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The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

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Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 72 of 75)
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did not extend so low by near two hundred miles.

You are in error in supposing I have Col. Hancock's cabinet. He left it
by will to Gen. Wm. Preston."


Note (26), page 439.

Biedma merely says : Soto " fell sick and died." But the Elvas Narrative
is more particular. It says : " The 21st of May, 1542, departed out of this
life the valorous, virtuous, and valiant Captain Don Fernando de Soto, Gov-
ernor of Cuba, and Adelantado of Florida. Luis de Moscoco determined to
conceal his death from the Indians, because Fernando de Soto had made them
believe that the Christians were immortal. The adelantado made them be-
lieve that he knew some things that passed in secret among themselves, with-
out their knowledge how or in what manner he came by it ; and that the figure
which appeared in a glass which he showed them, did tell him whatsoever they
practised and went about ; and therefore neither in word nor deed durst they
attempt anything that might be prejudicial unto him.

As soon as he was dead, Luis de Moscoco commanded to put him secretly
in the house, where he remained three days ; and removing him from thence,
commanded him to be buried in the night at one of the gates of the town,
within the wall. The Indians, passing by the place where he was buried, see-
ing the earth moved, looked and spoke one to another. Luis de Moscoco learn-
ing this, commanded him to be taken up by night, and to cast a great deal of
sand into the mantles wherein he was wound up, wherein he was carried in a
canoe, and thrown into the midst of the river."

No mention is here made of the "oak log hollowed out," neither is there
mention that the body of De Soto was taken from a coffin when it was disin-
terred ; yet it is probable that it was at first buried in a cofiin, and it is not
probable that the Spaniards would have put the body of De Soto merely
wrapped in mantles into the Mississippi River to be devoured by the fishes.
What is probable is this : that both Garcilasso's and the Elvas account are
correct as far as they go ; and that the mantles in which the body was wrapped
were filled with sand (as there were no rocks in that place); that the body was
then placed in the hollowed oak, the cavity filled with sand, a plank closely
nailed over the cavity, and the whole committed to the depths of the Mis-
sissippi Kiver. Thus the Mississippi is the appropriate monument of its

Note (27), page 440.


On Monday the 5th of June (1542), Moscoso departed from Guachoya.
He passed through a province called Catalte ; and, having passed a wilderness
of six days' journey, the 20th he came to Chaguate. The cacique went with
him to the town whera^he resided, which was a day's journey from thence.
They passed through a small town where there was a lake where the Indians
made salt ; and the Christians made some one day while they rested there, of
a brackish water which sprang near the town in ponds, like springs. The
governor stayed six days in Chaguate. There they told him that three days'


journey from thence was a province called Aguacay. He came to this
town on Wednesday the 4th of July. Here they had knowledge of the South
Sea.* Here (at Aguacay) was a great store of salt made of sand which they
gathered in a vein of ground like pebbles, and was made as the salt in
Cayas. The same day that he departed from Aguacay, the camp was pitched
hard by a lake of salt water ; and that evening they made salt there. The
fourth day after his departure from Aguacay he came to the first habitation of
a province called Amaye, a day and a half journey from Naguatex. Having
passed the peopled country of Amaye, on Saturday the 20th of July they
pitched their camp at noon in the corner of a grove between Amaye and
ITaguatex. That night be lodged there ; and the next day he came to the
habitation of Naguatex. He inquired where the cacique's chief town was.
They told him that it was on the other side of a river that passed thereby ; he
travelled thitherward" and came unto it. And because he knew not where it
could be waded, he determined to rest some days in the town where he was.
So he pitched his camp a quarter of a league from the river. The weather
was very hot. AVithin ten days after, he sent two captains, with fifteen horse-
men apiece, upward and down the river ; and they crossed it, and found on
the other side of it great habitation and great store of victuals. The governor
sent an Indian from Naguatex, where he lay, to command the cacique to
come and serve him. The cacique came with many of his men; they came
all in a rank one before another on both sides, leaving in the middle a lane
where he came. They came where the governor was, all of them weeping
after the manner of TuUa, which was not far from thence towards the east, (a)
Within four days the governor departed thence, and coming to the river he
could not cross it, because it was grown very big, which seemed to him very
wonderful, being at the time it was, and since it had not rained for a month.
The governor returned unto the place where he had lodged before, and learning
within eight days that the river was fordable he departed. He crossed
over the river and found the town without people ; he lodged in the field.
Presently he departed from Naguatex, and within three days' journey came
to Nissoone. He came to another miserable town called Lacane ; an Indian
here said that the country of Nondacao had great habitation, and great store
of corn. The cacique of Nondacao came with his men weeping like those of
Naguatex and Tulla ; for this is their custom in token of obedience. The
governor departed from Nondacao towards Soacatino, and in five days' journey
came to a province called Aays. He came to Soacatino, which was a very poor
country. Here the Indians said that a little way to the south they heard there
were Christians. The governor travelled twenty days through a country
where he suffered great scarcity and trouble. At last coming to a province
called Guasco, they found corn wherewith they loaded their horses and the
Indians that they had. From thence they went to another town called Naquis-
coca. The Indians here said they had no notice of any other Christians. The
governor commanded them to be tortured. They then said that the Christians
first came to Nacacahoz, and from thence returned again to the west from

