Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The founders' story, featuring Tarshar, Caddo chief, Larkin Edwards, pioneer and translator, and Henry Miller Shreve, engineer and entrepreneur

P1030197 by trudeau
P1030197, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

The story begins with massive sand bars blocking most of the Red River waterway in the region around Shreveport. Brief notes below:

- Shreve won a contract from the federal govt to clear the "Great Raft," or clogged channels.
- Shreve developed a special device to do the work: a double-hulled steam boat with tower and winch. It could pull massive snags - tree trunks - from the sand and mud.
- Later Shreve also developed the prototype for the classic steam boat for southern rivers - featuring a shallow-draft, flat hull.
- Chief Tarshar could do little against the might of the US Army. His people were dying of disease. The Anglo settlers disrupted the Caddo farming and hunting and gathering lifestyle.
- Larkin Edwards was the rare Anglo fellow who learned the Caddo language and was an active friend of the tribe.
- In 1835 the US govt bought the Caddo land in NW Louisiana. The remuneration was supposed to be $30,000 in goods and some cash. There is much evidence that very little of the promised payment ever reached the Caddo.
- Silver Lake and Bayou Pierre, the slough of which runs close by the Magnet campus, were products of the blockage.

Please see more notes in the sketch.