William C Carr to Moses Austin, 06-28-1806

Summary: Antedated mining surveys and titles.

St Genevieve Sunday Morning 28th. June 1806

Dr Sir I arrived here on tuesday evening; before which many of the large concessions in this district had undergone a partial investigation before the honorable board, However I arrived time enough to have my eyes blessed with a sight of Prattes mine concession, and his sons, Camille Lassus' on flat river, Masons at Mine au Breton etc. every one of which immediately on sight of them, I challenged as anti dated. This was the tocsin of alarm; and every day we have had more or less sparring on this subject, by the army of anti daters

We have had C. Lassus title before us two or three times, and I have proved by Madden that his survey is antidated from about August 1802, the time when it was actually made to the year 1800 at which time the virtuous Mr Soulard, certifies it was made. Mr Maddin in giving in his testimony (or rather after we had for that time closed it) was so eager to serve the U. S with evidence that he produced one of your letters to him dated the 9th February 1802, on the subject of Camille surveying the Mine on flat river—" Stating your surprise" at his attempts to acquire the land, (he Mr C.) knowing the pretensions you had thereto. Al tho a certificate which you mention as having been given by Mr Maddin and now, lodged at Orleans, and which upon interrogation he told me went to the point of the Vacancy of the land He said, he also supposed you had obtained a similar one from Francois Vallée Further that you were in daily expectations of hearing from Orleans, on the subject of your application (I suppose) This letter al tho apparently produced to benefit the U S in proving the date of C's survey, were nevertheless produced to injure you; by shewing in the first place your intention to defraud Luzierre out of the land or to prevent him from obtaining it; or secondly to manifest your disposition and desire of obtaining concessions which must have been antidated; and also much land. To accomplish this patriotic and laudable object, they have filed the letter, and ordered it to be spread upon the Records, The intent was so plain, that nothing but the pleasure of anticipating the effect which this stroke of malice must unavoidably produce ; could have prevented me at the time from manifesting that dignity of contempt with which such pitiful actions ought to be treated.

Masons survey is also antidated 3 years, proven by Maddin. This petition, Old Prattes, and his sons are all in the hand writing of Bte Pratte; and it now depends on his testimony to prove them antidated or not. I do not know how he will swear But one thing is [certain] if he does prove those of his father and brother to have been written at the time they bear date his testimony shall not be conclusive; I strongly believe, these concessions and Masons also are antidated— But whether I shall be able to prove it I cannot tell.

Much disputation has taken place, about the time of Masons making his first establishment at the Mines; 1st when did he first work the Mines? 2ndly When did he first inclose and cultivate any land there ? 3rdly. When did he move his family there ?—Mr Bte Valle, swore he went there in 97 and (probably) built a cabbin, raised a crop in 98 and moved his family on it in that year or 99Old Mr Decelle appears to be some what at variance with Mr Valle, as to the quantity of ground cultivated and the time of moving on the family— It must have been late in the year of 99 that his family went on it; if at all that year. Because in March 14th. 99 a sale was effected by Mason to you of a house and lot in this Village; and Doctr. Fenwick says he lived in it with his family some time after the sale. These are points to be ascertained and you must not be surprised if my duty compells me to summon you with Elias Bates, Mr Decelle etc etc. on behalf the U S to attend at St Louis. If I had have known old Mr Decelles intention of visiting this place I should certainly have requested him to have brought with him his documents on the subject of land titles.

The testimony in old Prattes case is very strong— That he began the establishment in 97 or 98 and cultivated and improved it ever since. I informed the Commissioners of the Memorial in my possession, but at St Louis from the inhabitants of big river on this subject, which I should take an opportunity of showing to them at that place— As to this claim I shall Summon the Alley's, Andrews, Baker and Pagette. And in the case of Camille Lassus, as to the date of concession I shall summon Moses Austin and Abraham Armstrong, as to the discovery and cultivation, Armstrong, Purceall the Alleys— Information on these subjects will be gratefully received as to the requisites of the Act of Congress and the witnesses to sup- port them or witnesses to disprove what has already been, (in my opinion in several occasions) erroneously established.

The Commrs. discover much anxiety to know whether you intend to have your title passed before them or not and from their suggestions they think it is not a complete title. On this subject you need not be uneasy, as I very well know you will not. you shall hear from me again on this subject if time and opportunity permit.

I am exceedingly anxious about the collection of testimony which I am ordered to make, touching the title of the lead mines— I have not received such satisfactory information as to the title to Mine La motte as I wished and. expected— It appears that the claimants have acted very, unwisely on this subject, for they have not had any of the old French grants given in 61.2 3 and 4 recorded; but Lassus' grant of 2 leagues under which I suspect they will find it difficult to hold such property. I wish to God you would make me a statement of the probable amount of lead made at Mine a Breton and old Mines for the year of 1804 and 5. I shall see you again I suppose before you start down the river.

The Comrs. finished their sessions here yesterday and took their departure for St. Louis to celebrate the 4th of July— I shall leave this tomorrow I expect and it is not unlikely that I shall be at the Mines again e'er long.

Will C. Carr.

How do your charming guests? are they speedily recruiting? Do they often visit the Hop Walk? etc etc etc My respects will be borne them I trust by you, as also to Mrs AustinMr. and Mrs. Penniman.

W. C. C.