1764 Morris

Thomas Morris (1758-1802) was sent by Colonel John Bradstreet to deliver to the French commader of Fort Chartes, New Orleans. Morris took only a small company to travel the distance to New Orleans which was wilderness. He escaped death a number of times before arriving safely back at Detroit without having accomplished his impossible mission.

Captain Thomas Morris...We met three Hurons on horseback, who told us, the peace was concluded, that the Uttaways had returned the day before to their villages, and that General Bradstreet was to be at Cedar-Point that night on his way to Sandusky. One of these Indians had been present when I was a prisoner at Attawang's village; and though I was dressed like a Canadian, and spoke French to Godefroi to prevent discovery, recollected me to be the Englishman he had seen there. I have him a letter from St. Vincent to Pondiac which I had promised to deliver. They then took their leave of us; and as soon as they were out of sight, we turned into the great path, and putting our Indians on our horses, Godefroi and I walked a very great rate. We arrived at the Pootiwatamy village at a quarter past three, where I had the pleasure of seeing English colours flying. I wanted to avoid the village; but the chief, being very hungry (for we had eat nothing that day) fell into a passion, and asked what we were afraid of. He knew he ran no risk here. I was a little vexed, and mounting my horse bid him follow. I went to the village, where I bought a little Indian corn and a piece of venison; and then Godefroi and I rode on till it was dark, in hopes of reaching Detroit the next day; and finding water, made a fire near it, and passed the night there, having left our fellow-travellers to sleep with the Pootiwatamis; who, as none of them knew me, were told by Godefroi that I was gone to the country of the Ilinois, and that he growing tired of the journey, and wanting to see his children, was on his return home. The next morning we set out at dawn of day; and, to save ourselves the trouble of making a raft, took the upper road, though the journey was much longer that way, hoping to find the river fordable, in which we were not disappointed. We travelled this day a great way, and our horses were so much fatigued, that they were hardly able to carry us towards the close of day. We found fresh horse-dung on the road, which Godefroi having curiously examined, knew that some Indians had just passed that way; and by their tracks he was sure they were before us. He therefore made an excuse to halt for about an hour, endeavouring to conceal the truth from me; but I was no stranger to his real motive. However, about seven o'clock we arrived at Detroit; whence I was fifty leagues distant when I left the Miamis river and struck into the woods: and by the circuit I was obliged to make to avoid pursuit, I made it at least fourscore leagues, or two hundred and forty miles. The Huron and his people did not arrive till many days after, and in three different parties. They had lost their way; were obliged to divide to divide themselves into small bodies in order to seek for game; had suffered extremely by fatigue and hunger; one having died by the way, and all the rest being very ill when they reached Detroit. . . . Immediately after my arrival in Detroit, I sent an express to General Bradstreet, with an account of my proceedings, and to warn him of the dangerous situation he was in, being advanced some miles up the Sandusky river, and surrounded with treacherous Indians. The moment he received my letter, he removed, falling down the river, till he reached Lake Erie: by this means he disappointed their hopes of surprising his army. . . .Another curious fact respecting the waters of these lakes is, that they rise for seven years and fall for seven years; or in other words, there is a seven year tide. . . . It may not be improper to mention, that if I could have completed the tour intended, viz. from Detroit to New Orleans, thence to New York, and thence to Detroit again, whence I set out, it would have been a circuit little short of five thousand miles. Detroit, September 25, 1764. From: JOURNAL OF CAPTAIN THOMAS MORRIS. In Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. London: 1791. Reprint edition: Readex Microprint, 1966: 34-39.See Also: Early Western Travels. 1: 296-299.