Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on John Sibley’s Accounts of the Country Between the Mississippi River and the Rio Bravo and of the Red River, 10 April 1805

Sibley. on the country between Misipi & Rio Bravo

on the Sabine are Salines.

rich low grounds about 3. miles wide

in dry weather but a creek

from Bayou Patron to Nacogdoches to a great extent is the handsomest country in the world. gentle hills with pleasant rich vallies & meadows.

 continues to Trinity river. beyond yt more prairie.

from the river Nueces (Walnuts) to Rio bravo, poorer, abounds with Prickly pear 10. or 12. f. high. cochineal

on the Trinity many wild cattle, & millions of horses.

Nacogdoches. 100. families.

 25. soldiers. all cavalry.

St. Antonio 250. houses mostly of stone.

the country round rich prairie, gently hilly, beautiful clear gravely streams of water. little timber

river heads 20 mi. above the city. used for irrigation.

 sugar cane grows well here.

 residence of the Govr. of Texas & a bishop.

 60. or 70. souldiers.

from the river St. Antonio to Nueces very rich.

 no settlements. silver ore

Labahie 100. below St. Antonio, on same river, 120 houses

60. or 70. souldiers.

Rio bravo or Grande.

on E. bank a town La Rado. 110. families

 a company of souldiers.

here is the crossg. place frm. St. Antonio or Labaha to Mexico.

this is the only town on the E. bank of Rio Bravo below the settlemts of Sta. Fé which are 1000. mi. above

from La Rado to the mouth of Rio bravo 100. leagues

on the W. side of Rio Bravo, about 60. mi. above La Rado is a town Placido Riogrande, the more common crossg. place from St. Antonio to Mexico.

Ravillia, a handsome town a few leagues below LaRado, on W. bank.

no troops.   much & fine cochineal.

West of Rio grande the country hilly, full of towns in the vallies amongst the mines of silver ore.

Valesillo is the 1st. mine worked, 50. mi. from river on the road to Mexico.

country full of sheep. some individuals 20, or 30,000

Montelrey, Montelova, Guawiela, Santander, are towns of 3. to 5000 inhab. buildgs. stone, streets pavd.

 at Montelrey 100. coaches.

 raise much chocolate.

150. mi. N. from St. Antonio towds Red river a mine of Platine not worked.

Santa fé half the size of N. Orleans. 5. or 6000. inhab. rich place. considble military. many small towns of 1. to 300 families in vicinity.

Santa fé is a considble distance N.E from river

surrounded by high mountains, & rich silver mines

the silver carried on mules to Mexico.

 surrounded by Appaches, Hietans, & Caneas.

Rio grande near as large as Misipi. currt not stronger clear water, does not overflow

Nacogdoches, St. Antonio, Labahie, & La Rado are the only settlemts. in the province of Techas.

3. companies of souldiers among them all

their whole militia 7. or 800. most of them metifs, i.e. mixed Indian & Spanish.

Mattagordo, a small distance E. of the mouth of St. Antonio water for large vessel   . settlemt proposed there.

the Accokesas near the mouth of Trinity. beautiful country. the Spaniards had a mission there 40. y. ago, which was broke up when Nacogdoches was established.


Natchitoches to Nacogdoches to St. Antonio to
mi. mi. mi.
Fort Adaire 21. Angelina Riv. 21. Labahie 100
Bayou Pedri 9. Naches Riv. 21. St. Anto. to Rio Grande 200
La Nanne 12. Trinity Riv. 35 Labahie to the Gulph 20
Sea’s ferry on Saline 15. Bayou Ravasota 50. St. Antonio to Sta. Fé 600
Bayou Patron 6. R. Los Brazos dios 50
Labinia 10. R. Colorado (red) 100.
Aiche Bayou 12. R. St. Marcos 55.
Attoyague Riv. 15 R. Guadeloupe 25.
Amoledanes 3. R. & city St. Antonio 30
Bayou Attascosa 15. Madina R. 15.
Nacogdoches 10 R. Nueses, a branch of Rio grande 85
128  Rio Grande 100.

Sibley’s account of Red river.

the mouth of Red river, followg Misipi, 220. mi. from N. Orl.

water red, brackish! currt 2. mi. an hour.

Avoyelles, at high water, is an island abt 30. or 40. f abve high water.

the settlement is round a prairie 40. mi. circumference.

Hoomes’s is on a bluff 120. above mouth of river

adjoining are lowgrounds 40. mi. sq. extendg to Appalousa. rich. drained & watered by Bayou Robert & Bayou Boeuf, two streams of clear water, rising in the highlands between Red R. & Sabine, & falling into Chaffalya. well timbered.

Bayou rapids settlemt. handsome plantns

upper end of the Bayou choaked

this rapid is over a shoal of soft rock, easily cut.

from July to Dec. not water enough on it for loaded boats

River cane settlemt. wealthy inhabitants, on the Southern channel of an island 50. mi. long. 3. mi. broad. 60. families

Natchitoches. irregular village, meanly built, except half a dozen houses.

