Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 85 of 368
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there were three distinct ranges running from northeast to southwest;
at this place they appear to be united in one chain, and there seems to
be no pass practicable for wagons in this vicinity.
July 17.-Moving out from camp at half-past three this morning,
we journeyed along the southeastern base of the mountains, passing
several spring-brooks of cold, delicious water, flowing from the deep
gorges of the mountain, over the masses of loose rock at the base, into
the valley below. These brooks are perennial, and this being the dry
season, they are probably now at their lowest stage, yet there is a sufficiency
of water for all purposes of farmers and for milling.
The soil continues of an excellent quality, and sustains a heavy
vegetation. In addition to the advantages of rich soil, good timber,
and water, which everywhere abound near the mountains thus far upon
our route, may be added that of the great salubrity of the climate.
The atmosphere in these elevated regions is cool, elastic, and bracing,
and the breezes which sweep across the prairie temper the heat of the
sun, and render it, even in midsummer, cool and comfortable.
The different branches of Cache creek drain a large extent of country,
which might be made available for agricultural purposes, and would be
sufficient to sustain a large population.
The particular district embracing the WVitchita mountains has for
many years been occupied and (with much justice, it seems to me)
claimed by the Witchita Indians, who have a tradition that their original
progenitor issued from the rocks of these mountains, and that the
Great Spirit gave him and his posterity the country in the vicinity for a
heritage, and here they continued to live and plant corn for a long time.
Notwithstanding this claim of the Witchitas, which the right of
occupancy and possession has guarantied to them, yet the whole of this
beautiful country, as far as the 100th degree of west longitude, is
included in the grant made by the United States to the Choctaws,
who thereby possess the greater part of the lands upon Upper Red river
that are really valuable.
The Witchitas are an insignificant tribe in point of numbers, not
having more than about five hundred souls in the nation, and are not,
of course, prepared to substantiate or enforce their title to this country;
and, indeed, I very much doubt if they have any claims upon the consideration
or generosity of our government, being the most notorious
and inveterate horse-thieves upon the borders, as the early frontier
settlers of Texas can vouch for; and they are only held in restraint
now by fear of the troops near them. They have always been extremely
jealous of the motives of the white people who have wished to penetrate
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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/m1/85/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .