de Tonti of the Iron Hand and the Exploration of the Mississippi
Packed with exploits in the forest and on the waterways of colonial America, this is the story of Henry de Tonti, French explorer and pioneer of the Mississippi river. His story has been somewhat lost to history, sitting in the shadows of his friend and commandant, the explorer La Salle. But his accomplishments are just as noteworthy, his bravery just as commendable, and his perseverance just as admirable. The best years of de Tonti's life were given to the exploration and navigation of the that great inland waterway. In 1682 he accompanied La Salle on his voyage of discovery to the river's mouth on the Gulf of Mexico. After the death of La Salle, he continued these explorations and later aided Pierre Le Moyne to build Fort Mobile, the first fortified French garrison and settlement on the Gulf. He was also instrumental in founding the first white settlement west of the Mississippi in Arkansas as well as the city of St. Louis, Missouri.