Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1805 - Part Six
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805

October 19, 1805
The next morning, Saturday 19, the great chief with two of his inferior chiefs, and a third belonging to a band on the river below, made us a visit at a very early hour. The first of these is called Yelleppit, a handsome well proportioned man, about five feet eight inches high, and thirty-five years of age, with a bold and dignified countenance; the rest were not distinguished in their appearance. We smoked with them, and after making a speech gave a medal, a handkerchief, and a string of wampum to Yelleppit, and a string of wampum only to the inferior chiefs. He requested us to remain till the middle of the day, in order that all his nation might come and see us, but we excused ourselves by telling him that on our return we would spend two or three days with him. This conference detained us till nine o'clock, by which time great numbers of the Indians had come down to visit us. On leaving them, we went on for eight miles, when we came to an island near the left shore which continued six miles in length. At the lower extremity of it is a small island on which are five houses, at present vacant, though the scaffolds of fish are as usual abundant. A short distance below, are two more islands, one of them near the middle of the river. On this there were seven houses; but as soon as the Indians, who were drying fish, saw us, they fled to their houses, and not one of them appeared till we had passed, when they came out in greater numbers than is usual for houses of that size, which induced us to think that the inhabitants of the five lodges had been alarmed at our approach and taken refuge with them. We were very desirous of landing in order to relieve their apprehensions, but as there was a bad rapid along the island, all our care was necessary to prevent injury to the canoes. At the foot of this rapid is a rock, on the left shore, which is fourteen miles from our camp of last night, and resembles a hat in its shape.

Four miles beyond this island we came to a rapid, from the appearance of which it was judged prudent to examine it. After landing for that purpose on the left side, we began to enter the channel which is close under the opposite shore. It is a very dangerous rapid, strewed with high rocks and rocky islands, and in many places obstructed by shoals, over which the canoes were to be hauled, so that we were more than two hours in passing through the rapids, which extend for the same number of miles. The rapid has several small islands, and banks of muscleshells are spread along the river in several places. In order to lighten the boats, captain Clarke, with the two chiefs, the interpreter, and his wife, had walked across the low grounds on the left to the foot of the rapids. On the way, captain Clarke ascended a cliff about two hundred feet above the water, from which he saw that the country on both sides of the river immediately from its cliffs, was low, and spreads itself into a level plain, extending for a great distance on all sides. To the west, at the distance of about one hundred and fifty miles, is a very high mountain covered with snow, and from its direction and appearance, he supposed to be the mount St. Helens, laid down by Vancouver, as visible from the mouth of the Columbia: there is also another mountain of a conical form, whose top is covered with snow, in a southwest direction. As captain Clarke arrived at the lower end of the rapid before any, except one of the small canoes, he sat down on a rock to wait for them, and seeing a crane fly across the river, shot it, and it fell near him. Several Indians had been before this passing on the opposite side towards the rapids, and some few who had been nearly in front of him, being either alarmed at his appearance or the report of the gun, fled to their houses.

Captain Clarke was afraid that these people had not yet heard that white men were coming, and therefore, in order to allay their uneasiness before the whole party should arrive, he got into the small canoe with three men and rowed over towards the houses, and while crossing, shot a duck, which fell into the water. As he approached, no person was to be seen except three men in the plains, and they too fled as he came near the shore. He landed before five houses close to each other, but no one appeared, and the doors, which were of mat, were closed. He went towards one of them with a pipe in his hand, and pushing aside the mat entered the lodge, where he foundthirty-two persons, chiefly men and women, with a few children, all in the greatest consternation; some hanging down their heads, others crying and wringing their hands. He went up to them all and shook hands with them in the most friendly manner; but their apprehensions, which had for a moment subsided, revived on his taking out a burning-glass, as there was no roof to the house, and lighting his pipe: he then offered it to several of the men, and distributed among the women and children some small trinkets which he carried about with him, and gradually restored some tranquility among them. He then left this house, and directing each of the men to go into a house, went himself to a second: here we found the inhabitants more terrified than those he had first seen; but he succeeded in pacifying them, and then visited the other houses, where the men had been equally successful. After leaving the houses he went out to sit on a rock, and beckoned to some of the men to come and smoke with him; but none of them ventured to join him till the canoes arrived with the two chiefs, who immediately explained our pacific intentions towards them.

Soon after the interpreter's wife landed, and her presence dissipated all doubts of our being well-disposed, since in this country, no woman ever accompanies a war party: they therefore all came out and seemed perfectly reconciled; nor could we indeed blame them for their terrors, which were perfectly natural. They told the two chiefs that they knew we were not men, for they had seen us fall from the clouds: in fact, unperceived by them, captain Clarke had shot the white crane, which they had seen fall just before he appeared to their eyes: the duck which he had killed also fell close by him, and as there were a few clouds flying over at the moment, they connected the fall of the birds and his sudden appearance, and believed that he had himself dropped from the clouds; the noise of the rifle, which they had never heard before, being considered merely as the sound to announce so extraordinary an event. This belief was strengthened, when on entering the room he brought down fire from the heavens by means of his burning-glass: we soon convinced them satisfactorily that we were only mortals, and after one of our chiefs had explained our history and objects, we all smoked together in great harmony. These people do not speak precisely the same language as the Indians above, but understand them in conversation. In a short time we were joined by many of the inhabitants from below, several of them on horseback, and all pleased to see us, and to exchange their fish and berries for a few trinkets.

