The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 43
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John H. Fondza's Explorations in the Southwest
Throughout the fall and winter of 1820 Fonda says that he
clerked for the Scotchman but that he had very few opportuni-
ties to sell goods on his own account. His employer had been "an
engage of the Hudson Bay Fur Company, and was exceedingly
grasping, and would not let me buy fur on private account, any-
where near the trading post." In order to find a market where
he could carry on trade with the Indians without coming into
direct competition with his employer, he made "several excursions
among the Shawnee and Osage Indians, from whom I got a few
packs of valuable fur.3 But, though there was an excitement
about a trader's life that had a charm for me, yet often, when
camped by a sheltered spring, ambition would whisper, 'You have
another mission to fulfill.'"
Following these whisperings of ambition occurs a leap of two
years in the narrative. In the spring of 1823, "soon after the
grass was well up," Fonda left for Santa Fe, "along with two
fellows who had come up from New Orleans." He rode a "mus-
tang colt" and placed his "trappings on board an old pack-mule."
They traveled west "to the source of the Red River, through the
Comanche country, north to the forks of the Canadian River
where we took the old Santa Fe trail, which led us over and
through the southern spur of the Rocky Mountains, to Santa Fe,
where we arrived without any of those thrilling adventures, or
Indian fights, that form the burden of many travelers' stories."
They saw no Indians at all except a party of "Kioways" with
whom Fonda tried to carry on trade.
The exact route which Fonda took from the source of the Red
"During the month of May, 1810, Thomas Nuttall had made a trip
from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to the mouth of the Kiamichi river. He
had come with Major Bradford and a company of soldiers who, in obedi-
ence to orders which Bradford had received from Washington, were to re-
move the white settlers from "the territory occupied by the Osages, the
Kiamiehi river being now chosen as the line of demarcation."
Nuttall says there were supposed to be twenty families of whites liv-
ing at the mouth of the Kiamichi and twelve "at Pecan Point, a few
miles down Red River." Many of them were a "very bad lot of set-
tlers," having "the worst moral character imaginable, being many of
them renegades from justice." See Thomas Nuttall, A Journal of travel
into the Arkansas Territory during the year 18J9, with occasional ob-
servations on the manners of the aborigines, Philadelphia, 1821, oh. IX,
particularly pp. 206-222. The edition cited here is in Reuben Gold
Thwaites, Early Western Travels, Vol. XIII.
These white settlers had been removed then before Fonda came into
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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/m1/49/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.