field notes ➤ Thomas Nairne, 1708

❝ To Mr. Robert Fenwick

Chicasaws, Aprill the 13th 1708

Sir, Designing for the Chicasaws I set out from the ochessees [Ochese Creeks] with Mr. Welch, on Tuesday February the 25th crossed over Cusa or the main branch of Mobile river. Our Company consisted only of 10 Chicasaws 16 Tallapoosies, whom the Chiefs appointed for my guard and to carry my goods and 25 Apalachys that were burtherners for my Fellow Traveler, who was goeing a Trading. . . .

We pitched camp allwayes about 2 or 3 a Clock (that any straggler might have time to come up) then the Ladies went to making Broath or roasting Turkeys or what else we had. When the camp was placed the usuall divertion of the hunters was either to look for Bare, fire a ring for Dear or go to the Clay pitts and shoot Buffeloes, . . . In killing Buffeloes they Aim at the yearlings and heifers, being the tenderest and indeed no Beef exceeds them. After shooting 3 or 4 of these, no remonstrances can prevail with the savages to march farther that day, but the Ketles and spits to work. Sir, A hasty man can worst of any Travell in Company with them, their whole discourse is, here’s excellent grownd for bears or Turkeys, in this canepeice we shall surely meet with Buffaloes, and ‘twold in their oppinion be perfect folly to pass by without hunting them. The heads of you Brittans have in them a 1000 projects and chimeras, about makeing yourselves great, rich, and the Lord knows what, this keeps you perpetually in a hurry, which the more prudent savages avoid by making happiness consist of a few things.  They’re in the highest felicity when after a prosperous mornings hunt, they sit with their mistresses, by some prety Brook under the shady trees, enjoying the Fruits of their Labour. ❞

Nairne’s Muskhogean Journals:
The 1708 Expedition to the Mississippi River

edited by Alexander Moore
(University Press of Mississippi, 1988)

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