hundred and fifty to three hundred feet below the general level
of the country. The ascent from this valley into the country is precipitous,
and is called "the Bluff;" it may consist of rock or clay. Betwixt these
bluffs the river runs in a very crooked channel, and is perpetually changing
its bed, as the only permanent bounds are the bluffs. It may here be remarked, that a view of the vast channel bounded by these bluffs, connected
with the idea that all which it contained has been carried away by the river,
would induce us to believe that this globe has existed longer than some
people imagine.— Bradbury. i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
20th.— It was this day arranged, by the desire of
Mr. Donald M'Kenzie, that I should travel in his boat,
and preparations were made for our departure the
succeeding morning. I was employed in continuing
my researches, and had a narrow escape from a rattlesnake; it darted at me from the top of a small rock, at
the base of which I was gathering plants. The noise
of its rattle just gave me sufficient notice to withdraw
my head.
21st.— We again embarked in four boats. Our
party amounted to nearly sixty persons: forty were
Canadian boatmen, such as are employed by the North
West Company, and are termed in Canada Engagés or
Voyageurs. Our boats were all furnished with masts
and sails, and as.the wind blew pretty strong from the
south-east, we availed ourselves of it during the greater
part of the day.
22d, 23d, 24th.— The wind continuing favourable,
[55] we sailed almost the whole of these three days, and
made considerable progress.
25th.— Went ashore with the hunters, and collected
a new species of rattle-snake, and a bird of the genus
recurvirostra. The hunters killed two elks, but they
were so lean that we left them for the vultures: at all
times their flesh is much inferior to that of deer.
26th.— The wind had changed to the north-west, and
blew so strong, that we were obliged to stop during the
whole day. When I found this measure determined on,
I resolved to avail myself of the opportunity to quit the
valley of the Missouri, and examine the surrounding
country. After travelling about three miles, I ascended
the bluffs, and found that the face of the country, soil, 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
&c. were entirely changed. As far as the eye could
reach, not a single tree or shrub was visible. The
whole of the stratum immediately below the vegetable
mould, is a vast bed of exceedingly hard yellow clay.
In the valleys, the land floods, during the rainy season,
have worn channels so deep, and with the sides so
precipitous, that a traveller is often under the necessity
of proceeding a mile or two along one of these ravines
before he can cross it. In the bottoms of several I
observed evident indications of coal.
[56] 27th.— The night had been very cold, and before
we had been long on the river, the sides of the boats
and the oars were covered with ice, although we were
not farther north than 400. After breakfast, I went
out with the hunters, and found my hopes of a change
in the vegetation realized. The bluffs forming the
bounds of the river are no longer in part rocks, but a
continued chain of rounded knobs of stiff clay: under
these is a fine bed of bituminous coal, rendered visible
wherever the river has washed away the base. This
day I collected several new species of plants.
28th.— We breakfasted on one of the islands formed
by La Platte Riviere, the largest river that falls into
the Missouri. It empties itself into three channels,
except in the time of its annual flood, when the intervening land is overflowed; it is then about a mile in
breadth. We noticed this day the skeleton or frame
of a skin canoe, in which the.river had been crossed by
Indians: we saw also other indications of war parties
having been recently in the neighbourhood, and observed in the night the reflection of immense fires, occasioned by burning the prairies.   At this late season, f
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
the fires are not made by the hunters to facilitate their
hunting, but by war parties; and more particularly
when returning unsuccessful, or after a defeat, to prevent their enemies from tracing their [57] steps. As
the ash discontinues to grow on the Missouri above
this place, it was thought expedient to lay in a stock of
oars and poles; and for that purpose, we stopped in the
forenoon, about a league above the mouth of Papillon
Creek, and I availed myself of this opportunity to visit
the bluffs four or five miles distant from us, on the
north-east side.40 On approaching them I found an
extensive lake running along their base, across which I
waded, the water in no part reaching higher than my
breast. This lake had evidently been in former times
the course of the river: its surface was much covered
with aquatic plants, amongst which were nelumbium
luteum and hydropeltis purpurea: on the broad leaves
of the former a great number of water snakes were
basking, which on my approach darted into the water.
On gaining the summit of the bluffs, I was amply repaid
by the grandeur of the scene that suddenly opened to
my view, and also by the acquisition of a number of new
plants. On looking into the valley of the Missouri from
an elevation of about two hundred and fifty feet, the
view was magnificent: the bluffs can be seen for more
than thirty miles, stretching to the north-eastward in a
right line, their summits varied by an infinity of undulations.   The flat valley of the river, about six or seven
40 The Lewis and Clark expedition also camped here for several days,
and treated with the Indians. Papillion (butterfly) Creek is in Sarpy
County, Nebraska; a town of the same name upon its banks serves as county
seat.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
miles in breadth, is partly prairie, but interspersed
with clumps of the finest trees, through the intervals of which could be seen [58] the majestic but
muddy Missouri. The scene towards the interior of
the country was extremely singular: it presents to the
view a countless number of little green hills, apparently
sixty or eighty feet in perpendicular height, and so
steep, that it was with much difficulty I could ascend
them; some were so acutely pointed, that two people
would have found it difficult to stand on the top at the
same time. I wandered among these mountains in
miniature until late in the afternoon, when I re-
crossed the lake, and arrived at the boats soon after
29th.— Being informed that the oars and poles would
not be finished before noon, Mr. M'Kenzie obliged me
by sending his boat to carry me across the river. I
found the bluffs to be of a nature similar to those on the
north-east side. I met the boats in the afternoon, and
we encamped about fourteen miles below the wintering
house belonging to Mr. Crooks, who proposed to me
that we should walk to it the following morning, along
the bluffs; as the distance was much less by that route
than by the course of the river.41
30th.— I set out with Mr. Crooks at sunrise, for the
wintering house, and travelled nearly a mile on a low
piece of ground, covered with long grass: at its termination we ascended a small elevation, [59] and entered
on a plain of about eight miles in length, and from two
41 For an account of Crooks's earlier trading venture and his wintering
home on the Missouri, see Chittenden, History of American Fur Trade in
the Far West (New York, 1902), i, pp. 159-162.— Ed. it
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
and a half to three miles in breadth. As the old grass
had been burned in the autumn, it was now covered
with the most beautiful verdure, intermixed with flowers. It was also adorned with clumps of trees, sufficient
for ornament, but too few to intercept the sight: in the
intervals we counted nine flocks of elk and deer feeding,
some of which we attempted to approach near enough
to fire at, but without success. On arriving at the
termination of the plain, our route lay along a series of
the most rugged clay bluffs: some of them were in part
washed away by the river, and exhibited perpendicular
faces at least a hundred feet in height. At noon we
arrived at the wintering house, and dined on dried
buffaloe.   In the evening the boats came up.
May i st.— This day was employed in embarking
some articles necessary for the voyage, together with
Indian goods, and in the evening Mr. Crooks informed
me that he intended to set out the next morning on
foot, for the Ottoes, a nation of Indians on the Platte
River, who owed him some beaver.42 From the Ottoes
he purposed travelling to the Maha nation, about two
hundred miles above us on the Missouri, where he should
again meet the boats.   I immediately offered to accom-
a The Oto Indians were once a powerful nation, an offshoot of the
Missouri family. Their former village stood upon the Missouri River not far
from the city of Omaha; but worn down by wars with their more powerful
neighbors, they had retreated to the south side of Platte River, about thirty
miles above its mouth, where they lived in a village along with the remnants
of the Missouri tribe. They had a good reputation among the traders, for
honesty in repaying credits. Lewis and Clark (1804) sent for their chiefs,
and made a treaty with them at old Council Bluffs, above Omaha, on the
west side of the river. They numbered at that time about five hundred.
Now there are three hundred and seventy of these Indians on an extensive
reservation in Oklahoma.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
pany him; he seemed much pleased, and we proceeded
to cast [60] bullets, and make other arrangements
necessary for our journey.
2d.— At day-break we were preparing to depart,
as also were the rest of the party, when an occurrence
took place that delayed us until sunrise, and created
a considerable degree of confusion. Amongst our hunters were two brothers of the name of Harrington, one
of whom, Samuel Harrington, had been hunting on the
Missouri for two years, and had joined the party in
autumn: the other, William Harrington, had engaged
at St. Louis, in the following March, and accompanied
us from thence. The latter now avowed that he had
engaged at the command of his mother, for the purpose
of bringing back his brother, and they both declared
their intention of abandoning the party immediately.
As it had already been intimated to us at the Osage
nation, that the Nodowessie, or Sioux Indians, intended
to oppose our progress up the river, and as no great
dependence was placed on our Canadians in case of an
attack, the loss of two good riflemen was a matter of
regret to us all. Mr. Hunt, although a gentleman of
the mildest disposition, was extremely exasperated;
and when it was found that all arguments and entreaties
were unavailing, they were left, as it was then imagined,
without a single bullet or a load of powder, four hundred [61] miles at least from any white man's house, and
six hundred and fifty from the mouth of the river. As
soon as the final issue of this affair was known, Mr.
Crooks and myself set out for the Otto village, attended
by two of the Canadians, one named Guardépée, the
\M Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
other La Liberté.43 Our equipments were, a blanket, a
rifle, eighty bullets, a full powder horn, a knife, and
tomahawk, for each. Besides these, I had a large inflexible port-folio, containing several quires of paper,
for the purpose of laying down specimens of plants;
we had also a small camp-kettle, and a little jerked
buffaloe meat. In half an hour we left the valley of
the Missouri, and entered on the vast plain. We took
our course S. S. E. which we held for some hours, and
travelled at a great rate, hoping to reach the Platte that
night, although estimated at forty-five miles from the
place of our departure. A little before noon we saw
four large animals at a great distance, which we supposed to be elk, but on crossing their footsteps some
time afterwards, we found to our great satisfaction
that they were buffaloe. In the afternoon we crossed
two branches of Papillon Creek, and an hour before
sun-set arrived at the Corne du Cerf River, a deep clear
stream, about eighty yards in breadth: it falls into the
Platte about twenty miles below. As our Canadians
could not swim, it was necessary to construct a raft,
and we concluded to remain here for the [62] night.
Gardepied (or Gariépy) was a common French Canadian name,
several half-breeds bearing it having been employed in the fur-trade. Possibly this was Jean Baptiste Gardepied, who is recorded as being in the
Astorian expedition, and later playing a prominent part at Fort Union, on
the Yellowstone. For his bravery, and the tragic manner of his death at
the hands of the Sioux, see Larpenteur, Journal (Coues, New York, 1898),
p. 215.
La Liberty was a French Canadian who started with Lewis and Clark,
and disappeared or deserted in this vicinity. But it was a common name
among voyageurs, and we have found no proof that he was the same individual.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
This arrangement was very agreeable to me, as I was
much exhausted, which Mr. Crooks considered was,
in a great measure, owing to my having drank water
too copiously during the day. Although we had not
eaten any thing from the time of our departure, I was
unable to eat at supper, and lay down immediately.
3d.— We arose at day break. I found myself completely refreshed. Our raft being ready at sun-rise, we
crossed the river, and in two hours arrived at the Platte,
exactly opposite the Otto village. The river is here
about eight hundred yards in breadth, but appears to
be shallow, as its name indicates. The southern bank
is wholly divested of timber, and as the village is situated
on a declivity near the river, we could see the lodges very
distinctly, but there was no appearance of Indians.
We discharged our rifles, but the signal was not answered from the village: in about five minutes we heard
the report of a gun down the river, and immediately
proceeded towards the place. At the distance of half
a mile, we arrived opposite to an island, on the point of
which a white man was standing, who informed us that
we could cross over to him by wading: we did not stop to
take off our clothes, but went over immediately, the
water reaching to our arm-pits. This man proved to
be an American, of the name of Rogers, and [63] was
employed as an interpreter by a Frenchman from St.
Louis, who was also on the island with a few goods.
They informed us that they had been concealed for
some days on the island, having discovered a war party
hovering round, belonging, as they supposed, to the
Loup, or Wolf nation, who had come in order to sur- 78
Early Western Travels
prise the Ottoes.44 They had nothing to give us as
food, excepting some beaver flesh, which Rogers obtained by trapping on Corne du Cerf, or Elk Horn
River; as it was stale, and tasted fishy, I did not much
relish it, but there was no alternative but to eat it or
starve. We remained all day concealed on the island,
and on the morning of the 4th, before daylight, Rogers
set out to look at his traps, on Elk Horn River, distant
to the eastward not more than five miles. I accompanied him, and on crossing the channel of the Platte,
found that in the same place where the day before it
reached to our arm-pits, it did not now reach to our
waists, although the river had not fallen. Such changes
in the bottom of this river, Rogers told me were very
frequent, as it is composed of a moving gravel, in which
our feet sank to a considerable depth. We arrived at
the Elk Horn River about sun-rise, but found no
beaver in the traps. After our return to the island, I
expressed a wish to visit the Otto village, which was in
sight; and Rogers, who had a canoe concealed in the
willows that surrounded the island, [64] landed me on
the other side of the river. I found the village to consist of about fifty-four lodges, of a circular form, and
about forty feet in diameter, with a projecting part at
the entrance, of ten or twelve feet in length, in the form
of a porch. At almost every lodge, the door or entrance
was closed after the manner which is customary with
u The Loup (Wolf) Indians were a branch of the Pawnee tribe, usually
known as the Panimahas. They claimed to have migrated across the Mississippi about the middle of the eighteenth century, in company with the
Arikara, to whom they were related. Their language (Caddoan), however,
shows close affinity to that of the other Pawnee. They dwelt upon the
Loup branch of Platte River, and were a fierce and numerous people.— Ed. 1
Bradbury's Travels
Indians when they go on hunting parties, and take
their squaws and children with them. It consists in
putting a few sticks across, in a particular manner,
which they so exactly note and remember, as to be
able to discover the least change in their position.
Although anxious to examine the internal structure
of the lodges, I did not violate the injunction conveyed
by this slight obstruction, and after searching some
time, found a few that were left entirely open. On
entering one, I found the length of the porch to be an
inclined plane to the. level of the floor, about two and a
half or three feet below the surface of the ground : round
the area of the lodge are placed from fifteen to eighteen
posts, forked at the top, and about seven feet high from
the floor. In the centre, a circular space of about eight
feet in diameter is dug to the depth of two feet; four
strong posts are placed in the form of a square, about
twelve feet asunder, and at equal distances from this
space: these posts are about twenty feet high, and cross
pieces are laid on the tops. The rafters are laid from
the forked [65] tops of the outside posts over these cross
pieces, and reach nearly to the centre, where a small
hole is left for the smoke to escape: across the rafters
small pieces of timber are laid; over these, sticks and
a covering of sods, and lastly earth. The fire is made
in the middle of the central space, round the edges of
which they sit, and the beds are fixed betwixt the outer
posts. The door is placed at the immediate entrance
into the lodge: it is made of a buffalo skin, stretched in a
frame of wood, and is suspended from the top. On entering, it swings forward, and when let go, it falls to its
former position.    On my return to the island,  Mr.
\   1
■■■'■ tiimiwtimww
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
Crooks informed me that he had resolved to send
Rogers to find the Ottoes, who were hunting about
twenty miles from us, in order to collect his debts, or
to procure horses for us, to facilitate our journey to the
Maha nation.
5th.— In the morning early, Rogers set out on his
expedition, and returned on the 6th, without having
obtained any beaver or horses, excepting one horse
belonging to Mr. Crooks. This night I procured from
Rogers what information I could relative to the Otto
nation, and was informed that the Missouris are incorporated with them; that they are their descendants, and
speak the same language. They call themselves Wad-
doké-tâh-tàh, and can muster one hundred and thirty
[66] or one hundred and forty warriors. They are
now at war with the Loups or Wolf Indians, the Osages,
and the Sioux. He said they furnish a considerable
quantity of bear, deer, and beaver skins, and are very
well disposed towards their traders, who may safely
credit them. They do not claim the property of the
land on which they live, nor any other tract. A very
considerable part of the surrounding country formerly
belonged to the Missouris, who were once the most
powerful nation on the Missouri river, but have been
reduced by war and the small pox to be dependent on
the Ottoes, by whom they are treated as inferiors.
Rogers had with him a squaw of the Maha nation, with
her child, whom he wished to send with us to her
father. To this Mr. Crooks consented, and early on
the morning of the 7th we set out, putting the squaw
and her child on the horse. Having crossed over from
the island, we steered a due north course, and came :WM
Bradbury's Travels
to the Elk Horn River, after travelling about ten miles.
Mr. Crooks immediately stripped, to examine if the
river was fordable, and found that, excepting about
twenty yards in the middle, we might wade it. I
offered to carry the child, but the squaw refused, and
after stripping herself, she gave me her clothes, put the
child on her neck, and swam over, the little creature
sticking to her hair. After assisting our Canadians
across, we continued along [67] the bank, in expectation of arriving at the creek, distant about five miles,
which comes in a direction from the north. We observed, that as our distance from the island increased,
the reluctance of the squaw to proceed also increased,
and soon after we had crossed the river, she began
to cry, and declared she would go no farther. Mr.
Crooks, who understood the language, remonstrated
with her; but finding it in vain, he ordered Guardepée
to take her back, and we encamped to wait his
8th.— About two o'clock in the morning Guardepée
returned with the horse, and at day-light we set out.
In about an hour we came to the creek,46 and continued
along its banks, and found ourselves in a short time on
a most beautiful prairie, along which the creek flowed,
without having a single tree on its border, or even a
shrub, excepting a few widely scattered plum bushes.
We shot this day two prairie hens, (tetrao umbellus) on
which we supped, having dined on some jerked buffalo,
brought by Rogers from the Ottoes. We slept on the
border of the creek, but not so comfortably as usual,
* This was Bell Creek, which, coming directly from the north, heads a
short distance from Blackbird Creek.— Ed.
1 82
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
as the dew was so copious, that before morning our
blankets were wet through.
9th.— We continued to pursue our course along the
creek, but with great trouble, as our mockassons, [68]
being of untanned skins, became so soft as to render
it difficult to keep them on our feet. We shot a prairie
hen, and prepared to breakfast, having first relieved
the horse from the baggage, and turned him out to
graze. Whilst we were collecting some dry stalks of
plants to boil our kettle, a herd of elk, nineteen in
number, appeared marching towards the creek, and
Guardepée immediately ran to put himself in such a
position that he might fire at them, when the horse took
fright, broke his tie, and gallopped off. Guardepée
fired, but only wounded one so slightly that it ran off
with the rest, and escaped. The horse took the direct
route back towards the Ottoes, and was followed by
Mr. Crooks and Guardepée; but in vain: they gave up
the chase, finding it impossible to recover him. After
we had breakfasted, we threw the saddle and every
thing belonging to the horse into the creek; each man
took his share of the baggage, and we again set out, and
travelled without stopping until evening, when we arrived at the head of the creek, and came to what is
called a dividing ridge.48 We passed over it, and came
to the head of a creek, running in a N. E. direction.
This we supposed to be Blackbird Creek, which falls
into the Missouri, near the monument of a famous chief
of the [69] Mahas, named Blackbird. At the distance
of about two miles, we saw a small clump of trees on
48 A term given to any elevation that separates the head waters of one
creek from those of another.— Bradbury.
tit: Û
1809-18 II]
Bradbury's Travels
the border of the creek, and resolved to remain there
during the night, hoping to find fuel to boil a small
portion of jerked buffalo, being all we had left. Whilst
the supper was preparing, I walked back to an eminence,
to collect some interesting plants, having noticed them
in passing. I had not been long employed in that way,
when I saw a distant flash of hghtning in the south, and
soon after others in quick succession. As these and
other appearances indicated the approach of a violent
storm, I hastened back to recommend precautions for the
security of our arms and ammunition. Having boiled
our meat, which amounted to a few morsels each, we
secured our powder horns and some tow in our camp
kettle, which we inverted, and discharged our rifles.
Excepting the sound of distant thunder, which was
continual, an awful silence prevailed, and the cloud
which had already spread over one half of the visible
horizon, was fast shutting out the little remains of daylight. As the trees afforded us no fuel, and in a few
minutes would become no shelter, but might endanger
our safety, I recommended that we should go to the
open prairie, which we did, and lay down in our blankets: I put my plants under me. For several hours
the thunder, lightning, and rain were incessant, and
such rain as I have seldom witnessed. [70] In half an
hour after the storm commenced, we had nothing more
to fear from it, excepting the cold occasioned by the
torrents that fell on us. At the approach of morning
the rain ceased : we saw a few stars, and with joy noticed
the first appearances of day. We arose, and wrung
the water out of our blankets, and finding ourselves
very much benumbed, we walked about to restore the
I FH*a
Early Western Travels
circulation: when it was sufficiently light, we put our
rifles in order, which was attended with considerable
difficulty, as our hands were almost without sensation.
Having arranged our arms, we set out, but were extremely uncomfortable, as our clothes, being made of
dressed skins, stuck so close to our bodies as to make our
march very unpleasant. We proceeded at a brisk pace
to warm ourselves, and in about two hours came to a
small ridge, which we ascended, and when near the
top, Guardepée preceded us, to examine if any game
was in sight. He gave the signal for us to remain quiet
and soon afterwards fired at two buffalo cows, with
their calves. One of the cows he wounded, and they
ran off with so much speed, that the calves could not
keep up with them. Perceiving this, I immediately
pursued the calves, one of which I killed. The rest
of the party followed the cows for a short distance,
but finding the inutility of it, they soon returned : and
notwithstanding my remonstrances, Guardepée killed
the other calf. As we had eaten [71] but little the day
before, we were very glad of this supply, and taking
what we thought proper, proceeded on our journey.
We soon began to perceive that the face of the country
was changing in its appearance. From the Elk Horn
River, our course had hitherto been over a most beautiful prairie, with scarcely a tree or shrub, but covered
with grass and flowers: we now began to observe a more
broken country to the eastward, and some scattered
bushes in the valleys. From an eminence, we soon
after perceived a hill, that had a heap of stones on the
summit: Mr. Crooks assured me that this was the monu- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
ment of Blackbird,47 the famous [72] Maha chief, and
that it was one of the bluffs of the Missouri: we judged
it was about fifteen miles N. E. of us. Satisfied that
we were now near the boats, and having arrived at
some small timber, where we could procure fuel, we
dined on our veal; and although without bread or salt
it was to us a luxury, as we had long been unaccustomed
4,7 This chief, called by the French, Oiseau Noir, ruled over the Mahas
with a sway the most despotic. He. had managed in such a manner as to
inspire them with the belief that he was possessed of supernatural powers: in
council no chief durst oppose him — in war it was death to disobey. It is
related of him at St. Louis, that a trader from that town arrived at the
Mahas with an assortment of Indian goods: he applied to Blackbird for
liberty to trade, who ordered that he should first bring all his goods into
his lodge, which order was obeyed. Blackbird commanded that all the
packages should be opened in his presence, and from them he selected what
goods he thought proper, amounting to nearly the fourth part of the whole:
he caused them to be placed in a part of the lodge distinct from the rest,
and addressed the trader to this effect: — "Now, my son, the goods which
I have chosen are mine, and those in your possession are your own. Don't
cry, my son; my people shall trade with you for your goods at your own
price.' ' He then spoke to his herald, who ascended to the top of the lodge,
and commanded, in the name of the chief, that the Mahas should bring
all their beaver, bear, otter, muskrat, and other skins to his lodge, and not
on any account to dispute the terms of exchange with the trader, who declared, on his return to St. Louis, that it was the most profitable voyage he
had ever made. Mr. Tellier, a gentleman of respectability, who resided
near St. Louis, and who had been formerly Indian agent there, informed
me that Blackbird obtained this influence over his nation by the means of
arsenic, a quantity of that article having been sold to him by a trader, who
instructed hi™ in the use of it. If afterwards any of his nation dared to
oppose Viim in his arbitrary measures, he prophesied their death within a
certain period, and took good care that his predictions should be verified.
He died about the time that Louisiana was added to the United States;
having previously made choice of a cave for his sepulchre, on the top of a
Trill near the Missouri, about eighteen miles below the Maha village. By
his order his body was placed on the back of his favourite horse, which was
driven into the cave, the mouth of which was then closed up with stones. A
large heap was afterwards raised on the summit of the hill.— Bradbury. 86
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
to those articles. We halted about three hours before
sunset, at about five miles from the monument of Blackbird,48 to which place Mr. Crooks despatched Guardepée to look for a letter, as Mr. Hunt had promised
to leave one there on passing [73] the place. At night
he returned, but without a letter, and we concluded
that the boats had not yet arrived.
nth.— We set off early, and soon fell in with the
trace from the Maha village to the monument:49 along
this we travelled, and about ten o'clock arrived at the
town, where we met one of the Canadians belonging
to the boats. He informed us that they arrived the
day before, and were stationed about four miles from
48 Much has been written of this Omaha chieftain, notably Irving's
description in Astoria, which sums up most of the traditions. Catlin, the
painter of Indians, attempted an apology for Blackbird's sinister reputation.
He also painted a picture of his burial hill, and carried off the chiefs skull,
which is now in the National Museum — see Smithsonian Report, 1885,
ii, p. 263. The mound was for many years a well-known landmark upon
the river, but is now scarcely noticeable. The bluff is upon the Omaha
Indian reservation about seventy-five miles above the city of Omaha.— Ed.
49 The Omaha Indians (usually called Mahas) had formerly lived on
the Mississippi. They retain a definite tradition of their migrations, which
are traced by Dorsey, ' ' Omaha Sociology,' ' in Bureau of Ethnology Report,
1881-82. They had formerly been one of the most powerful tribes of
Siouan stock, numbering from three to four thousand but were decimated
by small-pox. Lewis and Clark found less than six hundred of them.
They now have about twice that population, and live upon a reservation
in Nebraska just below the village where they then dwelt. The Omaha
have been much discussed and experimented with, showing an unusual
adaptability for education. The Presbyterians maintained a mission
school among them for many years. See The Middle Five (Boston, 1900),
by Francis La Flesche, son of one of their chiefs. In 1883-84 lands were
allotted to them in severalty, under the direction of Miss Alice Fletcher, who
has also made studies of their customs and music. They are to-day among
the most civilized and progressive of our Indian tribes, living in satisfactory
houses, devoting themselves to agriculture, and deriving good incomes from
their leased lands.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
the village. As we were in want of food, we did not
stop, but proceeded to the boats, where we found a considerable number of Indians assembled to trade. They
gave jerked buffalo meat, tallow, corn, and marrow;
and in return they received tobacco in carottes, ver-
million, blue beads, &c. There, also, we found Mr.
James Aird, an old and respectable trader, with whom
I had become acquainted at St. Louis.60 He informed
me that he should go to the United States in a few days;
I therefore availed myself of this opportunity to forward letters, and was employed in writing until the 12th
at noon. Immediately after, I set out on an excursion
to the bluffs, and in my way passed through the village,
where the great number of children playing about the
lodges, entirely naked, drew my attention. I soon
attracted their notice also, and they began to collect
around me. Some of the [74] boldest ventured to
touch my hand, after which they ran back a few paces,
but soon again resumed their courage. When about
fifty or sixty had assembled, I came to where three
young squaws were repairing one of the stages erected
for the purpose of exposing the buffalo skins to dry,
whilst they are in preparation. The squaws, seeing
the children run after me, spoke to them in a commanding tone, when they instantly stopped, and not
one followed me afterwards.   I doubt much if such a
*° James Aird was a Scotchman who embarked in the fur-trade at Mackinac, and became one of the earliest settlers of Prairie du Chien. During
the War of 1812-15 he adhered to the British interests, and at its close continued his trading upon the upper waters of the Mississippi, until his death
in 1819. Lewis and Clark met him ascending the Missouri, upon their
return journey in 1806. He was a man of integrity, and much respected
throughout the Northwest. See Wisconsin Historical Collections, ix,
index.— Ed.
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
crowd of children, in any European city, would have
obeyed with such promptness, had such a phenomenon
appeared among them, as they must have considered
me. On arriving at the summit of the bluffs, I had
a fine view of the town below. It had a singular appearance. The frame work of the lodges consists of
ten or twelve long poles, placed in the periphery of a
circle of about sixteen feet in diameter, and are inclined
towards each other, so as to cross at a little more than
half their length from the bottom; and the tops diverging with the same angle, exhibit the appearance of one
cone inverted on the apex of another. The lower cone
is covered with dressed buffalo skins, sewed together,
and fancifully painted; some with an undulating red
or yellow band, of ten or twelve inches in breadth, surrounding the lodge at half its height; in others, rude
figures of horses, buffaloe or deer were painted; others
again with attempts [75] at the human face, in a circle,
as the moon is sometimes painted; these were not less
than four feet in diameter. I judged there were not
fewer than eighty lodges. I did not remain long on
the summit of the bluffs, as I perceived, from the heaps
of earth, some of these recent, that it was the burial
ground, and I knew the veneration they have for the
graves of their ancestors. I proceeded along the bluffs,
and was very successful in my researches, but had not
been long employed, when I saw an old Indian galloping towards me. He came up and shook hands with
me, and pointing to the plants I had collected, said,
"Bon pour manger?" to which I replied, "Ne pas
bon." He then said, "Bon pour medicine?" I replied "Oui."   He again shook hands and rode away, 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
leaving me somewhat surprised at being addressed in
French by an Indian. On my return through the village, I was stopped by a group of squaws, who invited
me very kindly into their lodges, calling me wakendaga,
or as it is pronounced, wa-ken-da-ga (physician.) I
declined accepting their invitation, showing them that
the sun was near setting, and that it would be night
before I could reach the boats. They then invited me
to stay all night: this also I declined, but suffered them
to examine my plants, for all of which I found they had
names. On my way to the boats, I met a number of
Indians retxirning to the village, all of whom shook [76]
hands with me. Two of them informed me that they
had seen me at St. Louis, and at the same time gave me
satisfactory proofs of it." I did not reach the boats
until it was dark.
13th.— In the forenoon of this day, Mr. Hunt was
waited upon by two chiefs, who were contending for
the sanction of the government of the United States,
to determine their claim to kingly power. Mr. Hunt
declined interfering, not being vested with the powers
a The Indians are remarkable for strength of memory in this particular.
They will remember a man whom they have only transiently seen, for a
great number of years, and perhaps never during their lives forget him. I
had no recollection of these Indians, but they pointed down the river to St.
Louis: afterwards they took up the comer of the buffalo robe, held it before
their faces, and turned it over as a man does a newspaper in reading it.
This action will be explained by relating that I frequented the printing-office
of Mr. Joseph Charless, when at St. Louis, to read the papers from the United
States, when it often happened that the Indians at that place on business'came
into the office and sat down. Mr. Charless, out of pleasantry, would hand
to each a newspaper, which, out of respect for the custom of the whites, they
examined with as much attention as if they could read it, turning it over at
the same time that they saw me turn that with which I was engaged.— Bradbury. 9°
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
to act. The names of these two chiefs were the Big
Elk52 and the White Cow, the former of whom ultimately succeeded, and has since signalized himself by
a fine specimen of Indian eloquence, at the funeral of a
Sioux chief, in the [77] Missouri territory.88 The
Mahas seem very friendly to the whites, and cultivate
corn, beans, melons, squashes, and a small species of
tobacco (nicotiana rustica.) In 1802 they were visited
by the small-pox, which made dreadful havoc, and
destroyed at least two thirds of the whole nation. At
present they muster nearly two hundred warriors, and
from the great number of children, I judge that they
are again increasing. In stature they are much inferior
to the Osages, although I noticed several whom I
thought would reach to six feet. Their hunting ground
is from their village to L'Eau qui Court, and along that
14th.— This day three Sioux Indians arrived, of the
Yanktoon Ahna tribe,65 who reported that several na-
52 Big Elk, or Om-pah-ton-ga, became one of the greatest and most
respected of the chiefs of the Omaha. See his portrait by Catlin, in
Smithsonian Report, 1885, ii, p. 72. He died about 1846, and his burial
place was long a landmark of the Omaha tribe.— Ed.
68 See Appendix, No. H.— Bradbury.
H The French called the Niobrara River, L'eau qui court — the rapidly-
running water. It is now the boundary between Nebraska and South
Dakota.— Ed.
66 The Sioux Indians (properly Dakota) are the largest branch of the
great Siouan-family. The Yankton are mentioned by Lewis and Clark as
the first and most peaceably-inclined tribe of Dakota. They inhabited the
territory north and east of the Missouri, roving upon the Vermillion, James,
and Big Sioux rivers. They still number about three thousand, three-
fifths of whom are upon reservations in South Dakota, the remainder being
at Fort Peck agency in Montana. The term ahna was equivalent to tribe or
people.— Ed.
m 1809-1811] Bradbury's Travels
tions of the Sioux were assembling higher up the river,
with an intention to oppose our progress. This news
was concealed as much as possible from the voyageurs,
and we prepared for our departure on the following
15th.— We embarked early, and passed Floyd's
Bluffs, so named from a person of the name of Floyd
(one of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke's party) having been
buried there.58 • In the course of this day, I was informed by Mr. M'Kenzie, that in the night of the [78]
7th instant, during our journey to the Ottoes, eleven
Sioux Indians, who had given or devoted their clothes
to the medicine?'' ran into the camp with their tomahawks in their hands, and were instantly surrounded
and taken prisoners. The leader, finding the party
on their guard, and much stronger probably than he
expected, immediately cried out to his followers in their
language, jj ' My children, do not hurt the white people.' '
As the party were fully apprized of the murderous intentions of these miscreants, the general voice was for putting them to death; but Mr. Hunt would not consent to
it, and ordered that they should be conveyed over the
river in one of the boats, at the same time informing
M Floyd's Bluff, upon which stands the grave of Sergeant Charles Floyd,
was for many years a well-known landmark to Missouri travellers. It is
just below the present Sioux City, Iowa, and here in 1895 the Floyd Monument Association erected a shaft to mark his resting place. For his life
and journal, see Thwaites, Original Journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition.— Ed.
