Why just to write about what might happen along some little road like the Natchez Trace–which reaches so far into the past and has been the trail for so many kinds of people–is enough to keep you busy for life.
In an effort to make the Natchez Trace safer for travel, Thomas Jefferson offered “… a reward of four hundred dollars to any Citizen or Indian who shall apprehend one or more of the Banditti who have been guilty of attacking, robing & murdering persons on the road to the Indian Country between Nashville and Natchez ….”.
President Thomas Jefferson
In 1805, Aaron Burr was a man without a home. He traveled the 450 miles of the Natchez Trace through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi proclaiming during his late summer journey that the Trace was a “… vile country, destitute of springs and of running water–think of drinking the nasty puddle-water, covered with green scum, and full of animalculae–bah!”
In July 1822 Audubon was prostrated by yellow fever…. When Audubon recovered he found another teaching position at a new academy just opened in Natchez. That was good for his purse but not for his art: “While work flowed upon me, the hopes of my completing my book upon the birds of America became less clear; and full of despair, I feared my hopes of becoming known to Europe as a naturalist were destined to be blasted.”
Richard Rhodes, John James Audubon: The Making of an American