The text of the three historical documents printed on the following pages is a copy of that which appears in the appendix of "The Marches of the Dragoons" by Louis Pelzer, published by the Iowa State Historical Society. The originals of these documents are in the archives of the War Department at Washington, D. C., where photostatic copies are obtainable. Along with these original documents are drawings of things that attracted Captain Boone’s attention along the line of march and his own map showing the route of march taken by the Dragoons under his command during the summer of 1843.
It will not be inappropriate to include a short biographical sketch of Captain Boone at this place. Nathan Boone was the youngest child of Daniel Boone, that hardy old pioneer of the Kentucky frontier. When in 1796 Daniel Boone, chafing under the restraints imposed upon him by a fast growing tide of western emigration bringing in settlers to Kentucky, moved his family westward into the present borders of Missouri, Nathan accompanied his parents. Here, he grew to young manhood. During the War of 1812 he was commissioned captain of a company of Missouri volunteers by President Madison. When Missouri was admitted to statehood in the union under the provisions of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Nathan Boone was elected delegate to the state constitutional convention. After rendering this service towards assisting in the formation of his adopted state, he soon returned to active military life, accepting a captain’s commission in the 1st Regiment of United States Dragoons upon the organization of that unit. After entrance into this service, naturally, he spent much of his time on the border and in the Indian country of that period. Consequently, the exploration tour described in his journal was not his first contact with present day Oklahoma, for when Fort Wayne was established in 1838, on Spavinaw Creek in Eastern Oklahoma, he was its first commander. He retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel after having spent twenty years in the
service of the Dragoons. His death occurred in 1857. The days of his retirement were spent on his Missouri farm where he had the first stone house ever built in that state, consequently it was quite a show place in those days.
This introduction would not be complete without acknowledging the assistance rendered by Mr. Joseph B. Thoburn, Curator of the Oklahoma Historical Society, in re-checking the accuracy of the locations of the various sites of Captain
Boone’s camp, and giving helpful suggestions as to proper content of several footnotes. The map of the route followed by Boone’s command was traced in ink by Mr. Fred Powers, head of the display department at Rorabaugh-Brown’s Dry Goods Company at Oklahoma City. He is a lineal descendant of an uncle of Daniel Boone, the father of Nathan Boone.
W. JULIAN FESSLER.
Y. M. C. A.
ZACHARY TAYLOR’S LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
Hd. Qrs. Ind. Mil. Dept.
I respectfully transmit Captain Boone’s report of his recent expedition on the Prairies, with the accompanying journal and a reduced copy of the Captain’s map of his route.
I beg leave to invite the attention of the General in Chief to this journal, as affording much valuable and curious information, particular in relation to the Salt region on the Red Forks of the Arkansas. The instructions given to Captain Boone were faithfully carried out, and much credit is due to him and his officers for the good management of the expedition-
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your obt. servt.
The Adjutant General of the Army,
CAPTAIN BOONE’S REPORT.
Fort Gibson August 11th. 1843.
I have the honour to inform you of my return with my command to this Post on the 31st of July—43, having been delayed by a severe cold taken since my return, from making an earlier report. Pursuant to your instructions of April 24th 1843, I left this Post on the 14th May to make a reconnoisance of the Western prairies. My command consisted of two subalterns, and 60 Non Com’d Off’rs, and Privates. I proceeded up the North side of the Arkansas River, keeping between the Arkansas, and Verdigris rivers for about seventy-five miles, and at my camp on the Arkansas, I was joined by Asst Sargt [surgeon] Simpson on the 18th and Lts [Abraham R.] Johnston, & [Richard H.] Anderson with 27 men of D Co U. S. Drags, at which time I also received a copy of your letter to Col Davenport dated May 10th 1843, apprising me of the movements of Col. Ryburn, and other Texians. On receiving this information, I determined to cross to the South side of the Arkansas, and then take up the upper Red Fork, thinking that I might by so doing fall in with the Ryburns party. Crossed the Arkansas on the 20th, marched in a North Westerly direction, until I reached the Red Fork, and thence, proceeded up that river without difficulty, or interruption until the 29th May, when we fell in with a party of Osages, 35 or 40 in number, accompanied by their families, near the great Salt plains. We encamped with them, and during the night, they stole from my camp ten horses, and two mules. Six of these horses, and two mules, were public animals, the remaining four belonging to officers.
At this time, I had not sufficient proof against them to act promptly with them. The Chief of this party call’d himself To, wan, ga, ha, his interpreter, who called himself John, was an Osage, and spoke tolerable English, our camp was on a creek call’d Pa-ha-bee, a branch of the Red Fork (upper). Having spent several days in trying to recover our stolen horses, visited the Great Salt plain, but without examining it, and seeing no sign of Ryburn’s party I steered more North, in order to strike the Santa Fe trace where it first strikes the Arkansas, intending to revisit the Salt plain and give it a thorough examination. I left To, wan, ga, ha and party on
3rd of June, and on the 5th of June, met a small party of Osages, amongst whom were several of To, wan, ga, ha’s band, one of them riding one of the mules which had been stolen from us on the night of the 29th May. This I considered as satisfactory proof of the theft, they knowing their guilt became alarmed, and attempted to escape. We siezed them, took their arms, and I permitted such officers (at their request) as had lost horses, to replace them with Indian ponies, four of which were taken. I ordered the Osages to show us their camp, but could not prevail on them to do so, and I then told them to go, and bring us our stolen horses, and I would restore them their property, but this did not have the desired effect. After encamping on the evening of the 5th, three Osages of the same party visited our camp, and wanted to exchange their horses for the horses which had been taken from them. I again told them to bring my horses, and they should have theirs, with their arms, but without effect.
Next day continued North about 20 miles which brought us to the Santa Fe trace at a place which I call’d Mulberry Grove, and in this grove, I found the encampment of the party which rob’d, and murdered C. Garvis, [Don Antonio Jose Chavez] the Spaniard. Some five or six horse men had been there about four days before, and left signs on trees which I supposed had reference to their numbers, and the direction they were travelling. I searched for the remains of C. Garvis, & also sent two detachments in search of those who had lately been there, but could find neither. Finding the Traders had not yet passed, I determined to cross over to the South side of the Arkansas, where I could get buffalo, and await the arrival of the Traders. This I did and on the 13th of June, Cap’t Cooke’s command came into sight. On his arrival, Cap’t Cooke informed me that the caravan was a few miles behind, accompanied by Cap’t [Benjamin D.] Moore & Company. Capt. Cooke encamped on the left bank, while I encamped on the right bank of the Arkansas, from the 13th to the 22nd. Lt. Johnston on the 13th met with a severe accident, shooting himself through the foot, in consequence of which he had to be hauled in the waggon during the remainder of the trip. Cap’t Moore with the traders being still back about 12 miles, where they had been detained by high waters, and as Cap’t Cooke thought his command sufficiently strong to protect the
traders, I determined to set out on our Southern route, intending to pass the Salt plains. Accordingly started on the 22nd, and travell’d West by South West, and on the 27th met with a large party of Osages and encamped near them at night. The chief was To, ca, sa, ba. In the morning I set out for the Salt plains, To, ca, sa, ba, telling me, he’d go there also, and we’d encamp together. Believing that this party wished to steal our horses, I felt no disposition to meet them at the Salt plains, and after marching three miles from camp, I changed my course, and steered towards the Rock Salt, where I arrived on the 30th of June. I intended remaining here some days, and to make a thorough examination of the plain, but the next day a large party of Osages came, and encamped by us. Their chief was Tallee, who with his party appeared well disposed towards us, and laughing, told us the Osages had stolen our horses. The Salt Rock as I have call’d it, is well worth a strict examination, which I could not give it, not being prepared to do so. I do not consider what I there saw, to be the Rock Salt proper, although it lies in great masses, but I do believe Rock Salt to be within a few feet of the surface of the plain, and to be washed by the bottom of the River. It was very evident that the Indians were not pleased by our visit and, wished us away. Whether this was caused by fear that we’d frighten off the buffalo, or not, they kept up a continual alarm of Pawnee Mohas. The Osages told me of another salt plain, where they cut up salt, which they reported to be on the prairie off from the River. I concluded to make a search for this plain and with this intention marched down the Red Fork some 30 or 40 miles, but my search was unsuccessful. About this time Private Been [Bean] Co. "E" died. He had been hauled in the wagon from the Arkansas river. This was the only ease of sickness worth mentioning, which we had on the trip. I now struck for the Canadian Fork of the Arkansas river, which I reached after crossing the north Fork. On arriving at the Canadian, I crossed, and travell’d down that stream and the False Washita until I parted with Lt. Johnston on the morning of the 14th July, when I again crossed the Canadian, keeping on its northern side, keeping between it and Little River, passing Choteau’s Old Trading house. We struck the road leading from Edward’s trading house [Old Fort Holmes] to Gibson
5, miles north of Edward’s and kept on it to Fort Gibson. During the March, we lost two men, one as already stated, the other was accidentally shot, dying a few minutes after being shot. I will here remark that throughout the march we met with no difficulty in travelling though there were three wagons along. From the Arkansas to the Ne, ne, sea there is no timber but throughout the rest of our route, we always found some sort of timber, affording us fuel. Throughout the Region of Red Gypsum hills, we found great quantities of Red Cedar. We subsisted on buffalo meat from the time we reached the great salt plain, until we struck the settlements on the Canadian. We used the Salt from the Salt plains.
In addition to this report, I offer you a copy from my journal, as comprising the greater part of my report, and giving the particular incidents as they occur’d, together with the water courses, directions and distances travell’d. The soil of the greater portion of the country passed over was very fine, especially amongst the Gypsum Hills. Gypsum and plaster of Paris, grey, blue, Red, & white, for one hundred miles from north to south, is as abundant as the Limestone is in Missouri, or Arkansas, in parts of the country passed over.
I also send with this, a Map or Rough Sketch of the Country, with the water courses running through it. The courses, and distances are all estimated from Point to Point direct, and not according to the distances actually travell’d each day, as it was found impossible to note the courses and distances of the windings made during each days march.
NATHAN BOONE, Capt Comdg
To Genl. Z. Taylor
CAPTAIN BOONE’S JOURNAL
Copy of a journal kept by Cap’t N Boone during a March on the South W Prairies from the 14th May 1843 to 31st July 1843.
Captain Boone agreeably to Department Order of the 24th April 1843, commenced his march from the beach of the
Grand river opposite Fort Gibson at 11 O’clock A. M. on the 14th of May 1843. The course for the first four miles was west. When crossing the Verdigris river at Unswatoy’s Ferry, he proceeded in a South Westerly Course four miles then West 6 miles and encamped on a small prairie branch emptying into the Arkansas; having marched from 12 to 14 miles direct distance from Camp No. 1 to Fort Gibson, and about 10 miles East course. Land passed over during the march, heavily timbered and very fertile.1
May 15th—Monday—Started on the march at ½ past 7. West by N. W. 15 miles. Encamped for the night on a small creek which runs into the Arkansas. The travelling good: over handsome and fertile prairie. To the left of the trail, 22 miles from Fort Gibson, was found a mineral spring slightly Chalybeate. The geological formation passed over, consisted of sandstone which exists at Fort Gibson and on the hills above Little Rock, on the Arkansas, and which is supposed to have a dip of a few degrees to the S. W.2
3rd day. May 16th—Tuesday—Set out at 10 A. M. course N. W. 6 miles. Encamped on a branch of the Verdigris; difficult to cross; the banks steep and miry.3
4th day. May 17th. Wednesday—Remained all day in camp. Rain, very heavy nearly all day. The wind from the N. E. One horse of Co. E died; cause, not known. The character of the country in appearance the same as that passed on the 16th-on the 16th passed some limestone strata of compact limestone dip 3°S. S. W. This limestone is supposed to be the same with that underlying the Sandstone at the landing at Fort Gibson.
5th day. 4th day marching, May 18th Thursday—Moved camp one mile to the high land, and remained awaiting Co. D., which we had been informed was on the march to join us.
