November 23, 1803
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

November 23, 1803


N. Pryor, the man who was hunting yesterday has not yet arrived, had several guns fired again and the horn wlown [blown]; waited untill half after 7 OC. and then set out without him    (1) about a mile from the commencement of this course a small creek puts in on the Lard. quatr. and abot ¾ of a mile another about the same size puts in on the same side.— [1] (2) this creek puts in on the Stard. qutr. nearly oposite the mouth of the last on the Lard. qutr. on the commencement of this course—    these creeks appear to be about the same size and may be recconed from 10 to 15 miles long—    1¼ miles from the last creek a large creek puts in on Stad. qtr. oposite to the mouth of this creek a small Isld. called rock Island. [2]    so called from the base of it being formed of a slate rock, there are some willows growing on it—    I know no names for these creeks— except the last which is called East Lacrush, [3] this creek appeared to be about 40 yards wide at it's mouth and may recconed at 30 miles in length; passing by land from Massac to Cape Jeradeau [4] you cross the waters of this creek; the distance between these two places is about 35 miles through a low lagoon country    (3) about ¾ of a mile from the commencement of this course, and just above a bold point which juts in, to the river, on the Lard. quarter, a large Creek puts in called Cape La'crush [5] from the rocky point just mentioned which has obtained that name—    this creek is about 25 yards wide at the mouth and may be recconed 30 m. long.    we have passed but three Islds. including Rock Island which was the first, a small one on the Lard. & one 3½ miles from Cape Jeradeau which we left on the Stard.    this last is reather a sandbar than & Island    some small parts of it are covered with willows & small cottonwood.—    This sand-bar discribed was a continuation of an Island about ¾ of a mile long commencing just below Cape Jeradeau and which was hid from my view when I made the foregoing remark with respect to it—    (4) landed at the cape and called on the Commandt. [6] and delivered the letters of introduction which I had for him, from Capt. Danl. Bisselle, [7] and a Mr. Drewyer [8] a nephew of the Commandt's. sent the boat on with orders to come too for the night at Old Cape Jeradeau which is a point of land on the Lard. about 2 miles distant from the Commandt's. tho' this was the first place of his residence on his settleing himself in this country which he told me was about eight years since. On my arrival at the Comds. dwelling I was informed that he had gone out with his family to attend a Horse rase he himself being as I afterwards understood a party to the rase—    I persued him to the rase grown found him and delivered him my credentials, he treated me with much politeness in his way; the rase was just over before I reached the grown & the Comdt. was busied for some time in settling the disputes which had arrisen in consequence of odds being given among the by betters; the Comdts. horse lost the main rase, but won by six inches the by betts, the odds generally given against him in the by betts was 12 feet; the Comdt. lost four horses on the rase which had been valued at $200.—    this seane reminded me very much of their small raises in Kentucky among the uncivilized backwoodsmen, nor did the subsequent disorder which took place in consequence of the descision of the judges of the rase at all lessen the resembleance; one fellow contrary to the descision of the judges swore he had won & was carrying off not only his own horse but that also of his competitor; but the other being the stoutest of the two dismounted him and took both horses in turn; it is not extrawdinary that these people should be disorderly    they are almost entirely emegrant from the fronteers of Kentuckey & Tennessee, and are the most dessolute and abandoned even among these people; they are men of desperate fortunes, but little to loose either character or property—    they bett very high on these raises in proportion to their wealth; it is not uncommon for them to risk the half or even the whole of their personal property on a single wager; their property consists principally in Horses and black Cattle; the Comdt. seemed to bear his loss with much cheerfullness.    a son of his immediately made another rase for $600. these people have some specia [9] among them, but their circulating medium is principally Horses, Cattle, Cotton & lead—Horses from 50 to 200$. Cattle from 8 to 10$, Cotton & lead are less fluctuating in their price, the former is estimated a $100 a Ton and the latter at $80 pr. Ton—    this settlement was commenced by the present Comdt. eight years since, with one other family, about 2 years after it began to form prety rapidly from the encouragement given these setlers by the Spanish government    it has now increased to the number 1,111 persons, they are allowed a bounty in lands proportioned to the number of their respective familys which are called head rights; this land is entered, surveyed and recorded by the clerk of the Comdt. [10] which may or may not be confirmed by the Crown of Spain wich however is necessary to complete the title.—

The Comdt. is Canadian by birth of French extraction; he was on[c]e a very considerable trader among the Shawness & Delewares; About the year 1781 a party under the command of Genl. George Rogers Clark of Kentuckey burnt the Store of this man—which stood at the mouth of a small creek a branch of the East branch of the Great Miami of the Ohio which still beares the name of Lorimier, which has since become more remarkable as it forms one point in the boundary line between the N. Western tribes and the U.S. made with them at Geenevile by Genl. Wayne in the year 1795—    the value of the property Lorimier lost on this occasion is estimated at 20 thousand dollars, this broke him as a mercht. bt he seems to have entirely recovered his losses, and is now a man of very considerable property; he is a man about 5 F 8 I high, dark skin hair and [e]yes; he is remarkable for having once had a remarkable suit of hair; he was very cheerfull & I took occasion to mention this to him    he informed me that it was on[c]e so long that it touched the grond when he stood errect—nor was it much less remarkable for it's thickness; this I could readily believe from it's present appearance, he is about 60 years of age, and yet scarcely a grey hair in his head; which reaches now when cewed (the manner in which he dresses it) nearly as low as his knees, and it is proportionally thick; he appears yet quite active—    this uncommon cue falls dow his back to which it is kept close by means of a leather gerdle confined around his waist—    this man agreeably to the custom of many of the Canadian Traders has taken to himself a wife from among the aborigines of the country    his wife is a Shawnee woman, [11] from her complexion is half blooded only.    she is a very desent woman and if we may judge from her present appearance has been very handsome when young, she dresses after the Shawnee manner with a stroud leggings and mockinsons, differing however from them in her linin which seemed to be drawn beneath her girdle of her stroud, as also a short Jacket with long sleeves over her linin with long sleeves more in the stile of the French Canadian women; by this woman Lorimier has a large family of very handsome Children three of which have attained the age of puberty; the daughter is remarkably handsome & dresses in a plain yet fashionable stile or such as is now Common in the Atlantic States among the respectable people of the middle class.    she is an agreeable affible girl, & much the most descent looking feemale I hae seen since I left the settlement in Kentuckey a little below Louisville. [12]    The Comdt. pressed me to stay to supper which I did, the lady of the family presided, and with much circumspection performed the honours of the table: supper being over which was really a comfortable and desent onen I bid the family an afectionate adieeu—;    the Comdt. had a Couple of horses paraded, and one of his sons conducted me to Old Cape Jeradeau, the distance by the rout we went was 3 miles    here I found my boat and people    landed for the night. [13]    found Capt. Clark very unwell.

