Continuing on

Set out under a gentle breeze from the S.E. Passed a small island situated in a bend to the L.S. called Goat Island. A short distance above the upper point, a creek 12 yards wide comes in on the S.S. We observed a great smoke to the S.W. I walked on shore and observed buffalo in great herds at a distance.

Passed two small willow islands with large sand bars making out from them. Passed Elk Island, about 2 1/2 miles long and 3/4 mile wide, situated near the L.S., covered with cottonwood; the red currants called by the French gres de bueff, and grapes, &c..

The river is nearly straight for a great distance, wide and shallow. Passed a creek on the S.S. 16 yards wide, we call Reuben Creek as R. Fields found it. Camped on the S.S., below the mouth of a creek on the L.S. Three Sioux boys came to us-swam the river and informed that the band of Sioux called the Tetons, of 80 lodges, were camped at the next creek above; and 60 lodges more a short distance above. We gave those boys two carrots of tobacco to carry to their chiefs, with directions to tell them that we would speak to them tomorrow.

Captain Lewis walked on shore this evening. R. F. killed a doe goat.

Captain Clark, 23 September 1804

 

Set out early. A fair day, the wind from the E. Passed the mouth of a creek on the L.S. called Creek High Water.

Passed a large island on the L.S. about 2 miles and 1/2 long on which Colter had camped and killed 4 elk. The wind fair from the S.E. We prepared some clothes and a few medals for the chiefs of the Tetons' bands of Sioux, which we expect to see today at the next river. Observed a great deal of stone on the sides of the hills on the S.S. We saw one hare today. Prepared all things for action in case of necessity. Our pirogues went to the island for the meeting. Soon after, the man on shore ran up the bank and reported that the Indians had stolen the horse.

We soon after met 5 Indians, and anchored out some distance, and spoke to them. Informed them we were friends, and wished to continue so, but were not afraid of any Indians. Some of their young men had taken the horse sent by their Great Father for their chief, and we would not speak to them until the horse was returned to us again.

Passed an island on the S.S., on which we saw several elk, about 1 1/z miles long, called Good Humored Island. Came to about 1 1/2 miles above, off the mouth of a small river about 70 yards wide, called by Mr. Evans the Little Missouri River. The tribes of the Sioux called the Tetons are camped about two miles up on the N.W. side; and we shall call the river after that nation, Teton. This river is 70 yards wide at the mouth of water, and has a considerable current. We anchored off the mouth.

The French pirogue came up early in the day; the other did not get up until the evening. Soon after we had come to, I went and smoked with the chiefs who came to see us here. All well. We prepare to speak with the Indians tomorrow, at which time, we are informed, the Indians will be here. The Frenchman, who had for some time been sick, began to bleed, which alarmed him. Two-thirds of our party camped on board, the remainder-with the guard-on shore.

Captain Clark, 24 September 1804

 

A fair morning. The wind from the S.E. All well. Raised a flagstaff and made an awning or shade on a sand bar in the mouth of Teton River, for the purpose of speaking with the Indians under. The boat crew on board at 70 yards distance from the bar. The five Indians which we met last night continued. About 11 o'clock, the 1st and 2nd chiefs came. We gave them some of our provisions to eat. They gave us great quantities of meat, some of which was spoiled: We feel much at a loss for the want of an interpreter; the one we have can speak but little.

Met in council at 12 o'clock and, after smoking-agreeable to the usual custom-Captain Lewis proceeded to deliver a speech which we were obliged to curtail for want of a good interpreter. All our party paraded. Gave a medal to the grand chief, called in Indian Untongarsarbar, in French Boeuf Noir, Black Buffalo. Said to be a good man. 2nd chief, Tortohongar or The Partisan-bad. The 3rd is the Boenf de Médecine, his name is Tartongarwaker. 1st considerable man, Warzinggo. 2nd considerable man, Second Bear-Matocoquepar.

Invited those chiefs on board to show them our boat, and such curiosities as were strange to them. We gave them 1/4 glass of whiskey, which they appeared to be very fond of; sucked the bottle after it was out and soon began to be troublesome' one, the second chief, assuming drunkenness as a cloak for his rascally intentions. I went with those chiefs, in one of the pirogues with 5 men-3 and 2 Indians (which left the boat with great reluctance)-to shore, with a view of reconciling those men to us.

As soon as I landed the pirogue, three of their young men seized the cable of the pirogue [in which we had presents, &c.] The chiefs' soldier [each chief has a soldier] hugged the mast, and the 2nd chief was very insolent, both in words and gestures [pretended drunkenness and staggered up against me], declaring I should not go on, stating he had not received presents sufficient from us. His gestures were of such a personal nature, I felt myself compelled to draw my sword, and made a signal to the boat to prepare for action. At this motion Captain Lewis ordered all under arms in the boat. Those with me also showed a disposition to defend themselves and me. The grand chief then took hold of the rope and ordered the young warriors away.

I felt myself warm and spoke in very positive terms.

Most of the warriors appeared to have their bows strung, and took out their arrows from the quiver. As I, being surrounded, was not permitted by them to return, I sent all the men except two interpreters to the boat. The pirogue soon returned with about 12 of our determined men ready for any event. This movement caused a number of the Indians to withdraw at a distance, leaving their chiefs and soldiers alone with me. Their treatment to me was very rough and, I think, justified roughness on my part. They all left my pirogue, and counciled with themselves. The result I could not learn, and nearly all went off after remaining in this situation some time. I offered my hand to the 1st and 2nd chiefs, who refused to receive it. I turned off and went with my men on board the pirogue. I had not proceeded more than ten paces before the 1st chief, 3rd, and 2 Brave Men waded in after me. I took them in and went on board.

We proceeded on about one mile, and anchored out off a willow island. Placed a guard on shore to protect the cooks and a guard in the boat. Fastened the pirogues to the boat. I called this island Bad Humored Island, as we were in a bad humor.

Captain Clark, 25 September 1804

 

Set out early. Proceeded on, and came to, by the wish of the chiefs, for to let their squaws and boys see the boat, and suffer them to treat us well. Great numbers of men, women, and children on the banks viewing us. These people show great anxiety. They appear sprightly. Generally ill-looking and not well made; their legs and arms small generally; high cheekbones, prominent eyes. They grease and black [paint] themselves with coal when they dress. The distinguished men make use of hawks' feathers [calumet feather adorned with porcupine quills and fastened to the top of the head and falls backward about their heads]. The men wear a robe, and each a polecat's skin, for to hold their bois roulé for smoking. Fond of dress and show. Badly armed with fusees, &c. The squaws are cheerful, fine-looking women, not handsome; high cheeks; dressed in skins; a petticoat and robe, which folds back over their shoulder, with long wool. Do all their laborious work, and, I may say, perfect slaves to the men, as all squaws of nations much at war, or where the women are more numerous than the men.

After coming to, Captain Lewis and 5 men went on shore with the chiefs, who appeared disposed to make up and be friendly. After Captain Lewis had been on shore about 3 hours, I became uneasy for fear of deception, and sent a sergeant to see him and know his treatment, which he reported was friendly, and they were preparing for a dance this evening. They made frequent solicitations for us to remain one night only and let them show their good disposition toward us. We determined to remain.

After the return of Captain Lewis, I went on shore. On landing, I was received on an elegant painted buffalo robe, and taken to the village by 6 men, and was not permitted to touch the ground until I was put down in the grand council house, on a white dressed robe. I saw several Maha prisoners, and spoke to the chiefs, telling them that it was necessary to give those prisoners up and become good friends with the Mahas if they wished to follow the advice of their Great Father. I was in several lodges, neatly formed, as before mentioned as to the Bois Brulé-Yankton tribe.

This house formed a 3/4 circle of skins well dressed, and sewn together, under this shelter. About 70 men sat, forming a circle. In front of the chiefs, a place of 6 feet diameter was clear, and the pipe of peace raised on forked sticks, about 6 or 8 inches from the ground, under which there was swansdown scattered. On each side of this circle, two pipes, the two flags of Spain 2 and the flag we gave them in front of the grand chief. A large fire was near, in which provisions were cooking. In the center, about 400 pounds of excellent buffalo beef as a present for us.

Soon after they set me down, the men went for Captain Lewis. Brought him in the same way, and placed him also by the chief. In a few minutes an old man rose and spoke, approving what we had done, and informing us of their situation, requesting us to take pity on them and which was answered. The great chief then rose with great state, speaking to the same purpose as far as we could learn, and then, with great solemnity, took up the pipe of peace and, after pointing it to the heavens, the four quarters of the globe and the earth, he made some dissertation [then made a speech], lit it and presented the stem to us to smoke. When the principal chief spoke with the pipe of peace, he took in one hand some of the most delicate parts of the dog which was prepared for the feast, and made a sacrifice to the flag.

After a smoke had taken place, and a short harangue to his people, we were requested to take the meal, and they put before us the dog which they had been cooking, and pemmican, and ground potato in several platters. Pemmican is buffalo meat dried or jerked, pounded, and mixed with grease, raw. Dog, Sioux think great dish, used on festivals. Ate little of dog--pemmican and potato good. We smoked for an hour, till dark, and all was cleared away. A large fire made in the center. About ten musicians playing on tambourines [made of hoops and skin, stretched], long sticks with deer and goats' hoofs tied so as to make a jingling noise, and many others of a similar kind. Those men began to sing and beat on the tambourine. The women came forward, highly decorated in their way, with the scalps and trophies of war of their fathers, husbands, brothers, or near connections, and proceeded to dance the War Dance which they did with great cheerfulness, until about twelve o'clock, when we informed the chiefs that they must be fatigued amusing us, &c.

They then retired, and we, accompanied by four chiefs, returned to our boat. They stayed with us all night. Those people have some brave men which they make use of as soldiers. Those men attend to the policing of the village; correct all errors. I saw one of them, today, whip two squaws who appeared to have fallen out. When he approached, all about appeared to flee with great terror. At night they keep 2, 3, 4, 5 men at different distances, walking around camp, singing the occurrences of the night.

All the men on board, 100 paces from shore. Wind from the S.E., moderate. One man very sick on board with a dangerous abscess on his hip. All in spirits this evening.

In this tribe, I saw 25 squaws and boys taken 13 days ago in a battle with the Mahas. In this battle, they destroyed 40 lodges, killed 75 men, and some boys and children, and took 48 prisoners-women and boys-which they promise both Captain Lewis and myself shall be delivered up to Mr. Dorion at the Bois Brulé tribe. Those are a wretched and dejected-looking people. The squaws appear low and coarse, but this is an unfavorable time to judge of them.

Captain Clark, 26 September 1804

 

I rose early after a bad night's sleep. Found the chiefs all up, and the bank, as usual, lined with spectators. We gave the two great chiefs a blanket apiece, or rather, they took off, agreeable to their custom, the one they lay on; and each, one peck of corn. After breakfast, Captain Lewis and the chiefs went on shore, as a very large part of their nation was coming in, the disposition of whom I did not know. One of us being sufficient on shore, I wrote a letter to Mr. P. Dorion, and prepared a medal and some certificates, and sent to Captain Lewis. At two o'clock Captain Lewis returned with four chiefs and a Considerable Man, named Warchapa, or On His Guard. When the friends of those people (the Sioux) die, they run arrows through their flesh above and below their elbows, as a testimony of their grief.

After staying about half an hour, I went with them on shore. Those men left the boat with reluctance. I went first to the 2nd chief's lodge, where a crowd came around. After speaking on various subjects, I went to a principal man's lodge, from them to the grand chief's lodge. After a few minutes, he invited me to a lodge within the circle, in which I stayed with all their principal men until the dance began, which was similar to the one of last night, performed by their women with poles in their hands, on which scalps of their enemies were hung. Some with the guns spears, and war implements taken by their husbands, in their hands.

Captain Lewis came on shore, and we continued until we were sleepy and returned to our boat. The 2nd chief and one principal man accompanied us. Those two Indians accompanied me on board in the small pirogue; Captain Lewis, with a guard, still on shore. The man who steered, not being much accustomed to steer, passed the bow of the boat, and the pirogue came broadside against the cable and broke it, which obliged me to order, in a loud voice, all hands up and at their oars. My peremptory order to the men, and the bustle of their getting to their oars, alarmed the chiefs, together with the appearance of the men on shore as the boat turned. The chief hallooed and alarmed the camp or town, informing them that the Mahas were about, attacking them. In about ten minutes the bank was lined with men armed, the 1st chief at their head. About 200 men appeared, and after about half an hour returned, all but about 60 men, who continued on the bank all night. The chiefs continued all night with us. This alarm I, as well as Captain Lewis, considered as the signal of their intentions-which was to stop our proceeding on our journey and, if possible, rob us. We were on our guard all night. The misfortune of the loss of our anchor obliged us to lie under a falling bank much exposed to the accomplishment of their hostile intentions. Peter Cruzat, our bowman, who could speak Maha, informed us in the night that the Maha prisoners informed him we were to be stopped. We showed as little signs of a knowledge of their intentions as possible. All prepared on board for anything which might happen. We kept a strong guard all night. No sleep.

Captain Clark, 27 September 1804

 

Made many attempts in different ways to find our anchor, but could not; the sand had covered it. From the misfortune of last night, our boat was lying at shore in a very unfavorable situation. After finding that the anchor could not be found, we determined to proceed on. With great difficulty, got the chiefs out of our boat; and when we were about setting out, the class called the soldiers took possession of the cable. The 1st chief, who was still on board, intended to go a short distance with us. I told him the men of his nation sat on the cable. He went out and told Captain Lewis, who was at the bow, the men who sat on the rope were soldiers and wanted tobacco. Captain Lewis would not agree to be forced into anything. The 2nd chief demanded a flag and tobacco, which we refused to give, stating proper reasons to them for it. After much difficulty, which had nearly reduced us to the necessity for hostilities, I threw a carrot of tobacco to 1st chief. Took the port fire from gunner. Spoke so as to touch his pride. The chief gave the tobacco to his soldiers, and he jerked the rope from them, and handed it to the bowman. We then set out under a breeze from the S.E. About two miles up, we observed the 3rd chief on shore, beckoning to us. We took him on board. He informed us the rope was held by the order of the 2nd chief, who was a double-spoken man. Soon after, we saw a man coming full speed through the plains; left his horse, and proceeded across a sand bar near the shore. We took him on board and observed that he was the son of the chief we had on board. We sent, by him, a talk to the nation, stating the cause of our hoisting the red flag under the white. If they were for peace, stay at home and do as we had directed them. If they were for war, or were determined to stop us, we were ready to defend ourselves. We halted one hour and one-half on the S.S. and made a substitute of stones for an anchor, refreshed our men, and proceeded on about two miles higher up, and came to a very small sand bar in the middle of the river, and stayed all night. I am very unwell for want of sleep. Determined to sleep tonight if possible. The men cooked, and we rested well.

Captain Clark, 28 September 1804

 

Set out early. Some bad sand bars. Proceeded on. At 9 o'clock we observed the 2nd chief and 2 principal men, one man, and a squaw on shore. They wished to go up with us as far as the other part of their band, which, they said, was on the river ahead not far distant. We refused, stating very sufficient reasons, and were plain with them on the subject. They were not pleased. Observed that they would walk on shore to the place we intended to camp tonight. We observed it was not our wish that they should; for, if they did, we could not take them or any other Tetons on board, except the one we had now with us, who might go on shore whenever he pleased. They proceeded on. The chief on board asked for a twist of tobacco for those men. We gave him 1/2 of a twist, and sent one by them for that part of their band which we did not see, and continued on. Saw great numbers of elk at the mouth of a small creek-called No Timber Creek, as no timber appeared to be on it. Above the mouth of this creek, an Arikara band had a village five years ago. No remains, but the mound which surrounded the town. The 2nd chief came on the sand bar and requested we would put him across the river. I sent a pirogue and crossed him and one man to the S.S., and proceeded on, and came to on a sand bar about l/2 mile on, from the main shore, and put on it two sentinels. Continued all night at anchor. We substitute large stones for anchors in place of the one we lost. All in high spirits, &c.

Captain Clark, 29 September 1804

 

Set out this morning early. Had not proceeded on far before we discovered an Indian running after us. He came up with us at 7 o'clock and requested to come on board and go up to the Arikaras. We refused to take any of that band on board. If he chose to proceed on shore it was very well. Soon after, I discovered on the hills, at a great distance, great numbers of Indians which appeared to be making to the river above us. We proceeded on under a double-reefed sail and some rain. At 9 o'clock, observed a large band of Indians, the same which I had before seen on the hills, encamping on the bank on the L.S. We came to on a sand bar, breakfasted, and proceeded on, and cast the anchor opposite their lodge, at about 100 yards distant, and informed the Indians, which we found to be a part of the band we had before seen, that we took them by the hand and sent to each chief a carrot of tobacco, as we had been treated badly by some of the band below. After staying 2 days for them, we could not delay any time, and referred them to Mr. Dorion for a full account of us, and to hear our talk sent by him to the Tetons. Those were very solicitous for us to land and eat with them, that they were friendly, &c. We apologized and proceeded on. Sent the pirogue to shore above, with the tobacco, and delivered it to a soldier of the chief with us. Several of them ran up the river. The chiefs on board threw them out a small twist of tobacco, and told them to go back and open their ears. They received the tobacco and returned to their lodges. We saw great numbers of white gulls. This day is cloudy and rainy. Refreshed the men with a glass of whiskey after breakfast.

We saw about 6 miles above, 2 Indians who came to the bank, and looked at us about 1/2 an hour, and went over the hills to the S.W. We proceeded on under a very stiff breeze from the S.E. The stern of the boat got fast on a log and the boat turned and was very near filling before we got her righted, the waves being very high. The chief on board was so frightened at the motion of the boat, which in its rocking caused several loose articles to fall on the deck from the lockers, he ran off and hid himself. We landed. He got his gun and informed us he wished to return, that all things were clear for us to go on, we would not see any more Tetons, &c. We repeated to him what had been said before, and advised him to keep his men away. Gave him a blanket, a knife and some tobacco. Smoked a pipe and he set out. We also set sail, and came to at a sand bar, and camped. A very cold evening. All on guard.

Sand bars are so numerous that it is impossible to describe them, and think it unnecessary to mention them.

Captain Clark, 30 September 1804

 

The wind blew hard all last night from the S.E. Very cold. Set out early, the wind still hard. Passed a large island in the middle of the river. Opposite the lower point of this island, the Arikaras formerly lived in a large town on the L.S.- remains only a mound, circular, walls three or four feet high. Above the head of the island about two miles, we passed the River Chien, or Dog River [Cheyenne] L.S. This river comes in from the S.W. and is about 400 yards wide. The current appears gentle, throwing out but little sand, and appears to throw out but little water. The head of this river is not known. In the second range of the Côte Noire its course, generally, about east. So called from the Cheyenne Indians who live on the head of it. A part of the nation of Dog Indians live some distance up this river, the precise distance I can't learn. Above the mouth of this river, the sand bars are thick and the water shallow. The river still very wide and falling a little. We are obliged to haul the boat over a sand bar, after making several attempts to pass. The wind so hard, we came to and stayed three hours. After it slackened a little, we proceeded on round a bend, the wind in the after part of the day, ahead. Passed a creek on the L.S. which we call the Sentinel. This part of the river has but little timber, the hills not so high, the sand bars more numerous, and river more than one mile wide, including the sand bars. Passed a small creek above the latter, which we call Lookout Creek. Continued on, with the wind immediately ahead, and came to on a large sand bar in the middle of the river. We saw a man opposite to our camp on the L.S. which we discovered to be a Frenchman. A little off from shore, among the willows, we observed a house. We called to them to come over. A boy came in a canoe and informed that two Frenchmen were at the house with goods to trade with the Sioux, which he expected down from the Arikaras 6 every day. Several large parties of Sioux set out from the "Rees" [Arikaras] for this place to trade with those men.

This Mr. Jean Vallé informs us that he wintered last winter 300 leagues up the Cheyenne River under the Black Mountains. He informs us that this river is very rapid and difficult even for pirogues to ascend, and when rising the swells are very high. One hundred leagues up, it forks; one fork comes from the S., the other, at 40 leagues above the forks, enters the Black Mountains. The country from the Missouri to the Black Mountains is much like the country on the Missouri, less timber and a great proportion of cedar.

The Black Mountains, he says, are very high, and some parts of them have snow on them in the summer. Great quantities of pine grow on the mountains. A great noise is heard frequently on those mountains. No beaver on Dog River. On the mountains great numbers of goats, and a kind of animal with large circular horns; this animal is nearly the size of a small elk. White [Grizzly] bears are also plenty. The Cheyenne Indians are about 300 lodges. They inhabit this river principally, and steal horses from the Spanish settlements to the S.W. This excursion they make in one month. The bottoms and sides of River Cheyenne are coarse gravel. This Frenchman gives an account of a white-booted turkey [prairie cock], an inhabitant of the Côte Noire.

Captain Clark, 1 October 1804

 

A violent wind all night from the S.E. Slackened a little and we proceeded on. Mr. Jean Vallé came on board and proceeded on two miles with us. A very cold morning. Some black clouds flying. Took a meridian altitude and made the latitude 44° 19' 36" North. This was taken at the upper part of the gorge of the Lookout Bend, the Sentinel. Heard a shot over the hills to the L.S. during the time we were dining on a large sand bar. The after part of this day is pleasant. At two o'clock, opposite a wood on the larboard side, we observed some Indians on a hill on the S.S. One came down to the river opposite to us and fired off his gun, and beckoned to us to come to. We paid no attention to him. He followed on some distance. We spoke a few words to him. He wished us to go ashore, and to his camp, which was over the hill, and consisted of twenty lodges. We excused ourselves. Advised him to go and hear our talk of Mr. Dorion. He inquired for traders. We informed him one was in the next bend below, and parted. He returned, and we proceeded on. Passed a large island on the S.S. Here we expected the Tetons would attempt to stop us, and under that idea we prepared ourselves for action, which we expected every moment. Opposite this island, on the L.S. a small creek comes in. This island we call Island of Caution. We took in some wood on a favorable situation where we could defend our men on shore, and camped on a sand bar half a mile from the main shore. The wind changed to the N.W., and rose very high, and cold, which continued. The current of the Missouri is less rapid and contains much less sediment, of the same color.

Captain Clark, 2 October 1804

 

The wind blew all night from the N.W. Some rain. We were obliged to drop down 3 miles to get the channel sufficiently deep to pass up. Several Indians on the shore viewing of us, called to us to land. One of them gave 3 yells and skipped a ball before us. We paid no attention to him. Proceeded on and came to on the L.S. to breakfast. One of those Indians swam across to us, begged for powder. We gave him a piece of tobacco, and set him over on a sand bar, and set out. The wind hard ahead. Passed an island in the middle of the river about 3 miles in length, we call Good Hope Island. At 4 miles, passed a creek on the L.S. about 12 yards wide. Captain Lewis and 3 men walked on shore, and crossed over to an island situated on the S.S. of the current, and near the center of the river. This island is about 1 1/2 miles long and nearly half as wide. In the center of this island was an old village of the Arikaras, called Lahoocatt. It was circular and walled, containing 17 lodges, and it appears to have been deserted about five years. The island contains but little timber. We camped on the sand bar making from this island. The day very cool.

Captain Clark, 4 October 1804

 

Frost this morning. We set out early and proceeded on. Passed a small creek on the L.S. At 7 o'clock heard some yells. Proceeded on. Saw three Indians of the Teton band. They called to us to come on shore. Begged some tobacco. We answered them as usual and proceeded on. Saw a gang of goats [antelope] swimming across the river, out of which we killed four. They were not fat. We came to and camped on a mud bar making from the S.S. The evening is calm and pleasant. Refreshed the men with a glass of whiskey.

Captain Clark, 5 October 1804

 

A cool morning. Wind from the north. Set out early. Passed a willow island situated near the S. shore at the upper point of some timber on the S.S. Many large round stones near the middle of the river. Those stones appear to have been washed from the hills. Passed a village of about 80 neat lodges, covered with earth and picketed around. Those lodges are spacious-of an octagon form, as close together as they can possibly be placed, and appear to have been inhabited last spring. From the canoes of skins, mats, buckets, &c., found in the lodges, we are of opinion they were the Arikaras. We found squashes of three different kinds growing in the village.

One of our men killed an elk close by this village. I saw two wolves in pursuit of another, which appeared to be wounded and nearly tired. We proceeded on. Found the river shallow. We made several attempts to find the main channel between the sand bars, and were obliged at length to drag the boat over to save a league which we must return to get into the deepest channel. We have been obliged to hunt a channel for some time past, the river being divided in many places in a great number of channels. Saw geese, swan, brants, and ducks of different kinds on the sand bars today. Captain Lewis walked on shore. Saw great num bers of prairie hens. I observe but few gulls or plover in this part of the river.

Captain Clark, 6 October 1804

 

A cloudy morning. Some little rain frost last night. We set out early. Proceeded on 2 miles to the mouth of a river on the L.S., and breakfasted. This river when full is 90 yards wide. The water is at this time confined within 20 yards; the current appears gentle. This river throws out but little sand. At the mouth of this river we saw the tracks of white bear, which were very large. I walked up this river a mile. Below the mouth of this river are the remains of an Arikara village, or wintering camp fortified in a circular form of about 60 lodges, built in the same form as those passed yesterday. This camp appears to have been inhabited last winter. Many of their willow and straw mats, baskets, and buffalo-skin canoes remain entire within the camp. The Arikaras call this river Surwarkarna, or Park.

From this river, which heads in the first of the Black Mountains, we proceeded on under a gentle breeze from the S.W At 10 o'clock, we saw 2 Indians on the S.S. They asked for something to eat.