6th day. 5th day marching. May 19th Friday.—Set out at ½ past 7. Course W. N. W. for 10 miles, then N. W. 8 miles.
1The expedition crossed the Verdigris River in the southeast corner of Wagoner Count below the present site of the village Okay. Encamped on a small stream in the vicinity of Clarksville.
2The command has been marching up the Arkansas River valley all day. At its close Cedar Creek was reached and there camp was made about a mile west of the present town, Coweta.
3This branch of the Verdigris on which the camp was made is Adams Creek. The campsite was above Evans in northwest Wagoner County.
Encamped for the night on a creek emptying into the Verdigris.4 This Creek rises in the hills immediately on the Arkansas and runs N. E. The first ten miles of the day’s march was through the prairie and similar to the previous marches: the Command then entered the hills on the head of the creek previously mentioned. The route was difficult from the quantity of Rock and the steepness of the hills. Some of the hills bordering the prairie was entirely free from timber; the most of them were covered with Black Jack and Post Oak; with here and there a white oak, and on the water courses occasionally a few black birch. These entire hills appear to be composed of the Sand Stone previously passed: At one point the limestone mentioned on the 16th. was noticed at the base of the hills after leaving the prairie. This limestone contains Encorsoils and some minute bival[v]e shells. In the sandstone was noticed wave-lines, Collelites, and appearances similiar to them, also a sort of arborescent appearance [drawing in MS.] often seen in the sandstone at Fort Gibson. Noticed on the prairie the wild indigo with a blue, and also with a white flower; the wild sensitive plant; the polar plant, a rosin weed. This plant is a tall plant perhaps 7 feet high, with a fan-shaped leaf which ranges generally north and south, affording a tolerable compass to the traveller over the prairies. A quantity of rosin is secreted at each joint which might render its cultivation desirable; its taste is strongly resinous, and the horse is very fond of it.5
7th day. 6th day marching. May 20th Saturday.—Marched at ½ past 7. Course N. W. 18 miles and encamped near the Arkansas river, where the Osage trail crosses it. At 12 o’clock this day, got out of the cross timber and passed through an arm of the grand prairie, where were the remains of an extensive Indian Encampment.6
4The band encamped on a small tributary of Bird Creek about eight miles northwest of the present site of Tulsa after crossing the northern section of Tulsa County during the day and entering southeast Osage County.
5There are several species of rosin weeds. The one described by Captain Boone bears the botanical designation of Silphium Lasciniatum. It is a periennal member of the sunflower family. Horses are very fond of it and eat it either while growing or after it is cut.
6At the close of the seventh day’s march the expedition went into camp two or three miles southeast of the site of Osage Junction on the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway’s Oklahoma City line.
8th day. May 21st. Sunday.—Remained in camp awaiting the arrival of Lieut. Johnston7 with Company D. Dr. Simpson8 having arrived the night previous. Here we built a bark canoe.—Company "D" joined about 2 o'clock.
9th day. 7th marching.—May 22nd Monday.—Broke up camp, and crossed the Arkansas at the Osage crossing. The river is here a half a mile wide, and we found it up to our saddle skirts and falling; we hauled the wagons over with the teams and put the provisions in the bark canoe and the men waded and pulled it over, and in 10 trips, brought over the entire contents of the 3 wagons. Traveled to-day about 2 miles, west, and encamped on the west bank of a small creek which empties into the Arkansas, above the Crossing.9
10th day. 8th day marching.—May 23rd Tuesday.—Marched at about ½ past 6. Traveled 19 miles N. 70°W. followed until 2 o'clock the great Osage hunting trail,10 until it left the waters of the creek which we encamped on last night; then the trail turning to the South we left it on the divide, and came to the bed of another more considerable creek which flows N. E.11 during the day saw perhaps 50 deer. The Country was much broken timber post oak and black jack
7Abraham R. Johnston, a native of Ohio, was appointed cadet to West Point Military Academy in 1830, graduating in 1835. Upon graduation he was commissioned second lieutenant in the First Dragoons, rising to the rank of first lieutenant next year. In 1846 he was appointed regimental adjutant, being raised to a captaincy a few days later, June 30, 1846. In the following December he was killed in the battle at San Pasqual, one of the battles of the Mexican War.
8Josiah Simpson of Pennsylvania was commissioned assistant surgeon in 1837 being promoted to the grade of surgeon with the rank of major in 1855. With the closing of the Civil War he was breveted lieutenant-colonel and colonel for faithful and meritorious service during that war. He died in 1875.
9The site of camp on the evening of May 22 was about two miles south or southeast of Cleveland, in Pawnee County.
10Captain Boone’s allusion to the "great Osage hunting trail" has no reference to the Great Osage division of the Osage tribe. Neither is it to be inferred that this trail exceeded in importance other fixed trails or hunting roads of this tribe, in fact, he mentions crossing a yet bigger one on a subsequent day’s march. The natural inference is, rather, that this was a well established highway or thoroughfare travelled by Osage hunting parties to the buffalo ranges at more or less frequent intervals as distinguished from a fresh trail through the unbroken wilderness.
11This "another more considerable creek which flows N. E." is Black Bear Creek. He apparently struck its valley at a point southwest of the present town of Blackburn.
openings, and prairie, the soil sandy and in some places the black jack on the hills appeared to be dying; no doubt attributable to the dry season. The quantity of water which flows from the streams is very small compared to the extent of the country. Most of the rocks were sandstones. About 7 miles from Camp we passed a sandstone hill with a strata of limestone running through it, which we passed several times during the day afterwards, gradually getting near the beds of the streams as we travelled west. Vegetation somewhat different from the north side of the Arkansas, saw red oak, and Bur oak—two of the latter near our camp were 4 feet in diameter. The limestone of to-day contained innumerable minute shells somewhat of the shape and size of a barley grain, besides coral, or madrepores, terbratulae et. al.12
11th day. 9th day marching. May 24th Wednesday. Marched at ½ past 6 A. M. Course W. N. W. 19 miles. Crossed three creeks of some size flowing northwardly—encamped on a fourth larger still,13 with running water of a very red character; crossed a stream of limestone apparently dipping S. E. also a stratum of reddish limestone colored by (blank in MS.) under which was a stratum of clayey shale with plates of limestone intermixed. These strata no doubt outcrop along the course of the creek above named, hence its color. The country passed over was rolling, and in some places hilly with timber a few hundred yards on the creeks and their tributaries. From the hill tops in the prairie the views were extensive and beautiful. After getting on the limestone land a great change was observed in the vegetation, the grass was finer, the trees of different character, Linden, Hackberry, Black Ash, Hickory, Sycamore, Cotton Wood, Elm, Grapevines &c were observed. On the prairies the vegetation was the same, but more luxuriant. There appear to be no strawberries in these prairies. The red stream on which we camp is difficult to pass, the banks being steep and muddy. Deer
13These three creeks flowing northward are small tributaries of the Arkansas, and are unnamed on available state maps. The fourth creek described as being "larger still, with running water of a very red character" is now Red Rock Creek.
and Turkies plenty, hundreds of the latter being on the open prairie.14
12th day. 10th day marching. May 25th Thursday. Marched at ½ past 6. Course N. W. 21 miles, about 14 miles N. 50°W. We passed a large creek which at first we supposed might be the Red fork of the Arkansas, being red, and apparently a long stream,15 but after travelling 7 miles in a more northerly direction we were gratified by finding a beautiful river about 200 yards wide, making a sweeping bend towards the South where we struck it;16 the prairie coming into the right bank while on the other shore the floods had thrown up high banks of white sand, which were covered with groves of Cotton wood and other trees, these, contrasted with the red color of the water gave a beautiful appearance to the river. We encamped in the prairie on the bank of the river. Our march to-day was principally over the short buffalo grass, the prairie grass having almost entirely disappeared, the timber was getting scarcer, and on leaving one creek it was like putting out to the open sea until we rose the ridge, when a narrow skirt of trees would point out the position of the next. About four miles from camp (25th) we crossed another Osage trail, more considerable than the one on which we crossed the Arkansas; On this trail we discovered two or three recent shod horse tracks, made probably before the rain. These tracks were going north east (the direction of the trail). Passed over some limestone and sandstone of a
14Camp was pitched on the open prairie close to the present village of Otoe, in Northeast Noble County.
15This large creek at first supposed to be the Red Fork of the Arkansas was the Salt Fork. The column passed the Red Fork, now called the Cimarron, several days previous to this, but since the march then lay along the northeast bank of the Arkansas whereas the Red Fork flows from the west they had evidently been too far distant from the main channel of the Arkansas to notice the emptying of this important tributary. The Osages called this Salt Fork, the Nescatunga, which name Captain also uses after having met some bands of Osages in Kansas.
16Evidently the expedition arrived at the Salt Fork branch near the south end of the big bend of that stream, which it makes before emptying into the Arkansas. This point is three or four miles northeast of the present village of Marland in Kay County. The command then marched "about seven miles in a more northerly direction" where they came to a sharp turn which is the beginning of this bend. It is a mile southwest of white Eagle Station on the Santa Fe Railway. Camp was made there for the night.
very red character, dip, not apparent, at our camp tonight on the bank of the river a sand rock outcrops, under which was a stratum of reddish illuminous earth, and under that a stratum of limestone very like the stone used for lithography. Along the banks of the river were deposites of a soapy feel, as red as the common Cornelian. About 3 miles before encamping, three objects were seen on the verge of the horizon, coming towards the column, in a few minutes they were on top of the nearest hill and proved to be 3 Antelopes, the first we had seen, prompted by their well known curiosity they have approached to see what all this could mean. On the bank of the river we found some recent elk tracks the first evidence we have had of their being in the Country. Our three last days marches have been over prairie, abounding in old Buffalo wallows, and frequently we have passed the bones of buffalo whitening on the prairie; but no signs of their being here for several years. The waters of these rivers taste brackish a little and some think styptic. They are strongly (blank in MS) and horses appeared very fond of them.
13th day. 11th day marching. May 26th Friday. This morning a large stream was discovered,17 by Captain Boone, to be running from the north and emptying into the one on which we were encamped. A party of an officer and two men, was sent out to explore; they crossed the Red (Salt) Fork (as that proved to be the one on which the command was encamped ) at a very quick-sandy ford, and after crossing over the flat prairie for four or five miles, between the river, came upon the main Arkansas river, which makes a wide swept to the south at this point18 and joints with the red fork about four miles S. E. of our last night’s encampment. The Arkansas was nearly white above the junction. In the bend between the rivers a bed of limestone outcrops, dip 6°S. E. filled with fossils. On the banks of the Arkansas another stratum was seen with the same dip, containing a great quantity of small (drawing in MS). The course of the column was N. S0°W. 20 miles, over a ridge on the right bank of the red [Salt] fork. Crossed the red [Salt] fork about 4 miles
17The "large stream" discovered by Captain Boone on the morning of May 26 "running from the north" is Bois d’Arc Creek.
18Immediately east of Ponca City the Arkansas River commences its swing to the south. This makes it seem very probable that the exploring party passed across the site of that city.
before encamping,19 at a good solid ford. Encamped on a creek,20 which was called walnut, from the quantity of that tree found upon it. Some antelope seen today, and one hare killed; the hare weighed five pounds; being poor, and not full size, the ears were near four inches long, the body 2 feet; it resembled a rabbit, but head was more delicate in proportion, and the whole appearance of the animal indicated speed, which was astonishing, the top of the tail, and the tips of the ears behind, were black. Timber being very scarce, only to be found in narrow strips on the stream; the country getting very flat, with broad flat bottoms on the rivers. Saw a great number of remarkable circles of grass in the prairies, supposed to be the effects of lightning. They are circular belts of grass perhaps a yard wide—the grass entirely of a different kind; being apparently the rank prairie grass of a dark green contrasted with the yellowish green of the buffalo grass [three drawings in MS].21
14th day. 12th day marching. May 27th. Saturday.—Marched at 7 A. M. Course W. 20 M. over country where there was very little variation from the general level and occasionally, as far as the eye could reach there was no timber to be seen, except the narrow skirt which indicated the course of the Red [Salt] Fork. Along the course of that stream we could see large banks of sand apparently as high as the highest ground in view. Passed more recent sign of Buffalo, and what was at no distant day the stamping grounds of countless hordes of them. The destruction of these animals yearly and their falling off so rapidly makes it certain, almost, that in a few years they will be known as a rare species. More than 30,000 robes for Commerce come down the Missouri annually, these added to those which go elsewhere, must make the tax on the buffalo robes come annually to exceed 100,000. Taking
19The company crossed into present Kay County before crossing the Salt Fork. The crossing apparently was at a point a mile or so west of the present town of Tonkawa.
