Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1804 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1804
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804

July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804
Saturday, July 21. We had a breeze from the southeast, by the aid of which we passed, at about ten miles, a willow island on the south, near high lands covered with timber, at the bank, and formed of limestone with cemented shells: on the opposite side is a bad sandbar, and the land near it is cut through at high water, by small channels forming a number of islands. The wind lulled at seven o'clock, and we reached, in the rain, the mouth of the great river Platte, at the distance of fourteen miles. The highlands which had accompanied us on the south, for the last eight or ten miles, stopped at about three quarters of a mile from the entrance of the Platte. Captains Lewis and Clarke ascended the river in a pirogue, for about one mile, and found the current very rapid; rolling over sands, and divided into a number of channels; none of which are deeper than five or six feet.

One of our Frenchmen, who spent two winters on it, says that it spreads much more at some distance from the mouth; that its depth is generally not more than five or six feet; that there are many small islands scattered through it, and that from its rapidity and the quantity of its sand, it cannot be navigated by boats or pirogues, though the Indians pass it in small flat canoes made of hides. That the Saline or Salt river, which in some seasons is too brackish to be drank, falls into it from the south about thirty miles up, and a little above it Elkhorn river from the north, running nearly parallel with the Missouri. The river is, in fact, much more rapid than the Missouri, the bed of which it fills with moving sands, and drives the current on the northern shore, on which it is constantly encroaching. At its junction the Platte is about six hundred yards wide, and the same number of miles from the Mississippi. With much difficulty we worked round the sandbars near the mouth, and came to above the point, having made fifteen miles. A number of wolves were seen and heard around us in the evening.

July 22. The next morning we set sail, and having found at the distance of ten miles from the Platte, a high and shaded situation on the north, we encamped there, intending to make the requisite observations, and to send for the neighboring tribes, for the purpose of making known the recent change in the government, and the wish of the United States to cultivate their friendship.

Our camp is by observation in latitude 41 3' 11". Immediately behind it is a plain about five miles wide, one half covered with wood, the other dry and elevated. The low grounds on the south near the junction of the two rivers, are rich, but subject to be overflowed. Farther up, the banks are higher, and opposite our camp the first hills approach the river, and are covered with timber, such as oak, walnut, and elm. The intermediate country is watered by the Papillon, or Butterfly creek, of about eighteen yards wide, and three miles from the Platte; on the north are high open plains and prairies, and at nine miles from the Platte, the Musquitoe creek, and two or three small willow islands. We stayed here several days, during which we dried our provisions, made new oars, and prepared our despatches and maps of the country we had passed, for the president of the United States, to whom we intend to send them by a pirogue from this place.

The hunters have found game scarce in this neighborhood; they have seen deer, turkies, and grouse; we have also an abundance of ripe grapes; and one of our men caught a white catfish, the eyes of which were small, and its tail resembling that of a dolphin. The present season is that in which the Indians go out into the prairies to hunt the buffalo; but as we discovered some hunter's tracks, and observed the plains on fire in the direction of their villages, we hoped that they might have returned to gather the green indian corn, and therefore dispatched two men to the Ottoes or Pawnee villages with a present of tobacco, and an invitation to the chiefs to visit us.

They returned after two days absence. Their first course was through an open prairie to the south, in which they crossed Butterfly creek. They then reached a small beautiful river, called Come de Cerf, or Elkhorn river, about one hundred yards wide, with clear water and a gravelly channel. It empties a little below the Ottoe village into the Platte, which they crossed, and arrived at the town about forty-five miles from our camp. They found no Indians there, though they saw some fresh tracks of a small party. The Ottoes were once a powerful nation, and lived about twenty miles above the Platte, on the southern bank of the Missouri. Being reduced, they migrated to the neighborhood of the Pawnees, under whose protection they now live. Their village is on the south side of the Platte, about thirty miles from its mouth; and their number is two hundred men, including about thirty families of Missouri Indians, who are incorporated with them. Five leagues above them, on the same side of the river, resides the nation of Pawnees.

This people were among the most numerous of the Missouri Indians, but have gradually been dispersed and broken, and even since the year 1797, have undergone some sensible changes. They now consist of four bands; the first is the one just mentioned, of about five hundred men, to whom of late years have been added the second band, who are called republican Pawnees, from their having lived on the republican branch of the river Kansas, whence they emigrated to join the principal band of Pawnees: the republican Pawnees amount to nearly two hundred and fifty men. The third, are the Pawnees Loups, or Wolf Pawnees, who reside on the Wolf fork of the Platte, about ninety miles from the principal Pawnees, and number two hundred and eighty men. The fourth band originally resided on the Kansas and Arkansaw, but in their wars with the Osages, they were so often defeated, that they at last retired to their present position on the Red river, where they form a tribe of four hundred men. All these tribes live in villages, and raise corn; but during the intervals of culture rove in the plains in quest of buffalo.

Beyond them on the river, and westward of the Black mountains, are the Kaninaviesch, consisting of about four hundred men. They are supposed to have emigrated originally from the Pawnees nation; but they have degenerated from the improvements of the parent tribe, and no longer live in villages, but rove through the plains.

Still further to the westward, are several tribes, who wander and hunt on the sources of the river Platte, and thence to Rock Mountain. These tribes, of which little more is known than the names and the population, are first, the Staitan, or Kite Indians, a small tribe of one hundred men. They have acquired the name of Kites, from their flying; that is, their being always on horseback; and the smallness of their numbers is to be attributed to their extreme ferocity; they are the most warlike of all the western Indians; they never yield in battle; they never spare their enemies; and the retaliation of this barbarity has almost extinguished the nation. Then come the Wetapahato, and Kiawa tribes, associated together, and amounting to two hundred men; the Castahana, of three hundred men, to which are to be added the Cataka of seventy-five men, and the Dotami. These wandering tribes, are conjectured to be the remnants of the Great Padouca nation, who occupied the country between the upper parts of the river Platte, and the river Kansas. They were visited by Bourgemont, in 1724, and then lived on the Kansas river. The seats, which he describes as their residence, are now occupied by the Kansas nation; and of the Padoucas, there does not now exist even the name.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: July 21, 1804 - July 26, 1804

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