Captain Clark, 7 October 1804

 

A cool morning. Set out early, the wind from the N.W. Proceeded on, passed the mouth of a small creek on the L.S. About 2 1/2 miles above Grouse Island, passed a willow island which divides the current equally. Passed the mouth of a river called by the Arikaras Wetarhoo, on the L.S. This river is 120 yards wide, the water of which, at this time, is confined within 20 yards, discharging but a small quantity, throwing out mud with small proportion of sand. Great quantities of the red berries, resembling currants, are on the river at every bend. 77° 33' 00". Latitude from the observation of today at the mouth of this river [heads in the Black Mountains] is 45° 39' 5" North. Proceeded on past a small river 25 yards wide called Rampart or Beaver Dam River. This river (Maropa) is entirely choked up with mud, with a stream of one inch diameter passing through, discharging no sand. At one mile, passed the lower point of an island close on the L.S.

Two of our men discovered the Arikara village, about the center of the island on the L. side on the main shore. This island is about three miles long, separated from the L.S. by a channel about 60 yards wide, very deep. The island is covered with fields, where those people raise their corn, tobacco, beans &c. Great numbers of those people came on the island to see us pass. We passed above the head of the island, and Captain Lewis, with two interpreters and two men, went to the village. I formed a camp of the French and the guard, on shore, with one sentinel on board of the boat, at anchor. A pleasant evening. All things arranged, both for peace or war. This village is situated about the center of a large island near the L. side, and near the foot of some high, bald, uneven hills.

Several Frenchmen came up with Captain Lewis in a pirogue, one of which is a Mr. Gravelines (employee of the trader Regis Loisel), a man well versed in the language of this nation, and gave us some information relative to the country, nation, &c.

Captain Clark, 8 October 1804

 

Robert Frazer being regularly enlisted and having become one of the Corps of Volunteers for North-Western Discovery, he is therefore to be viewed and respected accordingly, and will be annexed to Sergeant Gass's mess.

Wm. Clark. Capt. &c.
Meriwether Lewis Capt. 1st Regiment, U. S. Infty.
River Maropa, 9th of October 1804

Orderly Book [Clark], 8 October 1804

 

A windy, rainy night, and cold-so much so we could not speak with the Indians today. The three great chiefs and many others came to see us today. We gave them some tobacco, and informed them we would speak tomorrow. The day continued cold and windy, some rain. Sorry. Canoes of skins passed down from the two villages a short distance above, and many came to view us all day, much astonished at my black servant, who did not lose the opportunity of displaying his powers, strength, &c. This nation never saw a black man before.

Several hunters came in with loads of meat. I observed several canoes made of a single buffalo skin, with three squaws, cross the river today in waves as high as I ever saw on this river-quite uncomposed. I have a slight pleurisy this evening. Very cold, &c.

Captain Clark, River Maropa, 9 October 1804

 

A fine morning. Wind from the S.E. At about 11 o'clock the wind shifted to the N.W. We prepare all things ready to speak to the Indians. Mr. Tabeau and Mr. Gravelines came to breakfast with us. The chiefs, &c., came from the lower town, but none from the two upper towns, which are the largest. We continue to delay and wait for them. At twelve o'clock, dispatched Gravelines to invite them to come down. We have every reason to believe that a jealousy exists between the villages for fear of our making the first chief of the lower village. At one o'clock, the chiefs all assembled, and after some little ceremony, the council commenced. We informed them what we had told the others before, i.e., Otos and Sioux. Made three chiefs, one for each village. Gave them presents. After the council was over, we shot the air gun, which astonished them much. They then departed, and we rested secure all night. Those Indians were much astonished at my servant. They never saw a black man before. All flocked around him and examined him from top to toe. He carried on the joke and made himself more terrible than we wished him to do. Those Indians are not fond of spirits- liquor of any kind.

Captain Clark, 10 October 1804

 

A fine morning. The wind from the S.E. At 11 o'clock we met the Grand Chief in council, and he made a short speech, thanking us for what we had given him and his nation, promising to attend to the counsel we had given him, and informed us the road was open and no one dare shut it, and we might depart at pleasure. At 1 o'clock we set out for the upper villages 3 miles distant, the grand chief and nephew on board. Proceeded on. At 1 mile, took in the 2nd chief, and came to off the second village, separated from the third by a creek. After arranging all matters, we walked up with the second chief to his village and sat, talking on various subjects, until late. We also visited the upper, or third, village-each of which gave us something to eat in their way, and a few bushels of corn, beans, &c. After being treated with every civility by those people, who are both poor and dirty, we returned to our boat at about 10 o'clock P.M., informing them, before we departed, that we would speak to them tomorrow at their separate villages. Those people gave us to eat bread made of corn and beans, also corn and beans boiled: a large bean of which they rob the mice of the prairie-who collect and discover it-which is rich and very nourishing; also squashes, &c. All tranquillity.

Captain Clark, 11 October 1804

 

I rose early. After breakfast we joined the Indians who were waiting on the bank for us to come out and go and counsel. We accordingly joined them, and went to the house of the 2nd chief, Lassel, where there were many chiefs and warriors, and they made us a present of about 7 bushels of corn, a pair of leggings, a twist of their tobacco, and seeds of two kinds of tobacco. We sat some time before the council commenced. This man spoke at some length, declaring his disposition to believe and pursue our counsels, his intension of going to visit his Great Father, acknowledged the satisfaction in receiving the presents, &c., raising a doubt as to the safety in passing the nations below [downstream] particularly the Sioux. Requested us to take a chief of their nation and make a good peace with the Mandans and nations above. After answering those parts of the 2nd chief's speech which required it, which appeared to give general satisfaction, we went to the village of the 3rd chief and, as usual, some ceremony took place before he could speak to us on the great subject. This chief spoke very much in the same style on nearly the same subjects as the other chief, who sat by his side, more sincerely and pleasantly. He presented us with about 10 bushels of corn, some beans and squashes, all of which we accepted with much pleasure. After we had answered his speech, and given them some account of the magnitude and power of our country, which pleased and astonished them very much, we returned to our boat. The chiefs accompanied us on board. We gave them some sugar, a little salt, and a sun glass, and set 2 on shore, and the third proceeded on with us to the Mandans. At 2 o'clock we set out, the inhabitants of the two villages viewing us from the banks. We proceeded on about 9 l/2 miles and camped on the S.S. at some woods. The evening clear and pleasantly cool.

The nation of the Arikaras is about 600 men (Mr. Tabeau says; I think 500 men [Mr. Tabeau is right]) able to bear arms. A great proportion of them have fusees. They appear to be peaceful. Their men tall and proportioned, women small and industrious, raise great quantities of corn, beans, simlins,[summer squash] &c., also tobacco for the men to smoke. They collect all the wood and do the drudgery, as is common among savages.

