Louis Houck.

A history of Missouri from the earliest explorations and settlements until the admission of the state into the union (Volume 1) online

. (page 27 of 46)
Online LibraryLouis HouckA history of Missouri from the earliest explorations and settlements until the admission of the state into the union (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 46)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Current river. A band of Indians also had a village near Pilot Knob
in 1818, presumably Shawnees and Delawares. 171 These Indians
finally all removed beyond the borders of Missouri, and by the treaty
of 1825 the Shawnees and Delawares received for the Spanish grant
in southeast Missouri, a tract on the Kansas river, fourteen miles
square, and in addition, fourteen thousand dollars for their improve-
ments. 172 With the Shawnees, according to Flint, 173 were also mixed
some Creeks.

It was not long after the American occupation of the country
and the spread of the white settlements that these Indians, then
having their principal villages on Apple creek, in the north
part of Cape Girardeau county, began to suffer from the encroach-
ments of their white neighbors. Some of these, not too honest,
would steal their horses and "many other things." 174 In 181 5, when
a treaty was made at St. Louis with the Indians, the Shawnees and
Delawares complained of these matters to the commissioners, Gen-
eral Clark, Governor Ninian Edwards, and Colonel Chouteau.
Wahepelathy, their principal chief, who afterwards had his village
where Bloomfield now is, made this talk: "When the Spaniards
told us to choose a piece of land, and when we made choice of it, we
obtained from them a grant which has since been recorded by the
board of commissioners, and we understand that all the concessions
granted to the white people by the Spaniards were good. We live
among the white people, and our behavior has been such that no
honest white man can have any cause to find fault with us ; and we
are certain they never will have cause to complain. We have always
conducted ourselves honestly and intend to continue so. Early in
the spring, on my return from hunting, I found my house had been
broken open and what I had left in it all gone. I then took the
resolution of moving to another place on Castor river to settle myself f
provided my father, General Clark, would be pleased with my doing
so. He recommended to us to raise stock and cultivate our land
with industry. His advice we have followed, and wish to remove to



Life of Peck, p. 109.

Harvey's History of the Shawnee Indians, p. 184.
Flint's Mississippi Valley, vol. i., p. 159.
Harvey's History of the Shawnee Indians, p. 162.



HISTORY OF MISSOURI



a new settlement, if we can be permitted to do so, and we do not
care anything more for our old town; but again, lately we have
been encroached upon by a bad white man, by the name Jenkins,
who we hope you will remove from this country, if we are permitted
to remain in it." 175 In accordance with this petition, within twenty-
two days all intruders were ordered by the President to remove from
the land of the Shawnees and Delawares. But this was only a
temporary relief, and as has already been stated, in 1825 these In-
dians were compelled by the encroachments of white settlers to sell
their Spanish grant and leave the state for a home farther west. 176

According to Lesieur, in 1808-9, these Indians became possessed
of the infatuation that witchcraft was being practiced among them,
and no less than fifty women suffered cruel death by the torch within
twelve months. The charges against these unfortunate beings were
usually based upon the report of some one who imagined that he
had seen an intended victim in the form of an owl or some other
bird, or in the form of a panther or beast of the forest. "This was
enough," says Lesieur, 177 "the accused was brought forth, tried by
three selected criminal judges, and nine out of ten at least were
found guilty and doomed to suffer death by fire." When the frenzy
and madness of these people had reached the highest pitch, it was
suddenly checked by the appearance among them of Tecumseh,
who was then engaged in his scheme to form a vast confederacy of
all the Indian tribes to stem the encroaching tide of the white set-
tlers.

It is certain that bands of Cherokees at an early period crossed
the Mississippi. According to an old tradition, after the first treaty

175 2 American State Papers, Indians, p. n.

176 Morse's Report, p. 107. Of these Indian villages on Apple creek, says
Flint: "I saw at Jackson, in Missouri, another emigration of the Shawnees
and Delawares to the country assigned them at the sources of the White river

I had passed through the villages of these people when they inhabited

them, and no place is more full of life and motion than an Indian village. At
the upper end of the villages, under the shade of the peach trees, sat the aged
chiefs on their benches, dozing, their eyes half-closed, with their ruminating and
thoughtful sullenness depicted on their countenances. The middle and lower
end of the villages were all bustle and life ; the young warriors fixing their rifles ;
the women carrying water, and the children playing at ball. I passed through
the same villages when every house was deserted. The deer browsed upon their
fields, and the red-bird perched upon their shrubs and fruit trees. The mellow
song of the bird, and the desolate contrast of what had been but a few months
before, formed a scene calculated to awaken in my mind melancholy emo-
tions." — Flint's Recollections, pp. 140, 150.

