Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1804 - Part Three
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1804

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804

October 11, 1804
Thursday, 11th, at eleven o'clock we again met in council at our camp. The grand chief made a short speech of thanks for the advice we had given, and promised to follow it; adding that the door was now open and no one dare shut it, and that we might depart whenever we pleased, alluding to the treatment we had received from the Sioux: they also brought us some corn, beans, and dried squashes, and in return we gave them a steel mill with which they were much pleased. At one o'clock we left our camp with the grand chief and his nephew on board, and at about two miles anchored below a creek on the south, separating the second and third village of the Ricaras, which are about half a mile distant from each other. We visited both the villages, and sat conversing with the chiefs for some time, during which they presented us with a bread made of corn and beans, also corn and beans boiled, and a large rich bean which they take from the mice of the prairie, who discover and collect it. These two villages are placed near each other in a high smooth prairie; a fine situation, except that having no wood the inhabitants are obliged to go for it across the river to a timbered lowland opposite to them. We told them that we would speak to them in the morning at their villages separately.

October 12, 1804
Thursday, 12th. Accordingly after breakfast we went on shore to the house of the chief of the second village named Lassel, where we found his chiefs and warriors. They made us a present of about seven bushels of corn, a pair of leggings, a twist of their tobacco, and the seeds of two different species of tobacco. The chief then delivered a speech expressive of his gratitude for the presents and the good counsels which we had given him; his intention of visiting his great father but for fear of the Sioux; and requested us to take one of the Ricara chiefs up to the Mandans and negociate a peace between the two nations. To this we replied in a suitable way, and then repaired to the third village. Here we were addressed by the chief in nearly the same terms as before, and entertained with a present of ten bushels of corn, some beans, dried pumpkins, and squashes. After we had answered and explained the magnitude and power of the United States, the three chiefs came with us to the boat. We gave them some sugar, a little salt, and a sunglass. Two of them then left us, and the chief of the third, by name [104]Ahketahnasha or Chief of the Town, accompanied us to the Mandans. At two o'clock we left the Indians, who crowded to the shore to take leave of us, and after making seven and a half miles landed on the north side, and had a clear, cool, pleasant evening.

The three villages which we have just left, are the residence of a nation called the Ricaras. They were originally colonies of Pawnees, who established themselves on the Missouri, below the Chayenne, where the traders still remember that twenty years ago they occupied a number of villages. From that situation a part of the Ricaras emigrated to the neighborhood of the Mandans, with whom they were then in alliance. The rest of the nation continued near the Chayenne till the year 1797, in the course of which, distressed by their wars with the Sioux, they joined their countrymen near the Mandans. Soon after a new war arose between the Ricaras and the Mandans, in consequence of which the former came down the river to their present position. In this migration those who had first gone to the Mandans kept together, and now live in the two lower villages, which may thence be considered as the Ricaras proper. The third village was composed of such remnants of the villages as had survived the wars, and as these were nine in number a difference of pronunciation and some difference of language may be observed between them and the Ricaras proper, who do not understand all the words of these wanderers. The villages are within the distance of four miles of each other, the two lower ones consisting of between one hundred and fifty and two hundred men each, the third of three hundred. The Ricaras are tall and well proportioned, the women handsome and lively, and as among other savages to them falls all the drudgery of the field and the labors of procuring subsistence, except that of hunting: both sexes are poor, but kind and generous, and although they receive with thankfulness what is given to them, do not beg as the Sioux did, though this praise should be qualified [105]by mentioning that an axe was stolen last night from our cooks. The dress of the men is a simple pair of moccasins, legings, and a cloth round the middle, over which a buffalo robe is occasionally thrown, with their hair, arms and ears decorated with different ornaments. The women wear moccasins, legings, a long shirt made of goats' skins, generally white and fringed, which is tied round the waist; to those they add, like the men, a buffalo robe without the hair, in summer. These women are handsomer than the Sioux; both of them are however, disposed to be amorous, and our men found no difficulty in procuring companions for the night by means of the interpreters. These interviews were chiefly clandestine, and were of course to be kept a secret from the husband or relations. The point of honor indeed, is completely reversed among the Ricaras; that the wife or the sister should submit to a stranger's embraces without the consent of her husband or brother, is a cause of great disgrace and offence, especially as for many purposes of civility or gratitude the husband and brother will themselves present to a stranger these females, and be gratified by attentions to them. The Sioux had offered us squaws, but while we remained there having declined, they followed us with offers of females for two days. The Ricaras had been equally accommodating; we had equally withstood their temptation; but such was their desire to oblige that two very handsome young squaws were sent on board this evening, and persecuted us with civilities. The black man York participated largely in these favours; for instead of inspiring any prejudice, his color seemed to procure him additional advantages from the Indians, who desired to preserve among them some memorial of this wonderful stranger. Among other instances of attention, a Ricara invited him into his house and presenting his wife to him, retired to the outside of the door: while there one of York's comrades who was looking for him came to the door, but the gallant husband [106]would permit no interruption before a reasonable time had elapsed.

The Ricara lodges are in a circular or octagonal form, and generally about thirty or forty feet in diameter: they are made by placing forked posts about six feet high round the circumference of the circle; these are joined by poles from one fork to another, which are supported also by other forked poles slanting from the ground: in the centre of the lodge are placed four higher forks, about fifteen feet in length, connected together by beams; from these to the lower poles the rafters of the roof are extended so as to leave a vacancy in the middle for the smoke: the frame of the building is then covered with willow branches, with which is interwoven grass, and over this mud or clay: the aperture for the door is about four feet wide, and before it is a sort of entry about ten feet from the lodge. They are very warm and compact.

They cultivate maize or Indian corn, beans, pumpkins, watermelons, squashes, and a species of tobacco peculiar to themselves.

Their commerce is chiefly with the traders who supply them with goods in return for peltries, which they procure not only by their own hunting, but in exchange for corn from their less civilized neighbors. The object chiefly in demand seemed to be red paint, but they would give any thing they had to spare for the most trifling article. One of the men to-day gave an Indian a hook made out of a pin, and he gave him in return a pair of moccasins.

They express a disposition to keep at peace with all nations, but they are well armed with fusils, and being much under the influence of the Sioux, who exchanged the goods which they get from the British for Ricara corn, their minds are sometimes poisoned and they cannot be always depended on. At the present moment they are at war with the Mandans. We are informed by Mr. Gravelines, who had passed through that country, that the Yankton or Jacques [107]river rises about forty miles to the east or northeast of this place, the Chayenne branch of the Red river about twenty miles further, passing the Sioux, and the St. Peter's about eighty.

October 13, 1804
Saturday, 13th. In the morning our visitors left us, except the brother of the chief who accompanies us and one of the squaws. We passed at an early hour a camp of Sioux on the north bank, who merely looked at us without saying a word, and from the character of the tribe we did not solicit a conversation. At ten and a half miles we reached the mouth of a creek on the north, which takes its rise from some ponds a short distance to the northeast: to this stream we gave the name of Stoneidol creek, for after passing a willow and sand island just above its mouth, we discovered that a few miles back from the Missouri there are two stones resembling human figures, and a third like a dog; all which are objects of great veneration among the Ricaras. Their history would adorn the metamorphoses of Ovid. A young man was deeply enamoured with a girl whose parents refused their consent to the marriage. The youth went out into the fields to mourn his misfortunes; a sympathy of feeling led the lady to the same spot, and the faithful dog would not cease to follow his master. After wandering together and having nothing but grapes to subsist on, they were at last converted into stone, which beginning at the feet gradually invaded the nobler parts leaving nothing unchanged but a bunch of grapes which the female holds in her hands to this day. Whenever the Ricaras pass these sacred stones, they stop to make some offering of dress to propitiate these deities. Such is the account given by the Ricara chief which we had no mode of examining, except that we found one part of the story very agreeably confirmed; for on the river near where the event is said to have occurred, we found a greater abundance of fine grapes than we had yet seen. Above this is a small creek four and a half miles from Stoneidol creek, which is fifteen yards wide, comes in from the south, and [108]received from us the name of Pocasse or Hay creek, in honor of the chief of the second village. Above the Ricara island, the Missouri becomes narrow and deeper, the sandbars being generally confined to the points; the current too is much more gentle; the timber on the lowlands is also in much greater quantities, though the high grounds are still naked. We proceeded on under a fine breeze from the southeast, and after making eighteen miles encamped on the north near a timbered low plain, after which we had some rain and the evening was cold. The hunters killed one deer only.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: October 11, 1804 - October 13, 1804

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