Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Strickland Creek

Saturday, January 30th, 1819

The rain continued with extraordinary violence during the greater part of the night. The morning was cloudy and unsettled. I proceeded twenty miles, and lodged near the bank of the St. Francis, on the road toward Bellevieu. A vast quantity of water had fallen upon the earth, and the streams were swollen to an unusual height. Every small brook was increased to a torrent, and channels dry at ordinary seasons were now filled with water. The earth, also, was completely surcharged, and wherever it consisted of alluvion, deep mud was the consequence. This rendered travelling very fatiguing. On proceeding five miles along the main road, the country became very rough and barren, and here blocks of granite were found, reposing promiscuously upon secondary lime-stone. These fragments of primitive rock, at first scattering, soon became abundant, and in the course of the succeeding mile I found myself in a region of granite. Here the country bore a very rugged aspect, and the road wound about among piles and hills of granite rock, in which no stratification, and no order of arrangement, could be observed. This is the older red granite of geologists, consisting chiefly of flesh-coloured feldspar mixed with quartz, and a very little mica, the former ingredient, however, predominating. It extends about twenty miles northwestwardly, and has a breadth of about six or eight, being surrounded on all sides by secondary rocks, and is at once the most singular and interesting object in the geological character of the whole valley of the Mississippi, so far as yet discovered. So considerable a body of primitive rock, in the midst of so unparalleled an extent of secondary strata, furnishes an interesting subject of inquiry, and its occurrence is certainly without a parallel in the scientific annals of our country. Its geognostic situation is, however, readily explained by either of the theories at present taught; but whether this mass of granite is the peak of a pre-existing mountain, around which the calcareous rock has subsequently been deposited, or whether since upheaved by volcanic fire, will admit of some doubt. The existence of blocks of granite, reposing upon calcareous rock, a mile distant from the main body, and where nothing short of a volcanic power appears capable of having thrown or conveyed them, seems to favour the latter hypothesis.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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