A Description of the Ouachita Post in 1806

In 1803 the United States purchased from France a huge tract of land that included present day Louisiana. A few years later, the rest of the country was still curious about this wild frontier that was now a part of their country. Several written accounts, especially after the Lewis and Clark and Hunter and Dunbar expeditions, were published in national papers. One such article was published in the National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser on October 15, 1806, page 2. Here is a short paragraph from that article that describes Fort Miro, which would become Monroe:

This small settlement on the Washita, and some of the creeks falling into it, contains not more than five hundred persons, of all ages and sexes. It is reported, however, that there is a great quantity of excellent land upon these creeks, and that the settlement is capable of great extension, and may be expected, with an accession of population, to become very flourishing. There are three merchants settled at the post, who supply at very exorbitant prices, the inhabitants with their necessaries ; these, with the garrison, two small planters, and a tradesman or two, constitute the present village. A great proportion of the inhabitants continue the old practice of hunting, during the winter season, and they exchange their peltry for necessaries, with the merchants, at a low rate. During the summer these people content themselves with raising corn, barely sufficient for bread during the year. In this manner they always remain extremely poor ; some few who have conquered that habit of indolence, which is always the consequence of the Indian mode of life, and attend to agriculture, live more comfortably, and taste a little of the sweets of civilized life.

This article made me chuckle, since it sounded exactly like how Jean Filhiol described it back when he first tried to settle the area!

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