Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1805 - Part Six
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: September 20, 1805 - September 22, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates September 20, 1805 - September 22, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates September 20, 1805 - September 22, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates September 20, 1805 - September 22, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: September 20, 1805 - September 22, 1805

September 20, 1805
Friday 20. Captain Clarke went on through a country as rugged as usual, till on passing a low mountain he came at the distance of four miles to the forks of a large creek. Down this he kept on a course south 60° west for two miles, then turning to the right, continued over a dividing ridge where were the heads of several little streams, and at twelve miles distance descended the last of the rocky mountains and reached the level country. A beautiful open plain partially supplied with pine now presented itself. He continued for five miles when he discovered three Indian boys, who, on observing the party, ran off and hid themselves in the grass. Captain Clarke immediately alighted, and giving his horse and gun to one of the men went after the boys. He soon relieved their apprehensions and sent them forward to the village about a mile off with presents of small pieces of riband. Soon after the boys had reached home, a man came out to meet the party, with great caution, but he conducted them to a large tent in the village, and all the inhabitants gathered round to view with a mixture of fear and pleasure these wonderful strangers. The conductor now informed captain Clarke by signs, that the spacious tent was the residence of the great chief, who had set out three days ago with all the warriors to attack some of their enemies towards the southwest; that he would not return before fifteen or eighteen days, and that in the meantime there were only a few men left to guard the women and children. They now set before them a small piece of buffalo meat, some dried salmon, berries, and several kinds of roots. Among these last is one which is round and much like an onion in appearance and sweet to the taste: it is called quamash, and is eaten either in its natural state, or boiled into a kind of soup or made into a cake, which is then called pasheco. After the long abstinence this was a sumptuous treat; we returned the kindness of the people by a few small presents, and then went on in company with one of the chiefs to a second village in the same plain, at the distance of two miles. Here the party was treated with great kindness and passed the night. The hunters were sent out, but though they saw some tracks of deer were not able to procure any thing.

We were detained till ten o'clock before we could collect our scattered horses; we then proceeded for two miles, when to our great joy we found the horse which captain Clarke had killed, and a note apprising us of his intention of going to the plains towards the southwest, and collect provisions by the time we reached him. At one o'clock we halted on a small stream, and made a hearty meal of horse flesh. On examination it now appeared that one of the horses was missing, and the man in whose charge he had been, was directed to return and search for him. He came back in about two hours without having been able to find the horse; but as the load was too valuable to be lost, two of the best woodsmen were directed to continue the search while we proceeded. Our general course was south 25° west through a thick forest of large pine, which has fallen in many places, and very much obstructs the road. After making about fifteen miles we encamped on a ridge where we could find but little grass and no water. We succeeded, however, in procuring a little from a distance, and supped on the remainder of the horse.

On descending the heights of the mountains the soil becomes gradually more fertile, and the land through which we passed this evening, is of an excellent quality. It has a dark gray soil, though very broken, and with large masses of gray free-stone above the ground in many places. Among the vegetable productions we distinguished the alder, honeysuckle, and huckleberry, common in the United States, and a species of honeysuckle, known only westward of the Rocky mountains, which rises to the height of about four feet, and bears a white berry. There is also a plant resembling the chokecherry, which grows in thick clumps eight or ten feet high, and bears a black berry with a single stone of a sweetish taste. The arbor vitę too, is very common, and grows to a great size, being from two to six feet in diameter.

September 21, 1805
Saturday 21. The free use of food, to which he had not been accustomed, made captain Clarke very sick both yesterday evening and during the whole of to-day. He therefore sent out all the hunters and remained himself at the village, as well on account of his sickness as for the purpose of avoiding suspicion and collecting information from the Indians as to the route.

The two villages consist of about thirty double tents, and the inhabitants call themselves Chopunnish or Pierced-nose. The chief drew a chart of the river, and explained, that a greater chief than himself, who governed this village and was called the Twisted-hair, was now fishing at the distance of half a day's ride down the river: his chart made the Kooskooskee fork a little below his camp, a second fork below, still further on a large branch flowed in on each side, below which the river passed the mountains: here was a great fall of water, near which lived white people, from whom were procured the white beads and brass ornaments worn by the women.

A chief of another band made a visit this morning, and smoked with captain Clarke. The hunters returned without having been able to kill any thing; captain Clarke purchased as much dried salmon, roots, and berries as he could, with the few articles he chanced to have in his pockets, and having sent them by one of the men and a hired Indian back to Captain Lewis, he went on towards the camp of the Twisted-hair. It was four o'clock before he set out, and the night soon came on; but having met an Indian coming from the river, they engaged him by a present of a neckcloth, to guide them to the Twisted-hair's camp. For twelve miles they proceeded through the plain before they reached the river hills, which are very high and steep. The whole valley from these hills to the Rocky mountain is a beautiful level country, with a rich soil covered with grass: there is, however, but little timber, and the ground is badly watered: the plain is so much lower than the surrounding hills, or so much sheltered by them, that the weather is quite warm, while the cold of the mountains was extreme. From the top of the river hills they proceeded down for three miles till they reached the water side, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night: here we found a small camp of five squaws and three children, the chief himself being encamped, with two others, on a small island in the river: the guide called to him and he soon came over. Captain Clarke gave him a medal, and they smoked together till one o'clock.

We could not set out till eleven o'clock, because being obliged in the evening to loosen our horses to enable them to find subsistence, it is always difficult to collect them in the morning. At that hour we continued along the ridge on which we had slept, and at a mile and a half reached a large creek running to our left, just above its junction with one of its branches. We proceeded down the low grounds of this creek, which are level, wide, and heavily timbered, but turned to the right at the distance of two and a half miles, and began to pass the broken and hilly country; but the thick timber had fallen in so many places that we could scarcely make our way. After going five miles we passed the creek on which captain Clarke had encamped during the night of the 19th, and continued five miles further over the same kind of road, till we came to the forks of a large creek. We crossed the northern branch of this stream, and proceeded down it on the west side for a mile: here we found a small plain where there was tolerable grass for the horses, and therefore remained during the night, having made fifteen miles on a course S. 30° W.

The arbor vitę increases in size and quantity as we advance: some of the trees we passed to-day being capable of forming pirogues at least forty-five feet in length. We were so fortunate also as to kill a few pheasants and a prairie wolf, which, with the remainder of the horse, supplied us with one meal, the last of our provisions, our food for the morrow being wholly dependent on the chance of our guns.

September 22, 1805
Sunday, 22. Captain Clarke passed over to the island with the Twisted-hair, who seemed to be cheerful and sincere in his conduct. The river at this place is about one hundred and sixty yards wide, but interrupted by shoals, and the low grounds on its borders are narrow. The hunters brought in three deer; after which Captain Clarke left his party, and accompanied by the Twisted-hair and his son, rode back to the village, where he arrived about sunset: they then walked up together to the second village, where we had just arrived. We had intended to set out early, but one of the men having neglected to hobble his horse he strayed away, and we were obliged to wait till nearly twelve o'clock. We then proceeded on a western course for two and a half miles, when we met the hunters sent by Captain Clarke from the village, seven and a half miles distant, with provisions. This supply was most seasonable, as we had tasted nothing since last night, and the fish, and roots, and berries, in addition to a crow which we killed on the route, completely satisfied our hunger. After this refreshment we proceeded in much better spirits, and at a few miles were overtaken by the two men who had been sent back after a horse on the 20th. They were perfectly exhausted with the fatigue of walking and the want of food; but as we had two spare horses they were mounted and brought on to the village.

They had set out about three o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th with one horse between them: after crossing the mountain they came to the place where we had eaten the horse. Here they encamped, and having no food made a fire and roasted the head of the horse, which even our appetites had spared, and supped on the ears, skin, lips, &c. of the animal. The next morning, 21st, they found the track of the horse, and pursuing it recovered the saddle-bags, and at length about eleven o'clock, the horse himself. Being now both mounted, they set out to return and slept at a small stream: during the day they had nothing at all except two pheasants, which were so torn to pieces by the shot, that the head and legs were the only parts fit for food. In this situation they found the next morning, 22d, that during the night their horses had run away from them or been stolen by the Indians. They searched for them until nine o'clock, when seeing that they could not recover them and fearful of starving if they remained where they were, they set out on foot to join us, carrying the saddle-bags alternately. They walked as fast as they could during the day, till they reached us in a deplorable state of weakness and inanition.

As we approached the village, most of the women, though apprised of our being expected, fled with their children into the neighboring woods. The men, however, received us without any apprehension, and gave us a plentiful supply of provisions. The plains were now crowded with Indians, who came to see the persons of the whites and the strange things they brought with them: but as our guide was perfectly a stranger to their language we could converse by signs only. Our inquiries were chiefly directed to the situation of the country, the courses of the rivers, and the Indian villages, of all which we received information from several of the Indians, and as their accounts varied but little from each other, we were induced to place confidence in them. Among others, the Twisted-hair drew a chart of the river on a white elk skin. According to this, the Kooskooskee forks a few miles from this place; two days towards the south is another and larger fork on which the Shoshone or Snake Indians fish: five days' journey further is a large river from the northwest into which Clarke's river empties itself: from the mouth of that river to the falls is five days' journey further: on all the forks as well as on the main river great numbers of Indians reside, and at the falls are establishments of whites. This was the story of the Twisted-hair.

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