A Traveler's Visit

G.W. Featherstonhaugh at Jacob Brinley's Ferry and Residence

Little Missouri, Pike County Arkansas, December 1835

In the morning I pursued my journey, and, coming to the little Missouri,     
found the waters much abated, and no ferryman within sight. I remembered     
that the house was at some distance from the river, and could not be seen    
from it, so taking a horn which I found suspended from a tree for the        
purpose, I blew in vain for at least half an hour. Nobody coming to ferry me 
across, I was reduced to the necessity of attempting to ford the river,      
which was accomplished with great inconvenience; for Missouri having a great 
aversion to passing streams, and not knowing the direction of the ford,      
which was in an oblique line, I got completely wet. On reaching the house I  
found two vulgar and very stupid white women, and a negress; being a little  
out of humor I immediately began to reproach them with not sending somebody  
down to point out the ford, when the old negress said she had told Miss      
Brindley (her mistress, about 54 years old) that it would be best to let her 
go down and see who was blowing the horn, but that she said, "She reckoned   
it was no matter, she allowed they would find the way across somehow or      
other." Upon this I said some very severe things to the young lady, and      
begged she would never be so inconsiderate again, as it might be a child on  
horseback, or an invalid incapable of assisting himself. She seemed sensible 
of her fault, for she said if I would eat something I should have nothing to 
pay for it.                                                                  
Excursion through the Slave States, (Travels In America), from Washington on 
the Potomac to the Frontier of Mexico; with sketches of popular manners and  
geological notices, by George William Featherstonhaugh, reprinted by Negro   
Universities Press, New York, 1968. Chapter XXXV, pages 126-127.             
David Kelley 1997