21The "remarkable circles" about a yard in diameter described by Captain Boone are not easily accounted for. They are much too small for buffalo wallows. If these had been confined to small areas sufficient for Indian village sites, a careful investigation might be expected to reveal the fact that each of these small circles had been the mouth of a bottle-shaped cache, or storage pit.
into consideration the fact that the animals destroyed for food are taken in the summer while the hair is amost all off, and, of course, the robe useless, we can readily account for this disappearance from the grounds we have been travelling over, and make it certain that the buffalo must soon cease on these plains altogether.—Passed to-day many places where salt appeared to be efflorescing on the soil, these places evidently the favorite resort of the buffalo. Encamped on the left bank of a creek22 emptying into the Red [Salt] Fork. On this we found the carcasses of three buffalo, probably starved here on account of the lateness of the spring. A little before sunset a dark cloud appeared in the northwest, which soon came upon us with a frightful thunder storm, accompanied with hail—some of the stones, as large as a hen's egg. Our horses stood until it was nearly over, then, many of them broke, and were away all night, but came back on the run at day light. Game—Deer, Antelope, turkeys, partridges, grouse, scarce observed plenty of turtle doves and plover. Near camp discovered a bank of Clay in which was a seam of whitish Chalky clay or soft limestone.
15th day. 13th day marching. May 28th. Sunday. Marched at 10 A. M. Made a late start on account of rain. Marched 11 miles N. 10° W. Encamped on the same creek as last night, in the last timber on it,23 there being none North or West of it as far as could be seen on, the prairie. The short grass of the prairie or the buffalo grass being very short on the march. Old Buffalo [blank in MS.] and wallows in prodigious numbers. Saw today one settlement of the prairie dog—killed a badger and a hare—saw some antelope and deer, and signs of turkeys. The soil of the plain passed to-day appears fertile and partakes of the red character which gives color to the Red fork and other streams in this quarter. Afar off to the left on the course of the Red fork appeared some high ground like hills covered with timber, but too distant for observation. The wind was N. W. today, the thermometer at 55° at Sunrise, and 62° at one o'clock. Latitude about 36° 20°. Encamped near an old Osage encamp-
22Having crossed from Kay into Grant County, the dragoons went into camp on Pond Creek at the close of this day's march. The camp was only a short distance southeast of the present village of Jefferson.
23The command followed Pond Creek up to the vicinity of Clyde where encampment for the night was made.
ment, marked by the ribs of their lodges still standing. They usually encamp on an emminence that they may see if their enemies approach. To procure firewood they climb the trees and lop off the branches, when the small trees cannot be obtained. This is probably the work of the Squaws. Found some flint on the soil today, in loose pieces.
16th day. 14th day marching. May 29th. Monday. Started at 7, going north west for some distance over the successive elevations of the prairie, we finally came in sight of an Indian and two officers started in pursuit and overtook some Osages, Wa-sha-shay. They took us to their Camp and upon receiving information that one of the Salt Plains was within 20 miles, concluded to encamp on the same stream24 with them, and get a guide the next day for it. They had killed 25 buffalo in and about their camp, so that we are now in the buffalo range. The creek on which they encamped flows S. E. and is quite a large branch of what we have called the Red fork. They call this creek Pa-ha-bee.25 We have not seen the buffalo yet. Our distance was about 12 miles N. 10° W. Near camp tonight there is an outcrop of limestone nearly horizontal, under which is a thick stratum of red clay, or, more properly, clay slate, it crumbles easily and cuts like soapstone with the knife. Under this is a stratum of white stone of similar character like [blank in MS.] chalk.
17th day. May 30th Tuesday.—This morning several horses were missing and evidence of foul play shown by the lariettes being cut. In a short time a great disturbance was shown in the Osage Camp. They came and reported that the Pawnees had been at camp and had stolen some of their horses as well as ours. This induced the Commander to detach two subalterns and 30 men to follow their trail. This party got off at about ½ past 6 and followed the Osages on the trail for near 30 miles at a gallop, but there they lost it in a sandy plain filled with buffalo. After this suspicion was fixed on the Osages, themselves, and the party returned to Camp. The horses taken were picketed in a second bottom below Camp, on the Creek—rather out of the direct view of the sentinel,
24This stream on which camp was located at the close of the sixteenth day is Bluff Creek. After having crossed the present Oklahoma-Kansas state line during the course of this day's march, their camp was located on this creek a few miles west of Bluff City, Harper County, Kansas.
and so near the Osage Camp that no Pawnees would ever come there for them. This day the party sent in pursuit was conducted about 25 miles N. 80° W. and there crossed a creek, running to the left,26of some size. Their course was over the ridges between the Creek and our camp was on, and the one just mentioned. This ground is elevated about 100 feet, but very gradual, so that in crossing the country you can see the long successive ridges before and behind like the swell of the ocean—but more extensive—the soil, red; and sandstone with red clay.
18th day. 15th day's marching. May 31st. Wednesday. The Osages were informed this morning, that it was believed they were the horse thieves, and they must give up the horses or they could not go on their hunt. They said they would go and put us on the Pawnee trail. Camp was accordingly broken up and all the Indians taken with us; after travelling 10 miles West and encamped on a deep gully27 running S. W. towards the Red forks—from the ridge near this the Osages showed the trail of the shod horses and not a single poney track was among them, and the trail diverged to the left entirely off of the route they led the Dragoons on yesterday; showing conclusively that they had led the party on the right side of the ridge, on a False track, while on the left these men were running off our horses. A butcher knife was found in camp where one of the horses was cut loose, and one of the pursueing party of yesterday handed it to the Chief saying he had found it on the chase, and asked him if it belonged to the Osages—"Oh, yes wa-sash-ay." But when told it had done the mischief, he said his trader had traded with the Pawnees', and they had knives like the Osages and he was mistaken. The Indians near Camp dug a quantity of a sort of carrot shaped roots, in taste resembling the raw potato. It forms a part of their food, and might be worth cultivating [three drawings in MS.]
19th day. June 1st. Thursday. The command remained in Camp to-day and hunted buffalo; while Capt. Boone, with one subaltern and two Osages started to look at the Salt plain. After traveling 10 miles S. 20° W. from the Camp, came in
26This creek, "running to the left, of some size," crossed by the pursuit party sent out by Captain Boone is Sandy Creek. They struck it at a point west of Crisfield, Kansas.
27This "gully running S. W. towards the red forks" was about six miles southwest of Anthony, county seat of Harper County, Kansas.
sight of the plain of salt,28 looking like a large lake of white water in an extensive level country. The approach to this view was through a succession of sand hills formed at no distant day by the drifting of the light sand of which they are composed, though now covered with grass. In going through these hills, the Osages caught sight of a man on a distant hill. Capt. Boone went over to see who he was, and discovered a well in the sand made by some Indian, as there were prints of moccasins by it &c. This gave a hint of the presence of Comanches and a turn of opinion as to the true horse thieves. Deeming it not prudent to venture farther from Camp without stronger force, the exploring party returned to camp.
20th day. June 2nd, Friday. All the disposable men were mounted this morning to search the vicinity of the Salt plains and see if there were any Indian's in that quarter. Lieut. Anderson29 was left in charge of the Camp. The Column started about ½ past 5, and after searching the sand hills mentioned yesterday, in vain, for Indians, proceeded on to the Salt plain. This was found good 20 miles S. from Camp. The
28This salt plain sighted by Captain Boone and his party on their exploration trip of June 1, is the one lying east of Cherokee, county seat of Alfalfa County.
29Lieutenant Richard H. Anderson was born near Slatesburg, South Carolina, October 7, 1821. He entered the Military Academy at Westroint in 1838, graduating four years later with the rank of fortieth among his classmates. He then was commissioned second lieutenant in the First Dragoons July 1, 1842. Two years later he was transferred to the Second Dragoons, retaining the same rank, but by 1848 he had reached the grade of first lieutenant. During the Mexican War he served under General Scott, being breveted first Lieutenant for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of San Augustine, Mexico, August 20, 1847. He took part in the siege of Vera Cruz and by his brilliant cavalry maneuvers rendered able assistance in the subsequent capture of Mexico City. At various times he was called to serve as instructor at the Carlisle School of Cavalry Practise. By 1855 he attained a captaincy, though at the outbreak of the Civil War he resigned this and remained loyal to his native state, taking active charge over the defense of Charleston harbor. After this he won distinction during the seven day's battle around Richmond by winning the commendation of his commanding general, Longstreet. In the following August he was promoted to major-general and given command over the Fifth Division of Bragg's Army in Tennessee. He served through the Maryland Campaign in the autumn of 1862, winning distinction for his services in the battles of Manassas. Harper's Ferry, and Sharpsburg. At Gettysburg, three brigades under his command successfully penetrated the center of the federal line but were forced to retire because of insufficient support. In May. 1864 he was promoted to lieutenant-general and led important commands in the Shenandoah valley and the wilderness Campaign. In this latter, it was Anderson that beat Grant to Spottsylvania Court house after a race along parallel lines, thereby preventing a decisive battle at that time. In Lee's final campaign, Anderson commanded the Fourth Corps. After the end of the war he retired to private life, dying at Beaufort, South Carolina, June 26, 1879.
approach was very gratifying—a view of the plain from the Sand hills was really magnificent, and, from the appearance, one might expect to find salt in a solid mass for the whole extent of the plain, of several feet in thickness. Running towards the plain from the sand hills we found several streams of pure limpid water. We then came on the bed of a branch of the Red fork30 with its red water and quicksands. After passing two branches of this, we found ourselves on the Salt plain, which was apparently only an upper level of the aforesaid stream as level as a floor-overflowed evidently, and now dry, with the slightest possible film of crystalized Salt on the surface, enough to make it white. We went about two miles on the plain without getting half over it. Such was the effect of Mirage on the plain that we could not see across it, and the buffalo bones whitening in the sun looked like large, white animals in the distance. Buffalo appeared to be standing in water, and, in fact, the whole plain appeared as if surrounded by water. No source of this salt was discovered. Water in pools near the Red fork branch (supposed to be the Semarone [Cimarron] was brackish while the stream itself was not more so than at other points. From this it is evident that the Salt has a local origin. No rock formation was passed on our route to throw light on the geological position of this Salt. At camp is the same red sand stone and red clay which have colored the soil since we were one day off from the Arkansas. There was no vegetation on the plain that in its borders appeared of the same character as in the rest of the Country. This plain is called the Pawsa Salt plain by the Osages—or big Salt. Buffalo in great abundance, and some Deer near, the plain.
21st day. 16th day's marching. June 3rd Saturday. Started at 7 A. M. and marched 20 miles north, and encamped
30This supposed Branch of the Red Fork was the main channel of the Nescatunga or the Grand Saline, now commonly called the Salt Fork.
on some ravines31 of the Shaw-wa-cos-pay river, where there was good springs of water—our journey today was through the prairie, passing but two or three cotton wood trees all day. The water was sulphurous, and the rock gypsum and red sand stone dipping to the S. W. very slightly. The gypsum is mixed with sandy marl and the strata very friable, with occasional lumps of solid gypsum, each lump containing gypsum in its three forms. An efflorescence was observed over this marl of some whitish salt which the horses were fond of; it was not, however, from Common Salt. Part of the day, the soil was red, the latter of the day we came to a yellowish alluvium on the red. Our camp was on the red again. From the hills back of the camp the view was extensive, looking over the country for 30 miles in every direction. No timber of any amount (more than two or three trees together) can been seen—Passed great quantities of Prairie dog towns—No buffalo—a few deer, hares, and antelope—One wild turkey was seen near our Camp tonight. About 4 miles from Camp passed the Pa-ha-bee creek, called so by the Osages from the man who was killed there. A horse of "H" Compy was missing this morning.
