Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852 / by Randolph B. Marcy ; assisted by George B. McClellan. Page: 93 of 368
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command of our interpreter, while one or two galloped away in the
direction of the village to give notice of our approach. They proved
to be Wacos and Witchitas, and informed us that their villages were
about four miles in advance, at the same time inviting us to pay them
a visit. We reached the villages (which were situated upon the banks
of Rush creek) and en'camped about half a mile below them in the
Immediately on our arrival we were accosted by a large crowd of
men who were anxious to learn where we had been, and whether we
had seen any Comanches; and as we were (I think) the first party of
whites who had visited them at this place, they appeared very glad to
see us-probably in anticipation of presents.
There are two villages here occupied by the Witchitas and Wacos
respectively; they are situated in the rich and fertile valley of the creek,
where they have cultivated corn, pumpkins, beans, peas, and melons.
These people have no ploughs, or other agricultural implements, but a
small hoe, with which they prepare the ground for the reception of the
seed, and do all other necessary work in its cultivation; yet the prolific
soil gives them bountiful returns; and were it not for their improvident
natures, they might, with little labor, have sufficient for the
whole year. Instead of this, they only care for the present, and from
the time the corn is fit for roasting, are continually eating and feasting
until it is gone. They are then obliged to depend upon the precarious
results of the chase during the remainder of the year.
The village of the Witchitas has forty-two lodges, each containing
two families of about ten persons. These lodges are made by erecting
a frame-work of poles placed in a circle in the ground, with the tops
united in an oval form, and bound together with numerous withes or
wattles, the whole nicely thatched with grass; and when completed,
it makes a very commodious and comfortable domicil. The interior
arrangements are such, that every person has a bunk, raised from the
ground and covered with buffalo-hides, forming a couch which is far
from being uncomfortable. When seated around their fires in the centre
of the lodges, they have an air of domestic happiness about them which
I did not expect to find.
The lodges are about twenty-five feet in diameter at the base, twenty
feet high, and in the distance have very much the appearance of a group
of hay-stacks. With the exception of a few families that live upon the
Canadian, the whole Witchita nation is concentrated at this place; their
numbers do not exceed five hundred souls. They have during the early
settlement of Texas given more trouble to the people upon the northern
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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/m1/93/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .