Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates December 1805
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates December 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805

December 8, 1805
Sunday 8. This seemed the most elligible spot for our winter establishment. In order therefore to find a place for making salt, and to examine the country further, captain Clarke set out with five men, and pursuing a course south, 60 west, over a dividing ridge, through thick pine timber, much of which had fallen, passed the heads of two small brooks. In the neighborhood of these the land was swampy and overflowed, and we waded knee-deep till we came to an open ridgy prairie, covered with the plant known on our frontier by the name of sacacommis. Here is a creek about sixty yards wide, and running towards point Adams; they passed it on a small raft. At this place they discovered a large herd of elk, and after pursuing them for three miles over bad swamps and small ponds, we killed one of them. The agility with which the elk crossed the swamps and bogs, seems almost incredible; as we followed their track, the ground for a whole acre would shake at our tread, and sometimes we sunk to our hips without finding any bottom. Over the surface of these bogs is a species of moss, among which are great numbers of cranberries, and occasionally there rise from the swamp steep and small knobs of earth, thickly covered with pine and laurel. On one of these we halted at night, but it was scarcely large enough to suffer us to lie clear of the water, and had very little dry wood. We succeeded however in collecting enough to make a fire, and having stretched the elk skin to keep off the rain, which still continued, slept till morning,

December 9, 1805
Monday 9, when we rose, perfectly wet with rain during the night. Three men were then sent in pursuit of the elk, while with the other three, captain Clarke proceeded westward towards the sea. He passed over three swamps, and then arrived at a creek, which was too deep to ford, and there was no wood to make a raft. He therefore proceeded down it for a short distance, till he found that he was between the forks of a creek. One branch of which he had passed yesterday, turns round towards the southwest to meet another of equal size from the south, and together they form a small river, about seventy yards wide. He returned to the place where he had left the raft, and having crossed proceeded down about a mile, when he met three Indians. They were loaded with fresh salmon which they had taken with a gig, and were now returning to their village on the seacoast, where they invited him to accompany them. He agreed, and they brought out a canoe hid along the banks of the creek. In this they passed over the branch which he had just crossed on a raft, and then carried the canoe a quarter of a mile to the other fork, which they crossed and continued down to the mouth of the river. At this place it makes a great bend, where the river is seventy yards wide; just above, or to the south of which is the village. We crossed over, and found that it consisted of three houses, inhabited by twelve families of Clatsops.

They were on the south exposure of a hill, and sunk about four feet deep into the ground; the walls, roof, and gable-ends being formed of split pine boards; the descent through a small door down a ladder. There are two fires in the middle of the room, and the beds disposed round the walls two or three feet from the fall, so as to leave room under them for their bags, baskets and household articles. The floor itself is covered with mats. Captain Clarke was received with much attention. As soon as he entered, clean mats were spread, and fish, berries and roots set before him on small neat platters of rushes. After he had eaten, the men of the other houses came and smoked with him. They all appeared much neater in their persons and diet than Indians generally are, and frequently wash their hands and faces, a ceremony by no means frequent elsewhere. While he was conversing with them, a flock of brant lighted on the water, and he with a small rifle shot one of them at a great distance. They immediately jumped in, and brought it on shore, very much astonished at the shot, which contributed to make them increase their attention. Towards evening it began to rain and blow very violently from the southwest; and captain Clarke therefore, determined to remain during the night. When they thought his appetite had returned, an old woman presented him in a bowl, made of lightcoloured horn, a kind of sirrup, pleasant to the taste, and made from a species of berry common in this country, about the size of a cherry, and called by the Indians shelwel: of these berries a bread is also prepared, which being boiled with roots forms a soup, which was served in neat wooden trenchers: this, with some cockles, was his repast. The men of the village now collected, and began to gamble. The most common game, was one in which one of the company was banker, and played against all the rest. He had a piece of bone, about the size of a large bean, and having agreed with any individual as to the value of the stake, would pass the bone from one hand to the other, with great dexterity, singing at the same time, to divert the attention of his adversary; and then holding it in his hands, his antagonist was challenged to guess in which of them the bone was, and lost or won as he pointed to the right or wrong hand. To this game of hazard they abandoned themselves with great ardor; sometimes every thing they possess is sacrificed to it, and this evening several of the Indians lost all the beads which they had with them. This lasted for three hours, when captain Clarke appearing disposed to sleep, the man who had been most attentive, and whose name was Cuskalah, spread two new mats near the fire, and ordering his wife to retire to her own bed, the rest of the company dispersed at the same time. Captain Clarke then lay down, but the violence with which the fleas attacked him, did not leave his rest unbroken, and he rose,

December 10, 1805
Tuesday 10, early. The morning was cloudy, with some rain: he walked out on the seashore, and observed the Indians walking up and down the creek and examining the shore: he was at a loss to understand their object, till one of them came to him and explained that they were in search of fish which had been thrown on shore and left by the tide, adding in English, "sturgeon is very good." There is indeed, every reason to suppose, that these Clatsops depend for their subsistence during the winter, chiefly on the fish thus casually thrown on the coast. After amusing himself for some time on the beach, he returned towards the village, and shot on his way two brant. As he came near the village, one of the Indians asked him to shoot a duck about thirty steps distant: he did so, and having accidentally shot off its head, the bird was brought to the village by the Indians, all of whom came round in astonishment: they examined the duck, the musket, and the very small bullet, which were a hundred to the pound, and then exclaimed, Clouch musquet, wake, commatax musquet: a good musket, do not understand this kind of musket. They now placed before him their best roots, fish, and sirrup, after which he attempted to purchase a sea-otter skin with some red beads which he happened to have about him; but they declined trading, as they valued none except blue or white beads: he therefore bought nothing but a little berry bread and a few roots in exchange for fish-hooks, and then set out to return by the same route on which he came. He was accompanied by Cuskalah and his brother as far as the third creek, and then proceeded to the camp through a heavy rain. The whole party had been occupied during his absence in cutting down trees to make huts, and in hunting.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: December 8, 1805 - December 10, 1805

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