The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 41
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John H. Fona's Explorations in the Southwest
they called the Cross Timbers, a tract of country watered by
numerous streams, well timbered, and with soil of the richest
qualities." And continuing Fonda says: "But the novelty of
the journey, promised at the start, had been sobered down to a
stern reality during the last six months, and instead of accom-
panying the party into the then Mexican territory, I remained
with a Scotchman who had taken a Choctaw squaw for a wife,
and kept a trading post on the head waters of the Sabine River.
With this Scotchman I stayed during the winter of 1819, and in
the spring of 1820, went down to New Orleans, with five voy-
ageurs, to get a keel-boat load of goods for the Scotch trader, who
had entrusted me with the business, for he took a liking to me,
and knew no other person in whom he could put as much confi-
dence. The Red River was a narrow, crooked, turbid stream,
steep banks on either side, and filled with snags; but the winter
rains had swollen it, so we floated down without accident."
Here Fonda spent "eight or ten weeks" collecting merchandise
and trying to keep the French voyageurs out of trouble. They
"would go to some of the low dance houses in the town, and spree
all night, which made them useless all the next day; so in one or
two instances I was obliged to hire creoles to assist in loading
goods that have been brought to the river."
One evening after the boat had been finally loaded and the men
had pretty well recovered from the spree of the previous night
Fonda gave orders to move up stream, but they refused to obey.
On the night of that particular day "there was to be a grand
fandango" in town to which the men had determined to go. As
a result Fonda was compelled to remain on board the boat all
night as guard.
Next morning the men came staggering in, and threw them-
selves down on the rolls of calico and blankets, where they slept
until afternoon. About two o'clock they had all got up, and were
preparing some food, when I gave them to understand that we
must start at sundown. They gave no answer, and, having ate,
they went to sleep again.
As the sun was going out of sight, I roused the men, directing
them to get out the tow-line, poles, and to run up stream. They
paid no attention to what I said, but gathered around one of their
number, a big half-breed, who insolently told me that it would
be impossible for us to ascend Red River, because of the high
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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/m1/47/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.