Two villages are made up of ten [nine] different tribes of the Pawnees, who had formerly been separate, but by commotion and war with their neighbors have become reduced, and compelled to come together for protection. The corruption of the language of those different tribes has so reduced the language that the different villages do not understand all the words of the others.

Those people are dirty, kind, poor, and extravagant, possessing national pride, not beggarly, receive what is given with great pleasure, live in warm houses, large and built in an octagon form, forming a cone at top which is left open for the smoke to pass. Those houses are generally 30 or 40 feet in diameter, covered with earth on poles-willows and grass to prevent the earth passing through. Those people express an inclination to be at peace with all nations. The Sioux, who trade the goods which they get of the British traders for their corn and have great influence over the Arikaras, poison their minds and keep them in perpetual dread.

A curious custom with the Sioux, as well as the Arikaras, is to give handsome squaws to those whom they wish to show some acknowledgments to. The Sioux we got clear of without taking their squaws. They followed us with squaws two days. The Arikaras we put off during the time we were at the towns, but two handsome young squaws were sent by a man to follow us. They came up this evening and persisted in their civilities.

Dress of the men of this nation is simply a pair of moccasins, leggings, flap in front, and a buffalo robe, with their hair, arms, and ears decorated.

The women wore moccasins, leggings fringed, and a shirt of goat skins, some with sleeves. This garment is long and generally white and fringed, tied at the waist, with a robe. In summer, without hair.

Captain Clark, 12 October 1804

 

One man, J. Newman, confined for mutinous expression. Set out early. Proceeded on. Passed a camp of Sioux on the S.S. Those people only viewed us and did not speak one word. The visitors of last evening, all except one, returned, which is the brother of the chief we have on board.

Passed a creek about 15 yards wide on the L.S. We call after the second chief, Pocasse, or "Hay." Nearly opposite this creek, a few miles from the river, on the S.S., are two stones resembling human persons and one resembling a dog, situated in the open prairie. To those stones the Arikaras pay great reverence and make offerings whenever they pass (information of the chief and interpreter). Those people have a curious tradition of those stones. One was a man in love, one a girl whose parents would not let them marry. The man, as is customary, went off to mourn. The female followed. The dog went to mourn with them. All turned to stone gradually, commencing at the feet. Those people fed on grapes until they turned, and the woman ha, a bunch of grapes yet in her hand. On the river near the place those are said to be situated, we obtained a greater quantity of fine grapes than I ever saw at one place.

We tried the prisoner Newman last night by 9 of his peers. They did "sentence him 75 lashes and disbanded from the party." [Newman did remain with the party, but he would be merely a worker and not have guard duty.]

Captain Clark, 13 October 1804

 

Some rain last night. All wet and cold. We set out early. The rain continued all day. At [blank] miles we passed a creek on the L.S., 15 yards wide. This creek we call after the 3rd chief, Piaheto, or Eagle's Feather. At 1 o'clock we halted on a sand bar, and, after dinner, executed the sentence of the court-martial so far as giving the corporal punishment; and proceeded on a few miles. The wind ahead from N.E. Camped in a cove of the bank on the S.S. immediately opposite our camp on the L.S. I observe an ancient fortification, the walls of which appear to be 8 or 10 feet high, most of it washed in. The evening wet and disagreeable. The river something wider. More timber on the banks.

The punishment of this day alarmed the Indian chief very much. He cried aloud, or affected to cry. I explained the cause of the punishment and the necessity for it. He also thought examples were necessary, and he himself had made them by death. His nation never whipped even their children, from their birth.

Captain Clark, 14 October 1804

 

Rained all last night. We set out early and proceeded on. At 3 miles passed an Indian camp, of Arikara hunters, on the S.S. We halted above, and about 30 of the Indians came over in their canoes of skins. We ate with them. They gave us meat. In return, we gave fish hooks, and some beads. About a mile higher, we came to on the L.S. At the camp of the Arikaras of about 8 lodges, we also ate and they gave some meat. We proceeded on. Saw numbers of Indians on both sides, passing a creek. Saw many curious hills, high, and much the resemblance of a house with a tripped roof, like ours. At 12 o'clock it cleared away, and the evening was pleasant. Wind from the N.E. At sunset we arrived at a camp of Arikaras of 10 lodges on the S.S. We came to, and camped near them. Captain Lewis and myself went with the chief who accompanies us to the huts of several of the men, all of whom smoked and gave us something to eat, also some meat to take away. Those people were kind and appeared to be much pleased at the attention paid them.

Those people are much pleased with my black servant. Their women very fond of caressing our men, &c.

Captain Clark, 15 October 1804

 

Some rain this morning. Two young squaws very anxious to accompany us. We set out with our chief on board, by name Arketarnashar, or Chief of the Town. Captain Lewis and the Indian chief walked on shore. Soon after, I discovered great numbers of goats in the river, and Indians on the shore on each side. As I approached, or got nearer, I discovered boys in the water killing the goats with sticks and hauling them to shore. Those on the banks shot them with arrows, and as they approached the shore, would turn them back. Of this gang of goats I counted 58 which they had killed on the shore. One of our hunters out with Captain Lewis killed three goats. We passed the camp on the S.S., and proceeded 1/2 mile, and camped on the L.S. Many Indians came to the boat to see. Some came across late at night. As they approached, they hallooed and sang. After staying a short time, two went for some meat, and returned in a short time with fresh and dried buffalo, also goat. Those Indians stayed all night. They sang, and were very merry the greater part of the night.

Captain Clark, 16 October 1804

 

Set out early. A fine morning. The wind from the N.W. After breakfast, I walked on shore with the Indian chief and interpreters. Saw buffalo, elk, and great numbers of goats in large gangs. (I am told by Mr. G. that those animals winter in the Black Mountains to feed on timber, &c.) And this is about the season they cross from the east of the Missouri to go to that mountain. They return in the spring and pass the Missouri in great numbers, to the plains. This chief tells me of a number of their traditions about turtles, snakes, &c., and the power of a particular rock or cove on the next river, which informs of everything. None of those, I think worth while mentioning. The wind so hard ahead, the boat could not move after 10 o'clock. Captain Lewis took the altitude of the sun, Latitude 46° 23' 57". I killed 3 deer, and the hunters with me killed 3 also. The Indian shot one but could not get it. I scaffolded up the deer, and returned and met the boat after night, on the L.S., about 6 miles above the place we camped last night. One of the men saw a number of snakes. Captain Lewis saw a large beaver house S.S. I caught a whippoorwill, small and not common. The leaves are falling fast. The river wide and full of sand bars. Great numbers of very large stones on the sides of the hills, and some rock of a brownish color in the L. bend below this.

