Moses Austin to Unknown, 04-12-1801

Summary: Journal of voyage down the Mississippi River by Moses Austin. Traffic on the Mississippi and Ohio.

Memorandum [By Moses Austin.] 1801 April 12 Sunday

This Day about Ten in the Morning I left St Geneveve for New Orleans with Two flatt Boats Loaded with sheet Lead and Shott— at the mouth of the Kaskaskea I passed Hog Island to avoid Danger its necessary for flatts to keep under the American Shore keeping the Island to the Eight—in the Bend of the Burnt Woods on Bois Brule you pass an Island which you also keep on the Eight hand keeping under the A[merican] shore some time above the Island to avoid being Drawn in to the left by the Current—at the lower end of the Burnt Woods you pass an Island called [undecipherable] keeping it to the left—about Sundown I arrived at Cape five men which forms a large Eddy below which is a good landing place for flatts on the Spanish ShoreMonday 13 about 8 O'Clk this morning I left Cape five men the river is very good from this place until you come to the Grand Tower, to pass this place with safety a Pilot is necessary or a man that understands the place Its not Improble that this has been a grand Barrer [barrier?] and that all the River above this place to St Louis has formed a Large Lake the whole River is Drawn to a pass of about 1/4 of a mile there is a Rock in the River at this place about 100 feet in Diameter and sixty in Hight between which and the shore the water passes with uncommon Rapidity with a Bluf of Rocks on each [side] which appear to have formed a union at some former period what makes this place Dangerous for flatts there is an Island immediately below the Grand Tower which forms a strong suck to the American Shore and unless a Boat is well man.d and immediately hawls in under the Spanish Shore they may be Drawn in to the left of the Island which is Rendered Dangerous by the many Planters or Sawyers which are so strongly planted in the sands with the small end up that if a Boat strikes one of them they seldom escape—about five in the Evening I passed what the Americans call Devils Island it formes a strate reach in the River of about three miles but is not Dangerous for flatts you keep under the Spanish shore above this Island leaving the Island on the left about Sundown I landed with the boats at Cape Gerodau its safe [to] land with flatts about half Mile above Thornes Landing—this Day passed Mr Scott with whisky

Tuesday 14 the Day being Stormy and one of the hands being in the country I lay up all Day-

Wednesday—15 this Day Mr Triggs Barge Passed up the River with whisky to the Saline for salt also a Indian Canoe with eight Indian and a Perogue with corn for apple Creek Mr King returned this Evening from Country but to late to continue our journey this Day, this is a Great Rendezvouse for Indians (at this time the Shawanah had the war Flagg flying being at War with the Messura Indians- Cape Gerodau is beutifully situated on the Spanish side of the Mississippia and Commands a Delitefull prospect of the River both up and Down there is not any Fort at this place but its subject to a Comman[d]ant who lives at the place—who judges all matters under Twenty Dollars—Its about sixty miles below St Geneveeve or Kaskaskea and forty above the Mouth of the OhioThursday 16 left Cape Geradau about Day light the Day prov.d windy and raney was obliged to land about six miles below Cape Le Cruse where we lay untill 2 O Clock at this place three Barges pass up the River from Kentucky Cape Le Cruse or Jugg Cape is Rendered Dangerous on act. of a Rock Barr on the American shore to which the Current setts so strong that to avoid being Driven on to the Rocks its necessary to keep Close under the Cape Constantly Rowing round the Point untill you get well into the Bend. English Island is 7 miles below Cape Le Cruse and must be pass.d under the American shore the wind continuing to blow and the Weather Rainy I was obliged to lay by all day—about 20 miles above the Ohio.

Friday 17. The day proving favourable I got under way about day light & Run Down to the grand Bend when the wind together with the Back water from the Ohio retard.d us so much that we was oblig.d to take up for the night about 8 miles above the Ohio this Day I pass five Barges and Canoes bound up the River some trading others families Moving to the Spanish Country—at the lower end of the Grand Bend you keep under the American Shore leaving an Island to the right hand

Saturday 18 Morning Stormy with wind and rain left our moorings about 8 o Clock. Wind to North with rain—pass.d Buffalo Island leaving it to the right also Elk Island keeping the Middle Channel on the American Side about 10 O Clock passed the mouth of the Ohio—six or seven Barges and Perogue passed up the Mississippia this Day at sun down Came to shore under the joint of an Island about ten miles below the Iron (?) Banks

Sunday 19 got under way about Day light but was obliged to make a landing about 10 O Clock the wind blowing a Tornado the whole Day from the South.