67 When a party on a war excursion are entirely foiled in their object, a
dread of the scoffs which may be expected from their tribe, renders them
furious; and it often happens in such cases,- that they throw away their
clothes, or devote them to the Great Spirit, with an intention to do some
desperate act. Any white man, or any party of whites, whom they meet and
can overcome, is almost certain to be sacrificed in this case.— Bradbury. mi
Early Western Travels
them, that if they were again caught by the party, every
man should be sacrificed. From a coincidence of time
and circumstances, it appeared almost certain that it
was this party that had crossed the Missouri, near the
mouth of the river Platte, in the canoe of which we saw
the skeleton on the 28th of April; and that it was also
this party that was discovered by Rogers [79] hovering
about the Otto village, as the Sioux are at war with
the Ottoes: it therefore appeared that Mr. Crooks and
myself had run a greater risk than we were sensible
of at the time.
16th, 17th, and 18th.— We had a fair wind, and made
considerable progress up the river; few opportunities
were therefore afforded for walking. I regretted this
circumstance, as the bluffs had a very interesting appearance. During a short excursion, I was enabled to
ascertain that the lower part of the bluffs was impregnated with sulphur, mixed with sulphate of iron and
selenite crystals.
19th.— About nine o'clock we observed three buffalo
cows and a calf swimming across the river. Two of
them and the calf were killed; but we found them to be
so poor that we only preserved the calf.
20th.— We Were stopped all day by a strong head
wind. I availed myself of this circumstance, and was
very successful in my researches. We found that the
river was rising rapidly; it rose during this day more
than three feet: we therefore concluded that this was
the commencement of the annual flood of the Missouri,
occasioned by the melting of the snow on the Rocky
[80] 21 st.—The river continued to rise, and the cur- 13
Bradbury's Travels
rent to increase in rapidity: the navigation was therefore rendered very difficult. I walked the greatest
part of the day, chiefly on the bluffs, and found the
summits for the most part covered with gravel, containing tumblers of feldspar, granite, and some porphyry.
2 2d.— In the morning our hunters killed three
buffaloe and two elks on an island; and as we were now
arriving at the country of our enemies, the Sioux, it
was determined that they should in a great measure
confine themselves to the islands, in their search for
game. We dined at the commencement of a beautiful prairie; afterwards I went to the bluffs, and proceeded along them till near evening. On regaining the
bank of the river, I walked down to meet the boats, but
did not find them until a considerable time after it was
dark, as they had stopped early in the afternoon, having
met with a canoe, in which were two hunters of the
names of Jones and Carson, who had been two years
near the head of the Missouri.58 These men agreed to
join the party, and were considered as a valuable acquisition; any accession of strength being now desirable.
This day, for the first time, I was much annoyed by the
abundance of the prickly pear. Against the thorns of
this plant I found that [81] mockasons are but a slight
defence. I observed two species, cactus opuntia and
23d.— When on the bluffs yesterday, I observed in
68 Ben Jones and Alexander Carson had probably been of the party of
forty expert riflemen who escorted back to his home (1809), the Mandan
chief who three years before had accompanied Lewis and Clark on a visit
to the East. Carson later settled on the Willamette, Oregon, and was killed
by the Indians at a place which still bears his name — Alec's Butte, in the
North Yamhill country.— Ed.
■HmiMi 94
Early Western Travels
the river an extensive bend, and determined to travel
across the neck.69 I therefore did not embark with the
boats, but filled my shot pouch with parched com, and
set out, but not without being reminded by Mr. Hunt
that we were now in an enemy's country. In about
two hours I had entirely passed the range of hills forming the boundary of the Missouri; and as I had before
experienced, I found the soil and face of the country to
improve very much as we proceed from the river. The
hills here are only gentle swellings, and, together with
the intervening valleys, were covered with the most
beautiful verdure. At a small distance from my route
I noticed a space, of several acres in extent, of a more
vivid green than the surrounding prairie, and on my
nearer approach it had the appearance of a rabbit burrow. From the previous descriptions given by the
hunters, I immediately conceived it to be, what it
proved, a colony of the prairie dog.80 The little animals
had taken the alarm before I reached their settlement,
and were sitting singly on the small hillocks of earth at
the [82] mouth of their holes. They were very clamorous uttering a cry which had some resemblance to a
shrill barking. I fired at several, but at the instant of
the flash, they darted with surprising quickness into
their holes, before the shot could reach them. I soon
found the impossibility of procuring one with shot only,
as unless they are instantaneously killed, they are cer-
69 This bend would appear to be the one above Bon Homme Island,
with the town of Springfield, South Dakota, on its upper side.— Ed.
°° A species of sciurus or squirrel, not described in the Syst. Natura.—
Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
tain to get into their holes, from the edges of which
they never wander if a man is in sight.81 I continued
to travel through this charming country till near the
middle of the afternoon, when I again came to the
bluffs of the Missouri, where, amongst a number of
new plants, I found a fine species of ribes, or currant.
As it was now time to look for the boats, I went to the
river and proceeded down the bank, in the expectation
of meeting them. I had probably travelled about two
miles, when suddenly I felt a hand laid upon my
shoulder, and turning round, saw a naked Indian with
his bow bent, and the arrow pointed towards me. As I
had no expectation of meeting any Indians excepting
the Sioux, and as with them the idea of danger was associated, I took my gun from my shoulder, and by a
kind of spontaneous movement put my hand towards
the lock, when I perceived that the Indian drew his
bow still farther. I now found myself completely in
his power; but recollecting that if an enemy, he would
have shot me before I saw him, I held out my hand,
which he [83] took, and afterwards laid his hand on my
breast, and in the Osage language said "Moi-he
ton-ga de-ah,' ' literally in English, ' ' Big Knife you ? "62
which I luckily understood and answered, "Hoya,"
(Yes) and laving my hand on his breast, said, "No-
do-wessie de-ah," (Sioux you.) He replied, "Hon-
koska ponca we ah,"   (No,  Poncar me.)   He then
81 The prairie-dog (cynomys ludovicianus) was unknown to science until
described by Lewis and Clark. It was first named Arctomys ludoviciana
in 1815, and afterwards (1820) made a separate genus.— Ed.
"The Americans are called "the Big Knives" by the Indians of the
Missouri.— Bradbury.
M|BjSaM| 96
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
pointed up the river, and I saw two other Indians running towards us, and not more than fifty yards distant.
They soon came up, and all the three laid hold of me,
pointing over the bluffs, and making signs that I should
go with them. I resisted and pushed off their hands.
As the river had overflowed where we stood, I pointed
to a sand-hill a small distance from us, to which we
went and sat down. I amused them with my pocket
compass for some time, when they again seized me, and
I still resisted, and took out a small microscope. This
amused them for some time longer, when on a sudden
one of them leaped up and gave the war whoop. I laid
hold of my gun, with an intention to defend myself,
but was instantly relieved from apprehension by his
pointing down the river, and I perceived the mast of
one of the boats appear over the willows. The Indians
seemed very much inclined to run away, but I invited
them to accompany me to [84] the boats, and shewed
them by signs that I would give them something to
drink, which they complied with, but soon after disappeared. We travelled very late this evening, and encamped above the mouth of a small creek. It appeared
that the three Indians went to inform their nation,83 as
in the morning a number of them came to our camp
and also a white man, with a letter to Mr. Hunt from
Mr. Lisa, one of the Missouri Fur Company, for whom
83 The Ponca are closely allied with the Omaha, in whose company they
are supposed to have migrated to the Missouri, and settled near the Niobrara
River. They had shared the same fate of being, by small-pox and attacks
of Sioux, reduced from a powerful to an insignificant tribe. Being usually
friendly to the whites, a trading house was maintained among them for
many years. In 1877 they were removed to Indian Territory, and have
since been allotted lands in severalty. They now number about seven hundred.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
he was agent.84 Mr. Lisa had arrived at the Mahas
some days after we left, and had dispatched this man
by land. It appeared he had been apprised of the
hostile intentions of the Sioux, and the purport of the
letter was to prevail on Mr. Hunt to wait for him, that
they might, for mutual safety, travel together on that
part of the river which those blood thirsty savages frequent. It was judged expedient to trade with the Indians for some jerked buffalo meat, and more than
1000 lbs. was obtained for as much tobacco as cost two
dollars. About noon we set out, and at the distance of
a league passed the mouth of the river called L'Eau
qui Court, or Rapid River.
25th.— It was discovered early this morning, that
two men who had engaged at the Mahas, and had received equipments to a considerable value, had deserted
in the night. As it was known that one of them could
not swim, and we had passed a [85] large creek about a
league below, our party went in pursuit of them, but
without success.
64 Manuel Lisa was one of the most remarkable figures in the early
history of the Missouri fur-trade. Born of Spanish parents in New Orleans,
in 1772, he came to St. Louis probably about 1790. By the beginning of
the nineteenth century his energy, address, and ability had secured him a
large place in the fur-trading fraternity. About 1800, he obtained a permit
for monopolizing the trade upon Osage River. Upon the return of Lewis
and Clark (1806), he organized the Missouri Fur Company, and the following year reached the Three Forks of the Missouri in person, building a fort
there. Almost every year thereafter he made an expedition up the river,
until his death in 1820. During the War of 18T2-15, his influence with the
Indians was exerted on behalf of the United States government, and was
powerful in protecting the Western settlements. His success as a trader
aroused bitter jealousy and hostility among his competitors; he has been
called "a fur-trading Cortez," but it is difficult to prove that his methods
were more cruel or more treacherous than those of his rivals. See Chittenden, American Fur Trade, pp. 125-136.— Ed.
WE* 98
Early Western Travels
26th.— Whilst at breakfast on a beautiful part of
the river, we observed two canoes descending on the
opposite side. In one, by the help of our glasses, we
ascertained there were two white men, and in the
other only one. A gun was discharged, when they discovered us, and crossed over. We found them to be
three men belonging to Kentucky, whose names were
Robinson, Hauberk, and Reesoner. They had been
several years hunting on and beyond the Rocky Mountains, until they imagined they were tired of the hunting
life; and having families and good plantations in Kentucky, were returning to them; but on seeing us, families, plantations, and all vanished; they agreed to join
us, and turned their canoes adrift. We were glad of
this addition to our number, as the Poncars had confirmed all that we had heard respecting the hostile
disposition of the Nodowessies, or Sioux, towards us,
with the additional information, that five nations or
tribes had already assembled, with a determination to
cut us off. Robinson was sixty-six years of age, and
was one of the first settlers in Kentucky. He had been
in several engagements with the Indians there, who
really made it to the first settlers, what its name imports, • ' The Bloody Ground.' ' In one of these engagements he was [86] scalped, and has since been obliged
to wear a handkerchief on his head to protect the part.86
86 The career of these three Kentuckians — John Hoback, Jacob Rezner
(Rizner, Régnier, etc.), and Edward Robinson — is typical of that of many
pioneer hunters to whom the charms of the wilderness proved irresistible
and fatal. Having accompanied the Astorians overland to Snake River,
they were detached on a hunting expedition (October 10, 1811), without
having reached Astoria. The next summer the returning party met them
in the wilderness, destitute and starving, having been robbed by Arapaho.
With fresh supplies, they determined to continue hunting, and  according
Kum 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
The wind being fair, we this day made considerable
progress, and had many fine views of the bluffs, along
which, from the L'Eau qui Court, we observed excellent
roads made by the buffaloes. These roads I had
frequent opportunities of examining, and am of opinion
that no engineer could have laid them out more judiciously.
27th.— The weather continues fine, as it has been
for the last fortnight, and is delightful. For some days
past it has been very warm, and the carcases of drowned
buffaloes on the islands and shores of the river become
extremely offensive. We had a fine breeze from the
S. E. and made all the sail the extreme cowardice of
our Canadians would permit, in order to reach Little
Cedar Island,88 as it was intended that we should stop
there to procure new masts, some of our old ones being
defective.67 Late in the evening we accomplished our
purpose to the joy of our voyageurs, who frequently in
the course of the day, when the boats heeled, cried out
in agony, "O mon Dieu! abattez le goile." As we had
now in our party five men who had traversed the Rocky
Mountains in various directions, [87] the best possible
route in which to cross them became a subject of anxious enquiry.    They all agreed that the route followed
to the story of Dorion's squaw were murdered, together with that interpreter,
during the winter of 1813. A river in Wyoming still bears the name of
Hoback.— Ed.
88 One thousand and seventy-five miles from the mouth of the Missouri.
— Bradbury.
87 There are several islands upon the Missouri named Cedar. The one
to which Bradbury here refers, is that opposite the present town of Chamberlain, South Dakota, which was formerly the site of Fort Recovery, a
Missouri Fur Company's post builtin 1822. An earlier post in this vicinity
was burned (1810), whence the name of the later fort.— Ed. ioo
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
by Lewis and Clarke was very far from being the best,
and that to the southward, where the head waters of
the Platte and Roche Jaune rivers rise, they had discovered a route much less difficult.88 This information
induced Mr. Hunt to change his plan, which had originally been to ascend the Missouri to the Roche Jaune
river, one thousand eight hundred and eighty miles
from the mouth, and at that place to commence his
journey by land. It was now concluded that it would
be more adviseable to abandon the Missouri at the
Aricara Town, four hundred and fifty miles lower down
the river.
28th.— We arose at day-break, and the men soon
found trees suitable for masts. Whilst they were preparing them, I employed myself in examining this delightful spot. The island is about three quarters of a
mile in length, and five hundred yards in width. The
middle part is covered with the finest cedar, round
which there is a border from sixty to eighty yards in
width, in which were innumerable clumps of rose and
currant bushes, mixed with grape vines, all in flower,
and extremely fragrant. The currant is a new and elegant species, and is described [88] by Pursh69 as ribes
aureum.    Betwixt the clumps and amongst the cedars,
Roche Jaune (Yellow Rock) was the French name for Yellowstone
River, which Chittenden, in Yellowstone Park (Cincinnati, r903, 4th éd.),
thinks was a translation by French traders of an Indian word having the
same significance. It took its name from the Grand Canon of the river,
where yellow is the predominant tint. Lewis and Clark made permanent
the name Yellowstone, although British explorers had occasionally used it
before them.— Ed.
This man has been suffered to examine the collection of specimens
which I sent to Liverpool, and to describe almost the whole, thereby depriving
me both of the credit and profit of what was justly due to me.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
the buffaloes, elks, and antelopes had made paths, which
were covered with grass and flowers. I have never
seen a place, however embellished by art, equal to this
in beauty. In a few hours the masts were completed,
and we proceeded on our voyage with a fine breeze in
our favour. Since our departure from L'Eau qui Court
I noticed that the bluffs had gradually continued to
change in appearance. The quantity of alluvion on.
the border of the river decreased as we proceeded, and
has now entirely vanished. The bluffs continue in a
regular declivity from their summits to the edge of the
river, and the narrowness of the valley indicates a
country formed of such hard materials as to oppose
considerable resistance to the abrasion of the river. On
these bluffs, and at about half the distance from the
summit to the river, I began to notice a number of places
of a deep brown colour, apparently divested of vegetation. They occurred on both sides of the river, with an
exact correspondence in altitude and breadth, and exhibited the appearance of two interrupted lines running as far as the bluffs could be seen. As we were now
in an enemy's country, it [89] was with reluctance Mr.
Hunt suffered me to land a little before dinner, when I
proceeded to examine one of these spots. I found it
almost entirely covered with iron ore, of that species
called by Kirwan compact iron stone; in Waller Syst. 2,
p. 144, hœmatitis solidus. Its specific gravity is 3.482.
The oxidation of the ore had so changed the earth, that
it resembled Spanish brown, and nothing grew on it
but a few scattered shrubs of a species of artemisia,
apparently a non-descript. I hastened to the boats, in
which we kept our sails up the rest of the day, the bodies
ft I02
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
of ore becoming longer and more frequent as we proceeded. We travelled eighteen miles, and encamped one
hour after sunset.
29th.— Some arrangements being necessary, the
boats did not set out so early as usual, and daylight
opened to our view one of the most interesting prospects I had ever seen. We had encamped at the commencement of a stretch of the river, about fifteen miles
in length, as we judged, and nearly in a right line. The
bluffs on both sides formed, as before, a gentle slope to
the river, and not a single tree was visible. The body
of iron ore had now become continuous on both sides
of the river, and exhibited the appearance of two dark
brown stripes, about one hundred yards in breadth,
and fifteen miles long. The exact conformity of the
two lines, and the contrast of colour produced [90] by
the vivid green which bounded them, formed a coup
d'oeil which I have never seen paralleled. I lamented
much that the wind was fair, but availed myself of the
short delay, and hastened up the bluff to the vein of ore,
where, although the soil was so strongly impregnated
with iron as to resemble rust, I observed a number of
large white flowers on the ground, belonging to a new
species of œnothera, having neither stem nor scape, the
flower sitting immediately on the root. On a signal
being given from the boats, I was obliged to return, and
had no further opportunity to examine this enormous
body of ore, without doubt sufficient to supply the whole
of North America with iron for thousands of years: and
if we combine in the same view the abundance of coal
on the Missouri, it warrants a presumption that in some
future age it will become an object of vast national importance. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
30th.— We set out this morning with a favourable
wind, which continued during the whole of the day;
and the course of the river being less crooked than
usual, we made thirty miles, and slept on an island.
31st.— Before breakfast this morning we discovered
two Indians on a bluff on the north-east side of the
river: we stopped opposite to them to breakfast, during
which they frequently harangued [91] us in a loud tone
of voice. After we had breakfasted, Mr. Hunt crossed
the river to speak to them, and took with him Dorion,
the interpreter. We noticed, that when he landed, one
of the Indians went away, but immediately after re-appeared on horseback, and went at full speed over the
bluffs. Mr. Hunt informed us on his return, that these
Indians belonged to the Sioux nations; that three
tribes were encamped about a league from us, and had
two hundred and eighty lodges. They were the Yang-
tons Ahnah, the Tétons Bois Brûlé, and the Tetons
Min-na-kine-azzo. The Indian informed Mr. Hunt
that they had been waiting for us eleven days, with a
decided intention of opposing our progress, as they
would suffer no one to trade with the Ricaras, Mandans,
and Minaterees, being at war with those nations. It is
usual to reckon two warriors to each lodge; we therefore found that we had to oppose near six hundred
savages, with the character of whom we were well
acquainted;70 [92] and it had also been stated by the
70 In the statistical account of the Missouri, by Lewis, read before Congress in February, 1806, the character of these Indians is thus described:—
"These are the vilest miscreants of the savage race, and must ever remain
the pirates of the Missouri, until such measures are pursued by our government as will make them feel a dependence on its will for their supply of
merchandize. Unless these people are reduced to order by coercive measures, I am ready to pronounce that the citizens of the United States can io4
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
Indian that they were in daily expectation of being joined
by two other tribes, Tetons Okandandas and Tetons
Sahone.71 We proceeded up the river, and passed
along an island, which for about half an hour intercepted our view of the northeast side of the river. On
reaching the upper point we had a view of the bluffs,
and saw the Indians pouring down in great numbers,
some on horseback, and others on foot.   They soon
never enjoy, but partially, the advantages which the Missouri presents.
Relying on a regular supply of merchandize through the channel of the river
St. Peter's, they view with contempt the merchants of the Missouri, whom
they never fail to plunder when in their power. Persuasion or advice with
them is viewed as supplication, and only tends to inspire them with contempt
for those who offer either. The tameness with which the traders of the
Missouri have heretofore submitted to their rapacity, has tended not a little
to inspire them with a poor opinion of the white persons who visit them
through that channel. A prevalent idea, and one which they make the rule
of their conduct, is, that the more harshly they behave towards the traders,
the greater the quantity of merchandize they will bring them, and that they
will obtain the articles they wish on better terms. They have endeavoured
to inspire the Aricaras with similar sentiments, but happily without effect.' '
— Bradbury.
71 Bradbury here follows the nomenclature of Lewis and Clark as given
in their Statistical View (London, 1807), which differs from their original
manuscripts; see Original Journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition,
appendix. At present the Teton are classified in seven bands; see Bureau
of Ethnology Report, 1893-94, pp. 153-158. The Teton were an important
branch of the Dakota, numbering at the time of Bradbury's journey about
five thousand, inhabiting the territory of the upper Missouri and the neighborhood of the Black Hills. They were exceedingly troublesome to traders
in all the days of the Missouri traffic, and could only be overawed by show
of force. Their alliance with British traders from the Red River region
rendered them independent of the Americans and hostile to their plans;
the Teton outbreak in the War of 1812-15 being with difficulty restrained.
Their opposition to trading parties passing up the river arose partly from
enmity with the Indians above, whom they did not wish to have furnished
with fire-arms, and partly from a desire to act as middle-men, hoping to
reap profit in the trade. Justly known as the "pirates of the Missouri,"
the Teton have always been difficult to control; they had their full share
in the Sioux wars of 1862, 1876, and 1890. They are now living upon
reservations chiefly in South Dakota, with one band in Montana.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
10 5
took possession of a point a little above us, and ranged
themselves along the bank of the river. By the help
of our glasses, we could perceive that they were all
armed and painted for war. Their arms consisted
chiefly of bows and arrows, but a few had short carbines :
they were also provided with round shields. We had an
ample sufficiency of arms for the whole party, which
[93] now consisted of sixty men; and besides our small
arms, we had a swivel and two howitzers. Any attempt to avoid the Indians would have been abortive,
as a boat, in ascending the Missouri, can only effect it
by going along the edges of the river, it being wholly
impossible to stem the middle current; and as the banks
are in many places high and perpendicular, we must
inevitably be frequently in their power, as they might
several times in the course of a day shower a volley of
arrows upon us, and retire unseen. Our alternative,
therefore, was, as we supposed, either to fight them or
return. The former was immediately decided on, and
we landed nearly opposite to the main body. Our first
care was to put all the arms in complete order: afterwards the swivel and the howitzers were loaded with
powder only, and fired to impress them with an idea
that we were well prepared. They were then heavily
loaded, and with as many bullets as it was supposed
they would bear, after which we crossed the river.
When we arrived within about one hundred yards of
them, the boats were stationed, and all seized then-
arms. The Indians now seemed to be in confusion,
and when we rose up to fire, they spread their buffaloe
robes before them, and moved them from side to side.
Our interpreter called out, and desired us not to fire,
as the action indicated, on their part, a wish to avoid an
\ J
>„ ,
ft; io6
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
engagement, and to [94] come to a parley. We accordingly desisted, and saw about fourteen of the chiefs
separate themselves from the crowd who were on the
summit of the bank, and descend to the edge of the
river, where they sat down on the sand, forming themselves into a portion of a circle, in the centre of which
we could see preparations making to kindle a fire,
evidently with a design to smoke the calumet with us,
and signs were made, inviting us to land. Mr. Hunt
requested that Messrs. Crooks, M'Kenzie, Miller, and
M'Clellan72 would attend him in his boat, and I accom-
n These were the partners in the enterprise. For Hunt, Crooks, and
McKenzie, see notes 2-4, ante.
Joseph Miller was a well-educated man, of a good family in Baltimore,
who joined the United States army in 1799, having by 1802 become lieutenant of the 1st infantry. TTia fiery temper, however, could not brook
military discipline, and upon being refused a furlough he resigned (1805).
Thereupon he drifted to St. Louis, and began an individual career of fur-
trading, hunting, and trapping. In 1809 he was a member of the Crooks-
McClellan party, and with them joined the Astorians. Becoming, in the
autumn of this same year, disgusted with the ill-success of the enterprise,
he abandoned the expedition at Fort Henry, on Snake River, in spite of the
remonstrances of the rest of the party. Stuart met Miller on his overland
return journey (1813), and the latter acted for some time as guide. After his
return to St. Louis with this division, nothing more is known of his career.
Robert McClellan possessed great strength, agility, and daring, and
before entering the fur-trade had had much experience in Indian fighting.
He had been one of Wayne's chief scouts in the tatter's campaigns against
the Northwest Indians. For an account of these exploits, see Roosevelt,
Winning of the West, iv, pp. 80-82. Lewis and Clark upon their return
(1806), met him on a trading journey to the Omaha. The following year
he formed a partnership with Ramsay Crooks, and built a wintering-house
near old Council Bluffs. McClellan's hostility to Manuel Lisa arose from
his belief that the latter had played him false upon an expedition up the
river in 1809. McClellan reached Astoria in January, 1812; in July of the
same year he determined to return to St. Louis with Stuart's party. After
wandering nine months in the wilderness, they finally arrived at their destination April 30, 1813. See appendix iii, post. McClellan died three years
later, as is proved by a published notice for administering his estate.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
panied Mr. M'Kenzie. The object was to consider
whether it was advisable to put so much confidence in
so ferocious and faithless a set, as to accept the invitation. It did not require much deliberation, as we found
ourselves under the necessity of either fighting or treating with them; it was therefore determined to hazard
the experiment of going ashore. The party who remained in the boats were ordered to continue in readiness to fire on the Indians instantly, in case of treachery,
and Messrs. Hunt, M'Kenzie, Crooks, Miller, and
M'Clellan, with the interpreter and myself, went ashore.
We found the chiefs sitting where they had first placed
themselves, as motionless as statues; and without any
hesitation or delay, we sat down on the sand in such a
manner as to complete the circle. When we were all
seated, the pipe was [95] brought by an Indian, who
seemed to act as priest on this occasion: he stepped
within the circle, and lighted the pipe. The head was
made of a red stone, known by mineralogists under the
term of killas, and is often found to accompany copper
ore: it is procured on the river St. Peter's, one of the
principal branches of the Mississippi.78 The stem of
the pipe was at least six feet in length, and highly decorated with tufts of horse hair, dyed red. After the pipe
was lighted, he held it up towards the sun, and afterwards pointed it towards the sky in different directions.
71 The red pipestone used by'the Indians for their calumets was found at
Pipestone quarry, in a county of that name in southwestern Minnesota.
This was first visited and described by George Catlin in 1836, and in his
honor the stone is now known as "catlinite." It is not confined, however,
to this one locality, but is also found in Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
See American Naturalist, July, 1883, for a good description of this material
and the pipes made therefrom.— Ed.
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
He then handed it to the great chief, who smoked a few
whiffs, and taking the head of the pipe in his hand,
commenced by applying the other end to the lips of Mr.
Hunt, and afterwards did the same to every one in the
circle. When this ceremony was ended, Mr. Hunt
rose, and made a speech in French, which was translated
as he proceeded into the Sioux language, by Dorion.
The purport of the speech was to state, that the object
of our voyage up the Missouri was not to trade; that
several of our brothers had gone to the great salt lake
in the west, whom we had not seen for eleven moons;
that we had come from the great salt lake in the east,
on our way to see our brothers, for whom we had been
crying ever since they left us; and our lives were now
become so miserable for the want of our brothers, that
we would rather die than not go to [96] them, and would
kill every man that should oppose our passage: that we
had heard of their design to prevent our passage up
the river, but we did not wish to believe it, as we were
determined to persist, and were, as they might see, well
prepared to effect our purpose; but as a proof of our
pacific intentions, we had brought them a present of
tobacco and corn. About fifteen carrottes of tobacco,
and as many bags of corn, were now brought from the
boat, and laid in a heap near the great chief, who then
rose and began a speech, which was repeated in French
by Dorion. He commenced by stating that they were
at war with the Ricaras, Mandans, and Gros Ventres
or Minaterees, and that it would be an injury to them
if these nations were furnished with arms and ammunition; but as they found we were only going to our
brothers, they would not attempt to stop us: that he 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
also had brothers at a considerable distance northward,
whom he had not seen for a great many moons, and for
whom he also had been crying. He professed himself
satisfied with our present, and advised us to encamp
on the other side of the river, for fear his young men
should be troublesome. When the speech was ended,
we all rose, shook hands, and returned to the boats.
During the conference, I had an opportunity of noticing
these Indians, a great number of whom were assembled
on the bank above us, and observed that [97] they are
in stature considerably below the Osages, Mahas, and
Poncars, and much less robust. They are also more
deficient in clothing and ornaments, a considerable
number being entirely naked, but all armed. Several
of our party were acquainted with these tribes, and
represent them much as described by Lewis. Although
the squaws are very ill treated by all Indians, it is said
they are treated much worse by the Sioux than any other
tribe, whence it follows that mothers frequently destroy
their female children, alleging as a reason, that it is
better they should die than continue a life so miserable
as that to which they are doomed. Amongst the Sioux
women, it is also said, suicide is not unfrequent, and
the mode which they adopt to put an end to their existence, is, by hanging themselves. They are of opinion
that suicide is displeasing to the Father of Life, and
believe it will be punished in the land of spirits by their
ghosts being doomed for ever to drag the tree on which
they hung themselves: for this reason they always suspend themselves to as small a tree as can possibly sustain their weight. In the course of the afternoon we
met a chief who belonged to a party of Teton Okandan-
c no
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
das, which consisted, he said, of thirty lodges. He
requested to have a passage in the boats for the remainder of the day. It was granted to him, and he remained
with us during the night.
[98] June 1.— This morning the old chief was conveyed over the river, and landed on the opposite side,
as he said he expected to meet his people, but we
did not see him again. Lr the afternoon we entered
upon the Great Bend, or, as the French call it, the Grand
Detour, and encamped about five miles above the lower
entrance. This bend is said to be twenty-one miles in
circuit by the course of the river, and only nineteen
hundred yards across the neck.74
2d.— In the morning early we discovered two Indians standing on the bluffs, who upon discovering us,
spread their buffalo robes to denote that they were
amicably inclined towards us. We crossed over the
river, and when we approached them, they extended
their arms in a horizontal position. This action, I was
informed, was an appeal to our clemency. When we
landed they showed evident symptoms of alarm. This
was soon accounted for by Messrs. Crooks, M'Clellan,
and Miller, who informed us that they knew these fellows, and that they were chiefs of the Sahonies and
Okanandans, who the year preceding had behaved
extremely ill, by plundering and otherwise maltreating
them, in such a manner as to render it necessary for
their safety to escape down the river in the night, and
"Lewis and Clark estimated the circuit of the Great Bend as being
thirty miles, and the distance across the neck two thousand yards. According to the Missouri River Commission's map, the bend is now about twenty-
five miles around. It is in South Dakota, between the. Crow Creek and
Lower Brule Indian reservations.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
abandon the trade with [99] the upper Indians for that
year, which had been a great loss to them. They
seemed very apprehensive that Mr. Crooks would now
resent their conduct; but after we had smoked with
them they became more tranquil. During the smoking, Mr. Hunt asked them why they killed white men,
as he heard that they had killed three during the last
summer? They replied, because the white men kill
us: that man (pointing to Carson) killed one of our
brothers last summer. This was true. Carson, who
was at that time among the Ricaras, fired across the
Missouri at a war party of Sioux, and it was by a very
extraordinary chance he killed one of them, as the river
is full half a mile in breadth, and in retaliation the Sioux
killed three white men. I observed that, as before, in
smoking the pipe they did not make use of tobacco, but
the bark of cornus sanguinea, or red dog wood, mixed
with the leaves of rhus glabrum, or smooth sumach.
This mixture they call kinnikineck. After we had
smoked, they spoke of the poverty of their tribes, and
concluded by saying they expected a present. A few
carrottes of tobacco and bags of corn were laid at their
feet, with which they appeared satisfied. As these were
the last of the Sioux tribes we expected to meet, I now
determined to walk all day, and was much pleased that
the restraint imposed on me by the proximity of these
vagabonds was [100] removed. I therefore proceeded
up the bluffs nearly abreast of the boats. In about a
quarter of an hour afterwards two other Indians rode
hastily past me, and overtook the boats. I observed
that they had a short conference with Mr. Hunt, when
they turned their horses about, and again rode past me, If
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
seemingly in a rage. Mr. Hunt called to me, and requested that I would come on board instantly, when he
informed me that these fellows were also chiefs, and
had seen our presents, with which they were much dissatisfied, and in consequence had followed the boats to
extort more. In reply to their insolent demands, Mr.
Hunt informed them that "he had given all he intended
to give, and would give no more," adding, "that he
was much displeased by their importunity, and if they
or any of their nation again followed us with similar
demands, he would consider them as enemies, and treat
them as such." As we were not exactly acquainted
with the strength of these two tribes, and expected
that, in consequence of the disappointment in their
rapacious demands, they would attack us, it was arranged that the large boat should ascend on the N. E.
side of the river, and the three small boats on the S. W.
as the bluffs on either side of the river can be seen much
better from the opposite side; and it was agreed that
the signal on seeing Indians [101] should be two shots
fired in quick succession. As we had not much apprehension of being attacked on the S. W. side, I went
ashore after dinner, and continued along the river
nearly on a line with the boats, and about four o'clock
heard the signal given of Indians being seen. I instantly ran towards the boats, and arrived as they were
preparing to quit the shore to aid Mr. Hunt and his
party in the large boat, who were then apparently in
the most imminent danger. They had passed betwixt
a large sand bar and the shore, and it was evident to
us that at that juncture they found the water too shallow at the upper end, and were under the necessity of
R.itHfflfflfHlmtiin >. I809-I8II]
Bradbury's Travels
turning back. The sand bar prevented the possibility
of putting out into the river, and we saw with horror
that at least a hundred Indians had arrived on the bank
at the lower end of the bar: we could also perceive
that they were a war party, as they were painted with
black and white stripes, and all had shields.™ We had
every reason to conclude that these were the Teton
Okandandas and the Teton Sahonies, and our anxiety
for the safety [102] of Mr. Hunt and the party in the
large boat was indescribable when we saw large bodies of
Indians every moment arrive at the point near which he
must unavoidably pass, before we could possibly give
him any assistance: but our anxiety was changed to
surprise on seeing the boat pass within a short distance
of them unmolested ; soon after which the Indians ran
along the bank to the upper end of the sand bar, threw
down their arms, their shields, and their buffalo robes,
and plunged into the river in crowds to meet us; and
before we could reach the sand bar, they were round our
boats, holding up their hands in such numbers, that it
became tiresome to shake hands with so many. We
now found that this was a war party, consisting of
Aricaras, Mandans, and Minetarees, or Gros Ventres,™
n It may be observed here, that all the Indians who inhabit the prairie
use shields in war; but to those who inhabit a woody region they arc wholly
unknown: as in action, excepting in close fight, each man conceals himself
behind a tree. The shields made use of are circular, and are nearly thirty
inches in diameter. They are covered with three or four folds of buffalo
skin, dried hard in the sun, and arc proof against arrows, but not against a
bullet.— Bradbury.
"These three tribes, although of different stocks, had become closely
associated with one another by the exigencies of.war and the propinquity of
their villages. They still live on the same reservation — Fort Bcrthold, in
North Dakota.
The Ankara are a Caddoan tribe, and appear in the seventeenth cen-
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
who were coming against the Sioux, and having
discovered us, had determined for the present to abandon the enterprise, expecting that on our arrival at
the Aricara Town they should obtain a supply of fire
arms and ammunition, which would give them a superiority over their enemies. During the ceremony of
shaking hands we were joined by the large boat, and
it was agreed that we should encamp at the first con-
tury to have broken away from their kinsfolk the Pawnee, and advanced
northward into the Sioux country. They lived below the Cheyenne River
until late in the eighteenth century, when they moved still farther north to
be near the Mandan. Lewis and Clark found them at war with the latter
tribe, however, but effected a peace between their chiefs. The Arikara
carried on an extensive commerce in horses, and their alliance was much
sought by the traders, to whom, however, they often proved treacherous.
Lewis and Clark note that they abstained from spirituous liquors. They
now number about four hundred.
The Mandan were one of the most famous of the Western tribes, because
of their strategic position at the most northerly point of the Missouri River,
not far from the British fur-trading region of the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan rivers. They were visited by the French in the first half of the
eighteenth century, Chevalier de la Vérendrye setting out thence to explore
the Rocky Mountains. (See Thwaites, Rocky Mountain Exploration,
New York, rgo3.) Lewis and Clark wintered among the Mandan (1804-05),
and found them in two villages not far from the site of Bismarck, North
Dakota. They then numbered about two thousand, but had been much
more numerous, for remains of nine abandoned villages were noted by the
explorers. The Mandan are of Siouan origin, but more sedentary than
most of their tribes; they fortified their villages and were occupied with
agriculture. In 1837 a severe scourge of small-pox reduced their numbers
to less than a hundred, whereupon they amalgamated with the Arikara.
There are now about two hundred and fifty Mandan.
The Minitaree (called by the French Grosventres) are of the Hidatsa
family, allied with the Crows. They numbered two thousand five hundred
at the time of Lewis and Clark, and having long lived with the Mandan
had adopted many of their customs, but not their language. They were
usually friendly to traders. There are now about four hundred of this
Allotments in severalty have been made to many members of these three
tribes, while a good proportion of them have houses and profitably practice
agriculture.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
venient place. We soon found one that was suitable,
and the Indians fixed their camp about one hundred
yards from ours. I now ascertained that the party consisted of nearly three hundred warriors. As we [103]
had plenty of provisions, a supply was given to the Indians, who prepared their supper, after which the
chiefs and principal warriors came to our tents. In Mr.
M'Kenzie's tent there were seven of them, none of
whom appeared to me to be lower than five feet ten
inches, and some were more than six feet. Most of them
had very good countenances, differing from the heavy
face of the Osage, and the keen visage of the Sioux.
One of them who had an aquiline nose, had a scarified
line running along each arm, which met on his stomach.
This our interpreter informed us was done to show
his grief for the death of his father. Whilst I was endeavouring to converse with him, an Indian boy came
into the tent, and handed water round to the chiefs in a
gourd shell tied to the end of a stick. He spoke to the
boy, who went out, but soon returned with a new pair of
ornamented mockasons, and handed them to the warrior, who it then appeared had observed that mine were
dirty and much worn, as he took them off my feet, and
put on the new pair, which he tied himself. Observing
that he had a short carbine and powder flask, I-begged to
look at the latter, and finding it only contained a very
small quantity of powder, I immediately filled it from
my own flask. He was greatly pleased with the acquisition of so much powder, and informed me that he was
a Ricara, and should meet me at their town, where we
should be brothers. We [104] were interrupted by
one of the chiefs crying "How," which signifies among
.• M
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
the Indians, "Come on," or "let us begin." This
occasioned silence, and he began to strike on one hand
with a war club which he held in the other. It had a
globular head, on one side of which was fixed the blade
of a knife, five or six inches in length. The head was
hollow, and contained small bits of metal, which made
a jingling noise as he struck it in quick time. The
singing now commenced, and continued at intervals
until past midnight. The song is very rude, and it
does not appear that they combine the expression of
ideas and music, the whole of their singing consisting
in the repetition of the word ha six or seven times in one
tone, after which they rise or fall a third, fourth, or
fifth, and the same in quick time. I observed that
their voices were in perfect unison, and although, according to our ideas of music, there was neither harmony nor melody, yet the effect was pleasing, as there
was evidently system, all the changes of tone being as
exactly conformable in point of time, as if only one
voice had been heard. Whenever their performance
ceased, the termination was extremely abrupt, by pronouncing the word how in a quick and elevated tone.77
On the morning of the 3d, the chiefs declared to Mr.
Hunt their intention of immediately returning [105] to
their nation, where they expected to arrive in three days,
although they had been sixteen days in coming out.
They also demanded some arms and ammunition.
This demand, being conformable to the custom of war
parties, had been foreseen, but was not complied with,
77 See on this subject, Fletcher, ' ' Indian Songs,' ' in Century Magazine,
xxv, p. 42r; and a more detailed article, "Study of Omaha Indian Music,"
in Peabody Museum Archceological and Ethnological Papers, i, no. 5.— Ed.
TOmiwtnniM™ 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
Mr. Hunt informing them, that when we arrived at
their nation, we should furnish abundance. After we
had left them, the chief overtook us on horseback, and
said that his people were not satisfied to go home without some proof of their having seen the white men.
Mr. Hunt could not now resist, and gave him. a cask of
powder, a bag of balls, and three dozen of knives, with
which he was much pleased. Whilst the articles were
delivering to him, an Indian came running up, and informed us that there was a boat in sight, coming up
the river. We immediately concluded that it was the
boat belonging to Manuel Lisa, and after proceeding
five or six miles, we waited for it. I was much pleased
on the boat's joining us, to find that Mr. Henry Brack-
enridge was along with Mr. Lisa; I became acquainted
with him at St. Louis, and found him a very amiable
and interesting young man. Mr. Lisa had made the
greatest possible exertions to overtake us, being well
apprised of the hostile disposition of the Sioux. He
had met a boat, which, it appeared, had passed us in
the night, and the people informed him that they had
been fired upon by the [106] Indians. As the conjunct
party now consisted of ninety men, and we were approaching the nations that were at war with the Sioux,
our fears almost subsided; for myself, I was much
gratified on finding the restraints removed which had
so long circumscribed my motions. In the early part of
this day the wind was fair, but after we had proceeded
some miles, it changed to north-east, and blew so strong,
that we could not stem the torrent, which was increased
by the rising of the river. I went to the bluffs, which in
this part are of considerable elevation, but rise in a
1 ii8
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
gentle slope from the river: near the summit is a stratum
of deep brown-coloured earth, from two to three hundred feet in breadth, on the declivity of the hill. This
earth appears mostly to consist of decomposed iron ore,
and is evidently a continuation of that seen near Little
Cedar Island, although distant from it near a hundred
miles in a right line. I observed, that uniformly the
flat tops of the hills were almost covered with masses
of stone, chiefly breccia. There was something so singularly constant in this appearance, that I was tempted
to attend to a particular examination, and became convinced that these groupes of stone were the passive
cause of the hills. If the group was of an oblong form,
the hill was a ridge; if it was nearly circular, the hill
was a cone. It would be difficult to describe the sensations occasioned by a view at once of these hills [107]
and the valley of the Missouri. The mind is irresistibly impressed with the belief that the whole surface
of the surrounding country was once at least on a level
with the tops of these hills; and that all below has been
carried away by the erosion of water, from which it
has been protected in the parts where these stones were
collected.78 I remarked this day, that the wolves were
more numerous and more daring than in any former
part of our voyage. Within the last week we frequently
saw a few every day, but now, some of them were almost
constantly in sight, and so fearless, as frequently to
stand at no great distance to gaze. For the present,
they were protected by their worthlessness, their skins
78 An enquiry into the length of time which it has required to produce
this effect, might be a matter of great interest to the Chinese philosophers.—
I..1... I 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
being out of season. It appears that in a natural state,
the wolf is a diurnal animal; but in the neighbourhood
of condensed and stationary population its habits
change, and it becomes nocturnal.19 On my route this
day I saw numerous colonies of the prairie dog; and
from the frequency of the occurrence, I noticed that my
approach to their [108] burrows was announced by the
screams of a species of curlew. I shot one, and ascertained it to be a variety of scolopax arquota; and perceived, after I noticed the fact, that the alarm was invariably given. On my return to the boats, I found
that some of the leaders of our party were extremely
apprehensive of treachery on the part of Mr. Lisa, who
being now no longer in fear of the Sioux, they suspected
had an intention of quitting us shortly, and of doing us
an injury with the Aricaras. Independent of this feeling, it had required all the address of Mr. Hunt to prevent Mr. M'Clellan or Mr. Crooks from calling him to
account for instigating the Sioux to treat them ill the
preceding year. Besides, it was believed by all, that
although apparently friendly, he was anxiously desirous that the expedition should fail. Lisa had twenty
oars, and made much greater expedition than we could;
it was evident, therefore, that he had it in his power to
leave us, and it was determined to watch his conduct
4th.— The boats did not make much way, and I
walked chiefly on and beyond the bluffs, which I found
79 During the autumn, whilst the Indians are employed in killing game
for their winter's stock, the wolves associate in flocks, and follow them at a
distance to feed on the refuse of the carcasses; and will often sit within view,
waiting until the Indians have taken what they chuse, and abandoned the
rest.— Bradbury.
m I20
Early Western Travels
of the same description as those observed yesterday,
and on still farther examination, became more confirmed
in my opinion regarding the origin of the hills. On
the summit of one I found some fragments of bones in
a petrified state, apparently [109] belonging to the
buffalo. I had for some time past noticed on the declivities circular spaces of about six or seven feet in diameter, wholly divested of every kind of vegetation, and
covered with small gravel. The frequent occurrence
of these this day attracted my more particular attention, and I found that they were caused by a large
species of black ant, hundreds of which were running in
every direction within the area with astonishing activity. On finding a large beetle, I put it in the centre
of one of these areas, when it was instantly seized by
those nearest to it. For a short time the ants were
dragged along with ease; but by some unknown and
surprising faculty the intelligence was immediately
spread throughout the whole space: the ants ran from
every direction towards the centre, and in a few seconds
the poor beetle became completely covered, and escape
was impossible.
5th.— We had not proceeded more than four miles
before a very heavy rain commenced, and we were compelled to stop and fix up the tents. I went as usual to
the bluffs, and on my return to secure some interesting
specimens of plants, found that Lisa had encamped
about one hundred yards above us. After I had dried
my clothes, I again visited the bluffs in company with
Mr. Brackenridge. We discovered on the bank of a
small creek the remains of an Indian encampment,
which had [no] apparently been occupied by a con- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
siderable number, and for some time, as there was a
great quantity of bones spread on the ground, and the
marks where the wigwams stood were numerous. We
agreed that the situation was judiciously chosen to
prevent surprise. On ascending the hills, and looking
over the summit, we observed near us a small herd of
buffaloes, consisting of two cows and three bulls. We
immediately drew back, and taking advantage of a
ravine, approached within thirty or forty yards, and
fired. We wounded one of the cows, which Mr. Brack-
enridge pursued. Several other herds of buffaloes were
in view, and some antelopes or cabri. I found the
hills all capped with stones, and was still more confirmed
in my opinion respecting their formation by observing
some large detached blocks, each lying on a small pyramid of clay. After Mr. Brackenridge joined me, we
saw a large hare, lepus variabilis, the first I had noticed,
and also a number of wolves in several directions, and
returning through an extensive colony of prairie dogs,
we regained the boats. Immediately on my return to
our camp, a circumstance happened that for some time
threatened to produce tragical consequences. We
learned that, during our absence, Mr. Lisa had invited Dorion, our interpreter, to his boat, where he had
given him some whiskey, and took that opportunity
of avowing his intention to take him away from [in]
Mr. Hunt, in consequence of a debt due by Dorion
to the Missouri Fur Company, for whom Lisa was agent.
Dorion had often spoken to us of this debt, and in
terms of great indignation at the manner in which it
had been incurred, alleging that he had been charged
the most exorbitant prices for articles had at Fort
■ 122
Early Western Travels
[Vol. S
Mandan, and in particular ten dollars per quart for
whiskey. Some harsh words having passed betwixt
him and Lisa, he returned to our camp. On the instant
of my arrival, Mr. Lisa came to borrow a cordeau, or
towing-line, from Mr. Hunt, and being perceived by
Dorion, he instantly sprang out of his tent, and struck
him. Lisa flew into the most violent rage, crying out,
"O mon Dieu! ou est mon couteau!" and ran precipitately to his boat. As it was expected he would return
armed, Dorion got a pair of pistols, and took his ground,
the party ranging themselves in order to witness the
event. Soon after Mr. Lisa appeared without pistols;
but it was observed that he had his knife in his girdle.
As Dorion had disclosed what had passed in Lisa's
boat, Messrs. Crooks and M'Clellan were each very
eager to take up the quarrel, but were restrained by
Mr. Hunt, until an expression from Lisa, conveying
an imputation upon himself, made him equally desirous
of fighting. He told Lisa that the matter should be
settled by themselves, and desired hhn to fetch his pistols. I followed Lisa to his boat, [112] accompanied
by Mr. Brackenridge, and we with difficulty prevented
a meeting, which, in the present temper of the parties,
would certainly have been a bloody one.
The river had risen considerably during the night,
and we were now convinced that the floods we had
before encountered, and which were of short duration,
were only partial, and caused by the rising of the tributary streams that have their sources in the lower regions.
The periodical flood is occasioned by the melting of
the snows on the Rocky Mountains, and the plains at
their feet.   The boats ascended with difficulty, which «*
Bradbury's Travels
gave opportunities for walking the whole of the day.
In the early part, we passed the remains of an old Aricara village. The scite was indicated by an embankment, on which there had been pallisadoes, as the
remains were still visible. Within the area, the vestiges
of the lodges were very apparent, and great quantities
of bones and fragments of earthenware were scattered
in every part. The wolves are still numerous, and are
mostly of a light grey colour, with a few black hairs
intermixed on the hind part of the back: they are seen
singly, and although not timid, show no disposition to
attack. Happening to come on one this day suddenly
and unperceived, I shot him. He was large, and appeared to be old, as his teeth were much worn.
[113] The country beyond the bluffs continues still very
fine, but cut up in many places by deep ravines, occasioned by torrents during heavy rains. The sides of
these ravines uniformly exhibited an under stratum
of hard yellow clay, of an indeterminate depth.
7th.— Went out early on the S. W. side, with some
of the hunters, and on reaching the summit of the bluffs,
observed, in a westwardly direction, a range of high
hills, apparently at the distance of thirty or forty miles.
These, I was informed by the hunters, bounded the
Chien or Chayenne River. Two buffaloes were killed,
and one cabri, or antelope. The hunter who killed the
last assured me that he had allured it by putting a handkerchief at the end of his ramrod, and lying down,
continued to wave it, whilst he remained concealed.
The animal, it seems, after a long contest betwixt
curiosity and fear, approached near enough to become
a sacrifice to the former.
m i-î
!■,*¥. ï
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
8th.— Since the affair of the 5th, our party have had
no intercourse with that of Mr. Lisa, as he kept at a
distance from us, and mostly on the opposite side of
the river. This deprived me of the society of my
friend Brackenridge. I regretted this circumstance,
and purposed to join him this morning, but was prevented by our stopping [114] on an island to breakfast,
where our hunters killed two buffaloe and two elks.
Of the former we had for some days past seen a great
number of herds, consisting of from fifty to a hundred
in each. On expressing my surprise at seeing so many,
the hunters assured me, that so far from its being extraordinary, they had been in the expectation of seeing
them in much greater numbers. Some of the hunters,
who had been six or eight years about the head of the
Missouri, said they had seen them during their annual
migrations from north to south in autumn, and to the
northward in spring; and agreed in stating, that at these
times they assemble in vast herds, and march in regular
order. Some asserted that they had been able to distinguish where the herds were even when beyond the
bounds of the visible horizon, by the vapour which arose
from their bodies. Others stated that they had seen
herds extending many miles in length. It appeared
also to be a well known fact among them, that in these
periodical migrations, they are much less fearful of the
hunter. I must observe of the hunters, that any accounts which I heard from them, and afterwards had an
opportunity to prove, I found to be correct;80 and when
80 During our voyage, I often associated with the hunters, to collect
information from their united testimony, concerning the nature and habits
of animals, with which no men are so well acquainted.   This knowledge is
P* 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
the great [115] extent of this plain, and its fertility in
grass are considered, we cannot but admit that the
number of animals it is capable of containing must be
immense. [116] In the forenoon we passed the mouth
of Chayenne River, where it is four hundred yards in
width.   It is described by the hunters as being a very
absolutely necessary to them, that they may be able to circumvent or surprise those which are the objects of chase, and to avoid such as are dangerous; and likewise to prevent being surprised by them. They can imitate
the cry or note of any animal found in the American Wilds, so exactly, as to
deceive the animals themselves. I shall here state a few of what I certainly
believe to be facts; some I know to be so, and of others I have seen strong
presumptive proofs. The opinion of the hunters, respecting the sagacity
of the beaver, goes much beyond the statements of any author whom I have
read. They state that an old béaver, who has escaped from a trap, can
scarcely ever afterwards be caught, as travelling in situations where traps
are usually placed, he carries a stick in his mouth, with which he probes
the sides of the river, that the stick may be caught in the trap, and thus
saves himself.
They say also of this animal, that the young are educated by the old
ones. It is well known that in constructing their dams, the first step the
beaver takes, is to cut down a tree that shall fall across the stream intended
to be dammed up. The hunters in the early part of our voyage informed
me, that they had often found trees near the edge of a creek, in part cut
through and abandoned; and always observed that those trees would not
have fallen across the creek, and that by comparing the marks left by the
teeth on those trees, with others, they found them much smaller; and therefore not only concluded that they were made by young beavers, but that
the old ones, perceiving their error, had caused them to desist. They promised to show me proofs of this, and during our voyage I saw several, and in
no instance would the trees, thus abandoned, have fallen across the creek.
I have myself witnessed an instance of a doe, when pursued, although
not many seconds out of sight, so effectually hide her fawn, that we could
not find it although assisted by a dog. I mentioned this fact to the hunters,
who assured me that ;no dog, nor perhaps any beast of prey, can follow a
fawn by the scent, and showed me in a full grown deer, a gland and a tuft
of red hair, situated a little above the hind part of the fore foot, which had
a very strong smell of musk. This tuft they call the scent, and believe that
the route of the animal is betrayed by the effluvia proceeding from it. This
tuft is mercifully withheld until the animal has acquired strength. What
a benevolent arrangement 1 — Bradbtjry.
I mw
Early Western Travels
fine river, and navigable for several hundred miles.81
We encamped this night in a beautiful grove, ornamented with a number of rose and currant bushes, entwined
with grape vines, now in bloom.
9th.— Mr. M'Clellan, with two of our men, and
three belonging to Lisa, were despatched to the Aricaras,
to apprise them of our coming, and to see how far it
was practicable to procure horses for the journey by
land. Soon after we set out, we saw a great number of
buffaloe on both sides of the river, over which several
herds were swimming. Notwithstanding all the efforts
made by these poor animals, the rapidity of the current
brought numbers of them within a few yards of our
boats, and three were killed. We might have obtained
a [117] great many more, but for once we did not kill
because it was in our power to do so; but several were
killed from Lisa's boat. In the evening Mr. Lisa
encamped a little above us, and we were informed
by his party, that about sun-set they had seen six
10th.— A fine breeze sprang up early in the day,
and we proceeded rapidly. About noon Mr. M'Clellan
and his party appeared on the bank of the river, having
found that they could not reach the Aricara nation
before the boats. About the middle of the afternoon,
we met a canoe with three Indians. They had come
from the Aricaras, where intelligence of our approach
had been brought by the war party that met us on the
1 st. They had made a great parade of the presents
which they received from us, and of the exploit which
81 The Cheyenne River takes its rise in the Black Hills, and flows eastward into the Missouri, draining the central part of western South Dakota.
It takes its name from the Indians of that designation, who lived upon its
upper waters at the time of Lewis and Clark's expedition.— Ed. m
Bradbury's Travels
they had achieved in discovering the white men coming.
They reported that the Mandans, who were of the
party, had urged an attack on Mr. Hunt's boat, when
it was in the situation already described, which they
(the Aricaras) had prevented. They also stated, that
the Minetarees, or Gros Ventres Indians, had killed
two white men on the river above the Missouri Fur
Company's fort. We encamped three miles above the
mouth of the river Cer-wer-cer-na, after travelling thirty-
five miles.82
[118] nth.— We hoped this day to arrive at the Aricaras, but did not derive so much benefit from the
wind as we expected; and after passing the river Ma-ra-
pa, encamped about six miles below the town,, near an
island on which they were formerly settled.88
12th.— During this night we had a severe thunder
storm, accompanied by torrents of rain, so that our
beds were completely wet. We set out early, and about
half Way to the town, met a canoe with two chiefs,
and an interpreter, who is a Frenchman, and has lived
with this tribe more than twenty years. He married
a squaw, and has several children.84   The chiefs were
82 Sergeant Gass of the Lewis and Clark expedition gives this form for
the river which Clark calls in his journal, Sur-war-carna or Park River.
This is the Arikara name for the present Moreau River, named for a French
Canadian who traded in this region and was stabbed by a Cheyenne squaw.
Moreau River rises in the northwestern part of South Dakota, and flows
through the Cheyenne River Indian reservation into the Missouri. It is
also known as Owl River.— Ed.
83 The Arikara villages were situated on the west bank of the Missouri,
above Grand River, on the South Dakota portion of Standing Rock reservation, about opposite the present town of Campbell. Marapa (Maropa)
River is now known as Rampart or Owl Creek.— Ed.
84 The interpreter was probably Joseph Gravelines, who had been serviceable to Lewis and Clark, and had accompanied the Arikara chief to
Washington in 1805.— Ed.
I 128
Early Western Travels
good looking men: one of them is called the head chief,
or king, and is named by the French Le Gauche, being
left-handed ; the other is the war chief, and called the Big
Man. The interpreter informed us that the chiefs had
come to a resolution to oppose our farther progress up
the river, unless a boat was left to trade with them.
Mr. Hunt explained to the chiefs the object of his voyage, and that he would willingly trade for horses.
About ten o'clock we landed on the north side, opposite
the town, or rather towns, as there are two distinct
bands, and their villages are about eighty yards apart.
Our first care was to spread out the beds and baggage
to dry. Whilst [119] the men were occupied in this
business, the chief informed us, from the other side of
the river, that he would be ready to meet us in council
when we should chuse to come over. As the river is
here at least eight or nine hundred yards in breadth, it
may appear surprising that he could make himself
understood at so great a distance; but to those who
have heard the Indian languages spoken, and who are
acquainted with the Indians, it will appear very credible. In all the Indian languages which I have heard,
every syllable of the compound words is accented; as,
for instance, the primitive name of this nation, Starrahe
they pronounce Stâr-râ-hë. In addition to this construction of their languages, the Indians have remarkably loud voices. The leaders of our two parties had
not yet spoken to each other since the affair of the 5th;
nor had any communication, except through the medium of Mr. Brackenridge or myself. It was evident
that Lisa was still suspected; and M'Clellan, in particular, carefully watched his motions, determined to
II 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
shoot him if he attempted to cross the river before us,
to attend the council of the Indians, contrary to what
had been previously agreed upon with Mr. Bracken-
ridge on his behalf. Soon after noon Mr. Hunt
manned the large boat, and with Messrs. M'Kenzie
and M'Clellan, went over the river; Lisa also attended
in his barge. Mr. Brackenridge and myself were of
the party. [120] On landing, amongst a crowd of Indians, we were conducted to the council lodge by some
chiefs who met us; where we sat down on buffaloe
skins prepared for us, and spread on the ground. I
noticed that this lodge was constructed in a manner
similar to those already described, belonging to the
Ottoes. An old Indian lighted the pipe, and handed
it to the chief; after which he squatted himself on his
hams, near the entrance of the lodge. Although there
were nearly twenty present, I learned from Dorion,
(near whom I had placed myself) that several of the
chiefs were not yet assembled. After we had smoked
for a short time, Le Gauche, the chief, spoke to the old
Indian at the door, who went out of the lodge: he soon
after appeared on the top, and was visible to us through
the hole left for the smoke. What the chief dictated
to him from within, he bawled out aloud, with the
lungs of a stentor. I understood that his object was
to summon the chiefs to council, and it was promptly
obeyed, as in ten minutes all were assembled. I
learned that although we had smoked, the council
pipe had not yet been lighted : this was now done by
the same old Indian, who it seems was both priest and
herald. Le Gauche made the customary appeal to the
Great Spirit, by puffing the smoke in different directions
M i3o
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
■41 if.
towards heaven and earth; after which the pipe was
applied to the lips of each assembled, the chief still
holding [121] it. He then opened the council by a
short speech: in the first place he spoke of their poverty,
but said that they were very glad to see us, and would
be still more glad to trade with us. Lisa replied, and
expressed his intention to trade, if they did not rate
their buffaloe and beaver too highly. He then mentioned Mr. Hunt and his party as his friends, and said
he should join them in resenting and repelling any
injury or insult. Mr. Hunt declared that the object
of his journey was not to trade, but to see our brothers,
at the great salt lake in the west; for that undertaking
he should now want horses, as he purposed to go thence
by land, and that he had plenty of goods to exchange,
if they would spare the horses. Mr. Lisa and Mr.
Hunt accompanied their speeches by suitable presents
of tobacco. Le Gauche spoke, and expressed the satisfaction of his people at our coming, and their attachment to the white men. In respect to the trade with
Mr. Lisa, he wished for more time to fix the price of
dried buffaloe skins, (usually called buffaloe robes)
being an article they had most of: his present idea of
the price was thirty loads of powder and ball for each
robe. Respecting Mr. Hunt's proposition, he was
certain they could not spare the number of horses that
he understood he wanted; and that he did not think
they ought to sell any horses. Les Yeux Gris, another
chief, replied to the latter part of his [122] speech, by
stating that they might easily spare Mr. Hunt a considerable number of horses, as they could readily re- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
place them by stealing or by smoking.85 These arguments governed the opinions of the chiefs, and it was
determined to open a trade for horses, when they were
satisfied with the price Mr. Hunt purposed to give.
The council now broke up, and Messrs. Hunt, M'Kenzie, M'Clellan, Dorion, and myself were conducted
to the lodge of one of their chiefs, where there was a
feast of sweet com, prepared by boiling, and mixing
it with buffaloe grease. Accustomed as I now was to
the privation of bread and salt, I thought it very palatable. Sweet corn is corn gathered before it is ripe, and
dried in the sun: it is called by the Americans green
corn, or corn in the milk. I quitted the feast, in order
to examine the town, which I found to be fortified all
round with a ditch, and with pickets or pallisadoes, of
about nine feet high. The lodges are placed [123] without any regard to regularity, which renders it difficult
to count them, but there appears to be from a hundred
and fifty to a hundred and sixty of them. They are
constructed in the same manner as those of the Ottoes,
with the additional convenience of a railing on the
eaves : behind this railing they sit at their ease and smoke.
There is scarcely any declivity in the scite of the town;
and as little regard is paid to cleanliness, it is very dirty
85 It was not difficult to comprehend that horses might be obtained by
stealing, but how they could be procured by smoking I did not then understand. On the first opportunity, I enquired from Mr. Crooks, who is remarkably well acquainted with Indian customs: from him I learned, that
it is a practice with tribes in amity to apply to each other in cases of necessity.
When one tribe is deficient in any article of which the other has abundance,
they send a deputation, who smoke with them, and inform them of their
wants. It would be a breach of Indian courtesy to send them away without
the expected supply.— Bradbury.
1 132
Early Western Travels
Vit Ii
in wet weather. I spent the remainder of the day in
examining the bluffs, to ascertain what new plants
might be collected in the neighbourhood; having now,
for the first time in the course of our voyage, an opportunity to preserve living specimens. During this time
the rest of the boats crossed over the river, and a camp
was formed about two hundred yards below the town.
Lisa's party was nearer to it than our's.
13th.— The morning being rainy, no business was
done in the village until the afternoon, when Mr. Hunt
exhibited the kind and quantity of goods he purposed
to give for each horse. These were placed in the lodge
of Le Gauche, for general inspection, and proved to be
satisfactory. This day I employed myself in forming
a place for the reception of living specimens, a little
distance below our camp, and near the river, for the
convenience of water.
[124] 14th.— I understood that Lisa and the chiefs
had agreed that the price of a buffalo robe should be
twenty balls, and twenty loads of powder. He removed a part of his goods to the lodge of Le Gauche,
and Mr. Hunt began to trade at the lodge of the Big
Man. The trade for horses soon commenced: the
species of goods most in demand were carbines, powder,
ball, tomahawks, knives, &c. as another expedition
against the Sioux was meditated. During this traffic,
I walked with Mr. Brackenridge to the upper village,
which is separated from the lower one by a small
stream. In our walk through the town, I was accosted
by the Medicine Man, or doctor, who was standing at
the entrance of a lodge into which we went. It appeared that one of his patients, a boy, was within, for 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
whom he was preparing some medicine. He made
me understand that he had seen me collecting plants,
and that he knew me to be a Medicine Man. He
frequently shook hands with us, and took down his
medicine bag, made of deer skin, to show me its contents. As I supposed this bag contained the whole
materia medica of the nation, I examined it with some
attention. There was a considerable quantity of the
down of reedmace, (typha pal/ustris) which I understood was used in cases of burns or scalds: there was
also a quantity of a species of artemisia, common on
the prairies, and known to the hunters by the name of
[125] hyssop; but the ingredient which was in the
greatest abundance, was a species of wall-flower: in
character it agrees with cheiranthus erysimoides: besides these, I found two new species of astragalus,
and some roots of rudbeckia purpurea. After examining the contents of the bag, I assured the doctor it was
all very good, and we again shook hands with him, and
went into several other lodges, where we were very
hospitably received. Although they sit on the ground
round the fire, buffalo robes were always spread for us,
and the pipe was invariably brought out, whilst the
squaw prepared something for us to eat: this consisted
of dried buffalo meat, mixed with pounded corn,
warmed on the fire in an earthen vessel of their own
manufacture. Some offered us sweet corn, mixed with
beans (fihaseolus.) The squaws were particularly attentive to us, and took every opportunity to examine
such parts of our dress as were manufactured, and
not of skins. After our return, I went to the trading
house, and found that the trade for horses went on
». *?
% 1
Mf x34
Early Western Travels
very briskly. The instant a horse was bought, his tail
was cropped, to render him more easily distinguished
from those belonging to the Indians, which are in all
respects as nature formed them. On my return to our
camp, I found the warrior there with whom I had
become acquainted on the ist instant. He insisted so
much on my going to his lodge, that I went with him;
where [126] he spread a very finely painted buffalo
robe for me to sit on, and shewed me by signs that it
was now mine. In return I gave him a pair of silver
bracelets, with ornaments for the ears and hair, having
brought a considerable quantity of those articles from
St. Louis. With these he was so much pleased, that
he requested me to sleep at his lodge during our stay,
and informed me that his sister should be my bedfellow. This offer I declined, alleging as an excuse,
that I had voluntarily engaged to assist in keeping
guard round our camp. I found, on my return, that
the principals of our party were engaged in a very
serious consultation on our present situation. All our
fresh provisions were exhausted, and of the dried
buffaloe bought from the Poncars, not more remained
than was thought necessary to reserve for the journey
by land: of Indian corn we had left only a few bags,
which it was thought expedient to pareh, grind, and
mix with sugar, in order to apply it to the same object.
