Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Dr. Bettis Ferry (Mt. Pisgah Church)

Thursday, January 28th, 1819

The road from Black River to the river St. Francis, a distance of seventeen miles, lies for the first eight miles across an elevated ridge of secondary lime-stone rock, intersected by deep valleys, running in all directions, which give it somewhat the appearance of a plain full of high conical hills. These are covered with a stony soil that sustains a growth of yellow pine. The remainder of the road is carried along a gravelly, dry valley, that winds among similar bluffs to the river, and there terminates in the alluvial formation of the St. Francis. Here is a village of ten or fifteen houses, including a grist-mill; and a public ferry is kept by Dr. Bettis. The St. Francis is a large steam, and waters a great extent of country. Its length is stated at 500 miles; near its head are situated the valuable lead-mines of La Motte, and the iron mountain of Bellevieu is situated on its principal south-western branch. Toward its junction with the Mississippi, the lands are low and overflowed. The greater part of the fine rich alluvial margin of this stream is, however, susceptible of successful cultivation, and it is already the seat of one of the most rich and populous agricultural settlements in the territory. I crossed the ferry at Battis' at three o' clock, and lodged six miles beyond, on the road to St. Michael's, having travelled twenty-three miles. I have this day observed the hamamelis virginica in blossom.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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