Footnotes to the Henry Brackenridge Journal of a Voyage of 1811


James R. Kyle

The reader of these notes will observe certain abbreviations:

1 H.B. only assumes that Manuel Lisa was a sea captain-- in reality Lisa was only 29 in 1811, perhaps the men of whom called him "Captain", did so out of respect for a man who knew how to motivate others.

2 Wilson P. Hunt-- John J. Astors "top man" in the west, District of St. Louis. Lisa wished to "get a jump" on him in order to 'cut' the competition.

3 Bourgeois, (pronounced, booz-whaw-) or the American corruption of the word, 'booshway', means a manager or boss of a trading company -- he had absolute authority at his outpost, and conducted business with an almost military discipline. Another French phrase, "manguer de Lard" worked under the bourgeois. Some times at some posts or 'forts', as they were called, the bourgeois wore a uniform. He was almost always a partner of the fur company who built the 'fort' and had permit from the government to trade with the Natives.

4 Charbonet - correct spelling, Charboneau he was employed by Lewis & Clark of the Corps of Discovery in 1804, at the Mandan Villages; what is now close to Bismark, North Dakota.

5 This area is about where Dundee, Missouri is now. The KADY Trail comes close to the river here.


7 The area of "Tavern Cave", where many years before 1811 or 1804, this cave was the place of great merriment and refreshment for rivermen on the Missouri. It was here where river conditions were exchanged and temperament of the Native American Natives above the Osage river.

8 Boon's settlement, now known as Defiance, Mo. One time called Femme Osage -- French word for "Good Woman". Femme Osage river flows near here.

9 The settlement in formation - Femme Osage, translation= "Osage woman".

10 Point Labadie - Named for Sylvester Labadie; in 1808 he was a partner of the St. Louis-Missouri Fur Co. (also called Missouri Fur); it was under many different directors and partners -- Manuel Lisa was one who was mentioned with St. L.-Mo. Fur co. for over 25 years, and all of the transitions.

11 embarras -- A log jam in the channel of the river.

12 Charette -- In 1804 was the last point of civilization.

13 Isle aux Boeufs, translation= BEEF -- an island between two rivers or creeks named Big and Little Boeuf. John Colter's farm was somewhere around these two creeks.


15 Patron -- a man who was a clerk of second in command.

16 Biscuit -- Most likely a 'water biscuit' or "hard tack" made by the Bent Biscuit Company in New England. The Company was formed in 1801 and still are in business, Making the same biscuits.

17 Reference to Montaburn's Tavern, a cave like that of Tavern Cave.

18 Isle A' La Loutre -- French meaning, Otter Island.

19 Gasconade -- Named for the first people to settle here from the French Provance of Gascony. One of the most crookist rivers in the world, 325 miles of river, as the 'crow flies' about 120 air miles. There was a trading establishment located here-abouts??

20 Site of Montaburn's Tavern; another such as the like of "Tavern Cave."

21 Cote Sans Dessein -- Translation= "Hill that stands alone A small settlement that moved across the river because of floods, a little to the west and three mile up river, the new area became the town of Jefferson City, Missouri's State Capitol.

22 Mr. Hunt, as referred to on Footnote #2.

23 Cedar Island -- now part of the north bank of the Missouri river -- small town of Cedar City, just across from Jefferson City.

24 La Bonne Femme creek -- French for Good woman creek - the Manitou or 'spirit' was painted on some bluffs which bordered the river.

25 Braxton Cooper -- Cooper County named for him; rose to the rank of Colonel and lead 60 pack mules & 30 men to Santa Fe in 1823, may 6th. He left Franklin, not the county of the same name, but was a town of which was the 'jumping off' place to the west. (Kit Carson was a 'white slave' to a blacksmith here.)

26 Now the site of

27 Known as Prairie du Fur, or Fire Prairie. The Osage used to burn off large areas to keep the deer, their principal food source close to the village. Also there was an accident here where some Osage were killed in a brush fire.


29 Ibar's Island --

30 Wizzard's Island, or L' isle du Sorcier. Was not mentioned in the Lewis and Clark's journals as by this name. So it is safe to believe that it was named this after 1804.

31 Fort Osage -- Built in 1808, first named by the builders as Fort William, known also as Fort Clark, for it's planner, Brig. Gen. William Clark. First and foremost Fed. fort in the Missouri river valley from 1808 to 1826, for the "company or factory system" of trade with the Natives, primarily the Osage. The Fort is rebuilt on the actual foundations of the first fort.

32 George Sibley -- came to Fort William (Osage) on boat when the men were breaking ground in 1808. Was the "Factor" of the fort and sub-agent for the Territory of Upper Louisiana, till about 1825. Went to the town St. Charles to live -- founded Lindenwood College.

33 William Clark -- at this time, 1811, Clark was acting Governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, connected with the War Dept. U.S. Gov. Till Frederick Bates took the post in 1812 assigned by Pres. James Madison.

34 Young White Hairs -- A chief of the Great Osage Nation

35 This elbow, or rather quick turn in the river, is now replaced with a straight 4 - 5 miles of waterway. The river use to come from the north and in front of the fort, make a hard left turn to the east. This gave the fort a view of 4 miles down stream and about 3 up stream; not much got by this lonely outpost.

36 A company of 80 men.

37 Mr. Audrain --

38 The "Salines" -- a place where salt was mined, it was thought a very good deposit of salt; but tests on this proved no salt was there!...

39 Pani Indians -- Panimaha, or Maha Natives; of the Pawnees, Caddoan Nation along the Platte river.

40 Here H.B. makes the reference to predication of the many people who would venture and settle in the West. He also it starting to feel the true remoteness of the frontier; a soothing thought to his feeling of desolation.

41 St. Vincent's Island -- area of Independence Mo.

42 Little Nimeha river?? H.B. is confused of lead to believe that this is the Nimeha river, seems as if he was looking at the Big Blue river.

43 Benito's Island -- south-east section of Kansas City.

44 Downtown Kansas City Airport.

45 Diamond Island -- area of S. St Joseph, Mo.

46 Buffaloe Island -- area west of Donaphan County Neb.

47 Snipes -- blackbirds

48 Red-winged blackbird.

49 St. Michael's Prairie -- Sparks Neb.

50 -

51 -

52 -

53 -

54 Wolf river, south of Forest City, Mo.

55 Tar kio creeks s.w. of Creag Mo.

56 Therisites --

57 Lisa must have given him a position this with the company -- troops becoming 'nervy'

58 Boyer's river --

59 Nis-na-botona --

60 Little Nemeba River.

61 -

62 L' isle A' beau soleil ?

63 -

64 Otto village -- a Siouan tribe, or sects, correct spelling OTOES, lived in dirt huts of the like that of the Mandan Natives.

65 Rich black earth -- commonly called "Gumbo soil" by people who live rear a river.

66 River a' Boyer, or Papillon creek, n.e. into Iowa.

67 Trading house of Mc Clelland -- correct spelling is Mc Lellan; a partner of Ramsey Crooks and joined the Pacific Fur Company. Site of Bellevue. (See page 925 Vol. 2 H.M.C.)

68 "great bend of the river" -- NOT THE Great Bend, but rather De Soto Bend, 25 miles north of Omaha, Neb.

69 Sawers and planters -- in reference to obstructions in the river; a sawer is a tree with the roots as like a rotary saw blade. A planter is a tree that has 'replanted' itself into the river bottom, under water temporary; will unplant itself at any given moment. Very dangerous.

70 La coupe a' l' Oiselle ?

71 At times a sand bar will 'build' up under a keel boat ascending the river, and render it aground.

72 Blackbird Hill -- named for a chief of the Ree Natives.

73 Here H.B. shows his arrogance and his "Domination" over the Natives of this North American continent.

74 Sgt. Charles Floyd -- the only man to die on the L&C Expedition. A burst appendix was cited as the cause, it was not a direct cause of the Expedition. He was later reburied 200 yards away from the river, because the river was eroding his grave, an obelisk now marks the grave. He was the first soldier to die West of the Mississippi river.

75 Lake Winiec & (Great) Sioux river, North of the now now Sioux City, Iowa.

76 This boat is called a "bull boat" -- it is usually of a round shape, and paddled from the 'bow' area, scooping the water under the boat. The hair side was on the outside of the craft.

