Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Near Jesup

Wednesday, January 20th, 1819

An application of dissolved muriate of soda and flannels, surcharged with microcosmic salts in natural solution, did little to mitigate the swelling of my foot; and, after a night passed in sleepless anxiety, I arose without feeling any sensible diminution of pain, and without the ability to continue the journey on foot. This accident could not have happened at a spot where medical aid, or the conveniency of transportation, was in all probability more completely out of reach, and one of the most unpleasant delays threatened to ensue. Here chance supplied, as it frequently happens, what could not have been procured in any other way. A traveller passing on horseback agreed, for a trifling compensation, to let me ride his horse to the banks of the south fork of Strawberry River, while he himself performed the journey on foot. This helped me twelve miles, and we arrived about noon. The road lay across an uninhabitated tract, much cut up by little valleys, worn out of shelly limestone, and covered with a stratum of gravelly clay, bearing post oaks and black oaks. A mile before reaching the river we entered upon an alluvial plain, which continued to the village seated upon its margin. Here were fifteen buildings, scattered along the banks of the stream, including a small grist-mill turned by water, a whisky-distillery, a black-smith's-shop, and a tavern. Feeling somewhat relieved, I concluded to hobble on four miles farther to the main stream of the river, where we arrived before night, and stopped at a farmer's house, my foot having in the meanwhile become exceedingly painful.

-Henry Schoolcraft

Thursday, November 21st, 1819

It was in vain to attempt travelling under such circumstances. I determined to halt, and await the recovery of my foot, while Mr. Pettibone, anxious to terminate a journey which had already been protracted to an unexpected length, concluded to proceed alone toward St. Louis; and we parted at nine o'clock, after having mutually shared the inconveniences of a pedestrian journey through the woods for seventy-five days.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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