1834 Blacksnake Hills Iowa's Village and Trading Locations
From the 1834-35 Journal of John Dunbar. Contributed by Susan K. Suttle White
Missionary John Dunbar was on his way by horseback from Cantonment
Leavenworth in present day Kansas to the Agency near Bellvue, present day
Nebraska, but traveling on the east side of the Missouri river, through the
Iowa's Reserve, by 1837 called the Platte Purchase. Joseph Roubidoux had
located his trading house on Blacksnake Creek in 1827, being a mile south of
Jean Baptiste Roy's trading house located on Roy's Branch before 1826, both
were traders on the upper Missouri as early as about 1810. Both trading
houses are located so close to the Missouri River that the Ioways location of
"5 miles" distant must be to the east, and perhaps a little south, "not to be
seen from the route we traveled."
Journal of John Dunbar 1834-1835, excerpt Sept. 22-25, 1834
"September 22,  Near night rode down to the Cantonment, crossed the
Missouri, and took lodgings for the night at the house of the ferryman. Here
I found Mr. Merrill, who had determined to pass up to the agency on the north
[or east] side of the Missouri. Our company consisted of four persons, Mr.
M. myself, Mr. O'Neil, (assistant Otoe blacksmith) and a young Delaware
woman, who was going up to live in Mr. M's. family. This young woman is a
member of the baptist church, and a descendent of "Brainerd's church
"September 23,  About 10 this morning we set forward on our journey.
Our route to day lay through a fertile and finely timbered country. Toward
night we passed a camp of Delaware Indians. They had come to this place for
the purpose of killing deer and other game. They invited us to stop with
them during the night, but having made little progress to day, we thought
proper to decline their invitation. They had killed plenty of venison, and
kindly furnished us with a savory piece. We continued our journey till night
and pitched our tent in the forest."
"September 24,  This morning it rained quite fast, and we did not
leave our encampment, till 10, when the rain ceased. The former part of this
day's route lay through a fine forest. We at length emerged from the dense
woodland and entered the open prairie, -- passed the Sac village which was now
without inhabitant, the Indians being out on their autumnal hunt. After
passing the village our way wound through the high bluffs, till we came down
on the Missouri bottoms, which for some distance above are exceedingly rich
and beautiful. Our trail now led along the rising ground next the bluff,
from which we had a fine view of the prairie bottom off to the left. It was
dark before we arrived at Roubidou's trading house at the Black Snake hills.
The village of the Ioways is about 5 miles from the trading house, but is not
to be seen from the route we travelled. At this establishment we passed the
"September 25,  A Young Ioway accompanied us as guide from the trading
house. About a mile from Roubidou's we passed Roy's trading house. The
former part of the day we kept down on the bottom, sometimes very near the
stream. The latter part of the day our course diverged from the Missouri,
and led over more elevated ground. The whole of this day's journey was
through forest. About sunset we crossed the Nodaway, and encamped on its
bank. The fording of this stream was good, the banks were neither steep nor
miry, and the water was not deep."
Excerpt above from Kansas Historical Collections, 1915-1918, Vol.XIV pages
Chpt. "Letters Concerning The Presbyterian Mission in the Pawnee Country,
Near Bellvue, Neb., 1831-1849," pages 570-784, Journal of John Dunbar,
completed and sent May 27, 1835, addressed to Rev. David Green, Missionary
Rooms, Boston, Mass., pages 578-619.
Contributed by Susan K. Suttle White
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