Great numbers of goats are flocking down to the S. side of the river, on their way to the Black Mountains, where they winter. Those animals return in the spring in the same way and scatter in different directions.

Captain Clark, 17 October 1804

 

Set out early. Proceeded on. At 6 miles, passed the mouth of Le Boulet, or Cannon Ball River, about 140 yards wide on the L.S. This river heads in the Côte Noire or Black Mountains. A fine day. Above the mouth of the river, great numbers of stone, perfectly round, with fine grit, are in the bluff and on the shore. The river takes its name from those stones, which resemble cannon balls. The water of this river is confined within 40 yards. We met two Frenchmen in a pirogue, descending from hunting, and complained of the Mandans robbing them of four traps, their furs, and several other articles. Those men were in the employ of our Arikara interpreter, Mr. Gravelines. They turned and followed us.

Note: The Arikaras are not fond of spirituous liquors, nor do they appear to be fond of receiving any or thankful for it. They say we are no friends or we would not give them what makes them fools.

Captain Clark, 18 October 1804

 

Set out early this morning and proceeded on. The wind from the S.E. After breakfast I walked out on the L. side to see those remarkable places pointed out by Evans (John Evans, a Welshman who came to America to investigate the legend of "Welsh Indians.") I saw an old remains of a village, covering 6 or 8 acres, on the side of a hill which the chief with Tooné tells me that nation lived in. Two villages, one on each side of the river, and the troublesome Sioux caused them to move about 40 miles higher up, where they remained a few years, and moved to the place they now live. Passed a small creek on the S.S. and one on the L.S. Passed an island covered with willows Iying in the middle of the river. No current on the L.S. Camped on the L.S. above a bluff containing coal of an inferior quality. This bank is immediately above the old village of the Mandans. The country is fine, the high hills at a distance with gradual ascents. I killed 3 deer. The timber, confined to the bottoms as usual, is much larger than below. Great numbers of buffalo, elk, and deer, goats. Our hunters killed 10 deer and a goat today, and wounded a white bear. I saw several fresh tracks of those animals which are 3 times as large as a man's track. The wind hard all day from the N.E. and E. Great numbers of buffalo swimming the river. I observe near all large gangs of buffalo, wolves, and when the buffalo move, those animals follow, and feed on those that are killed by accident, or those that are too poor, or fat, to keep up with the gang.

Captain Clark, 20 October 1804

 

A very cold night. Wind hard from the N.E. Some rain in the night which froze as it fell. At daylight it began to snow and continued all the fore part of the day. Passed, just above our camp, a small river on the L.S., called by the Indians, Chisschetar. This river is about 38 yards wide, containing a good deal of water. Some distance up this river is situated a stone which the Indians have great faith in, and say they see, painted on the stone, all the calamities and good fortune to happen to the nation, and parties who visit it. A tree, an oak, which stands alone near this place- about 2 miles off-in the open prairie, which has withstood the fire, they pay great respect to: Make holes and tie strings through the skin of their necks and around this tree, to make them brave. All this is the information of Tooné (Is a Whippoorwill), the chief of the Arikaras, who accompanied us to the Mandans. At 2 miles, passed the second village of the Mandans, which was in existence at the same time with the first. This village is at the foot of a hill on the S.S. in a beautiful and extensive plain, at this time covered with buffalo. Nearly opposite is another village in a bottom, the other side of the Missouri. I killed a fine buffalo. We camped on the L.S., below an old Mandan village, having passed another up a creek 3 miles below on the S.S. Very cold. Ground covered with snow. One otter killed.

Last night at 1 o'clock, I was violently and suddenly attacked with the rheumatism in the neck, which was so violent I could not move. Captain Lewis applied a hot stone wrapped in flannel, which gave me some temporary ease. We set out early; the morning cold. At 7 o'clock, we came to at a camp of Teton Sioux on the L.S. Those people, 12 in number, were naked, and had the appearance of war. We have every reason to believe that they are going, or have been, to steal horses from the Mandans. They tell two stories. We gave them nothing. After taking breakfast, proceeded on. My neck is yet very painful, at times-spasms. Passed old Mandan village, near which we lay-another at 4 miles; one at 8 miles at mouth of large creek 4 miles farther, all on larboard side. The mounds, 9 in number, along river within 20 miles; the fallen-down earth of the houses, some teeth and bones of men and animals mixed in these villages. Human skulls are scattered in these villages.

Camped on the L. side. Passed an island situated on the L. side, at the head of which we passed a bad place, and Mandans' village S.S., 2 miles above. The hunters killed a buffalo bull. They say out of about 300 buffalo which they saw, they did not see one cow. Great deal of beaver sign. Several caught every night.

Captain Clark, 21 October 1804

 

A cloudy morning. Some snow. Set out early. Passed five lodges which were deserted, the fires yet burning. We suppose those were the Indians who robbed the 2 French trappers a few days ago. Those 2 men are now with us, going up with a view to getting their property from the Indians, through us. Cold and cloudy. Camped on the L.S. of the river.

Captain Clark, 23 October 1804

 

Set out early. A cloudy day. Some little snow in the morning. I am something better of the rheumatism in my neck. A beautiful country on both sides of the river: the bottoms covered with woods. We have seen no game on the river today, a proof of the Indians hunting in the neighborhood. Passed an island on the S.S., made by the river cutting through a point, by which the river is shortened several miles. On this island we saw one of the grand chiefs of the Mandans, with five lodges, hunting. This chief met the chief of the Arikaras who accompanied us, with great cordiality and ceremony. Smoked the pipe, and Captain Lewis, with the interpreter, went with the chiefs to his lodges at 1 mile distant. After his return, we admitted the grand chief and his brother for a few minutes on our boat. Proceeded on a short distance, and camped on the S.S., below the old village of the Mandans and Arikaras. Soon after our landing, 4 Mandans came from a camp above. The Arikaras' chief went with them to their camp.

Captain Clark, 24 October 1804

 

A cold morning. Set out early under a gentle breeze from the S.E. by E. Proceeded on. Passed the 3rd old village of the Mandans which has been deserted for many years. This village was situated on an eminence of about 40 feet above the water on the L.S. Back for several miles is a beautiful plain. At a short distance above this old village, on a continuation of the same eminence was situated the Arikaras' village. Two old villages of Arikaras, one on top of high hill, the second below, in the bottom, which have been evacuated only six [five] years. About 3 or 4 miles above Arikaras' villages are 3 old villages of Mandans near together. Here they lived when the Arikaras came for protection-afterward moved where they now live. Above this village, a large and extensive bottom for several miles in which the squaws raised their corn. But little timber near the villages. On the S.S., below, is a point of excellent timber, and in the point several miles above is fine timber.

