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Letter from the Western Frontier-1811

 VIEWS OF LOUISIANA by H.M. Brackenridge, Esq.    Pittsburgh, 1814. (Recounting a voyage up the Missouri River in 1811. )


"We have been accompanied for these two days past, by a man and two lads, ascending in a canoe.  This evening they encamped close by us, placing the canoe under shelter of our boat.   ... These people are well dressed in handsome home made cotton cloth.  The man seemed to possess no small share of pride and self importance, which, as I afterwards discovered, arose from his being a captain in the militia.  He borrowed a kettle from us, and gave it to one of his boys.  When we were about to sit down to supper, he retired, but returned when it was over;  when asked, why he had not staid to do us the honor of supping with us; "I thank you gentlemen," said he, licking his lips with satisfaction, "I have just been eating an excellent supper."  --He had scarcely spoken, when the patron came to inform Mr. Lisa, they were begging him for a biscuit, as they had eaten nothing for two days!   our visitant was somewhat disconcerted, but passed it off with "Poh! I'm sure they can't be suffering!"

   He resides on the Gasconade;  was the second family which settled in that quarter, about three years ago.  He has at present about 250  men on his muster-roll.  We were entertained by him with a long story of his having pursued some Pottawatomies, who had committed robberies on the settlements some time last summer; he made a narrow escape, the Indians having attacked his party in the night time, and killed four of his men after a desperate resistance.   The captain had on board a barrel of whiskey to set up tavern with, a bag of cotton for his wife to spin, and a couple of kittens, for the purpose of augmenting his family; these kept up such doleful serenades, during the night, that I was scarcely able to close my eyes."