Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 89 of 368
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AGRICULTURAL CAPACITY OF THE COUNTRY.
abundant for all purposes of the agriculturist, and of a superior quality.
Most of the varieties of hard wood, such as overcup, post-oak, blackwalnut,
pecan, hackberry, ash, black or Spanish oak, (Quercus elongata,)
elm, and china, besides cotton-wood and willow, are found here. We
also found the wild passion-flower, (Passijlora incarnata,) and a beautiful
variety of the sensitive plant, which we had not met with before.
Directly opposite the village, upon the north side, there is a large
body of timber, which extends across to the eastern branch of Cache
creek; this unites with the branch upon which we are encamped, about
a mile below the village.
Upon the south bank of the creek there is an immense natural
meadow, clothed with luxuriant grasses, where hay might be procured
sufficient to subsist immense numbers of cattle. Opposite our camp
the creek flows directly at the base of a perpendicular wall of
porphyritic trap, three hundred feet high, studded with dwarf cedars,
which, taking shallow root in the crevices of the formation, receive
their meagre sustenance from the scanty decomposition of the rocks.
This escarpment has a columnar structure, with the flutings parallel,
and traversing the face in a vertical direction from top to bottom, and
has the appearance of being the vertical section of a round hill that has
been cleft asunder and one-half removed, there being no appearance of
a continuation of the formation upon the opposite bank of the creek.
All the sides of this hill, except that upon the creek, are smooth, with
gentle and easy slopes, covered with grass up to the very verge of the
acclivity. On riding up the smooth ascent of this eminence, and suddenly
coming upon the edge of the giddy precipice, one involuntarily
recoils back with a shudder at the appearance of this strange freak of
nature. Large veins of quartz were seen traversing this formation, and
upon an examination of specimens, we found it to be cellular or spongy,
with the cells filled with liquid naptha of about the consistence of tar,
and having a strong resinous odor.
We have now reached the eastern extremity of the Witchita chain of
mountains, and shall to-morrow morning cross the main creek below
the village, and strike our course for Fort Arbuckle, this being the
nearest military post, and in our course for Fort Smith.
The more we have seen of the country about these mountains, the
more pleased we have been with it. Indeed, I have never visited any
country that, in my opinion, possessed greater natural local advantages
for agriculture than this. Bounteous nature seems here to have strewed
her favors with a lavish hand, and to have held out every inducement
for civilized man to occupy it. The numerous tributaries of Cache creek
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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/m1/89/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .