The 1756-1779 Site of Arkansas Post or "Ft. Desha" (3DE23)
Site 3DE23 is almost certainly the location of Arkansas Post during the time of the Seven Years or French and Indian War through the initial years of the American Revolution. After the intermittent locality on the Little Prairie (House et al. 1999, Stewart-Abernathy and House 2000), the colonial Arkansas French post occupations in the Menard vicinity was transferred three times: first briefly upstream to a larger, higher piece of Pleistocene terrace (the Ecore Rouge, or "Red Bluff," of the Grand Prairie); then, to the mouth of the Arkansas River; and finally, back upstream to the Grand Prairie, where the settlement stood until the American Civil War (Arkansas Post National Monument, APNM). The site discussed in this paper, the ill-fated location at the Mississippi-Arkansas confluence, lasted about a quarter of a century (1756-1779). This downstream location was selected in order to provide better access for the French Mississippi River convoys, which were, however, to almost end soon after its establishment. The site finally had to be abandoned due to flooding. There is only a small, poorly-documented collection of material from it and several documentary descriptions.
The site, named "Fort Desha" through an error of Cyrus Thomas (1894:241 (Figure 148); Jeter 1990:240) or the other editors of the Bureau of Ethnology (later subsumed in the Smithsonian Institution) is called 3DE23 in the trinomial system. The site had other names (Los Arcos, Ft. St. Louis) in the colonial correspondence, to be discussed below. The fort's earthworks were sketched around 1880 and surface collected around 1970. Flooding subsequently destroyed a well shaft that had been noted as the source of European artifacts. This well figures in the final colonial documents from the sites. Arkansas Archeological Survey archaeologist Burney McClurkan (1971) visited the site and collected some information about it, as well as the small artifact assemblage. He believed the site dated 1735-1750 (McClurkan 1972). He presented his findings to the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) in 1971. The interpretation of the site, down to such basics as date, has changed significantly since that time. Therefore, given the just-mentioned findings further elucidating both the Menard-Lake Dumond (3AR4 and 3AR110) location of the earliest Arkansas Posts and Walthall's more recent (1991) analysis of colonial materials from the latest Arkansas Post, it seemed worthwhile to dust off the 3DE23 collections and re-evaluate them.
The region around the lower Arkansas River has a number of contact period Native American sites. These sites have popularly been attributed to the Quapaw, but in all likelihood other ethnic groups such as the poorly-know Gulf-speaking Tunica and Koroa, or the Wichita and other Caddoan-speakers are also represented. A small number of sites produce glass beads and brass ornaments in association with late ceramics and the Nodena arrow-thumbnail endscraper lithic complex. It has thus far proven impossible to sort these contact period components chronologically, although House (199--) has suggested a two- fold division of the protohistoric period, parallel to that suggested by Ford (1961). A better understanding of the history of the French and Spanish colonial trade and administration is essential to comprehending the latest (post-1700) Quapaw assemblages. French ceramics and trade goods have been recovered from eighteenth century Choctaw, Natchez, Tunica, Chickasaw, Illinois, and Osage sites, among others, in the region surrounding the Quapaw territory. Quapaw sites of the third quarter of the eighteenth century have not been specifically identified and the contemporary Quapaw villages were not in the immediate vicinity of 3DE23.
I noticed a small collection of French ceramics from this site around 1995 while searching the University of Arkansas-Monticello collections for Desha County Mississippian components, but didn't think much about it at the time. I ran in to it again while working for University of Arkansas-Monticello Station Archaeologist Marvin Jeter in 1998, and was told that there was another small collection from the site that is displayed at the Desha County Museum in Dumas that needed documentation. This I did with the assistance of Arkansas Archaeological Society member James Best. I also discovered that McClurkan's photographs are on file at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, documenting other materials retained by artifact collectors. Putting all the collections together, the artifacts still comprise a small, poorly documented collection, but one worth reviewing in light of the recent discovery of a large surface scatter of French ceramics in the Menard locality (the Wallace Bottom site, 3AR179, located by David Jeane (1998) and his site survey seminar during the 1998 Arkansas Archeological Society training program at the Menard-Hodges-Lake Dumond site complex).
This article describes the 1756-1779 Arkansas Post through a chronicle of events at and related to this small settlement, a review of previous archaeological investigations, and examination of artifacts recovered from the site 3DE23.
3DE23 lies along Jefferson Bend, just above where the Arkansas River flows into the Mississippi River. The area is a hardwood swamp forest with extensive and continual reworking of sediment by deep flooding. It is the furthest downstream of the three Arkansas Post locations, and lies below the partial confluence of the White River with the Arkansas and below the White River's secondary pass to the Mississippi River (that is, on the south side of Big Island). These two factors mitigated against the success of the location as a military, trading, or agricultural colony. Flooding made occupation, farming, stock-tending, and storage there impractical or impossible while the setting below Big Island (separating the mouths of the White and the Arkansas) allowed British, American, and eastern Indian traders and hunters to infiltrate the Arkansas River basin by way of the unguarded upstream White River mouth.
The Deposit and Artifact Recovery
Edward Palmer's 1882 notes for 3DE23 describe an earthen-walled European fort in Desha County, Arkansas (Thomas 1985:241 (Figure 148); Jeter 1990:240). The BAE final report includes a sketch, probably engraved by W.H. Holmes, of a quadrilateral earthwork with corner bastions and a ramp to the Arkansas River bank. One corner had a large depression, presumed then to be a powder magazine; it more likely was the well described below. The square form with corner bastions corresponds to that described by Pittman (1906), who will be cited below. Thomas (1894:237-239) describes the "ancient fort" popularly believed to be the work of DeSoto, but recognizes it was more likely a French trading post. Also, "there is a ridge near by on which are found indications of houses such as were built by whites." Thomas (1894:238) gives measurements of a 150 yard square embankment then 4 feet high with a 250-yard-long graded path to the former river-bank and a 6 foot deep hole, as shown in his Figure 148, believed to be the magazine. These measurements are not in Palmer's notes, which are cited in full below. Thomas (1894:139) also gives further information not in Palmer's notes: "The articles picked up here from time to time and found in the process of cultivating the soil belong both to the days of the first settlement of the country and to very modern times." The site was perhaps revisited by another BAE fieldworker, perhaps Holmes, tocomplete the documentation. Jeter (1990:217, 227, 240) gives Palmer's original 1882 description of "remains of old fortification on Arkansas River, Desha Co. Ark.", which was modified in the final report (Thomas 1985):
On what is known as the Turner Place & now owned by the widow of Thomas Bizzell are the outlines of an old fortification. 400 yards from the old part of the Arkansas River there is ¾ of an acre within its boundary. It is 4 ft. high. It has been a garden for years. There is a path from it to where the Arkansas River formerly ran. This path is 35 ft. wide at the part & 15 ft. at the lower part.There appears to have been 50 yards of new land made from this path to the now River....This fort was made very probably to protect a French trading post. As Mr. Oliver Bizzell says, numerous thimbles, pipes, broken dishes, parts of revolvers, guns, & pieces of silver coin have been found, as if the centre had been used for gun sight. The remains of an old Forge were uncovered a short time ago and Chinese & other coins were found with broken articles of Indian origin. A Chinese coin and part of a pistol (stone) were presented to that gentleman, who says that stone bullet moulds have been found. The specimens mentioned have been forwarded under Number 422. Not far from the Fort is a ridge that appears to have had houses of European origin upon it. At one comer of the fort is a hole 16 ft. deep, supposed to have been a magazine.... Part of a stone pistol found here No 798--the chinese coin.
The Arkansas site file reports that there are Smithsonian catalog cards available for the site (ms. on file AAS-UAF). In 1997, while visiting the Smithsonian, I looked for these items. I never found the "stone pistol," but I did see the Chinese coin from "Old French Fort" (catalog number AO 82482). It is a bronze cash with raised, flat rim; square central hole and embossed characters attributing it to an imperial mint. The 2.5 cm diameter bronze coin has a square .7 cm hole with raised flat rim .2 cm thick. There are four characters around the interior of the coin "qian long tong bao." On the reverse are short inscrptions in two other Asian scripts. The recessed spaces of the coin are encrusted with a black patina such as is acquired from handling. It does not appear to have lain in the ground for a century. Perhaps it was a joke at Palmer's expense. However, the cash bears the name of the second Qing emperor, the great and long-lived scholar-emperor Qian Long, who reigned 1736-1795, expanding the empire to its greatest extent in land and population up to that time (Paludan 1998:196-202). The Qian Long reign completely encompasses the occupation span of 3DE23, so, although it does not have the appearance of a field find, it is consistent with the historically documented occupation span.
The cemetery mentioned by Palmer's informants was still visible, although silted over, in the early twentieth century, when historians began to consider the significance of the Post in the early history of the state. In 1943 Dr. T. L. Hodges visited the location, getting as far as the nineteenth-century cemetery which serves as the only landmark in the area, but did not locate any colonial deposits. In a 1948 letter Sam Dickinson reported to S. C. Dellinger that Ft. Desha was in the vicinity of Big Island, but when he looked at the suspected location, he found nothing, as the landowner had predicted (notes on file, Arkansas Archaeological Survey, Pine Bluff).
Notes made by UAPB station archeologists Burney McClurkan and Leslie Stewart-Abernathy, on file at the AAS-UAPB office, provide a chronology of more recent efforts to relocate the site. In the late 1960s, some fishermen boating on the lower Arkansas River noted what appeared to be an old well curb or casing eroding from the riverbank. They investigated this feature and, also being artifact collectors, made a collection of the material associated with it. Later that year, one of the fishermen, dug into the supposed well shaft, recovering more European artifacts. Recognizing that the materials were not ordinary nineteenth-century domestic debris, he contacted Arkansas Archeological Survey regional archaeologist Burney McClurkan at Arkansas AM&N (now the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff). With subsequent visits, McClurkan and the informant enlarged the collection of ceramics, bottle glass, bone, metal, and other material. A portion of the collection was retained by the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and another part was donated to the Desha County Museum. The artifact collector kept an unknown portion of the collection as well. In 1969 and 1970, McClurkan revisited the site and collected an additional small quantity of material, reporting in 1971 that the site might be buried under 8-10 feet of silt. He visited the site several times, once with AAS archeologist Martha Rolingson and also invited some people to try, unsucessfully, metal detecting. McClurkan'sphotos also show that he relocated the Turner cemeteray monument and that he viewed the locality from the air. No extensive work was ever conducted.
McClurkan also met with Corps of Engineers officials to discuss the significance of the find and a bank stabilization plan had just been prepared when 1972 winter river flooding significantly eroded the location, apparently removing all trace of the well noted by the fishermen. It was never determined exactly how much of the 1756-1779 Arkansas Post fort site was left, but it is doubtful that very much of it remained when it was brought to the attention of the Survey. It is generally assumed that the site has been destroyed, but this has not been verified. Palmer described the Arkansas River as having moved away from the site by the 1880s; by 1970, the river had cut back across, apparently to the back wall of the fort. Twenty years later, the bankline has receded farther.
On 23 April 1984, a newspaper article appeared detailing the collector Harvey McGehee's activities at the site (Launius 1984). This article adds some important details. The feature when first identified appeared to be a wooden well housing protruding from the riverbank, "built out of cypress shakes.. .put together with wooden pegs." McGehee began with digging through the mud in the well, eventually finding a pipe howl with a maker's mark he identified as Dutch, ca. 1757. He also said that when he and McClurkan visited the site by boat, "When we hit the bank, Burney jumped out to pull the boat up and found half a French plate right there on the bank...[we collected] a five-gallon bucket of artifacts that day." Furthermore, "you could actually see where the walls of the fort had been, and there was a lot of bricks washing out of the bank" and a lead seal "a little bigger than a silver dollar...was traced to a bale of goods shipped from a French fort in Canada to Fort Desha." Some wine bottles were intact, with corks in them; one is shown in the newspaper article. After the site was eroded away, McGehee reported he found more material on a down-stream sandbar (Launius 1984).
According to Arkansas Archeological Survey notes on file at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, in 1983 Leslie Stewart-Abernathy, John House, and Morris Arnold attempted to relocate the area that McClurkan had visted around 1970. They traveled through dense woods covering a hunting club which had lost approximately 2500 acres to the river since 1971. The bankline was estimated to have retreated 350 m since the 1972 flood. Stewart-Abernathy's weekly report (documents on file Arkansas Archeological Survey Coordinating Office) notes, "If any of the...settlement remains, it has to be the line of habitant houses inland and therefore back of the area identified as a fort by Palmer but probably no more than a garden with a low levee around it.. . We did not locate the grave on the quad, but we do think that land still exists anyway. Along the easterly edge of the point and then crossing northward across the point to the collapsing bank there is an elevated strip with a...slave levee road...." He notes that he and House scraped the collapsing bank profile, photographed, and measured it, and put together a rough map. They sketched the approximate new bankline on a quadrangle. The basis for their mapping was a cemetery monument then lying in middle of a peninsula 115 m wide, but shown as 500 m wide on the 1972 quadrangle. With the exception of the annotated quadrangle, I have not located the 1983 documents.
The Date of the Site
A primary reason for bringing this material before the public again is to clarify its chronological position. McClurkan (1971) thought the site dated to 1735-1750, Arnold (19--), with further research, cites the post as being there from 1756 to 1779. The mid eighteenth century was a critical juncture in North American history, with large shifts in imperial territories. It was during this time that France lost territory worldwide, mostly to Britain. Louisiana was ceded to Spain, who would prove unable to hold it against the British and the successors to their interests, the Americans. Overall, Spain could not modify, and generally did not desire to modify, colonial relationships with the Native American tribes that had been instituted by the French. However, some larger imperial aims (such as restrictions on firearms, alcohol, slavery, and free trade) were bound to clash with French practice. It made Spanish tenure of the Arkansas Post and other garrisons and trading houses difficult among tribes long accustomed to the French, such as the Quapaw, Illinois, and Osage. The later part of the Ft. Desha occupation took place during the American Revolution, which sent many unaligned Anglo-Americans across to the Mississippi Valley.
Descriptions of the Fort
The document trail from the French and Spanish administrations that Morris Arnold has traced provides a number of descriptive and sometimes highly evocative passages concerning the lower Arkansas Post, such as "le re'duit le plus desagre'able de l'universe"-"the most disagreeable pit in the universe (Arnold 1985)." There is a bill for work done early in the fort's occupation detailing repairs, maintenance, additions, and architectural materials. Commissary agent Laysard was assiduous in his correspondence describing his poverty, the ruinous flooding, and the cupidity of his commandants. Laysard lived with his wife, children, Negroes, and animals in a 25 by 10 foot cabin, built on piles, with a single mud-and-stick chimney, and he had a levee built around his garden. By the 1770s when the Osage threatened, Commandant Leyba reported the palisade insubstantial and the cannon inoperative--"We can only die killing"--and repairs were made. Sergeant Garcia, having commanded the fort several times, died there, along with at least 10 others, mostly soldiers, in the quarter century occupation. In 1763 British Royal Engineer and spy Phillip Pittman also reported a rotten stockade and quarters beside eight house at the traders' landing.
Besides the commandants, commissary agents, junior grade officers and troopers, there were a variety of other servants of the king in residence there from time to time: clerks, architects, a Scottish blacksmith, and a baker. The priest left early, in a huff. Many of the senior officers are known to have had wives with them, and the traders and hunters generally seem to have had Indian wives. Bricks were made, cypress cut, and land cleared, leveled, and ditched. We know that the garrison fluctuated, but was generally small at 20 to 30 men, and that the three Quapaw villages were several leagues away. The permitted and censused habitants hunted most of the year, coming sometimes to the post to exchange their hides and oil for more ball and powder for themselves and their illegally-present associates of all and sundry nations. By the end, the few traders actually resident dealt more with the Americanized hunters than with the now-lost Illinois and Canada river traffic that had originally caused the post to be placed at such an untenable place. The neighboring Quapaw actually provided little trade; most of thier commerce was with the British Ozark or Concordia trading post on the east bank of the Mississippi in the area of modernIslands 70 and71 (Bragg 1977:111), where the trade was in corn, needed by the Franco-Hispanic garrison, for rum the British found not-unethical to sell Indians. The details of these site descriptions are integrated in detail it the following chronicle of events at the 1756-1779 Arkansas Post. The chronicle also attempts to place the events in their wider political context and to bring together what can be learned about the Quapaw villages of the same era.
Chronicle of Arkansas Post (1756-1779)
1756 Sieur Francois Marie de Reggio, commandant since 1752, moves the post downstream from its short-lived first Encores Rouges (Arkansas Post National Memorial) site for the convenience of ships ascending the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the Illinois settlements (Arnold 1985:34). The new location had no chapel and De Reggio made no move to supply one, aggravating the resident Jesuit priest Louis Carette, who had been with the Post since 1750 (Arnold 1985:116). The Commandant's dining room was the only place he could conduct religious services, and the chickens and ill-conduct of the men disturbed Carette's efforts (Arnold 1985:117). Four soldiers are reported to have died in 1756, they were Jean Baptiste Bernard, F. Blare, Jospeh Picon of Murat's Company, and Corporal Jean Nicolet, dit (nicknamed) La Roze, who was killed, either through murder or manslaughter, by another soldier (Andres 1987).
Quapaw chief Guedetonguay went to New Orleans to plead for the lives of four French deserters whom the Quapaws had captured and whom French officials intended to execute ( Arnold 1985:24). One of them, Jean Baptiste Bernard, had killed Nicolet before leaving the fort. Guedetonguay cited the Quapaws' recent capture of 5 Choctaws and 2 English and the fact that the French deserters had sought refuge in the "Cabanne de Valeur"; Ouyayonsas, the chief of this place of refuge, was also in New Orleans to plead with Gov. Kerlerec. The deserters were expediently pardoned to retain Quapaw loyalty (Arnold l985:28). Siouan customary law allowed protection to anyone who sought refugee in the houses of the Peace chiefs; the Frenchmen were evidently aware of this law. The practice is described in detail in reference to the Osage, where the chiefs of the Tzi-Sho (Sky/Peace) moiety provided this sanctuary even to tribal enemies (Mathews 1961:78, 101); presumably Guedetonquay was a Quapaw Honga (or Hunkah, Land/War) chief and Ouyayonsas a Peace chief.
1757 Capt. J. F. Gouyon (or Guyon) Gamont de la Rochette, who had a wife and child prior to 1752, arrived to take command, along with Canadian garde magazine (storekeeper or commissary agent) Ettienne Maraffret Laysard, who had a wife and six children by 1758 (Andres 1987). Other officers present at the initiation of the new fort were Ensign Dussuau, Second Ensign Bachemin, and an architect, M. Debat (Andres 1987). Louis Ourdier of Reggio's Company died in this year (Andres 1987). The four soldiers who died in 1756 may or may not have been buried at the new post, but as the settlement was fully established by 1757, Ourdier probably would have been buried there. Records dating 1757 through 1769 bear repeated mention of Joseph Landrouy, of Reggio's Company, serving as courier to New Orleans (Andres 1987). Another resident mentioned in 1757 and 1758 is one Hollindre (Andres 1987).
1758 A year of flooding. Two additional architects, Monin de Champigny and M. Badon, worked on the fort. The storekeeper, Layssard, reports that the new houses were built on stakes to raise them above the water (Arnold 1985:6, 41). This technique may have been adopted from the Mississippi Valley Indians; two prehistoric pile houses have been excavated in Late Mississippian Parchman phase contexts in the adjacent Upper Sunflower basin (Connaway 1984) and both the DeSoto chronicles (Varner and Varner -----) and early French accounts (Goldtwait-----) mention raised structures. Layssard alone had saved his crop by having a levee thrown up around his garden. Building activity included construction of an Indian trade house 26 x 19 feet beside the fort; it was of post-in-ground construction (Arnold 1985:34). Layssard wrote long letters complaining about his poverty and his commandant, De Gamon de La Rochette--de la Rochette claimed to he "sole master of all the commerce, of the garrison, as well as the voyageurs [and of the Quapaw village trade]...saying that if anything is left over the others can have it....I believe that when the commandant sells to a private person he is a merchant like me" (Arnold 1985:40). Layssard also complains that he had his wife, 4 children, 5 slaves, a dog, a cat, and chickens all living with him in a 25 x 10 feet house with only one chimney to serve them all (Arnold 1985:41).
The garrison was at 50 men, but Pere Carette left for New Orleans in disgust at the irreligious attitudes of the French and Quapaws, having auctioned his goods and paid his debts at the store (Arnold 1985:117). There would be no other clergy resident at Arkansas Post while it lay on the lowermost Arkansas River. Other residents that year included Louis Dulinot de Chalmette and another named or nicknamed "La Fleur" (Andres 1987).
1759 Jean Desgoulets deserted and troopers J.F. Fournier, Claude Antoine Prevost, and Pierre Tamoineau died, two other troops mentioned as present that year were Pierre Georges Lerat and Charles Lorette (Andres 1987).
1762 France secretly cedes Louisiana to Spain (Arnold 1985:43). A scribe, Rene Jean Gabriel Fazende arrived at the Post already sick (Andres 1987).
1763 A well-traveled, retired French officer, Bernard La Harpe, wrote in his entertaining memoir that it is a 2 week trip down from Arkansas Post to New Orleans and that the return trip upstream takes 6 to 8 weeks (Arnold 1985:29). De Brichet served as commandant until replaced by Capt. Pierre Marie Cabret de Trepy (or Detrepi) and Pierre de Montchervaux served as Ensign (Andres 1987).
1764 The village of St. Louis (Missouri) is founded by 15-year-old Auguste Chouteau to provide a west-bank refuge for Franco-Canadians fleeing the British takeover of the Illinois county (Arnold 1985:74). At Arkansas Post, Francoise Lepine, daughter of Anne Catherine Chenalenne the widow of Francois Sarrazin, contracts a second marriage to Jean Baptiste Tisserant de Montcharvaux, officer, interpreter, and son of the 1743 commandant (Arnold 1985:37). The contract was made by Capt. Pierre Marie Cabaret Detrepi, Commandant (Arnold 1985:30). Later that year, Ensign Grandcour begins his tour of duty as commandant, which lasts until 1768 (Andres 1987). Others known to be present that year were Carayon (Andres 1987).
1765 British Capt. Phillip Pittman of the Royal Engineers (Artillery), visits the Mississippi Valley; in 1770 his report "The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi" is published (Pittman 1906). His description of the "Post of Arcansas" is revealing and worth quoting in full.
The fort is situated three leagues up the river Arcansas, and is built with stockades, in a quadrangular form; the sides of the exterior polygon are about one hundred and eighty feet, and one three pounder is mounted in the flanks and faces of each bastion. The buildings within the fort are, a barrack with three rooms for the soldiers, commanding officer's house, a powder magazine, and a magazine for provisions, and an apartment for the commissary, all which are in a ruinous condition. The fort stands about two hundred yards from the water-side, and is garrisoned by a captain, a lieutenant [ensign in the French terminology], and thirty soldiers, including serjeants and corporals. There are eight houses without the fort, occupied by as many families, who have cleared the land about 900 yards in depth; but on account of the sandiness of the soil, and the lowness of the situation, which makes it subject to be overflowed, they do not raise their necessary provisions. These people subsist mostly by hunting, and every season send to New Orleans great quantities of bear's oil, tallow, salted buffaloe meat, and a few skins. The Arcansas or Quapas Indians live three leagues above the fort, on the side of the river; they are divided into three villages, over each of which presides a chief, and a great chief over all; they amount in all to about six hundred warriors; they are reckoned amongst the bravest of the southern Indians; they hunt little more than for their common subsistence, and are generally at war with the nations to the westward of them, as far as the Rio Bravo, and they bring in very frequently young prisoners and horses from the Cadodaquias, Paneise, Pedoquias, &c, [Caddos, Pawnees, and Padoucas] of which they dispose to the best advantage (Pittman 1906:82-83).
1766 Ulloa arrives as Spanish governor of Louisiana, prompting a rebellion of the French in New Orleans (Arnold 1985:43). One Arkansas Post soldier, Michel Chalin, is reported to have died (Andres 1987).
1767 The Montchervaux, Jr. and Sr., are reported among the residents, along with George, Remi, and Lavigne (Andres 1987).
1768 Ulloa is expelled by a rebellion in New Orleans (Arnold 1985:44). News of the rebellion in New Orleans causes merchants to refuse government script for feeding soldiers (Arnold 1985:45). Ensign Le Gros de Grandcour was replaced as Commandant by Capt. Alexandre de Clouet, who served only one year (Andres 1987). De Clouet believed liquor essential to maintaining peace with the Indians, since after four consecutive years of flooding the habitants made no crops and the Quapaw would sell thier corn only for alcohol (Arnold 1985:66). The English built a post called "Concordia" on the east bank of the Mississippi River across from the mouth of the Arkansas River to entice the Quapaw trade away from the French (Arnold 1985:66).
A census shows 12 habitant families at Arkansas Post, including those of de Clouet and La Vigne, gaurde magasin; for a total of 78 Europeans. Of these 50 were children; there were also 30 slaves (Arnold 1985:83). 1768 sees the last official mention of a notorious Arkansas riverman known as "La Jeunesse" (Andres 1987).
1769 Alexandro O'Reilly replaced Ulloa as Spanish governor of Louisiana and quickly put down the rebellion in the New Orleans area (Arnold 1985:44). Arkansas Post residents swore an oath of allegiance to Spain (Arnold 1985:46), but the commandant doubted that he had administered the oath properly, as he knew no precedent to follow (Arnold 1985:46).
Late in the year, Capt. Francois Demaselliere (or des Mazellieres, de Mazeliere; Andres 1987) took command and immediately heard complaints from Quapaws wanting to trade for alcohol (Arnold 1985:67). Quapaw chief "Long Thin One" tried to strike the commandant for refusing him a drink, Demaselliere threw him out of his house and told him not to return (Arnold 1985:67). In an attempt at enforcing this policy, a merchant's stock was confiscated because he was providing alcohol to Quapaws (Arnold 1985:67). One soldier, Mathieu Bertrand died; three other soldiers mentioned as serving at Arkansas Post that year were Pierre Chatelin, Nicolas Coquillard, and Andre La Porte (Andres 1987).
1770 At the beginning of the year, Capt. Francois Demaselliere, who served as commandant for about a year, clumsily lied to the Quapaw as to why O'Reilly had executed White rebels, saying that they were insane and that the Whites had requested they be put to death (Arnold 1985:46). He instructs that summer, quite ambiguously, but of little relevance to anyone, that the laws of the kings of France and Spain are in effect (Arnold 1985:47). The population was placed at 75, mostly merchants and absent hunters (Arnold 1985:84). Demaselliere wants to turn the "building where the public praying is done" into a one-room shelter; it was where the chaplain used to sleep (Arnold 1985:118). However, the habitants objected, recognizing it as a "chapel," even though the tablecloth and candlesticks Madame De Clouet had left were missing (Arnold 1985:118).
Antoine Lepine arrived in January, having been beaten and robbed of hides, powder, and arms by the Osages (Arnold 1985:72). In February, the commandant reports that the hunters "live a pretty fast life" and claim they owe allegiance to no-one (Arnold 1985:78). Athanase de Mezieres, Spanish lietanant governor at Natchitoches charged with protecting the Cadddos from the Osages, wrote to Gov. Ungaza that the hunters of the Arkansas River are deserters and outlaws, and that some of them have not returned to Christendom in decades to renew their passports and conduct other civil affairs, instead living inland with their Indian women slaves (Arnold 1985:78). Furthermore, these hunters supplied munitions to the Osages, encouraging them to attack his district. De Mezieres believed that if the traders nominally resident at Arkansas Post could he restrained, the Osages would pose less of a threat (Arnold 1985:79). One Francois Beaudoin, a "magnate" of the Arkansas had arrived in Natchitoches with a family and captive Indian girl; he was arrested for breaking Spanish laws prohibiting enslavement of Indians and sent to New Orleans to be tried in Ungaza's court (Arnold 1985:79).
In May, 7 Osage raiding parties ransacked the White hunters' camps along the Arkansas River, taking their guns and goods, and some hunters and their families headed for the fort. All the hunters are ordered to return to the Post (Arnold 1985:80). The Francoeur brothers, who had been around for 20 years living with Indian women, arrived from the White River with women and naked children (Arnold 1985:31). Then Sasemission and Bartolmieu showed up with their illegitimate families (Arnold 1985:531). With 70 children needing baptism, the Commandant requested that a priest visit (Arnold 1985:82). By July, some had returned to hunting despite orders not to re-supply them; Tournoir's hunters remained at the Post (Arnold 1985:81).
The merchant Tournoir took bear oil from Francoeur's boat when it arrived from the White River, claiming he had extended credit to Francoeur. Francoeur's engage (hired or contract laborer) Lambert petitioned its return so he could be paid, and with the sergeant's help it was. Francouer claimed relief as he had nothing but his gun and, at any rate, Tounoir owed him money, per a note held in New Orleans by former Commandant De Clouet. Demaselliere ordered the Tounoir party to leave, they did so insolently with a departing volley of 30 shots (Arnold 1985:55). Demaselliere allowed more men to return to fetch things from their camps, keeping their women at the Post (Arnold 1985:32). These women, presumably all Indians or mixed-bloods, and some others, were billeted at the fort for a time.
By fall, Demaselliere brings a suit against Lt. Joseph Orieta, a Spaniard, for keeping arms at home; Orieta asks to be relieved (Arnold 1985:46). Instead, Orieta is placed in command of "Los Arcos" post and, after requesting legal guidance, some form of law book to guide him arrives in fall (Arnold 1985:47). Capt. Orieta will serve as commandant until replaced the next year; he remained on duty at the post until his death sometime in the summer of 1776 (Andres 1987). A small Quapaw party leaves for a week saying they are hunting Osages (Arnold 1985:72); Capt. Orieta says he cannot stop them. Osage attacks resume in the fall, and with two hunters reported killed, many robbery victims seek refuge at Arkansas Post (Arnold 1985:73). The Quapaws asked for munitions as they say they believe the Choctaws are about to attack, this may have been a standard ruse to obtain ammunition to hunt to feed themselves (Arnold 1985:71). Also that fall two small Quapaw parties, of 6 and 10 men, set out saying they are going to attack the Osages, whether or not the Commandant permits it (Arnold 1985:72).
1771 Pierre de Montchervaux served as interpreter for negotiations between the Quapaws and the Franco-Hispanic community; the Montchervaux family had been present at the post since at least 1763 (Andres 1987). Santiago Jacquelin and wife Maria Montcharvaux (Francoise Lepine), in New Orleans, sued Francois Menard who was in Arkansas, as Menard in his capacity as Montcharvaux's agent had defrauded her of property from her estate from her previous marriage. The new commandant Fernando de Leyba is ordered to take Menard's deposition defending himself for his misappropriations. Leyba's sergeant, Garcia, was sworn in as scribe pro tempore for this proceeding (Arnold 1985:61).
1772 Castelin arrives at Arkansas Post to say that Doget and his wife and children were killed by 40 Osages. At the time of this report, the Quapaws were 40 leagues away hunting on the White River (Arnold 1985:73). As the fort is old and poorly armed, "we can only die while killing Indians," Leyba wrote. Quapaw councilors visiting New Orleans tell General O'Reilly that de Leyba, who does not speak French, does not like them, and furthermore, they are not getting paid their tribute ("presents" to the French) as they had from France (Arnold 1985:68). Lt. Gov. Piernas, devoting much of his time to the Osage problem, manages to have 2 boys captured by the Osages released to their families at the Post (Arnold 1985:75).
Tensions increased over the supply of alcohol to the Quapaws. Leyba arrests Nicholas Labussiere, the Quapaw's trader, for supplying alcohol; consequently a chief threatens to destroy the post if their trader is not returned, with drink. (Arnold 1985:68).
1773 In April, a Quapaw party brought in 5 Osage scalps and a woman captive, the chief had Leyba send the scalps to New Orleans, which he does despite standing orders to maintain peace between the Osage and their neighbors. Upon the return of the raiders, the French had called the Quapaws their protectors and embraced them, ridiculing Leyba (Arnold 1985:73,74). Presents and medals were given to the Quapaws at about this time (Arnold 1985:69). At this meeting, the Quapaw leaders allowed that they thought Leyba is getting better. Great Chief Casanonpoint died, and after the patrilineal Siouan tradition, the tribe would have made his 11-year-old son chief with elder kinsmen as regent advisors, but Leyba persuaded then to pick an older successor.
Leyba also reported to Gov. Unzaga that an Englishman living with the Quapaws and keeping a store there, married to a well-connected Quapaw girl, and dressing and acting as an Indian came before him dressed in such a manner (Arnold 1985:69). As he had only 12 or 15 men at his command, he could do nothing about this Englishman who lived under Quapaw protection (Arnold 1985:69). Leyba, like many officers before and after him, repeated his request to be relieved of his duties at the Arkansas Post (Arnold 1985:69).
A Gallego or Galician (from extreme northwestern Spain) merchant, Andres Lopez, then 39 years old, appears to have arrived at Arkansas Post in 1773; he remained with the community until at least 1788, at which time he was arrested for selling liquor to some Choctaws (Andres 1987).
1774 Leyba's successor as commandant is once again Capt. Joseph Orieta, who repaired the fort and demonstrated the guns for the benefit of Quapaws made skeptical by British comments on the dilapidated state of the defenses; they then drank to the governor in New Orleans and expelled the English trader "and his party" (Arnold 1985:70). The military complement that year included the king's blacksmith, James Strouther, presumably one of the many Scottish Jacobin refugees from English conquest then living in France; other residents included one Jacob Darsk (Andres 1987).
1775 Some Illinois present scalps of Osage horse-thieves to a Quapaw chief, who hung them on the fort gate (Arnold 1985:74).
1776 Orieta dies sometime in the summer (Andres 1987), leaving command of the post temporarily in the hands of Sergeant Garcia, until Balthazar de Villiers arrives, probably accompanied by his wife Francoise Voisin de Bonadventure (Andres 1987).
1777 In August, de Villiers reports on events since the settlement "Ft. St. Louis." He notes that it was moved in 1756, when De Reggio was commandant at Encore Rouge. The location is regularly underwater, so that the habitants and Indians are discouraged from planting corn. He believed that since the king no longer sent boats on his own account, the river traffic was slight and the 4 or 5 boats a year ascending to Illinois could be supplied from up the Arkansas (Arnold 1985:85). However, the habitants wanted to move nearer the coast, not further inland where they would be more exposed to Chickasaw attacks (Arnold 1985:85). His census shows 7 families of 50 Whites and 11 slaves; at least 4 were merchant households (Arnold 1985:85). He echoes earlier opinions of the inhabitants of Arkansas: "you would not believe the brigandage, the insubordination, and the libertinage which has reigned for so long on this river (Arnold 1985:85)."
1778 An ordinance was passed at the Post establishing that the last merchant to outfit a hunter has first claim on his new goods. Commandant De Villiers traveled 2 leagues down the river to inventory (15 page list) the goods of Pierre Laclede of St. Louis, who had died of natural causes on his boat (Arnold 1985:lll). Residents include one Mesnard, perhaps of the Illinois Menard family by then involved with the Arkansas Post community (Andres 1987).
1779 Spring flooding finally convinces the colonial administrators that the mouth-of-the-Arkansas position is untenable. The Quapaws had already given up and moved back upstream, all the cattle had drowned, the fort walls had been breached, and the well had caved in. The remaining inhabitants began the 27 mile move upstream in March, to be near a town recently settled by Quapaw from the three villages (Arnold 1985:86, 87). The first moved are some St. Francis River hunters and some Americans granted refuge after they arrived to find the English Concordia trading post abandoned (Arnold 1985:86). Later in the month, when the rest of the habitants follow the troops up, there is still 6" of water standing in the highest house (Arnold 1985:87).
De Villiers wrote to Governor Galvez that he found a regulation in place stating that sellers of alcohol must be licensed and that whiskey can be sold only at the "customary place" (Arnold 1985:70). As the Quapaws complained that all trade except alcohol was free, De Villiers decided to open the trade, but then at the settlers' protest that it endangered them, again limited it to a specific location (Arnold 1985:71). Francois Menard was fined for giving brandy to Indians (Arnold 1985:59).
Governor Galvez wrote to his lietanant governor at St. Louis that the Arkansas Commandant, Balthazar de Villiers, was complaining of Osage murder and robbery on the Arkansas, ordering him to consult with Arkansas inhabitants as to how best to stop it (Arnold 1985:75-76). The Osages are instructed to receive their presents and conduct their trade only in Illinois, despite the fact that one village of their villages already lay on the Verdigris River (above its confluence with the Neosho in northeastern Oklahoma) in the Arkansas River valley. This particular village is alleged to be the home of the Osages who were plundering the Whites and Caddos.
A small collection of artifacts (170-0 and 71-114) from 3DE23 is stored at the University of Arkansas, Monticello. The AAS-UAM collection apparently comes from the large feature interpreted as the collapsed well. The materials dispalyed at the Deshay County Museum have the same AAS catalog numberson them. Other artifacts retained by the collectors and not available for study were photographed by McClurkan; these records are on file at the UAPB office of the AAS.
The primary ceramic type represented is faience blanche, a soft earthenware with a light colored, but nor white, body and a thick tin-based enamled glaze, sometimes with blue or colored handpainted decoratation. Walthal (198--:80) notes that industrial production of faience began in the 1600s, peaked around 1730, and declined after 1785 due to competetion with white-bodied English refined earthenwares. Types represented at 3DE23 include Normandy Plain buff to salmon bodied undecorated vessels (Illinois dating 1690-1790, Walthal---:85; APNM mean ceramic date (MCD)1719(1755)1790; Walthal 1991:110) and Normandy Blue on White handpainted blue underglaze-decorated (Illinois dating 1690-1785, Walthal---:86; APNM MCD 1719(1752)1785,Walthal 1991:110). There are two varieties based on the detail and steps of decoration: var. Normandy has single color, often sloppilied applied decoration while var. Saint-Cloud has dark cobalt blue or black/purplish manganese outlines filled with lighter blue tints. Other faience blanche types are Brittany Blue on White with simple blue rim bands (1750-1765; Walthal ---:88), Siene Polychrome with high fired or grand feu colors such as copper green, antimony yellow, manganese purple/brown, and iron oxide red (Illinois 1690-1765,Walthal---:90; APNM MCD 1719(1742)1765, Walthal 1991:110); and Provence Yellow on White (Illinois 1750-1765, Walthal--:90). Lead-glazed earthenwares are of secondary importance in the collection.
Pat Martin tabulated material found before November 1971, although McGehee had found a small amount of material after that date. McClurkan (1972) presented the material described by Martin. The 32 tin-glazed earthenware sherds given in McClurkan (1972:34-36) can be summarized in the current Walthal typology as 24 Normandy Plain, 4 Normandy Blue on White (4 var. Saint-Cloud) one of which Martin believed ressembled Puebla Blue on White, 2 Brittany Blue on White, 1 Seine Polychrome, 1 Provence Yellow on White. The 11 coarse earthenware sherds have 6 attributed El Moro ware, some more probably--, 3 Redware/lead, 2 slip decorated redware.
The collection at that time totaled 43 sherds. Some, such as the exterior decorated slip-trailed joining sherds (71-114) from a flat based bowl bottom are now included with the materials displayed at the DeShay County Museum. There are 40 sherds in the presently existing UAM collection catalouged at 71-114. The largest is a big section of a Charent large bowl or milkpan, with whitish to buff and pink, slightly sandy body, and green crazed and spalling glaze. There are also 32 tin glazed faience sherds and 7 lead glazed-red body sherds. There is some vessel form information in these sherds. Five of the tin-enameled sherds are decorated. The first is a small rim fragment, probably from a yellow-bodied plate, with a trace of an encircling pale blue band (Brittany Blue on White?). The second appears to be yellow bodied holloware; on the exterior, it has parallel alternating horizontal bands of thin dark blue and wider light blue (Normandy Blue on White, var. Saint-Cloud). The third is a buff-bodied scallop-rimmed plate rim, with fragmentary dirty blue fine sawtooth line along the rim with a dark blue-black thicker element inside (Normandy Blue on White). The fourth is a body sherd with yellowish gold delicate stylized floral elements (Provence Yellow on White). The last is a body sherd probably from a buff-bodied plate rim, with an interior blue field enclosing with brown, black and white floral elements (Seine Polychrome). The 27 plain white sherds (Normandy Plain) are 15 buff-bodied, one of which is a out-turned rim, and 12 yellow-bodied, which include 2 interior inflections, a cylindrical base, and a 12-15 cm diameter exterior-rolled cylindrical rim. The tin-glazed wares represent plates and small drug/condiment jars.
The 7 brown to red or salmon bodied, lead-glazed wares all appear tocome from bowls, and include five nondistinctive body sherds and two bowl inflection points. Glazes are greenish, brownish or clear; such variation is expected in lead glazes. The sherds are 1) a small, thin bowl inflection sherd with poor interior and exterior clear glaze and a red to salmon paste with abundant white sand; 2) a thin bowl inflection with glassy thin dark slip on interior and salmon body; 3) two salmon body sherds with clear interior glazes and possible overall-underglaze reddish slips; 4) a small, deep salmon bodied hollowware vessel with interior and exterior clear glaze, and 5) two salmon bodied fragments with greenish glaze on one surface. These wares are probably all classifiable as Charent.
As is typical of interior French colonial posts, large coarse earthenware bowls and faience plates make up the majority of the assemblage of European ceramics. The site has the green lead glaze over white slip vessels referred to by Walthall as Saintonge; the ubiquitous lead glazed redwares which, when French, are called Charent; and what are probably English slip-trailed and slip-combed bowls. The totals are 9 clear lead glazed redware, 6 Saintonge green glazed, and 4 trailed, for a total of 19 large, coarseware bowls in the 92-sherd collection. Most of the assemblage consists of small, generally plain, faience sherds. Cobalt blue is the primary color used in the hand-painted decoration. There are a few Brittany Blue on White (simple banded) plates and other blue-decorated plates, platters, and bowls. The blue floral decoration is sparse and stylized, with standard rim patterns and central medallions. There are four examples of Walthall's (198--) rim pattern G and three of rim pattern C, along with two A (or Brittany) and two untyped (triangular motifs on Rouen wares). There is a single yellow (Provence) decorated hollowware sherd (pitcher?) and two polychrome sherds. With the decline of the French faience tradition and the transition to English-style refined or white-bodied earthenwares, the French use of the higher-firing colors (yellow, red, and green) declined. The few polychrome sherds from the very small 3DE23 collection compared to the single polychrome specimen from the much larger last-quarter-of-the-eighteenth-century APNM assemblage appears to place this technological decline in the last third of the century.
There are also a few sherds of English ceramics in the collection, two of creamware and one from a salt-glazed pitcher. They could be attributable to a later, nineteenth century occupation, but the presence of English bottle glass and the documented strong competition from the British Concordia post should be noted as evidence that British ceramics are part of the 1770s 3DE23 assemblage.
The limited array of other, non-ceramic material is typical of the era: French and English dark or iron green wine bottles, light aqua or pale blue square French case bottles, a 27.8 mm diameter lead bale seal marked "UNES 17 ½" (catalouged as 71-114, McClurkan 1972:36), white ball clay pipes, a barrel tap similar to the one from AFPNM, and wrought spikes and a pintle, as alluded to in the documents. In 1971, Patrick Martin, then undertaking work at APNM (McClurkan 1972:36), catalogued part of the 3DE23 collection, noting 142 fragments of glass (including 3 bases, 3 necks, and 1 square bottle) mostly from French and English wine bottles. He noted two bottle bases with the "flower pot" shape attributable to French manufacturers (walls tapering out from the base, with rough pontil scar) and others of English form (outward sagging walls at base with straight sides above and clean pontil). Likewise, he noted two necks with the triangular rim section (stringer) typical of French manufacture and one English tooled rim.
Martin (McClurkan 1972:36) noted 5 lead shot as being part of the collection in 1971; these items are no longer present. He also noted the lack of gun parts and gun flints, finding this unusual since the Post was a military establishment. Martin also noted that there were 70 rust clods that when x-rayed appeared to represent nails and barrel hoops.
There is one item not mentioned by Martin and McClurkan displayed at the DeShay County Museum, which I have not identified. It is a small, flat piece of brass. It appears to a broken and bent machine part, perhaps from a clock, scales or navigational or surveying instrument.
The UAM collection included some poorly preserved cow/buffalo bones (long-bone fragments and teeth). Overall, the material culture sample is too small to be of much interpretive value.
Comparison of European Ceramics from the Three Locations of Arkansas Post
In recapitulation, investigations at the Menard-Hodges site have tentatively identified deposits dating to the earliest locations of Arkansas Post: the vicinity where Henri Tonti left Jean Coture to build a cabin, the place the Caddo led the LaSalle colony survivors to, where the Jesuit had his mission until his murder by the Yazoo in the Natchez Revolt, and where the preparations were made for Law's proposed German colony. As colonial friction increased, the post was moved briefly inland to what would eventually prove the best location, away from the Chickasaw (but not far enough away, as a later raid would show). It was moved to 3DE23 from 1756 to 1779, but as the location proved unsuitable and as the original, Menard vicinity location was also unsuitable due to a channel shift, the Post was moved for the last time back to the Grand Prairie. The post I have discussed is then the middle of three known, sequential colonial occupations. Some temporal trends in ceramic styles might be expected to be evident in comparisons of collections from the three sites.
The time lengths of the documented assemblages are, first, Wallace Bottom, 3AR179,near the Menard-Hodges or Osotouy site, from sometime in 75 sporadic years of minor visits, missions, and settlements, 1673-1749, represented by 73 sherds probably from ca. 1720-1740 era. Second is 3DE23, with 92 sherds from 23 years of acculturation and imperial tumult, 1756-1779, including the 1765 handover of Louisiana to Spain. The last is Arkansas Post National Monument (APNM), with 403 sherds from 24 years of Spanish colonial Arkansas and the subsequent American dominion of the still-resident French/Spanish/Indian/Negro habitants. These collections of European ceramics from the three Arkansas Post sites are too small to make much of a comparison between assemblages, so I note only a few outstanding facts and trends. These seem to correspond well to conditions Walthal (198---,199--) has documented in contemporary Illinois.
Site 3DE23 faience decorated types and vessel forms correspond to the expected mid-eighteenth century officer's mess pattern that has emerged at other interior forts commanded by a rather impoverished French junior grade. The first major class of vessels is the white, tin-enameled earthenwares, limited to plates and platters with a few small apocathary or condiment jars. A few more specialized forms are present: a faience brune (Rouen) handled cup, a Normandy Blue on White soup tureen lid, and a small deep bowl with footring. Faience at APNM totaled 15% plain white enameled vs. 30% Rouen brown and white plain and 10% blue-decorated (Normandy Blue on White) vs. 8% decorated Rouen wares. In contrast, the 3AR179 collection is too small to calculate statistically significant percentages (n=73), but note that only one Rouen ware sherd (1-2%) was found there and only eight (less than 10%) are from 3DE23, in contrast to the total of 38% Rouen wares at APNM. The brown-and-white ware, then, appears to have been most popular after the fall of colonial France. No Brittany blue-banded sherds were identified by Walthall in the large APNM collection; there is a single sherd from Wallace Bottom and two from 3DE23 (one drilled for mending). It thus appears that this simplest form of blue decoration had disappeared by the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
Considering the rarer decorated types that incorporate colors other than blue, Walthall reports a single Marseilles Monochrome sherd from APNM, there are none of the rarer faience types in the 3AR179 collection and single examples of Provence Yellow and Seine Polychrome from 3DE23.
The second major vessel class is large bowls. These are well represented in all of the Post assemblages. Walthall found the APNM collection to have Charent lead glazed redware (11%), slip-combed (5%), and Saintouge (3%) bowls. It appears that Saintonge decreases throughout the eighteenth century, with a concomitent increase in Charent and other lead-glazed redware. Among the 73 sherds from 3AR179 there were 23 sherds of Saintonge green glazed and 11 with clear lead glazes. Site 3DE23 produced only 2 Saintonge sherds to 9 lead glazed redware and 2 slip-trailed combed sherds. Thus, the decline of green-glazed, slipped Saintonge wares must also be around midcentury.
Westerwald stoneware, from the German Rhineland, like faience, faced tremendous competition from the English potters. Like faience, this old and well-established tradition failed in the face of competition with the English potters during the mid eighteenth century. Westerwald is found only at the earliest of the three sites. In the Wallace Bottom surface collection this ware conforms to its most basic form, the individual drinking vessel.
While the Spanish officially occupied the Louisiana colony from 1763 to 1802, including much of the 3DE23 occupation span, Spanish ceramics are limited to the latest occupation (APNM), where Puebla Blue on White comprises 6% and olive jar sherds 10% of the non-British assemblage. Spain faced even greater problems in the supply of industrial products to its colonies, and throughout the Americas, tacit agreements between colonial officials and English smugglers were essential to solving this supply problem. However, Martin did identify a possible sherd of El Moro (Spanish Caribbean) ware from 3DE23. This potential Spanish colonial sherd is atypical of the other Charent lead-glazed redware, in that it has coarse sand temper. The APNM collections that Walthall (1991) drew his sample from show that the French and Spanish sherds are vastly outnumbered by the thousands of fragments of the British wares which began to be purveyed there under the Spanish administration. The three evidently English sherds in 3DE23 collection show that this trend towards encroachment by English wares began in the third the quarter of the eighteenth century and accelerated rapidly in the last quarter.
The limited archaeological surmise presented here, based on the chronology of site events, may be relevant to interpretations of other locations of Arkansas Post. Architectural techniques in particular may have been similar at the various locations of the post, and documentary detail recounted here may be of interretive value to the Wallace Bottom #2 work. It is possible based on prehistoric, protohistoric and earlier colonial examples that the houses raised on stilts or piles were at least in part adapted from the local Native American architectural tradition. Bricks are among the material culture items observed and collected. There are also mentions of mud-stick chimneys, which would have produced a distinctive form of daub. At least some of the structures were raised on piles. These raised structures provided some breeze and relief from mosquitoes, but being found in a region subject to regular, deep inundation, their appear to have been built primarily as flood protection. There are probably other of these peculiar houses awaiting discovery in the floodplains of the region.
Late nineteenth century records show that site 3DE23 was being plowed and surface collected then and that the site was already recognized as early, although not as early as local speculation allowed. The Smithsonian collection is of limited value, and the 1736-1795 Qian Long brass cash remains of ambiquous interpretive value because of its condition. De Villiers reported in 1779 that the fort well's caving in was among the final strokes that sealed the fate of the downstream post. This well may have been the stave-lined, artifact-bearing feature found by McGehee (Launius 1984). The BAE view of the fort (Thomas 1985) shows a depression in one of the landward bastions. If these features are all identical, the implication is that the entire fort has indeed been eroded away. However, references to a civilian settlement near the post on a ridge indicate that parts of the domestic/commercial if not the military occupation may still exist.
The settlement must have had a graveyard, although the Frenchmen of Arkansas Post would have most often died and been buried without the full rituals of the Catholic church, as there was no priest resident to preside over deaths and burials. At least one officer, Joseph Orieta, and at least 6, perhaps 10, and probably more, soldiers died in the 23 years the post was at this location (Andres 1987). In addition, Commandant Leyba's wife died in 1779 (Andres 1987), and while it is not know if she accompanied him to this post, other commandant's wives had, but she would have had to have died in the first three months of the year to have been buried at the downstream location. In all likelihood many of the Native American wives and children, as well as a few Negro slaves died and were buried there as well. However, it is unlikely that its location remained marked after the abandonment of the 3DE23 location, so the colonial graveyard is unlikely to coincide with the one noted in the late 19th century.
Besides the possible examples of architectural acculturation to the Arkansas environment, there is mention of other evidence of Native American material culture in an otherwise European deposit. The site-specific chronology as well as general historical trends make it clear that Native American ceramics were also playing a large role in French/Spanish/Negro material culture at Arkansas post as well as throughout much of the early American frontier. Native American ceramics as well as a large collection of stone endscrapers have been recovered from Wallace Bottom #2.
Directions for Future Research
While making plans to memorialize the first century of Arkansas history by making the Menard- Hodges site a unit of Arkansas Post National Monument, some mention ought to be made of this third location of the tenuous garrison, mission, trading post, and habitation that was Europe in the Quapaw lands. Site 3DE23 was a colonial weak link, a classic example of France's worldwide military and commercial defeat, as well as the Osage's backdoor to Spanish embargo during this tribe's ascendance in the Ozark region. It is hoped that reviewing the 3DE23 materials at this time may prove enlightening in future analysis of the Wallace Bottoms (3AR179) collection. A sequential series of European ceramics from three Arkansas Posts has been identified; the 3DE23 assemblage should fit temporally between the initial Menard locality and later Encores Rouges (Arkansas Post National Memorial) assemblages. The Ft. Desha assemblage represents a very short occupation; this post lasted less than 23 years, while the Menard locality post was occupied intermittently for around 75 years and the known Encores Rouges location saw colonial occupation in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, as well as extensive, later, American occupation.
Site 3DE23 lies (or lay) on the south bank of the Arkansas River, in dense timber and undergrowth. No effort has been made to relocate it since 1983 when Stewart-Abernathy and House visited the location, and they conducted no subsurface investigations. Most archeologists believe that the site has been eroded into the Arkansas River, but, actually, no concerted effort has been made to determine if any trace of the colonial occupation remains and no subsurface investigations, which are necessary in wooded sites, have ever been made. As only reconnaissance has been undertaken, additional investigation is needed. The location is one subject to erosion, and it is indeed likely that the south bank has eroded farther since 1983. The entire colonial deposit may in fact have been lost to the river like so many other historic townsites, including Concordia in the vicinity of Islands 70 and 71 (Bragg 1977:111). If anything remains at 3DE23, perhaps the trader/habitant settlement back of the fort, the deposits are surely of significance. Although generally poorly-supplied, the site was extensive and at times densely occupied. Location of the nineteenth century cemetery monument, which serves as the only landmark in the area, appears to be a first priority, along with bankline survey. As Stewart-Abernathy noted, the land along the ridge the historic cemetery lies on is the most likely location for a habitant settlement, if any trace of it remains. Deep testing, with soil cores, 50-by-50 centimeter shovel tests, and/or a backhoe, would be next. A homogeneous alluvial cap would prose an interesting remote sensing problem, as there is the possibility for sealed domestic, commercial, or processing contexts. Intensive shovel testing would be the only practical means to locate any surviving deposits.
I would like to thank all my colleagues at the Arkansas Archeological Survey and Arkansas Archeological Society that have been involved in the Menard area research, including James Best, John House, Marvin Jeter, Jered Pebworth, Skip Stewart-Abernathy, and Martha Rolingson. Morris Arnold answered questions and provided documents and inspiration. Princella Nowell, Mississippi Archaeological Association, provided information about the contemporary Concordia or British Ozark trading post. Irmi Wolfe, University of Southern Mississippi, provided information about Westerwald stoneware.
Two versions of this research have been presented at conferences. I presented a paper at the South Central Archaeological Conference in Memphis (Starr 1999) and Judith Stewart-Abernathy read a second version for me in a symposium on the Arkansas Post at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference in Quebec City (Starr 2000).
Andres, Johnnie 1987 "Arkansas Post Colonials: A compendium of the colonial families of Arkansas, 1686-1804 " Bienville Historical Society manuscript on file, Memphis Public Library.
Arnold, Morris S. 1983 "The Relocation of Arkansas Post to Encores Rouges in 1779." The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 42(4):317-331.
1979 Unequal Laws Unto A Savage Race: European legal traditions in Arkansas, 1686-1836 University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville.
Bragg, Marion 1977 Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi River. Mississippi River Commission, Vicksburg.
Connaway, John M. 1984 Wilsford
Faye, Stanley Arkansas Post in La, Louisiana 1943 Hist Quarterly 26(3)
The Arkansas Post of La. Louisiana Hist Quarterly 27(3) 1944 196-
Ford, James A. 1961 Menard Site: The Quapaw Village of osotouy on the Arkansas River. Papers of the American Museaum of Natural History 48(2).
Hodges, T. L. 1943 Possibilities for the Archaeologist and Historian in Eastern Arkansas. Arkansas Historical Quarterly 2(2).
House 199---Edited by Hester A. Davis.
House, John H., Mary Evelyn Starr, and Leslie C. Stewart-Abemathy 1999 "Rediscovering Menard." Mississippi Archaeology.
Jeane, David 1998 "Osotuoy: The Quapaw Village Relocated Again?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern archaeological Conference, Pensacola, Florida.
Jeter, Marvin D., ed. 1990 Edward Palmer's Arkansaw Mounds. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville.
Launius, Phillip 1984 "Artifact collector delves into past, recovers thousands of relics." Arkansas Gazette, April 24, 1984, section B, pages 1 and 2.
McClurkan, Burney 1972 "Ft. Desha,The Location of Arkansas Post, ca. 1735-1750. The Conference on Historic Site Archaeology Papers 6(1):32-39.
Martin, Patrick 1978 An Inquiry into the Location and Characteristics of Jacob Bright's Trading House and William Montgomery's Tavern. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series 11. Fayetteveille.
Mathews, John Joseph 1961 The Osages: Children of the middle waters. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Paludan, Ann 1998 Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The reign-by-reign record of the rulers of imperial China. Thames and Hudson, New York.
Pittman, Philip 1906  The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mississippi River. Reprint by the Arthur H. Clark Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
Stewart-Abernathy, Leslie C. and John H. House 2000 "Looking for Arkansas Post at Lake Dumond in the Menard-Hodges Locality, Arkansas County, Arkansas." Paper in a symposium on Arkansas Post presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec.
Starr, Mary Evelyn 1999 "Colonial Ceramics from Three Sites of the Arkansas Post, ca. 1700-1800." Paper presented at the South Central Archaeological Conference, Memphis. 2000 "The Ft. Desha Conumdrum." Paper in a symposium on Arkansas Post presented in a symposium on Arkansas Post at the Society for Historic Archaeology, Quebec.
Thomas, Cyrus 1985 
Varner and Varner The Florida of the Inca. University of Texas Press.
Walthall, John A. 198-Faience in French Colonial Illinois. Historical Archaeology 25:80-105.
1991 "An Analysis of Late Eighteenth Century Ceramics from Arkansas Post at Ecores Rouges." Southeastern Archaeology 10(2):98-113.
Contact: Mary Evelyn Starr
Box 39, Sledge MS 38670
Phone (662) 444-5254
Keep up with me on the web and your social network