It had been this day ascertained that the Aricaras could
not spare us any provisions, as the excessive rains had
penetrated into their caches,8* and spoiled the whole
86 The nations on the Missouri, always liable to be surprised and plundered by the Teton villains, annually conceal a quantity of corn, beans, &c.
after harvest, in holes in the ground, which are artfully covered up. These
hoards are called by the French caches, from the verb cacher, to hide.—
Bradbtjry. mmmÊMm
Bradbury's Travels
of their reserved stock, so [127] that they expected to
be in want themselves before the harvest would come
in. In addition to our difficulties, a rumour had been
spread this afternoon, and it was believed, that the
Sioux had followed us, and were now in the neighbourhood, to the amount of four or five hundred. Whether
this was true or not, the consequences were the same
to us, as our hunters could not, with any degree of
prudence, be suffered to go out; nor indeed were they
willing. In this dilemma, no means could be thought
of for the removal of our difficulties, but to purchase
from the Indians some of their spare dogs, particularly
those employed in dragging their sledges, and this
measure was resolved on. It may here be remarked,
that horses and dogs are the only animals which the
Indians domesticate: of the latter they have two varieties: one of these they employ in hunting; the other
appears to be of a stupid and lazy nature, always remaining about the village, and employed as above
15th.—In conformity with the measure determined
upon last evening, a number of dogs were purchased
this morning, brought to the camp, and shot for breakfast. I went out to collect, accompanied by Mr.
Brackenridge, and proceeded farther into the interior
than I had before done. I was rewarded by finding
several new species of plants, and by an additional confirmation of the geological [128] formations, as the
hills situated at a distance from the river have uniformly flat summits, covered with fragments of rock,
mixed with smaller stones and gravel. On our return,
when about three miles from the camp, we saw Indians
pouring out from the village, some on horseback, others
I ;,>■■'
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
on foot, and all at full speed. They went in a direction
to our right, towards some hills, five or six miles distant
down the river. A young Indian, soon after, in passing
us at some distance, changed his course, and came up
to me. He spoke with great earnestness, frequently
pointing to the hills, on the tops of which I observed
some horsemen apparently meeting each other, and
after passing, turn back, and continue gallopping. I
at length comprehended that enemies were near, and
that seeing me only armed with a pistol, he wished me
to hasten to the camp. When we came nearer the
town, I observed that the tops of the lodges were
crowded with women, children, and old men, all looking
earnestly towards the hills, and considerable numbers
were still running past our camp. I now enquired the
cause of the tumult, and found that a signal had been
given, indicating the appearance of a war party of the
Sioux. The noise and confusion were such as I have
not often witnessed : the war whoop was heard in every
direction, and even the old men in the village were
busily employed in animating the warriors. Some aged
Nestors tottered [129] along with the crowd, raising
their shrill voices to encourage the young and vigorous
to exert themselves in repelling the foe. If any enemy
really appeared, they had immediately fled on being
discovered; a thing not at all unlikely, as it is conformable to their customs, and in this instance the
more probable, as the Sioux would naturally expect
that our party would join their adversaries. At all
events, the party soon returned in as much disorder
as they went out. I observed, that amongst the warriors of this and the other nations, several had foxes'
ff* S 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
tails attached to the heels of their mockasons, and I
am informed by Captain Winter, who resided some
time at Michillimakinac, that the same custom prevails
among the tribes in Upper Canada, and that this
honour is only permitted to such warriors as have killed
an enemy on his own ground.
16th.—I went into the village, and found that the
chiefs were assembled to hear from the warriors an
account of what had passed the preceding day. As
they were not in the habit of printing newspapers, the
news was carried through the village by heralds, who
attend at the door of the council-lodge, and from time
to time go through the village to give information.
On my return to the camp, I found that Mr. Hunt and
Mr. Lisa were negotiating respecting the boats belonging to our party, [130] which were no longer of any
use to us. Mr. Hunt was willing to exchange them
with Mr. Lisa for horses, who had a considerable
number of them at the Fort belonging to the Missouri
Fur Company, about two hundred miles higher up the
river.87 Mr. Hunt, some days previous to this, presented to me the smallest boat, which was a barge
built at Michillimakinac; and three American hunters,
whom we found at the Aricara nation, agreed to assist
me in navigating it down the river, when I should be
disposed to return. The three other boats, and some
Indian goods, were finally exchanged with Mr. Lisa.
In consequence of this arrangement, I found that a
party were to be dispatched in a few days to the Fort
87 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, locates this post ten or twelve miles
above the mouth of Big Knife River, near Emanuel Rock and Creek. It
was abandoned during the War of 1812-15.— Ed. Wi
■ 38
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
for the horses, and I resolved to accompany them, if
permitted. After an excursion to collect plants, I
walked into the village in the evening, and found that a
party had arrived, who had been on an expedition to
steal horses, in which they were successful. This
event, and the return of the war party, caused an
unusual bustle: the tops of the lodges were crowded
with men, women, and children. Several of the old
men harangued them in a loud voice. The subject I
understood to be an exhortation to behave well towards
the white people, and stating the advantages they
derived by an intercourse with them. Notwithstanding all this tumult, some of the women continued their
employment in dressing [131] buffaloe skins, which
are stretched on frames, and placed on stages, erected
both for this purpose, and to dry or jerk the flesh of
animals cut into thin slices.
17th.—It was arranged that Mr. Crooks should go
to the Company's Fort for the horses; and as more than
thirty had been bought from the Aricaras, the men
who were to accompany him began to select from
amongst them such as they thought the best able to
perform the journey. Notwithstanding I had resolved
to accompany them, I neglected taking the same precaution, which occasioned me afterwards much vexation. I had already expressed my wish to undertake
the journey, and although Mr. Hunt had not absolutely
refused to permit me, yet he tried by arguments to
dissuade me from it, in representing the danger which
the party ran of being cut off by the Sioux, the fatigue
of riding on an Indian saddle, &c. I therefore did
not for the present press the subject, and spoke of it 1809-1811]
only to Mr. Crooks, who, knowing my determination,
was much pleased with it. After devoting the greatest
part of the day to the increasing of my collection, I
went into the village, and found that some Indians
had arrived from the Chayenne nation, where they
had been sent to inform the Aricaras of their intention
to visit them in fifteen days. One of these Indians
was covered with a buffalo [132] robe, curiously ornamented with figures worked with split quills, stained
red and yellow, mtermixed with much taste, and the
border of the robe entirely hung round with the hoofs
of young fawns, which at every movement made a
noise much resembling that of the rattlesnake when
that animal is irritated. I understood that this robe
had been purchased from the Arapahoes, or Big Bead
Indians, a remote tribe, who frequent the Rocky
Mountains. I wished much to purchase the robe, and
offered him such articles in exchange as I thought most
likely to induce him to part with it; but he refused.
The day following it was purchased by Mr. M'Clellan,
who gave it to me for silver ornaments and other
articles, which amounted to about ten dollars. As
these Indians could not speak the Aricara language,
they had need of an interpreter, whose place was supplied by one of the Aricaras that could speak their
language. They were tall and well proportioned men,
but of a darker complexion than the Aricaras. This
nation has no fixed place of residence, but resort chiefly
about the Black Hills, near the head of Chayenne
River, having been driven by the Sioux from their
former place of residence, near the Red River of Lake
Winnipic.    Their number is now inconsiderable, as
1 w*W
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
they scarcely muster one hundred warriors.88 On my
return to the camp, I found it crowded with Indians
and squaws, as it had been for the two preceding
evenings. [133] Travellers who have been acquainted
with savages, have remarked that they are either very
liberal of their women to strangers, or extremely jealous.
In this species of liberality no nation can exceed the
Aricaras, who flocked down every evening with their
wives, sisters, and daughters, anxious to meet with a
market for them. The Canadians were very good
customers, and Mr. Hunt was kept in full employ
during the evening, in delivering out to them blue beads
and Vermillion, the articles in use for this kind of traffic.
This evening I judged that there were not fewer than
eighty squaws, and I observed several instances wherein
the squaw was consulted by her husband as to the
quantum sufficit of price; a mark of consideration
which, from some knowledge of Indians, and the estimation in which their women are held, I had not expected.
18th.— Went early to the bluffs to the south-west-
88 The Cheyenne tribe was an outlying branch of the Algonquian stock
which had become separated from the parent race and pushed into the
country of the Sioux. Although few in numbers they are good fighters and
have given the United States much trouble. The first treaty was made
with them in 1825, after which they continued friendly until about the time
of the War of Secession. At the close of that war, Hancock and Custer
entered upon a long campaign against them. The Cheyenne participated
in the Custer massacre in r876. In 1885, there was another outbreak,
whereupon Sheridan took the field in person. The Southern Cheyenne,
with the Arapaho, are at present in Oklahoma, and number about twenty-
eight hundred; they have received allotments in severalty, and made some
progress toward civilization. The Northern Cheyenne, numbering about
fourteen hundred, are still chiefly "blanket Indians," upon the Tongue
River reservation in Montana.— Ed.
fi* n pi
Bradbury's Travels
ward of the town, on one of which I observed fourteen
buffalo skulls placed in a row. The cavities of the eyes
and the nostrils were filled with a species of artemisia
common on the prairies, which appears to be a nondescript. On my return, I told our interpreter to
inquire into the reason of this, and learned that it was
an honour conferred by the Indians on the buffaloes
which they had killed, in order to appease their spirits,
and prevent [134] them from apprising the living
buffaloes of the danger they run in approaching the
neighbourhood. After my return, I walked into the
village with Mr. Donald M'Kenzie, who wore a green
surtout. This attracted very much the attention of the
squaws, and from the surprise they shewed, I believe
it is a colour with which they were unacquainted.
They were so anxious to obtain a part of it, that several
offered him favours as an equivalent for a piece which
they marked out. This occasioned much mirth betwixt us, and on my part a pretended alarm lest his
coat should become a spencer. We amused ourselves
sometime by watching a party who were engaged in
play. A place was neatly formed, resembling a skittle
alley, about nine feet in breadth and ninety feet long:
a ring of wood, about five inches in diameter, was
trundled along from one end, and when it had run some
distance, two Indians, who stood ready, threw after it,
in a sliding manner, each a piece of wood, about three
feet long and four inches in breadth, made smooth on
one edge, and kept from turning by a cross piece passing through it, and bent backwards so as to resemble
a cross bow. The standers by kept an account of the
game, and he whose piece, in a given number of throws,
m 142
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
*n  1
more frequently came nearest the ring after it had
fallen, won the game.
[135] 19th.— We breakfasted early, having killed the
dogs the night before, and ten horses were brought
into the camp for the party appointed to go to the Fort,
beyond the Mandans, to escort the horses agreed for
with Mr. Lisa, and I now declared to Mr. Hunt that,
unless he absolutely refused me the privilege, I was
determined to accompany them. With his accustomed
kindness he consented, and a man was dispatched to
catch a horse for me on the prairie. As the party had
cast their bullets, and made every other preparation
the preceding night, we were all ready, when the man
returned with a very bad horse. He was small, and
apparently weak ; but being unwilling to delay the party,
I fixed my saddle, and we set out, having previously
agreed with one of the men to take care of my plants in
my absence. We had for our guide a person of the
name of Jones, who was acquainted with the whole of
the country betwixt the Mandans and Aricaras; and
after passing the villages, kept as much as possible in
the ravines and valleys, to avoid being seen by the
Sioux Indians, who we had reason to think were still
lurking about the country; as we knew that if they discovered us, they would, almost to a certainty, cut us
off. There being no provisions to spare in the camp,
except a little dog's flesh, we took nothing with us to
eat, nor made the least attempt to look for game, as our
safety perhaps depended on the celerity and [136]
silence of our march. We continued at a smart trot until
near eight o'clock in the evening, having only stopped
once to give the horses an opportunity to feed.    Our
— 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
course lay nearly north, and we kept the river in sight
the whole of the day, being sometimes very near it, and
at other times five or six miles distant. We encamped
on the border of a creek, not more than a mile from
the Missouri, on the open prairie. We found this place
so much infested with mosquitoes, that scarcely any of
us slept. In the latter part of the day I discovered the
insufficiency of my horse, as it was with difficulty I
could keep up with the rest. The reflections on my
situation, combined with the pain occasioned by mosquitoes, kept me from closing my eyes; in addition to
this, I had already painfully experienced the effects of
an Indian saddle, which I shall describe. It consists
of six pieces of wood: two of these are strong forked
sticks, one of which is formed to fix on the shoulders
of the horse; the other is adapted to the lower part of
the back: they are connected by four flat pieces, each
about four inches in breadth: two of these are so placed
as to lie on each side of the backbone of the horse,
which rises above them; the two others are fastened to
the extremities of the forked sticks, and the whole is
firmly tied by thongs. Two strong slips of buffalo hide
are doubled over each of the upper connecting pieces,
for the purpose of holding [137] the stirrup, which is
formed of a stick about two feet long, and cut hah way
through in two places, so as to divide it into three equal
parts : at these places it is bent, and when the two ends
are strongly tied, it forms an equilateral triangle. The
conjunct end of the foremost forked stick rises to the
height of eight or ten inches above the back of the horse,
and serves to fasten on it the coiled end of the long slip
of dried skin intended to serve as a bridle: this slip is
•««il 144
Early Western Travels
also made use of to fasten the horse at night, to allow
him sufficient space wherein to graze, and is mostly
fifty or sixty feet long. Under the saddle is laid a
square piece of buffalo skin, dressed with the hair upon
it, and doubled four-fold, and on the saddle the rider
fixes his blanket.
20th.—We were on horseback on the first appearance of day, and immediately abandoned the river,
passed over the bluffs, and struck into the interior of
the country. Besides my rifle and other equipments,
similar to those of the rest of the party, I had a portfolio
for securing specimens of plants. I had contrived
already to collect some interesting specimens, by frequently alighting to pluck them, and put them into my
hat. For these opportunities, and to ease my horse, I
ran many miles alongside of him. Notwithstanding
this, about noon he seemed inclined to give up, and I
proposed to Mr. [138] Crooks that I should turn back:
this he would by no means agree to, but prevailed on
the lightest man in company to exchange horses with
me for the rest of the day. Soon after noon, we
observed some deer grazing at a distance; we therefore
halted in a small valley, suffered the horses to graze,
and dispatched one of the men to look after the deer,
who soon returned, having killed one. As we had
not eaten any thing from the morning of the preceding
day, this news was very acceptable, and some were
sent to fetch the meat, whilst others gathered dry
buffaloe dung to boil our kettle. This opportunity
afforded me the pleasure of adding to my little collection, besides securing in my portfolio what I had before
gathered.   It is perhaps needless to observe that the 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
men were not slow in bringing the meat, nor that we
were equally expeditious in our cooking. We were so
confident of finding game, that we did not take any
part of the remains of our feast, but proceeded, in the
hope of being able to reach Cannon-ball River,89 intending to encamp on its banks. In the course of the
afternoon we perceived innumerable herds of buffaloe;
and had we wished to hunt, we might have killed
[139] great numbers; but we avoided them as much
as possible, for fear of disturbing them, as it might
have been the means of enabling some lurking war
party to discover us. It is well known to the hunters
and the Indians, that a herd of buffaloe, when frightened, will often run ten, fifteen, or even twenty miles
before they stop. About five o'clock we perceived
before us the valley of Cannon-ball River, bounded
on each side by a range of small hills, visible as far as
the eye can reach; and as they appear to diminish
regularly, in the proportion of their distance, they
produce a singular and pleasing effect. In the evening, as we considered the danger from the Sioux much
decreased, we ventured to kill a buffalo: each man
cut what he thought proper, and the remainder was
left for the wolves, who doubtless picked the bones
before the morning. On descending into the valley of
the river, some deer were observed, feeding near the
bank, whilst others were lying down near them. Some
of our men stole cautiously round a grove, and shot
8* Cannon-ball River derives its name from the singularly round form
of the stones which are found in its bed. These are of all sizes, from one
to twelve inches in diameter, or sometimes more: they are of a brownish
sand-stone, and before they were rounded by attrition, must have been
formed in cubes.— Bradbttry.
1 iHf
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
two of the poor animals, although we had no great
occasion for them. The Cannon-ball River was muddy
at this time; but whether it is constantly so or not, I
could not learn. It is here about one hundred and
sixty yards wide, but so shallow that we crossed it
without swimming, but not without wetting some of
the blankets on our saddles. We encamped on a very
fine prairie, near [140] the river, affording grass in
abundance, nearly a yard high, in which we stationed
our horses. The alluvion of the river is about a mile
in breadth from bluff to bluff, and is very beautiful,
being prairie, interspersed with groves of trees, and
ornamented with beautiful plants, now in flower.
Amongst others which I did not observe before, I
found a species of flax, resembling that which is cultivated : I think it is the species known as Unum perenne.
I rambled until it was quite dark, and found my way
to the camp by observing the fire.
21 st.— We arose before day. Each man cooked his
own breakfast, cutting what suited him from the venison,
and fixing it on a stick set in the ground, which mclined
over the fire. At break of day we were on horseback,
and soon after ascended the bluffs, and proceeded on
our route. I noticed a sensible change in the face of
the country after we had left the river. We now found
some of the more elevated places covered with small
stones, and divested of herbage, and throughout the
soil was of less depth, and the grass shorter and more
scanty. About ten o'clock we again found the country
to assume the same fertile appearance as on the preceding day, and saw herds of buffaloe in every direction: before mid-day two were killed, but very little
— 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
was taken, except the marrow-bones: each man who
chose to take one, hung it to his [141] saddle. In the
course of this forenoon we observed three rattlesnakes,
of an entirely new and undescribed species: one of
them I killed, and carried in my shot-pouch, and during
the time we stopped to feed our horses, I secured the
skin.90 We passed very close to several herds of buffaloe
during the afternoon, near which we always observed
a number of wolves lurking. I perceived that those
herds which had wolves in their vicinity, were almost
wholly females with their calves; but noticed also, that
there were a few bulls with them, and that these were
always stationed on the outside of the herd, inclosing
the cows with their calves within. We came suddenly
on one of these herds, containing, as we judged, from
six to eight hundred buffaloes: they immediately gal-
lopped off. One of our party rode after them, and
overtook a calf which could not keep pace with the
rest: he instantly dismounted, caught it by the hind
leg, and plunged his knife into its body. We took
what we wanted, and rode on. This afternoon I
noticed a singularly formed hill on our right, in the
direction of the Missouri, apparently about ten miles
from us. It is of an oblong shape, nearly perpendicular at the ends, and level at the top, so as to resemble
a regular building: near the centre there rises a pic,
very steep, which seems to be elevated at least one
hundred feet above the hill on which it stands. We
rode this day almost without intermission, and [142]
90 Lewis and Clark describe the Western rattlesnake {Crotalus con-
fiuentus) as differing from that of the Atlantic states; not by its colors, but
by their form and arrangement.— Ed.
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
late in the evening arrived at Rivière de Cœur, or
Heart River, and encamped on its banks, or, more
properly, lay down in our blankets.91 I found that
my horse did not get worse, although he showed a
great disposition to lag behind; a certain proof of his
being very much tired, as the Indian horses, when on
a journey, have an aversion to be separated from their
22nd.— Although the distance from this place to the
Missouri Fur Company's Fort was estimated at about
sixty miles, we determined if possible to reach it this
day, and were, as usual, on horseback at day-break,
having previously breakfasted on veal. I observed the
preceding days a sufficient number of buffaloes to
induce me to credit the hunters in their reports of the
vast numbers they had seen; but this day afforded me
ample confirmation. Scarcely had we ascended the
bluffs of Heart River, when we discerned herds in
every direction; and had we been disposed to devote
the day to hunting, we might have killed a great number,
as the country north of Heart River is not so uniform
in its surface as that we had passed. It consists of
ridges, of small elevation, separated by narrow valleys.
This renders it much more favourable for hunting, and
although we did not materially deviate from our course,
five were killed before noon. Mr. Crooks joined me in
remonstrating against this [143] waste; but it is impossible to restrain the hunters, as they scarcely ever lose
an opportunity of killing, if it offers, even although not
91 Heart River, called by Lewis and Clark Ches-che-tar, flows into the
Missouri nearly opposite Bismarck, North Dakota.    There had formerly
rge Mandan village at its mouth, near the present railway town
of Mandan, seat of Morton County.
■Ed. ■WWM
Bradbury's Travels
in want of food. About two o'clock we arrived on the
summit of a ridge more elevated than any we had yet
passed. From thence we saw before us a beautiful
plain, as we judged, about four miles across, in the
direction of our course, and of similar dimension from
east to west. It was bounded on all sides by long
ridges, similar to that which we had ascended. The
scene exhibited in this valley was sufficiently interesting
to excite even in our Canadians a wish to stop a few
minutes and contemplate it. The whole of the plain
was perfectly level, and, like the rest of the country,
without a single shrub. It was covered with the finest
verdure, and in every part herds of buffaloe were feeding. I counted seventeen herds; but the aggregate
number of the animals it was difficult even to guess at:
some thought upwards of ten thousand. We descended into the plain, and each having two marrow
bones hung to his saddle, we resolved to dine wherever
we could first find water. In descending into the plain,
we came upon a small herd feeding in a valley. One
buffalo was shot by our party before we could possibly
restrain them. At about half the distance across the
plain we reached a small pond, where we halted, and
having collected a sufficient quantity of dry buffaloe's-
dung, we made a fire, in which we disposed [144] our
bones, and although the water was stagnant, we made
free use of it. During our stay here a very large herd
of buffaloe continued to feed within a quarter of a
mile of us. Some of them I observed gazing at us;
but as they were to the windward, they had not the
power of discovering what we were by the sense of
smelling.   I found, on inquiry from some of our party
! 15°
Early Western Travels
who were well acquainted with the habits of these
animals, that they seem to rely chiefly on that sense
for their safety. Around this herd we counted fifteen
wolves, several of which stood for some minutes looking
at us, without exhibiting any signs of fear: and as we
did not think them worth shooting, we left them unmolested. On gaining the summit of the ridge forming
the northern boundary of the plain, we noticed a chain
of hills on our right hand, at the distance of about six
miles. Jones, our guide, assured us they were the
bluffs of the Missouri, and although we might not
arrive at the Fort that night, yet he was certain of our
being able to go to the Mandan village. About four
o'clock we fell into a trace that Jones said was one
of the roads which the Mandans usually followed when
they went out to hunt. We resolved to keep along it,
as we found it led towards the bluffs, at which we
arrived in about an hour, and passed through a narrow
valley, bounded on each side by some small rocks of
secondary limestone. On [145] turning an angle in
the valley, we came suddenly in view of the Missouri,
at no great distance from us. The sight of the river
caused much joy in our party; but no one had so much
occasion as myself to be pleased with it, as it was with
the greatest difficulty I could keep up with the party,
my horse being so tired, that Dorion and others of the
party occasionally rode after me, to beat him forward.
The trace turned up a long and very fine plain, betwixt
the bluffs and the river. The plain continued to increase in breadth as we advanced, and had on it a
sufficiency of clumps of cotton woods, so interspersed as
to prevent our seeing its upper termination. We had
not been on this plain more than half an hour, when we 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
suddenly saw an Indian on horseback, gallopping down
the bluffs at full speed, and in a few minutes he was
out of sight, having proceeded nearly in the same
direction we were pursuing. We considered this as a
certain proof that we were not far from the Mandan
town, and shortly after, on turning round the point of
a large grove, we came in full view of it. We could
perceive that the Indian had already given notice of our
approach, as the tops of the lodges were crowded with
people; and as we advanced, we saw crowds coming
from the town to meet us. From the time the first
of the Indians met us till we arrived in the town, we
were continually employed in shaking hands, as every
one was eager to [146] perform that ceremony with the
whole party, and several made us understand that they
had seen us before, having been of the war party which
we had met at the Great Bend. They conducted us
to the lodge of She-he-kè, the chief, where we alighted.
He met us at the door, and after shaking hands with
us, said, to my great surprise in English, "Come in
house. ' ' I was again surprised, on entering the lodge,
to see a fine dunghill cock. On inquiry I found that
She-he-kè had brought it with him from the United
States, at the time he accompanied Messrs. Lewis and
Clarke, where also he learnt his English.92 It appeared
that immediately on the centinel announcing our ap-
92 She-he-kè (Shahaka), also called Big White (Le Gros Blanc), was
chief of the lower village of Mandan. Upon the earnest solicitation of
Lewis and Clark he descended the Missouri with them to visit President
Jefferson (1806). In 1807 Sergeant Pryor was detailed to escort Big White
to his home. The detachment of soldiers was attacked among the Arikara,
and forced to retreat. See report of Pryor published in Annals of Iowa,
January, 1895. It was not until 1809 that the Mandan was finally returned
to his village under the care of a brigade of the Missouri Fur Company.
See note 58, ante; also Chittenden, American Fur Trade, chaps. 4-6.— Ed.
tl mP,
!>■,- j ,■■■
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
proach, the squaw had seï on the pot. The victuals
being ready before we had done smoking, and Mr.
Crooks expressing a determination to proceed to the
Missouri Fur Company's Fort this evening, we soon
finished our meal, which consisted of jerked flesh of
buffaloe and pounded corn. The sun was setting when
we mounted, and several of our horses appeared much
jaded, but mine in particular. I therefore proposed
to remain at the Mandans; but the party, and in particular Mr. Crooks, wished me to go on. With some
reluctance I consented, and we pushed on our horses,
in order to reach Knife River before it was quite dark,
which by much exertion we effected, and arrived opposite to the third village of the Minetaree, or Gros
Ventres [147] Indians, as the night was closing in. On
hallooing, some Indians came down to the bank on the
other side of the river, and immediately ran back to
the village. In a few minutes we saw them returning
along with six squaws, each of whom had a skin canoe
on her back, and a paddle in her hand. Whilst we
unsaddled our horses they crossed the river in their
canoes, and the Indians swam over, and all shook
hands with us. The squaws put our saddles in their
canoes, where we also placed ourselves, and left the
Indians to drive our horses over the river, which they
managed with much address, by placing themselves in
such a way as to keep them in a compact body. This
river is not rapid, but it has the appearance of being
deep, and is about eighty yards wide at this place.
After saddling our horses, and giving the squaws three
balls and three loads of powder for each man, being
the price of ferriage, we passed through the village, 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
having seven miles still to travel in order to reach the
Fort. We could not now make our horses exceed a
walk. On the hill above the town I imperfectly distinguished something that had the appearance of
cavalry, which Jones told me were the stages whereon
the Indians deposit the bodies of their dead. About
eleven o'clock we reached the Fort, after having travelled this day more than eighteen hours, with very
little intermission. We were received in a very friendly
manner by Mr. [148] Reuben Lewis, brother to Captain Lewis, who travelled to the Pacific Ocean:93 the
mosquitoes were much less friendly, and were in such
numbers, and so troublesome, that notwithstanding
our excessive fatigue, it was next to impossible to
23rd.— We went early to look at the horses. The
greater part were lying down, and appeared to have
scarcely moved from the place where they had been
left the preceding night, seeming to prefer rest to food.
In consequence of their jaded state, Mr. Crooks resolved to remain at the Fort four or five days, that they
might recruit themselves. On our return to breakfast,
we found that the Fort was but ill supplied with pro-
93 Reuben, the only brother of Meriwether Lewis, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, February r<j., 1777. He accompanied his brother
to the West, upon the tetter's journey to assume his office as governor
of Missouri Territory, and entered (1809) into the partnership that formed
the Missouri Fur Company. Reuben Lewis was still absent among the Mandan at the time of his brother's death (October, 1809), not returning to
St. Louis until the spring of 1812. After visiting the place of Meriwether's
death, he was made Indian agent, and in 1819 Nuttall met him among the
Cherokee on Arkansas River. See volume xiii of our series. Later he
went back to Virginia, and settled on the family plantation, not far from
Charlottesville, where he married (1822) Mildred Dabney. His home,
where he died in 1844, was known as "Valley Point."— Ed.
m !54
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
visions, having little of any thing but jerked meat; but
as that, or any other accommodation the place afforded,
was accompanied by kindness and the most polite
attention from Mr. Lewis, we were much pleased with
our reception. The bluffs here have a very romantic
appearance, and I was preparing to examine them
after breakfast, when some squaws came in belonging
to the uppermost village of the Minetarees, with a
quantity of roots to sell. Being informed that they
were dug on the prairie, my curiosity was excited, and
on tasting found them very palatable, even in a raw state.
They were of the shape of an egg: some of them were
nearly as large as those of a goose; others were smaller.
Mr. Lewis [149] obligingly caused a few to be boiled.
Their taste most resembled that of a parsnip, but I
thought them much better. I found no vestige of the
plant attached to them, and anxious to ascertain the
species, I succeeded in obtaining information from
the squaws of the route by which they came to the
Fort, and immediately set out on the search. After
much pains I found one of the places where they had
dug the plants, and to my surprise discovered, from
the tops broken off, that the plant was one I was well
acquainted with, having found it even in the vicinity
of St. Louis, where I had first discovered it, and determined it to be a new species of psoralea, which is now
known as psoralea escuienta. On enquiry I was informed that this root is of the greatest importance, not
only to the Indians, but to the hunters, who, in case of
the failure of other food, from the want of success in
hunting, can always support life by resorting to it; and
even when not impelled by want, it cannot but be ex- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
tremely grateful to those who otherwise must exist on
animal food alone, without bread or salt; at least I then
thought it so. I found the country about the Fort, and
especially the bluffs, extremely interesting. It chiefly
consists of argillaceous schistus, and a very tenacious
and indurated yellow clay, exhibiting in many places
the appearance of coal. The land floods from the
country behind the bluffs had cut through them, and
left large [150] bodies of clay standing up, with the
sides perpendicular, and resembling in appearance
towers, or large square buildings, which it was impossible to ascend. The incumbent soil appears to be of
excellent quality, and was at this time covered with fine
grass and a number of beautiful plants. The roots and
specimens of these I collected with the greatest assiduity,
not having yet determined to remain any longer than
until our party returned. I soon found the number to
increase so much, as I lengthened my excursions, that I
resolved to remain at the Fort until Mr. Lisa came up
with his boat, and obtain a passage with him down to
the Aricaras, and this resolution I announced to Mr.
Crooks. The Missouri had overflowed its banks some
time before our arrival, and on receding had left numberless pools in the alluvion. In these the mosquitoes
had been generated in numbers inconceivably great.
In walking it was necessary to have one hand constantly
employed to keep them out of the eyes; and although
a person killed hundreds, thousands were ready to
take their place. At evening the horses collected in a
body round the Fort, waiting until fires were made, to
produce smoke, in which they might stand for protection.   This was regularly done, and a quantity of green
J i56
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
weeds thrown on each fire to increase the smoke.
These fires caused much quarrelling and fighting, each
horse contending for the centre of the smoke, [151] and
the place nearest the fire. In the afternoon we were
visited by She-he-kè, the Mandan chief, who came
dressed in a suit of clothes brought with him from the
United States. He informed us that he had a great
wish to go [to] five with the whites, and that several of
his people, induced by the representations he had made
of the white people's mode of living, had the same
intentions. We were able to converse with She-he-kè
through the medium of Jussum, the interpreter for
the Fort, who was a Frenchman, and had married a
squaw belonging to the second village of the Mine-
tarees, or Gros Ventres Indians.94 As I expressed a
wish to visit the villages, I spoke to Jussum on that subject, who readily consented to accompany me, but informed me that in a day or two there would be a dance
of the squaws, to celebrate the exploits of their husbands, when it was agreed we should go. The Fort
consisted of a square block-house, the lower part of
which was a room for furs : the upper part was inhabited
by Mr. Lewis and some of the hunters belonging to
the establishment.   There were some small outhouses,
91 René Jessaume (Jussomme) was a French Canadian who for many
years had lived among the Minitaree. In 1795 he acted as interpreter for
the North West Company; and again two years later accompanied David
Thompson's brigade. See Coues (éd.), Henry-Thompson Journals, index.
Lewis and Clark employed him during their winter among the Mandan
(r8o4-o5), and he was the interpreter who accompanied the Mandan chief
to Washington. Upon their return up the river (r8o7), Jessaume was
severely wounded, but was restored by careful treatment at St. Louis.
Like most ' ' squaw-men ' ' he was a degraded character, and Henry speaks
of him in opprobrious terms.— Ed.
iJ 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
and the whole was surrounded by a palhsado, or
piquet, about fifteen feet high. I found attached to it
a very pretty garden, in which were peas, beans, sallad,
radishes, and other vegetables, under the care of a gardener, an Irishman, who shewed it to me with much
seh-importance. I praised his management, but expressed [152] my regret that he had no potatoes.
"Oh!" said he, "that does not signify; we can soon
have them; there is plenty just over the way." I did
not think the man was serious; but on mentioning the
circumstance to Mr. Lewis, he told me that there really
were potatoes at an English Fort on the river St. Peter's,
distant only from two to three hundred miles.98
24th.— This morning I was informed by Jussum
that the squaw dance would be performed in the afternoon, and he promised to have horses ready for us by
mid-day. I packed up a few beads for presents, and
spent the fore part of the day in my usual way, but took
a more extended range into the interior from the river,
as the air was calm, having discovered that the mosquitoes remain almost entirely in the valley of the river,
where during calm weather it was nearly impossible to
collect. On the top of a hill, about four miles from
the Fort, I had a fine view of a beautiful valley, caused
by a rivulet, being a branch of Knife River, the declivi-
95 This English post upon St. Peter's (Minnesota) River appears to
have been one founded by the independent traders of Mackinac. Lieutenant Pike met Cameron (1805), who had a post among the Sioux near the
mouth of the Minnesota. Captain T. G. Anderson {Wisconsin Historical
Collections, ix, pp. 158 ff.) describes his wintering station among the Sioux,
upon St. Peter's River about fifty miles above its mouth. All of the Prairie
du Chien traders, including Dickson, traded with the Sioux upon this stream.
The exact location of the post to which Bradbury refers, has not been determined.— Ed.
. : It
I i58
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
it #> •
ties of which abound in a new species of eleagnus, intermixed with a singular procumbent species of cedar
(juniperus.) The branches are entirely prostrate on
the ground, and never rise above the height of a few
inches. The beautiful silvery hue of the first, contrasted with the dark green of the latter, had a most
pleasing [153] effect; and to render the scene more interesting, the small alluvion of the rivulet was so plentifully covered with a species of Hly, (lilium catesbcei) as
to make it resemble a scarlet stripe as far as the eye
could trace it. I returned to the Fort much gratified,
and prepared to accompany Jussum to the dance. On
our approach some fields of Indian corn lay betwixt us
and the village, which I wished to avoid, and proposed
that we should change our route, as the corn was now
nearly a yard high.99 This proposal was absolutely refused by Jussum, and we rode on through the corn till
we came to where some squaws were at work, who
called out to us to make us change our route, but were
soon silenced by Jussum. I suspected that he committed [154] this aggression to show his authority or
99 This is about the full height to which the maize grows in the Upper
Missouri, and^when this circumstance is connected with the quickness
with which it grows and is matured, it is a wonderful instance of the power
given to some plants to accommodate themselves to climate. The latitude
of this place is about forty-seven degrees geographically, but geologically
many degrees colder, arising from its elevation, which must be admitted to
be very considerable, when we consider that it is at a distance of more than
three thousand miles from the ocean by the course of a rapid river. This
plant is certainly the same species of zea that is cultivated within the tropics,
where it usually requires four months to ripen, and rises to the height of
twelve feet. Here ten weeks is sufficient, with a much less degree of heat.
Whether or not this property is more peculiar to plants useful to men, and
given for wise and benevolent purposes, I will not attempt to determine.—
S3r£[   ... ,1
Bradbury's Travels
importance. On our arrival at the village we went
into several of the lodges, which were constructed
exactly in the same form as those of the Aricaras. We
smoked at every lodge, and I found by the bustle among
the women that they were preparing for the dance, as
some of them were putting on their husbands' clothes,
for which purpose they did not retire into a corner, nor
seem in the least discomposed by our presence. In
about half an hour the dance began, which was performed in a circle, the dancers moving round, with
tomahawks in their hands. At intervals they turned
their faces all at once towards the middle of the circle,
and brandished their weapons. After some time one
of them stepped into the centre of the ring, and made
an harangue, frequently brandishing her weapon,
whilst the rest moved round her. I found that the
nature of all the speeches was the same, which was to
boast of the actions of their husbands. One which
made Jussum smile I requested he would interpret.
He briefly informed me, that she had said her husband
had travelled south-west to a country inhabited by
white people, which journey took him twenty days to
perform: that he went to steal horses, and when he
came to the white people's houses, he found one where
the men were gone out, and in which he killed two
women, and stole from them a number of horses. She
corrected [155] herself, by denying that they were
women whom her husband had killed, and the reasons
she assigned to prove they were not, was what caused
Jussum to smile. The dance did not last more than
an hour, and I was informed by Jussum that it would
be followed by a feast of dog's flesh, of which it was
 *=,',::     •
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
expected I should partake. I excused myself by saying I wished to collect some plants, and set out alone.
In my way to the Fort I passed through a small wood,
where I discovered a stage constructed betwixt four
trees, standing very near each other, and to which the
stage was attached, about ten feet from the ground.
On this stage was laid the body of an Indian, wrapt
in a buffalo robe. As the stage was very narrow, I
could see all that was upon it without much trouble.
It was the body of a man, and beside it there lay a bow
and quiver with arrows, a tomahawk, and a scalping
knife. There were a great number of stages erected
about a quarter of a mile from the village, on which
the dead bodies were deposited, which, for fear of giving offence, I avoided; as I found, that although it is
the custom of these people thus to expose the dead
bodies of their ancestors, yet they have in a very high
degree that veneration for their remains which is a
characteristic of the American Indians.97 I arrived
at the Fort about sunset. Soon afterwards we heard
the report of a swivel down the river, which caused us
all to run [156] out, and soon saw the boat belonging to
Mr. Lisa turning a point about two miles below us.
We returned the salute, but he did not arrive that
night, as the side on which we were, to within half a
mile of the Fort, consisted of high perpendicular
bluffs, and his men were too much exhausted to reach
us by the river.
25th.— This morning I had the pleasure of again
meeting Mr. Brackenridge, and of finding that it was
97 For a further account of burial customs among the Mandan, see Smithsonian Report, 1885, part ii, pp. 276-278, 420, 42t.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
the intention of Mr. Lisa to stay at least a fortnight at
the Fort. I was very glad to have so good an opportunity of examining this interesting country. I received by the hands of Mr. Brackenridge some small
articles for trade, which I had delivered to him at the
Aricaras. This enabled me to reward the gardener
for his civility in offering me a place in the garden where
I could deposit my living plants, and of this I availed
myself during my stay.
27th.— The business relative to the horses having
been arranged betwixt Mr. Lisa and Mr. Crooks, he
set out early this morning on his return to the Aricara
nation; and as he was not without his fears that the
Gros Ventres Indians, headed by Le Borgne, or One
Eyed, would attempt to rob him of his horses, he determined to proceed with as much celerity as we had
travelled to the Fort, [157] and kept his departure as
secret as possible. I was much pleased to see this chief
at the Fort in a few hours afterwards, being satisfied
that Mr. Crooks was now out of his reach. As it may
give some idea of the tyrannic sway with which the
chiefs sometimes govern these children of nature, I
shall relate an instance of cruelty and oppression practised by this villain. He had a wish to possess the wife
of a young warrior of his tribe, who was esteemed
beautiful. She resisted his offers, and avoided him.
He took the opportunity of the absence of her husband,
and carried her off forcibly. The husband was informed on his return of the transaction, and went to the
lodge of Le Borgne to claim his wife. The monster
killed him. The young man had no father: his mother
only was living, and he was her only son.   The shock
m IÔ2
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
deprived her of reason, and she reviles the wretch
whenever she meets him, and often seeks him to procure the opportunity of doing so. Even amongst those
we term savages, the horror which the deed has occasioned is so great, and the pity which the situation of
the poor maniac has excited so prevailing, that he dares
not kill her. How much then ought Christians to
detest a similar deed. He has a most savage and ferocious aspect, and is of large stature. He is chief of one
of the villages of the Minetarees, or, as the French call
them, Gros Ventres, and assumes a dominion over
both, although [158] there are several other chiefs. It
is stated by Mr. Lewis that the two villages or bands can
raise six hundred warriors, but the number at this
time is probably much less. The object of this wretch
in visiting the Fort was to make professions of friendship, and to obtain a present. Mr. Lisa knew very
well the value of his professions, but, notwithstanding,
he gave him some, with which he appeared satisfied.98
28th.— Having selected some silver ornaments which
I purposed presenting to She-he-kè, Mr. Brackenridge
agreed to accompany me to the Mandan village. We
obtained horses from Mr. Lewis for the journey, and
about ten o'clock set off. We crossed Knife River
at the lower of the Minetaree villages, and paid the
accustomed price to the squaw who ferried us over;
98 The reputation here given Le Borgne, the giant chief of the Minitaree,
is fully borne out by the reports of other traders and travellers. Henry
speaks of him as "an astute and atrocious savage," and gives incidents of
his ferocity similar to those cited by Bradbury. He also represents him as
a successful diplomat, and as being composed and deliberate in the midst
of trying circumstances. Lewis and Clark, as they returned down the
river (1806), sought to propitiate this influential chieftain by presenting him
with their swivel gun. The tradition is, that he was killed by a rival chief,
Red Shield.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
which was, for each of us, three balls and three charges
of powder. Before we left the village, we were invited
into the lodge belonging to the White Wolf, one of the
chiefs of this village, with whom we smoked.99 I was
surprised to observe that his squaw and one of his
children had brown hair, although their skins did not
appear to be lighter coloured than the rest of the tribe.
As the woman appeared to be above forty years of
age, it is almost certain that no intercourse had taken
place betwixt these people and the whites at the time
she was born. I should have been less [159] surprised
at the circumstance had they been one of those tribes
who change their places of residence; but they have
not even a tradition of having resided in any other
place than where the present village stands. The
White Wolf appeared to be much pleased with our visit,
and by signs invited us to call at bis lodge whenever we
came that way. He shook hands very cordially with
us at parting. In our way to the Mandans we passed
through the small village belonging to the Ahwah-
haways, consisting of not more than eighteen or twenty
lodges. This nation can scarcely muster fifty warriors,
and yet they carry on an offensive war against the Snake
and Flathead Indians.100 On our arrival at the Mandans, She-he-kè, as before, came to the door of his
99 This Minitaree chief would seem to be the one called by Lewis and
Clark, "Wolf Man Chief," a son of the famous Choke Cherry. Henry
calls him "Chief of the Wolves," and describes his exploits. See Henry-
Thompson Journals (Coues's éd.), pp. 368-370.— Ed.
100 The Ahnahaways were called by the French Gens de Soulier, and
by the Mandan, Wattasoons (Wetersoons). They were kindred to the
Minitaree, claiming to be an offshoot of the Crows. A separate tribal
organization was maintained by them until about 1836, when they merged
into the Hidatsa. Their village was on the present site of Stanton, Mercer
County, North Dakota.— Ed.
I   I
;1 w
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
lodge, and said, "come in house." We had scarcely
entered when he looked earnestly at us, and said,
"whiskey." In this we could not gratify him, as we
had not thought of bringing any. I presented the silver
ornaments to him, with which he seemed much pleased,
and after smoking we were feasted with a dish consisting
of jerked buffalo meat, corn, and beans boiled together.
I mentioned to him my wish to purchase some mocka-
sons, and he sent out into the village to inform the
squaws, who flocked into the lodge in such numbers,
and with so plentiful a supply, that I could not buy a
tenth part of them. I furnished myself with a dozen
pair at a cheap rate, for which I gave a little vermillion,
[160] or rather red lead, and a few strings of blue beads.
During our stay, She-he-kè pointed to a little boy in
the lodge, whom we had not before noticed, and gave
us to understand that his father was one of the party
that accompanied Mr. Lewis, and also indicated the
individual. On our return we crossed Knife River at
the upper village of the Minetarees. The old squaw
who brought the canoe to the opposite side of the river,
to fetch us over, was accompanied by three young
squaws, apparently about fourteen or fifteen years of
age, who came over in the canoe, and were followed
by an Indian, who swam over to take care of our horses.
When our saddles were taken off, and put into the
canoe, Mr. Brackenridge and myself stepped in, and
were followed by the old squaw, when the three young
ones instantly stripped, threw their clothes into the
canoe, and jumped into the river. We had scarcely
embarked before they began to practice on us a number
of mischievous tricks.    The slow progress which the
—- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
canoe made enabled them to swim round us frequently,
sometimes splashing us, then seizing hold of the old
squaw's paddle, who tried in vain to strike them with
it; at other times they would pull the canoe in such a
manner as to change the direction of its course; at length
they all seized hold of the hind part, and hung to it.
The old squaw called out to the Indian that was following our horses, who immediately swam down to our
[161] assistance, and soon relieved us from our frolick-
some tormentors, by plunging them successively over
head, and holding them for a considerable time under
water. After some time they all made their escape
from him, by diving and swimming in different directions. On landing, by way of retaliation, we seized
their clothes, which caused much laughing betwixt
the squaw and the Indian. We had many invitations
to stay and smoke; but as it was near sunset, and we
had seven miles to ride, they excused us.
29th and 30th.— I continued adding to my stock,
and the latter day observed a vein of fine coal, about
eighteen inches thick, in the perpendicular bluff below
the Fort. On shewing specimens of it to some of the
hunters in the Fort, they assured me that higher up the
river it was a very common substance, and that there
were places in which it was on fire. As pumice is
often found floating down the Missouri, I made frequent inquiries of the hunters if any volcano existed on
the river or its branches, but could not procure from
them any information that would warrant such a conclusion. It is probable, therefore, that this pumice
stone proceeds from these burning coal beds.
1st July.— I extended my researches up the river,
l h
ft 166
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
along the foot of the bluffs; and when at [162] the distance of three or four miles from the Fort, and in the
act of digging up some roots, I was surprised by an
Indian, who was within a few yards of me before I
perceived him. He had a short gun on his shoulder,
and came close to me. He shewed me by signs that
he knew very well I was collecting those roots and
plants for medicine, and laying hold of my shirt, made
the motion usual when traffic or exchange is proposed.
It consists in crossing the two fore fingers one over the
other alternately. On his pointing to a little distance
from us, I perceived a squaw coming up, followed by
two dogs, each of which drew a sledge, containing some
mockasons and other small articles. The signs which
he afterwards made were of a nature not to be misunderstood, and implied a wish to make a certain exchange
for my shirt, wherein the squaw would have been the
temporary object of barter. To this proposition I did
not accede, but replied, in the Osage language, honkoska
(no) which he seemed to understand, and immediately
took hold of my belt, which was of scarlet worsted,
worked with blue and white beads, and repeated his
proposition, but with the same success. After looking
at me fiercely for a few moments, he took his gun from
his shoulder, and said in French, sacre crapaud, which
was also repeated by the squaw. As I had foreseen
that he would be offended at my refusal, I took care, on
the first movement [163] which he made with his gun,
to be beforehand with him, by placing my hand on the
lock of mine, which I held presented to him. In this
situation we gradually withdrew from each other, until
he disappeared with his squaw and the dogs. "*!
Bradbury's Travels
2nd.— Mr. Brackenridge and I made an excursion
into the interior from the river, and found nothing interesting but what has already been noticed, excepting
some bodies of argillaceous schist, parts of which had
a columnar appearance. They were lying in a horizontal position, and resembled in some degree the
bodies of trees.
4th.— This day being the anniversary of the independence of the United States, Mr. Lisa invited us to
dine on board of his boat, which was accepted by
Messrs. Brackenridge, Lewis, Nuttall, and myself;
and as Le Borgne and the Black Shoe, the two Mine-
taree chiefs, called at the Fort before dinner, they were
invited also. They ate with moderation, and behaved
with much propriety, seeming studiously to imitate
the manners of white people. After dinner Mr. Lisa
gave to each of them a glass of whiskey, which they
drank without any hesitation; but on having swallowed
it, they laid their hands on their stomachs, and exhibited
such distortion of features, as to render it impossible to
forbear laughing. As Jussum was present, I asked
[164] him the meaning of some words which they spoke
to each other, who informed me that they called the
whiskey fire water.
Mr. Lisa having announced to us his intention to
depart on the 6th for the Aricaras, I employed myself
during the 5th in packing up carefully my collection,
and on the morning of the 6th we set out. Our progress down the river was very rapid, as it was still in
a high state. We did not land until evening, after making in the course of the day more than one hundred
miles.    In the evening and during the night the mos-
ft i»
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
quitoes were exceedingly troublesome, which rendered
it almost impossible to sleep.
7th.— We passed Cannon-ball River about ten
o'clock, and stopped a short time at its mouth, where I
noticed and procured some additional specimens. In the
evening I had the pleasure of meeting my former companions, and was rejoiced to find that Mr. Crooks arrived safely with the horses, and that Mr. Hunt had
now obtained nearly eighty in all. Soon after my arrival, Mr. Hunt informed me of his intention to depart
from the Aricaras shortly. I therefore purposed returning down the river; and as the Canadians would
not be permitted to take their trunks, or, as they termed
them, their caisettes, by land, I purchased [165] from
them seventeen, in which I intended to arrange my living specimens, having now collected several thousands.
It had been a custom with us to keep a guard round
our camp during the night, since our arrival at the
Aricaras. Four of the party were stationed for this
purpose until midnight, and were then relieved by four
others, who remained on guard until morning. On
the morning of the 10th, at day-break, some Indians
came to our camp from the village, among whom was
my friend the young warrior. As I happened to be
on guard, he came to me, and by signs invited me to
go and breakfast with him. Whilst we were sitting
together, he suddenly jumped up, and pointed to the
bluffs, at the distance of three or four miles down the
river. On looking, I observed a numerous crowd of
Indians. He gave me to understand that it was a war
party on their return, and immediately ran to the
village.   In a few minutes the tops of the lodges were 1809-1811] Bradbury's Travels 169
crowded with Indians, who appeared much agitated.
Soon after an Indian gallopped past our camp, who I
understood was a chief. In a few minutes afterwards
parties began to come out of the village, on then-
way to meet the warriors, or rather to join them,
as it is the custom for a war party to wait at a distance
from the village, when a victory has been gained,
that their friends may join in the parade of a triumphal entry; and on such occasions all their [166] finery
and decorations are displayed : some time also is requisite to enable the warriors at home and their friends
to paint themselves, so as to appear with proper' eclat.
During the time that elapsed before the arrival of the
procession, I walked into the village, where a universal
stillness prevailed. No business seemed to be going on,
excepting the preparing of something for the warriors
to eat on their return. The squaws were thus employed
in all the lodges into which I entered,101 and I noticed
that not one of the poor creatures seemed in the least
solicitous about her own person; as they are [167] too
1011 noticed over their fires much larger vessels of earthenware than any
I had before seen, and was permitted to examine them. They were sufficiently hardened by the fire to cause them to emit a sonorous tone on being
struck, and in all I observed impressions on the outside, seemingly made by
wicker work. This led me to enquire of them by signs how they were made ?
when a squaw brought a basket, and took some clay, which she began to
spread very evenly within it, shewing me at the same time that they were
made in that way. From the shape of these vessels, they must be under
the necessity of burning the basket to disengage them, as they are wider
at the bottom than at the top. I must here remark, that at the Great Salt
Lick, or Saline, about twenty miles from the mouth of the Wabash, vast
quantities of Indian earthenware are found, on which I have observed impressions exactly similar to those here mentioned. From the situation of
these heaps of fragments, and their proximity to the salt works, I am decidedly of opinion that the Indians practised the art of evaporating the brine,
to make salt, before the discovery of America.— Bradbury. 7°
Early Western Travels
insignificant to be thought an appendage to a triumph.
It was near the middle of the day before the procession
came in sight, when I went to meet it, in order that my
view might be prolonged. A number of the old men
and squaws were also moving down from the town to
meet it. At the head of the procession were four
standard bearers, followed by a band of warriors on
foot; after which came a party on horseback: to these
succeeded two of the principal chiefs, betwixt whom
was a young warrior, who I understood had been severely wounded. Then came two other standard bearers,
who were succeeded by another band of foot and horse;
this order was observed until the four bands of which
the party consisted had passed. They were about
three hundred in number: each man carried a shield;
a few were armed with guns, some with bows,102 and
102 The bows are short, but strong. Those which are esteemed the best,
are made of the horns of the animal called by the French gros corne. This
animal inhabits the Rocky Mountains, and is gregarious. All who have seen
it, represent its agility in leaping from rock to rock as one of the most surprising thingsjthey ever beheld. The Americans call it the mountain sheep; but
the probability is that it belongs to the genus antelope. The horns are
exceedingly large for the size of the animal. The bows are made of three
pieces, very neatly joined together by a long splice, and wound round with
sinew in a very exact manner. The next in value, and but little inferior, are
made of a yellow wood, from a tree which grows on Red River, and perhaps on
the Arkansas. This wood is called bois jaune, or bois d'arc. I do not
think the tree has yet been described, unless it has been found lately in
Mexico. I have seen two trees of this species in the garden of Pierre Chouteau, in St. Louis, and found that it belongs to the class dioecia; but both of
the trees being females, I could not determine the genus. The fruit is as
large as an apple, and is rough on the outside. It bleeds an acrid milky
juice when wounded, and is called by the hunters the Osage orange. The
price of a bow made from this wood at the Aricaras is a horse and a blanket.
Many of the war clubs are made of the same kind of wood, and have the
blade of a knife, or some sharp instrument, fastened at the end, and projecting from four to six inches, forming a right angle with the club.—: Brad-
bttry. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
others with war clubs. [168] They were painted in
a manner that seemed as if they had studied to make
themselves hideous. Many of them had the mark
which indicates that they had drunk the blood of an
enemy. This mark is made by rubbing the hand all
over with vermillion, and by laying it on the mouth, it
leaves a complete impression on the face, which is
designed to resemble and indicate a bloody hand.
With every band some scalps were carried, elevated on
long sticks; but it was easy to perceive, on a close examination, that the scalps had been divided, to increase
the apparent number. The enemy that were killed
we suppose did not exceed in number seven or eight,
and they had themselves lost two, so that this engagement had not been a very bloody one. As the body
approached the town, the squaws and old men met
them, and, excepting the lamentations [169] of those
whose relatives had been killed or wounded, the expressions of joy became general, but without disturbing
in the least the order of the procession. I walked into
the village, which assumed a busy air. On the entrance
of the party, the warriors were conducted to the different lodges, that they might refresh themselves; and the
old men went among them, shaking hands with some,
and seemingly bestowing praises on others, who had
conducted themselves well in the battle. As the time
fixed on for the departure of Mr. Hunt and his party
by land was now approaching, I quitted this scene of
festivity, in order to resume my employment, and
returned to the camp, where I found the party busily
employed in preparing for their departure, by parching
and grinding corn, mixing it with sugar, and putting
mm 172
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
1 ",";■■
mm m
it in bags. I now learned that the three men who had
promised to accompany me down the river had changed
their minds, and on account of the now determined and
inveterate hostility of the Sioux, they could not be prevailed on to venture, although I made them liberal
offers. Two of them had determined to join the expedition : the other, Amos Richardson, was very anxious to
descend the river, four years having elapsed since he
had seen the house of a white man; but we two would
not have been sufficient to navigate the boat. Notwithstanding this I commenced filling the caisettes
with plants, and placed them in my [170] boat, and in
the evening again walked up to the village, where I
met Mr. Brackenridge, who had amused himself during
the afternoon by attending to the proceedings consequent on the return of the war party. I was also met
by my friend the young warrior, who invited me into
his lodge, and repeated his request that I would be his
guest during my stay. I gave him a few yards of printed
calico and some gunpowder. In return he pressed me
to accept a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Whilst we
were smoking, his sister prepared some buffalo meat
with hominy, of which we ate, and after shaking hands
with him, I joined Mr. Brackenridge. In the village
all kind of labour among the women was suspended:
the old men were going from lodge to lodge, probably
enquiring the particulars of the engagement, and bestowing praises on those who had behaved well. The
tops and entrances of the lodges were adorned with the
shields and arms of the warriors, and all seemed joy
and festivity, with the exception of those squaws who
were mourning the loss of the killed.   It may not be 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
amiss to observe that these people had more reason to
rejoice for this victory, than many European nations
have had for those of infinitely more importance in appearance. For although it had not been attended with
so much bloodshed as some battles in Europe have, yet
it had for the present driven away an enemy, who
[171] for two or three weeks had been hovering round,
and threatened us all with starvation. This enemy
is the oldest and the most implacable they have, and
has already succeeded so far in effecting their extermination, that they are reduced from composing ten
large tribes to their present number. These miscreants
have been constantly their oppressors, and rob and
murder them sometimes with impunity. The present
number which the two villages contain is estimated at
two thousand, and the warriors at five hundred, but I
think it overrated. They are derived from the Panies,
and are stout and well built. The men go mostly naked
in summer, and when disposed to make use of a covering, it consists of only a part of a buffalo skin thrown
over the shoulders, with a hole for the right arm to
pass through. This can be thrown off in an instant.
They scarcely ever appear without arms beyond the
limits of the town. As the nature of the country renders it necessary that they should pursue their game
on horseback, frequent practice renders them not only
good horsemen, but also teaches them to handle their
bows and strike an object with precision with their arrows, when at full speed. They chiefly subsist on the
buffalo, and when a herd is discovered, a considerable
number of the hunters dispose themselves in a manner
so as to approach as near as possible unperceived by
1 «as i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
them. This must always be done [172] with due
regard to the direction of the wind, on account of the
exquisite degree in which this animal possesses the
sense of smelling. The instant they are perceived by the
herd, they dash in amongst them, each singling out one.
The horse is taught to understand and obey the wishes
of his rider, although conveyed to him by the slightest
movement. When he has overtaken a buffalo, he does
not offer to pass it, but continues at an even pace until
the arrow is discharged, when the rider singles out another immediately, if he thinks the first arrow has
effected his purpose. If the horse has sufficient strength
and wind to enable his rider to kill three buffaloes, he
is held in great estimation. None of these would be
sold by the Aricaras to Mr. Hunt. After the horses
are out of breath, they pursue the wounded animals at
leisure, as they separate from the herd on being wounded, and are soon left behind from weakness, occasioned
by loss of blood. To produce a more copious discharge,
the heads of the arrows designed to be used in hunting
are much broader than those intended for war. The
heads of both are flat, and of the form of an isosceles triangle; the length of the two equal sides is three times
that of the base.103 [173] In neither does the shaft of
the arrow fill up the wound which the head has made;
but the shaft of the hunting arrow is fluted, to promote
a still greater discharge of blood. On these occasions
they often kill many more than they can possibly dispose of, and it has already been observed that hunting
103 Before the Indians had any intercourse with the whites, they made
the heads of their arrows of flint or horn stone. They now purchase them
from the traders, who cut them from rolled iron or from hoops.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
parties are frequently followed by wolves, which profit
by this wanton destruction.
The Aricaras do not provide for their horses any
better than the other nations of the Missouri. They
cut down the cotton wood, (jtopulus angulosa) and the
horses feed on the bark and smaller branches. I have
seen instances exhibiting proofs that these poor animals
have eaten branches two inches in diameter. The
women, as is the custom with Indians, do all the drudgery, and are excellent cultivators. I have not seen, even
in the United States, any crop of Indian corn in finer
order, or better managed, than the corn about these
villages. They also cultivate squashes, beans, and the
small species of tobacco (nicotiana rustica.) The only
implement of husbandry used by them is the hoe. Of
these implements they were so destitute before our
arrival, that I saw several of the squaws hoeing their
corn with the blade bone of a buffalo, ingeniously fixed
in a stick for that purpose.
I am not acquainted with any customs peculiar [174]
to this nation, except that of having a sacred lodge
in the centre of the largest village. This is called the
Medicine Lodge, and in one particular corresponds
with the sanctuary of the Jews, as no blood is on any
account whatsoever to be spilled within it, not even
that of an enemy; nor is any one, having taken refuge
there, to be forced from it. This lodge is also the
general place of deposit for such things as they devote to
the Father of Ufe: but it does not seem absolutely
necessary that every thing devoted shall be deposited
here; for one of the chiefs, availing himself of this
regulation, devoted his horse, or, in their mode of ex
■( 1 ;:/©
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
pressing it, "gave it to his medicine," after which he
could not, according to their rules, give him away.
This exempted him, in respect to that particular object,
from the tax which custom lays on the chiefs of this
nation and most of the other nations. This will be
explained by stating that generosity, or rather an indifference for self, forms here a necessary qualification
in a chief. The desire to acquire and possess more
than others, is thought a passion too ignoble for a brave
man: it often happens, therefore, that a chief is the poorest man in the community.
In respect to their general policy as regards property,
they seem to have correct ideas amongst themselves of
the meum and tuum; and when the [175] generally
thievish character of those we call savages is considered,
the Indians of the Missouri are superlatively honest
towards strangers. I never heard of a single instance
of a white man being robbed, or having any thing stolen
from him in an Indian village. It is true, that when
they find white men trapping for beaver on the grounds
which they claim, they often take from them the furs
they have collected, and beat them severely with their
wiping sticks; but so far is this from being surprising,
that it is a wonder they do not kill them, or take away
their rifles.
The chief part of their riches consists in horses, many
of which are obtained from the nations southwest of
them, as the Chayennes, Poncars, Panies, &c. who
make predatory excursions into Mexico, and steal horses
from the Spaniards. A considerable number of those
bought from the Aricaras were branded, and were 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
doubtless brought from Mexico, as the Indians do not
practice branding.
There is nothing relating to the Indians so difficult
to understand as their religion. They believe in a
Supreme Being, in a future state, and in supernatural
agency. Of the Great Spirit they do not pretend to
give any account, but believe him to be the author and
giver of all good. They believe in bad spirits, but seem
to consider them rather [176] as little wicked beings,
who can only gratify their malignity by driving away
the game, preventing the efficacy of medicine, or such
petty mischief. The belief in a future state seems to
be general, as it extends even to the Nodowessies or
Sioux, who are the furthest removed from civilization,
and who do not even cultivate the soil. It is known,
that frequently when an Indian has shot down his enemy, and is preparing to scalp him, with the tomahawk
uplifted to give the fatal stroke, he will address him in
words to this effect: "My name is Cashegra. I am a
famous warrior, and am now going to kill you. When
you arrive at the land of spirits, you will see the ghost
of my father; tell him it was Cashegra that sent you
there.' '   He then gives the blow.
In respect to laws, I could never find that any code
is established, or that any crime against society becomes
a subject of inquiry amongst the chiefs, excepting cowardice or murder. The last is, for the most part, punished with death, and the nearest of kin is deputed by
the council to act the part of executioner. In some
tribes, I am told, this crime may be commuted. It
scarcely requires to be observed, that chastity in females
«t mm
Ri  m>
Early Western Travels
[Vol. s
is not a virtue, nor that a deviation from it is considered
a crime, when sanctioned by the consent of their husbands, fathers, or brothers: but in some tribes, [177]
as the Potowatomies, Saukies, Foxes, &c. the breach
of it, without the consent of the husband, is punished
severely, as he may bite off the nose of his squaw if she
is found guilty.
No people on earth discharge the duties of hospitality
with more cordial good-will than the Indians. On entering a lodge I was always met by the master, who first
shook hands with me, and immediately looked for his
pipe : before he had time to light it, a bear-skin, or that
of a buffalo, was spread for me to sit on, although they
sat on the bare ground. When the pipe was lighted, he
smoked a few whiffs, and then handed it to me; after
which it went round to all the men in the lodge. Whilst
this was going on, the squaw prepared something to eat,
which, when ready, was placed before me on the ground.
The squaw, in some instances, examined my dress, and
in particular my mockasons: if any repair was wanting,
she brought a small leather bag, in which she kept her
awls and split sinew, and put it to rights. After conversing as well as we could by signs, if it was near night,
I was made to understand that a bed was at my service; and in general this offer was accompanied by that
of a bedfellow.
The two men, Jones and Carson, whom we met
descending the Missouri on the 22nd of May, had
[178] remained with the Aricaras during the winter, and
on our return, Carson was desirous of rewarding the
Indian with whom he had boarded during that period.
For that purpose he obtained some articles from Mr. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
Hunt, and offered them to the savage, who refused to
accept them, and as a reason for it, observed, that
"Carson was poorer than himself."
I breakfasted with Mr. Lisa the day following, and
found that he intended to send two of the boats purchased from Mr. Hunt to St. Louis, with skins and
furs, and that Mr. Brackenridge purposed to descend
with them. I knew also that in a week our party
would take their departure for the Pacific Ocean.
Messrs. Hunt, Crooks, and M'Kenzie invited me to
go to the Pacific, and in the first instance I was inclined
to accept the invitation; but finding that they could not
assure me of a passage from thence to the United States
by sea, or even to China, and considering also that I
must sacrifice my present collection by adopting that
measure, and that in passingj over the Rocky Mountains, I should probably be unable to preserve or carry
my specimens, I declined. There was now something
of uncertainty whether Mr. Lisa would return to St.
Louis in autumn, or remain during the winter.
On duly weighing all these circumstances, I resolved
to return in the boats which were intended [179] to be
dispatched down the river, although it did not exactly
suit my views, as I had noticed a great number of
species of plants on the river, that, from the early state
of the season, could not then be collected advantageously. These I had reserved for my descent; but as no
man would accompany me but Richardson, I applied
to Mr. Lisa, informing him of my wish to descend in
his boats; and on consideration of being permitted to
land at certain places which I pointed out, I offered to
give him my boat as a compensation.   To this he readi-
«Il «ait
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
ly agreed, and I commenced preparing for my departure.
It had been a matter of surprise to me on my return
from Fort Mandan, to find plenty of fresh buffalo meat
in our camp, although the fear of the Sioux had not yet
subsided. On enquiry, I found that Mr. Hunt had
hit upon an expedient which proved successful. This
was to dispatch a boat up the river in the night to some
miles distant, which afforded an opportunity to the
hunters to procure food. This boat returned with a
plentiful supply, and secured the party from starving,
as a considerable portion of the Indian dogs were already consumed. I was not less surprised on learning
that at least two-thirds of our Canadians had experienced unpleasant consequences from their intercourse
with the squaws, notwithstanding which [180] the traffic
before mentioned continued. I had been informed
by Jones and Carson of the existence of this evil, but
found it was of the mildest description, and that here,
where the natives do not use spirituous liquors nor
salt, it is not feared. I found some of the Canadians
digging up roots, with which I understood they made a
decoction, and used it as a drink. They mostly preferred the roots of rudbeckia purpurea, and sometimes
they used those of houstonia longifolia.