22nd day. 17th day's marching. June 4th Sunday. Started about 7 A. M. After coming 2 miles N. 20° E. came to the Sha-wa-cos-pay [Chikaskia] river, running S. E. This is a principal branch of the Nes-cu-tamga, or big Salt river heretofore called the Red fork of the Arkansas. After coming 15 miles north from this, we came on the Ne-ne-scab, or clear water river, course E. S. E. The beds of both these streams were near 50 yards wide, the streams rapid, shallow, and quicksandy, with scarcely any timber on them. The course of all the streams we have passed for the last two days are marked by hills of sand along their banks drifted into heaps by the winds. Saw no buffalo all day except one, and he was very poor—The Indians had driven them off—The vegetation, the same as before observed one new plant, a sort of vine [drawing in MS.] growing on the hard soil also a sort of dent de lion [dandelion, drawing of which appears in the manuscript] and the Spanish bayonet [drawing in MS.]
31At the end of the twenty-first day, the command encamped on the headwaters of Grove Creek, a tributary of the Chikaskia River, called by the Osages, Shaw-wa-cos-pa. This camp was approximately on the Harper-Kingman County line.
The only outcrop of rock passed over was a sort of blue clay slate, dipping slightly to the S. W. and supposed to underlye the gypsum of last night. Encamped on a clear stream,32 a branch of the Ne-ne-scah, running south. Our course to-day was R. 5° E. distance 20 miles.
23rd day. 18th day's marching. June 5th Monday. Started about 7 A. M. after marching about 10 miles N. we came insight of the Arkansas river, and at the same time met a party of Osages who we evidently surprised, and one of them was riding one of the mules stolen from us on the night of the 29th of May. This fixed the theft on the Osages, and the Captain took away the guns and four horses of this party, telling them that when they brought his horses they should have them back again. They gave up to us ten guns, their bows and arrows, and four ponies; and went off in a southern direction. The command crossed the Arkansas and encamped 12 miles north,33 from their last night's encampment. Passed to-day an outcrop of whitish clay slate similar to that passed yesterday, very nearly horizontal. Under this was clay of some color. This formation, no doubt, is very extensive and gives color to the Arkansas river, which is very much lighter at this point than below the junction with its red branches. Met moschetoes [mosquitoes] in quantity for the first time, to-night. Passed only one buffalo. One of the men killed an antelope, the meat of which was very tender and delicate. Saw a few deer. Timber, scarcely any, on the Arkansas, a few scattered cotton wood and willows. The river in [blank in MS.] banks and broad bed about knee deep to our horses. Less quicksand than on its red branches. Course at this point a little S. E. perhaps 20°.
24th day. 19th day's marching. June 6th Tuesday. Marched at 7 A. M. and travelled 12 miles north, the course thro' open prairie for 7 miles, then got into sand hills of 20 or 30 feet in height ranging E. and W. then came on the prai-
32The company passed close to Kingman. Kansas, during this day's march, and encamped on Smoot's Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Ninnescah River, east of where it is crossed by the Hutchinson Southern Division of the Santa Fe Railway.
33On the night of June 5, the dragoons encamped on the Arkansas River on or near the site of Hutchinson and about twenty-five miles from the previous night's encampment.
rie and encamped on a clear water creek,34 flowing S. E. This water is apparently pure coming out of the sand hills. These hills, like those near the Salt plains, have low places, sometimes with standing water, and where there is no water on the surface, it may be gotten by digging a few feet. On these hills were a few scattering cotton wood bushes. On one of the kinds were some wild ducks, which, apparently, breed there.
25th day. 20th day's marching. June 7th Wednesday. Marched at ½ past 6, spent some time in getting over the Creek—which was a worse job than crossing the Arkansas.—Traveled about 8 miles north and encamped on a grove of timber within four miles of the Santa Fe trail, our journey entirely through prairie. Found recent horse tracks of 3 or 4 horses here, and some signs of a recent encampment and an old camp. Killed one Elk to-day—meat very delicate—Called the grove "Mulberry Grove".35
26th day. 21st day's marching. June 8th Thursday. Marched at ½ past 6 and traveled 19 miles W. S. W. and encamped on the Little Arkansas36 most of one day's march was on the Santa Fe trace, which we fell into 4 miles from camp of yesterday. At the Little Arkansas we found a small party of traders, five persons and one wagon, going to trade in Santa Fe and then settled in California. A cold, sleety rain fell on us all day and the wind from the north. At night the rain increased and made our night very uncomfortable. The stream we are encamped on, is the same we encamped on the 6th. Those traders inform us that the Governor of Santa Fe is expected at the Arkansas with an escort to the traders. The trail crossing the Arkansas 30 miles from this. The old Spaniard37 who was robbed last spring was killed near our camp of yesterday.
34The "clearwater creek, flowing S. E." mentioned by Captain Boone the Little Arkansas River. The campsite was seven or eight miles northwest of Inman, about where the McPherson-Rice County boundary intersects that stream.
36This creek on which the command encamped and referred to as the Little Arkansas by Captain Boone is not the Little Arkansas but a tributary of Cow Creek, the course of which is about one mile east of Lyons. Kansas, and which empties into Cow Creek about four miles southeast of that place.
37The old Spaniard referred to by Captain Boone as being robbed and killed near their camp of June 7 and called C. Garvis in his formal report was actually Don Josi Antonio Cravez, a leading Mexican merchant, residing at Santa Fe. Along with many other traders he was accustomed to make annual trips over the Santa Fe trail to Westport, its eastern terminus, and then to St. Louis and the eastern markets of the United States for buying merchandise. The Texans, as one phase of their struggle for independence from Mexico, frequently attacked these Mexicans while enroute over the trail to and from the United States. Border renegades profiting by the example of these Texans, or they themselves claiming to be Texans, commenced also to raid these caravans for their loot. Thus the trail soon became so dangerous that some of the traders discontinued their annual journeys, but Chavez was one of the hardier ones that scoffed at this danger. So as was his custom he planned as usual for his trip in 1843, leaving Santa Fe early in February. His caravan consisted of fifty-five mules, two wagons, accompanied by five of his servants and himself. Some accounts relate that he was riding in his private coach. A load of valuable furs was taken and he had between ten and twelve thousand dollars in specie and bullion which was carried in an old trunk. The months of February and March were very severe along the Mexican part of the trace, and by the time his party reached the Little Arkansas early in April fifty of the mules had perished, forcing the abandonment of one of the wagons. They made camp on this stream and while encamped, a party which were supposed to be Texan troops rode up. This party proved to be a gang of border ruffians led by John McDaniel, who did claim to be a Texan. They proceeded to murder the servants immediately, but Chavez was permitted to live a little longer because he was suspected of carrying more money than was found. Meanwhile, seven of the gang had to return to the settlements because their horses had escaped in a stampede. After their departure the remaining eight deciding that the further search for money to be futile, cast lots to decide which four would murder the old gentleman. After the lots had been cast, the designated four took him aside and shot him down in cold blood. United States troops, aided by frontiersmen, soon apprehended these culprits although five of the original fifteen in the gang escaped. John McDaniel and his brother were hanged; the other eight were sentenced to federal prison for larceny. All of the stolen money was recovered and returned to Senora Chavez, who remained on at Santa Fe, and eventually married the man that had been delegated to take this money back to her. For a more detailed account of this murder and the related happenings, consult: 1. "Commerce on the Prairies," by Gregg. Vol. 2, pp. 166-8. 2. "Leading Facts of New Mexican History." by Twitchell, vol. 2 pp 83-4. 3. "The Santa Fe Trail," by Henry Inman. pp. 98-101. 4. "Bent's old Fort and its Builders," by George Bird Grinnell. Kansas Historical Collections. Vol. 15. pp. 72-3. 5. "Battle of Coon Creek," by James H. Burch. Kans. Hist. Cols. Vol. 10, p. 410. 6. "Nile's Register," lxiv, pp. 195, 280, gives the names of the members of McDaniel's gang.
27th day. 22 day's marching. June 9th Friday. The rain ceased about 10 A. M. marched at 12 and came W. S. W. 9 miles and encamped on a large creek38 putting into the Arkansas above our camp of June 5th. This creek was at first
38This creek is Cow Creek. It flows into the Arkansas near Hutchinson, Kansas, where camp was made on the night of June 5. The camp on Cow Creek was southwest of Lyons.
taken for the Arkansas river itself—our first four miles was through the prairie, then, for 2 miles through the Sand hills which we passed in another place on the 6th. No buffalo in sight today. After travelling through the Sand hill we came to the open prairie and travelled about 2 miles. The timber on this creek is Elm and Box Elder and not large; it grows in groves along the course of the stream, some places an acre or two covered with it.—
The traders in company.—28th day. 23rd day's marching. June 10th Saturday. Started at ½ past 6, and after traveling 5 miles S. W. came to the Arkansas river at a point,39 where for miles up and down, not a tree was growing. Crossed with some difficulty as the river was rising and followed the right bank up passing through some swamp and sand hills for 7 miles, then came to a creek40 of some size with water almost as salt as the ocean. After passing this we came up the river 3 miles further and encamped in a thicket41 of Chickasaw plum bushes and other brush. The grass and wood and water being in no other place so close together. The water in the river as cold as ice water, and almost milk white from the mud and sand.
29th day. 24th days marching. June 11th Sunday. Captain Boone, Lts. Buford42 and Anderson and 12 men started
39Captain Boone and his command crossed the Arkansas River at a point close to the present village of Alden, Kansas.
41The thicket of Chickasaw plum bushes, so called in which camp was pitched for the night, was apparently across the Arkansas from the site of Raymond. These plum bushes were not of the true Chickasaw species; though closly related they are decidedly dwarfish in habit of growth. Their botanical name is Prunus watsonii but locally they are called the sand hill plum or sand plum.
42Lieutenant Abraham Buford, who with Lt. Anderson led the party sent by Captain Boone for buffalo, was a Kentuckian. He was appointed cadet to the West Point Military Academy July 1, 1837. From here he graduated ranking fifty-first in his class. On July 1, 1841, he was breveted second lieutenant in the First Dragoons, receiving that commission in the following April. By December 6 1846, he had attained the rank of first lieutenant. In the following February he was breveted captain for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Buena Vista. He received his captaincy commission July 15, 1853, resigning it in October of the following year. After his resignation had been accepted, he retired to his Kentucky farm. At the outbreak of the Civil War he aided in organizing a volunteer brigade of cavalry of which he subsequently was commissioned brigadier-general by the Confederate government. During the Atlanta campaign, this brigade took an important part in the operations in Tennessee and Northern Alabama. At the close of the war he retired once more to his farm being called from retirement to serve a term in the state legislature during 1879. His death occurred June 9, 1884.
this morning after buffalo with the hope of finding some within 10 miles though there [were] none in sight. After traveling south about 20 miles they fell in with buffalo and having loaded their horse returned to Camp which they reached at 2 o'clock the next morning. Their first 4 miles were through Sand hills or drifting sand and in one place, a lake43 near a mile long of salt water; they then went 8 miles through an open prairie and then got into sand hills again. They passed two creeks, perhaps branches of Salt creek of yesterday, else, they are creeks lost in the sand. To the S. E. of their course was a vast sand plain. During their absence the camp was moved 2 miles S. W. Still on the bank of the river. Parties out from Camp discovered a small salt plain on the Salt branch of the Creek yesterday, about 4 miles from Camp S. The salt was crystalized on a place which the water overflowed similar to the Pawsa—called this Creek Carbine Creek, from a man losing his carbine there—near 200 Elk seen within 10 miles of Camp and plenty of buffalo S. W. within five miles beyond a high range of sand hills.
30th day. June 12 Monday. Remainded in Camp all day, and sent out a party to watch the buffalo seen S. W. yesterday.
