Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1805 - Part Eight
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805

October 23, 1805
Wednesday 23. Having ascertained from the Indians, and by actual examination, the best mode of bringing down the canoes, it was found necessary, as the river was divided into several narrow channels, by rocks and islands, to follow the route adopted by the Indians themselves. This operation captain Clarke began this morning, and after crossing to the other side of the river, hauled the canoes over a point of land, so as to avoid a perpendicular fall of twenty feet. At the distance of four hundred and fifty-seven yards we reached the water, and embarked at a place where a long rocky island compresses the channel of the river within the space of a hundred and fifty yards, so as to form nearly a semicircle. On leaving this rocky island the channel is somewhat wider, but a second and much larger island of hard black rock, still divides it from the main stream, while on the left shore it is closely by perpendicular rocks. Having descended in this way for a mile, we reached a pitch of the river, which being divided by two large rocks, descends with great rapidity down a fall eight feet in height: as the boats could not be navigated down this steep descent, we were obliged to land and let them down as slowly as possible by strong ropes of elk skin, which we had prepared for the purpose. They all passed in safety except one, which being loosed by the breaking of the ropes, was driven down, but was recovered by the Indians below. With this rapid ends the first pitch of the great falls, which is not great in point of height, and remarkable only for the singular manner in which the rocks have divided its channel. From the marks every where perceivable at the falls, it is obvious that in high floods, which must be in the spring, the water below the falls rises nearly to a level with that above them. Of this rise, which is occasioned by some obstructions which we do not as yet know, the salmon must avail themselves to pass up the river in such multitudes, that that fish is almost the only one caught in great abundance above the falls; but below that place, we observe the salmon trout, and the heads of a species of trout smaller than the salmon trout, which is in great quantities, and which they are now burying to be used as their winter food. A hole of any size being dug, the sides and bottom are lined with straw, over which skins are laid: on these the fish, after being well dried, is laid, covered with other skins, and the hole closed with a layer of earth twelve or fifteen inches deep. About three o'clock we reached the lower camp, but our joy at having accomplished this object was somewhat diminished, by the persecution of a new acquaintance. On reaching the upper point of the portage, we found that the Indians had been encamped there not long since, and had left behind them multitudes of fleas. These sagacious animals were so pleased to exchange the straw and fish skins, in which they had been living, for some better residence, that we were soon covered with them, and during the portage the men were obliged to strip to the skin, in order to brush them from their bodies. They were not, however, so easily dislodged from our clothes, and accompanied us in great numbers to our camp.

We saw no game except a sea otter, which was shot in the narrow channel as we came down, but we could not get it. Having therefore scarcely any provisions, we purchased eight small fat dogs, a food to which we are now compelled to have recourse, for the Indians are very unwilling to sell us any of their good fish, which they reserve for the market below. Fortunately, however, the habit of using this animal has completely overcome the repugnance which we felt at first, and the dog, if not a favorite dish, is always an acceptable one. The meridian altitude of to-day gives 45° 42' 57' 3--10 north, as the latitude of our camp.

On the beach near the Indian huts, we observed two canoes of a different shape and size from any which we had hitherto seen: one of these we got in exchange for our smallest canoe, giving a hatchet and a few trinkets to the owner, who said he had purchased it from a white man below the falls, by giving him a horse. These canoes are very beautifully made; they are wide in the middle and tapering towards each end, with curious figures carved on the bow. They are thin, but being strengthened by cross bars, about an inch in diameter, which are tied with strong pieces of bark through holes in the sides, are able to bear very heavy burdens, and seem calculated to live in the roughest water.

A great number of Indians both from above and below the falls visited us to-day, and towards evening we were informed by one of the chiefs who had accompanied us, that he had overheard that the Indians below intended to attack us as we went down the river: being at all times ready for any attempt of that sort, we were not under greater apprehensions than usual at this intelligence: we, therefore, only reexamined our arms and increased the ammunition to one hundred rounds. Our chiefs, who had not the same motives of confidence, were by no means so much at their ease, and when at night they saw the Indians leave us earlier than usual, their suspicions of an intended attack were confirmed, and they were very much alarmed. The next morning,

October 24, 1805
Thursday 24, the Indians approached us with apparent caution, and behaved with more than usual reserve. Our two chiefs, by whom these circumstances were not unobserved, now told us that they wished to return home; that they could be no longer of any service to us, and they could not understand the language of the people below the falls; that those people formed a different nation from their own; that the two people had been at war with each other, and as the Indians had expressed a resolution to attack us, they would certainly kill them. We endeavored to quiet their fears, and requested them to stay two nights longer, in which time we would see the Indians below, and make a peace between the two nations. They replied that they were anxious to return and see their horses; we however insisted on their remaining with us, not only in hopes of bringing about an accommodation between them and their enemies, but because they might be able to detect any hostile designs against us, and also assist us in passing the next falls, which are not far off, and represented as very difficult: they at length, agreed to stay with us two nights longer. About nine o'clock we proceeded, and on leaving our camp near the lower fall, found the river about four hundred yards wide, with a current more rapid than usual, though with no perceptible descent. At the distance of two and a half miles, the river widened into a large bend or basin on the right, at the beginning of which are three huts ofIndians. At the extremity of this basin stands a high black rock, which, rising perpendicularly from the right shore, seems to run wholly across the river; so totally indeed does it appear to stop the passage, that we could not see where the water escaped, except that the current appeared to be drawn with more than usual velocity to the left of the rock, where was a great roaring. We landed at the huts of the Indians, who went with us to the top of this rock, from which we saw all the difficulties of the channel. We were no longer at a loss to account for the rising of the river at the falls, for this tremendous rock stretches across the river, to meet the high hills of the left shore, leaving a channel of only forty-five yards wide, through which the whole body of the Columbia must press its way. The water thus forced into so narrow a channel, is thrown into whirls, and swells and boils in every part with the wildest agitation. But the alternative of carrying the boats over this high rock was almost impossible in our present situation, and as the chief danger seemed to be not from any rocks in the channel, but from the great waves and whirlpools, we resolved to try the passage in our boats, in hopes of being able by dexterous steering to escape. This we attempted, and with great care were able to get through, to the astonishment of all the Indians of the huts we had just passed, who now collected to see us from the top of the rock. The channel continues thus confined within a space of about half a mile, when the rock ceased. We passed a single Indian hut at the foot of it, where the river again enlarges itself to the width of two hundred yards, and at the distance of a mile and a half stopped to view a very bad rapid; this is formed by two rocky islands whichdivide the channel, the lower and larger of which is in the middle of the river. The appearance of this place was so unpromising, that we unloaded all the most valuable articles; such as guns, ammunition, our papers, &c. and sent them by land with all the men that could not swim to the extremity of the rapids. We then descended with the canoes two at a time, and though the canoes took in some water, we all went through safely; after which we made two miles, and stopped in a deep bend of the river towards the right, and encamped a little above a large village of twenty-one houses. Here we landed, and as it was late before all the canoes joined us, we were obliged to remain here this evening, the difficulties of the navigation having permitted us to make only six miles. This village is situated at the extremity of a deep bend towards the right, and immediately above a ledge of high rocks, twenty feet above the marks of the highest flood, but broken in several places, so as to form channels which are at present dry, extending nearly across the river; this forms the second fall, or the place most probably which the Indians indicate by the word Timm. While the canoes were coming on, captain Clarke walked with two men down to examine these channels. On these rocks the Indians are accustomed to dry fish, and as the season for that purpose is now over, the poles which they use are tied up very securely in bundles, and placed on the scaffolds. The stock of fish dried and pounded were so abundant that he counted one hundred and seven of them making more than ten thousand pounds of that provision. After examining the narrows as well as the lateness of the hour would permit, he returned to the village though a rocky open country, infested with polecats. This village, the residence of a tribe called the Echeloots, consists of twenty-one houses, scattered promiscuously over an elevated situation, near a mound about thirty feet above the common level, which has some remains of houses on it, and bears every appearance of being artificial.

The houses, which are the first wooden buildings we have seen since leaving the Illinois country, are nearly equal in size, and exhibit a very singular appearance. A large hole, twenty feet wide and thirty in length, is dug to the depth of six feet. The sides are then lined with split pieces of timber, rising just above the surface of the ground, which are smoothed to the same width by burning, or shaved with small iron axes. These timbers are secured in their erect position by a pole, stretched along the side of the building near the caves, and supported on a strong post fixed at each corner. The timbers at the gable ends rise gradually higher, the middle pieces being the broadest. At the top of these is a sort of semicircle, made to receive a ridge-pole, the whole length of the house, propped by an additional post in the middle, and forming the top of the roof. From this ridge-pole to the caves of the house, are placed a number of small poles or rafters, secured at each end by fibres of the cedar. On these poles, which are connected by small transverse bars of wood, is laid a covering of the white cedar, or arbor vitę, kept on by the strands of the cedar fibres: but a small distance along the whole length of the ridge-pole is left uncovered for the purpose of light, and permitting the smoke to pass through. The roof thus formed has a descent about equal to that common amongst us, and near the eaves is perforated with a number of small holes, made most probably to discharge their arrows in case of an attack. The only entrance is by a small door at the gable end, cut out of the middle piece of timber, twenty-nine and a half inches high, and fourteen inches broad, and reaching only eighteen inches above the earth. Before this hole is hung a mat, and on pushing it aside and crawling through, the descent is by a small wooden ladder, made in the form of those used amongst us. One half of the inside is used as a place of deposit for their dried fish, of which there are large quantities stored away, and with a few baskets of berries form the only family provisions; the other half adjoining the door, remains for the accommodation of the family. On each side are arranged near the walls, small beds of mats placed on little scaffolds or bedsteads, raised from eighteen inches to three feet from the ground, and in the middle of the vacant space is the fire, or sometimes two or three fires, when, as is indeed usually the case, the house contains three families.

The inhabitants received us with great kindness--invited us to their houses, and in the evening, after our camp had been formed, came in great numbers to see us: accompanying them was a principal chief, and several of the warriors of the nation below the great narrows. We made use of this opportunity to attempt a reconciliation between them and our two chiefs, and to put an end to the war which had disturbed the two nations. By representing to the chiefs the evils which the war inflicted on them, and the wants and privations to which it subjects them, they soon became disposed to conciliate with each other, and we had some reason to be satisfied with the sincerity of the mutual professions that the war should no longer continue, and that in future they would live in peace with each other. On concluding this negotiation we proceeded to invest the chief with the insignia of command, a medal and some small articles of clothing; after which the violin was produced, and our men danced to the great delight of the Indians, who remained with us till a late hour.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: October 23, 1805 - October 24, 1805

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