177 Lesieur's letter to the Missouri "Republican." March 1, 1S72.



THE CHEROKEES



with the white people, a portion of the tribe under the leadership of
Yunwiusga'se'ti (dangerous man), foreseeing the final end, marched
away for the unknown west. 178 No doubt hunting excursions were
also made from time to time by some of this tribe to the country west
of the river. After the Revolutionary War, some of the Cherokees
who had taken up arms for the English asked permission of Gov-
ernor Miro to settle in the Spanish dominions. 179 The Cherokees
mentioned by Black Hawk in his autobiography may have been the
"Bowls' Band," who in 1794, massacred the Scott party at Mussel-
Shoals, on the Tennessee river, a massacre in excuse of which the
Indians claim that the whites first made them drunk and then
swindled them out of their annuity money, with which they were
just returning from the Indian agency at Tellico ; that, after they
sobered up, when they asked for the return of their money the whites
attacked them and killed two of them, and that they then retaliated
and killed all the whites except the women and children. These,
with their property and slaves, the Indians then escorted down the
Mississippi as far as the St. Francois river, where they stopped.
Thence they sent the women and children on in their boat farther
south, where they arrived safely with their property. These Indians,
under a chief named "The Bowl" (Dima'li), remained on the St.
Francois, and advised the Cherokee nation of what had occurred.
Their action was repudiated, and the Cherokee nation volunteered
to assist in arresting and bringing to punishment all concerned in
the massacre. Finally, however, Dima'li (The Bowl) and his men
were exonerated, but they were greatly embittered at the conduct of
their tribe in Georgia, and remained on the St. Francois, where they
found a rich soil and abundant game. 180 Here others of their tribe
joined them, and from time to time they waged war with the Osages ;
and these, perhaps, were the Cherokees the Saukees and Renards met
in battle, as recorded by Black Hawk. Black Hawk 181 says that
after subduing the Osages the attention of the Saukees and Renards
was directed " toward an ancient enemy [named by him the Chero-
kees] who had decoyed and murdered some of our helpless women and
children," that they met them near the Maramec, and were greatly

178 19 Rep. Bureau of Ethnology, p. 99.

179 Letters of March 1798 to General Wilkinson.

180 19 Rep. Bureau of Ethnology, p. 100.

181 Life of Black Hawk, in the Pioneer Families of Mo., p. 463.



HISTORY OF MISSOURI



outnumbered by them, but that a bloody action took place. He
adds that his band lost three men, among them Peysa, his father,
and that the Cherokees, on the other hand, lost twenty-eight men. It
is more than probable that other Indians from the Gulf states also
joined this band of Dima'li. According to Mooney, 182 one Dima'li,
in 1820, with a band of Cherokees crossed the Red river, going into
Texas, then a portion of Mexico, in the vain attempt to escape the
American advance, but it is doubtful whether this Dima'li is the
same who was on the St. Francois in 1794, and hunted up and down
that river and met the Saukees and Renards on the Maramec.
Gayoso, in 1798, refused permission to some Cherokees to settle on
the west side of the Mississippi in the Spanish territory ; still, these
Indians seem to have crossed and recrossed the river. 183

It may be that these Indians are the same whom De Lassus
described as " vagabond robbers of the Mashcoux, or self-styled
Talapousa Creeks, expelled from their tribe," wandering up and
down the Mississippi on both sides, and from New Madrid up the
St. Francois to the waters of the Maramec. These Indians, De
Lassus says, were "constantly committing barbarities in stealing,
killing, violating, and burning houses." One of the chiefs of these
Indians was Agypousetchy, and another Kaskaloua. They were
engaged in war with the Osages and Saukees and Foxes. On one
occasion seven or eight of these Indians came into Ste. Genevieve
and sang and danced the scalp dance, pretending they had an engage-
ment with the Osages, when as a matter of fact they had killed one
Gabriel Bolon and his two nephews, early settlers on the Grand
Glaise river. This was discovered a few days afterward when they
came to St. Louis, by a Delaware squaw who was with them, but who
had escaped, reporting the facts to De Lassus. These "Mashcoux"
Indians may be the same to whom Black Hawk also refers in his
autobiography as the "Muscow" nation, and who, when he was
a young man, were engaged in war with the Osages. With them
and his father, Black Hawk went on his first warpath against the
Osages. 184 It is probable that these Indians were finally absorbed or
joined the Cherokee or the Shawnee and Delaware villages, after-
ward from time to time located in various portions of the districts

182 19 Rep. Bureau of Ethnology, p. 138.

