Part III (Final)
Travel Diary of Samuel Hastings Stackhouse, 1811

Tuesday, 12 Nov.  Rise before daylight.  Get off before sunrise.  Go 13 miles to breakfast at a Mr. Butler's. Cross the rolling fork of Salt River & proceed half a mile beyond it where we halt for the night, distant 35 miles from Danville.  This day's ride through a very pleasant & finely improved country, the cribs loaded with corn, the barnyards filled with stacks of grain & hemp.  Their granaries no doubt all full.  We stop at a house which we find is not an inn, but what is called private entertainment.  We find it at any rate pretty coarse.  We are crowded into a room with 8 or 9 persons of various descriptions who occupy nearly the whole of a large fireplace.  Our baggage is thrown helter skelter upon the floor, we ourselves placed as a kind of rear guard to look occasionally at the fire.  As to sleeping we are perhaps doomed to be huddled all together.  I hope to avoid the fat side of an old Dutch heroine who is at this time engaged in smoking her pipe & occasionally talking about Indian Wars.  Our horses are divided into two apartments an acre distant from each other, not very comfortable to be sure, yet they are as well off as their masters.  As supper is coming, I will cease writing.  It may possibly change the aspect of present views. For supper we have pork ribs and sour-crout.  We, however, get to bed & sleep comfortably.

Wednesday, 13 Nov.  Start early.  Go over Molder's hill, almost deserves the rank of mountain.  Pass on through a well settled country 15 miles to breakfast at Mr. Compton's.  Proceed on 6 miles & cross Green River.  Six miles further cross little barren river.  Here commences the Barrens of Kentucky with a growth of scrubby oak, good road, the country tolerably level.  Arrive at Mr. Maxey's Bear Wallow Grove after dark, making our distance this day 40 miles.  Get into good quarters.  In the morning visit a remarkable roost where there are some millions of those birds.  They have nearby entertainment & accommodation generally was superior in Ohio than Kentucky.  Slavery may add to ease & indolence but it certainly does not add to real comfort or national improvement.  I am informed that considerable attention is now paid to the education of youth in the State of Kentucky.  It formerly was much neglected.  I have seen but little evidence of much religion in this state.  It possibly may be my own fault.  I had heard much & consequently my expectations were raised.  The Babtist denomination is the most numerous & popular.  They are generally on the popular side of politicks & their preachers enter the lists very actively at elections.  At none of their meeting houses that I have seen do they assemble every Sabbath.  We should perhaps make a proper allowance here for the small number of preachers which are probably not sufficient for the calls of the numerous societies but with a proper zeal among the Brothers this could certainly be remedied.  The Presbyterians are likewise numerous & seem to have got entirely over the [jerks?].  There are also many new light societies who have principally seceded from the Presbyterians.  I have seen a publication & defense of their principles by one of their pastors.  They contend on Scripture-- grounds for Scripture doctrines & usages -- taking the work of God for their guide & declaring off from the precedents of men, church covenants, articles, etc.  They say the Church of Christ knows no particular denomination of Christians & they recognize all as such who are born of the spirit, and they would have none of those distinctions of names which create envies, jealousies & strife, but on the contrary their fellowship is with the Father & the Son & all the elect of God in Christ Jesus.  I think when the Lord in his great mercy visited my soul with his gracious influence I had a smilar feeling & some of my dear friends who have experienced the love of God have expressed to me their desire for the great & universal union amongst Christians.  And at this time it has produced reflections as to the operation of the blessed spirit on the minds of the new born children of light in implanting in their souls those desires & views which shall unite all who love the Lord in one golden chain of Christian fellowship.  This would seem to be the era & would to him who has all power & dominion within himself that we may see its glorious accomplishment.

[enter Tennessee]

To resume my journey.  We enter the State of Tennessee.  Stop at Rio River [Red River?] 4 miles from the partition line at Chuk's, one of those ferocious animals who is said to murder travellers & throw them into a bottomless cave which he has near his house.  His neighbors relate many stories of him.  One is that the dogs collected around this hole about the time some travellers were missing & howled & barked incessantly,  that they could not be driven away but die on the spot.  This diabolical character we saw but there appeared nothing terrific in him; in stature & form he is rather gigantic, a little tinctured with the Negro blood, a good countenance, easy in his manners & more polite than most of the Publicans we have met with & I would venture that he is equally as honest.  We leave Chuk's & go on four miles where we with difficulty get accomodated & not until we go another mile & find no quarters & return.  At Mr. *** 30 miles from whence we started this morning we tarry.  Horses very well provided for, ourselves but midling.  We should no doubt have met with better fare at Chuk's but we were all a little shy of him notwithstanding his good countenance.

