A Greenhorn In The Ozarks
Travel into the 1818 Ozark frontier with two wholly unprepared young men. They can't hunt, they can't read maps well, they can't even make coffee...
On this episode, we interview historical geographer Andrew J. Milson about the Arkansas Traveler, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who meticulously detailed his 1818-1819 journey along the rugged terrain of the Arkansas and Missouri border.
Milson's book "Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–
1834" published by the University of Arkansas Press contextualized Schoolcraft's writings about his journey through the geographical landscape and the intersectional cultures of the region's indigenous peoples, white hunters, and backcountry settlers. It was awarded the J.G. Ragsdale prize by the Arkansas Historical Association.
Accompanied by his friend Levi Pettibone, the two worked to survey mining opportunities. Along the way, they nearly blow themselves up in a cave, have an unfortunate encounter with a family of bears, are swindled by backwoods hunters, and dine on pumpkin soup and beaver tail.
"Thus, two men proudly 'clothed and equipped in the manor of the hunter' with few of the skills needed to survive in the backwoods, set out into unknown and dangerous territory in November 1818 with only a general idea of the direction they should travel."
Andrew J. Milson is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at
Arlington. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of North Texas.
He enjoys teaching courses in human geography, historical geography, and regional geography for undergraduate students at UTA. He has been honored numerous times for his dedication to teaching by the UTA College of Liberal Arts and the National Council for Geographic Education.
In 2020, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UTA. His current research focuses on nineteenth-century travelers in the United States and the environmental and cultural perceptions evident in their writings.
Thank you to Michael Fuller for contributing the voice of Schoolcraft.
Thank you to BJ and Jimmy Moses for their support. Thank you to Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.
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