Though less well known than their peers Lewis and Clark, William Dunbar and George Hunter played an important role in the early scientific exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. While the original goal of organizing a southern counterpart to the Corps of Discovery proved overly ambitious, Dunbar and Hunter provided important geographic information for future explorations and gave the first scientific description of the Hot Springs of Arkansas and Ouachita Mountains. The four surviving journals of George Hunter provide engaging accounts of travel in the Ohio and Mississippi Valley in 1796, 1802, and 1809, and include the most interesting record of the expedition to the Hot Springs of Arkansas in 1804-1805, complete with his detailed notes on natural history and meteorology. The volumes also contain various references to relations with the Delaware, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Osage Indians. The APS owns a contemporary copy of Hunter's journal ("Journal up the Red and Washita Rivers with William Dunbar"; Mss.917.6.Ex7), from which extracts were printed in Thomas Jefferson, Message... Communicating Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri (New York, 1806), and which is described by Isaac J. Cox, "An Early Explorer of the Louisiana Purchase," APS Library Bulletin 1946: 73. The journals were edited by John F. McDermott and published in APS Transactions 53 (1963).
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Arkansas -- Description and travel | Cherokee Indians | Chickasaw Indians | Choctaw Indians | Delaware Indians | Dunbar, William, 1749-1810 | Exploration | Exploration. | Geology -- Kentucky | Hot springs -- Arkansas | Hunter, George H. | Hunter, George, 1755-1824 | Illinois -- Description and travel -- 18th century | Journals (notebooks) | Kentucky -- Description and travel -- 18th century | Louisiana -- Description and travel | Louisiana Purchase -- Discovery and exploration | Meteorology -- Louisiana | Native America | Natural history -- Louisiana | Osage Indians | Ouachita Mountains Region (Ark. And Okla.) -- Discovery and exploration | Travel | Travel Narratives and Journals