This morning a circumstance came to our knowledge
which gave serious alarm to Mr. Hunt and the leaders
of the party. During the night a cask of gunpowder
belonging to me had been stolen from amongst the baggage, and from the security of our situation, and the precautions we had' taken, it was impossible the Indians
could have stolen it.    Our camp was situated immedi-
— 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
ately on the bank of the river; the tents, together with
the men sleeping in their blankets, surrounded the baggage, and four men were constantly on guard during the
night, walking round the camp in sight of each other.
I had been on guard in the fore part of the night, and
Mr. Crooks on the latter watch. No collusion could
therefore be suspected; these and other circumstances
concurred in producing a belief that some of the party
intended to desert, and on examination I found that
one of my trunks had been [181] opened, and a pistol,
some flints, my belt, and a few shirts, taken out. In
confirmation of our opinions, John Day, one of the
hunters,104 informed Mr. Hunt of his having overheard
some of the Canadians murmuring at the fatigues they
had already undergone, and expressing an opinion that
they should all be murdered in the journey they were
going to undertake. As the safety of the party depended, in a great measure, on its strength, a diminution in
the number, if considerable, might therefore defeat the
enterprize; a search was made in all the neighbourhood of the camp, and even in the bank of the river, but
104 John Day was a Virginia backwoodsman who had hunted some time
on the Missouri, and had been in Crooks's employ. He joined the overland
Astorian party at their winter quarters on the Nodaway. Upon the outward
journey Day and Crook were left behind, being robbed and stripped by the
Indians on the Columbia. They were rescued and carried to Astoria by
Robert Stuart's party. Day started to return with the overland party in
1813, but was taken violently insane, and attempted his own life. He
was sent back to Astoria, where Irving says that he died the following year.
There is evidence, however, that he joined the North West Company and
lived until 1819. See Ross, Adventures of the First Settlers on the Columbia, comprising vol. vii of the present series. Two rivers in Oregon are
named for this traveller — a small creek in the western part of the state,
flowing into the Columbia, and a large affluent of the latter in eastern
Oregon.— Ed.
•/11 14
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
Rvir  /|
without effect. As my boat might facihtate a desertion, I caused it to be removed to Mr. Lisa's camp, who
moored it in safety with his own boats; and I employed
myself, for the remainder of the day, in filling some
On account of my constant attention to plants, and
being regularly employed in collecting, I was considered as the physician of the party by all the nations
we saw; and generally the medicine men amongst them
sought my acquaintance. This day, the doctor, whom
Mr. Brackenridge and I saw in the upper village, and
who showed me his medicine bag, came to examine my
plants. I found he understood a few French words,
such as bon, mal, &c. I presented him with some small
ornaments of silver, with which he appeared to be very
much [182] pleased, and requested me to go to his lodge
and smoke with him. When I entered, he spread a
fine new buffalo robe for me to sit on, and showed
me that it was a present, which he wished me to accept.
I smoked with him, and regretted much that we could
only converse by signs, and he seemed also to feel the
same regret. He showed me a quantity of a plant
lately gathered, and by signs informed me that it cured
the cholic. It was a new species of amorpha. I returned to the camp, accompanied by the doctor, who
very politely carried the buffalo robe for me.
On the 17th I took leave of my worthy friends, Messrs.
Hunt, Crooks, and M'Kenzie, whose kindness and
attention to me had been such as to render the parting
painful; and I am happy in having this opportunity of
testifying my gratitude and respect for them: throughout the whole voyage, every indulgence was given me,
II 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
that was consistent with their duty, and the general
safety. Mr. Lisa had loaded two boats with skins
and furs, in each of which were six men. Mr. Brackenridge, Amos Richardson, and myself were passengers.
On passing our camp, Mr. Hunt caused the men to
draw up in a line, and give three cheers, which we returned; and we soon lost sight of them, as we moved at
the rate of about nine miles per hour. I now found,
to my great surprise, that Mr. Lisa [183] had instructed
Mr. Brackenridge not, on any account, to stop in the
day, but if possible, to go night and day. As this
measure would deprive me of all hopes of adding to my
collection any of the plants lower down the river, and
was directly contrary to our agreement, I was greatly
mortified and chagrined ; and although I found that Mr.
Brackenridge felt sensibly for my disappointment, yet
I could not expect that he would act contrary to the
directions given by Lisa: I had in consequence the mortification during the day, of passing a number of plants
that may probably remain unknown for ages.
Our descent was very rapid, and the day remarkably
fine; we had an opportunity, therefore, of considering
the river more in its tout ensemble than in our ascent,
and the changes of scenery came upon us with a succession so quick, as to keep the eye and the mind continually employed. We soon came in sight of the
bluffs which border the Chayenne River, stretching as
far as the eye could reach, and visible only through the
low intervals in those bordering the Missouri. Before
night we passed the Chayenne, and during a few moments had a view of its stream, for two or three miles
above its junction with the Missouri.   It is one of the
1 wraîll
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
largest rivers that falls into it, being at least four hundred yards wide at its mouth, and [184] navigable to a
great distance. The banks appear to be more steep'
than those of the Missouri, and are clothed with trees
to the water's edge. On both sides of the river we saw
numberless herds of buffaloes, grazing in tranquillity,
some of them not a quarter of a mile from us when we
passed them. We continued under way until late in
the evening, and encamped on an island ; a measure we
determined to pursue when practicable, as we knew
that to fall into the hands of the Sioux would be certain
death. |§
18th.— We set out early, and continued under way
during the whole of the day without interruption, and
encamped on Great Cedar Island, where a French
trader, named L'Oiselle, formerly had a post or trading
house.105 This inland is about two miles in length,
and chiefly covered with very fine cedar, and some rose
and currant bushes, considerably overrun with vines,
on which some of the grapes were already changing
19th.— In the early part of the day we arrived at the
upper part of the Great Bend, and continued to see innumerable herds of buffaloes on both sides of the river.
I now found that although our patron, or steersman, who
conducted the first boat, and directed our motions, was
determined to obey strictly the orders of Lisa as regard-
105 This post, commonly known as Fort aux Cèdres, and situated upon
an island about thirty miles below Pierre, in Hughes County, South Dakota,
was probably the earliest upon the upper Missouri. Lewis and Clark
noted it in 1804.
Registre Loisel came to St. Louis in 1793 under the Spanish regime, and
entered the fur-trade.   He died in 1804, and his fort was abandoned.— Ed.
SBn- 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
ed expedition, [185] yet from his timidity I had some
hope of opportunities to collect.
Before we entirely passed the Great Bend a breeze
arose, which ruffled the surface of the river: He put
ashore, not daring to proceed, and we lay to during the
remainder of the day, having descended about two hundred and eighty miles in two days and a half. I determined not to lose this opportunity to add a few species
to my collection, and was accompanied in my excursion by Mr. Brackenridge, who employed himself in
keeping a good look out for fear of a surprise by the
Sioux, a precaution necessary to my safety, as the nature
of my employment kept me for the most part in a stooping posture. The track of land which is inclosed in the
Bend probably contains about forty square miles,
nearly level, and the soil excellent. It was at this
time covered with fine grass and scattered groves of
trees, betwixt which many herds of buffaloes were quietly
grazing: we did not wish to disturb them, for fear of
thereby enabling the Sioux to discover us.
20th.— About nine o'clock we discovered some
buffaloes grazing near the edge of the river, about half
a mile below us, and in such a position that we might
apparently approach very near them without being discovered. We landed a little above [186] them, and approached within about sixty yards, when four of the
party fired. It appeared that two were wounded, one
of which fled towards the river, into which it plunged,
and was immediately pursued by one of the boats,
whilst the party ashore followed the other, among whom
I ran, but I was much less intent on obtaining the
buffalo, than on procuring some plants which I knew ffî
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
were to be had on the bluffs, and actually succeeded.
In about half an hour the party gave up the pursuit,
being unsuccessful, and returned discouraged to the
place where they had left me. But as I had not
gone over the bluffs, and had observed what had
passed in the river, I gave them the pleasing intelligence that the boat had overtaken the other buffalo,
and that the men were now employed in dragging
the carcase ashore. We soon joined them, and in
a few minutes the animal was skinned and cut up.
It was by much the fattest we had seen, and the
tallow it contained was very considerable.10*
[187] We soon passed White River, which is inferior
both in magnitude and beauty to the Chayenne, if we
may judge from its mouth, where it is not more than
three hundred yards wide. Soon after we passed the
river, we saw a buffalo running over the bluff towards
the Missouri, which put us on our guard, as we considered it a certain indication of Indians being near.
Immediately below the river the vast vein of iron ore
commences which has been before mentioned. I
again noticed its exact conformity on both sides of the
river, in point of elevation and thickness of the vein.
As the evening approached we noticed a succession
of flashes of lightning, just appearing over the bluffs,
on the opposite side of the river. This did not for
some time excite much attention, as it was by no means
1061 am informed by the hunters, that in autumn the quantity of tallow or
fat in the buffalo is very great. It of course diminishes when food becomes
scarce. As the same thing obtains in a number of animals, by climate and
habit ordained to procure abundance of food in summer, and to suffer great
privation in winter, this collection of fat seems to be a kind of reservoir,
containing the means of existence, which is drained by absorbent vessels, and
returned into the system when necessary.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
an uncommon occurrence; but we soon began to apprehend impending danger, as we perceived that the
storm advanced with great rapidity, accompanied with
appearances truly terrific. The cloud was of a pitchy
blackness, and so dense as to resemble a solid body,
out of which, at short intervals, the lightning poured
in a continued stream for one or two seconds. It was
too late to cross the river, and, unfortunately for us, the
side on which we were was entirely bounded by rocks.
We looked most anxiously for some little harbour, or
jutting point, behind which we might shelter [188] ourselves; but not one appeared, and darkness came on
with a rapidity I never before witnessed. It was not
long that any choice was left us. We plainly heard the
storm coming. We stopped and fastened our boats to
some shrubs, (amorpha fruticosa) which grew in abundance out of the clefts of these rocks, and prepared to
save ourselves and our little barks if possible. At each
end of the boats there was a small deck: under these we
stowed our provisions, &c: next to the decks were
piled the packs of skins, secured by ropes, and in the
middle a space of about twelve feet long was left for
the oarsmen. Fortunately for us, we had some broad
boards in each boat, designed as a defence against
arrows, in case of an attack by the Sioux. These
boards we placed on the gunwale of the boats, and
crammed our blankets into such parts as the lightning
enabled us at intervals to see did not fit closely. Before
we had time to lash our boards the gale commenced,
and in a few minutes the swell was tremendous. For
nearly an hour it required the utmost exertion of our
strength to hold the boards to their places, and before
1 wer^
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
the storm abated we were nearly exhausted, as also
were those who were occupied in baling. As the river
is in this place nearly a mile in breadth, and being on
the lee shore, the waves were of considerable magnitude,
and frequently broke over the boats. Had our fastenings given way, we must [189] inevitably have perished.
When the wind abated the rain increased, and continued for the greater part of the night, during which my
friend Brackenridge and myself lay on the deck, rolled
up in our wet blankets, congratulating ourselves on our
escape. For myself I felt but little: two years, in a
great measure spent in the wilds, had inured me to
hardships and inclemencies; but I felt much for my
friend Brackenridge. Poor young man, his youth, and
the delicacy of his frame, ill suited him for such hardships, which, nevertheless, he supported cheerfully.
In the morning the sun rose unobscured, which was
to us extremely welcome, as its heat soon rendered us
comparatively comfortable. We passed the river
L'Eau qui Court, and shortly afterwards the place
where we met the Poncar Indians, and as the wind
began to blow fresh, we stopped five or six miles lower
down, nearly at the place where I met the three Indians
on the 24th of May. This enabled me to procure roots
of the new species of currant, although with much pain
and difficulty, having four miles at least to wade
through water and mud, as the river had recently
overflowed its banks. On my return to the boats, as
the wind had in some degree abated, we proceeded, and
had not gone more than five or six miles before we
were surprised by a dull hollow sound, the cause [190]
of which we could not possibly imagine.   It seemed 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
to be one or two miles below us; but as our descent
was very rapid, it increased every moment in loudness,
and before we had proceeded far, our ears were able
to catch some distinct tones, like the bellowing of
buffaloes. When opposite to the place from whence
it proceeded, we landed, ascended the bank, and entered a small skirting of trees and shrubs, that separated
the river from an extensive plain. On gaining a view
of it, such a scene opened to us as will fall to the lot of
few travellers to witness. This plain was literally covered with buffaloes as far as we could see, and we soon
discovered that it consisted in part of females. The
males were fighting in every direction, with a fury
which I have never seen paralleled, each having singled
out his antagonist. We judged that the number must
have amounted to some thousands, and that there were
many hundreds of these •battles going on at the same
time, some not eighty yards from us. It will be recollected that at this season the females would naturally admit the society of the males. From attentively observing
some of the combats nearest to us, I am persuaded that
our domestic bull would almost invariably be worsted
in a contest with this animal, as he is inferior to him
both in strength and ferocity. A shot was fired amongst
them, which they did not seem to notice. Mr. Brackenridge joined me in [191] preventing a volley being
fired, as it would have been useless, and therefore
wanton; for if we had killed one of these animals, I am
certain the weight of his carcase in gold would not have
bribed us to fetch him. I shall only observe farther,
that the noise occasioned by the trampling and bellowing was far beyond description.   In the evening, before
' 4 m
♦ 1
MM il
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
we encamped, another immense herd made its appearance, running along the bluffs at full speed, and although at least a mile from us, we could distinctly hear
the sound of their feet, which resembled distant thunder.
The morning of the next day was very fine. We
saw some buffaloes swimming, at which the men fired,
contrary to our wishes, as we did not intend to stop for
them. The stream was very rapid. We passed the
Sulphur bluffs, and stopped a short time at Floyd's
grave: shortly afterwards we arrived at the trading
house opposite the Maha village, but saw no one, nor
did we wish it, as Mr. Lisa had not called on the Big
Elk when he ascended, who might probably be offended
at his neglect. We encamped on some drift wood
from necessity, not being able to get ashore. The
navigation of the river had now become much more
difficult, and we had in the two succeeding days some
very narrow escapes. The river was considerably
higher than at any former period, and from the Mahas
to the River [192] Platte, is more crooked than in any
other part. At every sudden turn the momentum of
the boats had a continual tendency to throw them
ashore on the outer bank, which it required all the skill
of the steersman, and strength of the oarsmen, to prevent. In two instances we were very near being carried
into the woods, in places where the river overflowed
its banks. We arrived at Fort Osage, now Fort Clark,
on the 27th in the afternoon, and were very politely
received by Major Brownson. I had the pleasure to
find that Mr. Sibley had returned a few days before
from his tour to the Arkansas, to examine the vast body 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
of salt in the neighbourhood of that river. He very
politely furnished us with extracts from his journal,
which are as follows:—
"After giving a number of medals to the Panie
chiefs, and having various counsels with them, I left
their villages on the 4th of June, and proceeded to the
little Osage Camp, on the Arkansas, about seventy-
five miles south, and sixteen east from the Panies, where
I safely arrived on the nth. I remained several days
with the Osages, who had abundance of provisions,
they having killed two hundred buffaloes within a few
days. Where they had their camp, the Arkansas was
about two hundred yards wide, the water shallow,
rapid, and of a red colour. On the 16th, the Indians
raised their camp, and proceeded towards the hilly
country, on [193] the other side of the Arkansas. I
continued with them about fifty miles west and thirty
miles east, when we fell in with some men of the Chan-
ier's Band, who informed us that their camp was at no
great distance, and the camp of the Big Osage still
nearer. In consequence, I determined to pass through
both on my way to the Grand Salines. On the 21st
I rode south forty miles, east thirty, to the Big Osage
camp;107 nearly all the warriors were at war, or abroad
107 These Indians were abroad hunting, and the camps noted by Sibley
were temporary. Their permanent villages were as follows: that of the
Grand Osage, high up on the river of that name, in Vernon County, Missouri; that of the Little Osage, about six miles beyond; Chanier's Band
was the Arkansas branch of the Osage, under the chief Cashesagra, whose
village was on the Verdigris Branch of the Arkansas, about sixty miles from
its mouth, in the present Cherokee nation, Indian Territory. Chouteau
had had a fine trade with the Osage, when Manuel Lisa succeeded in obtaining the monopoly for that tribe on the Missouri and Osage rivers, whereupon Chouteau enticed one of the bands to the waters of the Arkansas.
See Pike's Expeditions (Coues's éd., New York, 1895), pp. 556-558.— Ed.
m I
-v/, '
km -,f -
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
hunting. I was remarkably well treated by young
White Hair and family; I however remained but one
night with them. On the 2 2d I rode twenty miles
south, fifteen east, to the Chanier's camp, where we arrived about one o'clock. We were well treated by the
head men; and indeed, this is one of the tribes most
attached to the Americans. The chief's name is Clermont.108 From hence it is forty miles to the Grand
Salines, which we reached early on the morning of the
24th. I hasten to give you a description of this celebrated curiosity.
"The Grand Saline is situated about two hundred
and eighty miles south-west of Fort Osage, between
two forks of a small branch of the Arkansas, one of
which washes its southern extremity; and the other, the
principal one, runs nearly parallel, within a mile of its
opposite side. It is a hard level plain, of reddish coloured sand, and of [194] an irregular or mixed figure.
Its greatest length is from north-west to south-east,
and its circumference full thirty miles. From the appearance of drift-wood that is scattered over, it would
seem that the whole plain is at times inundated by the
overflowing of the streams that pass near it. This
plain is entirely covered in hot dry weather, from two
to six inches deep, with a crust of beautiful clean white
salt, of a quality rather superior to the imported blown
108 Clermont (Builder of towns) was said by Pike to be the hereditary
chief of the Great Osage, whose position was usurped by White Hair the
elder, while Clermont was still a child. Clermont seceded with Cashesagra
(see preceding note), and became the most influential chief of the Arkansas band. White Hair the elder remained at the original Great Osage
village. His son, young White Hair, accompanied Pike a short distance-
on his journey, and then made an excuse to turn back. The explorer
calls him a "discontented young fellow, filled with self-pride."—Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
salt : it bears a striking resemblance to a field of brilliant
snow after a rain, with a light crust on its top. On a
bright sunny morning, the appearance of this natural
curiosity is highly picturesque: it possesses the quality
of looming, or magnifying objects, and this in a very
striking degree, making the small billets of wood appear
as formidable as trees. Numbers of buffaloes were on
the plain. The Saline is environed by a stripe of
marshy prairie, with a few scattered trees, mostly of
cotton wood; behind these is a range of sand hills, some
of which are perfectly naked, others thinly clothed with
verdure and dwarf plum bushes, not more than thirty
inches in height, from which we procured abundance
of the most delicious plums I ever tasted. The distance to a navigable branch of the Arkansas is about
eighty miles, the country tolerably level, and the watercourses easily passed.100 About sixty miles south-west
of this, I came to the Saline, [195] the whole of this distance lying over a country remarkably rugged and
broken, affording the most romantic and picturesque
views imaginable. It is a tract of about seventy-five
miles square, in which nature has displayed a great
variety of the most strange and whimsical vagaries.
It is an assemblage of beautiful meadows, verdant
ridges, and rude, mis-shapen piles of red clay, thrown
together in the utmost apparent confusion, yet affording
the most pleasant harmonies, and presenting us in
every direction an endless variety of curious and inter-
108 The salines here described were on Cimarron River, where is now a
saline reservation in Woodward County, Oklahoma. Lieutenant Wilkinson, in his descent of the Arkansas River, describes them as located about
two days' march from that stream, and says the Indians obtain the salt by
scraping the prairie with a turkey's wing.— Ed. 194
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
esting objects. After winding along for a few miles
on the high ridges, you suddenly descend an almost
perpendicular declivity of rocks and clay, into a series
of level, fertile meadows, watered by some beautiful
rivulets, and here and there adorned with shrubby cotton wood trees, elms, and cedars. These meadows
are divided by chains formed of red clay and huge
masses of gypsum, with here and there a pyramid of
gravel: one might imagine himself surrounded by the
ruins of some ancient city, and that the plain had sunk,
by some convulsion of nature, more than one hundred
feet below its former level; for some of the huge columns
of red clay rise to the height of two hundred feet perpendicular, capped with rocks of gypsum, which the
hand of time is ever crumbling off, and strewing in
beautiful transparent flakes along the [196] declivities
of the hills, glittering, like so many mirrors, in the
Mr. Sibly also showed me a letter from his father,
Dr. Sibly, of Natchitoches, informing him of a mass of
native iron having been brought down the Red River,
which weighed about two thousand five hundred
pounds. In the fort we saw the young bears which we
left there in passing up the river; they had grown surprisingly, and were quite tame, except whilst feeding,
when all bears are more fierce than at other times.
28th.— After breakfasting at the fort, we set off, and
encamped near where Fort Orleans formerly was situated.
110 The second saline, called "Grand Saline" on Pike's map, is located
by him on the head-springs of one branch of the Cimarron, which would
probably place it in northwestern Texas, or southeastern Colorado.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
29th.— About noon we came in sight of a white
man's house, at Boon's Lick, when our boatmen immediately set up a shout. Soon after, some men
appeared at the edge of a field of Indian corn, close
to the river: they invited us ashore, and we willingly
complied. In passing through the corn, I was much
struck with its luxuriance: I judged it to be not less
than fourteen feet high, and the ears were far above
my head. It was Sunday, and when we arrived at
the house, we found three women there, all dressed in
clean.white gowns, [197] and being in other respects
very neat, they formed a pleasing contrast to the squaws
whom we had of late been in the habit of seeing. They
soon spread the table for us, and produced bread, milk,
and preserved fruits, which I thought the most delicious
that I ever tasted. We arrived at St. Louis in safety,
where I had the pleasure of shaking hands with my
worthy friend, Mr. Abraham Gallatin, at whose house
I slept. Early the next day, I called at the post-office,
and found letters from England, informing me of the
welfare of my family. This pleasing intelligence was
damped by a letter from my son, who informed me that
those who had agreed to furnish me with the means of
prosecuting my tour, and to whom I had sent my former
collection, had determined to withhold any farther supply. Early in the forenoon, my worthy and respected
friend, Mr. S. Bridge, from Manchester, came to St.
Louis, and invited me to take up my residence for the
present with him. He informed me that during my
absence he had bought a considerable quantity of
land, on which he had built a house. He sent his
waggon for my plants, and allotted me a piece of
SM mi
> ."/**< /
13:* I
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
ground, which, with much labour, I prepared in a few
days, got it surrounded by a fence, and transplanted
the whole of my collection. I found the situation of
Mr. Bridge's house extremely pleasant, and his plantation of the first quality of land. Within a hundred
and fifty [198] yards of his house was a small vein of
coal, from twelve to eighteen inches in thickness, and
rising to the surface. For this land he had paid one
dollar, sixty-five cents per arpent, or French acre.111
In about ten days after my arrival I was attacked by
a bilious fever, which confined me to my bed. Its
violence left me little hope of recovery. In about a
month it became intermittent, and continued until the
beginning of December.
During my illness a circumstance occurred, an account of which will tend to show the almost unconquerable attachment to the hunting life in those accustomed to it. It will be remembered that a man named
Richardson accompanied us down the Missouri, and
that it has been related of Mm that he had been several
years in the wilderness. He had there suffered more
than common hardships, having been often ill treated
by the Indians, and once severely wounded by an
arrow. This man, during our descent, seemed to
look forward with great anxiety to the time when we
should arrive in the settlements, and often declared
his intention never again to adopt the hunting life.
When I had been sick about three weeks, he came to
see me, [199] and after some conversation, reminded
me of my having mentioned a design to ascend the
lu The arpent is to the statute acre nearly in the proportion of eighty-
three to one hundred.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
Arkansas River, and requested that I would admit him
as my companion, if I persisted in my intention. I
spoke of my doubts whether I should ever recover, and
expressed my surprise at so sudden a change in his intentions. He replied, "I find so much deceit and selfishness amongst white men, that I am already tired of
them. The arrow head which is not yet extracted,
pains me when I chop wood, whiskey I can't drink, and
bread and salt I don't care about : I will go again amongst
the Indians.' '
Towards the latter end of November, I received a
remittance from those who had previously determined
to withhold it, together with a letter from the person112
who managed the Botanic Garden at Liverpool, informing me that he had received my former collection,
out of which he had secured in pots more than one
thousand plants, and that the seeds were already vegetating in vast numbers. As I had now so far recovered as to be able to ride to St. Louis, I visited my
friend Mr. Gallatin, and remained with him some days,
during which period I often saw a young gentleman
from Philadelphia, Mr. H. W. Drinker, who had frequently called to see me in my sickness, and whose
talents and amiable [200] manners had created in me a
strong attachment to him. In a tour through the
country west of the Alleghanies, he visited St. Louis,
and pleased with the beauty of the place, had resided
there for some months. Finding that I was determined
to descend the Mississippi to New Orleans, he invited
me to take my passage with him, as he purposed taking
a boat down to that place, loaded with lead, of which
m This man's name is Shepherd.— Bradbttry. ■1
198 Early Western Travels [Vol. 5
he had a sufficient quantity. This was a very favourable opportunity, and I made every exertion my weak
state would admit of, to be in readiness. A short time
afterwards Mr. Drinker ascertained that some debts
due to him, and contracted to be paid in lead, could not
be collected until the ensuing spring: he therefore
found himself necessitated to remain at St. Louis until
that period. But aware of the impossibility of my
detaining what yet remained of my collection till that
season, he offered to buy a boat, load it with lead, and
commit it to my care, with liberty to sell the lead at
Orleans, or store it for his account. This kind and
generous offer I gladly accepted, and in a few days a
boat was procured, and her cargo put on board, amounting to about thirty thousand pounds weight of lead.
Her crew consisted of five French Creoles, four of whom
were oarsmen, and the fifth, who steered the boat, is
called the patron.
[201] On the evening of the 4th of December we were
in perfect readiness, when I took leave of my friends at
St. Louis, several of whom, from their polite attention
to me, I have reason to hold in lasting remembrance;
and in addition to those I have already mentioned, I
ought not to omit Mr. Josh. Charless, editor of the Missouri Gazette, whose disposition and manners gain him
the esteem of all who know him: mine he will always
retain.11*   I find that I omitted stating, that in Novem-
lu The Missouri Gazette was the earliest newspaper published west of
the Mississippi River, its first issue appearing in 1808. It was the progenitor of the present St. Louis Republic, which took the latter title in 1822.
Joseph Charless, its first editor and proprietor, was an Irishman who became
involved in sedition and fled to America in 1796. He served as printer
under Matthew Carey at Philadelphia until 1800, when he removed to
Kentucky, and eight years later to St. Louis. Charless retired from the
conduct of this paper in 1820, and died at St. Louis in 1834.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
ber Mr. Lisa arrived at St. Louis, and delivered me a
letter from Mr. Hunt, who informed me, that after my
departure from the Aricaras, whilst the men were still
assembled to watch our boats descend, he addressed
them on the subject of my cask of powder, which was
stolen, and with such effect, that one of the Canadians
came privately to his tent the night following, and informed him where it was buried in the bank of the
river. Mr. Hunt caused a search to be made the day
after, and found it. As Mr. Lisa was in want of powder, he bought it, and paid me for it on his return.
On the 5th of December I set off from St. Louis on
the voyage to New Orleans, a distance of about one
thousand three hundred and fifty miles. I was accompanied by Mr. John Bridge, whom I admitted as a passenger at the request of his brother. He purposed
sailing from Orleans to the eastern [202] states. We
arrived at St. Genevieve in the evening, and slept at the
mouth of Gabarie, a small creek near the village, where
boats trading to that place usually stop. Having some
business to transact at St. Genevieve, I was detained
till the afternoon of the following day. During my
stay here, I became acquainted with a gentleman of the
name of Longprie, a native of St. Domingo. He had
a boat, in part loaded with lead, intended for Orleans.
It was much wished by both of us that we should
descend in company, as in case of an accident happening to one, assistance might be rendered by the other;
but as he could not be ready in less than two days, I
set out, intending to travel leisurely, that he might overtake me. It may be necessary to remark in this place,
that the navigation of the Mississippi is attended with
considerable danger, and in particular to boats loaded
m Mi
■ .y ■'-- !
JA •
if'':    [
■ m: i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
with lead. These, by reason of the small space occupied by the cargo, in case of striking against a planter or
a sawyer, sink instantly. That these terms may be
understood, it must be observed that the alluvion of the
Mississippi is almost in every part covered with timber
close to the edge of the river, and that in some part or
other encroachments are continually made, and in
particular during the time of the floods, when it often
happens that tracts of some acres in extent are carried
away in a few days. As in most instances a large body
of earth is attached [203] to the roots of the trees, it
sinks those parts to the bottom of the river, whilst the
upper parts, more buoyant, rise to the surface in an
inclined posture, generally with the heads of the trees
pointing down the river. Some of these trees are fixed
and immoveable, and are therefore termed planters.
Others, although they do not remove from where they
are placed, are constantly in motion: the whole tree is
sometimes entirely submerged by the pressure of "the
stream, and carried to a greater depth by its momentum than the stream can maintain. On rising, its
momentum in the other direction, causes many of its
huge limbs to be lifted above the surface of the river.
The period of this oscillatory motion is sometimes of
several minutes duration. These are the sawyers,
which are much more dangerous than the planters, as no
care or caution can sufficiently guard against them.
The steersman this instant sees all the surface of the
river smooth and tranquil, and the next he is struck
with horror at seeing just before him the sawyer raising
his terrific arms, and so near that neither strength nor
skill can save him from destruction.   This is not figura- I809-I8II]
Bradbury's Travels
rive: many boats have been lost in this way, and more
particularly those descending. From these and other
risks, it is common for those carrying lead, to have a
canoe with them, in which they may save themselves
in case of any accident happening to the boat.
[204] Until the 14th, no occurrence happened worth
noticing, excepting that we saw on the bank of the
river four Indians, who beckoned to us to stop : we accordingly landed near them, and found they were
Choctaws, who wanted to sell some venison and tur-
kies. As they were acquainted with the use of money,
I bought from them three turkies and two hind quarters of venison for three quarters of a dollar, being the
sum they asked.
In the evening of the 14th, we arrived at New Madrid, and having occasion for some necessaries, I bought
them in the morning.11* I was much disappointed in
this place, as I found only a few straggling houses, situated round a plain of from two to three hundred acres in
extent. There are only two stores, which are very indifferently furnished. We set off about nine o'clock,
and passed the Upper Chickasaw Bluffs; these bluffs
are of soft sand-stone rock, of a yellow colour, but some
parts being highly charged with oxyd of iron, the whole
has a clouded appearance, and is considered as a curiosity by the boatmen. At the lower end of the bluffs
we saw a smoke, and on a nearer approach, observed
five or six Indians, and on the opposite side of the river,
but lower down, we heard a dog howling. When the
Indians perceived us, they held up some venison, to
m On the settlement of New Madrid, see Cuming's Tow, vol. iv of our
series, p. 282, note 185.— Ed.
M ill
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
show us that they wished to dispose of it. Being desirous of [205] adding to our stock of fresh meat, I
hastily got into the canoe, and took with me one of the
men, named La France, who spoke the Chickasaw language, as I supposed the Indians to be of that nation.118
We very imprudently went without arms an omission
that gave me some uneasiness before we reached them ;
especially as the boat, by my direction, proceeded
leisurely on.
We found that the Indians had plenty of deer's
flesh, and some turkies. I began to bargain for them,
when the people in the boat fired a shot, and the dog on
the other side of the river instantly ceased howling.
The Indians immediately flew to their arms, speaking
all together, with much earnestness. La France appeared much terrified, and told me that they said our
people in the boat had shot their dog. I desired him
to tell them that we did not believe that our people had
done so, but if they had, I would pay them any price
for him. They seemed too much irmxriated to hearken
to him, and surrounded us with their weapons in their
hands. They were very clamorous amongst themselves, and, as I was afterwards told by La France,
could not agree whether they should immediately put
us to death, or keep us prisoners until we could procure
goods from the boat to pay for the dog, on which it appeared they set high value. Most fortunately for us,
the dog, [206] at this instant began to bark opposite to
us, having run a considerable distance up the river after
the shot was fired.    The tomahawks were immediately
116 For the early history of the Chickasaw Indians, see Croghan's Journals,
vol. i of our series, p. 75, note 36.— Ed.
1 mm.
Bradbury's Travels
laid aside, and I bargained for half a deer, for which I
gave them a quarter dollar and some gunpowder. I
was not very exact in measuring the last, being rather
anxious to get away, and could perceive that La France
had no desire to stay any longer.
On reaching our canoe we seized our paddles, and
being told by La France that we were not yet out of
danger, we made every exertion to get out of their reach.
