Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 35 of 368
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PASS THE 100 OF WEST LONGITUDE.
from the mountains, and our present encampment is directly at the base
of one of the peaks, near a spring of good water. This mountain is composed
of huge masses of loose granite rock, thrown together in such confusion
that it is seldom any portion can be seen in its original position.
There are veins of quartz, greenstone, and porphyry running through
the granite, similar to those that characterize the gold-bearing formation
of California, New Mexico, and elsewhere. This fact, in connexion with
our having found some small particles of gold in the detritus along the
bed of Otter creek, may yet lead to the discovery of important auriferous
deposites in these mountains. Among the border settlers of Texas and
Aikansas an opinion has for a long time prevailed that gold was abundant
here, and several expeditions have been organized among them for
the purpose of making examinations, but the Indians have opposed their
operations, and in every instance, I believe, compelled them to abandon
the enterprise and return home, so that as yet no thorough examination
of the mountains has ever been made.*
We find blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and currents growing
upon the mountains, and this is the only locality west of the Cross Timbers
where I have seen them. Grapes and plums are also abundant here,
as elsewhere, upon Upper Red river. The grapes are rather smaller than
our fox-grapes, are sweet and juicy when ripe, and I have no doubt
would make good wine: they grow upon small bushes about the size of
currant-bushes, standing erect like them, and are generally found upon
the most sandy soil, along near the borders of the streams. The plums
also grow upon small bushes from two to six feet high, are very large
and sweet, and in color vary from a light pink to a deep crimson; they
are the Chicasaw plum, (Prunus chicasa.)
Mfay 30.-Captain McClellan returned this morning, having traced the
meridian of the 100th degree of west longitude to where it strikes Red river.
This point he ascertained to be about six miles below the junction of the
two principal branches, and three-fourths of a mile below a small creek
which puts in from the north upon the left bank, near where the river
bends from almost due west to north. At this point a cotton-wood tree,
standing fifty feet from the water, upon the summit of a sand hill, is
blazed upon four sides, facing north, south, east, and west, and upon
* Specimens of quartz and black sand were collected in the mountains; and
from the presence of hydrated peroxide of iron and iron pyrites in the qnartz,
and from its similarity to the gold-bearing quartz of California, we were induced
to hope that it might contain gold, but a rigid analysis by Professor Shephardadid
not detect any trace of the precious metal.
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Marcy, Randolph Barnes. Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan., book, 1854; Washington, DC. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6105/m1/35/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .