Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates May 1804 - Part Two
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: May 22,1804 - May 31,1804

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates May 22,1804 - May 31,1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates May 22,1804 - May 31,1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates May 1804
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates May 22,1804 - May 31,1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: May 22,1804 - May 31,1804

May 22,1804
On the 22d we made about eighteen miles, passing several small farms on the bank of the river, a number of islands, and a large creek on the south side, called Bonhomme, or Goodman's river. A small number of emigrants from the United States have settled on the sides of this creek, which are very fertile. We also passed some high lands, and encamped, on the north side, near a small creek. Here we met with a camp of Kickapoo Indians who had left us at St. Charles, with a promise of procuring us some provisions by the time we overtook them. They now made us a present of four deer, and we gave them in return two quarts of whiskey. This tribe reside on the heads of the Kaskaskia and Illinois river, on the other side of the Mississippi, but occasionally hunt on the Missouri.

May 22,1804
Two miles from our camp of last night, we reached a river emptying itself on the north side, called Osage Woman river. It is about thirty yards wide, and has now a settlement of thirty or forty families from the United States. About a mile and a half beyond this is a large cave, on the south side at the foot of cliffs nearby three hundred feet high, overhanging the water, which becomes very swift at this place. The cave is one hundred and twenty feet wide, forty feet deep, and twenty high, it is known by the name of the Tavern, among the traders who have written their names on the rock, and painted some images which command the homage of the Indians and French. About a little further we passed a small creek called Tavern creek, and encamped on the south side of the river, having gone nine miles.

Early the next morning we ascended a very difficult rapid, called the Devil's Race Ground, where the current sets for half a mile against some projecting rocks on the south side. We were less fortunate in attempting a second place of equal difficulty. Passing near the southern shore, the bank fell in so fast as to oblige us to cross the river instantly, between the northern side and a sandbar which is constantly moving and banking with the violence of the current. The boat struck on it, and would have upset immediately, if the men had not jumped into the water and held her, till the sand washed from under her. We encamped on the south side, having ascended ten miles.

May 25,1804
The next day, May 25, 1804 passed on the south side the mouth of Wood river, on the north, two small creeks and several islands, and stopped for the night at the entrance of a creek on the north side, called by the French La Charrette, ten miles from our last encampment, and a little above a small village of the same name. It consists of seven small houses, and as many poor families who have fixed themselves here for the convenience of trade, and form the last establishment of whites on the Missouri. It rained last night, yet we found this morning that the river had fallen several inches.

May 26,1804
The wind being favorable we made eighteen miles to-day. We passed in the morning several islands, the largest of which is buffalo island, separated from the southern side by a small channel which receives the waters of buffalo creek. On the same side is Shepherd's creek, a little beyond which we encamped on the northern side. The next day we sailed along a large island called Otter island, on the northern side, extending nearly ten miles in length, narrow but high in its situation, and one of the most fertile in the whole river. Between it and the northern shore, three small creeks, one of which has the same name with the island, empty themselves. On the southern shore is a creek twenty yards wide, called Ash creek. In the course of the day we met two canoes loaded with furs, which had been two months on their route, from the Mahar nation, residing more than seven hundred miles up the river—one large raft from the Pawnees on the river Platte, and three others from the Grand Osage river. At the distance of fifteen miles we encamped on a willow island, at the entrance of the river Gasconade. This river falls into the Missouri from the south, one hundred miles from the Mississippi. Its length is about one hundred and fifty miles in a course generally northeast through a hilly country. On its banks are a number of saltpetre caves, and it is believed some mines of lead in the vicinity. Its width at the mouth is one hundred and fifty-seven yards, and its depth nineteen feet.

May 29,1804
Here we halted for the purpose of hunting and drying our provisions, and making the necessary celestial observations. This being completed, we set sail on the 29th at four o'clock, and at four miles distance encamped on the south-side, above a small creek, called Deer creek.

