DU TISSENET, THE FIRST FRENCH EXPLORER (1719).
About the close of the year 1714, M. Du Tissenet , a young Canadian, arrived
at the post of Mobile to enter the service of M. Crozat. He brought with him
specimens of lead from the mines in the neighborhood of Kaskaskia, which had
been given to him by his countrymen who resided at that place. These specimens
he tool to M. De la Motte, and on being assayed they were found to contain
some silver. He afterward took charge of a grant of land, where he remained
until M. Crozat was succeeded by Law, and M. De Boisbriant was appointed
Governor of the Illinois district of Louisiana. In October, 1718, M. De
Boisbriant set out for his post, and Du Tissenet was ordered to join him at
the Illinois during the year. The following year, by order of Bienville,
Governor of Louisiana, he made an expedition to the west of the Mississippi,
probably crossing Kansas from about the locality of Linn county, northwest
to the forks of the Kansas and thence west to the headwaters of the Smokey
Hill. On his return to the Illinois District, in a letter to M. De Bien-
ville, dated "CaskasKias, 22d of November" (1719), he gives an account of the
expedition. He visited the Osage Indians at their village near the Osage
river, at eighty leagues above its mouth and describes them as stout, well
made, and great warriors, and also that lead can be found in their country.
Forty leagues west of the Osages, he came to two Pawnee villages of about 130
cabins each, and fifteen days west from them he reached the Padoucas, whom he
described as a brave and warlike nation. In the country of the Padoucas, on
September 27, 1719, he erected a cross transcribed with the arms of the
king, thus claiming the region for France. M. Du Tissenet reports parts of the
country he passed through as beautiful and well timbered, and mentions the
prairies abounding with buffaloes, and the masses of salt that he found.
 The name of this early explorer is spelled by good authorities -- Hale
and others who have followed him -- Dutisne, a legitimate contraction of the
old patronimic. In one "History of Kansas", he is spoken of as Duquesne.
There is an evident mistake. In earlier letters and documents, as published
in French Translations, "Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida",
the name is invariably written as Du Tissenet.
The expedition was undoubtedly one for the purpose of locating mines, as the
mining fever was then at its height, and the Osages, with whom the French were
on the most friendly terms, might readily have given necessary directions as
to the advantageous route to pursue. The search, of course, was unsuccessful,
as no mention of minerals in the region is made by any of the Louisiana
writers. M. Du Tissenet was the first explorer who gave any definite
information in regard to the Indian tribes inhabiting the region of Kansas.
On the 24th of May,  1721, M De Boisbriant, Governor of the Illinois
District, wrote to Bienville that he had been informed that 300 Spaniards had
left Sante Fe for the purpose of driving the French out of Louisiana, but were
attached by the Osage and Panis Indians and driven back to Sante Fe.
 "Annals of Louisiana", M. Penicaut.
Like many reports, the story told the Governor was not entirely correct. The
following is the version as given by Du Pratz, when the facts were better
"The Spaniards, as well as our other neighbors, being continually jealous of
our superiority over them, formed a design of establishing themselves among the
Missouris  and for that purpose, they courted the friendship of the Osages,
whose assistance they thought would be of service to them in their enterprise,
and who wee generally at enmity with the Missouris. A company of Spaniards,
men, women and soldiers, accordingly set out from Santa Fe, having a Dominican
for their chaplain, and with horses, and all other kinds of beasts being
necessary, for it one of their prudent maximums to send off all these things
together. By a fatal mistake, the Spaniards arrived first among the Missouris,
whom they took for the Osages, and imprudently disclosed their hostile
intentions, they were themselves surprised and cut off by those they had
intended for destruction. The Missouris sometime afterward dressed themselves
with the ornaments of the chapel, and carried them in a kind of triumphant
procession to the French commandant among the Illinois.
 The Missouris were settled at the mouth of the Grand River, in the State
This military and colonizing "caravan" or expedition starting from Sante Fe,
and striking the Missouris north of the Missouri River, near the entrance of
the Grand, and leaving the Osage villages at the south, must have followed,
through Kansas, very nearly the line of the Santa Fe railroad.
