The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 40
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
here is by no means as complete as the student would like to have
it. There are annoying hiatuses and exasperating omissions.
There are incidents barely mentioned concerning which much is
to be written before our knowledge of the history of the South-
west is complete. But with all its faults there appear to be three
reasons which justify calling attention to the document in the
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY. First, it contains in-
formation which is valuable to students of southwestern history;
second, it is taken from a source which investigators in the field
might pass unnoticed; and third, it is given in that source under
a heading which has resulted in its being overlooked by those who
have worked in the history of the Southwest. In the following
account a summary of trade and explorations in the Southwest as
given by Fonda himself is presented almost entirely in his own
words. An attempt has been made to point out obvious and prob-
able errors of fact.
It was probably in the spring or early summer of 1819 when
Fonda joined a company that was leaving Watervliet in Albany
County, New York, for Texas. They proceeded to Buffalo and
from there by boat to Cleveland. Thence they journeyed south
through Ohio to Cincinnati, from which place they floated down
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on flat boats to Natchez. Here
the boats were traded for horses, a covered wagon, and a team of
mules. Having provided themselves with a complete outfit and
buried one of the members of the party who had died from an
attack of yellow fever, they were ferried across the Mississippi by
an old trader "who charged an exorbitant price for his services-
so much so, that I remember the company went on without pay-
If they traveled directly west from Natchez as Fonda claims
they reached the Red River southeast of Natchitoches, and must
have passed the latter on their way up that stream. They ascended
the Red River to Fort Towson, in the southeastern part of the
present State of Oklahoma. Here they camped near a small
stream which Fonda says was called Le Bontte Run,2 and the
emigrants utilized the time to rest and to perfect their plans.
They finally determined "to settle on the prairie land near what
'Fort Towson is on Gates Creek (Century Atlas), a small stream which
flows into the Red River near the mouth of the Kiamichi river. This
was undoubtedly the stream which Fonda calls Le Bontte Run.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920, periodical, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/m1/46/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.