Fort Toulouse: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail #19

Take a moment to listen to my reading aloud of William Bartram’s Words, from William Bartram’s Travels.

The convergence of the Tallapoose and Coosau: William Bartram’s comments on his visit to Fort Thoulouse….

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Closest to the 1700’s

On my recent trip to Alabama, my father and I agreed, we felt closest to the 1700’s at Fort Toulouse. A French fort, it was built at the invitation of the Creek Native Americans, who desired trade with the French, in 1717.

Fort Toulouse 449 by Beth Thompson

Fort Toulouse 449 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

The Buggy Arboretum…

We first explored the William Bartram Arboretum, a trail through some very buggy woods, and we had no Off to keep the mosquitoes at bay. It was beautiful however, all the trees had leafed out fully. The woods were dense, green, with wonderful vines climbing every which way.

Bartram Arboretum 364 by Beth Thompson

Bartram Arboretum 364 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

Open ground…

The trail let out next to one of the rivers, in an open area, populated by a stand of firs and bright yellow flowers.

Firs and Flowers 394 by Beth Thompson

Firs and Flowers 394 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

We then wandered through the American fort.

American Fort 413 by Beth Thompson

American Fort 413 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

I’ve heard of faux leather, but faux bark?

Dad and I explored the reconstructed Indian village, in a different location than the one that Bartram visited. The one Bartram visited was at the entrance to the Arboretum. I was disappointed to discover that instead of cedar shingles, the roofs were covered with faux bark made of rubber.

Indian Roof 407 by Beth Thompson

Indian Roof 407 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

Trees from the French…

Finally we wandered along to our car. Upon return, we met a man, Larry, and his dog. He had been visiting Fort Toulouse Historic Site for years, and volunteered to be our guide. Had it not been for him, we would have missed the French fort altogether. He guided us to it, and showed us a cherry tree that was as old as the fort, still alive and growing.

Cherry Tree 474 by Beth Thompson

Cherry Tree 474 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

We then trekked in further, and climbed an ancient Indian Mound, which was hard to see, it looked like a hill covered in brush, but rather strange, as we were in flatlands along the rivers.

Black and White Indian Mound 455 by Beth Thompson

Black and White Indian Mound 455 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

A great spot for a city….

Finally, Larry led us to the site that Bartram speaks of, where the Tallapoose and the Coosau rivers converge, creating the Alabama river. I found it ironic that Bartram thought it an excellent place for a city, but instead it has become a Historic Site. The city grew up some miles south, on the Alabama, and its called Montgomery.

Montgomery and the Alabama River 42 by Beth Thompson

Montgomery and the Alabama River 42 by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

Pristine convergence…

The fact that Montgomery grew up some miles south on the Alabama meant that the spot William spoke of, where the Tallapoose and Coosau converge, creating the Alabama, is still uninhabited. Unless, of course, you count the motor boats and fishing boats, or the fact that the riverbanks have been logged. Of course, Bartram did foresee boats upon the rivers. Here is another way of looking at the Convergence:

Possible Perception of Three Rivers….

Possible Perception 6042: Three Rivers by Beth Thompson

Possible Perception 6042: Three Rivers by Beth Thompson Click image to view larger or order prints.

*Opening stanza from “The Slacks” by Trip Shakespeare.

This entry was posted in Beth's Travels, Possible Perceptions, Possible Places, William Bartram's Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

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