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power, creating according to the sovereignty of His own willwithout calling pacifists into consultation.
These, in their fatuity, fail to see the compensating nécessities in the human problem; for, left to his own inherent inclinations in high prosperity, which means high living, man quickly lapses into the degeneracy of self-gratification in the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye and presumptuous arrogancy of life, eventually not worth the killing, unless a heaven-sent compulsory reaction, supremely greater than ourselves, compels us suddenly to “About face!” subordinating body and soul to the larger imperative obligations of duty to our better selves in allegience to our country and the higher needs of the human race.
War in an instant has transformed this happy-go-lucky, dollar-grabbing, pleasure-seeking people into a consolidated unit of free-handed, self-sacrificing patriotism, hungry for training in discipline and obedience; already leading the nations to a universal knowledge and acceptance of American-born government of, for and by the people. “Man in his highest estate can do no
As long as we, the American people, are not utterly debased in cowardice and greed, wars and rumors of wars will keep the Washington Artillery in furbished and glittering preparedness.
MINUTES OF OCTOBER, 1917. The Louisiana Historical Society held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, October 16th, at the Cabildo. President and Secretary were present, and a small gathering of members and visitors.
Minutes of the July meeting were read and approved. - Mr. W. 0. Hart reported that, authorized by the Executive Committee of the Society, he had presented to the War Library two hundred copies of Mr. Stanley Arthur's “Battle of New Orleans,” freshly bound for the occasion. He read a note of thanks for this, from Mr. Henry M. Gill, chairman of the War Library Committee for Louisiana and Mississippi.
Mr. Joe Mitchell Pilcher then read his carefully prepared essay, “The Story of Marksville.” It was listened to with great interest, the notes on Indian tribes containing much new and original information. The fight at Fort DeRussy was told with
spirit, and the reminiscences of Ruth McEnery Stuart with pathos.
At the end there was some informal and pleasant talk about the origin of the Indian people of America. Mr. Dymond, as usual, gave some interesting personal experiences.
The following persons, proposed by Mr. Hart for membership, were elected :
Miss Alys M. Goforth, Baton Rouge, La.
Mr. J. M. Pilcher, Marksville, La.
THE STORY OF MARKSVILLE, LA.
By JOE MITCHELL PILCHER. . Let us set back the hands of the clock of Time some two or three centuries, after which we shall unroll the map of the great continent of North America and look upon it as it was then. Beyond the Alleghanies to the majestic Father of Waters, let your eyes wander. Then glance down this mighty river to the mouth of the Red, where the two streams are confluent. There let your eyes rest.
Before you a beautiful prairie rolls and stretches to the land of the setting sun. It is an unshorn field, boundless and beautiful, a region whose every object wears the image of its Maker. His Spirit—the Great Spirit-speaks in the roars of its mighty rivers and moves in the wind as it “wakes to ecstacy the tall grass of the great prairie of Avoyelles.
· All up and down this prairie roamed the wolf and bear. In the tall grass lurked and skulked the dusky savage, and the earth was made to tremble as the vast herds of bison and buffalo swept cyclone-like across this beautiful and romantic prairie.
The original denizens of this Garden of God were the Avoyelles, a tribe once puissant but long since departed. The Avoyelles proudly boasted of a classic antiquity in their supposed descent from the Aztecs. However, this is a question of grave doubt and speculative debate. If not classic in history, the country of the Avoyelles is at least classic and historic in soil, for the legions of De Soto, the missionary crusaders of France, and the British regulars crossed its borders and traversed its plains.
The word “Avoyelles” signifies “People of the Rocks,” and was ascribed to them by Iberville, who sojourned with the tribe several days. But the origin of the word is lost in obscurity. However, it is the supposition of a few that its derivation arose from the fact that the Avoyelles secured flint from the Arkansas and traded it to the neighboring tribes.
In 1700 Iberville met forty Avoyelles warriors in the village of the Houmas, offering their services to suppress an invasion of the formidable Choctaws. From the Avoyelles Iberville learned that they once lived with the Natchez, but because of the perpetual wars which raged among them they were forced to leave the Natchez and live elsewhere. They crossed the Mississippi and came over to what is now Avoyelles Parish.
St. Denis, who figures prominently in the early history of Natchitoches, met the Avoyelles in 1714 on his way to Mexico in company with Penicaut. La Harpe, the French explorer and historian, speaking of them, says:
“On the 21st we became aware of some savage hunters to the left of Red River. I sent one of my pirogues to find them; they were of the tribe of Avoyelles. They made us some presents of quarters of bear and deer. I kept them many days in order to hunt. They killed for me ten deer and a bear, a quantity of bustards, ducks, some rabbits and many squirrels; they also caught many fish for me. I made them a present of two guns.”
Du Pratz, another French historian of the period, states that the Avoyelles were middlemen in trading horses between the Mexicans and the French.
Like all other Indians, the Avoyelles were of a restless nature, and they wandered from place to place. They lived at
various points on the Red River, and finally came to Spring Bayou and Old River, their last abodes.
We trace the course of their wanderings by huge earth mounds which they left here and their in their train. These mounds were of two sorts, domiciliary and mortuary. As the words imply, mounds of the former type were those upon which the Indians built their cabins so as to insure their safety from the annual floods; and the mounds of the latter type were built for burial purposes. The mound near Old River, about a mile south of Marksville, is of the mortuary type, while the one a few yards away is of the domiciliary.
At certain intervals these Indians gathered the bones of their dead and placed them in one huge mound. The Indians held the remains of the dead in great reverence and accompanied these burials with pomp and ceremony. With the bones were placed certain relics, such as arrow heads, earthen pots, beads and the like.
There is one mound of this interesting chain which deserves particular attention. It is the one situated about a mile from the mouth of Bayou L'Eau Noire, in the woods, but now crossed by a levee. This mound, about square, faces the cardinal points of the compass, obviously showing that the savages must have had some knowledge of astronomy.
To-day this great tribe is completely extinct, and as far back as 1805 its last remnant was two or three women living among the French. The Indians living near Marksville are not Avoyelles stock, but are descendants of the Tunicas.
The name “Tunica’? signifies." Men” or “People.” De Soto encountered them in Northeastern Louisiana at a salt lick on the Quachita. Marquette met them in 1676 on the Yazoo, where they had several small villages. In his famous voyage of 1682, La Salle did not visit them, because of their enmity with the Arkansas. . Tonti only makes mention of them. During the hunting season Joutel encountered their camp in Northeastern Louisiana.
The first white men to meet them on the Yazoo were two missionary priests from Canada. These priests converted many of them, baptizing several dying children and the chief. One of these priests was Father Davion. He had great influence among these Indians. On one occasion his great zeal prompted him to demolish the idols of one of the Tunica temples. The Indians sought his life, but the chief shielded him from harm.
Some time later they captured an English trader, who, upon escaping, assembled the Alabamas, Carolinas and Chickasaws to war against them. Feeling that they were not strong enough to resist the attack, in October of 1706, they migrated to the mouth of the Red. Father Davion's mission was moved along with the tribe. This good old man was a power among the Indians in advancing the teachings of the Catholic Church. He was a pioneer, too, in the spreading of education. The Indians reposed in him complete confidence and looked upon him as their guardian.
In 1714 St. Denis passed through their village and persuaded the Tunica chief to accompany him on an expedition through Texas. During the Natchez war Penicaut and many refugees found an asylum in the Tunica village. It was at this time the Tunicas offered their services to Bienville, but he declined them because of the prevalent rumor that they had offered rewards to certain warriors for his scalp.
La Harpe met the Tunicas in 1719, and states that Father Davion had completely induced them to abandon their idolatry. In 1721, Father Charlevoix, the historian of New France, visited them. He stated that the chief prided himself on wearing French apparel. Father Charlevoix further states that the chief's cabin was exquisitely adorned and that his wealth was great.
When the Capuchin Fathers came over to Louisiana, Father Davion returned to France, where he died soon after. Passing through their village in 1727, the missionary, Poisson, told the Tunicas of Father Davion's death. They mourned his death, and the chief “seemed to wish for a missionary.” But Poisson remarks that the chief bore no mark of being a Christian, except the name, a medal and a rosary:
In 1723 the Tunicas accompanied Bienville on his second expedition against the Natchez; and their chief was severely wounded. When the great Natchez war broke out in 1729 they again aided the French, and were of considerable assistance as scouts. Their chief took an active, prominent part in this campaign. But he crossed his Rubicon in so doing, for the Natchez