When we conceived ourselves safe, we relaxed, and he
told me that even when we were leaving them, they
were deliberating whether they should detain us or not;
some of them having remarked that the dog might be
wounded. We had been so long delayed by this adventure, that it was more than an hour before we overtook the boat. I blamed the boatmen much for firing,
and charged them with having fired at the dog: this,
however, appeared not to have been the case, as they
fired at a loon, (mergus merganser.) In the course of
this day, we passed no fewer than thirteen arks, or
Kentucky boats, going with produce to Orleans; all
these we left a considerable distance behind, as they only
float with the stream, and we made considerable [207]
head-way with our oars. In the evening we came in
view of the dangerous part of the river, called by the
Americans the Devil's Channel, and by the French
Chenal du Diable. It appears to be caused by a bank
that crosses the river in this place, which renders it
shallow. On this bank, a great number of trees have
lodged; and, on account of the shallowness of the river,
a considerable portion of the branches are raised above
the surface; through these the water rushes with such
impetuosity as to be heard at the distance of some miles.
-J Il
!, iu
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
As it would require every effort of skill and exertion
to pass through this channel in safety, and as the sun
had set, I resolved to wait until the morning, and
caused the boat to be moored to a small island, about
five hundred yards above the entrance into the channel.
After supper we went to sleep as usual; and in the night,
about ten o'clock, I was awakened by a most tremendous noise, accompanied by so violent an agitation of
the boat that it appeared in danger of upsetting. Before I could quit the bed, or rather the skin, upon which
I lay, the four men who slept in the other cabin rushed
in, and cried out in the greatest terror, "O mon Dieu!
Monsieur Bradbury, qu'est ce qu'il y a?" I passed
them with some difficulty, and ran to the door of the
cabin, where I could distinctly see the [208] river agitated as if by a storm; and although the noise was inconceivably loud and terrific, I could distinctly hear the
crash of falling trees, and the screaming of the wild
fowl on the river, but found that the boat was still safe
at her moorings. I was followed by the men and the
patron, who, in accents of terror, were still enquiring
what it was: I tried to calm them by saying, "Restez
vous tranquil, c'est un tremblement de terre,' ' which term
they did not seem to understand.
By the time we could get to our fire, which was on
a large flag, in the stern of the boat, the shock had
ceased ; but immediately the perpendicular banks, both
above and below us, began to fall into the river in such
vast masses, as nearly to sink our boat by the swell they
occasioned; and our patron, who seemed more terrified
even than the men, began to cry out, "O mon Dieu!
nous périrons I"   I wished to consult with him as to
——^— "H
Bradbury's Travels
what we could do to preserve ourselves and the boat,
but could get no answer except "O mon Dieu! nous
périrons!" and "Allons à terre! Allons à terre!" As
I found Mr. Bridge the only one who seemed to retain
any presence of mind, we consulted together, and agreed
to send two of the men with a candle up the bank, in
order to examine if it had separated from the island, a
circumstance that we suspected, from hearing the
[209] snapping of the limbs of some drift trees, which
were deposited between the margin of the river and
the summit of the bank. The men, on arriving at
the edge of the river, cried out, ! f Venez à terre! Venez
à terre!" and told us there was a fire, and desired Mr.
Bridge and the patron to follow them; and as it now
occurred to me that the preservation of the boat in a
great measure depended on the depth of the river, I
tried with a sounding pole, and to my great joy, found
it did not exceed eight or ten feet.
Immediately after the shock we observed the time,
and found it was near two o'clock. At about nearly
half-past two, I resolved to go ashore myself, but whilst
I was securing some papers and money, by taking them
out of my trunks, another shock came on, terrible indeed, but not equal to the first. Morin, our patron,
called out from the island, "Monsieur Bradbury ! sauvez
vous, sauvez vous!" I went ashore, and found the
chasm really frightful, being not less than four feet in
width, and the bank had sunk at least two feet. I
took the candle to examine its length, and concluded
that it could not be less than eighty yards; and at each
end, the banks had fallen into the river. I now saw
clearly that our fives had been saved by our boat being
I J^^^""~^
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
moored to a sloping bank. Before we completed our
fire, we had two [210] more shocks, and others occurred
during the whole night, at intervals of from six to ten
minutes, but they were slight in comparison with the
first and second. At four o'clock I took a candle, and
again exarnined the bank, and perceived to my great
satisfaction that no material alteration had taken
place; I also found the boat safe, and secured my pocket compass. I had already noticed that the sound
which was heard at the time of every shock, always
preceded it at least a second, and that it uniformly
came from the same point, and went off in an opposite
direction. I now found that the shock came from a
little northward of east, and proceeded to the westward.
At day-light we had counted twenty-seven shocks during our stay on the island, but still found the chasm so
that it might be passed. The river was covered with
foam and drift timber, and had risen considerably, but
our boat was safe. Whilst we were waiting till the
light became sufficient for us to embark, two canoes
floated down the river, in one of which we saw some
Indian com and some clothes. We considered this
as a melancholy proof that some of the boats we passed
the preceding day had perished. Our conjectures were
afterwards confirmed, as we learned that three had been
overwhelmed, and that all on board had perished.
When the daylight appeared to be sufficient for us, I
gave orders to embark, and we all went on board.
Two men [211] were in the act of loosening the fastenings, when a shock occurred nearly equal to the first
in violence. The men ran up the bank, to save themselves on the island, but before they could get over the 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
chasm, a tree fell close by them and stopped their progress. As the bank appeared to me to be moving
rapidly into the river, I called out to the men in the
boat, "Coupez les cordes!" on hearing which, the two
men ran down the bank, loosed the cords, and jumped
into the boat. We were again on the river : the Chenal
du Diable was in sight, but it appeared absolutely impassable, from the quantity of trees and drift wood that
had lodged during the night against the planters fixed
in the bottom of the river; and in addition to our difficulties, the patron and the men appeared to be so terrified and confused, as to be almost incapable of action.
Previous to passing the channel, I stopped that the
men might have time to become more composed. I
had the good fortune to discover a bank, rising with a
gentle slope, where we again moored, and prepared to
breakfast on the island. Whilst that was preparing, I
walked out in company with Morin, our patron, to view
the channel, to ascertain the safest part, which we soon
agreed upon. Whilst we were thus employed, we experienced a very severe shock, and found some difficulty in preserving ourselves from being thrown down;
another occurred during the time we were [212] at
breakfast, and a third as we were preparing to re-embark. In the last, Mr. Bridge, who was standing
within the declivity of the bank, narrowly escaped being
thrown into the river, as the sand continued to give
way under his feet. Observing that the men were still
very much under the influence of terror, I desired
Morin to give to each of them a glass of spirits, and reminding them that their safety depended on their exertions, we pushed out into the river.   The danger we
! 2o8
Early Western Travels
had now to encounter was of a nature which they understood: the nearer we approached it, the more confidence they appeared to gain; and indeed, all their
strength, and all the skill of Morin, was necessary;
for there being no direct channel through the trees,
we were several times under the necessity of changing
our course in the space of a few seconds, and that so
instantaneously, as not to leave a moment for deliberation. Immediately after we had cleared all danger, the
men dropped their oars, crossed themselves, then gave
a shout, which was followed by mutual congratulations
on their safety.
We continued on the river till eleven o'clock, when
there was another violent shock, which seemed to affect
us as sensibly as if we had been on land. The trees
on both sides of the river were most violently agitated,
and the banks in several places fell in, within our view,
carrying with them [213] innumerable trees, the crash
of which falling into the river, mixed with the terrible
sound attending the shock, and the screaming of the
geese and other wild fowl, produced an idea that all
nature was in a state of dissolution. During the shock,
the river had been much agitated, and the men became
anxious to go ashore: my opinion was, that we were
much safer on the river; but finding that they laid down
their oars, and that they seemed determined to quit the
boat for the present, we looked out for a part of the river
where we might moor in security, and having found
one, we stopped during the remainder of the day.
At three o'clock, another canoe passed us adrift on
the river. We did not experience any more shocks until
the morning of the 17th, when two occurred; one about
J 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
five and the other about seven o'clock. We continued
our voyage, and about twelve this day, had a severe
shock, of very long duration. About four o'clock we
came in sight of a log-house, a little above the Lower
Chickasaw bluffs. More than twenty people came out
as soon as they discovered us, and when within hearing
earnestly entreated us to come ashore. I found them
almost distracted with fear, and that they were composed of several families, who had collected to pray
together. On entering the house, [214] I saw a bible
lying open on the table. They informed me that the
greatest part of the inhabitants in the neighbourhood
had fled to the hills, on the opposite side of the river,
for safety; and that during the shock, about sun-rise
on the 16th, a chasm had opened on the sand bar opposite the bluffs below, and on closing again, had thrown
the water to the height of a tall tree. They also affirmed
that the earth opened in several places back from the
river. One of the men, who appeared to be considered
as possessing more knowledge than the rest, entered into
an explanation of the cause, and attributed it to the
comet that had appeared a few months before, which
he described as having two horns, over one of which
the earth had rolled, and was now lodged betwixt them:
that the shocks were occasioned by the attempts made
by the earth to surmount the other horn. If this
should be accomplished, all would be well, if otherwise,
inevitable destruction to the world would follow. Finding him confident in his hypothesis, and myself unable
to refute it, I did not dispute the point, and we went on
about a mile further. Only one shock occurred this
night, at half past seven o'clock.    On the morning of 2IO
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
the 18th, we had two shocks, one betwixt three and four
o'clock, and the other at six. At noon, there was a
violent one of very long duration, which threw a
great [215] number of trees into the river within our
view, and in the evening, two slight shocks more, one at
six, the other at nine o'clock.
19th.— We arrived at the mouth of the river St.
Francis, and had only one shock, which happened at
eleven at night.
20th.— Detained by fog, and experienced only
two shocks, one at five, the other at seven in the
21st.— Awakened by a shock at half past four o'clock :
this was the last, it was not very violent, but it lasted
for nearly a minute.
On the 24th in the evening, we saw a smoke, and
knowing that there were no habitations on this part of
the river, we made towards it, and found it to be the
camp of a few Choctaw Indians, from whom I purchased a swan, for five balls and five loads of powder.11*
25th.— Monsieur Longpre overtook us, and we encamped together in the evening. He was about two
hundred miles from us on the night of the 15th, by the
course of the river, where the earthquakes had also
been very terrible. It appeared from his account, that
at New Madrid the shock had been [216] extremely
violent: the greatest part of the houses had been rendered uninhabitable, although, being constructed of
timber, and framed together, they were better calculated to withstand the shocks than buildings of brick
118 For the Choctaw Indians, see Cuming's Tour, vol. iv of our series,
p. 287, note 187.— Ed.     k
fcr 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
or stone. The greatest part of the plain on which the
town was situated was become a lake, and the houses
were deserted.
The remainder of our voyage to Natchez was very
pleasant, with the exception of two very narrow escapes from planters in the river. Without any occurrence that would excite much interest, we arrived at
the port of Natchez on the afternoon of the 5th of
January, and went to the city, which is situated about
three quarters of a mile from the river, on the level
behind the bluffs.117 The port consists of thirty or
forty houses, and some stores: for the size of it, there is
not, perhaps, in the world a more dissipated place.
Almost all the Kentucky men stop here on the way
to Orleans, and as they now consider all the dangers
and difficulties of their voyage as past, they feel the
same inclination to dissipation as sailors who have been
long out of port, and generally remain here a day or
two to indulge it. I spent a pleasant evening in the
city, in company with Dr. Brown, whom I found to
be a very agreeable and intelligent man.
[217] In the morning of the 6th instant I went on
board the steam boat from Pittsburg; she had passed
us at the mouth of the Arkansas, three hundred and
forty-one miles above Natchez; she was a very handsome vessel, of four hundred and ten tons burden, and
was impelled by a very powerful steam engine, made at
Pittsburg, whence she had come in less than twenty
days, although nineteen hundred miles distant. About
eighty miles above New Orleans, the sugar plantations
m For the early history of Natchez, see F. A. Michaux's Journal, vol.
iii of our series, p. 254, note 53.— Ed. T
tti   I /•
Early Western Travels
commenced, some of which I visited, accompanied by
Mr. Longpre, who assured me that he had not seen
the cane in higher perfection in any part of the West
Indies. Many fields yet remained, from which the
cane had not been got in: they were now covered with
snow, an occurrence, as I was informed, very uncommon. From this part to New Orleans, groves of orange
trees of great extent are seen on both sides of the river,
and at this season, loaded with ripe fruit.
On the 13th we arrived at New Orleans, where I
consigned the lead to the agent of Mr. Drinker, again
met with my friend Brackenridge, and on the 20th set
sail for New York. APPENDIX
. lï
■   -' il
i    ' [22l]
No. I
Shin-zo shin-ga.
She-ma shinga.
Young man,
Young woman,
Old man,
Ke-sau-ga hm-ga.
Old woman,
Wa-ko hm-ga.
[222] Hand,
Sha-gaugh omba.
Calf of Leg,
Wa-haugh. «««s
Early Western Travels
DVol. 5
Finger nails,
Buffalo bull,
Ditto   cow,
Elk, male,
Do.  female,
Deer, male.
Do.   female,
Bear, male,
Do.   female,
[223] Fox,
Black snake,
Sha-ga hugh
Kou-o-lâ min-gâ
Kou-o-lâ shin-ga.
Shes-ka ton-ga.
Shes-ka min-gâ.
Sha ton-ga.
O-pa ton-ga
O-pa min-gâ.
Taw ton-ga.
Taw min-gâ.
Sha-ra-sha shin-ga.
Was-saw-ba ton-ga.
Was-saw-ba min-gâ.
Sho-ma ca-sa.
Mou-shu lo-go-në.
Wait-saw sau-ba.
Pa-wis-ka. I
Bradbury's Travels
Turkey cock,
Ditto   hen,
Dunghill cock,
An American,
An Englishman,
A Frenchman,
A Spaniard,
[224] Sugar,
Su-ka ton-ga.
Su-ga shu-ga ton-ga.
Su-ka shu-ga.
Ka-wa ton-ga.
Was-sa shin-ga ton-ga.
Waw po-jâ.
Moi-hë ton-ga.
Wau-ho-ton ton-ga.
Wau-ho-ton-da paugh.
Ne-hu-ja wa-ca-ja.
Mos-sa ma-jos-ca.
Moi-hë sa-pa shinga.
Moi-hë shaw-a-ga-sa.
Early Western Travels
Tin cup,
Hes-ka wa-num-pë.
Red cloth,
Hau shu-ja.
White cloth,
Hau ska.
Black cloth, &c. &c.
[225] Three,
Au-grë mi-ne-hë.
Au-grë nom-baugh.
Thirteen &c. to twenty,
Au-grë lau-be-na.
One hundred,
Cra-bra ton-ga.
Son ja.
A garrison,
To-wa-në. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
A commanding officer,
Kaw-he-ja wau-ton-ga.
[226] Rain,
Tee-he sha-ba.
il 220
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
[227] Good,
President of the United
Large man,
Large body of men,
Flock of deer,
Large flock of birds,
Drove of buffaloes,
To go,
To part asunder,
To join, '
Lo-go-ne, or Tou-ha.
Kow-a-ga Show-a-ga  Wa-
Ne-ka she-ka gronda.
Ne-ka she-ga hugh.
Was-sa shin-ga hugh.
Sha-to-ga ochë.
Hon-pa lo-go-në.
He-në pe-sha.
Sho-sho. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
To eat,
To drink,
To sleep,
To get up,
To walk,
To He down,
a IS<z
[228]   No. II
14th July, 1813
Do not grieve — misfortunes will happen to the wisest
and best men. Death will come, and always comes
out of season: it is the command of the Great Spirit,
and all nations and people must obey. What is passed,
and cannot be prevented, should not be grieved for.
Be not discouraged or displeased then, that in visiting
your father here, you have lost your chief. A misfortune of this kind may never again befal you, but this
would have attended you perhaps at your own village.
Five times have I visited this land, and never returned
with sorrow or pain. Misfortunes do not flourish
particularly in our path — they grow every where.
(Addressing himself to Governor Edwards and Colonel
Miller.) What a misfortune for me that I could not
have died this day, instead of the [229] chief that lies
before us. The trifling loss my nation would have
sustained in my death, would have been doubly paid
118 Portage des Sioux is in St. Charles County, Missouri, at the point
where the Mississippi most nearly approaches the Missouri River. Frequent councils with the Indians were held at this place. In i8r5 there was
signed here the treaty which pacified the Western Indians.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
for by the honours of my burial — they would have
wiped off every thing like regret. Instead of being
covered with a cloud of sorrow — my warriors would
have felt the sunshine of joy in their hearts. To me it
would have been a most glorious occurrence. Hereafter, when I die at home, instead of a noble grave and a
grand procession, the rolling music and the thundering
cannon, with a flag waving at my head, I shall be
wrapped in a robe, (an old robe, perhaps) and hoisted
on a slender scaffold to the whistling winds, soon to be
blown down to the earth — my flesh to be devoured by
the wolves, and my bones rattled on the plain by the
wild beasts, (Addressing himself to Colonel Miller.)
Chief of the soldiers — your labours have not.been in
vain :— your attention shall not be forgotten. My nation
shall know the respect that is paid over the dead. When
I return I will echo the sound of your guns.
1 Kl*
[230]   No. Ill
"We last week promised our readers an account of
the journey of the gentlemen attached to the New
York Fur Company, from the Pacific Ocean to this
place.— We now lay it before our readers, as collected
from the gentlemen themselves.
On the 28th of June, 1812, Mr. Robert Stewart,
one of the partners of the Pacific Fur Company, with
two Frenchmen, Mr. Ramsey Crooks, and Mr. Robert
M'Clellan, left the Pacific Ocean with despatches for
New York.110
After ascending the Columbia river ninety miles,
u* Robert Stuart, one of the partners of the Pacific Fur Company, went
to Astoria in the ship "Tonquin." For the adventures of that voyage,
see Franchère's Narrative, in vol. vi of our series. Robert was a nephew
of David Stuart, and being born in Scotland (1784) was educated at Paris.
At the age of twenty-two he landed in Montreal and entered the service
of the North West Company. After the perilous overland journey herein
related, Stuart became a partner of Astor in the American Fur Company,
and after 1819 was manager for that concern at Mackinac. Later (1834)
he removed to Detroit, where he became a prominent citizen, serving for
one term as state treasurer (1840-41), and thereafter for four years as federal
Indian agent. He died in Chicago in 1848. Many of his letters, written
during his residence at Mackinac, are now in the archives of the Wisconsin
Historical Society.— Ed.
ris 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
John Day, one of the hunters, became perfectly insane,
and was sent back to the main establishment, under
the charge of some Indians: the [231] remaining six
pursued their voyage upwards of six hundred miles,
when they happily met with Mr. Joseph Miller, on his
way to the mouth of the Columbia. He had been considerably to the south and east, among the nations
called Blackarms and Arapahays, by the latter of whom
he was robbed;120 in consequence of which he suffered
almost every privation human nature is capable of, and
was in a state of starvation and almost nudity when the
party met him.
They had now fifteen horses, and pursued their
journey for the Atlantic world, without any uncommon accident, until within about two hundred miles of
the Rocky Mountains, where they unfortunately met
uo The Blackfeet and Arapaho are both of Algonquian stock, belonging
to that branch of the great Indian family which had had its earlier habitat
east of the Mississippi River. Together with the Cheyenne they had crossed
into Siouan territory, and now occupied the Rocky Mountain region. The
Blackfeet were the more northern of the two tribes, and quite numerous;
they roved upon the upper waters of the Missouri — chiefly Milk and
Maria rivers — and traded with the British fur-trade companies which
operated throughout the vast region drained by the Winnipeg, Assiniboine,
and Saskatchewan systems, which parallel the upper reaches of the Missouri
and its northern tributaries. Upon his return journey, Lewis had a hostile encounter with one of their bands. To this unfortunate affair, in which
a Blackfoot horse-thief was killed by one of Lewis's men, has been attributed
the intense hostility of the tribe to the early American traders, causing much
bloodshed and disaster. Later writers have thought, however, that their
opposition arose from hunters who joined war-raids upon the Blackfeet.
The latter now number about two thousand, upon a reservation in Montana.
The Arapaho occupied the central mountainous region, roaming through
Wyoming and Southern Idaho. They traded with the Spaniards, and supplied their kindred the Cheyenne with Spanish horses. There are now
about eighteen hundred of this tribe upon reservations in Oklahoma
and Wyoming.— Ed.
m 22Ô
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
with a party of the Crow Indians,121 who behaved with
the utmost unbounded insolence, and were solely prevented from cutting off the party by observing them
well armed and constantly on their guard. They, however, pursued on their track six days, and finally stole
every horse belonging to the party.
Some idea of the situation of those men may be
conceived, when we take into consideration, that
they were now on foot, and had a journey of two
thousand miles before them, fifteen hundred of which
was entirely unknown, as they intended and prosecuted it considerably south of Messrs. Lewis [232] and
Clarke's route. The impossibility of carrying any
quantity of provisions on their backs, in addition to
their ammunition and bedding, will occur at first view.
The danger to be apprehended from starvation was
imminent. They, however, put the best face upon
their prospects, and pursued their route towards the
Rocky Mountains, at the head waters of the Colorado,
or Spanish River, and stood their course E. S. E. until
they struck the head waters of the great River Platte,
which they undeviatingly followed to its mouth. It
may here be observed, that this river, for about two
hundred miles, is navigable for a barge; from thence to
the Otto Village, within forty-five miles of its entrance
into the Missouri, it is a mere bed of sand, without
water sufficient to float a skin canoe.
From the Otto Village to St. Louis, the party per-
121 The Crows were of the Hidatsan sub-stock of the Siouan race, closely
related to the Minitaree. They were a wandering tribe, whose habitat
was the Big Horn range and valley, and they were exacting in their demands
upon traders. Their chief enemies were Blackfeet and Sioux. They now
number about eighteen hundred, upon a reservation in Montana.— Ed.
Bradbury's Travels
formed their voyage in a canoe, furnished them by the
natives, and arrived here in perfect health, on the 30th
of last month (May.)
Our travellers did not hear of the war with England
until they came to the Ottoes. These people told
them that the Shawnoe Prophet had sent them a wampum, inviting them to join in the war against the Americans.122 They answered the messenger, that they
could make more by trapping beaver than making war
against the Americans.
[233] After crossing the hills (Rocky Mountains)
they fell in with a small party of Snake Indians,128 from
whom they purchased a horse, which relieved them
from any further carriage of food, and this faithful
four-footed companion, performed that service to the
Otto village. They wintered on the river Platte, six
hundred miles from its mouth.
By information received from these gentlemen, it
appears that a journey across the continent of North
America might be performed with a waggon, there being
no obstruction in the whole route that any person
would dare to call a mountain, in addition to its being
m The Shawnee Prophet was brother and partner of Tecumseh, in his
confederacy against the Americans. The range of his operations is shown
by this message to the distant Oto. After the close of the War of 1812-15,
the Prophet received from the British authorities a pension for his services;
later, he removed with his tribe to Indian Territory, and there died about
1834.— Ed.
123 The Snake Indians were the largest branch of the Shoshonian stock,
and are frequently spoken of as Shoshoni. Their habitat was the upper
waters of the Columbia, whose largest tributary takes its name from this
tribe. They were first encountered and described by Lewis and Clark.
As a rule they have been friendly Indians. They now number about
twenty-five hundred, chiefly at the Fort Hall and Lemhi agencies in Idaho
and the Shoshoni agency in Wyoming.— Ed.
mi mi
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
much the most direct and short one to go from this
place to the mouth of the Columbia river. Any future
party, who may undertake this journey, and are tolerably acquainted with the different places where it would
be necessary to lay up a small stock of provisions, would
not be impeded, as in all probability, they would not
meet with an Indian to interrupt their progress, although
on the other route, more north, there are almost insurmountable barriers.' '
The following is Mr. Crooks's narrative of Mr.
Hunt's expedition from the Aricaras to the Pacific:
Messrs. Hunt, Crooks, Miller, M'Clellan, M'Kenzie, and about sixty men, who left St. Louis [234] in the
beginning of March, 1811, for the Pacific Ocean,
reached the Aricara village on the 13th day of June,
where meeting with some American hunters, who had
been the preceding year on the waters of the Columbia
with Mr. Henry, and who, giving such an account of
the route by which they passed, as being far preferable
in point of procuring with facility an abundant supply
of food at all times, as well as avoiding even the probability of seeing their enemies, the Black Feet, than by
the track of Captains Lewis and Clarke, the gentlemen
of the expedition at once abandoned their former ideas
of passing by the Falls of the Missouri, and made the
necessary arrangements for commencing their journey
over land from this place.
Eighty horses were purchased and equipped by the
17th of July, and on the day following they departed
from the Aricaras, sixty persons in number, all on foot,
except the partners of the company.— In this situation TR
Bradbury's Travels
they proceeded for five days, having crossed in that
time, two considerable streams, which joined the Missouri below the Aricaras, when, finding an inland
tribe of Indians, calling themselves Shawhays, but
known among the whites by the appellation of Chiennes,
they procured from these an accession of forty horses,
which enabled the gentlemen to furnish a horse for
every two [235] men. Steering about W. S. W. they
passed the small branches of Big River, the Little
Missouri, above its forks, and several of the tributary
streams of Powder River, one of which they followed
up. They found a band of the Absaroka, or Crow
nation, encamped on its banks, at the foot of the Big
Horn Mountain.
For ammunition and some small articles, they exchanged all their lame for sound horses, with these
savages; but although this band has been allowed by
every one who knew them, to be, by far, the best behaved of their tribe, it was only by that unalterable
determination of the gentlemen to avoid jeopardizing
the safety of the party, without, at the same moment,
submitting to intentional insults, that they left this
camp (not possessing a greater force than the whites)
without coming to blows.
The distance from the Aricaras to this mountain, is
about four hundred and fifty miles, over an extremely
rugged tract, by no means furnishing a sufficient supply of water: but during the twenty-eight days they
were getting to the base of the mountain, they were only
in a few instances without abundance of buffalo meat.
Three days took them over the plains of Mad River,
(the name given to the Big Horn above this [236] 23°
Early Western Travels
(Vol. 5
iff a
mountain) which following for a number of days, they
left it where it was reduced to eighty yards in width,
and the same evening reached the banks of the Colorado, or Spanish River. Finding flocks of buffaloes
at the end of the third day's travel on this stream, the
party passed a week in drying buffalo meat, for the
residue of the voyage, as in all probability those were
the last animals of the kind they would meet with.
From this camp, in one day, they crossed the Dividing
Mountain, and pitched their tents on Hoback's Fork of
Mad River, where it was near one hundred and fifty
feet broad; and in eight days more, having passed several stupendous ridges, they encamped in the vicinity
of the establishment made by Mr. Henry, in the fall of
1810, on a fork about seventy yards wide, bearing the
name of that gentleman;124 having travelled from the.
main Missouri, about nine hundred miles, in fifty-
four days. Here, abandoning their horses, the party
constructed canoes, and descended the Snake, or
Ky-eye-nem River, (made by the junction of Mad
River, south of Henry's Fork) four hundred miles; in
the course of which they were obliged, by the intervention of impassable rapids, to make a number of portages; till at length they found the river confined between
gloomy precipices, at least two hundred feet perpendicular, whose banks for the most part were washed by
this turbulent stream, which for thirty miles was a continual succession of falls, cascades, [237] and rapids.
Mr. Crooks' canoe had split and upset in the middle of
124 For biographical sketch of Andrew Henry, one of the partners of the
Missouri Fur Company, see Chittenden, American Fur Trade, pp. 25 r, 252.
His fort was the first trading post west of the Rocky Mountains, being
situated about where the village of Egin, Idaho, now stands.— Ed.
m 1809-18115
Bradbury's Travels
a rapid, by which one man was drowned, named An-
tonie Clappin, and Mr. Crooks saved himself only by
extreme exertion in swimming. From the repeated
losses by the upsetting of canoes, their provisions were
now reduced to a bare sufficiency for five days, totally
ignorant of the country where they were, and unsuccessful in meeting any of the nations from whom they
could hope for information.
Unable to proceed by water, Messrs. M'Kenzie,
M'Clellan, and Reed set out in different directions
down the river, for the purpose of finding Indians, and
buying horses: Mr. Crooks, with a few men, returned
to Henry's Fork for those they had left, while Mr.
Hunt remained with the main body of men, entrapping
beaver for their support. Mr. Crooks, finding the distance much greater by land than he had contemplated,
returned at the end of three days; where waiting five
more, expecting relief from below, the near approach
of winter made them deterrnine on depositing all superfluous articles, and proceeding on foot. Accordingly,
on the ioth of November, Messrs. Hunt and Crooks
set out, each with eighteen men; one party on the south
side of the river. Mr. Hunt was fortunate in finding
Indians, with abundance of salmon and some horses;
but Mr. Crooks saw but few, and [238] in general too
miserably poor to afford bis party assistance. Thirteen days brought the latter to a high range of mountains,
through which the river forced a passage, and the banks
being their only guide, they still, by climbing over points
of rocky ridges projecting into the stream, kept as near
to it as possible, till in the evening of the 3d of December, impassable precipices, of immense height, put an
<m i
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
end to all hopes of following the margin of this water
course, which here was no more than forty yards wide,
ran with incredible velocity, and was withal so foam-
ingly tumultuous, that even had the opposite bank been
fit for their purpose, attempts at rafting would have
been perfect madness, as they could only have the inducement of ending, in a watery grave, a series of hardships and privations, to which the most hardy and determined of the human race must have found himself
inadequate. They attempted to climb the mountains,
still bent on pushing on, but after ascending for half a
day, they discovered to their sorrow, that they were not
half way to the summit, and the snow already too deep
for men in their emaciated state to proceed further.
Regaining the river bank, they returned up, and on
the third day met with Mr. Hunt and party, with one
horse, proceeding downwards. A canoe was soon
made of a horse hide, and in it they transported [239]
some meat, which they could spare, to Mr. Crooks'
starving followers, who, for the first eighteen days,
after leaving the place of deposit, had subsisted on half
a meal in twenty-four hours, and in the last nine days
had eaten only one beaver, a dog, a few wild cherries,
and some old mockason soles, having travelled, during
these twenty-seven days, at least five hundred and fifty
miles. For the next four days, both parties continued
their course up the river, without any other support
than what little rose-buds and cherries they could find ;
but here they luckily fell in with some Snake Indians,
from whom they got five horses, giving them three guns
and some other articles for the same.
Starvation had bereft J. B. Provost of his senses
*& 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
entirely, and on seeing the horse flesh on the opposite
side of the river, he was so agitated in crossing in a skin
canoe, that he upset it, and was unfortunately drowned.
From hence Mr. Hunt went on to a camp of Shoshon-
ies, about ninety miles above, where procuring a few
horses and a guide, he set out for the main Columbia,
across the mountains of the south west, leaving the river
where it entered the range, and on it Mr. Crooks and
five men, unable to travel. Mr. Hunt lost a Canadian,
named Carrier, by starvation, before he met the Shy-
eye-to-ga Indians, in the Columbia plains;125 from
whom, getting a supply of provisions, he soon reached
the [240] main river, which he descended in canoes, and
arrived without any further loss at Astoria in the month
of February.
Messrs. M'Kenzie, M'Clellan, and Reed, had united
their parties on the Snake River Mountains, through
which they travelled twenty one days, to the Mulpot
River, existing on an allowance by no means adequate
to the toils they underwent daily; and to the smallness
of their number (which was in all eleven) they attribute
their success in getting with life to where they found
some wild horses. They soon after reached the Forks,
called by Captains Lewis and Clarke, Koolkooske;
went down Lewis's River and the Columbia wholly by
water, without any misfortune except the upsetting, in a
rapid, of Mr. M'Clellan's canoe: and although it happened on the first day of the year, yet, by great exertion,
they clang to the canoe till the others came to their assist-
m These Indians were probably some branch of the populous Salishan
family. Irving speaks of them as "Sciatogas," and associates them with
the "Tushepaws" — a tribe well-known to Lewis and Clark. Apparently
they were encountered near Umatilla River, in eastern Oregon.— Ed.
M 234
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[Vol. 5
ance, making their escape with the loss of some rifles.
They reached Astoria early in January.
Three of the five men who remained with Mr.
Crooks, afraid of perishing by want, left him in February, on a small river on the road, by which Mr. Hunt
had passed, in quest of Indians, and have not since
been heard of. Mr. Crooks had followed Mr. Hunt's
track in the snow for seven [241] days; but coming to a
low prairie, he lost every appearance of a trace, and
was compelled to pass the remaining part of the winter
in mountains, subsisting sometimes on beaver and
horse meat, and the skins of those animals, and at other
times on their success in finding roots. Finally, on
the last of March, the other only Canadian being unable
to proceed, was left with a lodge of Shoshonies, and
Mr. Crooks, with John Day, finding the snow sufficiently diminished, undertook, from Indian information, to cross the last ridge, which they happily effected,
and reached the banks of the Columbia in the middle
of April; where, in the beginning of May, they fell in
with Messrs. Stewart and Co. having been, a few days
before, stripped of every thing they possessed, by a
band of villains near the Falls. On the 10th of May
they arrived safe at Astoria, the principal establishment
of the Pacific Fur Company,128 within fourteen miles of
Cape Disappointment.