183 Letter of General Wilkinson, dated March 30, 1798.

184 Life of Black Hawk, in Pioneer Families of Missouri, pp. 461-2.



TRACES AND TRAILS 223

now embraced in the counties of Stoddard, New Madrid, Pemiscot,
and Dunklin, and farther southwest.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the aborigines dwelling in
the territory now embraced within the present limits of Missouri
did not have established and well-known traces or trails, leading
from their villages in various directions to their near or distant hunt-
ing grounds, or to the villages of kindred allied or friendly tribes, or
warpaths often marked with blood; or to imagine that, after the
advent of the white man and the establishment of his trading places,
they did not locate trails and paths to such trading posts, if such
trading places were not established and located on already well-known
paths or trails. In all early narratives we find distinct references
to established roads. Garcilasso speaks of the roads along which
De Soto moved. The chroniclers of Coronado's march make
distinct mention of roads, and the absence of roads in certain direc-
tions is noted. It is erroneous to suppose that the first explorers
and pioneers started out into the wilderness continent without fol-
lowing any path, trace, or trail. It is along these ancient warpaths
or hunting trails, Nuttall l85 says, that we must trace the adventurous
La Salle and, after his death, Jutel and other early travelers and
explorers. It was certainly along such paths that Nicollet traveled,
as well as Groseillier and Radisson. But it would be an error
also to confuse the roads thus mentioned, and which were nothing
but paths or traces, with even the humblest roads of our
time. Along such a path Bourgmont marched in 1724, when he
started on his expedition from Fort Orleans westward. On July
4, 1724, he says: "Nous avons passe trois petites rivieres beaux
chemins, grandes prairies," and on the 7th of July he remarks in
his "Journal," "les chemins mauvais pour les chevaux." After
marching ninety miles through the country in five days along this
road, Bourgmont came to the Missouri river " vis-a-vis le village de
Canzes." This road seems to have run parallel with the Missouri
some distance from it and on the north side of the river, because,
when Bourgmont on his march came to the river, the Kansas village
was on the opposite side, and he crossed over in canoes. When,
afterwards, he started with his force and Indian allies to visit the
Padoucahs, living and hunting south and west of the Kansas river,

186 Nuttall's Arkansas, p. 104.



224 HISTORY OF MISSOURI

it is not stated that he recrossed the Missouri river, but that he fol-
lowed a smaller river coming from the northwest. 186

These Indian highways often followed the routes instinctively
made by the buffalo and other wild animals along dividing ridges, or
down the valleys of streams, to salt-licks or to natural crossing places
over rivers. 187 It has been well observed that the routes thus instinct-
ively made by the bison through the low passes of ranges of high
hills and mountains, are the routes along which the great arteries of
modern commerce run. Along these routes in single file the
Indians traveled on foot with their dogs, and in later times on
ponies, when going to distant places.

It would also be a mistake to suppose that these trails, traces or
paths would be as visible to us as even the humblest and most indis-
tinct of our roads. 188 It is no exaggeration to say that for us these
roads would not be visible at all, for, blocked by fallen trees, over-
hung by brush and vines, winding in a tortuous course through the
forests or prairies covered with tall grass, these primitive highways
often baffled even the eagle eyes of the dauntless explorer, or voyageur
des bois. Naturally, these paths or traces followed the high ground,
the dividing ridges, avoiding the streams and following courses not
exposed to overflow. Thus we find that from the main Indian path
running northwest through the great prairies of north Missouri, a
path or trace led south along a ridge to Loutre's Island. 189 Gen-
erally, from the river bottoms these traces or paths imperceptibly led
to higher ground and into the hills, instead of making a direct rapid
ascent, reaching the higher lands with the least physical exertion.
These trails or traces did not all follow the high lands, but were
also located in the low lands or level river bottoms, following the
streams. De Soto in his march north, up the Mississippi, followed
such an ancient aboriginal trail or trace. From the narrative of the
chronicler of this expedition, it is clear that this road or path ran
parallel with the river, generally some distance from it, but following
an alluvial ridge, a clear and well-defined natural road to this day,
touching the river at what is now Caruthersville and New Madrid.