[Nashville, TN]

Saturday morning 16 Nov. Rainy & in consequence we do not rise very early.  At about half past 7 o'clock we get under way.  Rain continues.  Have a disagreeable ride but we have only 26 miles to ride to Nashville. After the first 10 miles we travel over very good lands.  Remark that no country looks well on a rainy day.  Stop within 8 miles of Nashville & feed our horses.  Pass through some very valuable lands & handsome settled places. Notice a very large quantity of wild grape vines of immense size, some of them 20-24 inces in circumference.  Pass Henton's Tavern 3 miles from Nashville, who has guide posts with distances for many of the principal towns & cities from New Orleans to Boston.  At 4 o'clock in the afternoon we arrive at Nashville, Tennessee, a handsome improving town well situated on the banks of the beautiful River Cumberland over which we cross & in a [flatt?].  Put up at the Bell Tavern kept by Mr. Childress.  House proves very good except the sleeping part.  Nashville contains about 150 houses, some of them built of brick three stories high & in handsome style.  From the number of stores presume there must be considerable business done here.  At 200 miles from this place the Cumberland empties into the Ohio at only 70 miles from the junction of that river with the Mississippi which makes it only 1270 miles by water to New Orleans & upward of 200 miles nearer than Louisville, Kentucky, which is the principal port of export for that state & also the most western.  The river Tennessee, which we shall cross about 180 miles from here, rises in the mountains of Georgia, rolls through the Mississippi territory & bends its course through the state & disgorges its vast stream into the Ohio about nine miles west of the mouth of Cumberland.  In the vicinity of this town (Nashville) considerable cotton is made about the same quality as Georgia, Upland, also flour, pork, hemp, etc., which is carried to Orleans for a market.  There is no house of worship in this town.  A society of Presbyterians under the pastoral charge of Mr. Blackburne (an excellent preacher) assemble every fourth Sabbath at the courthouse.  Mr. B. has also charge of several churches in the neighborhood.

Sun 17 Nov.  Conclude to tarry here today.  We have however no preaching. My mare appears unfit for travelling seems hardly in a condition to perform the balance of our journey.  While I think of it I must mention something of the sunflower which may possibly be useful.  The seed taken from it will yield in the quantity of a gallon to the bushel of fine sweet flavoured oil said to be equal to Florence.  The growth of this plant is also said to be very healthy & should be cultured in every situation where the air is bad, damp or confined.  One single plant will exhale as much deplogisticated[?] gas, which is pure vital air, as will supply the physical functions of the human body to one person.

Monday Nov. 18, 1811.  Still resting at Nashville.  Doctor my mare with some brimston & salt & apply a plaster of turpentine to her back.  She appears quite drooping.

Write this day to my Mary at Savannah & to Aunt Smith Stoney Brook.  I am much pleased with this town.  It appears in a very thriving state.  Dry goods I presume are lower here than in New York.  We purchased a [pkg.?] of three point blankets at 3$ pps.  There is a college in this town called Cumberland College, a handsome brick building well endorsed. We met with a Gen'l Jackson who resides near Nashville, much of a politician, fond of gaming & very well calculated to become popular in these parts.  A poor Kentuckian by the name of Robinson comes to our quarters having travelled from New Orleans, principally on foot, and a very object of disease & decrepitude & resembling a moving skelton covered with skin.  He is endeavouring to get home.  A small collection is made up for him.  We witness with pleasure the benevolence of our landlady, Mrs. Childress, who is uncommonly attentive to this distressed traveller until a kind-hearted old lady living 3 miles from town sends her son for him that she may nurse him & exert her skill to renovate his decayed powers.  This reminds me of Parks just eulogium on the the benevolent character of the female sex.  He says that in the cold & inhospitable wilds of northern Russion & Siberia & in the burning sands of Africa,
Woman is the same.  Humane, kind, tender, ever happy to exercise the finer feelings of their sensible nature for the alleviation of distress.