31st day. 25th days marching. June 13th Tuesday. Marched up the river about 5 miles and sent off a party for buffalo and encamped. After a short time, the Draggoons from Fort Leavenworth were seen on the trace across the river. Supposing the crossing to be near as the Indians had represented and also the citizens we had in Company, the Camp was broken up and the column got ready to move higher up. About this time Lieut. Johnston rode into Camp from the chase with a severe wound in his foot; his gun, which was slung to the saddle, having gone off accidentally, and a ball, of about 12 to the pound, passed through his foot. As soon as this was dressed, he was placed in a wagon and the march continued, and camp was again made about 10 miles west of the camp of the 11th on the right bank of the Arkansas op-
posite to the Walnut Creek44 on the Santa Fe trace. On this creek the Draggoons from Fort Leavenworth, under Capt. Cooke,45 were encamped, consisting of Companies A. F. & H. Co. V. being back on the trace with the traders. We here found that the trace crosses the [?] 100 miles from this point; we also learnt that the traders felt no apprehension that Col. Warfield46 had only 30 men with him instead of 6 or 700. We
44This creek, called Walnut by Captain Boone, is still known by that name. It puts into the Arkansas River at just about the middle of the great bend of that stream and several miles east of the city of Great Bend, county seat of Barton County.
45Captain Phillip St. George Cooke, a native of Virginia, entered the Military Academy, July 1, 1823, and graduated four years later, ranking twenty-third among his classmates. He then was commissioned seccond lieutenant in the Sixth Infantry. After this he was appointed regimental adjutant, September 7, 1832. In the following year, he was commissioned to a first lieutenancy in the 1st Dragoons, and reached the grade of captain, May 31, 1835. While with the Dragoons, he saw much service in the Indian Country. In 1858, he was attached to the Utah Expedition, and in this same year he also attained the colonelcy of the 2d Dragoons. When these were changed to the Second Cavalry at the opening of the Civil War, he was made a brigadier-general in the United States army, and given full command of the regular cavalry accompanying the Army of the Potomac, distinguishing himself in the Peninsula Ciampaign of 1862. Meanwhile his son was serving with the Confederates. After the war Brigadier-General Cooke was breveted major-general for meritorious conduct. He retired from active service, Oct. 29, 1873, and his death took place in Detroit, Michigan, March 20, 1895.
46Colonel Warfield, professedly holding a commission from the Texan government, had been roaming the western plains close to the mountains, this entire summer with a band of men, lying in wait for unprotected Mexican traders. It was this band that John McDaniel and his outfit had set out to join when they came upon Chavez and murdered him. Earlier in the spring, Col. Warfield with twenty men had attacked the frontier village of Mora, killing five men and driving off numerous horses. After this raid, they were overtaken by Mexicans who were successful not only in recouping their stock, but in taking the horses of the raiders also. After this loss, Warfield and his men walked into Bent's Fort where other horses were obtained. Then they proceeded on to join Colonel Snively, who was somewhere further down the Arkansas River. After joining him, a party of Mexican soldiers was discovered, June 19, 1843. It was an advance guard of General Armijo who had left Santa Fe on the first day of May to meet Mexican traders at the Arkansas and escort them back to Santa Fe. This advance guard, numbering approximately one hundred men under the command of Captain Ventura Lobato, was completely routed. Only one or two were successful in escaping. As soon as General Armijo received intelligence of this disaster, he became panicky and beat a hasty retreat to Santa Fe with the remainder of his force. For further information concerning these movements of Warfield and Snively, refer to "Leading Facts in New Mexican History," by Twitchell. Vol. 2. pp. 83-7.
were informed that Charvis [Chavez], the Mexican who was murdered, had been killed on the Little Arkansas. This evening our camp was surrounded by thousands of buffalo, and the grass very much eaten off by them.
32nd day. June 14th Wednesday.—All the men employed in drying buffalo meat today. This night we had a terrible thunder storm with a great quantity of wind and hail. All our tents blew down, except two or three, and some of our horses ran away. We recovered these, however, the next day.
33rd day. June 15th Thursday.—The river rising, and no crossing. Parties out in search of horses succeeded in bringing all of them in; This night we had another terrible thunder storm with not quite so much wind and hail, and being better prepared fewer of our tents blew down.
34th day. June 16th Friday. This morning the citizens with their wagon made an effort to get over the river, and a Sergeant and four mules from H & E Companies were sent to assist them. The Quicksand being bad, one of the mules of Co. H. was drowned and two wagon Saddles lost. This day a hunting party was sent out and brought in one antelope and some buffalo.
35th day. June 17 Saturday. River still rising—a pretty severe rain fell this morning—cleared off about 11 o'clock, still a very heavy black cloud in the S. with thunder.
36th day. June 18th Sunday. River falling a little. Afternoon several herd of buffalo came thro' camp, or near it, crossing the river just below—parties met them on the prairie and killed several. In destroying them, the surest weapon is a short barrelled shot-gun carrying a large ball; as they are the most easily managed. The meat on the rump is generaly the most tender as the muscles in that quarter are not much used, the closer to the bone the better. We cut the meat off and cut it in long strings and place it over a low scaffold of poles, over a brisk fire; and in one day with the sun it is dry enough to pack away for use. A little salt will aid in curing but it is not absolutely required. The fat of the buffalo is more oily than tallow and is better for cooking. In selecting an animal from the herd to kill, one should look to their thickness thru' the hump, they will be fattest that are
broadest through there, and plump. For a mile or two they run almost as fast as a horse and are then easily caught. Their hides are very thick and from the form of the Animal they are well adapted to make skin boats of. Capt. Boone showed us how to make one, thus: Get poles a little larger than a man's wrist and split them and bend them over, sticking both ends in the ground, for the ribs of the boat, some longitudinally and others transversely, making the boat 8 or 10 feet long according to the size of the skin, and four or five, or six feed wide. one pole along the keel and others obliquely [drawings in MS.] from stem to stern to give shape to the boat. Then [?] the poles together with thongs. Lay the skin down with the hair next the ribs and stretch it down to the whaling or rib which forms the gunwale of the boat, trim off the edges and cut loop holes through it and lash it along. Let it dry in the sun if you have time, if not reverse it at once, and cut off any part of the ribs that stick up in the way. An extra strip may be put on around the gunwale on the outside. One of these boats is not easily paddled in a rapid current or a high wind. The safest way is for a man to wade or swim and tow the boat along. One of these boats will carry 800 lbs. To lash several together, they are laced two and two along side and one in bow and stern [drawing in MS.] with poles lashed across the top longitudinally and transversely. In this way they increase in buoyancy and become more manageable. Six boats thus secured would float 6,000 lbs. To stop a bullet hole in the hide a skewer of hard wood is run through from each side and a thread wrapped around under each end of it, as a needle is secured in a coat [drawing in MS.]
37th day. June 19th Monday. The river still falling. No tidings of the traders. Saw some cattle feeding on the hills on the other side of the river which we found, belonged to Mr. Bent47 from Bent's Fort, on the Arkansas, who is wait-
47This Mr. Bent that Captain Boone met is William Bent, the American fur trader and pioneer. He was born at Marietta, Ohio, 1809. At an early age he became a fur trader along the upper Missouri. Later, he and his three brothers, Charles, Robert and George, became associated with another trader, St. Vrain, in the business venture of Bent, St. Vrain. and Company. The trapping and trading operations of this concern were carried on in the valley of the upper Arkansas. near the foothills of the stocky Mountains. The permanent trading post of this firm was variously known as Bent's Fort, Bent's Old Fort, or Fort William. Its location was on the Upper Arkansas above the present site of Pueblo, Colorado, and near the mouth of the Purgatoire River. This fort was commenced in 1828, and completed four years later. It is described by J. T. Hughes as follows: "Fort Bent is situated on the north bank of the Arkansas 650 miles west of Fort Leavenworth in latitude 38° 2' north, and longitude 103° 38' west from Greenwich. The exterior walls of the fort, whose figure is that of an oblong square, are 15 feet high and 4 feet thick. It is 180 feet long and 135 wide and is divided into various compartments. The whole built of adobes or sun-dried brick." In 1835, William Bent married Owl Woman, a daughter of White Thunder, the venerated Medicine man of the Cheyennes. Subsequently he gained great influence among the plains Indians, continuing to operate the fort after the death of his brothers. He served a brief term as government agent for the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Comanches, and Kiowas, in 1859-60. At various times, he was called to act as mediator in the settlement of troubles with these tribes. After the Civil War, he served as a member of the government commission which negotiated new treaties with the chiefs and head men of the tribes who roamed the Southern Plains. Consult Baskin's "History of the Arkansas Valley;" also Kans. Hist. Ool. (vol. 7, p. 327; vol. 8, p. 191; vol. 9, p. 564; vol. 10, p. 113; vol. 11, p 311.)
ing the arrival of some more of his party before going in to Missouri. He informs us that all the grass had been eaten off by the Buffalo between this and the mountains, so that his cattle nearly starved. The day was fair, with a strong wind from the S. all day.
38th day. June 20th Tuesday. Buffalo came near camp again and crossed the river at our side. The officers started after them and killed 9 within a short distance of Camp the river at this points runs nearly N. E. coming still from the southwest little west for 10 miles. The camping grounds are not very good on this side for twenty miles or more below this point. Though there is timber above and below for 15 miles. Heard today through Capt. Cooke, that the traders with Capt. Moore48 & Co. "C." were water bound on the Cow Creek Wind, Strong S.
48Captain Benjamin D. Moore was a native of Kentucky though he entered the service from Illinois as a midshipman in the United States Navy, February 2, 1829. From this he resigned January 2, 1833, joining the First Dragoons as a first lieutenant in the following September. Eight years later he gained the rank of Captain. He was killed in action at the battle of San Pasqual, California, December 6, 1846.
49A dearborn wagon was a vehicle which is described by Webster's dictionary as "a kind of four-wheeled carriage with curtained sides."
50Manuel Armijo was governor of New Mexico, excepting a brief interval, from 1838 to the American Occupation in 1846.
can, Dr. East, the American and, probably Captain [?]—As the traders had gotten within 12 miles and there were no guessing at, when the water would let them come on, and as they appeared by the intelligence furnished by Capt. Cooke, to be in no sort of apprehension of an attack; we prepared for a move to-morrow.
40th day. 26th day's marching. June 22nd. Thursday. Started at 7 A. M. and marched 15 miles S. 3° W. and encamped on the open prairie on the head of the Creek,51 supposed to be the creek on which we encamped on the 4th of June. No timber in sight since we left the river. The first 7 miles of our journey was through a light sandy soil, the rest clayey. Saw some buffalo, and passed some of the largest buffalo roads bearing to the E. S. E. probably to the Salt in that region. This night we had to resort to buffalo dung for fuel—it burns like peat—we made furnaces of sod, and found it to be excellent fuel.
41st day. 27th day's marching. June 23d. Friday. Marched at ½ past 7, and travelled 18 miles S. 10°W. and encamped again on the open prairie52 on a pond of water—Country very level the first 6 miles, thro' clayey soil and flat prairie, the next 6, thro' low sand hills, then open prairie again. We got on one eminence of 20 feet above the level 2 miles before we encamped, and saw a grand sight of perhaps 10,000 buffalo feeding on the plain as far as the eye could reach. Here we saw a herd of wild horses of a dozen in number. They ran off through the herds of buffalo, which did not seem to mind them—Water tonight filled with animalculae and water insects—used buffalo dung for fires. Encamped early on account of the grass.
42nd day. 28th day of marching. June 24th Saturday. Marched at ½ past 7. Travelled 12 miles S. 10° W. and encamped on the waters of the Ne-ne-scah [Ninnescah] where they break out in springs along the banks53 and through the
51The command encamped close to the forks of Rattlesnake Creek, about five miles north of St. John, Kansas.
52The site of the forty-first day's camp seems to have been a little north of the intersection of the county lines between Stafford and Pratt Counties. or about four miles northeast of Byers, Kansas.
