The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 85
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Notes and Documents
of streams that one meets come from the same lakes through which
one has to go.
It is to be noted that from the entrance of the Red River up to
Natchitoches, we have reckoned that we made eighty-three leagues
to the northwest by river, although by land in direct line it would
be only thirty-eight leagues of road, or thereabout, the island of
Natchitoches being at the latitude of thirty-two degrees sixty [sic]
The little island of Natchitoches, on which we have only a par-
apet of stakes, without cannon or mortar gun, could be 6oo toises8
long by 300 wide; it is a pistol shot from the big island, and at the
same distance from Spanish territory,19 on which it would be
better to have our fort, the terrain being beautiful and healthy.
The place where the fort is at present is subject to several mal-
adies, the island being very wet, the water bad, the mists con-
tinual, and the air penetrating there with difficulty because of the
thickness of the timber.
It does not fail, however, to be very fertile as well as the big
island, producing many beans, corn, potatoes, tobacco, cotton,
and an abundance of different roots and vegetables.
The savages who inhabit these islands are the Natchitoches,
Oulchionis, and Yatases [Yatasi] ;2' they compose between all of
them only 150 persons; they are strongly attached to us, but they
are mutinous and very superstitious; formerly they were nomadic.
In the year 1714 M. de St. Denis carried them to settle on these
islands, the place where M. de Bienville sent, in 1717, a detach-
ment commanded by M. Du Tisne.
18A toise was 6.39459 feet.
1oHere, and also in his entry of March 11, La Harpe conceded that Spanish
territory extended up to the bank of the Red River, a point which he was to refute
within a few weeks.
20Tonti spoke of their village first, in 1690, on the Red River northwest of present
Natchitoches. They lived with the Natsi and the Choye. In 1701 Bienville and St.
Denis made an alliance with them. A road, often used later, from Spanish Texas to
the French settlements on the Red River, went near the village, which was loyal
to the French in French-Spanish border conflicts. With neighboring tribes, some of
these Indians accepted St. Denis' invitation (1712-1714) to settle near Fort Saint
John the Baptist, in part, because of the Chickasaws and other enemies. Others,
however, fled up the Red River to the Kadodachos, to the Nanatsoko (probably a
subdivision of a Caddoan tribe living near the Kadodachos), and to the Nasoni, or
Nassonites. Warfare and diseases had reduced the Yatasi to twenty-six by 1826, living
northwest of Natchitoches. By the end of the century the few survivors were living
on the Wichita Reservation in Oklahoma.
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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/m1/105/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.