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1811.  Nearly ready for a start.  Wait the arrival of the mail which brings the President's message to Congress, a spirited paper, well suited to the times.  I admire his philanthropic hint respecting our Mexican neighbors & the rest of our patriots of the southern hemisphere.  I hope the time is not far distant when Spanish oppression will be overcome, when the descendants of Montezuma with the modern natives of that vast country shall ride in the might of freeman & united in one common struggle achieve an honorable independence & beget a rank among the nations of the earth.  Our government should not disguise a feeling which is natural, which is laudable & which flows from experience, & I hope to see them foremost in extending to the Patriots of New Spain the kindred & the sympathetic hand.

Saw today a New Orleans paper of the 7th, a notice the proceedings of the convention.  Am happy to perceive Blanques defeat & the success of Dr. Watkins' motion for adjournment.  At 4 o'clock just as we are ready to start Mr. Pitts of Georgetown arrives.  We agree to meet at Franklin 17 miles & proceed over som excellent lands.  At sunset arrive at the town of Franklin situated on the bank of Harper River [Harpeth River] & put up at Dr. Sapington's.  This is a handsome little town with a neat courthouse in which Mr. Blackburn occasionally preaches.

Wednesday 20 Nov.  Breakfast in Franklin.  Meet Mr. Pitts & start onward. Go this day 24 miles & put up at a Mr. Smith's.  Country thinly settled. Lands covered with fine timber.  Commence this night upon travelling fare--part of us sleep before the fire.

[Keg Spring, Mr. Dobbin's]

Thursday the 21 Nov.  Proceed on our journey.  Mr. Pitts furnishes me with a fresh horse which is a very timely relief as my mare is much worsted.  At 8 miles cross Duck River, a beautiful limpid stream with large pebble bottom, which we ford.  At one mile, further on, stop to breakfast at Mr. Oliphant's where we have fish & venison & make a sumptuous meal.  Seven miles distant we come to Keg Spring which issues out of a solid rock 5 or 6 feet deep & discharges itself through a subterraneous passage.  The water is very fine.  The lands on Duck River are very excellent & are considerably cultivated.  They have however not yet been located by government but remain subject to a future disposition in which the present settlers probably will have a preference.  Proceed on 10 miles to Mr. Dobbin's where we are well accommodated.  We have made only 26 miles distance today.  Our horses appear improving.

[Griners's Stand, Merriwether Lewis gravesite]

Friday 22 Nov.  Started early this morning.  Go to Grinders 5 miles & bait our horses.  This is the division line between Tennessee and the Mississippi Territory & the place where Gov. Lewis two years ago shot himself.  His grave is on the roadside.  Crossed several fine streams of water, the little Swan, Buffalo, Bear, etc. *** of the Tennessee.  Saw the first pine tree we have seen since the commencement of our journey which has now been about 1200 miles.  After waiting about an hour in the hope of its ceasing raining we set out.  Ford Bear Creek 5 miles distant, go over a very hilly & swampy road making a distance of nearly 40 miles this day & put up at an Indian house 4 miles beyond Brown's.  After the first 15 miles Wm. & myself are left in the rear of the company & travel alone.  The last 4 miles is after night over a rough & swampy road during a severe storm of thunder, lightning & rain.  We are apprehensive that we have mistaken the road & begin to make our calculation to remain in the woods during the night when to our joy a flash of lightning shows us the fence of a settlement where we arrive & find our companions in a few minutes only before us.  We here get corn & blades for our horses & some [tomfoulah?] & sweet potatoes for ourselves.  As the clay floor is damp we spread some corn blades under our blankets & sleep comfortabley or rather soundly.  The Indians here are kind & clever.

