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In 1808-1809 Anthony Glass, a Pennsylvanian who had moved to Louisiana soon after the Revolutionary War, led a company of traders to the Red River area, trafficking with the region's American Indians. A quasi-agent for the United States, Glass answered an invitation extended by a Taovaya chief to U.S. Indian Agent John Sibley. Loaded with gifts, trade goods, and horses, the group traveled to the Taovaya-Wichita villages on the Red River. In the mid-1750s the Wichita, with the encouragement of French traders, had relocated to the area from the Arkansas River Valley in order to escape the Osages. In 1759 the same "Twin Villages" had withstood an attack by a Spanish military force led north from Texas by Col. Diego Ortiz Parrilla.

The Glass party stayed and traded on the Red River for three months. There, they learned that a large meteorite, revered by local tribes, lay to the south. In 1809-1810 members of the Glass expedition claimed the large, 1,635-pound, extraterrestrial rock, which eventually by 1877 found a home in the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Glass's journal of the expedition survives. It is a rare account by a trader of the time period and describes the inhabitants of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. The details he provides concerning his three-month sojourn in the Wichita villages have been invaluable, and the narrative offers one of the earliest American descriptions of the Wichita and Comanche. After the journey Glass returned to his Louisiana estate, where he died there circa 1819.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dan L. Flores, ed., Journal of an Indian Trader: Anthony Glass and the Texas Trading Frontier, 1790-1810 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985). F. Todd Smith, The Wichita Indians: Traders of Texas and the Southern Plains, 1540-1845 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000).

Larry O'Dell

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