Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Eastern Woodland Indian Cultural Research & Portrayal of the 18th Century

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Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Sanscoeur » Wed May 17, 2017 10:34 am

Excerpts from a list of trade goods contracted for the annual supply to the Caddo nation on the Red River in 1770:

"Forty staple fusils of good caliber
Four hundred pounds of French gun powder
Nine hundred pounds of bullets, caliber thirty to thirty-two"...

I always understood that French trade guns to Native nations were present-day .58 caliber. Is there a conversion between traditional French measurements of gun bore and modern measurements that would make the quoted .30-.32 more nearly equal to a larger bore? Barrels recovered from the Gilbert Site of northeastern Texas (the subject geographical area), in 1965, were all .55 to .60 caliber.

Also interesting to note on the list:

"One gross of hunter's knives with three nails
One gross of pocket knives with horn or dog's head handles"...

Also included were scissors, combs, shirts, beads, awls, vermilion, and copper wire ..."suitable for bracelets and wormscrews."

How much was this stuff worth at the end of the year? From the contract: "I, the undersigned (merchant Juan Piseros), resident and merchant in this post (Natchitoches), certify that I have agreed with (lieutenant-governor) M. de Mezieres to purchase, bring up, and put at the disposition of the Sieurs Alesis Grappe, Dupin and Fazende Moriere, the merchandise mentioned above, of good quality, marketable, and well chosen, to serve and to be distributed by them to the nations of the Cados d'Acquioux and Hiatasses, our allies, in conformity with the intentions of his Excellency, which delivery I obligate myself to make to the above-named persons, payable in the stipulated term of a year from the following spring on condition of their paying FIFTY PER CENT PROFIT on the purchase price in New Orleans, according to the certified invoices which I shall exhibit. I agree to accept deer skins of good quality and marketable at thirty-five sous apiece; bear's fat at twenty-five sous a pot; buffalo hides, good and marketable at ten livres, I reserving, in view of my advances and the length of the term of credit, the choice of goods which may please me best, until I am completely paid."
«S’il n’y avait en Angleterre qu’une religion, le despotisme serait à craindre; s’il y en avait deux, elles se couperaient la gorge; mais il y en a trente, et elles vivent en paix et heureuses».
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Bob Miller » Wed May 17, 2017 2:39 pm

Using " Colonial Frontier Guns" by T.M. Hamilton as my reference. 32 cal French bore size translates to about a .58 bore
The gauges used in determining calibre "go" and "no go " . G32 = ..599 P32 = .555
The book is well worth the price.
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Sanscoeur » Fri May 19, 2017 9:15 am

Thanks, Bob. Somewhere within my archives I have a chart with Hamilton's conversion ratios - just couldn't find it right now. I kinda stepped away from reading & research the past 2-3- years, but I'm stepping back up to the plate. I need to re-familiarize myself with the stuff that I have on the shelf and on hard drive. In a couple of weeks I'm going to Scott City, KS to tromp the grounds of El Cuartelejo, the farthest north pueblo in North America. It was one of the last stops for the ill-fated Villasur party of 1720, before their ignominious massacre at the hands of Missourias and Otoes, and probably the terminus of Etienne Véniard de Bourgmont's peace expedition to the Comanches in 1724. Ultimately, I want to find a route through one of the National Grasslands of Kansas wherein I can recreate the journey of one of the parties of French ex-pats that ended up in Santa Fe during the 1740s.
«S’il n’y avait en Angleterre qu’une religion, le despotisme serait à craindre; s’il y en avait deux, elles se couperaient la gorge; mais il y en a trente, et elles vivent en paix et heureuses».
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Ken Hamilton » Sat May 20, 2017 8:20 am

Very very cool, Mike. Shows French goods STILL being imported. I like the Dog head (almost certainly a Siamois) knife mention! You seem to have found the only mention (by description) of a 3 pin Boucheron! (Well, I presume it is a boucheron as the other stuff is apparently French....although we all know that most English scalpers also had three pins).

I hope that when you retrace the Villaseur expedition, you get some pristine archival photos that "could" have been seen in the period (ie. no power lines, gas stations, etc...).

So, although I remember you were pretty certain that the Segasser hide paintings were not done by an "eye witness"...the details were nevertheless contemporary and accurate....and showed an intimate knowledge of Native culture etc... What have been your latest conclusions about all that?

Merci,
Ken
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Sanscoeur » Sat May 20, 2017 10:10 am

Mon ami Ken,

The Caddo tribes on the Red River had always been very faithful to the French since 1719, and they served as a buffer and intermediary filter of statesmanship with the various Wichita tribes that lived farther north. After the Wichitas migrated south in the 1750s it became important to enlist their loyalty against Plains Apaches. Natchitoches had always been a trade hub to these nations so, after the succession of Louisiana to Spain, the Spanish government chose to allow Natchitoches to continue its customary trade with the resident nations. Even though Spanish mercantile laws forbade the sale of firearms to Native nations, the Nathchitoches traders were allowed to continue their commerce in fusils. Since supply lines from Chihuahua to Santa Fe, and then to Texas, were so long the Natchitoches traders were also allowed to maintain their merchant relationships with French suppliers.

I referred to artifacts found at the Gilbert Site above. The Texas Archaeological Society did an extensive dig in 1962 and, in subsequent years, several smaller digs. They published their findings in the Society's Bulletin of 1967. The Gilbert Site appears to be approximately 1750. Fourteen clasp knives were excavated and you would be very familiar with their morphology. The names Abadion Braenver, Jean Ferriol, and Gibodief OL appear on the blades. Two complete boucheron blades were also excavated, of the two-pin variety, and 13 fragments of boucherons with readable names. Coobon, Pierre Chappelle, Claude Gibodief, EROI (letter missing) N, the initials SK, and the letter E followed by a dot (poinçon?).

Like I said, I took a break from history for a while. I forgot a bunch of stuff... It'll take some time for me get my mental curriculum back up to speed. I always concentrated on issues related to France on the Great Plains, so I'll pick up there. What ever happened to the various members of the six parties of ex-pats that made it to Santa Fe - the ones who lost hope or faith and peeled off of the main expedition? I don't believe there are any answers to that question hidden in the historical record, but it serves as a motivational factor in my own studies.
«S’il n’y avait en Angleterre qu’une religion, le despotisme serait à craindre; s’il y en avait deux, elles se couperaient la gorge; mais il y en a trente, et elles vivent en paix et heureuses».
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Le Nez » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:35 am

"Like I said, I took a break from history for a while. I forgot a bunch of stuff..."

Me too! But had the honor on several occasions to visit with the man who did much of the conservation work way back in the day on the metal artifacts from the Gilbert site. Mr. Jay Blaine. He was a wealth of information.

As an interesting side note. When I visited Dr. DeWolf at Texas A&M and was able to inspect several of the excavated gunstocks from La Belle, she stated that evidently the fusils that they found in the wooden case were all loaded with approx. a dozen balls! Go figure that. (BTW, I believe their exhaustive archaeological report is finally ready. I think archaeologist son says their firm received a copy th other day).

Je reste

Le Nez
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Fitz Williams » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:00 am

It has been a while! Frontier Days is coming soon. Think about it.
Ne vous fiez pas à tout ce qu'on vous dit.
L'histoire est une suite de mensonges sur lesquels on est d'accord.
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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Le Nez » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:57 am

Fitz Williams wrote:It has been a while! Frontier Days is coming soon. Think about it.


Mornin' Fitz!

PM on way to you!
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

Hamlet; Act I, Scene V

C'est un roc ! C'est un pic ! C'est un cap !
Que dis-je, c'est un cap ! C'est une péninsule !

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Re: Caddo Trade Goods 1770

Postby Le Nez » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:04 pm

Interesting find from not too long ago.

https://texanculturescollections.wordpr ... txdot/amp/

Le Nez
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

Hamlet; Act I, Scene V

C'est un roc ! C'est un pic ! C'est un cap !
Que dis-je, c'est un cap ! C'est une péninsule !

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