Arkansas Travelers

$34.95 $26.21

Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–1834
Andrew J. Milson
346 pages, 6 × 9, 36 images, index
978-1-68226-096-8 (cloth)
978-1-61075-665-5 (ebook)
June 2019


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In Arkansas Travelers, historical geographer Andrew J. Milson takes readers on an enthralling tour with William Dunbar, Thomas Nuttall, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and George William Featherstonhaugh as they explored the Arkansas frontier in the early nineteenth century. Each of these travelers wrote about the treacherous rivers, drunken scoundrels, humble dwellings, repulsive food, and beautiful vistas they encountered. In addition to telling their stories, Milson presents detailed new maps that illustrate the travelers’ routes as well as their environmental and cultural perceptions. Arkansas Travelers guides readers toward a deep understanding of Arkansas history and geography through the eyes of these four explorers.

Andrew J. Milson is professor of history and geography at the University of Texas at Arlington. His ancestors settled in Arkansas in the 1820s.

“[A] truly eye-opening volume, which lays aside the traditional travels of so long ago, and neatly places each excursion within two major themes—that of place and landscape. … Milson has given us a new way to examine these travels and the Arkansas Travelers themselves.”
—Maylon Rice, Fort Smith Historical Society Journal, September 2019

“Bringing together the stories of these four important early Arkansas travel accounts is enough to constitute a good book, but Andrew J. Milson’s perception maps help re-frame these stories — making us rethink the cultural and environmental commentaries that have so long occupied our attention. Arkansas Travelers is a welcomed addition to Arkansas history and to historical geography in general.”
—Brooks Blevins, author of Arkansas/Arkansaw: How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies, and Good Ol’ Boys Defined a State

“Andrew Milson’s well-written and carefully-documented study of four Arkansas travelers takes us back two centuries to a time when the region was being newly transformed from a Native land to a freshly-settled part of the Euro-American world. Milson’s lively narrative—informed by his keen geographer’s eye—reconstructs an Arkansas landscape rich in environmental diversity, cultural pluralism, and commercial possibility. A must-read for any enthusiast of the nineteenth-century frontier.”
—William Wyckoff, Montana State University

“That Andrew Milson is both an historian and a geographer is what makes Arkansas Travelers so special. Milson analyzes the journals of four explorers to tell the fascinating story of how two remarkably diverse European American and Indian peoples lived in early nineteenth-century Arkansas—the game they hunted; crops grown; their settlements and modes of transportation; skins, furs, and other products; and their many hardships. And through exceptionally clear maps, Milson shows the precise routes of the four explorers and the locations of the cultural, mineral, and botanical phenomena they discuss. This is basic research in historical geography at its best.”
—Richard L. Nostrand, author of The Making of America’s Culture Regions

Maps and Illustrations

1. Eyewitnesses to Geographical Transformation
2. A Very Great Natural Curiosity: William Dunbar on the Ouachita River, 1804–1805
3. A Greenhorn in the Ozarks: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1818–1819
4. A View from the Banks of the Arkansas River: Thomas Nuttall, 1818–1820
5. A Savage Sort of Country: George W. Featherstonhaugh’s Arkansas Excursion, 1834
6: Deep Mapping Travelers’ Perceptions of the Arkansas Past


Winner, 2020 J.G. Ragsdale Book Award, Arkansas Historical Association

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