. Saponitown - Lawson Part 3
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Lawson, Part Three

{Monday.} The next Morning very early, we ferry'd over a Creek that runs near the House; and, after an Hour's Travel in the Woods, we came to the River-side, where we stay'd for the Indian, who was our Guide, and was gone round by Water in a small Canoe, to meet us at that Place we rested at. He came after a small Time, and ferry'd us in that little Vessel over Santee River 4 Miles, and 84 Miles in the Woods, which the over-flowing of the Freshes, which then came down, had made a perfect Sea of, there running an incredible Current in the River, which had cast our small Craft, and us, away, had we not had this Sewee Indian with us; who are excellent Artists in managing these small Canoes.

Santee River, at this Time, (from the usual Depth of Water) was risen perpendicular 36 Foot, always making a Breach from her Banks, about this Season of the Year: The general Opinion of the Cause thereof, is suppos'd to proceed from the overflowing of fresh Water-Lakes that lie near the Head of this River, and others, upon the same Continent: But my Opinion is, that these vast Inundations proceed from the great and repeated Quantities of Snow that falls upon the Mountains, which lie at so great a Distance from the Sea, therefore they have no Help of being dissolv'd by those saline, piercing Particles, as other adjacent Parts near the Ocean receive; and therefore lies and increases to a vast Bulk, until some mild Southerly Breezes coming on a sudden, continue to unlock these frozen Bodies, congeal'd by the North-West Wind, dissipating them in Liquids; and coming down with Impetuosity, fills those Branches that feed these Rivers, and causes this strange Deluge, which oft-times lays under Water the adjacent Parts on both Sides this Current, for several Miles distant from her Banks; tho' the French and Indians affir'm'd to me, they never knew such an extraordinary Flood there before.

We all, by God's Blessing, and the Endeavours of our Indian-Pilot, pass'd safe over the River, but was lost in the Woods, which seem'd like some great Lake, except here and there a Knowl of high Land, which appear'd above Water.

We intended for Mons. Galliar's, jun', but was lost, none of us knowing the Way at that Time, altho' the Indian was born in that Country, it having receiv'd so strange a Metamorphosis. We were in several Opinions concerning the right Way, the Indian and my self, suppos'd the House to bear one Way, the rest thought to the contrary; we differing, it was agreed on amongst us, that one half should go with the Indian to find the House, and the other part to stay upon one of these dry Spots, until some of them return'd to us, and inform'd us where it lay.

My self and two more were left behind, by Reason the Canoe would not carry us all; we had but one Gun amongst us, one Load of Ammunition, and no Provision. Had our Men in the Canoe miscarry'd, we must (in all Probability) there have perish'd.

In about six Hours Time, from our Mens Departure, the Indian came back to us in the same Canoe he went in, being half drunk, which assur'd us they had found some Place of Refreshment. He took us three into the Canoe, telling us all was well: Padling our Vessel several Miles thro' the Woods, being often half full of Water; but at length we got safe to the Place we sought for, which prov'd to lie the same Way the Indian and I guess'd it did.

When we got to the House, we found our Comrades in the same Trim the Indian was in, and several of the French Inhabitants with them, who treated us very courteously, wondering at our undertaking such a Voyage, thro' a Country inhabited by none but Savages, and them of so different Nations and Tongues.

After we had refresh'd our selves, we parted from a very kind, loving, and affable People, who wish'd us a safe and prosperous Voyage.

Hearing of a Camp of Santee Indians not far of, we set out intending to take up our Quarters with them that Night. There being a deep Run of Water in the Way, one of our Company being top-heavy, and there being nothing but a small Pole for a Bridge, over a Creek, fell into the Water up to the Chin; my self laughing at the Accident, and not taking good Heed to my Steps, came to the same Misfortune: All our Bedding was wet. The Wind being at N.W. it froze very hard, which prepar'd such a Night's Lodging for me, that I never desire to have the like again; the wet Bedding and freezing Air had so qualify'd our Bodies, that in the Morning when we awak'd, we were nigh frozen to Death, until we had recruited our selves before a large Fire of the Indians.

{Tuesday.} Tuesday Morning we set towards the Congerees, leaving the Indian Guide Scipio drunk amongst the Santee-Indians. We went ten Miles out of our Way, to head a great Swamp, the Freshes having fill'd them all with such great Quantities of Water, that the usual Paths were render'd unpassable. We met in our Way with an Indian Hut, where we were entertain'd with a fat, boil'd Goose, Venison, Racoon, and ground Nuts. We made but little Stay; about Noon, we pass'd by several large Savannah's, wherein is curious Ranges for Cattel, being green all the Year; they were plentifully stor'd with Cranes, Geese, &c. and the adjacent Woods with great Flocks of Turkies. This Day we travell'd about 30 Miles, and lay all Night at a House which was built for the Indian Trade, the Master thereof we had parted with at the French Town, who gave us Leave to make use of his Mansion. Such Houses are common in these Parts, and especially where there is Indian Towns, and Plantations near at hand, which this Place is well furnish'd withal.

These Santee-Indians are a well-humour'd and affable People; and living near the English, are become very tractable. They make themselves Cribs after a very curious Manner, wherein they secure their Corn from Vermin; which are more frequent in these warm Climates, than Countries more distant from the Sun. These pretty Fabricks are commonly supported with eight Feet or Posts, about seven Foot high from the Ground, well daub'd within and without upon Laths, with Loom or Clay, which makes them tight, and fit to keep out the smallest Insect, there being a small Door at the gable End, which is made of the same Composition, and to be remov'd at Pleasure, being no bigger, than that a slender Man may creep in at, cementing the Door up with the same Earth, when they take Corn out of the Crib, and are going from Home, always finding their Granaries in the same Posture they left them; Theft to each other being altogether unpractis'd, never receiving Spoils but from Foreigners.

Hereabouts the Ground is something higher than about Charles-Town, there being found some Quarries of brown free Stone, which I have seen made Use of for Building, and hath prov'd very durable and good. The Earth here is mix'd with white Gravel, which is rare, there being nothing like a Stone to be found, of the natural Produce, near to Ashly-River.

{Wednesday.} The next Day about Noon we came to the Side of a great Swamp, where we were forc'd to strip our selves to get over it, which, with much Difficulty, we effected. {Septem. 5. 1700.} Hereabouts the late Gust of Wind, which happen'd in September last, had torn the large Ciprus-Trees and Timbers up by the Roots, they lying confusedly in their Branches, did block up the Way, making the Passage very difficult.

This Night we got to one Scipio's Hutt, a famous Hunter: There was no Body at Home; but we having (in our Company) one that had us'd to trade amongst them, we made our selves welcome to what his Cabin afforded, (which is a Thing common) the Indians allowing it practicable to the English Traders, to take out of their Houses what they need in their Absence, in Lieu whereof they most commonly leave some small Gratuity of Tobacco, Paint, Beads, &c. We found great Store of Indian Peas, (a very good Pulse) Beans, Oyl, Thinkapin Nuts, Corn, barbacu'd Peaches, and Peach-Bread; which Peaches being made into a Quiddony, and so made up into Loves like Barley-Cakes, these cut into thin Slices, and dissolv'd in Water, makes a very grateful Acid, and extraordinary beneficial in Fevers, as hath often been try'd, and approv'd on by our English Practitioners. The Wind being at N.W. with cold Weather, made us make a large Fire in the Indian's Cabin; being very intent upon our Cookery, we set the Dwelling on Fire, and with much ado, put it out, tho' with the Loss of Part of the Roof.

{Thursday.} The next Day we travell'd on our Way, and about Noon came up with a Settlement of Santee Indians, there being Plantations lying scattering here and there, for a great many Miles. They came out to meet us, being acquainted with one of our Company, and made us very welcome with fat barbacu'd Venison, which the Woman of the Cabin took and tore in Pieces with her Teeth, so put it into a Mortar, beating it to Rags, afterwards stews it with Water, and other Ingredients, which makes a very savoury Dish.

At these Cabins came to visit us the King of the Santee Nation. He brought with him their chief Doctor or Physician, who was warmly and neatly clad with a Match-Coat, made of Turkies Feathers, which makes a pretty Shew, seeming as if it was a Garment of the deepest silk Shag. This Doctor had the Misfortune to lose his Nose by the Pox, which Disease the Indians often get by the English Traders that use amongst them; not but the Natives of America have for many Ages (by their own Confession) been afflicted with a Distemper much like the Lues Venerea, which hath all the Symptoms of the Pox, being different in this only; for I never could learn, that this Country-Distemper, or Yawes, is begun or continu'd with a Gonorrhoea; yet is attended with nocturnal Pains in the Limbs, and commonly makes such a Progress, as to vent Part of the Matter by Botches, and several Ulcers in the Body, and other Parts; oftentimes Death ensuing. I have known mercurial Unguents and Remedies work a Cure, following the same Methods as in the Pox; several white People, but chiefly the Criolo's, losing their Palates and Noses by this devouring Vulture.

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