53This campsite was at the headwaters of the Ninnescah River, and about midway between Cullison, and Pratt, in Pratt County. Inasmuch as these springs which feed the Ninnescah River at its sources never seem to vary in volume, even in the dryest years, it is possible that their waters are derived by seepage from, the Arkansas River, above the upper end of the great bend, as the deep subsoils like the surface soil is of very porous and sandy texture.
sand from the sunken water from above, as the Creek where we first came to it four miles from Camp had a dry bed, the waters being lost in the sand. A mile or two further they course out again, and at this point the stream is, apparently, permanent. Springs of excellent water, groves of timber, and hills hemming in our encampment on all sides,—with good grass makes it one of the most pleasant ones we have had. Our march today was over more undulating prairie, passing one creek about 5 miles from Camp this morning with no timber on it, running E. S. E. Started a wild horse today, and one of the officers chasing it fell in with a herd of about 30, headed by a large white horse with black spots on his croup. Saw plenty of buffalo to-day, and Elk came near our camp this evening. The course of the Creek S. E. where we first saw it, its bed was much larger than where it commenced to run, as if a large river was lost in the sand; and a small rivulet started below that point. In the sand was found a quantity of dark sand which was strongly attracted by the magnet.
43rd day. June 25th Sunday. Laid in camp all day on account of the sickness of one of the men—Parties of men and officers today brought in specimens of gypsum in all its forms. Buffalo were killed, partridges, rabbits and turkeys were seen near camp. To this point the buffalo roads from all directions were converging, it being a favorite resort no doubt, in summer.
44th day. 29th day's marching. June 26th Monday. Marched about 8. After coming a mile or two we got on a high ridge where we had a most gratifying sight in some of the most curious, as well as beautiful, countries we have seen. Before us 8 or 10 miles lay the bed of the Sha wa Caspa R[iver?] a deep and abrupt valley of not more than two miles in width from which ran out in every direction, short creeks and ravines, cutting up the Country into a multitude of little valleys, in each of which there were patches of timber; all of which was below the general surface of the Country, so that one might approach very near to one of these streams without seeing it. The views from the top of the ridges were extensive and grand. We found the hills to be composed with
gypsum alternating with red clay. The gypsum was in all its forms. Crossed the Sha wa cas pa [River] and encamped on a small branch54 half a mile from it. The water was not good; muddy and brackish. Near our camp the hills had, from the washing assumed various fantastic forms. Travelled South 12 miles to-day. [Several drawings in MS.] The seams of gypsum often projecting out from the hill sides often formed an insurmountable obstacle to cimbing them. This of course was only the case when the hill was cut off from the chain. Killed some Elk and Buffalo near Camp.
45th day. 30th day's marching. June 27th Tuesday. Marched about 8, course S. 10 miles, the first four miles very difficult climbing the hills on the South side of the river, found Gypsum here in greater quantities, pure, white, hard, and soft. Dripping over the rocks was found a small spring tasting very strong of Epsom salts. On the ridges we were joined by a band of Osages who took us to their camp where we encamped for the purpose of gaining information. The Country was similar to that of yesterday with many grand views from the hill tops. Water not good, but creeks ever two miles—The chief of the Osages was To-ca-sab-be.55 Some of his people wanted the guns and horses we had taken from To-wanga-ha's people, but we could not give them to them, as they were not the owners. They informed us that it was three days' march west of South to the Salt Rock and two days to the nes-ga-tung a or Pewsa Salt plain, and that the creek56 we were on was a branch of the nes ca tin ga which emptied itself at the salt plain. This latter information we disposed to doubt as we expected to see the Shaw-was-cos-pa yet crossing our course. Strata dip slightly S. E. water courses running north of east.—
46th day. 31st day marching. June 28th Wednesday. Started at 8 and travelled 15 miles S. 5° W. After travelling 9 miles crossed a River which we take to be the Sha-wa-cos-
54The stream that Captain Boone called the Shawascaspa is Elm Creek, near which he encamped in the vicinity of its intersection of the boundary line between Pratt and Barber counties.
55The Osage chief which Captain Boone meets and refers to as Tocasabbe was Tshonga Sabha, or Black Dog, one of the leading chieftains of that tribe.
56The site of the Osage encampment cannot be identified. though it may have been not far from Elm Creek and possibly but a short distance from the expedition's own camp of the previous night.
pay, which the Indians tell us is the Nescutunga.57 Our route for the first 8 miles was over the high prairie ridges where we could see right and left for 20 miles. The country rolling off in successive ridges as far as the eye could reach. The last five miles we got along with difficulty as we came again into the gypseous hills—Water at the river and in the spring of the ravines, the latter with some mineral taste. Saw buffalo and one herd of wild horses. The river ran S. of East. Timber, Cedar, and tallow tree, Cotton Wood and Elm, one character given to the country by the gypsum is that the Soil is very hard when dry, and the streams are difficult to cross from the depth of the (course?), and when wet, are swampy.
47th day. 32nd day marching. June 29th Thursday. Started at 8, travelled S. S. W. 18 miles and encamped on the branches of a stream58 supposed to be the Nescatunga. Our first five miles was in getting out of the heads of the hollows of the stream we encamped on. Here we encountered the gypsum hills again, capped and washed as those of the 26th. June the caps were of a strata some ten feet thick, of friable over lying red clay, strata still dipping slightly S. E. Found the gypsum in immense chrystaline plates perfectly transparent on the heads of a stream flowing S. to the river now in front of us. Water scarce to-day, also timber, route rough in many places; saw a few buffalo and crossed one Indian trail going West. When we came on the ridges, 8 miles back, we saw near the stream in front of us, a large extent of surface covered with white substance, no doubt, Salt. [drawing in MS.]
48th day. 33rd day's marching. June 30th. Friday. Broke up camp and moved 4 miles S. S. W. to the vicinity of the Salt plain.59 Salt in great abundance was found, chrystallized on the surface of the plain which like the Pew-sa is
57The stream that Captain Boone supposed to be the Shawacospay, or the Chikaskia, was in reality the Medicine Lodge River, a tributary of the Nescatunga, or Salt Fork. He crossed it seven or eight miles below Sun City, and camped about five miles northeast of Deerhead, Kansas.
58This stream reached on the afternoon of June 29th was, as surmised, the Nescatunga, or the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. The expedition crossed the present state line into Oklahoma probably four or five miles east of the ninety-ninth meridian.
nothing more than a wide bed of the river. It is in a sort of bottom making it wider than the average width of the river. The average width is near a mile—The rock Salt appears to lay near the surface with a concentrated solution which at once begins to deposit chrystals—A crust of chrystals is now on the plain in many places an inch in thickness, and is easily obtained, perfectly clean and as white as anything can be. The quantity of Salt appears to be unlimited.—Mustered today.
49th day. 34th day's marching. July 1st Saturday. Broke up camp and moved across the river and Salt plain S. W. 4 miles and encamped on a small creek60 of water slightly brackish, but as good as any we have found in the gypsum. In crossing the river we had some trouble in the quicksand with the wagons. The bed of the river and Salt plain was about two miles wide; the salt, not as generally covering it as the Pew-sa, but thicker in the places where found than what we saw at the big salt. This afternoon it rained and Talle, the Osage chief, and his people came and encamped with us. They informed us that all the chrystalized salt on the surf ace of the plain is washed off when it rains heavily and that in a few days the sun brings it back again.
50th day. July 2nd Sunday. Parties went out after buffalo this morning, and numbers were killed near our Camp. A party went to explore the Salt plain and search for the Rock Salt. The whole cave on the right of the two forks of the river appeared to be one immense salt spring of water so much concentrated that as soon as it reaches the point of breaking forth it begins depositing its salt. In this way a large crust of Rock is formed all over the bottom for perhaps 160 acres. Digging through the sand for a few inches anywhere in this space we could find the solid Salt, so hard that there was no means in our power of getting up a block of it. We broke our mattock in an attempt. In many places through this Rock salt crust the water boiled up as clear as a chrystal; tempting to one suffering from thirst; but so salt, that our hands after being immersed in it and suffered to dry, became as white as snow. Thrusting the arm down one of these holes they ap-
60This small creek on which camp was pitched is now Trader Creek. The site was northwest of the present village of Haskew, Woodward County.
peared to be walled with salt as far down as the arm could reach. The Cliffs which overhang this place are composed of red clay and gypsum and capped with a stratum of gypsum, no doubt the same as that which capped the hills we passed on the 29th of June. If such be the case (and there can be no doubt of it). The source of these springs lay to the north, and if there be Rock Salt in this formation, it would be found among the hills we have been crossing for the last few days—We this Salt a little bitter from the impurities it contains, probably, Epsom Salt principally. We are now satisfied that this river must be the Semarone [Cimmarron]61. Two forks came together here the north comes from the N. W. the South,62 from the South West. The river flows a little south of east after the junction in the sandy bed a mile wide. [drawing in MS.] The Indians inform us that there is salt between this and the north fork of the Canadian, 4 days journey hence—It seems probable that this river is not the same with the one in which we found the big Salt. The north fork is the Semarone.
51st day. 35th day's marching. July 3rd Monday. Broke up camp and marched for nescubhe-toh-to or salt in the plain away from the river. Marched 15 miles east, crossing the river 8 miles from Camp where we discovered in the bluff a strata of blue clay underlying the red clay, and about on the level of the salt spring of yesterday. This clay and the red in these bluffs taste quite salty; probably from these the Salt Springs come. These strata capped with gypsum outcrop all along the river in bluff's near a 100 feet high; giving a picturesque character to the scenery. Above on the high prairie mounds of the same material show from afar projected in the Salt region [drawing in MS.] might indicate their proximity. The route today was difficult for the wagons, part gypsum and part sand hills. Encamped on a
61Captain Boone was correct in his surmise that this must be the "Semarone." It is the Cimarron River, or the Rio de los Carneros Cimarron as it was called by the early Spaniards near its head in New Mexico. Thus it was known to them as the River of Wild Sheep because wild sheep abounded on the mountains near its headwaters. The Osages, who roamed over its lower drainage, called it the Negracka, and it appeared as such on early maps of this region.
62The stream which Captain Boone called the south Fork of the Cimarron is the one which has long been known as Buffalo Creek.
creek63 among low sand hills—water bad and scarce—The strata on the hill tops on the south side of the river appear to have a dip to the north at this point as if there was a bend in the strata along the line of the river, though the general dip is, no doubt, from the mountains. As this formation of gypsum and red clay outcrops along in a line W. of South until it is found at the paunee peaks. In one place on the Canadian it forms a deep channel for the river of 8 or 10 miles of steep walls on either side with no streams putting in on either side.
52nd day. 36th day's marching. July 4th Tuesday. Marched 4 miles E. S. E. and encamped on a pretty grove of Elm, hackberry, tallow tree,64 and chittim65 [wood] with good grass and water—and buffalo in sight, concluded to spend the 4th and rest the teams that are nearly worn out. The country sandy with a few sand hills.66 Spent the Fourth in roasting fine Buffalo meat. Cured some.
53rd day. 37th day's marching. July 5. Wednesday. Marched about 8 from our pleasant encampment course 18 miles E. S. E. our journey was over low sand hills generally, covered with grass; with one or two plains intervening. The Semarone [Cimmaron] lay on our right all day with its high gypsum banks ranging along its southern shore. Encamped within a mile and a half of the river on a creek67 of good water running out of the sand. Came this afternoon to some blackjack oak groves, some of the trees two feet in diameter. This is the first blackjack we have seen since we first came among the red water on the other side of the east branches of the Red fork or Nescatunga. The grove near our camp has mulberry, bitter elm & dog wood.
54th day. 38th day's marching July 6. Thursday. Marched about 8. came S. 50°E. 10 miles. We first marched S. 4 miles and crossed the Semarone or big Red Fork, where
63This creek is Bull Bear Creek, and tile campsite was about five miles east of Fair Valley, in Woods County.
64The tallow tree, so called, is the native wild China, or China berry tree. It is indigenous throughout near the whole of Oklahoma. The seeds of this specie are encased in amber-colored berries that grow in clusters.
66The camp on July 4th was located on Eagle Chief Creek near its source, and nearly due west of Avard.