188 Margry, Les Coureurs des Bois, vol. vi., p. 398 el seq.

187 Nuttall's Arkansas, p. 104.

188 The members of Long's exploring party, for instance, following one of
these "great roads" call it an "obscure path." — Thwaites, note 126 — Nuttall's
Arkansas, p. 147 (Clark's Ed.).

189 Long's Expedition, vol. i., p. 75.



EARLIEST TRAILS



This road is marked with the monuments and remains of the mound-
builders on every side, and, long before the advent of the Indian, was
certainly traveled by that mysterious race. This oldest highway of
Missouri runs through the present counties of Pemiscot, New Mad-
rid, Scott and Cape Girardeau, crossing a bottom three miles wide
between the last two counties, where we place the northern limits of
De Soto's adventurous march, although two of his soldiers went
farther north, probably as far at the Salines, in Ste. Genevieve county.
From the narrative of Garcilasso, it would appear also that after
returning to what is now New Madrid county, he marched from
there in a southwest direction across what is known to-day as the
Little river bottoms, into the present Dunklin county, undoubtedly
following a path leading from New Madrid into what is now
Arkansas.

Long after De Soto's march an Indian trail ran along the Missis-
sippi river on the same ridge traversed by De Soto and his followers,
and extending farther north, following the divide between the waters
of the Mississippi and the waters of White Water, Castor and St.
Francois to Ste. Genevieve, and passing up the north fork of Gabourie
creek and across Establishment creek, across the Maramec to St.
Louis. This trace connected the four Spanish posts, St. Louis,
Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau and New Madrid; and also Little
Prairie, and passed through the Shawnee and Delaware Indian vil-
lages on Apple creek. Along this Indian trail or path the first public
road in Missouri was located and cut out by act of the Territorial
legislature in 1807. This road, we may also suppose, was to some
extent opened by the military expedition, which was organized by
De Lassus in 1802, and which moved from Ste. Genevieve to New
Madrid.

The earliest indications of the existence of a well known, if not
well established, highway in the territory of what is now Missouri, we
find noted on Franquelin's map, published in 1684. On this map a
trail or trace is laid down, extending from the mouth of the Arkansas
river to the mouth of the Osage, where, according to this geographer,
was at that time the village of the Zages (Osages). This trail or trace
is then shown to run east along the south side of the Missouri river
for some distance, possibly as far as the mouth of the Gasconade.
Although the map shows no river emptying into the Missouri at the
point where the trail is shown to cross the Missouri river, it is evident



226 HISTORY OF MISSOURI

that the crossing thus indicated is near the mouth of the Gasconade.
On the north side this trace is shown to run west with the river to the
villages of the "Missourits," located on this map on the north side
of the Missouri and above the villages of the Osages. It is said that
in 1700 the "Missourits" dwelt at the mouth of Grand river, and it
may be that even at the time Franquelin compiled his map, in 1684,
these Indians had located their lodges at the mouth of this stream.
Evidently, they then did not live at the mouth of the Missouri,
where the earliest French explorers had located them. From Grand
river another trail or path led west to a point opposite, may be, to the
mouth of the Big Blue or the Kansas river, and along this "beaux
chemin" we must trace Bourgmont. No doubt, also, a trail fol-
lowed the river far beyond.

From a map published in 1720 with a work by Dr. James Smith,
entitled, "Some Considerations of the Consequences of the French
Settling Colonies on the Missouri," it appears that a path or trail was
then known to exist across South Missouri, this path evidently being
a continuation of a trail starting on the Atlantic coast in Virginia,
known as the "Virginia warriors' path," leading across the Cumber-
land mountains, thence to the falls of the Ohio, and thence across
what is now southern Indiana and Illinois to the Mississippi and
west through Southern Missouri to the Rocky mountains — a
veritable Indian "Appian Way" across the continent. The map
indicates that this trail crossed the Mississippi at Cape St.
Anthony, but the location of this point is not certain. At present,
Cape St. Anthony is above Grand Tower, but the geographers of the
18th century placed it farther south, somewhere near what is now
known as Gray's Point. The Mississippi river, both at Grand
Tower and Gray's Point, is narrow, with shoals of rock at low water
extending almost from shore to shore, and hence little doubt exists
that this Indian trail, dividing east of the Mississippi, crossed at both
points. Father Gravier says that in 1700 the wild animals coming up
from the low lands, and those coming from Illinois going south,
crossed the river at Cape la Croix, now Gray's Point, thus indicating
that here was one of the instinctive routes made by wild animals, over
which the Indians were accustomed to travel. The trail crossing at
or near Grand Tower would, on the west side, follow Apple creek
or the dividing ridge between the waters of the St. Francois and
Maramec, but the lower trail would hug the edge of the great alluvial



