« ZurückWeiter »
it is full of perch, and we managed to take a few, although the net was not deep enough to reach the bottom. We travelled this day about 12 miles. We were here no less than four different travelling parties.
March 2nd.—Mr. Egerton started early this morning, with one servant, for the Presidio del Rio Grande, in order to bring carts ; it being my wish to leave the road and go to the Moras at once, without going across the river. We were unable to proceed to-day, as some of the Mexicans had lost their cattle.
March 3rd.--At midnight Mr. Egerton returned with the news that the water in the Rio Grande was very low, and that he had discovered a good road on the opposite side of the river to a pass opposite our lands; I therefore thought it better to proceed by that route. We accordingly started about nine o'clock. In the beginning we had to pass through the same kind of sandy tract we had experienced the day before yesterday; but, after travelling about a league we entered on a very fine plain, with very rich lands covered with excellent pasture; but unfortunately completely naked of timber, and very deficient in water. We proceeded about six leagues to a place called San Ambrosio, but found the bed about a league farther, where there are several pools of muddy water.
March 4th.Started about nine o'clock. Mr. Egerton went forward to the Presidio del Rio Grande, to purchase some small stores. The train, after advancing through the same kind of country as yesterday for about ten miles, arrived at one o'clock on the banks of the Rio Grande, which is here a fine stream about three hundred yards wide. The people were all delighted at the appearance of the river, no one supposing it to be so large. We sent across to ascertain its depth, and found it to be about three feet the whole distance. We encamped on the left bank, and spent the afternoon in preparing the loads for the passage in such a manner as not to wet the articles.
March 5th.—After repairing the banks, we passed the river without much trouble, and encamped upon the south bank.
March 6th.–We proceeded as far as the Mission of San Bernardo, about five miles from the river, and close to the Presidio of Rio Grande. This last is a small village with about seven hundred inhabitants. There are some large houses in it, and several gardens. The people were very civil to us : altogether, I liked it much better than either Bexar or La Bahia. I here bought two cows, with their calves; besides some animals to kill.-In the afternoon we, as usual, were visited by nearly all the inhabitants of the place.
March 7th.-We began after breakfast to make preparations for starting, but the cattle had strayed a great distance, and we were consequently obliged to remain during the day.
March 8th.-We started very late from the Presidio, being obliged to leave our yoke of oxen behind, they having strayed away.
We continued travelling till eight o'clock, when we arrived at a brook called San Domingo. We made to-day about twenty miles. I bought in the Presidio two cows and calves, and two fat heifers.
March 9th.—Started at half-past eight. About seven miles from the starting-place, we came to a very fine pool of water called San Nicholas. We saw a great number of wild horses. After travelling about fifteen miles, we encamped on the Rio Escondido, a very pretty stream of beautiful water, with high banks: there is also very excellent pasture here. We were obliged to make the road for about three hundred yards down the side of a steep hill, and through very thick underwood and bush.
March 10th.-Mr. Egerton started this morning for San Fernando. We proceeded up the same bank of the river to look for a pass, as the water was too deep and the banks too high for us to advance on the road. After proceeding about a league, we came to the pass which had been discovered by the guide. It turned out to be a very good one; but, in passing down to the “bottom,” we unfortunately upset one of our carts. We crossed the stream without farther accident, and on the opposite bank we found five Shawnee Indians encamped, hunting beaver.
One or two of them spoke English perfectly. They had caught about forty beavers, and expressed their intention of following us to the lands and spending some time there in hunting. About a mile farther on, we entered on a very fine low plain, with very rich land, forming a kind of extensive bottom to the Rio Grande. After proceeding some distance across this plain, the cattle began to give up, and we were obliged to encamp about three o'clock, although we had no water. We travelled to-day ten miles.
March 11th. I started very early to discover a good pass across the river. We proceeded for some distance to what is called the Paso de la Navaja, but found that it would be impossible to cross here without working for several days; I accordingly returned to the train, and sent Mr. Paulson and the guide farther up the river. They met us about mid-day, with the information that we could cross at an upper pass.
We proceeded, and there encamped on the edge of the descent into the bottom; having travelled about ten miles. Soon after our encamping we were joined by our Shawnee friends :—the hunter killed a very fine she bear, and brought three young cubs to the train.
March 12th.—All hands went to work with great industry, making the road to the pass; a very arduous task, as we had about half a league to go before we arrived at the water, over very uneven ground, and through thick willow swamps. We had likewise to pass, for about a quarter of a mile, obliquely across the river, in order to take advantage of the shallow places; but still the water was in some parts three feet and a half deep. After a very hard day's work, I had the pleasure of once more encamping on our” side of the river. Mr. Egerton about sunset arrived from San Fernando. The Shawnees once more encamped along-side of us; we were also joined by an American hunter, with his wife and children. The Mexican carts all quitted us here, leaving us entirely to our own resources.
March 13th.-We remained in our encampment all today, arranging what things we could take with us, being
obliged to leave the greater part of them behind, under a guard of men. I agreed with the Shawnees that they should hunt for me for some time, and they started to try their fortune on the Moras river; I likewise engaged the American who joined us last night as a hunter.
March 14th. -We started very early, with all the party excepting Mr. Addicks and two Mexicans, who remained behind to take care of the things. We passed across some most beautiful plains of rich black loam, but entirely destitute of timber, and with no water for irrigation. The plains are bounded by low limestone hills: on the top of one we discovered a small spring; in fact I have no doubt that water might be obtained in any part of the plains, by digging a few feet. After travelling about fifteen miles, we halted at “El Saucillo," a deep brook, the banks of a most curious formation.
March 15th.-Started about nine o'clock: myself and the rest of the gentlemen left the train and rode forward to look at the proposed site of the new town. It gave us satisfaction, and we returned down the stream, where we found the train encamped, after having travelled about four miles. March 16th.-The train started about nine o'clock for
. Las Moras; but self and some of the gentlemen went down the stream, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there were an eligible spot for the town nearer to the Rio Grande. In this we were disappointed, as the stream gradually sank deeper between its banks, and according to the reports of our Mexican guides, it occasionally dried up in very hot seasons. Although we failed in our primary object, we had the satisfaction of discovering a most splendid fall of about fifteen feet. The stream divides itself into two nearly equal branches, which embrace a small island, and then fall over a strong bed into the same basin ; forming one of the finest natural mill sites that can be conceived. This being St. Patrick's eve, we christened this spot “ San Patricio.” We continued travelling for about ten miles, when, to our great joy, we encamped on the side of the future “ Villa de Dolores," and had just time to get our tents rigged before a most violent storm of thunder, lightning, and rain came on.
The stream of Las Moras is a very pretty one, about three yards across, and averages, at the present time, about two feet and a half in depth; the water is beautifully clear, and runs on a level with the surface of the “ bottoms.” It has several very pretty groves of timber, consisting principally of live and white oak, and elm. The “bottoms below the villa, for some miles, are very broad, and exceedingly rich; in some places, where the beavers have made dams, the water has spread over several acres in width, offering excellent rice grounds.
The site of the Villa de Dolores, our new town, is upon the left bank of the stream, in a small grove of live oak and thick underwood; it rises gradually from the stream, leaving a small “bottom" of beautiful land for gardens. On the opposite side of the stream is a small grove containing some pretty sticks of timber. The selection of this spot does great credit to the taste and judgment of Mr. Egerton, who chose it in his former expedition.
March 17th.-The Mexicans are employed in riding round us in circles, that we may have timely notice of the approach of any enemy, though this does not appear very probable, as we have clear proofs that none have been here since Mr. Egerton's visit, his marks not having been disturbed. Besides this, we found the cover of a bed upon the spot where he lost it! All hands are diligently employed in clearing a square space of ground in the centre of the grove, for a fortification and temporary residence, until houses can be built.
By the afternoon, we had a square of about fifty yards on each side, sufficiently clear for our camp: we removed into it, having a fence of loose brush all round us, with only one entrance for the carts and waggons. On one side we dug a well, and found beautiful water at four feet.
March 18th. The people employed in clearing away round our “ fort” have also begun to build themselves