Photo Left: Jackson Military Road cut exiting Washington, Arkansas, to the North East (2005)
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________. Wyatt's Travel Diary 1836. Chicago: Privately Printed, 1930.
Webmaster's note: This copy was found in the Southwest Regional Archives, Washington, Arkansas, who allowed us to use this copy for this research. The small published diary included geographical notes that reference state maps of H. S. Tanner. The notes appear to have been made by the grandchildren of Wyatt, Mrs. Addie Evans Wynn and W. A. Evans.
The diary begins with Mr. Wyatt's lodging with his Cousin Gaines at Memphis, Tennessee, on November 9, 1836. He traveled thence to Batesville, Arkansas, where he arrived on November 15, 1836, and stayed at Bates Tavern, where he commented that he had "sorry fare and bills 9 bits apiece." On the morning of the sixteenth he indicates that he traveled "the U. S. Road toward Little Rock . . . * crossed White river (sic) at Russel (sic) ferry (sic)", where he "crossed and went on." (9) Here the diary records his journey from Russell's Ferry to Washington before he extends his journey to a new direction. He then returned to Memphis on December 25. The diary as printed is twenty-four pages in length. Transcribed here are pages 9 through 15 inclusive.
. . . (on the 16th) where we crossed as we went on; then struck a rocky, broken ridge, most of which was very poor, but some nice level country. Finally reached Mr. Pate's on a very pretty stream . . . Good fare and well attended to. Bills 75c apiece.
Started on the morning of the 17th and rode ten miles through a poor, barren country to the crossing of Little Red River . . . Crossed it by swimming out horses, ourselves crossing in a canoe; thence across mountains and poor barrens--26 miles to Bayou Des Arc to Capt. Walker's, having crossed several small streams
tributary to Red river and Bayou Des Arc. Tolerable fare, and bills one dollar apiece.
Started on the morning of the 18th, and traveled 30 miles over a poor, mountainous country to Mr. Kellogg's, crossing several small streams . . . Tolerable fare, and bills one dollar each.
Started on the morning of the 19th and traveled 10 miles to Little Rock. Saw some good bottom land on the north side of the Arkansas River,
Crossed in a horse boat and entered the town of Little Rock. This is a considerable town, situated on the south side of the Arkansas river, and on a beautiful rock bluff--being high, having a smooth back country for miles--and presents a beautiful appearance on the river.
This is the metropolis of the state. It is the seat of the land office of the Little Rock district and destined to be a place of considerable business. It contains at this time 1,500 to 2,000 inhabitants, most of whom look sickly; and some, very intelligent and friendly. Put up at Jeffries hotel--good treatment. Paid 871/2 cents apiece for horse feed and dinner.
Started the same day about three o'clock and rode 6 miles to Mr. Harvey's . . . Good accommodation, and bills a dollar apiece.
Started on the morning of the 20th and rode through poor, piny, and gravelly country, 18 miles to Benton, the seat of justice of Saline county. Thence, three miles to Mr. Lockhart's on the Saline River, stopped there and went to look at some land and came back and stayed all night at Mr. Lockhart's . . . Common fare, and bills 7 bits apiece.
Crossed the Saline the morning of the 21st in a ferry boat. Took the U. S. Road 5 or 6 miles, and then turned off to the right and rode 25 miles to Hot Springs. Saw very little good land.
(Mr. Wyatt then describes Hot Springs on pages 11-13 where he then takes up his journey again.)
Started from the Hot Springs on the 22nd, at eleven o'clock . . . Took the road we went (came over) for 8 or 9 miles, and then turned off to the right. Traveled over a poor and rocky country, down the Ouachita river, and struck the military road--road leading from Little Rock to Washington and Red river. Crossed in a ferry flat and traveled one-half mile to Mr. Amos', about 25 miles from Hot Springs . . . Some good bottom land and next to the best crop we have seen . . . Tolerable fare and bills one dollar apiece.
Started on the morning of the 23rd and rode 27 miles over a poor, piny country, crossing several fine mill streams, to the crossing of the Caddo . . . Immediately on its western or southern bank is situated Barkman's race field or Raymond . . . This is one of the finest farms we have seen and handsomely improved with a large brick dwelling and fine chance of
rich Caddo bottom land, cleared, and in cultivation. The day we passed was during the fall races . . . Some two or three hundred persons here, one-fourth of whom are young women . . . The old lady Barkman takes a hand in all the amusement and sport of the company . . . She is a woman of latitudinal dimensions and frequently tells her husband to "stand off and let me whip the d----d (sic) rascal . . . The ladies generally were well dressed.
We continued on 10 miles over an undulating country of landgrowth dogwood, red oak, and hickory, and very good upland--having traveled 37 miles from where we started. 26 miles in Clark county, to Mr. Wingfield's, within 7 miles of Greenville, the county seat . . . Sorry fare, and bills one dollar apiece.
Started on the morning of the 24th, and traveled 15 miles over a poor, piny, undulating country to the Antoine, fording it and striking Pike county, and traveling over a poor, piny country, 8 miles to the Little Missouri. Crossed on a ferry and struck Hempstead county. Traveled 8 miles over a poor country to Mr. Williams',
who lives in a small prairie, has a very good house, and keeps pretty good accommodation . . . Bills, 1 dollar apiece.
Started on the morning of the 25th and rode 7 miles to Washington. This is the seat of justice for Hempstead county, and is the seat of the land office in the Red river district. It is a place of considerable business--10 stores--and is situated 14 miles north of the Red river. It is located on a high, sandy, and piny ridge and contains several fine springs.
Here (we) took the military road up Red river . . 7 miles from Washington struck the Mount Prairie settlement . . .
*(Whether the ellipses are by the diary compiler or the author is unknown.)
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