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Sequoyah Research Center

Lt. Edward Deas to C.A. Harris — May 5 1838

Titsworth’s Plantation
McLanes’ Bottom Ark s
5th May 1838
CA Harris Esq
Commissioner of Indian Affairs

On the 11th ultimo I had the honour to report to you from Little Rock in regard to the progress upon the Route of Emigration up to that time of the Party of Cherokees then under my charge. After writing to you I ascertained that it would not be possible for the S. Boat Smelter to proceed much further up the Arkansas River, and therefore made the best contract I was able,-which is herewith enclosed-with the Captain of the Little Rock a lighter Boat, to take the Party up, as high as possible. After a good deal of delay, and detention, from low water and sand-bars, we reached McLane’s Bottom on the 20th ultimo, which is about 50 miles to the east of Fort Smith and extends about 10 miles on the south bank of the River. There being no probability of our being able to terminate the journey by water, I determined to leave the Boats at this point, where the surrounding country is well settled, and where the means of transportation by land could be obtained, and which could not be had so well at any place further up. Had we proceeded further up the river, and then been obliged to stop by sand-bars, it would in all probability have been necessary to return to McLanes’ Bottom, to procure the necessary wagons. I therefore discharge the S Boat-here, and on the 23rd the requisite number of wagons were collected, and on the 24th the party set out towards Fort Smith, which place we reached on the forenoon of the 28th. I found it necessary to employ a large number of wagons the Indian having a large amount of baggage, but I employed no more than were necessary, and I considered it my duty to transport the Baggage which was brought to this place on the boats, and which was in their possession when the Party was turned over to me as Conductor, after setting out upon the journey. Sixteen large wagons and one small one, were found necessary, and a copy of the contracts entered into with their respective owners is herewith enclosed. We were detained about 26 hours at Fort Smith in crossing the river, and left there on the 29th and reached Salisaw Creek in the Cherokee Country, on the 1st May. The Party was there received on the same day by the disbursing agent for the Cherokees, and at the same time I discharged the agents of the government that had accompanied it, and also discharged and paid off the wagons. My journal of occurrences, which is herewith enclosed, shews more in detail all circumstances of interest which took place upon the Route of Emigration.

Very Respectfully
Yo. Mo. Ob. Sert
Edw Deas
Lieut US Army
Disb Agent
Ind Dept

Articles of Agreement Made on the 23rd April 1838 between Edw. Deas Lieut. US Army for and on behalf of the U. States of the one part and______ _______ of the other party. 1st The said _____ ______ agrees to furnish one large road wagon & team & driver all to be of good quality and he to find the same, and to have twenty-five hundred pounds of Indians, or Baggage, or both from the Cherokee Camp in Mc Lean’s Bottom Arks , to such point in the Cherokee Country West, as may be required, and to travel not to exceed twenty miles a day, as may be directed by the Conductor of the Party. 2nd The said _____ ______ agrees to obey all reasonable directions from the Agents of the U. States in regard to traveling and encamping, and that no unkind treatment shall be shown by himself or driver to the Indians or their slaves. 3rd That for each and every day that the above named wagon is employed the said Edw Deas agrees that the said _____ _____ shall be entitled to received from the U. States, six dollars, and also six dollars for every twenty iles returning, and Ferriages returning. 4th The U. States will be responsible for no accidents and any violation of the above articles by either Party thereto, voids all obligation on the others. In witness where of the Parties have hereunto placed their hands and seals the day and date above written.

Signd Edw Deas
Lieut US Army
Signd _____ _____
Witnesses _____ _____
_____ _____

Source: Lt. Edward Deas to C.A. Harris, May 5th 1838, National Archives Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Letters Received, Cherokee Emigration, Roll 115, D217.

Updated 2.25.2010