Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates January 1806
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates January 1806

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806

January 16, 1806
Thursday, 16. To-day we finished curing our meat, and having now a plentiful supply of elk, and salt, and our houses dry and comfortable, we wait patiently for the moment of resuming our journey.

The implements used in hunting, by the Clatsops, Chinnooks, and other neighboring nations, are the gun, bow and arrow, deadfall, pits, snares, and spears or gigs. The guns are generally old American or British muskets repaired for this trade; and although there are some good pieces among them, they are constantly out of order, as the Indians have not been sufficiently accustomed to arms to understand the management of them. The powder is kept in small japanned tin flasks, in which the traders sell it; and when the ball or shot fails, they make use of gravel or pieces of metal from their pots, without being sensible of the injury done to their guns. These arms are reserved for hunting elk, and the few deer and bears in this neighborhood; but as they have no rifles, they are not very successful hunters. The most common weapon is the bow and arrow, with which every man is provided, even though he carries a gun, and which is used in every kind of hunting. The bow is extremely neat, and being very thin and flat, possesses great elasticity. It is made of the heart of the white cedar, about two feet and a half in length, two inches wide at the centre, whence it tapers to the width of half an inch at the extremities; and the back is covered with the sinews of elk, fastened on by means of a glue made from the sturgeon. The string is formed of the same sinews. The arrow generally consists of two parts; the first is about twenty inches long, and formed of light white pine, with the feather at one end, and at the other a circular hole, which receives the second part, formed of some harder wood, and about five inches long, and secured in its place by means of sinews. The barb is either stone, or else of iron or copper, in which latter place, the angle is more obtuse than any we have seen. If, as sometimes happens, the arrow is formed of a single piece, the whole is of a more durable wood, but the form just described is preferred; because, as much of the game consists of wild fowl, on the ponds, it is desirable that they should be constructed so as to float, if they fall into the water. These arrows are kept in a quiver of elk or young bear skin, opening not at the ends, as the common quivers, but at the sides; which, for those who hunt in canoes, is much more convenient. These weapons are not, however, very powerful, for many of the elk we kill have been wounded with them; and, although the barb with the small end of the arrows remain, yet the flesh closes, and the animal suffers no permanent injury. The deadfalls and snares are used in taking the wolf, the racoon, and the fox, of which there are, however, but few in this country. The spear or gig employed in pursuit of the sea-otter, (which they call spuck) the common otter, and beaver, consists of two points of barbs, and islike those already described, as common among the Indians on the upper part of the Columbia. The pits are chiefly for the elk, and are therefore usually large and deep cubes of twelve or fourteen feet in depth, and are made by the side of some fallen tree lying across the path frequented by the elk. They are covered with slender boughs and moss, and the elk either sinks into it as he approaches the tree, or in leaping over the tree, falls into the pit on the other side.

January 17, 1806
Friday 17. Comowool and seven other Clatsops spent the day with us. He made us a present of some roots and berries, and in return we gave him an awl and some thread, which he wanted for the purpose of making a net. We were not able to purchase any more of their provisions, the prices being too high for our exhausted stock of merchandise. One of the Indians was dressed in three very elegant skins of the sea-otter: for these we were very desirous of trafficking; but he refused every exchange except that of blue beads, of which he asked six fathom for each skin, and as we had only four fathom left, he would not accept for the remaining two, either a knife, or any quantity of beads of another sort.

In fishing, the Clatsops, Chinnooks and other nations near this place employ the common straight net, the scooping or dipping net with a long handle, the gig, and the hook and line. The first is of different lengths and depths, and used in taking salmon, carr, and trout, in the deep inlets among the marshy grounds, and the mouths of deep creeks. The scooping net is used for small fish in the spring and summer season; and in both kinds the net is formed of silk grass, or the bark of white cedar. The gig is used at all seasons, and for all kinds of fish they can procure with it; so too is the hook and line, of which the line is made of the same material as the net, and the hook generally brought by the traders; though before the whites came, they made hooks out of two small pieces of bone, resembling the European hook, but with a much more acute angle, where the two piece? were joined.

January 18, 1806
Saturday 18. We were all occupied in dressing skins, and preparing clothes for our journey homewards. The houses in this neighborhood are all large wooden buildings, varying in length from twenty to sixty feet, and from fourteen to twenty in width. They are constructed in the following manner. Two posts of split timber or more, agreeably to the number of partitions, are sunk in the ground, above which they rise to the height of fourteen or eighteen feet. They are hollowed at the top, so as to receive the ends of a round beam or pole, stretching from one to the other, and forming the upper point of the roof for the whole extent of the building. On each side of this range is placed another, which forms the eaves of the house, and is about five feet high; but as the building is often sunk to the depth of four or five feet, the eaves come very near the surface of the earth. Smaller pieces of timber are now extended by pairs, in the form of rafters, from the lower to the upper beam, where they are attached at both ends with cords of cedar bark. On these rafters two or three ranges of small poles are placed horizontally, and secured in the same way with strings of cedar bark. The sides are now made with a range of wide boards, sunk a small distance into the ground, with the upper ends projecting above the poles at the eaves, to which they are secured by a beam passing outside, parallel with the eavepoles, and tied by cords of cedar bark passing through holes made in the boards at certain distances. The gable ends and partitions are formed in the same way, being fastened by beams on the outside, parallel to the rafters. The roof is then covered with a double range of thin boards, except an aperture of two or three feet in the centre, for the smoke to pass through. The entrance is by a small hole, cut out of the boards, and just large enough to admit the body. The very largest houses only are divided by partitions, for though three or four families reside in the same room, there is quite space enough for all of them. In the centre of each room is a space sixor eight feet square, sunk to the depth of twelve inches below the rest of the floor, and inclosed by four pieces of square timber. Here they make the fire, for which purpose pine bark is generally preferred. Around this fireplace, mats are spread, and serve as seats during the day, and very frequently as beds at night; there is however a more permanent bed made, by fixing, in two or sometimes three sides of the room, posts reaching from the roof down to the ground, and at the distance of four feet from the wall. From these posts to the wall itself, one or two ranges of boards are placed so as to form shelves, on which they either sleep, or where they stow away their various articles of merchandise. The uncured fish is hung in the smoke of their fires, as is also the flesh of the elk, when they are fortunate enough to procure any, which is but rarely.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: January 16, 1806 - January 18, 1806

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