67This camp on July 5th was on Wildcat Creek, near Galena, in the southeastern part of Woods County.
its sandy bed was a mile wide with no water, scarcely, running. On the surface of the sand an occasional spot would have a slight film of salt chrystalized on it. The route on the north side of the river was through sand hills with clear water, on the south side thro' a plain of red soil laying at the back of high gypsum hills a mile or two to our right. The gulleys difficult for wagons to get over. Encamped on a creek68 with muddy water running north. The river a half mile to our north, running E. S. E., not finding the salt described by the Indians, here; we intend retracing our steps a little tomorrow, as we must have passed it. Private Bean of E. Co. died at this camp at 9 P. M. of a desease of the brain of old standing. He has been hauled in the wagon since we left the Arkansas River.
55th day. 39th day's marching July 7th, Friday. Buried Bean on the bank of the creek, near a cotton wood tree, which was marked with his name. Called the Creek Dragoon Creek, from the circumstances of his death. It is 3 miles west of what we supposed to be the last of the gypsum hills69 on the right bank of the Semarone. Marched 10 miles West. Route along the river first north west, then off south—very rough the high gypsum hills overhanging us all day. Some of them very picturesque, all near 200 feet high. The strata of blue clay which lay at the bed of the river at the nes cu ca sea pay is here some distance up the cliffs. Still there does not appear any reason for doubting that the strata dip S. E. They are so nearly horizontal however, that it is impossible to make sure by the eye. It is probable that there is a logical [local] dip to the north near the rock salt as the water boils up on the south side. It is evident, however, that the general dip of these strata is from the mountains. Captain Boone has observed these gypsum S. S. W. from this at the Paune Peaks, south of this. On the Canadian it forms a channel for the river called a canyon by the Spaniards, or a deep channel for 800 miles with no streams putting in and very difficult to cross. We searched for the salt on the plain away from the river, as described by the Osages, but saw nothing
of it. Concluded to march westward tomorrow to get into the buffalo again. Encamped on a creek running north.70
56th day. 40th day's marching. July 8th, Saturday. Marched about 8. 20 miles S 30° W. and encamped on the north fork of the Canadian.71 Our route lay 10 miles, up the divide of the Semarone [Cimarron]—the one we encamped on, and the one we crossed at mid-day yesterday. After we got on the ridge between the Semarone and the north Fork, we came into a dense thicket of black jacks which we had to cut through for near a mile, we then came in sight of the north, and came down to it through a skirt of prairie with thickets of black jack on either side. The gypsum dipped under the hills we climbed this morning, and we are now in a sandy country. No buffalo. The vegetation changing somewhat with the soil. Throughout the gypsum country the red cedar grew on the high points of the hollows, in some places, abundantly, low down, the tallow tree and a sort of mock orange called the chittin wood by Capt. Boone, with Cotton wood and bitter elm formed the greatest part of the forest trees. From the time we left the ne-ne-Sca until we got out of the gypsum all the water was rendered unfit; unpalatable by a solution of various salts; In some cases the rice boiled in the water was so bitter as to be unfit to eat. We could not detect any, by the taste, except the Epsom and Glauber Salts; but as the water rendered the mouth sore, we presumed, there was Sulphat[e] of Iron [vitriol] in it. In this route, from the Arkansas to the North Fork, the greatest difficulty in the passage of troops will be the scarcity of grass near wood and water. In the dry season the grass would be very much burnt up.
57th day. 41st day's marching July 9th Sunday. Marched about 8. After a shower, and went 5 miles S. W. and, a storm approaching we haulted and encamped. After the rain went around, we struck our tents and moved 7 miles further South and encamped on the creek72 we haulted on this
71Camp on the evening of July 8th was on the North Canadian River, at or near the point where it intersects the boundary line between Major and Woodward Counties.
72On the 9th of July the expedition crossed the southeast corner of Woodward County and encamped near the head of Bent's Canyon in Dewey County.
morning running N. E. into the north fork; on this we found the slippery elm, the mulberry, and a sort of black walnut with many appearances to indicate it being a new variety.73The country passed over today was gently rolling, and covered with fine grass; slight skirts of timber on all the creeks; soil, red and sandy—No buffalo yet and very little sign. The country is no[t] hunted by the Osages; they do not pass the north fork, it is believed, and small bands of creeks, and other Indians keep the buffalo frightened off from this range.
58th day. 42nd day's marching. July 10th Monday. Marched about 8. Rain again in the morning before we started. Came 8 miles S. W. and encamped on a stream74 which is quite large and with a sandy bed, but no running water. This may be the main Canadian but we think it is too near. The Country begins to look gypseous again. On the ridge we passed a thicket of low blackjack. Buffalo roads very large, but saw only one Buffalo. This evening a party of 8 or 10 Caddoes came to Camp—they inform us that there are very few buffalo in the country.
59th day. 43rd day's marching. July 11th Tuesday. Marched about 8 and came 4 miles S. and encamped on the south side of the Canadian on a small creek.75 Bought some Buffalo meat of the Caddoes, who are in camp near us. There was very little water running in the river where we crossed it, and that soon sunk in the sands. The bed of the River half a mile wide the Course S. E. To the west the half gypsum hills show themselves. About 20 miles off.
60th day's marching. July 12. Wednesday. Marched about 7. traveled about 16 miles E. and encamped on the waters of a creek76 flowing from the Canadian. Suppose it to be the one emptying into that river 20 miles below this. This creek heads directly on the bluff's of the river. Off to
73The black walnut of western Oklahoma is noticeably different from the ordinary black walnut of the central and eastern parts of the state, the nuts being smaller and of a different shape.
74The march on July 10 brought the command to the banks of the South Canadian at a point about five miles southeast of Lenora in Dewey County.
75Camp was northwest of Putman near which place the unnamed creek, on which the camp as located, has its source.
76The record of the march of July 12th is evidently in error, since it is apparent that the expedition had reached the head of Deer Creek near the boundary line between Dewey and Custer counties, nearly due south of Putnam.
the North we see a long range of cross timber77 on the ridge beyond the Canadian, which is in appearance similiar to that crossed before cutting to the north fork on the 8th July. This, and the fact that the Canadion takes a turn to the north here, induces an idea, that maybe the river we took to be the North fork puts into the Canadian there; this is also strengthened by the river being longer where we crossed it than the North fork should be. Fell in with three buffalo this evening and killed two; which will enable us to lay by tomorrow and explore the country to the north and rest our mules. The Country passed over today was high, giving us a sight of the hills to the south of the False Washita twenty or thirty miles away. The formation was gypsum, and passed hills of it shortly after we left camp, with the strata contorted in ever direction. Face of the country beautiful—grass excellent—Saw 7 wild horses. Timber scarce; but enough on the Creeks for Camping purposes at all times.
61st day. July 13th Thursday. Remained in camp all day. Capt. Boone went out to explore, to the north—found it to be 15 miles to the Canadian.78 No signs of the river we supposed to be the North Fork, coming into it, though that
77The "cross timbers" figure largely in the early descriptive literature of the Southwest, not only at the time of Captain Boone's journey but also for several years later. In the atlas maps accompanying the report of Captain Marcy's exploration of the sources of the Red River, in 1852, extensive areas on both sides of the Red River were marked as forest-covered areas and designated as "Upper and Lower Cross Timbers," respectively. These were represented in belts or bands extending from northeast to southwest and practically at right angles to the general direction of the trails leading up the valleys of the Canadian, Washita and Red Rivers. As a matter of fact, there were no such belt-shaped timbered areas. There were certain areas having a sandy soil and covered with a growth of black-jack and post-oak trees, through which all west-bound travellers in Central and Southern Oklahoma and Northern Texas had to pass, but such areas were very Irregular in size and form and were far from being continuous in any given direction. The roads or trails across such timbered areas were very heavy with sand and were impeded more or less by brush and undergrowth; and travellers of that period, weary of the tedious and toilsome march through the same, easily imagined a continuous extension in a direction at right angles with the line of march. While it is regrettable to have to efface the poetic and romantic suggestiveness which the allusions to the "Cross Timbers" used to impart to the descriptive literature of the Southwest; it is due the readers of the present day to state the facts.
78Captain Boone must have passed very close to the present site of Taloga, county seat of Dewey County, if indeed he did not pass over it on July 13.
seemed probable from the size of the river and the course of the Canadian at this point.
62nd day. 45th day's marching. July 14th Friday. Marched about 8. Traveled 18 miles E. S. E. The first 10 miles in the gypsum hills with deep and precipiteous ravines. Crossed one of these at an old buffalo road and found white oak and cedar trees with others, in it, and stratum of red sandstone capped with gypsum dipping S. E. After we got out of this, we rose on a beautiful level prairie with luxuriant grass, which had two small herds of wild horses on it. This level country continued for 8 miles further with little interruption. We encamped on a small prairie ravine79 which cut its way through the red sandstone we passed this morning. There were three prairie mounds of 40 or 50 feet in height on the last 8 miles of our route. During the day the valley of the Canadian lay 5 or 6 miles to our left, with a thick forest of cross timber capping the ridge beyond the whole way.
63rd day. 46th day's marching. July 15th Saturday. Marched about 8. Traveled S. E. 15 miles. After starting was compelled to leave an old horse of Company D, which had taken sick during the night. Our route, today, generally, over level prairie, with the valley of a large creek to the right.
The prairie cut up with ravines occasionally running through the red sandstone of yesterday. The ridge beyond the Canadian still capped with thickets of trees, probably black jack. To the South-East, a row of high prairie mounds beyond the creek. Camp on the left bank of creek 80 above mentioned which empties into the Canadian half a mile from this. Called the creek Cow wa map sha from the wild horses we saw on it, —Course of this Creek, N. E.—
64th day. 47th day's marching. July 16th Sunday. Marched about 8. Traveled 12 miles E. S. E. After crossing the creek at camp, at a good crossing, we came within two miles to another with a deep bed in the red sand rock. This creek we had to head a mile or two to the South. The first four miles of our route was over a generally level country. We then came into a country, with high parallel ridges running into the river.—Towards evening the hills became more
80On the evening of the 15th camp was pitched on the north bank of Deer Creek about six miles below Hydro.
abrupt, covered with black-jack—Camp on the Creek,81 the head of which is in a very broken country. Vegetation changing—white oak, walnut and slippery elm on the creeks, on the prairie abundance of Chickasaw plums, dwarf buckeye and dwarf oak.—
65th day. 48th day's marching. July 17th Monday. Marched about 8. Travelled 19 miles E. S. E. Most of the country passed over was beautiful. A large creek on the right with heavy masses of timber on the ravines running to the Canadian to our left. We kept the dividing ridge all day which was cut across by hollows from the creek to the river. Water scarce, and the day hot, with a good many flies our animals suffered very much. Encamped on this creek82 which runs north at this point and goes into the Canadian within a few miles—Camp in Sand hills very low, on the left bank of the creek.
66th day. 49th day's marching. July 18th Tuesday. Marched about ½ past 8. Travelling 14 miles East. Parted from Lieut. Johnston and Company today; he striking for Fort Washita agreeably to his orders, and we making for the Canadian with the view of crossing it, and travelling on the ridge of the Canadian and Little River. The Canadian where we crossed it ran E. S. E.83 its bed very nearly dry; water only being found at the mouth of the various creeks putting into it, but very soon swallowed up by the sand composing the bed of the river. Banks of the Canadian on either side consisting of Sand hills extending from half to a full mile from its shores and covered with plum thickets, bearing a fine large red fruit which we found ripe and very palatable. Met our Shawnee friends84 who state the distance to Choteau's trading house as trifling. Country—after leaving the sand hills—rolling prairie intersected by numerous wooded creeks rendering the scenery very pleasing to the eye. Camped on
81This camp was located at or near the head of Boggy Creek in the southwestern part of Canadian County.
82On the evening of July 17th, the expedition camped a mile or two above the present town of Minco at a point where Boggy Creek runs north. This location is in the northern part of Grady County.
83The command recrossed the Canadian River near where it is now intersected by the boundary line between Canadian and Cleveland counties, on the north and Grady and McClain counties on the south.
