THE company being busily employed in forming their packs of leather and loading the vessel, and I being eager to augment my collections during my stay here, I crossed the river with a party of our people, who were transporting a gang of horses to range in the meadows and plains on the side opposite to the trading-house we carried them over in a large flat or scow. The river was here above a mile wide, but divided into a number of streams by
numerous islands, which occasioned the voyage to be very troublesome, as most of the horses were lately taken wild out of their ranges, and many of them young and untutored; being under the necessity of passing near the points of the islands, they grew restless and impatient to land, and it was with great difficulty we kept them on board, and at last when within a quarter of a mile of the opposite shore, passing between two islands, the horses became ungovernable, and most of them plunged into the river and forced over board one of our people; I being a pretty good swimmer, in the midst of the bustle, and to avoid being beat over and perhaps wounded, I leapt out and caught hold of the dock of one of the horses; we all landed safe on one of the islands, about one hundred and fifty yards distance, and the flat followed us: after a deal of trouble and loss of time we got the horses again into the scow, where securing them by withs and vines, we again sat off, and soon landed safe on the main, at a high bluff or bank of the river, where, after turning the horses to pasture and resting ourselves, we sat off on a visit to a plantation on the river, six or eight miles distance: on the way thither we discovered a bee tree, which we cut down and regaled ourselves on the delicious honey; leaving one of our companions to protect the remainder until our return with a tub, to collect it and carry it with us, and in the evening we all returned safe with our sweet booty to the trading-house.
Resources and Links
Bartram, William. Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; Containing An Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. Embellished with Copper-Plates. James and Johnson Publishers. 1791. Electronic Edition.
Harper, Francis, ed. The Travels of William Bartram, Naturalist’s Edition. Yale University Press. New Haven. 1958.
Florida History Online. New World in a State of Nature; British Plantations and Farms on the St. Johns River, East Florida 1763-1784. May 2013
Bruce, F.W. Assistant Engineer, US Army Corps of Engineers. St. Johns River to Lake Harney, Florida. 1908. The Portal to Texas History. University of North Texas. Nautical Chart of the St. Johns River.
Florida Museum of Natural History. Florida Naturalists. William Bartram. Book of Travels. May 2013