After the disastrous termination of the Spanish expedition above mentioned,
the French, in order to protect their mining territory, and guard against any
attempts of the same kind, built in 1722-23, a fort on the eastern extremity
of an island in the Missouri just above the mouth of the Osage. The post,
which was named Fort Orleans, was garrisoned and placed in the command of M.
De Bourgmont, and became a medium of intercourse and trade with the
In 1724, M. De Bourgmont made an extensive journey across the entire Territory
of Kansas, from the village of the Kanzas Indians on the Missouri, near the
present city of Atchison, to the village of the Padoucas at the sources of
Smoky Hill.  A full account of the journey is given in M. Le Page Du Pratz's
"History of Louisiana", published in Paris in 1757. Du Pratz states that his
narrative is "extracted and abridged from M. De Bourgmont's journal, an
original account, signed by all the officers, and several other members of the
company." As the journey was directly through the northern part of what is
afterward the territory of Kansas, the account is copied entire and verbatim.
 On the map published in 1757, in connection with the history from which
the account of the journey is taken, the "Country of the Padoucas" extends
from the headwaters of the Republican, to the south of the Arkansas. The great
village of the Padoucas is located at the head waters of the Smokey Hill.
"The Padoucas who lie west by northwest of the Missouris, happened at that
time to be at war with the neighboring nations, the Canzas, Othouez, Aiaouez,
Osages, Missouris and Panimahs, all in amity with the French. To conciliate a
peace between all these nations and the Padoucas, M. De Bourgmont sent to
engage them, as being our allies, to accompany him on a journey to the Padou-
cas in order to bring about a general pacification, and by that means to
facilitate the traffick or truck between us and them, and conclude an alliance
with the Padoucas."
"For this purpose, M. DeBourgmont set out on the 3d of July, 1724, from Fort
Orleans, which lies near the Missouris, a nation dwelling on the banks of the
river with that name, in order to join that people, and then to proceed to the
Canzas, where the general rendezvous of the several nations was appointed."
"M. De Bourgmont was accompanied by a hundred Missouris, commanded by their
Grand Chief, and eight other Chiefs of war, and by sixty four Osages,
commanded by four Chiefs of war, besides a few Frenchmen. On the 6th, he
joined the Grand Chief, six other Chiefs of war, and several Warriors of the
Canzas; who presented him with the Pipe of Peace, and performed the honours
customary on such occasions, to the Missouri and Osages."
"On the 7th, they passes thro' extensive meadows and woods, and arrived at
the banks of the River Missouri, over against the village of the Canzas."
"On the 8th, the French crossed the Missouri in a pettyauger, the Indians on
floats of cane and the horses were swam over. They landed within gunshot of
the Canzas, who flocked to receive them with the pipe; their Grand Chief, in
the name of the nation, assuring M. De Bourgmont that all their Warriors would
accompany him in his journey to the Padoucas, with protestations of friendship
and fidelity, confirmed by smoking the Pipe. The same assurances were made him
by the other Chiefs, who entertained him in their huts and rubbed him over and
"On the 9th, M. de Bourgmont was dispatched five Missouris to acquaint the
Othouez with his arrival at Canza. They returned on the 10th and brought word
that the Othouez promised to hunt for him and his Warriors and to cause
provisions to be dried for the journey; that their Chief would set out
directly, in order to wait on M. de Bourgmont and carry him the word of the
"The Canzas continued to regale the French; brought them great quantities of
grapes, of which the French made a good wine.
"On the 24th of July, at six in the morning, this little army set out,
consisting of 300 Warriors, including the Chiefs of the Canzas, about 300
woman, about 500 young people, and at least 300 dogs. The women carried
considerable loads, to the astonishment of the French, unaccustomed to such a
sight. The young women were also well loaded for their years, and the dogs
were made to trail a part of the baggage, and that in the following manner:
The back of the dog was covered with a skin, with its pile on; then the dog
was girthed around and his breast leather put on, taking two poles, of the
thickness of one's arm and twelve feet long, they fastened their two ends half
a foot asunder, laying on the dog's saddle the thong that fastened the two
poles, and to the poles they also fastened, behind the dog, a ring or hoop
lengthwise, on which they laid the load.
"On the 28th and 29th, the army crossed several brooks and small rivers,
passed through several meadows and thickets, meeting everywhere on their way a
great deal of game.
"On the 30th, M. de Bourgmont, finding himself very ill, was obliged to have a
litter made, in order to be carried back to Fort Orleans till he should
recover. Before he departed, he gave orders about two Padouca slaves, whom he
ransomed and was to send before him to that nation, in order to ingratiate
himself by this act of generosity. These he caused to be sent by one Gaillard,
who was to tell their nation that M. de Bourgmont, being fallen ill on his
intended journey to their country, and was obliged to return home; but that as
soon as he got well again, he would resume his journey to their country, in
order to procure a general peace between them and the other nations.
"On the evening of the same day, arrived at the camp of the Grand Chief of the
Othouez, who acquainted M. de Bourgmont that a great part of his Warriors
waited for him on the road to the Padoucas, and that he came to receive his
orders, but was sorry to find him ill.
"At length, on the 4th of August, M. de Bourgmont set out from the Canzas in a
pettyauger, and arrived, the 5th, at Fort Orleans.
"On the 6th day of September, M. de Bourgmont, who was still at Fort Orleans,
was informed of the arrival of the two Padouca slaves, on the 25th of August,
at their own nations, and that the meeting on the way a body of Padouca
hunters, a day's journey away from their village, the Padouca slaves made the
signal of their nation, by throwing their mantles thrice over their heads;
that they spoke much in commendation of the generosity of M. de Bourgmont, who
had ransomed them; told all that he had done in order to a general
pacification; in fine extolled the French to such a degree that their
discourse, held in the presence of their Grand Chief and the whole nation,
diffused a universal joy; That Gaillard told them the flag they saw was the
symbol of peace and the word of the Sovereign of the French; that in a little
time the several nations would come to be like brethren and have but one heart.
"The grand Chief of the Padoucas was so well assured that the war was now at
an end that he dispatched twenty Padoucas, with Gaillard, to the Canzas, by
whom they were extremely well received. The Padoucas, on their return home,
related their good reception among the Canzas, and as plain and real proof of
the pacification mediated by the French, brought with them fifty of the Canzas
and three of their women, who, in their return were received by the Padoucas
with all possible marks of friendship.
"Tho' M. de Bourgmont was but just recovering of his illness, he, however,
prepared for his departure, and on the 20th of September actually set out from
Fort Orleans by water, and arrived at the canzas on the 27th.
"Gaillard arrived on the 2d of October, at the camp of the Canzas, with three
Chiefs of war and three Warriors of the Padoucas, who were received by M. de
Bourgmont, with flag displayed and other testimonies of civility, and had
presents made for them of several goods proper for their use.
"On the 4th of October, arrived at the Canzas, the Grand Chief and seven other
Chiefs of war of the Othouez, and the next day, very early, six chiefs of war
of the Aiaouez.
"M. de Bourgmont assembled all the Chiefs present, and, sitting them around a
large fire made before his tent, rose up, and addressing himself to them,
said: `He was come to declare to them, in the name of his Sovereign and the
Grand French Chief in the country, that it was the will of his Sovereign they
should all live in peace for the future, like brethren and friends, if they
expected to enjoy his love and protection.' `and since' says he `your are all
assembled this day, it is good you conclude a peace, and all smoke in the same
"The Chiefs of these different nations rose up to a man, and said with one
consent they were well satisfied to comply with the request, and instantly
gave each other their Pipes of Peace.
"After an entertainment prepared for them, the Padoucas sung the songs and
danced the Dances of Peace -- a kind of pantomimes representing the innocent
pleasures of peace.
"On the 6th of October, M. de Bourgmont set out for the Canzas with all the
baggage, and the flag displayed at the head of the French and such Indians as
he had pitched on to accompany him -- in all forty persons: The goods intended
for presents were loaded on horses. As they set out late, they traveled but
five leagues, in which the crossed a small river and two brooks in a fine
country with little wood.
"The same day, Gaillard, Quenel and two Padoucas were dispatched to acquaint
their nation with the March of the French. That day they traveled ten leagues,
crossed one river and two brooks.
"On the 10th, they made eight leagues, crossed two small rivers and three
brooks. To their right and left they had several small hills on which one
could observe pieces of rock, even with the ground. Along the rivers there is
found a slate, and in the meadows a reddish marble, standing out of the earth
one, two, and three feet -- some pieces of it upwards of six feet in diameter.
"On the 11th, they passed over several brooks and a small river, and then the
river of the canzas, which had only three feet of water. Farther on they found
several brooks issuing from the little hills. The river of the Canzas runs
directly from west to east, and falls into the Missouri. It is very great in
floods, because, according to the report of the Padoucas, it comes from a
great way off. The woods which border this river afford a retreat to numbers
of buffaloes and other game. On the left were seen great eminences with
"On the 12th of October, the journey, as the preceding day, was extremely
diversified by the variety of the objects. They crossed eight brooks and
beautiful meadows covered with herds of elks and buffaloes. To the right the
view was unbounded, but to the left small hills were seen at a distance, which
from time to time presented the appearance of ancient castles.
"The 13th, on their march they saw the meadows covered almost entirely with
buffaloes, elks and deer, so that one could scarce distinguish the different
herds, so numerous and intermixed they were. The same day they passed thro' a
wood almost two leagues long, and a pretty rough ascent, a thing which seemed
extraordinary, as to then they only met with little groves, the largest of
which scarce contained a hundred trees, but straight as a cane -- groves too
small to afford a retreat to a quarter of the buffaloes and elks seen there.
"The 14th, the march was retarded by the ascents and descents, from which many
springs of an extreme pure water, forming several brooks, whose water united
make little rivers that fall into the river of the Canzas. Doubtless it is
this multitude of brooks which traverse these meadows, extending a great way
out of sight, that invite these numerous herds of buffaloes.
"The 15th they crossed several brooks and two little rivers. It is chiefly on
the banks of those rivers that we find those enchanting little groves, adorned
with grass underneath, and so clear of underwood that we may there hunt down
the stag with ease.
"The 16th they continued to pass a similar landscape, the beauties of which
were never cloying. Besides the game, these groves afforded also a retreat to
flocks of wild turkeys.
"The 17th, they made very little way, because they wanted to get into the
right road, from which they had strayed the two preceding days. They at length
recovered it, and, at a small distance from their camp, saw an encampment of
the Padoucas, which appeared to have been quitted only about eight days
before. This yielded them so much the more pleasure, as it showed the nearness
of that nation, which made them encamp after traveling only six leagues, in
order to make signals from that place, by setting fire to the parts of the
meadows which the general fire had spared. In a little while the signal was
answered in the same manner, and confirmed by the arrival of the two Frenchmen
who had orders given them to make the signals.
"On the 18th, they met a little river of brackish water, on the banks of which
they found another encampment of the Padoucas, which appeared to be abandoned
but four days before. At half a league farther on, a great smoke was seen to
the west, at no great distance off, which was answered by setting fire to the
parts of the meadows untouched by the general fire.
"About half an hour after, the padoucas were observed coming at full gallop
with the flag which Gaillard had left with them on his first journey to their
country. M. de Bourgmont instantly ordered the French under arms, and, at the
head of his people, thrice saluted these people with his flag, which they also
returned thrice by raising their mantles as many times over their heads.
"After the first ceremony, M. de Bourgmont made them all sit down and smoke in
the Pipe of Peace. This action, being the seal of the peace, diffused a
general joy, accompanied with loud acclamations.
"The Padoucas, after mounting the French and the Indians who accompanied them,
set out on their horses for their camp, and after a journey of three leagues,
arrived at their encampment, but left a distance of a gun shot between the two
"The day after their arrival at the Padoucas, M. de Bourgmont caused the goods
allotted for this nation to be unpacked, and the different species parceled
out, which he made them all presents of.