84The "Shawnee friends" which were mentioned as having been met, were members of the Absentee Shawnee band, which then lived south of the Canadian River in Hughes County.
the Creek85 running into Little River, north. Cross timber [blank in MS.] up 4 miles from our camp.
67th day. 50 day's march July 19th Wednesday. Started about 7. Travelled E. on what we thought to be the divide between Little River and the Canadian, making a distance of 14 miles, and passing over a flat prairie country, very much parched up by the summer heat. Vegetation very scant; the buffalo, grass having been eaten down very close by the buffalo, and not being replaced yet by the long prairie grass, which is working its way gradually to the mountains. Skirted the cross timbers for about two miles. The timber is so-called, from the fact it runs from the Red River across to the Arkansas, Arms of it extending north of the Arkansas. It consists of dwarfish looking scrub oaks, whose branches extending down and interlacing render it almost impenetrable. Camped on the South side of Little River, on a tributary of that stream.86
68th day. 51st day's marching. July 20th Thursday. Started between 6 and 7, retracing our steps for about four miles—Capt. Boone having made an examination of the country yesterday evening, after we encamped, thinking that the divide of the Canadian and Little River ran to the right of us;—in which opinion he was correct. Travelling extremely tedious in consequence of the numerous little creeks we had to cross in order to reach the divide of the main stream its head of Little River being one. This stream, running about E. S. E. is difficult to cross with wagons; its banks being steep and composed of red mud, and the growth of timber and under brush being very heavy, occupying some time in getting a road to enable the wagons to work through. The head waters of Little River rises within half a mile of the Canadian, thus jamming the divide close on to the banks of the latter river, and rendering it extremely difficult to distinguish it, and the tributaries of Little River looking as if they ran into the Canadian until observed within a very short distance of their banks and then they disappear through a ravine which a
85The march on July 18th was much longer than estimated in the narrative, having been approximately eighteen miles, the camp being located on Lost Creek a mile or two north of the Canadian River about five miles west of the present site of Moore.
86The camp on the evening of July 19th was situated about five or six miles northeast of the present city of Norman, county seat of Cleveland county, and also the site of Oklahoma University.
traveller never, would supposed to exist 'till close on them.—Distance is E. S. E. Course, passed over 15 miles. Camped on a Creek87 emptying into the Canadian. Feel some anxiety with regard to our distance from Choteau's88 trading house, the men having dried buffalo meat for supper, and breakfast tomorrow morning, and Choteau's old place is represented as being 100 miles from Edward's where we first expect to procure provisions.
69th day. 52nd day's march. July 21st Friday. Started about six o'clock and travelling a few miles S. E. a hill was seen about 8 miles off, supposed by Capt. Boone to be the ground called Mason's Fort, where Col. Mason89 formerly held a council with the Comanches and expected an attack. This proved to be the hill and 4 miles from the ruins of Choteau's old trading house, at which we arrived after travelling six miles. Resting there an hour, we resumed our march on the
87At the end of this day's march the expedition apparently reached the valley of a creek northeast of Chouteau's trading post Which was located west of Chouteau Creek, several miles north of the site of Lexington, where camp was pitched.
88Colonel Auguste P. Chouteau established a trading post at Camp Holmes, sometimes called Ft. Edward or Edward's trading house, in 1835. Its location was near the mouth of Little River in Hughes County. Three years later he built another trading post on a creek about five miles northeast of the present site of Purcell because the Kiowas and Comanches disliked travelling through a forested country in order to reach a trading post. Captain Boone in his journal refers to the first post established as Edward's trading house. Chouteau died at Fort Gibson the following winter after the establishment of the post near Purcell. This trading venture was abandoned after the death of its projector but the spot was mentioned by subsequent travellers, such as Marcy (1849) and Whipple (1854). Jessie Chisholm occupied it for trading purposes in 1850, in the meantime having married Edward's daughter.
89Richard Barnes Mason was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1797. He was a grandson of George Mason, the neighbor, the devoted friend and trusted advisor of George Washington. At the age of twenty he entered the army as a lieutenant, two years later rising to a captaincy, and in 1833, to the rank of major in the 1st Dragoons. He attained a lieutenant-colonelcy in 1836, the colonelcy in 1846, and was commissioned brigadier-general two years later. He served in the Black Hawk War. When California was gained from Mexico, he became its first military and civil governor. In 1835, Colonel Mason had commanded the military escort which accompanied Governor Montfort Stokes and General Mathew Arbuckle, as Government Peace Commissioners, when they met the chiefs of the Comanches and Kiowa tribes and negotiated a treaty with them in a council "on the eastern border of the Grand Prairie" in August, 1835. Apparently, the site of this council was on the left bank of the Canadian River not far from the north end of the Santa Fe's railway bridge across the Canadian River and near the station of Walker.
road made by the traders from this point through the cross timbers, hoping to reach a house which the Shawnees had informed us to be on the road ten miles from Choteau's where we could get corn and beef, which are very much needed. This road we found a horrible state, the soil consisting of red clay, which washes very badly, producing deep ravines where the wagon wheels had made their tracks. This road, as bad as it was, proved very advantageous to us, facilitating our movements; our men being unable to exert themselves with that activity and energy necessary to cut a road through timber where a pack mule would be unable to pass. Camped 12 miles from site of Choteau's old trading house. No provisions. Camped on a small prairie90 on the edge of a creek running into Little River. Distance 18 miles S. E.
70th day. 53rd day's march. July 22nd Saturday. Made a late start this morning about 10 o'clock in consequence of our mules having strayed off. It being necessary in consequence of the indifferent grassing and their reduced condition to give them a greater range than their Lariettes. Marched 17 miles E. S. E. roads for the first six miles almost impassable but after that distance, improving. The soil becoming more sandy, and before the day's march was concluded, changing from the red to the white, sandy soil. Country more diversified in its character then yesterday—little prairie more frequently presenting themselves and becoming more extensive. Little or no change in vegetation. Timber the same as yesterday. Camped on a creek91 called White Rock Creek, from the banks being composed of White sandstone rock, on which numerous names have been cut. Indians, White &c. No house yet. Lost a horse here—strayed off.
71st day. 54th day's marching. July 23d Sunday. Started at sunrise in hopes of reaching some Indian settlement where we can get corn and beef. The country begins to change. The timber changing, the scrub oaks occasionally intermixed with the cotton wood, Elm, and Ash. The prairies also more extensive, though still presenting few inducements to Agriculturalists, there being a great scarcity of water and no building or rail timber—When we had travel-
90Camp was pitched on the evening of the 21st at or near the head of Salt Creek, in Pottawatomie County.
led about 8 miles E. from camp we were met by a party of Creek Indians, who informed us they lived 4 miles south of our road and could supply all our wants. The command accordingly turned off and encamped in a beautiful oak grove92 near a spring shown to us by the Indians. Measures were immediately taken to supply our wants, and the men were soon engaged in preparing their meals with an eagerness which plainly showed their gratification in once more having the means of gratifying their appetites.—More merriment and hilarity in camp today than I have witnessed for some time past. Our Creek friends lived on the Canadian; have good farms, an abundance of stock of every description, and seemed to understand the art of living and surrounding themselves with comforts.—
72nd day. July 24th Monday. Remained in Camp today to rest our jaded cattle and to dry our beef. Indians visited us throughout the course of the day, bringing in marketing of various kinds—Seemed to regard our presence as a kindly visitation of providence in supplying them the means of disposing of some of their produce and the means of getting a little money.
73rd day. 55th day's marching. July 25th Tuesday. Resumed our march about ½ past 6—marching over a prairie country E. N. E. for about 8 miles 'till we reached the Timber skirting Little River. Then we passed over oak ridges for 2 miles 'till we reached the bottom of Little River. We crossed the river about 1 o'clock and should have gone on some miles further but for an accident resulting in the death of a man of "H" Company which detained us 'till too late to resume the march. While pulling the wagons up the north bank of the river a Rifle leaning up against a tree was knocked down and accidentally discharged, by a man pulling in rear of Seiter, the contents of the rifle passing into the back of the latter and passing up killed him in 15 minutes. He was buried about 200 yards from the crossing of the river, on the north side of the trace. The command was moved off a short distance on the edge of a small prairie running up to the river
92The camp on the 23d and 24th of July was in the extreme southern part of Seminole County about midway between the eastern and western boundaries.
and encamped.93 Timber in the bottom of Little River very large, and various Bois d'arc among the rest.
74th day. 56th day's march. July 26th Wednesday. Started at 7 o'clock travelling 16 miles E. N. E. The roads in consequence of the rains which fell yesterday and during the night, heavy; mules laboring over them with difficulty. Country generally prairie, soil good, rather rocky, Sand rocks frequently showing themselves above the surface of the ground.94
75th day. 57th day's march. July 27th Thursday. Started at 6. Marched 16 miles N. E. Camped on a creek95 running east into the Canadian with a house on its south bank, the first near which we have encamped. About 4 miles from this morning's camp we struck the road leading from Old Fort Holmes or Edward's trading house to Ft. Gibson about 4 miles from the Canadian where Fort Holmes is located. Country passed over high rolling prairie intersected by numerous creeks thickly timbered. One of which is memorable to the troops stationed at Fort Gibson from the fact that a Sick Camp was established there and many soldiers were buried. A large tree at the head of one of the graves has a finger pointing to the grave and written under it "Soldiers grave" We sent a soldier to Edward's when we got into the road and on his return news was received from Lieut. Anderson who had in consequence of hugging the divide on the Canadian too closely, lost himself among the hills of Blue River and getting out of provisions left his wagon and five men with Lieut. Johnston and proceeded in search, of provisions. Fort Holmes being the first place where he found them—45 miles from his wagon.
76th day. 58th day's marching. July 28th Friday. Marched today 16 miles, course E. N. E. having made a early start.—Country very broken and rough, gravelly hills which hurt unshod horses very much. Creeks quite numerous,
93This crossing over Little River was at a point north of the present town of Sasakwa, camp being pitched north of the river.
heavily timbered and ridges of the north fork of the Canadian running down close to the road covered with timber. Camped on a stream96 emptying into the Canadian 4 or 5 miles from Apotheohole's town.
77th day. 59th day's march. July 29th Saturday. Marched 16 miles, course N. E. Country, rough prairie 'till within 5 miles of the North Fork. Halted at the North Fork about an hour, fed our horses and resuming our march crossed the river at the Falls, and proceeded 5 miles further. Camping on a prairie stream97 near the timber of the North Fork.
78th day. 60th day's march. July 30th Sunday. Started! at 6. Marched 20 miles E. N. E. the weather being very favorable for travelling—a constant drizzling rain falling throughout the day and cooling the atmosphere—country passed over prairie, with exception of belts of timber along the various creeks intersecting our road. Saw the high hills around Gibson from an eminence on the road. Camped on a creek98 12 miles from Fort Gibson99 at the termination of a range of tabular ridges running from the Arkansas river.
79th day. 61st day's march. July 31st Monday. Started at 5 o'clock this morning, marched N. N. E. The timber of the Arkansas soon presented itself to our view, together with the most elevated of the hills around Fort Gibson. On our left were a singular range of ridges, called by Capt. Boone the Devils Card Table, consisting of three ridges very steep in their ascent flat on the top and terminated to the south by a conical hill which, in the distance looks like a tower. These hills are visible from prospect hill at Fort Gibson. Reached
96This camp was on the head of a small creek rising near the village of Carroll, in McIntosh County.
98This is Sam Coata Creek. The camp was on it several miles south. of the present city of Muskogee across the site of which the command marched into Fort Gibson the next morning
99Fort Gibson was established on a tract adjoining the present town of Fort Gibson, in April, 1824. It was an important post until the time of its abandonment in 1857. It was reoccupied during the Civil war, first by the Confederate forces and later by Federal troops, the latter making it the center of their operations in the Indian Territory until the end of this struggle. It was finally abandoned in 1890.
the Arkansas about 10 o'clock and by one o'clock our command was formed on the parade ground at Fort Gibson.—