* They probably heard of the Gulf of Mexico, and mistook it for the South Sea
(Faoifio Ooean).


■whence they came. The governor then came in two days to liracacahoz.(J)
Here a woman said she had seen Christians, and had been taken by them and
had run away. The governor sent a captain with fifteen horsemen to the place
where she said that she had seen them. After they had gone three or four
leagues, the woman, who guided them, said that all that she had told them
was untrue. And so they held all the rest that the Indians had said of seeing
Christians in Florida.* And because the country that way was poor of corn,
and towards the west there was no notice of any habitation, they returned to
Guasco. The Indians there told them that ten days' journey from thence
towards the west was a river called Daycao (probably the Trinity), whither
they went sometimes to hunt deer; and that they had seen people on the
other side, but knew not what habitation was there. There at Guasco the
Christians took such corn as they could carry, and going ten days through a
wilderness came to that river which the Indians had told them of. Ten horse-
men passed over the same, and went in a way that led from the river, and lighted
upon a company of Indians that dwelt in very little cabins ; who escaped,
leaving that which they had ; all which was nothing but misery and poverty. ■
The horsemen took two Indians and returned with them to the river, where
the governor stayed for them. There was none in the camp that could under-
stand their language. The governor assembled the captains and principal per-
sons to determine with their advice what to do. And the most part said that
they thought it best to return back to the Rio Grande (Mississippi) of Guachoia.
And they held that the country beyond the river Daycao (probably the Trinity),
where they were, was that which CabeQa de Vaca mentioned in his relation :
that he passed; of the Indians which lived like the Alarbes, having no settled
place, and fed upon tunas and roots of the field, and wild beasts that they
killed. The governor presently (the beginning of October) returned the
same way that he came. From Daycao, where now they were, to the
Rio Grande, was one hundred and fifty leagues.f And by the way as they
returned back they had much ado to find corn ; for where they had passed the
country was destroyed. The towns which in Naguatex they had burned were
repaired again, and the houses full of corn. In that place are vessels made of
clay which differ very little from those of Estremoz or Montemor. (c) He
departed from Chaguate and crossed the river by Aays ; going down by it
he found a town called Chilano, which as yet they had not seen. They
came to Nilco, and found so little corn that it could not suffice till they made
their ships. The Indians of Nilco told them that two days' journey from'
thence, near unto the Rio Grande, were two towns whereof the Christians had
no notice, and that the province was called Minoya, and was a fruitful soil. The
governor sent a captain thither, who came to Minoya and found two great
towns seated in a plain and open soil, half a league distant, one in sight of the

* The Spaniards travelled south from Guasoo to Naeacahoz. These Christians pro-
bably were the Spaniards of the two vessels of Narvaez's expedition, that were forced
ashore on Galveston Island ; and it is not improbable that some of the inhabitants of
Soacatino, and of Naoaoahoz may have seen, or have heard of them. The Spaniards
had great difficulty in interpreting what the Indians said, and doubtless often mis-
understood them.

t Legua, fire thousand varas, two and one-third English miles.


other, and great store of corn. Presently he sent word to the governor what
he had found, who thereupon departed from Nilco in the beginning of Decem-
ber. And when they arrived at Minoya, the Christians lodged in one of the
towns, which was fenced about and distant a quarter of a league from the Rio


Hennepin, relating the account that Father Anastasius wrote of La Salle's
voyage,' says: "After some days' march through a pretty sort of country,
wherein, however, they were forced to cross many great brooks on cajeux
(rafts), they entered a country far more agreeable and pleasant, where they
found a numerous nation who entertained them with every demonstration of
kindness. These savages presented them with hides of wild bulls, well dressed
and soft. This nation is called Biskatronge ; but the Europeans call them the
Nation of Weepers, and give the same name to their river, which is very fine.
The reason of it is, that at their (the French) arrival these people fell a crying
most bitterly for a quarter of an hour. This is their custom whenever there
come among them any strangers from afar off, because their arrival reminds
them of their deceased relations whom they imagine to be upon a great journey,
and whose return they expect every hour."

Joutel, in his " Journal of the Last Voyage performed by Monsieur de La
Salle," gives the following account of his reception among the Cenis, probably
at Naguatex, who appear to be the same people or nation referred to by Hen-
nepin. Joutel says : "When it was day we held on our way to the village, and
the elders came out to meet us in their formalities ; all their faces were daubed
with black or red paint. There were twelve elders, who walked in the middle ;
and the youth and warriors in ranks on the side of these old men. Being come
up to us in that manner, he that conducted us made a sign for us to halt, which,
when we had done, all the old men lifted up their right hands above their heads
crying out in a most ridiculous manner ; but it behooved us to have a care of
laughing. That done they came and embraced us, using all sorts of endear-

The Cenis were an Indian nation ; besides there was a village or town called
Cenis of the same nation, which, on some maps, is placed on a western branch
of the Trinity, and on others on or near the Red River, west of the Cadoda^
quois, who were near and above the great bend of the Red River, near the
southwest boundary of the State of Arkansas. The inhabitants of TuUa,
Naguatex, and Nondacoa may have belonged to the Cenis nation, or been re-
lated to it, or may have had the same religious ideas.


Joutel, who wrote a Journal of the Last Voyage of La Salle, set out with
him from the Bay of Metagorda to go to Montreal, and, after La Sale was
murdered, he, with several others, continued on, and reached Montreal. In
his journal this journey is included. He says in regard to the Cenis, a nation
of Indians who inhabited the country on the head- waters of the Trinity River,
and on the Red River: " The word nation is not to be understood among these


Indians to denote a people possessing a whole province or vast extent of land ;
these nations are no other than a parcel of villages dispersed for the space of
twenty or thirty leagues at the most, which compose a distinct people or nation ;
and they differ from one another rather in language than in manners, wherein
they arc all much alike, or at least they vary but little."

There were, among the Cenis, two Frenchmen, who had deserted La Salle
when he first visited that place. Of them Joutel says : ' ' They confirmed
what I had been told before ; that the natives had talked to them of the great
river {^Arkansas^ that was forty leagues off towards the northeast, and that
there were people like us that dwelt on its banks.

From the Cenis, Hiens, one of the murderers of La Salle, departed, with the
natives, four of our comrades, and the two half-savage Frenchmen, to attack the
Cannohatinao Indians.

From the Cenis Joutel went to the Nahordikhe that were allies to the Cenis.
Thence he went to the "Assonys, who were not farther off' than about three
leagues," where rains compelled him to remain until the 13th of June. On
"the 16th we came to a great river (probably the Ked River) which we
crossed," and on the 23d thej' came to a village on the river they had crossed.
During their stay in this place they "were informed that the villages belong-
ing to our host, being four in number all allied together, were called Assony,
Nathasos, Nachitos, and Cadodaquio."

From these names it is evident that Joutel was now travelling through the
lands visited by the Spaniards of De Soto's expedition. In regard to some of
these Indians here mentioned by Joutel, and also mentioned in the accounts of
De Soto's expedition, Schoolcraft, in his "American Indians," p. 244, says :
" Adaes or Adaize, a tribe of Indians who formerly lived forty miles southwest
from Natchitoches ; they were located on a lake [Caddo], which communicates
with the branch of Red River passing Bayou Pierre. This tribe appears to
have lived at that spot from an early period. Their language is stated to be of
diflRcult acquisition, and different from all others in their vicinity. They were
intimate with the Caddoes, and spoke their language. At the last dates [1812]
they were reduced to twenty men, with a disproportionate number of women.
The synonyms for this now extinct tribe are Adayes, Adees, Adaes, Adaize.

Besides there is the following from a note to Penicaut's "Annals of Lou-
isiana," in Historical Collections of Louisiana by B. F. French: The Cado-
hadacho, in the early settlement of Louisiana, were united to several brave
and warlike tribes, among whom were the Natchitoches and Assonis, who lived
on the south bank of Red River, in a pleasant and fertile country several hun-
dred miles above the present town of Natchitoches. They exercised a great
influence over the surrounding tribes— the Yattasees, Nabadachies, Innies,
Keychies, Adaies, Nacogdoches, and Nandakoes— all of whom speak the
Caddo language, and look up to them as their fathers.

" On the 28th of April, 1699, M. de Bienville set out [from the Mississippi]
for the Ouachita village situated on the river of that name which empties into
Red River several leagues from its mouth. He was informed by this nation
that six leagues to the northeast there was a Courois village, consistinir of
about a hundred men. On the 30th he crossed Red River, and continued his
journey on foot. On the same day, he met with six Natchitoches Indians who


■were taking salt to the Courois. On the 7th of May he arrived at the Oua-
chita village, where he procured some provisions and a guide to conduct him to
the Yatasse nation. On the 18th, he passed two small nations called the Na-
dassa and Nacasse, and on the 20th he arrived at the Yatasse nation which
consisted of about two hundred men. Here he obtained some information re-
specting the distance -to the Nadaco and Cadadoquiou villages. As the time
given him by M. d'Iberville had now expired, he embarked on the 23d in four
pirogues, and descended Red River. On the 26th he visited one of the vil-
lages of the Adayes. On the 28th he stopped at the village of the Dulchanois
about three leagues from Natchitoches. A few days after, he entered the Mis-
sissippi, and arrived at the Bayagoula nation, where he learned they had en-
tirely destroyed their neighbors, the Mongoulaches.

The Duke de Lignares, viceroy of Mexico, engaged St. Denis, who arrived
in the city of Mexico, 25th of June, 1715, to accompany nine missionaries who
were going to establish themselves among the Adays, Nacodoches, Youays,
Assinays, Natchitoches, and Nadacos in the province of Lastekas. On the
25th of October, St. Denis left Mexico on this expedition. On the 4th of
June, 1716, he returned to the Assinays, and on the 25th of August, he ar-
rived at Mobile." (Bernard de la Harpe.)

Bernard de la Harpe al-rived in Louisiana, August, 1718, and set out for Red
River with fifty men. He returned to New Orleans the following October,
and on the 10th of December, he set out again for Red River, with a detach-
ment of troops to establish a fort among the Cadodaquious. When he arrived
at Natchitoches [where a fort is built], he found Blondel in command, and
Father Manwel at the mission of the Adayes about nine leagues distant.

At Natchitoches he was informed that Don Martin de Alarconne, command-
ant of the province of Lastekas, had arrived from the Rio [Bravo] del Norte,
where he had established several missions and a post at Espirito Santo Bay in
the vicinity of the rivers Gaudaloupe and St. Mark. He then went to the
country of the Assinays to establish a post among the Cadodaquious. On the
6th of February, 1719, La Harpe proceeded to the Assinays to prevent the
Spaniards from making an establishment there. After a circuitous and very
difficult navigation, he arrived at the Nassonites on the 21st of April, 1719,
having travelled one hundred and fifty leagues in a northwest direction from
Natchitoches. The Indians of this country, viz., the Nassonites, Natsoos,
Natchitoches, Yatasses, and Cadodaquious, having been informed of his arrival,
prepared a great feast for him and his officers, consisting of buffalo meat and
smoked fish. After the feast La Harpe informed the chiefs that the great
French king heard of the wars of the Chicachas [Chicacas] with them, and had
sent him with warriors to live among them, and protect them from their ene-

Upon which a venerable old Cadodaquiou chief rose and replied : " It was
true that most of their nation had been killed or made slaves ; that they were
now but few in number ; they knew the Nadouches and other wandering
nations had been at peace with them since the arrival of La Salle, which was
many years ago."

