Most Americans have heard the story of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the new Louisiana Purchase area from 1804 to 1806. What most people do not realize is that Jefferson also commissioned a second expedition to explore the southern areas of that new frontier. The president asked William Dunbar, a Mississippi planter/scientist/surveyor, and George Hunter, a Philadelphia chemist/apothecary, to lead that expedition on the Red, Black, and Ouachita Rivers up to the hot springs. The two men and their crew mapped, described flora and fauna, tested the waters of the Hot Springs area, and sent Thomas Jefferson the first report on the huge territory that had just been purchased from France.
The journal in this collection was carried by Dunbar on the Dunbar-Hunter exploration of the Ouachita River. Also included is family correspondence, and other materials related to the Dunbar family and their Natchez, Mississippi, plantation, “The Forest.”
William Dunbar Papers. Ouachita Baptist University Collection. Riley-Hickingbotham Special Collections. Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas.