Daniel Potts Letter 1

[Addressed to Thomas Cochlen]

Rocky Mountains, July 7, 1824

Dear and respected friend,

I take this as the only oppertunity to write to you and beg to be excused for my bad spelling and writing. I have more knews than I am able to communicate whereas I will give you the most important.

After leaving you I arrived in Illanois in July the same year and tarried there until mid winter and from thence to Masuri where I tarried until spring from there I embarked for the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia for the purpose of hunting and traping and trading with the Indians in a company of about one hundred men. We hoisted our Sails on the third day of April 1822 at Saint Lewis and arived at Cedar fort about the middle of July when we where reduced to the sad necessity of eating any thing we could catch as our provition where exhausted and no game to be had, being advanced five hundred miles above the fronteers, we were glad to get a Dog to eat and I have seen some geather the skins of Dogs up through the Camp sing and roast them and eat hearty this so discouraged me that I was determined to turn tail up stream and bear my cours down in company with eight others and by the way lost from the others without gun amunition provision or even cloths to my back of account being four hundred miles from aney white people or even knowing where to find Indians; now my dear friend how must I have felt young Birds, frogs, and Snakes where exceptable food with me and not means of fire I in the course of a few days fortunately fell in with a party of Indians who treated me with great humanity and tarried with them four days and then fell in with a trader who conducted me within 350 miles of the fronteers he being able to give me but little aid I tarried but three days when I started with provition consisting of only 3/4 of a pound of Buffaloe suet and arived at the fronteers in six days were by eating too much and starvation I was taken with a severe spell of sickness which all but took my life.

I here met with a second Boat and ascended the Masuri the second time and arived at the mouth of Mussel Shell on the latter end of November where I wintered with thirteen others here was a remarkable escape of my scalp as two larg parteys of Indians winterd within twenty miles of us and our better enemys the blackfeet this place is in latitude 48. the River froze to the emmence thickness of four feet and did not brake up until the fourth of April and we embarked in Canoes on the 6th and on the 11th I was severely wounded by a wiping stick being shot through both knees which brought me to the ground this disabled me for the springs hunt and allmost for ever-

I shall now bid farewell and desire you to remember my best respects to all my enquiring friends particular J. Taylor J. McCalla, C. Morris, and J. Mather inform them I am in good health and spirits I remain with high respect

your moste particular friend &c.

Daniel T. Potts