40. families, of which 12 or 15 are merchts. French.

Fort Claiborne 30. f. above river banks.

the lakes furnish plenty of shells for lime, also building stone, & stone coal.

Salines 12. miles N. of Natchitoches. water nearly saturated.

a Bayou from Spanish Lake. the lake 50. mi. circumf.

from this lake Bayou Dupont admits boats to within 1½mi. of Fort Adaire.

one mile above Grand ecore begins an isld 100. mi. long 30. mi. wide on the S. branch is the Bayou Pierre stony creek settlemt. settled by France before she ceded Louisa. to Spain, & was under the Comandt. of Natchitoches till 20. y. ago when by an agreemt between M. Vogene then Comdt Natchitoches & M. Blibarbe Comdt. Natchitoches it was placed under the latter.

40. families abound with provns.

Campti settlemt. a few families. 25. mi. in a streight line above Natchitoches. here begins the great raft. which choaking the river at the points of land prevents navign 100. mi. but boats pass up thro’ lake Bistino.

Red river free of all obstructions from here to Mountains

from the mouth of Little river Cane begins to abound and broad rich lowgrounds from 3. to mi. wide not subject to overflow.

at Long prairie there is a lake, antt. settlemt. of Caddos where the French had a settlement many years before they ceded Louisa. to Spain, they had here a fort, some soldiers, a factory, & a flour mill. a few years ago the mill irons & mill stones were brought down; about 25. years ago the French families moved down, & the Caddos 14. y. ago. the river is forded here.

Riviere la Mine. silver mines 60. miles up it.

River Bahacheha, or Fauxoacheta, or Missouri branch of Red river, heads near head of Arkansa so brackish cannot be drunk. on this & a branch of Arkansa the Panis find the Salt rock. from the mouth of this river to the main branch of the Arkansa 60. or 70. mi. the country between 33. & 34°. Lat.

Red river here & for 150. mi. up is a mile wide

About 40. y. ago Brevel went with party of Indians up Red river on a hunting voyage & to get horses. kept on S. side. the country generally a prairie. copses of cedar, buttonwood or Musketo, but not a stick 6. I. diam.

then mountainous country, & great deal of rock salt & silver ore. river now small & ramified.

after crossg. many mountains came to a stream running West.

went on to where streams became large & lands level, soil rich black loam. here many tribes of Hietans, Appaches, Cansas.

spotted tygers & white bears.

steered nearly Southeast for Sta. Fé. passed prairies, then hills, silver mines & arrived at a town of 100. houses in Sta. Fé settlemt.

many such towns for a great extent Southwardly towds. Mexico.

 inhabitants christian Indians & Metifs

 rich mines. oar carrd on mules.

very high mountain between Sta. Fé & Red river.

from Sta. Fé settlemt reachd Panis towns in 18. days

he supposes a right line of 300. miles, all prairie.

Red river boatable a little above Pani old towns. above that for hundreds of miles not a tree large enough to make a canoe.

animals wild horses, buffalo, bears, wolves, elk deer, Foxes, Sangliers or wild hogs, antelope white hares, rabbits, spotted tyger, panthers, wild cat

from mouth Red river to

Black river 31  brought forward 142.
Avoyelles, lower end. 51. prairie next above Paccans 40.
La glaise, uppr end do. 15. upper end of the same 25.
Rice’s 6. pine bluff right side 45 
Hoome’s 18. white rock bluff 15 
Grubb’s 21. next prairie, right side 45 
Bayou rapide 15. upper end do 30 
Indian villages 22  bayou Galle right side 6.
Mt. Pleasant. Gillard’s 7. mouth of Mine river (Kiomichee) 25.
Rigolet Bondieu 6. Pine bluff left side 25.
Monnet’s 10. Bayou kick, or Bois d’arc creek 40.
Little River 24. the Pazzures, or Boggy R. rt side 8.
Bayou Brevell 20. Blue river. right side 50.
Natchitoches 266. 20 Faux Oacheta, or Missouri branch 25.
Grand ecore 10. Panis, or Towiache towns 70.
Campti 20. Panis, or Towiache old towns 150.
Bayou Channo 15. head bra. of Red R. or dividg. ridge 300
Lake Bistino, thro’ Channo 3. 1041 
thro’ Bistino to uppr end 60. 266 
thro’ Bayou Daichet to the rivr 9. 464 
late Caddo villages. 80. 1771
Little river of the left. 80  add gained by going thro’ L. Bristino instead followg river 60
Long prairie, right side 25  whole length of Red river 1831 
upper end of do. 25  then to the sea along the Misipi or Chafaleya 320.
Little prairie, left side 40.
upper end do. 5.
Pine bluff right side 12.
upper end do. 5.
Cedars 15.
upper end of do. at mouth of Little river of the right 40 
round prairie right side first fording place 464. 20
lower end long prairie, left side 25 
upper end do. 40 
next prairie same side 12.
upper end do. 20 
3 mile oak & pine bluff 30 
Paccan grove 9.
upper end of the same 6.
carried forward 142

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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