Monday 20. the morning being favourable ran Down to Lance A la Graise and Came to shore about 10 O Clock where I remained all Day in the Evening nine flatts came down the Mississippia for New Orleans the weather being stormy wind to the South I this Day Dined with the Commandant of this Garrison its a Spanish establishment and next in Consequence in this Country to St Louis

Tuesday 21—the Morning fine all the Boats stood Down the River a little before sun this Day came to the first high lands after leaving the Iron Banks called the . . . atka Bluff and late in the afternoon passed a secont High Lands or Bluffs and Came to landing on the American side of an Island

Wednesday this day 22 passed nothing uncommon the river generally good

Thursday 23 the Morning fine got under way a little before sun rise and about 12 O Clock came to the Thousend Islands at this place in High Water the best Channel is the Middle one to take this Channel a Boat ought to keep about the middle of the River as soon as the Islands make their appearance—about 4 in the After noon we came to the Chickasaw Bluffs. At this place there is an American Station and Garrison on the Spanish Side is also a Garrison and two Block Houses—with a small settlement;—of about Twelve Houses—the Americans have the advantage of the Spaniards at this place being an elevated situation while the Spanish side is low and subject to overflow—after passing the American Garrison we came to a landing on the east side of the river keeping on the American Shore immediately after leaving the Bluffs—leaveing the Island to the Eight

Friday 24 the morning fine stood Down the River by Day light— we this morning pass.d the flower Island leaveing it to the Right the flower Island is called the most Dangerous of any of the Islands in the River at low water its the first Island below the A[merican?] G[arrison] a Boat ought to pass this Island on the American Shore keeping the American side some miles down the River—its vere necessary above and below the Thousend Island for some miles to be careful of the many sucks and out letts to be met with in this part of the River into which a Boat is subject to be Drawn unless Great Care is taken to keep the largest Channell of the River—about Twelve O Clock we passed the River St. Frances at the mouth of this River the Mississippea makes a large Bend and is a bad place in the River even when the water is high and great Care ought to be taken to keep a boat under full head Way the Best Channe[l] at this Place is to leave the Island between the mouth of the River St Frances and the Mississippia to you Right keeping as near on the sandbarr to the left as possible we came to shore about 10 miles below the River St Frances on the American side about Sunsett after passing what is called the long reach

Saturday 25 the morning fine stood Down River on the American Shore River good about ten this morning we passed Point Serpea (?) so Called in consequence of a Battle between a number of Illinois Barges and a Party of Indians Its a beutifull situation with about ten acres of Cleard land—but not any buildings— 12 O Clock this afternoon passed a Battoe in from New Orleans Loaded with goods for Lance A La Grease the River verry crooked and a number of Islands and sand Barrs with an uncommon quantity of Drift Wood about Sundown came to land on Spanish shore with four Pittsburgh Boats—

Sunday 26—the River still filed with Islands and Drift wood with bad shore and Short Bends—about 10 O Clock passed near the shore when the Bank gave way and a large Tree fell into the River—12 O Clock pass.d the Oas Arke River on this River there is settlements a few miles up about 10 miles below the Oas Arke you pass the White River both of these Rivers enter into the Massissippea on the Spanish side

Monday 27 Cloudy and like for rain with high winds made but bad Days Run come to shore on the American side near a place where was the remanes of an old Fort supposed to be made by some of the French against the Chickasaws—at this place I found Black Berries ripe and gathered some of them this place is supposed to be about 20 miles above the Walnutt Hills the Moschettoes was so bad this night that all the smoke we could make was of no acct.