May 30,1804
The next day, 30th, we set out early, and at two miles distant reached a large cave, on the north, called Montbrun's tavern, after a French trader of that name, just above a creek called after the same person. Beyond this is a large island, and at the distance of four miles, Rush creek coming in from the south, at eleven, Big-muddy river on the north, about fifty yards wide; three miles further, is Little-muddy river on the same side, opposite to which we encamped at the mouth of Grindstone creek. The rain which began last night continued through the day, accompanied with high wind and some hail. The river has been rising fast for two days, and the country around appears full of water. Along the sides of the river to day we observe much timber, the cotton wood, the sycamore, hickory, white walnut, some grapevines, and rushes—the high west wind and rain compelled us to remain all the next day, May 31.

May 31,1804
In the afternoon a boat came down from the Grand Osage river, bringing a letter from a person sent to the Osage nation on the Arkansaw river, which mentioned that the letter announcing the cession of Louisiana was committed to the flames—that the Indians would not believe that the Americans were owners of that country, and disregarded St. Louis and its supplies. The party was occupied in hunting, in the course of which, they caught in the woods several very large rats. We set sail early the next morning, June 1st, and at six miles distant passed Bear creek, a stream of about twenty-five yards width; but the wind being ahead and the current rapid, we were unable to make more than thirteen miles to the mouth of the Osage river; where we encamped and remained the following day, for the purpose of making celestial observations. The Osage river empties itself into the Missouri, at one hundred and thirty-three miles distance from the mouth of the latter river. Its general course is west and west southwest through a rich and level country. At the junction the Missouri is about eight hundred and seventy-five yards wide, and the Osage three hundred and ninety-seven. The low point of junction is in latitude 38° 31' 16", and at a short distance from it is a high commanding position, whence we enjoyed a delightful prospect of the country.

The Osage river gives or owes its name to a nation inhabiting its banks at a considerable distance from this place. Their present name however, seems to have originated from the French traders, for both among themselves and their neighbors they are called the Wasbashas. They number between twelve and thirteen hundred warriors, and consist of three tribes: the Great Osages of about five hundred warriors, living in a village on the south bank of the river—the Little Osages, of nearly half that number, residing at the distance of six miles from them—and the Arkansaw band, a colony of Osages, of six hundred warriors, who left them some years ago, under the command of a chief called the Bigfoot, and settled on the Vermillion river, a branch of the Arkansaw.

In person the Osages are among the largest and best formed Indians, and are said to possess fine military capacities; but residing as they do in villages, and having made considerable advance in agriculture, they seem less addicted to war, than their northern neighbors, to whom the use of rifles gives a great superiority. Among the peculiarities of this people, there is nothing more remarkable than the tradition relative to their origin. According to universal belief, the founder of the nation was a snail passing a quiet existence along the banks of the Osage, till a high flood swept him down to the Missouri, and left him exposed on the shore. The heat of the sun at length ripened him into a man, but with the change of his nature, he had not forgotten his native seats on the Osage, towards which, he immediately bent his way. He was however soon overtaken by hunger, and fatigue, when happily the Great Spirit appeared, and giving him a bow and arrow, showed him how to kill and cook deer, and cover himself with the skin. He then proceeded to his original residence, but as he approached the river, he was met by a beaver, who inquired haughtily who he was, and by what authority he came to disturb his possession. The Osage answered that the river was his own, for he had once lived on its borders. As they stood disputing, the daughter of the beaver came, and having by her entreaties reconciled her father to this young stranger, it was proposed that the Osage should marry the young beaver, and share with her family the enjoyment of the river. The Osage readily consented, and from this happy union there soon came the village and the nation of the Wasbasha, or Osages, who have ever since preserved a pious reverence for their ancestors, abstaining from the chace of the beaver, because in killing that animal, they killed a brother of the Osage. Of late years, however, since the trade with the whites has rendered beaver skins more valuable, the sanctity of these maternal relatives has visibly reduced, and the poor animals have nearly lost all the privileges of kindred.

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