The district of Commandant Lorimiere estends from the grand bend of the Mississippi to Apple River [14] without limitation back    this settlement extends the distance of sixty miles W. from the river as far as the river St. Francis. West from Cape Jeredeau about 16 miles is a large settlement of duch descendants who have emigrated from the Atlantic States; [15] these people here preserve their uniform charracter, of 〈sober,〉 temperate, laborious and honest people, they have erected two grist mills and a saw-mill—    The estimated distance by the french watermen to NewCape Jerd: is 42 miles from the mouth of Ohio.—    the old cape is 2 miles dist. bearing N. 10 E.

Novr. 23d
Course Time dist. References
h m mils
N. 30 W. — 50 2 — Creek Lard. 1 mil. Creek Lard. ¾ (1)
N. 3  W. — 45 1 ¼ Crk. Stad. oposite last 1 ¼ Crk. (2)
N. 50 W. 2 30 2 ½ ¾ large creek (3)
N. 43 W. 3 15 5 ¼ New Cape Jeradeau (4)
N. 10 E 1 15 2 Old Cape Do.—    staid all night on Lard qutr.
8 35 13 —
1. These creeks are difficult to identify; Lewis is in the general area above Commerce, Scott County, Missouri, some 40 miles above the mouth of the Ohio. (back)
2. Cumings show Rock Island directly across from Cape Le Croix. Cumings, map 3. (back)
3. Apparently modern Sexton Creek, in Alexander County, Illinois. (back)
4. Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, may have received its name from a French ensign. The earliest settlement (Lewis's Old Cape Girardeau) was on the rock promontory above the present site of the city. Louis Lorimier may have settled there with a band of Shawnee and Delaware Indians as early as 1786, but he was certainly established there by 1793. He developed a thriving trading post and encouraged Anglo-American emigration into the area. The town remained the local seat of government after the Lousiana Purchase but declined somewhat after the War of 1812. Missouri Guide, 199–202; Houck, 2:167–92. (back)
5. Cumings refers to Cape Le Croix, also called La Bruche. Cumings, 67. Present Cape La Croix Creek divides Scott and Cape Girardeau counties. (back)
6. Louis Lorimier was born near Montreal. He and his father established "Laramie's Station" to trade with the Indians in Ohio. As a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War, Lorimier led raiding parties of Indians into Kentucky; George Rogers Clark burned Lorimier's establishment as an enemy base in 1782. Within a few years he had moved to Spanish Louisiana and received a large land grant to establish a settlement for Indians, partly as a defense against possible American invasion. In spite of these indications of anti-American attitudes, he became an Indian agent for the United States after the Louisiana Purchase. As Lewis notes, "Laramie's Store" was specifically named as a location point in the Greenville Treaty of 1795, and the name is still perpetuated by the modern Lake Loramie, Shelby County, Ohio. Quaife (MLJO), 59 n. 1; Osgood (FN), 42 n. 4; Houck, 2:169–81; Nasatir (BLC), 2:771; Nasatir (SWV), 71–72 n. 27, 297–98 n. 22; Ohio Guide, 558. (back)
7. Daniel Bissell joined the army in 1791; at this time he was in command at Fort Massac. He became a brigadier general in the War of 1812. Heitman, 221. (back)
8. Perhaps George Drouillard, engaged by Lewis at Fort Massac on November 11, but the style of the reference suggests that it may be some relative of George's. It appears that George Drouillard may have been related to Louis Lorimier, especially since George considered himself a resident of the Cape Girardeau district. Peter Droullard and Jean Baptiste Droulliez were early Missouri settlers of the late eighteenth century. Allowing for the flexible spelling of the era, either might have been related to George and possibly was the "Mr. Drewyer" who wrote the letter. Skarsten (GDLC), 20–21; Huck, 2:150, 166. (back)
9. Coins (specie) were usually in short supply on the frontier at this time. (back)
10. The clerk was the Barthelemi Cousin. Houck, 2:180–81. (back)
11. Charlotte Pemanpieh Bougainville. Ibid., 2:170 and n. 9, 179 n. 21. (back)
12. Among these children were Louis, Junior, a trader like his father, Auguste Bougainville and William, who received appointments to West Point, and Agatha, perhaps the attractive daughter Lewis noticed. Ibid., 1:231, 2:182, 190, 381. (back)
13. Near the promontory where the settlement was first located, north of the later town, in Cape Girardeau County. (back)
14. The District of Cape Girardeau extended from Apple Creek to Tywappity Bottom. Ibid., 2:167. (back)
15. These "duch" were German-Swiss and North Carolinians of German descent who settled along Whitewater River. Ibid., 2:187–89. (back)