I left Mr. McGillivray's at 12 for the Hickory Ground, by the path through the piney woods, the lands generally broken and gravelly, except near the branches, which were covered with reeds. X 2 or 3 of them which unite below and form the creek at Old Tallassee Falls. I arrived at the Hickory Ground and spent one hour with the principal chief of the town, Mc Fasshion, a cousin of Gen. McGillivray. I sat out for Cooborne, the land variegated, flat, hilly and mountainous, pass in four miles Pasabullah, a beautiful flat 3/4 of a mile, and X a creek large and fine for a mill, at 10 miles arrive at the Cooborne leaving the White Ground to the right, The creek before mentioned, Sambulloh, entering the river still lower. Cooborne is a pretty little compact town, beautifully situated, but too low; the flood having covered it near 4 feet. The chiefs being all from home, I continued on to the Fusatcvhees, and took up my residence with the trader Nicholas White, a native of Mersailles, but resident in this nation 30 years; he has an Indian woman, and 4 children 2 of each sex, 3 of them married to Indians; he lives comfortable, has stables, and a kitchen, and his wife appears tho' old, healthy, industrious and pretty cleanly. I spent the evening with him agreeably except the conduct of my deputy Alex Cornell, who, forgetting himself, got drunk, and was a little disorderly. This morning I began to correct the abuse in my own family. I told my deputy that he was a chief of the land and in the service of the United States, he knew well how to conduct himself, and I was surprised at the impropriety of his conduct, he must reform, and not give me the pain of seeing him again playing the part of the drunken Indian. Mr. White is the trader for these two towns, he informed me that the Cooborne people had always behaved themselves in such a manner towards the white traders, that none of them could reside there, that he kept an Indian factor there, who did the business with fidelity.
I sat out this morning very cold, traveled 3 miles to Hochilliwallies, here I halted at the house of James Russel, a native of the United States; he has been 12 years in the nation, has a decent woman and one son. After one hour's conversation with him and eating some venison and beef, I continued on, passing some very rich level land, low cane swamp on the right, and some high red hills or mountains to the left. I pass over some level lands, X Wehuarthy a beautiful little creek, in sight of a village of that name, belonging to the Tuckabatchee, come to and over the flat old canebrake of the Old Ottassue, pass thro' the old fields to the river opposite Mr. Bailey's, in all 5 miles, X the river in a canoe, and send a person from his house to swim over our horses. The weather cold and freezing.
It is cold and cloudy, and snowed for 2 hours.
I remain this day with Mr. Bailey, he informs me that the distemper
which has been for 2 or 3 years past destroyed the horses in the
Southern States, and called there the yellow water, was introduced
into this country from St. Antoine, and Appaluca. It raged
here for two years, and disappeared; the horses were drooping, the legs
swelled, yellow water droped from the nose, a high fever, the sides beat
like the thumps, when dead the entraiels were decayed, particularly the
lites. Those which survived, on the recovery, if used were sure to relapse
and die, but if left to themselves got well; it raged in the hottest part
of the summer, abated in the fall and ceased in the winter. There has not
been any cure discovered for it. The old horses suffered the most. It was
a plague among them.
At some seasons and for a year or two the range is not much infested with flies, either in wet or very dry seasons, they do however come some years in such numbers as to destroy poor horses. In May they appear, June and July they are the most numerous and troublesome, and then they gradually disappear. About cleared land and in stables they are not troublesome. A large flie called the horse guard come at the same season, they continue in cultivated and open land, attack and destroy all the flies they meet with. The flie which is the most troublesome has a small green head. In the month of May on the small bushes, particularly the red root, there is to be seen all over the country more or less in patches, a white froth, and in every lump of it there is one or two flies. Here they are produced but he knows not how. Take a young flie out of the froth, clean it and put it on a leaf, it will be surrounded with another coat of froth, and then will be perfected.
The honey in this country is poisonous in the mouth of March, some negros and Indians have been killed at that season. At that season on the small branches, there is a plant in bloom called by the whites wolfs tongue, or fire leaves, by the Indians Hochkau, it has a long stem with yellow blossoms, and bears around the stem, green berries, which altho' poisonous are eaten in years of scarcity by the Indians, they boil them in 2 or 3 waters, shifting them, and thus extract the poison from them, they are then pleasant to the taste, somewhat like the garden pea. The Indians are the authors of the discovery. Milk has been the only afficacious remedy discovered here for this poison. The last season a bee tree was taken in this neighborhood and all who eat of the honey sickened instantaneously, they retired to the house, except a black boy, and took some milk which restored them, the boy was unable to get to the house, and altho' aid was sent him, in 2 hours he was dead.
