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do some necessary work.  I have washed my shirts, handkerchiefs, stockings, etc., and have every day cooked the duck; one of those that I killed I picked.  I never before in my life, that I recollect, picked a duck or washed a shirt.  It is amusing to see how we make shifts, and wonderful to observe how readily we adapt ourselves to our situation.  I missed a shot today, and we have no duck, except what was left in the morning.  Hudgins and Murphy returned at half past three, tired and dispirited.  The good land has run out.  All hands to packing and preparing for a start in the morning.

Our examination has been in T 13 R 3 W., on the east of Silver Creek, but a body of very fine land lies between it and the creek; 13-4 is not yet surveyed; of course, not subject to entry.  Could the land on the creek be secured, two pretty good sections in 13-3 might be added, but a site on the watercourse is very important, for the double purpose of draining and drinking.  It is excellent drinking water.  The lands above and below are entered.  That on which we now are is owned by Pinckard & Mason.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1835

Fine weather.  Up and away by times.  We came upon an Indian camp about 11 o'clock.  Only three boys at the camp; the men out hunting.  One of them brought me a cup of water from the creek.  I made him understand what I wanted by signs and words.  They had a great deal of deer and bear meat hung around their camp, of which we desired to buy some.  But we could not make the boys comprehend us.  Showed them the money and pointed to the meat, and spoke in plain English, but neither we nor our guide, who pretended to have some Indian erudition, could make the boys betray the least understanding of our meaning.  So we had to give it up.  We had reason to believe afterwards that this was the effect of Indian policy; that they understood us, but were instructed not to betray it, nor to deal with whites.

On the way our guide shot a wild turkey with his rifle, which is the first use he has made of it on the excursion.  After arriving on our ground and pitching our tent, he returned to the flock and shot two more after night, which is considered a difficult exploit.

Thursday, Dec. 3, 1835

Fine weather, milder than a few days past.  Commenced the examination of our land, which we found of unequal quality.  Cane and holly groves on the bayou, extending back an equal distance, and encountering sloughs, too many of them.  Nothing remarkable occurred today.


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas