The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 84
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84 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The 2oth, we followed the river which meanders from the
northwest to the east-southeast; at a league from our camp we
entered into a stream to the northwest, which is full of cypress.
This bayou may be a league long and terminates in several stream
branches, where is the old portage of Natchitoches. We fired sev-
eral musket shots, which were answered, after which our guide
had us to quit the said stream in order to enter into another,
which runs straight to the west.-At midday, we entered into some
underbrush so thick that the light could scarcely be seen there;
we remained there four hours with incredible toil, being obliged
to drag our boats over the mud; then we arrived in a river branch
in the east of the great island of Natchitoches,"* at a league to the
south of the fort. I went back there the same evening by land; our
boats remained at this portage, it being necessary to cut away the
timber obstructions in order to make them pass to the little island
on which is the fort, named for Saint John the Baptist.
The 21st, I sent the chief of the Oulchionis [Dulchionis]17
nation with thirty of his men to aid in cutting the logs; they were
busy there until the twenty-fifth when our boats arrived at the fort.
It is to be noted that to come to Natchitoches in the high
water from the rapid one must follow the channels to the right
and sail as close to the banks as is possible, all this great number
x6This was near the village of the Natchitoches Indians, a tribe of the Caddoan
confederacy. These natives were first seen by whites when some of La Salle's com-
panions, surviving his death in 1687, crossed the country on the way to Canada.
Several years later, in 1690, Tonti reached them and entered an alliance. D'Iberville
learned of them through the Taensas in 1699, and sent his brother, Bienville, to
their village. In 1705 the Natchitoches went to St. Denis, commander of the first
French fort on the Mississippi, wishing to be settled where they might get provi-
sions because their corn had been destroyed. He settled them near the Acolapissa,
who lived on Lake Pontchartrain. In 1712 he led them back to their former loca-
tion to aid him in founding a trading post and to serve, also, as a check upon
Spanish encroachments through Texas. In 1714 the French built Fort Saint John the
Baptist near the Natchitoches' new settlement. In 1730 their village had 2oo huts.
The next year St. Denis administered a severe defeat upon the rebellious Natchez
with an army of Natchitoches, other native allies, and a few Spaniards. They were
always loyal to the French, and were so significant in French relations in Louisiana
that the Red River was often called the Natchitoches River. Wars and a host of
new diseases such as smallpox and measles cut down their population so rapidly
that there were only about fifty tribesmen in 1805. They were greatly respected by
local Creoles, who were assimilating with them. Later they amalgamated with other
Caddos and lost their distinction.
17The Dulchionis were a Caddoan tribe living three leagues below the Natchi-
toches. De Bienville and St. Denis were the first whites to visit them (1700).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/104/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.