After he had sat down. La Harpe asked them the way to the nearest of the
Spanish settlements. They told him he would find them at a distance of fifty


leagues off among the nations of the Nadaco and Amediches, but that he could
not go there on account of the low water.* That at sixty leagues on the right
of Red River ascending, there were many nations at war with the Panis
[Pawnees] where the Spaniards had established themselves, and that at ninety
leagues to the north of their villages there were powerful nations on the Rio
Grande of whom they knew but little.

On the 27th of April La Harpe went to visit some land ten leagues from
the Nassonites on the borders of u river where the Natsoos formerly lived.
He found the situation beautiful, the land rich, the prairies fertile, and he
would have built a fort there, but for the desertion of the Indians who agreed
to furnish him with provisions.

2'he Cadodaquious lived at this time ten leagues above the Nassonites ; and
the Natsoos and Natchitoches three leagues above them, on the right of the
river (Red). These tribes are scattered over the plains, and not living in
villages, which has been the cause of their destruction. Ten years before they
numbered about four hundred persons, which composed some families of the
Yatassee nation who had come to live among them. 7'he Yatassees formerly
lived about fifty-six leagues above the Natchitoches on Red River, but this
nation has been almost destroyed by the Chicachas, excepting those who sought
refuge among the Natchitoches and Nassonites.

The land of this country is generally flat, with some hills and extensive
prairies. La Harpe fixed his establishment upon the land of the Nassonites in
latitude 33° 55', distant eighteen leagues in a straight line from Natchitoches. f


The Indian, before being acquainted with the European, dependent on his own
ingenuity to supply his wants, showed much skill in the manufacture of articles
which he ceased to fabricate after European industry introduced the necessaries
he required. Earthenware was to the Indian an article of great utility, and
of almost universal use, as the fragments of pottery found in every portion of
America testify. But it is not an evidence of any great degree of civilization,
for these relics of Indian skill and industry were found among the least, and
also among the most enlightened of the Indian tribes, from the banks of the
Mississippi to those of the Amazon. The following extracts will give some
interesting information in regard to the manufacture of pottery by the Indians.
The first extract is from Humboldt's ("Voyage au Nouveau Continent")
travels in South America. He thus speaks of the potteries of Maniquarez,
four hours' travel from Cumana. ' ' The potteries of Maniquarez, celebrated
from time immemorial, form a branch of industry that is exclusively in the

* The route then must have heen by water, by some river, probably Red River.

t La Harpe. Major Amos Stoddard, in his "Historical Sketches of Louisiana, "
says : this fort was "called St. Louis de Charlorette on the right bank of that river"
(the Red). And in -^ note is this: "The author has access to the manuscript
journal of this gentleman (La Harpe), which has been transmitted to this time" (1804).
Stoddard writes the name "Bernard de la Harp." Major Stoddard," in the month of
March, 1804, took possession of " upper" Louisiana, under the treaty of cession. The
records and other public documents were open to his inspection, and it was probably
among these he found the manuscript journal of La Harpe.


hands of Indian -women. The fabrication is still made according to the method
employed before tlje conquest. It shows, at the same time, the infancy of the
art, and that unchangeable custom which characterizes all the indigenous peoples
of America. Three centuries have not sufficed to introduce the potter's lathe
upon a coast which is but thirty or forty days' sail from Spain. The quarries
whence they take the clay are half a league to the east of Maniquarez. This
clay is due to the decomposition of a micaceous schist colored red by the oxide
of iron. The Indians prefer the parts most charged with mica. They form,
with much skill, vases that ai-e two or three feet in diameter, the curve of
which is very regular. As they do not know the use of kilns, they place the

Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 72 of 75)