ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 2 (September 1943), p. 214

 

EARLY DAYS IN COLUMBIA COUNTY*

 

BY GLENN G. MARTEL

Magnolia, Arkansas

 
The early French posts serving southwest A in the eighteenth century- Arkansas Post, Saint de Carloretto, Saint Louis, and Natchitoches--- were connected by Indian trails of great antiquity. (1) These were used by the white hunters and trappers, many of whom were veritable outcasts. When William Dunbar and George Hunter explored the Ouachita river region in 1804, the found that hunters ascended the river three hundred miles in search of game, and that there were evidences of Frenchmen having resided nearby on the Red for fifty years. Great quantities of skins and bear oil sewed up in deer skins came down these streams, finding a ready sale in New Orleans, where bear skins sold for a dollar and the oil for a dollar a gallon. (2) An early settler south of Columbia County remembered seeing large parties of French creoles from around Natchitoches and Campte going north for their annual bear hunt as late as the early eighteen twenties. They went in December, returning usually in February, their ponies loaded down with skins and meat. (3)
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* This is a condensation of an unpublished master's thesis completed 1933, prepared under the
direction of Dr. D. Y. Thomas of the University of Arkansas.
1. The old Caddo Trace crossed this section from east to west, connecting the Quapaw villages
on the Arkansas and Mississippi with those of the Caddo on the Red. It crossed the Ouachita near Ecore Fabre (Camden). Another north from Natchitoches, following the divide between the Red and Ouachita systems, crossing the east-west trace near the old Mound Prairie settlement continuing on via Hot Springs to the mouth of the Mississippi. Annals of Congress, 9 th Cong., 1 Sess., 1210; 2 Sess., 1099, 1118; Thomas Nuttall, Jaurnal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory, 1819 (Vol. XIII of R. G. Thwaites, Early Western Travels, Glendale, California, 1905), 147; Henry R. Schoolcraft, Jaurnal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansas, 1818-1819 (London, 1821); John Fordyce in the Centennial Edition of the Arkansas Gazette, 1919.
2. American State Papers, Indian Affairs, 1832, I, 734; Annals of Congress, 9 th Cong., 1 Sess.,
1805-06.
3. B.M. Hulse, History of Claibourne Parish, Louisiana (1895), 44, 55.

 

 

 

 

 

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