We remained here to dine, and then proceeded. At half a mile the hilly country on the right side of the river ceased: at eleven miles we found a small rapid, and a mile further came to a small island on the left, where there are some willows. Since we had left the five lodges, we passed twenty more, dispersed along the river at different parts of the valley on the right; but as they were now apprised of our coming they showed no signs of alarm. On leaving the island we passed three miles further along a country which is low on both sides of the river, and encamped under some willow trees on the left, having made thirty-six miles to-day. Immediately opposite to us is an island close to the left shore, and another in the middle of the river, on which are twenty-four houses of Indians, all engaged in drying fish. We had scarcely landed before about a hundred of them came over in their boats to visit us, bringing with them a present of some wood, which was very acceptable: we received them in as kind a manner as we could--smoked with all of them, and gave the principal chief a string of wampum; but the highest satisfaction they enjoyed was the music of two of our violins, with which they seemed much delighted: they remained all night at our fires.

This tribe is a branch of the nation called Pishquitpaws, and can raise about three hundred and fifty men. In dress they resemble the Indians near the forks of the Columbia, except that their robes are smaller and do not reach lower than the waist; indeed, three fourths of them have scarcely any robes at all. The dress of the females is equally scanty; for they wear only a small piece of a robe which covers their shoulders and neck, and reaches down the back to the waist, where it is attached by a piece of leather tied tight round the body: their breasts, which are thus exposed to view, are large, ill-shaped, and are suffered to hang down very low: their cheek-bones high, their heads flattened, and their persons in general adorned with scarcely any ornaments. Both sexes are employed in curing fish, of which they have great quantities on their scaffolds.

October 20, 1805
Sunday 20. The morning was cool, the wind from the southwest. Our appearance had excited the curiosity of the neighborhood so much, that before we set out about two hundred Indians had collected to see us, and as we were desirous of conciliating their friendship, we remained to smoke and confer with them till breakfast. We then took our repast, which consisted wholly of dog-flesh, and proceeded. We passed three vacant houses near our camp, and at six miles reached the head of a rapid, on descending which we soon came to another, very difficult and dangerous. It is formed by a chain of large black rocks, stretching from the right side of the river, and with several small islands on the left, nearly choking the channel of the river. To this place we gave the name of the Pelican rapid, from seeing a number of pelicans and black cormorants about it. Just below it is a small island near the right shore, where are four houses of Indians, all busy in drying fish. At sixteen miles from our camp we reached a bend to the left opposite to a large island, and at one o'clock halted for dinner on the lower point of an island on the right side of the channel. Close to this was a larger island on the same side, and on the left bank of the river a small one, a little below. We landed near some Indian huts, and counted on this cluster of three islands, seventeen of their houses filled with inhabitants, resembling in every respect those higher up the river; like the inhabitants, they werebusy in preparing fish. We purchased of them some dried fish, which were not good, and a few berries, on which we dined, and then walked to the head of the island for the purpose of examining a vault, which we had marked in coming along. This place, in which the dead are deposited, is a building about sixty feet long and twelve feet wide, and is formed by placing in the ground poles or forks six feet high, across which a long pole is extended the whole length of the structure. Against this ridge-pole are placed broad boards, and pieces of canoes, in a slanting direction, so as to form a shed. It stands east and west, and neither of the extremities are closed. On entering the western end we observed a number of bodies wrapped carefully in leather robes, and arranged in rows on boards, which were then covered with a mat. This was the part destined for those who had recently died: a little farther on, the bones half decayed were scattered about, and in the centre of the building was a large pile of them heaped promiscuously on each other. At the eastern extremity was a mat, on which twenty-one sculls were placed in a circular form, the mode of interment being first to wrap the body in robes, and as it decays the bones are thrown into the heap, and the sculls placed together. From the different boards and pieces of canoes which form the vault, were suspended on the inside fishing-nets, baskets, wooden-bowls, robes, skins, trenchers, and trinkets of various kinds, obviously intended as offerings of affection to deceased relatives. On the outside of the vault were the skeletons of several horses, and great quantities of bones in the neighborhood, which induced us to believe that these animals were most probably sacrificed at the funeral rites of their masters.

Having dined we proceeded past a small island, where were four huts of Indians, and at the lower extremity a bad rapid. Half a mile beyond this, and at the distance of twenty-four from our camp, we came to the commencement of the highlands on the right, which are the first we have seen on that side since near the Muscleshell rapids, leaving a valley forty miles in extent. Eight miles lower we passed a large island in the middle of the river, below which are eleven small islands, five on the right, the same number on the left and one in the middle of the stream. A brook falls in on the right side, and a small rivulet empties itself behind one of the islands. The country on the right consists of high and rugged hills; the left is a low plain with no timber on either side, except a few small willow-brushes along the banks; though a few miles after leaving these islands the country on the left rises to the same height with that opposite

The party in their passage still visited by the Indians--Lepage's river described --immense quantities of salmon caught by the Indians--description of the river Towahnahiooks--Indian mode of stacking fish, and preparing them for market--description of the great falls--description of an Indian canoe--alarm excited by an anticipated attack from the Eheltoots--a very dangerous rapid passed in safety, called by the Indians the Falls, another dreadful rapid passed without injury, the rapids passed in safety.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: October 19, 1805 - October 20, 1805

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