Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Cook's Settlement (Near Farmington)

Tuesday, Febuary 2nd, 1819

I determined to make another attempt to cross into Bellevieu by the upper ford of the St. Francis; but here also I found the water too deep, and was compelled to pursue the more circuitous route through St. Genevieve county. A mile's travelling brought me into St. Michael, a village of sixty houses, and the county seat of Madison, according to a recent act of the legislature. It has three stores and a post-office. This village was originally settled by the French, and has for many years been in a state of decline; but since its selection as the seat of justice for the new county, has received what is called a start, that is, has rapidly improved in appearance. Here a road diverges to St. Genevieve, which is situated thirty miles east on the banks of the Mississippi. Two miles beyond St. Michael, on the road toward St. Louis, we pass the lead-mines of La Motte. The road runs among the excavations, which are very numerous, and cover a great extent of country. The ore worked is a sulphuret; it is found reposing in beds in alluvial soil, without any matrix. The rock strata here are calcareous: two miles south-west commences the tract of insular granite. These mines have been worked with little interruption for a century, and are not yet exhausted; but, on the contrary, yield as much metal as formerly. Large piles of the ore, crystallized in shining facets, were lying near the road as I passed, and a number of workmen engaged either in the excavations, or smelting. Nine miles beyond the mines, the traveller enters Cook's settlement, a fine district of land in the interior of St. Genevieve county, with a rapidly increasing population. Here I reposed for the night.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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Funding for the Schoolcraft Journey project on Unlock the Ozarks has been provided by the Missouri Humanities Council.