Those who eat of the honey are first taken with a giddiness, then blindness accompanied with great pain and uneasiness, and thurst.
The weather cold and cloudy, the ponds in the neighborhood frozen over, which seldom ever happens in this climate.
The weather cold and freezing. I spend my Christmas
in the hospitable house where I am. This good woman as cleanly as any of
her sex, is very particular in cooking, altho' she has hands, has many conveniences
about her, and is nice and clean in every thing. She governs her black
people and shows much attention to the stock about the plantation. She
some times beats the meal for bread, sifts it and bakes it herself.
She is agreeable and jacose in conversation, kind to every body, yet firm
enough to prevent any imposition on the part of her country people; she
gives me daily, coffee, bread and butter, and a relish of some
kind of meat, the butter of her own make, a dinner of fowls and
pork, with rice, and a dish of tea in the evening.
Mr. Bailey keeps some good rum in his house, and it is remarkable in him that he neither drinks or smokes tobacco. By the former I mean, to excess; he every day takes a glass of grog or two and that's all. The Indians of the town where he lives are more orderly than any others in their neighbourhood, he keeps them at a proper distance, when he is at dinner they never enter the dining room, and even at times of drinking and when in their cups they show the same respect. When I was informed of this, I asked them both to account for it, they said they could attribute it only to the long standing of Mr. Bailey among them and his uniform perseverance in this plan which he adopted on his first settling among them. Some few years past they were under the necessity to remove to Tengau on account of their stock, and the ill nature of the Indians who always have been funny and are in the habit of destroying hogs or cattle whenever they trespass on the fields under cultivation. By this removal the town was three years without a trader and the Indians sent several messages to them to return, but Mrs. Bailey said she would not unless their stock could be secure, and it should be left to Mr. Bailey to choose his place of residence near the town. The Indians sent their king to confirm this agreement, which they adhere to with some little murmuring, at the largeness and increase of his stock.
I applied particularly to Mrs. Bailey for her opinion of the practicability of carrying the benevolent views of the government into effect; explaining them fully to her; she replied it was uncertain; her daughter had learnt to spin among the white women, at Tenasau, were cleanly, neat and industrious. That many of the Indian women were industrious but not cleanly, nor as provident and careful as the white women. This I replied might be owing to want of information, and the means of helping themselves. She said she did not know whether it was so or not, but of one thing she was certain, they all had water enough, and yet they never kept their husbands clean, even the white men, that this was really a source of vexation to her, and put her under the necessity of scolding the men whenever she saw them, for not making their wives wash their linen; and the women for their want of cleanliness.
I dined this day with Mr. Bailey and three Indian women, on pork and coleworts, a pair of fowls, and ducks; and the conversation related to the Indians and the practicability of bettering their conditions. I should have added to my bill of fare some rice and potatoes -- rum and water. Some incidents brought to my recollection that on Christmas, 1785, I dined at a public table in Hopewell on the Theowee, being one of the Commissioners fro negotiating a peace with the Southern Indians, that the table was covered with a great variety of wild meat and fowls, the company large, that all of them are still living, and that the conversation then was the means of establishing a peace with these Indians, and bettering their condition. I remember well that the sentiments I then entertained were the same I still possess, and am labouring to carry into effect.
I was this day visited by the negros from the towns above me, on their way to Mrs. Durant's to keep Christmas. I asked how this was done, they answered that as this season of the year they made a gathering together at Mrs. Durant's or her sister's where there lived more of the black people than in any other part of the nation. And there they had a proper frolic of rum drinking and dancing. That the white people and Indians met generally at the same place with them and had the same amusements.
The black people here are an expense to their owners except in the house where I am. They do nothing the whole winter but get a little wood, and in the summer they cultivate a scanty crop of corn barely sufficient for bread.
The weather cloudy and freezing in the forenoon, and cold and clear in the afternoon. This day I had some provisions prepared for the road, and had every thing in readiness for my departure to-morrow for the lower towns.
(to be continued)