77 Possibly a "vent" or "malefic dike" of magma, basalt. In reality, this area of geologic strata has "iron-pyrates" which have a chemical action on the compounds of the soil, which cause the strata to heat to a point of vapor.

78 St. Louis-Missouri Fur Co. Benit or Bonnet? He was Manuel Lisa's agent to this area.

79 Andrew Henry -- Lisa's "right hand man". Would later use an idea of Lisa's of leaving men in the trapping areas and then bring supplies to them; thus creating the "rendezvous system" of trading.

80 This area is now part of Clay County, S. Dakota.

81 Ponca's Village -- here was once a 'post' of the Colombia Fur Co., at the mouth of the Niobrara river.

82 Old fortification -- perhaps this is the ruins of the fort that Trudeau built in 1795 - See the Luttig Journal of 1796. (JK)

83 Qui Courre river --

84 Little Cedar Island -- under water of L&C Lake.

85 White river -- S.W. of the now Chamberlain, S.D.

86 Now the area of Big Bend Dam, of Lake Sharpe.

87 John Bradbury -- an English Naturalist, a remarkable man of his time... See Vol. 2 page 627 of H.M.C.

88 Thomas Nuttal -- Bradbury's traveling companion, See Vol. 2 page 268 H.M.C.

89 Larger Cedar Island --

90 Joseph Miller -- he had been an officer in the U.S. Army, on furlough in 1809 with Ramsey Crooks and Mc Clellan. He joined up with the Pacific Fur Co. in the company of these gentlemen... See Vol. 2 page 891 H.M.C.

91 A verbal altercation with ramifications which lead to slander of Manuel Lisa's name as "Black Manuel".

92 The area that is now under water of Oahe Lake, formed by Oahe Dam N. of Pierre, S.D.

93 Cheyenne river -- taking it water from the area of now towns of Sturgis, and Newell, S.D. in the Black Hills.

94 An old 'post' of the American Fur Trading Co.

95 Graisse de Boeuf -- French for the beef of grassy plain.

96 When in remote places, it is natural that people observe more acutely -- (i.e., food ALWAYS tastes good if eaten in the out doors; even if it is cooked inside..JK)

97 Ser-war-cerna -- could be the Thunder Butte river, Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

98 In reference to the bull boat.

99 Jalap --

100 Snake Indians -- Shoshone People from upper areas of the Green and Snake rivers; N. area of Bear river.

101 A belief which goes to one of Noah's sons.

102 Fort Mandan -- across from Mandan, N.D. Bismark, N.D.

103 One of the first good verbal pictures how the early Mandans would have looked before all too many of the white man's ways interfered with them.

104 Golden Eagle.

105 called a "broach".

106 The 'white bear, another name for the Grizzly bear.

107 H.B. relates to the social structure of these people, But is really assuming.

108 Called a 'medicine bag'.

109 These people practiced rites of the "Sun Dance".

110 "Druids" of Britain - believing that trees are a form of a higher power.

111 Lt. Nathaniel Pryor -- see H.M.C. Vol. 2, page 1005 in index

112 A problem from Pryor and the Return of the Mandan chief who died while on a trip from Washington City (D.C.) NOT state.

113 (As with all of the white man's relations with the Amercan Native, he got what he could by any means, what he could from the Red man, and take all they had. JK)

114 --

115 At one time, most likely in the geologic past of the Terrasic Period, this was a rain forest. When soon after, a large lake, or sea covered most of the N. American continent, the settlements encapsulated the cellular fibers of the plant it fossilized the tree to render it to its present state.

116 Abelino?

117 Bradbury longed to return to publish his work, thus so far, on the life of the American Native.

118 Fenelon?

119 Qui Courre?

120 Bone Homme, Fr. for "Good Man" --

121 The salt mines of the West.

122 So ends the journal of a voyage on the River Missouri in 1811, by Henry Breakenridge. Form these notes of his observations we see that he was very interested in the topography, as well as the customs of a people who were in the troughs of change brought on by the white traders. The traders would be more numerous in the years to come, and the life that we read about here would vanish, among with it's people. Smallpox, syphilis, gonorrhea, and other social diseases, even the common cold, they did not have immunities to, where brought before this time by the French from the north. What the reader of this narrative is seeing, is the last of a breed of a great people, and a fine social system.


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