226 HISTORY OF MISSOURI

that the crossing thus indicated is near the mouth of the Gasconade.
On the north side this trace is shown to run west with the river to the
villages of the " Missourits, " located on this map on the north side
of the Missouri and above the villages of the Osages. It is said that
in 1700 the "Missourits" dwelt at the mouth of Grand river, and it
may be that even at the time Franquelin compiled his map, in 1684,
these Indians had located their lodges at the mouth of this stream.
Evidently, they then did not live at the mouth of the Missouri,
where the earliest French explorers had located them. From Grand
river another trail or path led west to a point opposite, may be, to the
mouth of the Big Blue or the Kansas river, and along this " beaux
chemin" we must trace Bourgmont. No doubt, also, a trail fol-
lowed the river far beyond.

From a map published in 1720 with a work by Dr. James Smith,
entitled, "Some Considerations of the Consequences of the French
Settling Colonies on the Missouri," it appears that a path or trail was
then known to exist across South Missouri, this path evidently being
a continuation of a trail starting on the Atlantic coast in Virginia,
known as the "Virginia warriors' path," leading across the Cumber-
land mountains, thence to the falls of the Ohio, and thence across
what is now southern Indiana and Illinois to the Mississippi and
west through Southern Missouri to the Rocky mountains — a
veritable Indian "Appian Way" across the continent. The map
indicates that this trail crossed the Mississippi at Cape St.
Anthony, but the location of this point is not certain. At present,
Cape St. Anthony is above Grand Tower, but the geographers of the
1 8th century placed it farther south, somewhere near what is now
known as Gray's Point. The Mississippi river, both at Grand
Tower and Gray's Point, is narrow, with shoals of rock at low water
extending almost from shore to shore, and hence little doubt exists
that this Indian trail, dividing east of the Mississippi, crossed at both
points. Father Gravier says that in 1700 the wild animals coming up
from the low lands, and those coming from Illinois going south,
crossed the river at Cape la Croix, now Gray's Point, thus indicating
that here was one of the instinctive routes made by wild animals, over
which the Indians were accustomed to travel. The trail crossing at
or near Grand Tower would, on the west side, follow Apple creek
or the dividing ridge between the waters of the St. Francois and
Maramec, but the lower trail would hug the edge of the great alluvial



NATCHITOCHES PATH 227

St. Francois basin, gradually ascending by way of Otter, Big Barren
and Pike creeks to the plateaux of the Ozarks. Substantially on this
route a railroad is now in operation. From a point on this ancient
trace or trail thus shown by Dr. Smith's map, across Missouri, a little
southwest of the mouth of the Osage river, a trail or trace is indicated
(on his map) to extend north to the mouth of the Osage, agreeing with
the trail or trace shown on Franquelin's map, published thirty-five years
before. From the mouth of the Osage, this trace is also shown to
extend across into what is now north Missouri to the mouth of the
Des Moines river. Along this trail, diverging, however, on the north
side of the Missouri to the mouth of the Gasconade, the Saukees and
Renards had a warpath leading to the Osage village on the upper
reaches of the river of this name in the beginning of the 19th cen-
tury.

The Indian pathway, as shown by Smith, across southern Indiana
and Illinois, passed through the present Vincennes. On the west
side of the Mississippi, from the lower trace another path diverged
southwest to Natchitoches, one of the ancient Spanish posts of Mexico,
now in Louisiana. This Natchitoches path, at some point west of
Black river, undoubtedly connected with the path running north to the
mouth of the Osage. A path also led from Fort Massac to Cape Girar-
deau, 190 connecting with the pathway leading southwest through south-
ern Illinois from Vincennes. After the settlement of the country,



Online LibraryLouis HouckA history of Missouri from the earliest explorations and settlements until the admission of the state into the union (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 46)