My great-great-great-great-great (whew)-grandfather hunted with Sam Houston while traveling from Ft. Chadbourne to Ft. Belknap. (Note: we’re not sure if it’s that Sam Houston.) Here’s an except of the hunting diary Johann Zervas Leyendecker kept during that winter. Not sure what all the quotation marks are for—my guess is that he was still trying on English and Spanish words for size. I particularly like Christmas entry.
TRIP TO THE BRAZOS
December 14. Started in company with Sam Houston wife, Yokochte, 1 Mexican and 2 Comanche boys. Beautiful weather. Encamped on Fish Creek behind Church Hill (Church Mountain or Church Peak). Killed one turkey in the evening. Got him in the morning. Great number of turkeys.
Friday 15. Rather windy and cold. Yokochte very unwell. 2 Comanche boys start ahead right across the country. One without a saddle, but a little flour to subsist on. We took the road, stopped at Bluff Creek/Hula-/chasiu/nice camp place- Lani killed a fawn before we got there.
Sunday 17. A norther, rather cold, very windy. Went to creek to the right of the road about 6 – 8 miles from the peak; very cold night – our provisions consisted generally of venison, pork, mush and coffee. Some very hard bread I brought along.
Monday 18. Sam killed a large doe with my gun. Started late, pleasant day. Went to the Clear Fork/Dachkasions/near the Hustai; killed 2 turkeys and Sam a turkey in the evening, found only one. The other 2 were eaten up the following morning. Scores of turkey and geese.
Tuesday 19. Our animals lost. Very cold and windy; Sam killed a goose, mush was cooked in an old copper coffee pot without a mouth piece. “Picked up an old shoe off the road and with the heal of the shoe turned inside out served as tin plate dish and wooden chip as spoons.” The Mexican returned without finding our animals. Sam and I took up the trail and followed about 5 miles over a barren prairie until we found them all below Phant (Phantom) Hill on “Taisoissasaste” – Spoke “with” the 2 express men from Belknap. Nice camp place. Our animals took fright in the evening at the squaws “lamenations for some time about some that killed a sister in Mexico”.
Wednesday 20. Only 2 horses near, the balance was gone. The Mexican started in pursuit, didn’t return until sunset the same evening – That afternoon Sam tried to catch the two horses. Put the noose of the lariat in the opening between two bushes. I took my stand and the horses walked up “one smelled on the lariat” and then deliberately “stuck” his head in the other end, being tied to a little tree, “turned” him on his back. I loosened the lariat trying to get the other horse. Sam strung the end of the lariat around a dry bush and we “drove” up to the horses, but both broke loose and part of the bush hanging on the lariat frightened the first horse and he galloped off as fast as his legs could carry him. Sam ran after Yokochte who had his hair cut with a knife, considered himself quite well.
Thursday 21. Took out “tres” ammo with wooden points and shot one on the backside of the neck of one horse which I had brought back; the squaws caught and saddled this horse to ride after Sam. Not long Sam brought the first horse, driving him before him – I ate my goose. Mex (Mexican) brought a deer ham from Jim Logan.
Friday 22. Cloudy, a little rain. Zoat and wife started ahead. Sam and I got lost, went to far below, more rain. Ufrs and Dacons killed a turkey. Heard shooting, fires in all directions, lost my patience. Formed camp at last at Heanti Fork “xxxx” on the right hand of the Clear Fork. Sanaco and Ketumse “prafch” (pray) together. “xxxx” welcoming - congregations of many Chiefs at Sanaco’s tent. Raining a good deal; cleared towards evening. Coffee and hard bread to all. Some venison to me. Scarcity of game, plenty turkeys.
Saturday 23. Went to Ketumse’s wigwam “and had” coffee and turkey; clean and comfortable, long talk – Beautiful situations of the whole camp, high banks of the river; a kind of peninsula. Splendid race course. Several invitations to eat corn and pumpkin. Ochachpcht squaw’s pressing invitation 3 times. Piece of venison extra for me. Afterwards corn and puimpkin sweet; fin made of Sam using his hands eating. Spoons (wood and horn0 chips in cups, pans, kettles, dippers, wash basins, blankets etc. – Bought 2 mules in the morning. “Saw” Zachcon in the evening. Pleasant play at right and left..
Sunday 24. Moving camp about 3 miles further up. During the time the squaws packup. The men held races. Beautiful sight at all the moving “mass”. Everybody mounted. Packed mules and horses. Many dogs. Old man leading, leading their pack animals. Quick pitching of their wigwams. Splendid races on the prairie; little betting, chasing a turkey, fat coon. Visit to Zachzu in the evening. Return of “Foshauay” and K (ketumse) in the evening.
Monday 25 Christmas/ Started for Beflknap. Arrived little before sunset. Meeting of the express rider his “consternateas”. Got beads, beef and whisky. Visit to Maj. “Major” “Stun”. Glot supplies for S. Aeul and “Tah”. Had a wigwam of my own. Mulag grazing his horse.
Tuesday 26. The Indians trading – saw “Conner”, Jack “Hnates”, Jim “Shaw” drunk – received money due me by “checks lost”. Maj. (Major) Stun not keeping his promise. “Law Gotsch”.
Wednesday 27. Buying the necessary articles. Starting for camp across the country. Shot a goose in the evening – arrived after sunset. Congregation of Chiefs “Chul” gone ahead. Tah. Stopped behind killed 2 deer – Great singing
Friday 29. Went to see Ketumse moving of the I (Indian) camp further up. Ketumse “seperst” himself going down.
Saturday 30. Morning “eng”. “Canu” to go home with. Talk with the Chiefs on the farm. Riding through fire – went about 25 or 30 miles that evening.
Sunday 31. Rode on to “Quackbu Rub”.