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It Started Here: Early Arkansas and The Louisiana Purchase

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"It Started Here: Early Arkansas and The Louisiana Purchase", chronicles the people and land of Arkansas, between the signing of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, leading up to Arkansas statehood in 1836.

The 30 minute documentary, written and produced by Larry Foley, tells the story of the 1815 land survey that began in a swamp in eastern Arkansas, establishing a starting point for land surveys of Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and the Dakotas.

A monument erected in 1926 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, recognizes what has become an obscure footnote in American history. The historical state park is off the beaten path, and like the story it honors, is not well known.

"You have to have a starting point, and that's what is critical about that spot over there in the middle of that swamp," said UALR history professor Charles Bolton. "And having established that point, you could go on and continue the survey for the rest of the country." President James Madison commissioned the land survey. The War of 1812 had been won, and a grateful, yet financially strapped American government, had promised its soldiers property in the new territory.

Thanks to the Louisiana Purchase, the young nation had plenty of land to give away. But except for the area that became the state of Louisiana, none of it had been surveyed, and until it was marked off, could not be awarded as bounty to the war veterans.

Two federally deputized land surveyors, Joseph Brown and Prospect K. Robbins, were hired to establish the initial point. They hacked their way through thickets and briars, fending off cottonmouth snakes and mosquitoes. They laid out four townships, cutting blazemarks into trees, where the historical monument now stands.

"The reason they came together at that place is an accident of geography," aid Ann Early, Arkansas State Archaeologist."

"You needed a datum point, a starting point for the surveys, and the two most fundamental landmarks that you could find were mouths of the Arkansas and St. Francis Rivers." The documentary also tells the story of the land ripped apart by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811, four years before the survey. It tells of the 1817 founding of Fort Smith, a small log and stone stockade built by soldiers to keep peace between the warring Cherokee and Osage Indians.

The film features the story of Arkansas Post, the oldest frontier trade center west of the Mississippi River. The post was a melting pot settlement that became the territorial capitol in 1819.

Also featured in the saga of the Quapaw Indians (Arkansea), who were forced from their native homeland in 1835, one year before statehood. This program was produced in cooperation with the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee of Arkansas. Supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and by the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office.

Transcript

Narrator: IT STARTED HERE. IN THIS HEADWATER SWAMP IN THE AUTUMN OF 1815, TWO FEDERAL LAND SURVEYING TEAMS MET AND MARKED THE INITIAL POINT FOR THE TERRITORY OF LOUISIANA. IN A REMOTE DELTA REGION OF EASTERN ARKANSAS, AN HISTORIC STATE PARK COMMEMORATES THE SPOT WHERE THE SURVEYORS ESTABLISHED A STARTING POINT-- A DATUM-- FOR LAND SURVEYS OF THE STATES OF ARKANSAS, IOWA, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, AND THE DAKOTAS.

Lea Baker, Arkansas Heritage: IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT FROM THIS LITTLE OBSCURE SPOT IN THE CORNER OF THREE COUNTIES IN ARKANSAS, THE REST OF THE LANDS OF THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE ALL THE WAY TO THE CANADIAN BORDER ARE SURVEYED AND TIED TO THIS SPOT.

Bill Ruck, Surveyor: IT'S A BIG DEAL AND WITHOUT IT, OUR WHOLE SYSTEM OF LAND OWNERSHIP, WHICH IS CRITICAL TO THE WAY THAT THE FREE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OPERATES IN TERMS OF LAND OWNERSHIP, THAT WHOLE SYSTEM WOULD FALL APART.

Narrator: THE BASELINE EXTENDING FROM THE SWAMP CUTS THROUGH THE HEART OF ARKANSAS AND ITS CAPITAL CITY. EVERY DAY THOUSANDS OF AUTOMOBILES TRAVEL ALONG "BASELINE ROAD" IN LITTLE ROCK, BUT MOST OF THESE MOTORISTS HAVE NO CLUE AS TO THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF THIS BUSY STREET. FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS, THE SURVEY MARKER LAY HIDDEN AND FORGOTTEN UNDERNEATH THE LEAF LITTER AT THE SAME TALL CYPRESS TREES WHERE THE SURVEYORS CAMPED. IN 1921, THE POINT WAS REESTABLISHED WHEN A NEW SURVEYING TEAM USING THE 1815 NOTES FOUND THE ORIGINAL BLAZE MARKS.

