2 (September 1943), p. 214
EARLY DAYS IN COLUMBIA COUNTY*
BY GLENN G. MARTEL
- 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)
- * This is a condensation of an unpublished master's
thesis completed 1933, prepared under the
- direction of Dr. D. Y. Thomas of the University
- 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.,
- 3. B.M. Hulse, History of Claibourne Parish,
Louisiana (1895), 44, 55.