Tuesday 28—Morning C[l]oudy and still like for rain about 10 O Clock was boarded by two Canoes of Arkansaw Indians who had three Barrells of flower on board taken up on the River lost by some Kentucky Boats 8 of which these Indians informed us had been lost in March near the flower Island and five men and two Negroes drown.d about 12 O'clock the Winde became so high that we was obliged to land and remane the whole Day with rain and thunder.

Wednesday 29 Morning fine stood Down the River a little before Sunrise about 12 O clock pass.d a Strate in the River of about 1/4 Mile on each side of which while our Boats was passing the Banks gave way and with them a number of large Trees—pass.d an Indian Hunting Party.

Thursday 30 Cloudy like for rain, about 10 O Clock a Barrell flower seen on the Spanish Shore Two men from Mr Clarks Boat of Pits Burgh took it in—it was Branded with Frankford S. Tine (?) by which I suppose it to belong to some of the Kentucky boats lost in March there was seen on the shores in Sundry places a number of Barrells but the Wind together with the state of the River prevented us from Landing about 4 O Clock in the afternoon we pass.d what is called the Little Gulf as also the mouth of the Yazoo this place is about four Miles or five above Walnutt Hills—at which place we arrived at Night.

Friday May 1 This Morning we pass'd the Walnutt Hills, its appearance from the River is truly Delightfull rising like an Amphitheatre one hill above an Other on the Commanding Higth stand [s] the Fort which is Well built and Capable of being made a strong Fortres there is about twelve Houses some of them have a good appearance, the whole face of the Hill is under improvement, and the Corn at this time about up to your knees—there is not a Doubt but this place will sooner or later make a large town its said to be One Hundred and Twenty Miles from Natcha after leaveing the Chickasaw Bluffs you see no Highlands until you come to the Walnutt Hills which I suppose to be not less than 400 Miles the River being high

it was but seldom we could bring our Boat to Dry land the whole country being under water for Miles back in the woods and notwithstanding the lands on this River from the Mouth of the Messura to this place are equal to any in the world in point of soil, yet there low situation will render it impossible to settle them untill some way is found to Bank out the overflowing of the Mississippea (that is below the Ohio) from the Ohio up the Country is generally high and its only in places that it overflows its Banks—10 O Clock pass'd a large sand Barr with near a mile of Driftwood on which we see Men examining the Drift and Bends of the River for flower lost from the Kentucky Boats 18 of which we were informed had been lost above Walnutt Hills in March and Early in April25 Miles below Walnutt Hills is a new settlement on the American side of the River of three families—Called the Three Islands the afternoon being stormy with Wind Rain and thunder we put in to Shore about 4 O Clock.

Saturday May 2. Morning Cloudy with Rain and Wind Did not stand Down the River untill 10 O Clock and about 12 O Clock come to and passed the Grand Gulf this is a Dangerous passage for strangers the River is Drawn into a narrow pass at a point which forms a Rock Bluff with two Counter Currents on each side of the River leaveing a small Channel between the two. about the middle of the River its necessary for Boats to put under good headway to pass this place and to steer the Boat to the Bluff which will bring you in to the Middle Current the Other two Running up the River with great valocity and If your Boat is Drown into the left hand Current there is Danger of being Dashed against the Rocks 3 weeks before I passed the Grand Gulf a Boat from Kentucky with flower was Dashed against the Rocks the Cargo and 3 men lost the River in Other respects is not bad about this place 4 O Clock the winde became so high that we could not keep the River made a landing at a landing place where stood a small Hous on the Bank of the River at this Hous we found an old man liveing by himself he informed me he had been a livin[g] 40 years in the Natche Settlement he appeard to live by the Charity of the Boats

Sunday Morning 3 O Clock—the Moon being up and the Morning fine we for the first time venturd to stand Down the River by Moon light and about Day light passed the River Called Byo Peear on which is a large settlement from this place to Natche the settlements are forming on the River the Land is Low but not often over flow'd— from the Grand Gulf you pass but few Islands 10 O Clock was Boarded by a French Boat from Arkansa Loaded with Beever for New Orleans—11 O Clock passed Coles Creek 21 Miles above Natche the Bend at Coles Creek is a Bad bend in high water a Boat to go safe aught to keep under the willers untill the turn of the Bend