"* This establishment has since been broken up.— Bradbtjry. \fi
[242]   No. IV
The Missouri Territory is bounded by the state of
Louisiana on the south, the Mississippi on the east,
the British Territory on the north, and the Rocky
Mountains and Mexico on the west. It was first discovered by Sebastian Cabot, in the year 1497, and in
the year 1512 it was visited by John Pontio de Leon,
a Spaniard, who attempted to form a settlement. In
1684, Monsieur de la Salle, a Frenchman, discovered
the mouth of the Mississippi, and built Fort Louis;
but being assassinated, it was again abandoned. In
the year 1698, Captain Ibberville sailed up the Mississippi, formed a settlement, and named the country
Louisiana. About twenty-two years afterwards Monsieur de la Sueur also sailed up the Mississippi, and
proceeded to the distance of two thousand two hundred
and eighty miles from its mouth.127
[243] In 1762 France ceded it to Spain by a secret
treaty, and a small force was sent to take possession;
but the inhabitants not having been officially made
acquainted with the cession, refused to submit to the
dominion of that power. Some time afterwards the
Spanish  government   commissioned   a   man   named
al This should be two years later, not twenty-two; Le Sueur's voyage
was in 1700.    See Wisconsin Historical Collections, xvi, pp. 177-193.— Ed.
m 236
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
O'Reilly, who, at the head of three thousand men, took
possession of it, and from motives of revenge, put
several of the principal inhabitants to death. In 1800,
1801, Spain ceded it back to France, and by a treaty
of April 30th, 1803, the French government sold it to
the United States for the sum of fifteen millions of
dollars, payable in fifteen years, at one million annually. The extent of country purchased for this sum
is not yet known with any considerable degree of
accuracy, but it is calculated to contain at least 1,026,-
312 square miles, or 656,839,680 acres, and it must be
remembered that for this sum not only the political
dominion, but the reversionary property in the land, was
purchased. If we suppose the money to apply to the
purchase of the land only, the cost will fall short of
i\d. per acre, or £3, 6s. 8d. sterling per square mile,
without one drop of blood being shed.128
[244] The Mississippi receives the water furnished by
almost the whole of this area, and as the extent of
country from whence it derives its water is pretty
accurately known, I shall state it, that an adequate
idea may be formed of that mighty river; previously
observing, that the name is of Indian origin, and signifies "The mother of waters."
From the extremity of the most eastern branch to
128 By the most accurate calculation, the surface of the globe contains
198,976,786 square miles, one-fifth of which only is land, or 39,795,357
square miles, the value of which, at £3, 6s. 8d. per square mile, is ^132,651,-
190 sterling; from whence it appears that at this price the cost of seven
worlds, as large as this we inhabit, would be only ^928,558,330!!! Should
any one doubt the wisdom of Mr. Jefferson, after being acquainted with this
fact, let him enter into a calculation of the expenses incurred in the old
mode of acquiring territory by the sword. He will soon convince himself
that this is a very much improved plan.— Bradbury. i8o9-i8ii|]
Bradbury's Travels
that of the most western, it is one thousand six hundred
and eighty miles in a direct line; and from the commencement of the most northerly to its mouth, it is one
thousand six hundred and fifty, also in a direct line.
Amongst the immense advantages which the United
States will derive from the purchase of Louisiana, the
possession of this river is one of the greatest. The
whole territory of the United States is 1,205,635,840
acres. The following table will show that the area
dependent on the Mississippi for a communication with
the ocean, is 1,344,779 square miles, or 860,658,560
acres. The whoje [245] empire of China is only estimated at 800,000,000 of acres !
The area of the states or territories, or of the portions of such as contribute to the waters of this river
are as follows:—
Sqr. Miles.
Missouri Territory       ...        .        .        .   985,250
North-West Territory, i
Illinois Territory (the whole)
Indiana State, \$
Ohio State, $
Pennsylvania, $•  .
New York, -j-J^   .
Maryland, xJ-^    -
Virginia, ■§•           -
Kentucky (the whole) .
Tennessee    (ditto)
Mississippi Territory, J
State of Orleans, \
.     20,500
Georgia, fa
North Carolina, fa
South Carolina, xhs
Square miles
— fff
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
This area is nearly twenty-eight times the extent of
England and Wales, and eleven times that of the whole
of Great Britain and Ireland.
Mr. Mellish129 made a calculation of the quantity of
water discharged by this river at its mean [246] height;
but notwithstanding his usual accuracy, I think he has
erred in this case, by taking wrong data. In the first
place, he has made his estimate of the magnitude of
the river by considering it at its mouth, without taking
into account the great number of bayoux that have previously issued from it. Even at Orleans its magnitude
is much diminished. Amongst other bayoux that take
water from this river above that city, are bayou Chiffalie,
bayou Tunica, bayoux Manchac, La Fourche, and
Placqmines. In other places, any one of these five
bayoux would be considered as a great river; but here a
comparison with their vast parent destroys their consequence. It is singular that the Mississippi maintains
its full magnitude only for the length of three miles.
At that distance from the mouth of Red River issues
bayou Chiffalie.
The second error consists in not allowing sufficient
depth to the river. He assumes forty feet as the average depth from Orleans to the mouth, whereas it is
well known that at that city the depth is sixty fathoms,
or three hundred and sixty feet, and in no part from
thence to the bar at its mouth is it less than thirteen
fathoms, or seventy-eight feet.   But although he has
128 John Melish was a Scotchman who travelled extensively in the United
States after 1807, and published a number of geographical works and
descriptions of this country and the adjacent territories in North America.
He died in Philadelphia in 1822.— Ed. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
assumed the dimensions of the river at too little, he has
erred greatly in the calculation founded thereon, by
making the discharge of water five times more than his
own [247] data will produce. He considers the river
at two miles in breadth, forty feet in depth, and to run
four miles per hour. This gives, he says, 94,000,000
of gallons per second, whereas it is only 18,537,325
gallons. Perhaps about 60,000,000 of gallons per
second, at a mean state betwixt Red River and bayou
Chiffalie, may not be far from the true quantity.
The territory west of the Mississippi belonging to
the United States, and extending from that river to the
Rocky Mountains, has evidently two characters, so
distinct, as regards the external appearance, that they
cannot justly be included in one general description.
The part which lies immediately on the Mississippi,
and extends from one hundred to two hundred and
fifty miles westward from that river, has a thin covering
of timber, consisting of clumps and of scattered trees.
From the western limits of this region to the Rocky
Mountains, the whole is one vast prairie or meadow,
and, excepting on the alluvion of the rivers, and, in a few
instances, on the sides of the small hills, is entirely
divested of trees or shrubs. The extent of this region
is not accurately known, on account of the real situation
of the Rocky Mountains not yet being truly ascertained ; but it appears from the account of hunters and
travellers, that in some of our best maps and globes they
are laid down considerably [248] too far to the eastward. The course of the Mississippi is nearly from
north to south, and its average longitude nearly ninety
degrees west.   The coast of the Pacific, in the medium
! 240
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
latitude of the Mississippi from its source to its mouth,
is about one hundred and thirty degrees west, a difference of forty degrees, making in that latitude the distance from the Mississippi to the Pacific to be two
thousand, one hundred and twenty-four miles. It is
the opinion of all whom I have consulted, and who
have crossed the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, that
from the eastern limits of that chain to the Mississippi,
the distance is at least twice as great as from the western
limit to the Pacific.180 If this is admitted to be correct,
the distance from the summit of the Rocky Mountains
to the Mississippi is one thousand four hundred and
sixteen miles, from which if one hundred and fifty be
subtracted for the half breadth of the chain, and two
hundred for the woody region on the Mississippi, the
breadth of the prairie will appear to be one thousand
and sixty-six miles, and its length, from north to south,
is at least eighteen degrees of latitude, or one thousand,
two hundred and fifty-one miles.
Excepting towards the foot of the Rocky Mountains,
the whole of this extent is what is usually [249] termed
a plain, being destitute of those elevations that in other
parts appear to have resulted from convulsions. But
although the general surface corresponds almost
exactly with the convexity of the earth, the agency of
water has produced innumerable shallow valleys; and
of the elevated places which separate them, those
termed dividing ridges131 are the highest. From the
top of any of these ridges the limits of the visible hori-
130 Mr. Mellish asserts that one branch of the Missouri rises within four
hundred and fifty miles of the Pacific Ocean.— Bradbury.
181 See note in page 82.— Bradbury. 1809-18118
Bradbury's Travels
zon are as exactly defined, and the view as extensive
as at sea, the undulations on the surface of the earth
here bearing no greater proportion in the scale than
the waves of an agitated ocean. The deviation from
the true curvature of the earth is much greater on the
approach to the Rocky Mountains. This gives an increased velocity to the currents of water, and produces
a more powerful attrition on their beds. The consequence is, the valleys in that part are deeper, and the
surface more rugged and broken.
Several geological facts tend to prove that this portion of the globe has been peculiarly exempted from
the operation of local and disorganizing convulsions,
and that it has remained for a vast length of time in its
present state. The most prominent of these facts is
the undisturbed uniformity of the strata, and their
general parallelism to the surface [250] of the earth, as
exemplified in the vast stratum of iron ore on the Missouri, and in the limestone rocks, wherever they occur.
The depth and extent of the valleys of the river, together with the peculiar formation of the hills, tend to
confirm the opinion, that whatever changes have taken
place on the surface have been effected by the operations of a slow, but continually acting cause.
Some of the mineral deposits are of wonderful
extent. Of these the deposit of salt on the Arkansas
River is the most remarkable. So little of this is yet
known, that an adequate idea of its magnitude can
only be formed by taking into view the number of
rivers constantly impregnated by it, and the extent of
country from which they derive their sources. The
most southerly of the salt rivers that rise in the region,
m 242
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[Vol. 5
containing this salt deposit, is a branch of Red River,
called by the Indians Ba-ha-cha-ha, and by the French
Fouxoacheta. It is a considerable stream, and salt
rock is found on its banks. No fewer than three salt
rivers or streams flow into the Arkansas, the least of
which is fifty yards in breadth; another is seventy-five,
and the largest is one hundred and fifty yards wide.
This last is called by the Osages New-sew-kë tonga,
which signifies in their language, "The largest salt
river." These streams all rise in the same region, as
also does a branch of the Canadian Fork of the [251]
Arkansas, another large river mentioned by Mr. Pike,
the name of which he writes Ne-sout-che-bra-ra,132
which name indicates that either the water is salt, or
that salt is found in the neighbourhood.18*
It appears that this salt deposit passes under the
Arkansas to the north-west, and impregnates two
branches of the Kanzas River of the Missouri, both of
considerable magnitude. There are several salt deposits on our globe, of vast extent; but perhaps when
132 Fouxoacheta River is that now known as Washita, a large affluent
of Red River, in Indian Territory. Bradbury derived his information from
the explorations of Dr. John Sibley, published (1807) in connection with
the Statistical View of Lewis and Clark.
The two names of the Arkansas affluents are derived from Pike's map,
accompanying his journals of 1805-07. The Newsewketonga is the Cimarron River (see ante, note 109). The Nesoutchebrara appears to be the
main fork of Canadian River, in its upper course.— Ed.
133 As the whole of this region is the property of the Osage Indians, it may
justly be inferred that all the names of the rivers have originated with them.
It is evident that Pike wrote the name from hearing the pronounciation, as
the Indians do not write; and had he attended to the derivation in this instance,
he would have followed the same orthography as in the former, both being
derived from ne-shu, or new-sew, (salt) and nes-ka, or nes-ke, (river.) He
would then have written it New-sew-ke-bra-ra.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
this deposit becomes better known, it will be found
inferior to none in point of magnitude; for if its continuity in one body is a fact, the area it covers must
amount to several thousand square miles.184
[252] It is worthy of notice that gypsum and clay are
found abounding with the salt of this deposit, and that
in this instance, as well as in many others, the substances which are concomitant with each other on this
continent, correspond with the order observed in other
parts of the world. Salt springs are very abundant in
other parts west of the Mississippi. The body of iron
ore on the Missouri is another instance of the magnitude of mineral deposits in this country. Some account of it may be seen in page 101.
From the accounts of hunters, the various indications of coal, and its frequent appearance, we may
justly conclude that no portion of the earth is more
abundant in that useful mineral than this region. It
appears in various parts, at the foot of the bluffs of the
Missouri. On the Osage River, a bed of very great
but unknown thickness shows itself. On Red River it
comes to the surface in several places, and the hunters
speak of it as being one of the most common substances
on the Little Missouri and the Roche Jaune Rivers.
The existence of silver ore about the head of the
Arkansas  and  Red  River  is believed by the [253]
"" Mr. Sibly says the extent of this salt region is seventy-five miles
square, which gives an area of five thousand, six hundred and twenty-five
square miles. Of the degree to which the water of these salt rivers is saturated, some idea may be formed when it is stated, that in the dry seasons
the water of the Arkansas and Red Rivers are rendered very brackish by
them. It appears also that it is the overflowing of one of these salt rivers
that fills the Great Lake, which is evaporated every summer, and leaves the
incrustation mentioned in page 192, 193.— Bradbury.
mmmmm 244
Early Western Travels
OVol. 5
inhabitants of Upper Louisiana, and various accounts
are current amongst them of its having been discovered
there by hunters. As those rivers rise in the range of
mountains in which the mines of Santa Fe are situated,
and not far distant from them, the account is probable;
but the frequent occurrence of pyrites in America, the
deceptive appearance of that substance, and the inability of men so little acquainted with mineralogy to
discriminate, should induce great caution in admitting
the fact.185
The part which lies betwixt this vast meadow and
the Mississippi river, it has already been stated, is of a
different character so far as it regards the external
appearance of the country; not merely [254] owing to
the presence of trees in that part, but the surface of
the country wears quite another aspect. The numerous rivers which fall into the Mississippi in this region,
together with their various ramifications, run in deep
and comparatively narrow valleys, which give to this
country a very uneven appearance. This is a necessary
consequence of the number of small rivers that fall
immediately into the great trunk of the Mississippi.
135 In the interior of America, specimens of pyrites have been often shown
to me as the ore of silver or gold, and I have frequently found it an unpleasant task to undeceive those who were in possession of them, as they were
persuaded that they had made a valuable discovery.
Immediately after I left the mouth of the Kenhawa river, I was followed
to Galliopolis by a Quaker of the name of Kenzie, who showed me some
specimens of whitish pyrites, which he said was silver ore, and offered me a
considerable sum of money if I would instruct Wm in the method of separating the metal. I attempted to undeceive him, but he became angry,
and intimated that he knew the value of the mine too well to be taken in
that way, and that it was no uncommon thing for Englishmen to discourage
the working of mines in America, that they might get hold of them for themselves.— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
The general level of its bed being at least one hundred
and fifty or two hundred feet below that of the surrounding country, gives a fall of that extent to the
minor streams, besides that which is occasioned by the
natural declivity of the country, and, of course, causes
an increased velocity, and a more powerful action on
their beds; and this effect extends to the smallest of the
collateral branches. But although this portion differs
so much from the other in its external appearance, still
there are good reasons for thinking that they differ but
little in their subterranean conformation, because many
instances occur to prove, that although the surface is
more broken and uneven, it is entirely owing to the
more powerful action of the streams. The frequent
instances of thin horizontal strata of limestone rock
appearing on both sides of a valley, corresponding in
all the circumstances of elevation, thickness, and their
component parts, prove that the hills have not been
formed by convulsions.
[255] With a few exceptions only, of isolated sandstone rock, the whole of this portion of the Missouri
territory that I have seen is calcareous; the rocks being
of a whitish limestone, containing organic remains in
abundance, which consist of the casts of entrochii,
anomice, &"c. In this particular, an exception must be
made to the rock forming the matrix of the lead in the
mine region, in which I could not find any trace of
organic remains whatever.
When the subterranean geography of this country
shall become better known, it will probably be found
to be one of the most interesting in the world. Besides the evidence furnished by the caves known to
■s V
i 246
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
exist in the incumbent rock, there are other facts tending to prove, that, beneath the surface, there are a
great many others, and of vast extent. A considerable
number of the minor streams are entirely lost under
ground, except in time of floods, and no place where
they re-appear can be traced out. The Merrimac and
Gasconade rivers have each a spring rising in their bed,
either of which would be sufficient of itself to form a
considerable river; and about three hundred miles
S. S. W. of St. Louis, there is a branch of White River,
composed entirely of one spring, so copious, that I am
credibly informed a boat of thirty or forty tons burthen
might sail to the source.188
[256] In many parts of this country,'there are great
numbers of what the inhabitants call "sink holes."
These are all of the same form, but differ in magnitude,
some not being more than thirty yards in diameter at
the top; others exceed two hundred. They are circular,
but diminish towards the bottom, and resemble an inverted hollow cone; some of the large ones are so deep,
that tall trees, growing at the bottom, cannot be seen
until we approach the brink of the cavity. I have
examined many of these sink holes, and in several have
heard the noise of water, as of a considerable stream,
running below the bottom of the cavity. In others,
the subterranean stream is visible, and affords evidence
that it has caused the cavity, by carrying away the
incumbent earth, which has fallen in from time to time.
138 Meramec and Gasconade rivers are affluents of the Missouri, in the
state of that name. The former signifies "catfish," in the local Indian
tongue, and was frequently spelled Marameg. White River is a western
branch of the Mississippi, in Arkansas.— Ed. 1809-1811] Bradbury's Travels 247
The abundance of nitre, generated in the caves of
this country, is a circumstance which ought not to be
passed over unnoticed. These caves are always in the
limestone rocks; and in those which produce the nitre,
the bottom is covered with earth, which is strongly im-
"pregnated with it, and visible in needle-form crystals.
In order to obtain the nitre, the earth is collected and
lixiviated: the water, after being saturated, is boiled
down, and suffered to stand till the crystals are formed.
In this manner, it is no uncommon thing for three
[257] men to make one hundred pounds of salt-petre
in one day. As these caves may probably have been
the resort of wild animals in former times, the accumulation of nitre, in the first instance, is not surprising;
but that the earth, on being again spread on the bottom
of the cave, should be re-impregnated in the space of
four or five years, is not so easily accounted for: that
this is a fact, many who have been employed in making
salt-petre have assured me. In the spring of 1810,
James M'Donald of Bonhomme, and his two sons,
went to some caves on the Gasconade River to make
salt-petre, and in a few weeks returned with three
thousand pounds weight to St. Louis.
It is very probable that coal is here in great abundance. About four miles west of St. Louis, a vein,
from twelve to eighteen inches in thickness, breaks out
at the edge of a creek, and is used by the blacksmiths.
In the year 1810, the grass of the prairie on the American Bottom, in the Illinois Territory, took fire, and
kindled the dry stump of a tree, about five miles east
of St. Louis: this stump set fire to a fine bed of coal on
which it stood, and the coal continued to burn for sev-
I 248
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
WVlK f fl
eral months, until the earth fell in and extinguished it.
This bed breaks out at the bottom of the bluffs of the
Mississippi, and is about five feet in thickness: I visited
the place, and by examining the indications, [258]
found the same vein at the surface several miles distant. Near the village of St. Ferdinand, on the edge
of the Missouri, the bank is one solid bed of fine coal,
of unknown thickness, but certainly more than twenty
feet : this bed is called by the French La Charbonnière.
The lead mines of St. Genevieve187 occupy an extent
of country, the limits of which have not yet been ascertained: they commence about thirty miles west of the
Mississippi, and extend west and north-west. That
which more particularly indicates the existence of lead,
is a redness of the soil, which appears to result from
the decomposition of an hœmatitic iron ore, found
there in great abundance, intermixed with pyrites, and
in some [259] of its states exhibiting evident proofs of
being a transition from that substance. The indications are still stronger, if this earth contain sulphate
of barytes, crystalized carbonate of lime, and aggregated crystals of quartz.   All these are in some parts
137 It was the discovery of these lead mines that gave rise to the famous
Mississippi scheme, projected by Law in 1719, which ruined hundreds of
families in France. It was then supposed that it was a silver mine; and
although the bubble burst immediately, it is surprising that Du Prate, who
wrote thirty-nine years afterwards, should still persist in the error. He not
only lays down a silver mine on the Marameg in his map of Louisiana, but
mentions it in his description. The Marameg is now called the Mirramac,
on a branch of which, called the Negro Fork, the mines of St. Genevieve
are situated. Du Pratz says, "The mine of Marameg, which is silver, is
pretty near the confluence of the river which gives it name; which is a great
advantage to those who would work it, because they might easily, by that
means, have their goods from Europe. It is situate about five hundred
leagues from the sea.' '— Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
very abundant, and generally of a red colour, probably
occasioned by the oxide of iron contained in the soil.188
These mines have been worked since about the year
1725, and until of late the ore has not been sought for
in the rock, but has been found in the earth in detached lumps, intermixed with the substances above
mentioned. The workmen employed, have no other
implements than a pick-axe and a wooden shovel, and
when at work, appear as if employed in making tan
pits, rather than in mining. When they come to the
rock, or to such a depth that it is no longer convenient
to throw the dirt out of the hole, they quit, and perhaps
commence a new digging, as they term it, within a few
feet of that which they have previously abandoned.
Each digger works separately for himself, and sells the
ore to the proprietor of the soil, at two dollars per
hundred pounds. It is evident from the nature of the
employment, that the gain to the diggers must be very
precarious, but in general they appear to live comfortably. They are almost all Creole French who are
[260] employed, and if I may judge from a single instance, retain as much fondness for showy dress as the
most foppish of their ancestors.18'
The proprietors who buy the ore, cause it to be
138 On the early history of these mines, see Thwaites, "Notes on Early
Lead Mining," Wisconsin Historical Collections, xiii, pp. 271-292; or the
revision thereof, "Early Lead Mining on the Upper Mississippi," in How
George Rogers Clark won the Northwest, etc. (Chicago, 1903).— Ed.
u* On a Saturday evening I arrived at the mine Belle Fontaine, and
employed myself until night in examining the substances thrown out by the
diggers, and found the most interesting specimens amongst the refuse of one
man, who, on that account, I particularly noticed. On the following morning I met Mm in the village, dressed in a white gown, with red slippers, and
a blue silk waistcoat, embroidered with silver lace.— Bradbury.
1 jpl'l^
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
smelted in furnaces constructed of two parallel walls,
one about eight, the other four, feet high, and three
and a half asunder: these are joined by two sloping side
walls, and into this inclosed area the fuel and ore are
thrown. In this way they obtain from sixty to seventy
per cent of lead : the ore is said to contain eighty.
The mines belong to a number of proprietors, and
are mostly held by grants from the Spanish governors
who formerly resided at St. Louis, and are worked with
more or less spirit, as the ore happens to be abundant
or otherwise, for the workmen quit one digging without
ceremony, when they hear of better success at another.
The profits of the proprietors are commensurate with
the quantity of ore raised on their property: therefore,
[261] when the diggings become less productive than
usual, they make trials on different parts of their land,
to discover where the ore is more abundant, that the
diggers may be induced to remain with them. These
trials consist in nothing more than digging a hole in
some part of the woods, to the depth of three or four
feet, and judging by the quantity of ore (galena) what
degree of success may be expected.
A little time before I visited Richwood mines, the
property of Monsieur Lebaume, of St. Louis, he had
made forty trials, by simply digging holes, not more
than four feet deep, in places remote from each other,
on his land. In thirty-eight of these he found ore, and
from one hole more than half a hundred weight was
raised.   This gentleman owns a square league."0
140 Louis Labaume de Tateron came to St. Louis under the Spanish
regime, and acted as secretary for Governor Trudeau. In accordance with
democratic principles he dropped the aristocratic preposition "de," being 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
As soon as any particular district is found so abundant as to warrant a furnace to be erected near it, they
give it a name. Whilst I was at St. Louis, one of
these places was discovered, and named Mine au Shibboleth, from which, I was credibly informed, four millions of pounds weight of ore was raised in the manner
I have described, in one summer. The diggings
which I visited were Mine au Burton, Mine Belle Fontaine, Richwood Mines, Old Diggings, New Diggings,
and Elliot's [262] Diggings. Some of these diggings
are ten or twelve miles distant from each other. Mine
la Motte, on the waters of the river St. Francis, is thirty
or forty miles south of all the rest. Some of these
mines have fallen into the hands of Americans, who
have ventured to penetrate the rock, which is always
found at a depth of from six to twelve feet below the
surface, and have been amply rewarded for their
I remained a few days with Mr. Elliot, who at that
time had only just commenced on the rock, but had
the most promising prospects of success. He had
raised a considerable quantity of ore, and many tons of
blende, and with the last had repaired the road to his
works, not knowing what substance it was. Mr. Moses
Austin, proprietor of Mine au Burton, had been very
successful, having found large masses of ore in the
caves of the rock into which he had penetrated."1
known as Louis Tateron Labaume. After the transfer of Upper Louisiana
to the United States (March 9, 1804), he was made judge of the court of
common pleas, and colonel of militia. A man of fortune and ability, he
was one of the prominent citizens of early St. Louis.— Ed.
m Moses Austin was the Texan pioneer for whom the capital of that
state was named.    Born in Connecticut, Austin came west in 1798 and for a
mmmm** vM
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
1   ./
At the New Diggings a great deal had been raised
out of the rock, and a considerable quantity was lying
on the bank in very large lumps.— When I visited that
place, they were impeded by water, and had no better
means of getting rid of it, than those which buckets,
raised by a windlass, afforded. I was prevented from
descending by the quantity of water then in the mine.
[263] Although the district of country which contains the present diggings is considered as comprising
the mines, I am of opinion that the lead extends to a
very great distance beyond those limits. I have seen
all the indications on the upper part of the Mirramac
River, fifty or sixty miles west of the present workings,
and still further to the northward, at the mouth of the
Gasconade, on the Missouri. It is supposed by some
that it extends to the mines belonging to the Saukee
and Fox nations of Indians, which are situated on the
Mississippi, six hundred miles above St. Louis.—
These mines are known to extend over a space of
eighty miles in length, and nine miles in breadth.142
number of years engaged in lead-mining. About 1820 he obtained a concession from the Spanish authorities to plant a colony in Texas. Upon his
return to Missouri to secure emigrants, he was deserted by his party and
robbed on the road, from the effects of which he died in 1821. TTi« son
Stephen founded the colony that his father had planned.— Ed.
143 These mines are of great value to the Saukee and Fox nations. As the
game on the lands which they claim is nearly destroyed, they have therefore
been compelled to commence the business of mining, or rather digging. The
ore is raised by the men, but the operation of smelting is done by the squaws.
The method by which they extract the metal was described to me by Mr.
Prior, who was of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke's party, and who traded with
these Indians for lead. They first dig a deep cavity in the ground, near a
perpendicular bank of the Mississippi, and from the face of the bank make
a horizontal hole to meet the bottom of it. A quantity of dry wood is then
thrown into the cavity, and set fire to, after which the ore is thrown in, and I809-I8II]
Bradbury's Travels
[264] Some of the isolated and sand-stone rocks in
this territory, alluded to, are remarkable for their
purity, being so white as to exactly resemble the purest
lump sugar. These would furnish an excellent material for the manufacture of glass.
[265] About five miles west of Herculaneum, which
is situated on the Mississippi, thirty miles below
St. Louis, there is a limestone rock, about a quarter
of a mile in length, and in some parts forty or fifty feet
high. This rock is so completely perforated in almost
every part as to resemble a honey-comb, and the perforations are from one-eighth to three-quarters of an
the supply of both continued. The metal runs out at the horizontal opening, and is received in holes made by the Indians with their heels in the sand
of the river. In this state it is bought by the traders from St. Louis, who
afterwards cast it into pigs in their own moulds. Formerly, these Indians
gave permission to a person of the name of Dubuque to dig lead: he resided
at their village, being much respected by them, and acquired some property,
the management of which, after his death, fell into the hands of Augustus
Choutou, of St. Louis, who in r8io advertised for sale Dubuque's property
in the mines, or his right of digging lead. It was bought by Colonel Smith,
the proprietor of Mine Belle Fontaine, and Mr. Moorhead, of St. Louis,
for about three thousand dollars. They ascended the Mississippi with an
armed party, to take possession, but were roughly handled by the Indians,
and happy in having escaped with their lives. The Indians immediately
afterwards called a council, and being fearful of giving offence to the American government, sent deputies to St. Louis, to plead their cause before
Governor Howard and General Clarke, who performed their mission with
great ability; first disclaiming any intention to continue the grant beyond
the life of Dubuque, and, secondly, any wish to offend the government of
the United States, by driving away Smith and Moorhead. They next
stated, that when the Great Spirit gave the land to the Red Men, their ancestors, he foresaw that the White Men would come into the country, and that
the game would be destroyed; therefore, out of his great goodness, he put
lead into the ground, that they, their wives and children, might continue
to exist: they lastly appealed to the justice of their Great Father, the President
of the United States. Governor Howard and General Clarke approved of
their conduct, and assured them of the protection of the government.—
1« 254
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
i? i
inch in diameter. It has exactly the appearance of
marine rocks, perforated by mytilus Uthophagus, or
Fossil bones have been dug up in various places in
Upper Louisiana. At a salt lick, about three miles
from the Mirramac River, and twelve from St. Louis,
several bones have been discovered, evidently belonging to the same species of mammoth as those found on
the Ohio, and in Orange County, state of New York.
I have frequently been informed of a place on Osage
River, where there is an abundance of bones of great
magnitude. General Clarke148 showed me a tooth
brought from the interior: it was a grinder, and belonged to the animal mentioned by Cuvier, called by
him masto donté, avec dents carrés.
The general character of this country is that of
prairie, with scattered trees and interspersed clumps.
On the summits of the ridges, the timber is generally
red cedar (juniperus virginiana), [266] on the prairie,
post oak (quercus obtusUoba), black jack (quercus
nigra), black walnut (juglans nigra), and shell bark
14i General William Clark, the well-known explorer, was born in Virginia, August r, T770. While yet a lad, his father's family removed to Kentucky, where they had a plantation not far from Louisville, named "Mulberry Hill." William Clark campaigned with Scott in 1791, and joining
the regular army served as lieutenant in the 4th sub-legion, under Wayne,
1793-95. After the treaty of Greenville, he resigned from the army and
was engaged in private business until invited by Lewis to accompany Him
on the expedition to the Pacific (r8o4-o6). Early in 1807 Clark was commissioned brigadier-general of the Louisiana militia, and Indian agent for
the same territory. From that time, he made his home in St. Louis. From
1813 to 1820, he was governor of Missouri Territory. After the admission
of the latter as a state, General Clark was appointed (1822) superintendent
of Indian affairs for all the Western territory, which office he held until his
death at St. Louis, September 1, ^38.— Ed. I
Bradbury's Travels
hickory (jugions squamosa). The alluvion of the
rivers contains a greater variety, of which the principal
are — cotton wood (populus angulosa), sycamore (pla-
tanus occidentalis), over-cup oak (quercus macrocarpa),
nettle tree, or hackberry (celtis crassifolia), hoop ash
(celtis occidentalis), honey locust (gleditsia triacanthos),
black locust (robinia pseudacacia), coffee tree (guilan-
dina dioica), peccan (juglans olivceformis), and many
of the trees common in the states east of the Alle-
The soil is generally excellent, being for the most
part black loam, and is tilled without much trouble.
The climate is very fine: the spring commences
about the middle of March in the neighbourhood of
St. Louis, at which time the willow (salix), the elm
(ubnus Americana), and maples (acer rubrum and
saccharinum) are in flower. The spring rains usually
occur in May, after which month the weather continues fine, almost without interruption, until September, when rain again [267] occurs about the equinox,
after which it remains again fine serene weather until
near Christmas, when the winter commences. About
the beginning or middle of October the Indian summer148 begins, which is immediately known by the
change that takes place in the atmosphere, as it now
becomes hazy, or what they term smoky. This gives
to the sun a red appearance, and takes away the glare
of light, so that au the day, except a few hours about
144 A list of some of the herbaceous plants of the Missouri territory will
be found annexed.— Bradbury.
m» Indians begin to provide for the winter when this state of the weather
commences, as they know it will soon approach.— Bradbury.
- T
r «
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 5
noon, it may be looked at with the naked eye without
pain: the air is perfectly quiescent and all is stillness,
as if nature, after her exertions during the summer,
was now at rest. The winters are sharp, but it may
be remarked that less snow falls, and they are much
more moderate on the west than on the east side of the
Alleghanies in similar latitudes.
The wild productions of the Missouri Territory, such
as fruits, nuts, and berries, are numerous: of these the
summer grape (vitis œstivalis) appears to be the most
valuable, as the French have made a considerable
quantity of wine from it by collecting the wild fruit.14*
This species grows in abundance [268] on the prairies,
and produces a profusion of fine bunches. The winter
grape (vitis vulpinum) is remarkable for the large size
of its vine, which climbs to the tops of the highest trees,
and takes such full possession of their tops, that after
the fall of the leaf, the tree to which it has attached
itself seems to be loaded with fruit. The vine at the
bottom is commonly six or eight inches in diameter.
I measured one near the Mirramac River, that was
thirty-seven inches in circumference near the ground,
after which it divided into three branches, each branch
taking possession of a tree. The fruit is very good
after the frosts have commenced. Another fruit found
here is the persimon (dyospyros virginiana), which
in appearance resembles a plum, excepting that the
permanent calyx of the flower remains.   It is so astrin-
143 Mr. James Berry, with whom I resided, about four miles from St.
Louis, told me that he made eight quarts of wine from the grapes of one of
these vines, which ran up a small tree, about 150 yards from his house.—
Bradbury. 1809-1811]
Bradbury's Travels
gent until amelior