"After which, M. de Bourgmont sent for the Grand Chief and other Chiefs of the
Padoucas, who came to the camp to the number of 2000, and placing himself
between them and the goods, thus parceled and laid out to view, he told them
he was sent by his Sovereign to carry them the word of Peace, this flag and
these goods, and to exhort them to live as brethren with their neighbors, the
Panimhas, Aiaouez, Othouez, Canzas, Missouris, Osages and Illinois, and to
traffick and truck freely together, and with the French. He, at the same time,
gave the flag to the Grand Chief of the Padoucas, who received it with
demonstrations of respect, and told him, `I accept this flag which you present
to me on the part of your Sovereign. We rejoice at our having peace with all
the nations you mentioned, and promise, in the name of our nation, never to
make war on any of your allies; but receive them when they come among us, as
our brethren; as we shall in like manner the French, and conduct with them
when they want to go to the Spaniards, who are but twelve days' journey form
our village, and who truck with us in horses, of which they have such numbers
they know not what to do with them; also in bad hatchets of a soft iron, and
some knives, whose points they break off, lest we should use them one day
against themselves. You may command all my Warriors. I can furnish with
upwards of two thousand. In my own and in the name of the whole nation, I
entreat you would send some Frenchmen to trade with us. We can supply them
with horses, which we truck with the Spaniards for buffalo mantles, and with
great quantities of furs.'
"These people are far from being savage, nor would it be a difficult matter to
civilize them -- a plain proof that they had long intercourse with the
Spaniards. The few days the French stayed among them they were become very
familiar, and would fain have M. de Bourgmont leave some Frenchmen among them,
especially they of the village at which the peace was concluded with the other
nations. This village consisted of an hundred and forty huts, and contained
about eight hundred warriors, fifteen hundred women and at least two thousand
children, some Padoucas having four wives.
"On the 22d of October, M. de Bourgmont set out from the Padouca, and
travelled only five leagues that day. The 23d and the three following days, he
travelled in all forty leagues; the 27th, six leagues, the 28th, eight
leagues; the 29th, six leagues, and on the 30th as many. The 31st, he
travelled only four leagues and that day arrived within a half a mile of the
Canzas. From the Padoucas to the Canzas, proceeding always east, we may now
very safely reckon sixty-five leagues and a half. The river of Canzas is
parallel to this route.
"On the 1st of November, they all arrived on the banks of the Missouri. M.
de Bourgmont embarked the 2d on a canoe of skins, and at length, on the 5th
day of November, arrived at Fort Orleans."
In 1725, the year succeeded that in which M. de Bourgmont made his expedition
through Kansas, he visited New Orleans, and during his absence Fort Orleans
was destroyed and the entire garrison was massacred. The Indians told no tales
and the particulars of the bloody deed were never known. It put an end,
however, to any further effort to extend French exploration or trade to the
West, and the journey of Bourgmont was probably the last made by white men
through Upper Louisiana while the country remained in the possession of
France. Thirty years after his visit, an old French writer says the rivers
which fall into the Missouri, were known only by Indian names, the best known
being the Osage, and the longest known being the Kanzas, which he remarks,
runs through a "very fine country." From that time until the country passed
into the possession of the United States, Kansas, and the country lying west
of it was virtually an unknown and unexplored region, visited only at rare
intervals by white men, and occupied by the savage tribes who warred upon each
other, and upon the countless herds of buffalo that roamed its plains. At the
close of the seventeenth century, Kansas, after having been claimed by two
powerful governments, was almost as little known as in the days of Coronado
and Du Tissenet.
WESTERN FUR TRADE AND TRADERS.
In 176-, Pierre Laclede Siquest (called Laclede), with August and Pierre
Choteau, emigrated from France and settled in the Mississippi Valley, having a
charter from the French Government giving them the exclusive right to trade
with the Indians of Louisiana as far north as St. Peter's river. In 1799, a
post was established near St. Joseph's and in 1800 another at Randolph Bluffs,
three miles below the mouth of the Kaw, the whole Choteau family being fur
traders when Louisiana was ceded to the American Government in 1803. Before
that time, the trade with Indians was carried on by a system of monopoly; any
person desiring to engage in the business obtaining of the Governor the
exclusive privilege of trading with a particular tribe, or upon a certain
river. The only permanent establishment founded on the waters of the Missouri,
under this system, was that of Pierre Chateau, who enjoyed a monopoly of the
trade of the Osage nation for nearly twenty years, his fort or trading house
being on the river below the great Osage villages. Manuel de Lisa was his
successor, obtaining the privilege only a short time before the territory
passed from the hands of Spain. Other enterprising individuals traded in a
small way with different tribes; but as no forts were established by the
Spanish Government, and no companies for mutual cooperation and protection
were sanctioned, the business was to hazardous to encourage many adventurers.
After the change of government the establishment of the United States trading
posts, and the abolishment of the monopoly system, the trade with the Western
Indians rapidly increased. "The Missouri Fur Company" was organized in 1808,
with Manuel de Lisa at its head, and pierre and August Choteau and nine other
members. Expeditions were sent out, and posts founded among the Indians of
Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and some in Arkansas. The company was unfortunate;
their trading posts were abandoned, and it was dissolved in 1812, the members
establishing independent houses to prosecute the trade, and also to furnish
outfits for hunters and trappers. The most advanced United States trading post
on the Missouri River and the western limit of white settlement in 1811, was
Fort Osage, thirty-four miles below the mouth of the Kansas. In 1813, the
American Fur Company was formed and the Choteaus, formerly connected with the
Missouri Trading Company, and also Pierre, Jr., and his brother Francis became
members. This company occupied the posts of the Missouri Trading Company, of
which it was an outgrowth, and made great efforts to monopolize the trade in
the Southwest by rooting out independent traders. Francis Choteau was sent to
Kansas, and was employed for years in this work. The post known as the "Four
Houses", so called from being built on four sides of an open square, was
established on the north bank of the Kaw, twenty miles above its mouth, and in
1821 a general agency for furnishing supplies was established at the mouth of
the river, from which men were sent to the Neosho and Osage. In 1825, Francis
was joined by Cyprian, his brother, and a house was built about opposite the
present site of Muncie, on the south side of the Kaw, and in 1830 another
trading post was established by Frederick on Mission, The America's Chiefs'
Creed, in what is now Shawnee County. A few years later, posts were
established through country from the Platte to the Arkansas.
EARLY AMERICAN EXPLORERS (1804 - 1807)
Louisiana remained part of the Dominion of France until November 8, 1762, at
which time it passed into the possession of Spain. October 1, 1800, Spain
agreed to retrocede the territory to France, which agreement was consummated
by the treaty of Madrid, March 21, 1801. April 30, 1808, it became a part of
the domain of the United States, by purchase from the Republic of France.
Soon after the acquisition of the Territory of Louisiana by the Untied States,
expeditions were sent out by the government to explore the region west of the
Mississippi, and through the Missouri Valley. Lewis and Clark, in 1804-5-6,
traversed the region to the Pacific and returned. Their report gave the first
reliable information as to the topography, climate and general features of the
country. Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike also set out from ST. Louis in 1806, explored
the southern part of Kansas and thence to Colorado west to the Peak, which
bears his name.
On his return, he so far lost his bearings as to encamp on the Rio Grande,
believing it to be the Red River. Here he built a stockade and established
quarters, awaiting arrival of members of his party who had been disabled on
the way, and whom he had left behind till they should be able to travel. His
encampment was discovered by Spanish soldiers from Santa Fe', then to
Chihuahua, some six hundred miles farther beyond, before they were permitted
to return to the United States. The mistake, whereby Pike's party was
discovered a trespassers on the Spanish possessions, resulted in obtaining
much valuable information regarding the Spanish colonies, and awakened a
interest that resulted in after years in the establishment of the overland
trade with Santa Fe'. His explorations of the Kansas region, before entering
New Mexico, embraced a larger range than any before made. The importance of
his discoveries at the time cannot be over estimated, as from the publishing
of his journal dates the inception of the commercial intercourse with New
Mexico, and the first reliable knowledge given the American public of Southern
Kansas and Western Colorado.