[Old Factor's Stand, Mr. Perry's, George Colbert]

Monday 25 Nov.  Start early.  Continues raining during the fore part of the day.  Stop at the Old Factor, a respectable Indian who takes his name from being the principal manufacturer of homespun in the nation & appears to have a large settlement with Negroes, etc.  This is 12 miles from our starting place.  After baiting our horses proceed on.  Observe the country tolerably well improved, Indian plantation every few miles.  Arrive at the Big Town which formerly contained many buildings but is now hardly anything more than an extensive prairie with some scattered huts, the Indians having left the town for situations better adapted to agriculture.  This place is 65 miles from the Tennessee River.  The two last days we pass through considerable pine barren & over several large streams of water.  Some that we have crossed today we calculate to be the head waters of the Tombigbee.  We intend going this day to Colbert's about 40 miles journey.  When within 3 miles of it we take a wrong turn & go 4 miles out of our way.  We arrive at a Mr. James's an old white man married in an Indian's *** whose gray hair gives him a very venerable appearance.  After informing us of our being out of the road & kindly offering to accommodate us, which we decline from an anxiety to get on, he conducts us a mile & a half into the right road from whence we arrive safe at Mr. Perry's 1 mile short of Colbert's.  Here we meet with the principal chiefs of the nation assembled on governmental concerns & with them Mr. George Colbert, the proprietor of Tennessee ferry.  We are not aware of the dignity of our guests & observe that we don't wish to be huddled together with a parcel of Indians which we afterwards endeavour to repair by courtesy & attention.  They however retire into another room to sleep, perhaps not wishing to be incommoded by a parcel of plebian whites.  We are much pleased with Mr. Colbert through whose influence we have an excellent supper of coffee, venison, potatoes, corn, bread, etc.  The whole distance we have travelled today is upwards of 40 miles, our road distance about 38 miles, the difference proceeds from our taking a wrong route.   Our horses perform very well & appear to be thriving.  Saw some oyster shells petrified into stone.  It is worthy of remark that there are large beds of oyster shells in this country.  They could hardly have been brought from the salt water, & the only rational way we can account for this phenomenon is that it once was in the vicinity of a marine coast & that the sea water has receded upon the accumulation of the land.  Among our guests of rank at our tarrying place this evening is Chinumba, King of the Chickasaws.

[Wall's, enter Choctaw Nation]

Tuesday, Nov. 26.  Start early.  Pass over considerable swampy road, the water very high at all the creeks & branches.  Over two of them we are compelled to swim our horses.  We however arrive safe at Walls half a mile over the Chickasaw line & enter the Choctaw Nation.  At Wall's we have coarse fare, no supper & a smoky cabin to sleep in.

[Pigeon Roost, Mr. LeFlour (Mr. LeFleur, French Camp), Shoat's]

Wednesday, Nov. 27.  Make an early start.  Go to the Pigeon Roost 12 miles to breakfast. Soon after we enter Evergreen Swamp which is decked in all the verdure of spring, growth, water oak, holly, etc.  The country appears well settled, considerable pine land, the bottoms generally rich & abounding in oak, hickory, beach, etc.  We yesterday passed the Agency house for the Chickasaws at 32 miles east of the Choctaw line.  Here the American Superintendent for Indian Affairs with the Chickasaw's.  Mr. McNeely resides in a good house & well improved plantation.  The road this day's journey rather hilly but very dry the rains not having extended this far.  Saw several deer bounding  through the woods.  In the evening arrive at Mr. LeFlour's, a Frenchman who keeps a good house, where we are well accommodated.  Our distance this day is 37 miles.  Rained very hard during the night & continues in the morning.  Take breakfast & start about 9 o'clock, the road very wet & not a little troublesome crossing the streams of water which are much swollen.  *** LeFlour's (the brother of our host of last night) distance 13 miles where we bait our horses & proceed on to Mr. Shoute's 12 miles further where we tarry for the night in excellent quarters.  The country is becoming tolerably well settled, the lands but indifferent, considerable growth of pine.  The Choctaws appear a good deal intermixed with the whites.  They are Indians of inferior polish to the Chickasaws.  Distance this day 25 miles.

