By Donald J. Blakeslee
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Additional info for Along ancient trails: the Mallet expedition of 1739
Perhaps the El Cuartelejo report was of Bourgmont's man, Gaillard, who may have visited there in 1724 (Norall 1988: 68-70). In any case, the treaty Bourgmont made with the Apaches certainly would have opened the way for French traders to penetrate that far. It was true that Frenchmen were coming ever closer. Page 16 The French Colonies Permanent French settlement on the North American continent did not begin until 1608, when Samuel de Champlain established a post at Quebec. In the beginning, French activities in the New World were focused on trade rather than on settlement.
His guide, the single survivor of the Leyva-Humaña expedition, was an Indian from Mexico that Oñate had found living at the Pueblo of San Juan. The expedition set out along a route that later became a major channel of commerce, past Pecos and east to the Canadian River. Downstream, it left the river and struck out to the northeast, eventually reaching the Wichita settlements on the Arkansas River in southern Kansas. Like Coronado before him, Oñate found no riches and returned to New Mexico (Hammond and Rey 1953).
They brought word of the first successful expedition from the east to Santa Fe. Led by the brothers Pierre and Paul Mallet, eight or nine men had left Illinois the previous spring, found their way to Santa Fe, spent the winter there, and returned by separate routes to French territory. Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville, governor of French Louisiana, was delighted by the news. The French had attempted to reach Santa Fe previously, but all officially sanctioned expeditions had fallen short of the mark.
Along ancient trails: the Mallet expedition of 1739 by Donald J. Blakeslee