Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Fourche à Thomas

Sunday, January 24th, 1819

I was carried across the river in a canoe. A mile beyond, the river bottom terminates, and I ascended the calcareous ridge of secondary rock which separates its waters from those of Elevenpoints. Neither the soil, the vegetation, nor geological character of the country, present any variations entitled to notice. At twelve o'clock I reached the banks of Elevenpoints, and was ferried over in a canoe. This stream is nearly as large as Spring River with which it unites three miles above its junction with Big Black River. Its waters are beautifully clear, and it affords a strip of alluvion a mile across from hill to hill.

Davidsonville, the seat of justice of Lawrence county, is situated seven miles eastwardly, on the point of land formed by the junction of Spring with Black River. It unites the advantages of an uninterrupted water-communication through White River with the Mississippi, and through that with the ocean, but is a place of little note or importance at present. Half a mile beyond the north bank of the Elevenpoints, the ridge of secondary calcareous rock, separating its valley from that of Fourche à Thomas, is struck, and the road winds along through a sterile and uninhabited country for nine miles. On one of the highest elevations of this intervening ridge, and equi-distant from both streams, I passed a bed of black oxide of manganese. It possesses little weight, is earthy, and soils the finger like soot. Some red oxide is in combination. The quantity is immense. As day-light withdrew, I entered the valley of Fourche à Thomas, having travelled nineteen miles.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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