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
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 99—Old 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 Austin—Mr. and Mrs.
W. C. C.