Eldridge Douglas, 1921 surveyor: WHEN I SET UP AT THIS CORNER I SAW QUITE A DISTANCE-- OH, PROBABLY 200 OR 300 FEET OVER THERE-- THIS LITTLE TREE THAT HAD A SNARL IN THIS WET PLACE, AND THERE WAS A CORNER PUT THERE IN 1815.

Narrator: A MONUMENT ERECTED IN 1926 BY THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION RECOGNIZES WHAT HAS BECOME AN OBSCURE FOOTNOTE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. THE PARK IS OFF THE BEATEN PATH AND, LIKE THE STORY IT HONORS, IS NOT WELL KNOWN. AT TIMES THE GRANITE HEADSTONE CAN BARELY BE SEEN BECAUSE FOR MUCH OF THE YEAR IT'S SUBMERGED IN SWAMP WATER.

Ann Early, Archaeologist: THE REASON THEY CAME TOGETHER HERE IS AN ACCIDENT OF GEOGRAPHY. YOU NEEDED A DATUM POINT, A STARTING POINT, FOR THE SURVEYS. AND THE TWO MOST FUNDAMENTAL, BIGGEST, MOST STABLE LANDMARKS IN GENERAL THAT YOU COULD FIND IN THAT AREA WERE THE MOUTHS OF THOSE TWO RIVERS.

Narrator: THE ECHOS IN THE SWAMP ARE EERIE. THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THIS PLACE LOOK AND SOUND EXACTLY THE WAY THEY APPEARED TO THOSE FEDERAL LAND SURVEYORS BACK IN 1815. IT'S A WALK BACK IN TIME TO A PLACE WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.

Narrator: THE SURVEYORS BEGAN THEIR JOB 12 YEARS AFTER PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON APPROVED THE PURCHASE OF LOUISIANA FROM NAPOLEON'S FRANCE. IT WAS THE BEST REAL ESTATE DEAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY: 880,000 SQUARE MILES FOR $15 MILLION, LESS THAN THREE CENTS AN ACRE.

Stephen Reckon, Historian: ALMOST BY ACCIDENT, AMERICAN DIPLOMATS IN PARIS WERE ABLE TO PURCHASE THIS HUGE AMOUNT OF TERRITORY, ALL OF THE TERRITORY WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, ALL THE TERRITORY DRAINED BY RIVERS FLOWING INTO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

Lea Baker, Arkansas Heritage: JEFFERSON BOUGHT AN AREA, SIGHT UNSEEN, SO HE WASN'T EXACTLY SURE WHAT HE WAS GETTING AND SENDING THESE SURVEYORS OUT. THEY WERE REALLY SHOWING AN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT THE LANDSCAPE WAS.

Narrator: THE LAND SURVEY WAS COMMISSIONED BY PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON. THE WAR OF 1812 HAD BEEN WON, AND A GRATEFUL YET FINANCIALLY STRAPPED AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAD PROMISED ITS SOLDIERS PROPERTY IN THE NEW TERRITORY. THANKS TO THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, THE YOUNG NATION HAD PLENTY OF LAND TO GIVE AWAY. BUT EXCEPT FOR THE AREA THAT BECAME THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, NONE OF IT HAD BEEN SURVEYED AND, UNTIL IT WAS MARKED OFF, COULD NOT BE AWARDED AS BOUNTY TO THE WAR VETERANS. TWO FEDERALLY DEPUTIZED LAND SURVEYORS, "PROSPECT" ROBBINS AND JOSEPH BROWN, WERE HIRED TO ESTABLISH THE INITIAL POINT. THEIR JOB WAS TO SURVEY TWO MILLION ACRES OF FERTILE LAND THAT COULD BE REWARDED TO THOSE SOLDIERS WHO WENT TO BATTLE, BANKING ON PROMISED LAND WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

Voice of "Prospect" Robbins: "I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I WILL TRULY AND FAITHFULLY TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY PERFORM THE DUTY OF SURVEYOR IN MEASURING THE LAND OF THE UNITED STATES IN WHICH BUSINESS I AM ABOUT TO BE EMPLOYED. SO HELP ME GOD. 'PROSPECT' ROBBINS, SURVEYOR."

Bill Ruck, Surveyor: AND SO THE PRESSURE WAS ON THE SURVEYORS AFTER THE WAR OF 1812 TO GET OUT AND SUBDIVIDE THIS LAND AND GET IT MARKED OFF INTO BLOCKS, INTO SECTIONS AND QUARTER SECTIONS, SO THAT THEY COULD GIVE THE TYPICAL ENLISTED MAN A QUARTER SECTION OF 160 ACRES.

Narrator: BROWN AND HIS TEAM STARTED THEIR SURVEY AT THE MOUTH OF THE ST. FRANCIS RIVER AND BEGAN BUSHWHACKING THEIR WAY WEST COVERING ABOUT FOUR MILES A DAY. THEY CROSSED THE HILLY COUNTRY OF CROWLEY'S RIDGE AND INTO THE CYPRESS TUPELO WETLANDS. ROBBINS AND HIS TEAM BEGAN TRAMPING NORTH FROM THE MOUTH OF THE ARKANSAS RIVER. THEY SLOGGED THROUGH SLOUGHS AND BAYOUS AND CROSSED THE MEANDERING MISSISSIPPI RIVER SIX TIMES. THEY HACKED THEIR WAY THROUGH THICKETS AND BRIARS FENDING OFF COTTONMOUTH SNAKES AND MOSQUITOS. AT NIGHT THEY SLEPT IN TENTS IN THE DENSE WILDERNESS. THE CREWS CONSISTED OF THE SURVEYOR, AN AXE MAN, TWO CHAIN MEN, A TREE BLAZER, A COOK AND A GAME HUNTER. FOR THEIR LABOR, EACH TEAM WAS PAID $2 A SURVEYED MILE AND PAID ONLY WHEN THE JOB WAS DONE.

Bill Ruck: THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL PIECE OF EQUIPMENT THEY USED WAS A COMPASS. AND THE COMPASS GAVE THEM DIRECTION BECAUSE WITHOUT DIRECTIONS YOU'RE LOST. THE 66-FOOT CHAIN IS A VERY INGENIOUS SYSTEM IN THAT IT DIVIDED THE MILE INTO 80 PULLS OF THE CHAIN.

CHAIN!

Bill Ruck: THEY HAD TO BLAZE THE TREES, MARK THE LINES, AND RECORD THE TREES AS THEY WENT THROUGH. THEY RECORDED ESSENTIALLY EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT THEY COULD ASSEMBLE ABOUT THE GEOGRAPHY AND THE TERRAIN AND THE CONDITIONS OF THE LAND.

Voice of Joseph Brown: "OCTOBER 27, 1815. THIS MILE OVER VERY LOW LANDS, MOSTLY CANE BREAK. THE GROWTH: COTTONWOOD, SWEET GUM AND OTHER LOWLAND TIMBERS. BUT A HURRICANE HAS PASSED OVER THE LAST ONE HALF MILE AND LEFT SCARELY A TREE OF ANY SORT STANDING. JOSEPH BROWN, SURVEYOR."

Narrator: WETLANDS ENCOMPASSED ABOUT 80% OF THE LAND THEY CROSSED OVER. IT WAS A COUNTRY ABUNDANT IN BLACK BEAR AND HUGE FLOCKS OF BIRDS LATER HUNTED TO EXTINCTION: THE PASSENGER PIGEON AND THE CAROLINA PARAKEET.

Lea Baker: THE CAROLINA PARAKEET ACTUALLY RESEMBLED A PARROT. VERY LARGE BEAK. IT HAD BRIGHTLY COLORED FEATHERS THAT WERE GREEN AND YELLOW THAT AMERICAN INDIANS AND SETTLERS BOTH COVETED AND USED IN THEIR HATS AND USED FOR DECORATION. [ Gunshot ] IF THEY WOULD SHOOT ONE OF THESE BIRDS, THEN THE OTHER BIRDS WOULD FLOCK TO IT AND SO IT WAS VERY EASY TO GET RID OF A WHOLE FLOCK OF BIRDS.

Voice of Prospect Robbins: "ON 5th PRINCIPAL MERIDIAN INTERSECTED LINE 26 MILES AND 30 CHAINS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI WHERE WE SET A POST CORNER. 'PROSPECT' ROBBINS."

Narrator: ON NOVEMBER 10, 1815, BROWN AND ROBBINS MET AND SET A POST TO MARK THE INTERSECTION OF THE BASELINE AND THE 5th PRINCIPAL MERIDIAN. THEY LAID OUT FOUR TOWNSHIPS, CUTTING BLAZE MARKS INTO TREES WHERE THE HISTORICAL MONUMENT NOW STANDS.

Bill Ruck: ARKANSAS AND FIVE OTHER STATES WERE ULTIMATELY SUBDIVIDED IN TERMS OF THE FEDERAL ORIGINAL SUBDIVISION OF THE LANDS BASED ON THIS ONE POINT.

Narrator: DESPITE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTENTIONS, ONLY A FEW WAR VETERANS ACTUALLY RECEIVED THEIR FREE LAND AND OTHERS WERE NOT ABLE TO HOLD ON TO IT. POLITICIANS TAXED THE LAND, AND PROPERTY HOLDERS WHO COULD NOT AFFORD TO PAY THE TAXES LOST THEIR DEEDS.

Charles Bolton, Historian: AND MOST OF THAT LAND WAS THEN ESSENTIALLY CONFISCATED BY THE STATE OF ARKANSAS AND THEN SOLD AT VERY LOW PRICES TO, GUESS WHO? POLITICIANS AND LAND OWNERS IN ARKANSAS.

Narrator: BEFORE THE SURVEY, AMERICANS IN THE EAST FIRST BEGAN READING ABOUT THE LAND THAT WOULD BECOME ARKANSAS FROM PUBLISHED REPORTS OF A JOURNEY BY TWO SCOTTISH IMMIGRANTS WHO EXPLORED A RIVER KNOWN AS THE OUACHITA. FROM THE FALL OF 1804 TO THE WINTER OF 1805, MISSISSIPPI PLANTATION OWNER WILLIAM DUNBAR, PHILADELPHIA CHEMIST GEORGE HUNTER, A CREW OF SOLDIERS, AND A SLAVE POLED A FLAT BOAT UP THE RIVER TO THE HOT SPRINGS.

Trey Berry, Historian: IT'S THE FIRST REPORT ABOUT THIS NEW FRONTIER. BUT PROBABLY THEIR REPORTS OPENED UP THE CURIOSITY FOR AMERICANS, NOT JUST TO THE HOT SPRINGS BUT TO THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, THE SAME WAY LEWIS AND CLARK. "HEY, LOOK WHAT'S HERE. COME AND GET IT."

Narrator: AT THE TIME OF THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, THERE WERE ONLY A FEW WHITE SETTLEMENTS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI. THE OLDEST OF THESE FRONTIER TRADE CENTERS WAS ARKANSAS POST. ESTABLISHED IN THE SUMMER OF 1686 ON THE ARKANSAS RIVER, ALMOST 80 YEARS BEFORE ST. LOUIS, THE POST WAS A FRENCH- CANADIAN COLONY AND SERVED AS A TRADING AND MILITARY BASE UNTIL THE END OF THE COLONIAL PERIOD. THIS FERTILE LOWLAND WAS THE HOME OF THE QUAPAW INDIANS WHO BEFRIENDED THE FRENCH, THE SPANISH, AND FINALLY THE AMERICANS. THE FRENCH CALLED THEM THE "AW-KIN-SAY", MEANING "DOWNSTREM PEOPLE."

Morris Arnold, Author: A LOT OF THE AMERICANS CALLED THE ARKANSAS INDIANS THE OZARK INDIANS BECAUSE THE FRENCH CALLED THE ARKANSAS POST THE POST OZARK. AND SO THE NAME GOT TRANSFERRED BY THE AMERICANS TO THE INDIANS, AND THE EARLY AMERICAN EXPEDITION UP THE ARKANSAS RIVER NAMED THE MOUNTAINS THE OZARKS AFTER THE TRIBE.

Narrator: THE QUAPAW GREW SQUASH, BEANS AND CORN, AND HUNTED BUFFALO AND TURKEY. THROUGHOUT THE TERRITORY THEY WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR ARTISTRY.

Carrie Wilson, Quapaw Anthropologist: I LIKE TO SAY THAT THEY WERE ARTISANS. ANTHROPOLOGISTS OR ARCHEOLOGISTS WILL CALL THEM MANUFACTURERS, BUT THEY REALLY GOT THEIR SUBSISTENCE BY MAKING THESE FABULOUS POTS. THEY WERE KNOWN BY THE FRENCH FOR THEIR DUGOUT CANOES. EVERYTHING THEY DID WAS OF A FINER QUALITY I THINK THAN A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT THE FRENCH WERE DEALING WITH, AND A LOT OF THE INDIANS WOULD COME IN AND TRADE WITH THE QUAPAW TRIBE.

Morris Arnold: THEY HAD TRADE NETWORKS THAT RAN ALL THE WAY TO NEW ENGLAND ON THE ONE HAND AND DOWN TO MEXICO ON THE OTHER. SO THE GOODS MOVED RATHER FREELY INTO THIS PART OF THE WORLD LONG BEFORE THE WHITE PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY HERE.

Narrator: IN 1804 JUST AFTER THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION OF ARKANSAS POST. IT WAS A MELTING POT: FRENCH, SLAVES, FREE BLACKS AND INDIANS.

Morris Arnold: IT'S IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT ALMOST EVERY CLASS OF PERSON-- WHITE, BLACK AND INDIAN-- WAS REPRESENTED IN THE SOCIAL STRUCTURE AT ARKANSAS POST EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A VERY SMALL PLACE, NEVER MORE THAN A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE. AND, IN FACT, SOME OF THE EARLY TRAVELERS SAID THAT THE FRENCH AND THE INDIANS HERE SPOKE A "PAT-WAH"; THAT IS, A KIND OF SEPARATE AND DISTINCT LANGUAGE THAT WAS A MIXTURE OF FRENCH AND QUAPAW. SO ARKANSAS POST STANDS AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW INTERRACIAL AND INTER-CULTURAL COOPERATION CAN OCCUR.

Narrator: WHEN ARKANSAS BECAME A TERRITORY IN 1819, ARKANSAS POST WAS NAMED THE CAPITAL; AND A YOUNG PRINTER, WILLIAM WOODRUFF, BEGAN PUBLISHING THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE NEWSPAPER. THE POST WAS NOT CENTRALLY LOCATED. IT WAS PRONE TO FLOODING, AND MOSQUITOS AND MALARIA WERE A CONSTANT PROBLEM, SO IN 1821 THE CAPITAL WAS MOVED TO LITTLE ROCK AND OVER TIME THE ONCE THRIVING TRADE POST DECLINED. [ Cannonfire ] IN 1863 DURING A CIVIL WAR BATTLE, THE POST WAS LEVELED BY BOMBARDMENT FROM FEDERAL CANNONS. WHILE THE TOWN IS GONE, A STATE PARK AND NATIONAL MONUMENT REMAIN, HONORING THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST WHITE SETTLEMENT IN THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY AND THE INDIAN TRIBE THAT GAVE A STATE ITS NAME.

Narrator: IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF DECEMBER 16, 1811, FOUR YEARS BEFORE THE LAND SURVEY, THE MOST CATASTROPHIC EARTHQUAKE IN NORTH AMERICAN HISTORY SHOOK NORTHEAST ARKANSAS, SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, AND WESTERN TENNESSEE. THE GROUND SPLIT OPEN, CREATING 20-FOOT DEEP CRACKS THAT RAN FIVE MILES LONG. THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI COLLAPSED. TREES BOWED OVER, AND SAND AND GASES POURED OUT OF THE EARTH.

Jeannie Whayne, Historian: IT WAS OF ENORMOUS POWER. CHURCH BELLS RANG IN CHARLESTOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA. IT WAS FELT IN BOSTON. IT WAS FELT IN THE SOUTHERN MOST PROVINCE OF CANADA. IT WAS FELT IN NEW ORLEANS.

Narrator: THE LAND RIPPED APART BY THE NEW MADRID EARTHQUAKE WAS OCCUPIED BY A FEW THOUSAND CHEROKEE INDIANS.

Jeannie Whayne: A CHEROKEE PROPHET BY THE NAME OF SKAWQUAW, WHICH MEANS "THE SWAN," WAS VERY ACTIVE IN PROMOTING THE IDEA THAT THE QUAKE WAS A SIGN FROM THE GREAT SPIRIT, OR THE GODS, THAT INDIANS HAD GONE WRONG IN TRYING TO ASSIMILATE WITH WHITES. [ Indian war chant ]

Narrator: WARNED BY THE PROPHET THAT ANOTHER QUAKE WAS COMING TO PUNISH WHITE PIONEERS, THE CHEROKEES MOVED SOUTHWEST AND SETTLED IN THE ARKANSAS RIVER VALLEY NEAR THE FOOTHILLS OF THE OZARK MOUNTAINS. HERE, THEIR CULTURE RAN HEAD ON INTO THE OSAGE INDIANS.

Tom Wing, National Park Historian: THE CHEROKEE CAN'T FIND ENOUGH GAME AND THEY PUSH FURTHER TO THE NORTH AND TO THE WEST ON TO THE LAND THAT THE OSAGE STILL CONTROLLED. THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW YOU'VE GOT A FULL-BLOWN WAR GOING ON OUT HERE ON THE ARKANSAS RIVER BETWEEN TWO GROUPS OF PEOPLE.

Narrator: ON A COLD DECEMBER DAY IN 1817, A COMPANY OF THE U.S. RIFLE REGIMENT, THE BEST SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY, ARRIVED IN KEELBOATS FROM ARKANSAS POST AND ESTABLISHED A FORT TO KEEP PEACE BETWEEN THE WARRING TRIBES. FORT SMITH WAS A SMALL LOG AND STONE STOCKADE HASTILY BUILT ON A BLUFF OVERLOOKING THE CONFLUENCE OF THE ARKANSAS AND POTEAU RIVERS. IT WAS A LONELY AND ISOLATED STATION, NEVER HOUSING MORE THAN 130 SOLDIERS.

Voice of Thomas Nuttall: "THE GARRISON CONSISTING OF TWO BLOCK-HOUSES AND LINES OF CABINS OR BARRACKS FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS OF 70 MEN IS AGREEABLY SITUATED. THE VIEW IS MORE COMMANDING AND PICTURESQUE THAN ANY OTHER SPOT OF EQUAL ELEVATION ON THE BANKS OF THE ARKANSAS. THOMAS NUTTALL, 1819."

Tom Wing: FOR ABOUT SEVEN YEARS FROM 1817 TO 1824, THE FORT IS ESTABLISHED. IT IS SUCCESSFUL IN ITS MISSION. THE UNIQUE THING ABOUT IT IS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A COUPLE OF ISOLATED INCIDENTS, THEY DON'T HAVE TO SHOOT TO STOP THE FIGHTING. THIS LITTLE OUTPOST IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE STOPPED A WAR.

Narrator: IN 1822, TERRITORIAL LEADERS NEGOTIATED A PEACE TREATY BETWEEN THE OSAGE AND CHEROKEE. TWO YEARS LATER, THE ARMY ABANDONED THE GARRISON. SOME OF THE SOLDIERS DECIDED TO STAY AND SETTLE IN THE FORT SMITH AREA ON SURVEYED LAND DEEDED TO THEM AS VETERANS OF THE WAR OF 1812. THE SAME YEAR THE ARMY LEFT FORT SMITH, THE ARKANSAS TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT DECIDED THE QUAPAW HAD OUTLIVED THEIR USEFULNESS.

Voice of Thomas Nuttall: "THE ABORIGINES OF THIS TERRITORY, NOW COMMONLY CALLED THE 'ARC-AN-SAY' OR THE QUAPAWS OR THE OZARKS, DO NOT AT THIS TIME NUMBER MORE THAN ABOUT 200 WARRIORS. THOMAS NUTTALL, BOTANIST."

Carrie Wilson: THEY WERE REDUCED IN NUMBERS, AND THEY WERE THE GEOGRAPHICAL IRRITANTS OF THE TERRITORY.

Narrator: QUAPAW CHIEF HECKATON PLEADED WITH THE TERRITORIAL GOVERNOR TO ALLOW HIS PEOPLE TO STAY IN ARKANSAS.

Voice of Chief Heckaton: "TO LEAVE MY NATIVE SOIL AND GO AMONG RED MEN WHO ARE ALIENS TO OUR RACE IS THROWING US LIKE OUTCASTS UPON THE WORLD. HAVE MERCY. SEND US NOT THERE. HECKATON, QUAPAW."

Narrator: HECKATON'S PLEAS WERE IGNORED, AND THE QUAPAW SIGNED A TREATY AND MOVED TO THE SOUTHWEST JOINING THE CADDO ON THE RED RIVER IN LOUISIANA.

Carrie Wilson: AND THE QUAPAWS DIED… I THINK ABOUT A THIRD OF THE TRIBE DIED OF STARVATION LIVING WITH THE CADDOS. THE LANDS THAT THEY WERE PUT ON FLOODED; PROVISIONS DIDN'T COME THROUGH; AND A LOT OF THE QUAPAWS ESCAPED BACK INTO PINE BLUFF.

Narrator: BUT THE QUAPAW WERE NOT WELCOMED BACK. IN 1835 ONE YEAR BEFORE STATEHOOD, THE "AW-KIN-SAY" INDIANS WERE REMOVED TO THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF OKLAHOMA WHERE TO THIS DAY TRIBAL MEMBERS MAKE THEIR HOME. THE TERRITORY OF ARKANSAS INCLUDED THE PRESENT-DAY STATES OF BOTH OKLAHOMA AND ARKANSAS. IN 1836 WHEN ARKANSAS WAS ADMITTED TO THE UNION AS THE 25th STATE, OKLAHOMA WAS CUT OFF, BECOMING INDIAN TERRITORY. 187 YEARS AFTER THE ORIGINAL LAND SURVEY, MODERN-DAY SURVEYOR BILL RUCK LED A GROUP OF HISTORY BUFFS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ON AN EXPEDITION THAT FOLLOWED THE BASELINE CHAINED BY JOSEPH BROWN AND HIS TEAM IN 1815. THEY STARTED AT THE MOUTH OF THE ST. FRANCIS RIVER AND FOR THREE DAYS HIKED THROUGH MARSHY BOGS AND CLIMBED OVER THE STEEP HILLS OF CROWLEY'S RIDGE, PASSING ANCIENT BLAZE MARKS ALONG THE SAME 25-MILE PATH RECORDED IN BROWN'S JOURNAL.

Bill Ruck: THAT'S WHAT THEY COMMENTED ON. THEY COMMENTED ON THE BRIARS, BUT THEY DIDN'T COMMENT ON THE CHANGE IN TERRAIN. NOW EVERY NOW AND THEN THEY'D SAY, "OKAY, WE'RE AT THE BOTTOM OF A RAVINE" OR "WE'RE AT CREST OF THE RIDGE," BUT THAT'S ALL THEY'D SAY. IT WASN'T LIKE, "THIS IS REALLY BAD STEEP IN HERE."

Narrator: LOCATED IN A RURAL, OUT-OF-THE-WAY PLACE, THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE HISTORIC STATE PARK HAS BEEN PRESERVED AS A NATIONAL LANDMARK.

John Gill, Author: THIS WAS, WE THOUGHT, SORT OF AN HISTORIC OCCASION, AND I'M GLAD SO MANY OF YOU ARE HERE THAT HAVE AN INTEREST IN THAT HISTORY. WHAT WE JUST DID IS ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING THAT CAN ONLY BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD, AND THAT IS TO BE ABLE TO WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS, LITERALLY IN THE FOOTSTEPS, OF AN HISTORIC JOURNEY.

Narrator: THE EVENT MEMORIALIZED HERE COULD HAVE OCCURRED ANYWHERE WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. BUT OF ALL POSSIBLE PLACES, THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE SURVEY BEGAN IN REMOTE EASTERN ARKANSAS, IN A SWAMP BETWEEN THE MOUTHS OF THE ARKANSAS AND ST. FRANCIS RIVERS.

Charles Bolton: AND HAVING ESTABLISHED THAT POINT, YOU SEE, THEN YOU CAN GO ON AND BASICALLY CONTINUE THE SURVEY ESSENTIALLY TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A STARTING POINT, AND THAT'S WHAT'S CRITICAL ABOUT THAT SPOT OVER THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT SWAMP. [ Singing: ] MAY YOUR LINE, BOTH NORTH AND WEST, ACROSS THIS SWAMPY WILDERNESS FROM QUAPAW LAND TO WHERE LAKOTA ROAM. WHEELS WILL TURN AND TIME WILL TELL WHERE TRIBE AND SETTLER FINALLY DWELL, BUT FOR MILLIONS YET TO COME THIS WILL BE HOME. STARTING HERE… WE WILL MEASURE ALL OUR PRAIRIE STARTING HERE… WE'LL TAKE STOCK OF ALL OUR HILLS. FROM THE MARSHES TO THE MIGHTY TETON MOUNTAINS, CHAIN BY CHAIN WE'LL MARK OUR FUTURE STARTING HERE.

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE BICENTENNIAL COMMITTEE OF ARKANSAS, SUPPORTED IN PART BY A GRANT FROM THE ARKANSAS HUMANITIES COUNCIL, THE DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS HERITAGE, AND BY THE ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE ARKANSAS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, THE BUTLER FOUNDATION, AND THE DONALD W. REYNOLDS FOUNDATION.