[Norton's public stand]

Friday, Nov. 29.  Leave Mr. Shoute's at sunrise.  Bait our horses at an Indian house 10 miles.  No breakfast this morning & no stopping place except the one mentioned until we arrive at Norton's public stand 31 miles from our starting place this morning.  We get to Norton's early in the afternoon & conclude to terminate our day's journey here.  We have passed this day over a hilly, barren country covered with pine & scrubby oak with a few starved settlements.  The United States have purchased of the Choctaws, several tracks of land of a mile square 40 miles apart for the purpose of accommodating the mail as well as travellers.  These are called public stands.  We are informed that they sell corn 50 [pct?] higher than the private stores which is confirmed to us by our being obliged to pay 1.50 per bushel for what our horses require tonight.  We met 2 wagons today from Bayou Sarah near the territory of Orleans with families emigrating to the state of Ohio as the settlement from whence they come is composed prinicipally of Georgians.  Conclude they are some of the wanderers of that state not yet satisfied but desirous of making an experiment of another thousand miles.  They will have one consolation in not being troubled with Negroes where they are going as all colored are alike free in the state of Ohio.  We have met within a few days several parties of boatment returning from New Orleans & Natchez through the wilderness principally on foot, poor fellows have hard times of it.  They receive 50 or 60 dollars for a voyage down the Ohio & Mississippi to Orleans & walk back, a distance of 700-1000 miles.  Many take sick & die on the way while others get home hardly alive.

[Ward's Stand]

Saturday, Nov. 30.  Start early this morning.  Promises to be a fine day.  The last night a very heavy frost.  Go 15 miles through an open barren with some scattered oak to Ward's where we breakfast rather coarsely.  Our horses fare better.  Proceed on to Bathives(?) 18(?) miles.  The country wears a more fertile appearance.  See large quantities *** which is the first of any consequence we have seen & one of the indications of our approaching southern latitude.  We proceed on 4 miles to the agency house for the Choctaw nation.  Have an interview with Mr. Dinsmore, the U.S. agent.  He is erecting a very large building designed for a public house which will be very convenient for travellers.  The agent's situation is a very handsome one, high & in the midst of a rich prairie.  go on 8 miles further to the public stand kept by Mr. *** which makes our distance this day ** miles.  We take supper & go to bed.

Sunday, Dec. 1.  Rise early & start forward on road 11 miles to an Indian house where we bait our horses but have no baiting for ourselves.  We travel this day over a fine road, rich lands elegantly timbered but no settlements to Mr. McCraven's making our day's journey 37 miles.  We here cross the Choctaw line into the settled part of the Mississippi Territory.  We saw this day some laurel trees for the first time & the land covered with young green *** stopping place.  Mr. Wm. Craven is building a large house for the accommodation of travellers.  We are now distant from Natchez about 70 miles and look forward to a speedy termination of our journey under favor of that kind providence which has thus far directed us.  At the Pigeon Roost 12 miles from the line of the Chickasaws we crossed the head waters of the Big Black River which empties into the Mississippi above Gibsonport, leaving it on the right, the road to Natchez being on the dividing line between those waters & *** River, the head waters of which we also crossed at the Pigeon Roost.


Monday, Dec. 2.  Made an early start before daylight.  Go 5 or 6 miles & cross the Big and Little Sand Creeks.  Go 3 miles further to Robertson's (who is from Augusta, Geo.) where we breakfast.  Proceed forward.  At 8 1/2 miles cross the Grindstone *** over Bayou Pierre, small, navigable River ***  & enter town of Gibsonport situated on the banks of the stream.  This town contains about 40 houses, 3 or 4 taverns, several stores & is very favorably situated in the midst of a rich country business.  Adjoining the town is a cotton plantation belonging to the estate of Abijah Hunt which has near 600 acres of cotton ***.  In this neighborhood is the famous Yazoo lands so well known in the annals of Georgia *** the River Yazoo is *** north of Gisonport ***.  We arrive at Trimble's 11 miles from Port Gibson where we overtake *** company & tarry for the night.  Distance this day 37 miles through a high rich country, last part of it abounding in fine cotton fields.  The growth on the land is oak, hickory poplar, Beech, large pines, *** wood, magnolia, etc.   *************** to whom I have ********** Josiah F. Smith with an order for a fresh horse.  Go to the plantation 3 1/2 miles from Gibsonport-- on the left of the main ***.  See Mr. Smith who provides me with a horse -- leave mine with him for the benefit of her health.  Stop at Mr. Barnes's plantation adjoining Mr. Smith's.  Mr. B *** the Legislature at Washington.  This is a handsome country & *** & has the appearance of being healthy yet it does not support the character ...


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