Several parties of Mandans rode to the river on the S.S. to view us. Indeed they are continually in sight, satisfying their curiosities as to our appearance, &c. We are told that the Sioux have latterly fallen in with and stolen the horses of the Big Bellies [Gros Ventres]. On their way home they fell in with the Assiniboines, who killed them and took the horses. A Frenchman has latterly been killed by the Indians, on the track to the trading establishment on the Assiniboine River in the north of this place (or British fort). This Frenchman has lived many years with the Mandans.

We were frequently called on to land and talk to parties of the Mandans on the shore.

Wind shifted to the S.W. at about 11 o'clock, and blew hard until 3 o'clock. Clouded up. River full of sand bars, and we are at a great loss to find the channel of the river. Frequently run on the sand bars, which delays us much. Passed a very bad riffle of rocks in the evening, by taking the L.S. of a sand bar, and camped on a sand point on the S.S. opposite a high hill on the L.S. Several Indians came to see us this evening-among others, the son of the great chief of the Mandans-mourning for his father. This man has his two little fingers off. On inquiring the cause, was told it was customary for this nation to show their grief by some testimony of pain, and that it was not uncommon for them to take off 2 smaller fingers on the hand, at the second joints, and sometimes more, with other marks of savage affection.

The wind blew very hard this evening from the S.W. Very cold. R. Fields with the rheumatism in his neck. P. Cruzat with the same complaint in his legs. The party otherwise is well. As to myself, I feel but slight symptoms of that disorder at this time.

Captain Clark, 25 October 1804

 

Set out early. Wind from the S.W. Proceeded on. Saw numbers of the Mandàns on shore. We set the Arikara chief on shore and we proceeded on to the camp of two of their grand chiefs, where we delayed a few minutes, with the chiefs, and proceeded on, taking two of their chiefs on board, and some of the heavy articles of his household, such as earthen pots and corn. Proceeded on. At this camp saw a Mr. McCracken, Englishman from the N.W. [North-West] Company. This man came nine days ago to trade for horses and buffalo robes-one other man came with him. The Indians continued on the banks all day. But little wood on this part of the river. Many sand bars and bad places. Water much divided between them.

We came to and camped on the L.S. about 1/2 a mile below the first Mandan town on the L.S. Soon after our arrival, many men, women and children flocked down to see us. Captain Lewis walked to the village with the principal chiefs and our interpreters. My rheumatic complaint increasing, I could not go. If I had been well, only one would have left the boat and party until we knew the disposition of the Indians. I smoked with the chiefs who came after. Those people appeared much pleased with the corn mill which we were obliged to use, and was fixed in the boat.

Captain Clark, 26 October 1804

 

'To make a firm peace'

We set out early. Came to at the village on the L.S. This village is situated on an eminence about 50 feet above the water in a handsome plain. It contains [blank] houses in a kind of picket work. The houses are round and very large, containing several families, and also their horses, which are tied on one side of the entrance. A description of those houses will be given hereafter. I walked up and smoked a pipe with the chiefs of the village. They were anxious that I would stay and eat with them. My indisposition prevented my eating, which displeased them, until a full explanation took place. I returned to the boat and sent two carrots of tobacco for them to smoke, and proceeded on. Passed the second village, and camped opposite the village of the Wetersoons, or Ahwahharways, which is situated on an eminence in a plain on the L.S. This village is small and contains but few inhabitants. Above this village, also above the Knife River on the same side of the Missouri, the Big Bellies' towns are situated. A further description will be given hereafter, as also of the town of the Mandans on this side of the river, i.e., S. side.

A fine warm day. We met with a Frenchman, by the name of Jussome, whom we employ as an interpreter. This man has a wife and children in the village. Great numbers on both sides flocked down to the bank to view us as we passed. Captain Lewis, with the interpreter, walked down to the village below our camp. After delaying one hour, he returned and informed me the Indians had returned to their village, &c. We sent three twists of tobacco by three young men to the three villages above, inviting them to come down and counsel with us tomorrow. Many Indians came to view us. Some stayed all night in the camp of our party. We procured some information of Mr. Jussome, about the chiefs of the different nations.

Captain Clark, 27 October 1804

 

A windy day, fair and clear. Many of the Gros Ventres- or Big Bellies-and Wetersoons came to see us and hear the council. The wind being so violently hard from the S.W. prevented our going into council. Indeed the chiefs of the Mandans from the lower village could not cross. We made up the presents, and entertained several of the curious chiefs who wished to see the boat, which was very curious to them, viewing it as great medicine [whatever is mysterious or unintelligible is called great medicine]-as they also viewed my black servant.

The Black Cat, great chief of the Mandans, Captain Lewis, and myself, with an interpreter, walked up the river about 1 1/2 miles. Our views were to examine the situation and timber for a fort. We found the situation good but the timber scarce; or at least, small timber such as would not answer us. We consulted the grand chief in respect to the other chiefs of the different villages. He gave the names of 12. George Drouilliard caught 2 beaver above our camp last night. We had several presents from the women of corn, boiled hominy, soft corn, &c. I presented a jar [earthen jar, glazed] to the chief's wife, who received it with much pleasure.

Our men very cheerful this evening. We sent the chiefs of the Gros Ventres to smoke a pipe with the grand chief of the Mandans in his village, and told them we would speak tomorrow.

Captain Clark, 28 October 1804

 

A fair fine morning. After breakfast we were visited by the old chief of the Big Bellies. This man was old and had transferred his power to his son, who was then out at war against the Snake Indians, who inhabit the Rocky Mountains. At 10 o'clock the S.W. wind rose very high. We collected the chiefs and commenced a council, under an awning and our sails stretched around to keep out as much wind as possible. We delivered a long speech, the substance of which was similar to what we had delivered to the nations below.

The old chief of the Gros Ventres was very restless before the speech was half ended, observed that he could not wait long, that his camp was exposed to the hostile Indians, &c. He was rebuked by one of the chiefs for his uneasiness at such a time as the present. At the end of the speech, - we mentioned the Arikara who accompanied us to make a firm peace. They all smoked with him. I gave this chief a dollar of the American coin, as a medal, with which he was much pleased. In council, we presented him with a certificate of his sincerity and good conduct, &c. We also spoke about the fur which was taken from two Frenchmen by a Mandan, and informed of our intentions of sending back the French hands.

After the council, we gave the presents with much ceremony, and put the medals on the chiefs we intended to make, viz., one for each town, to whom we gave coats, hats, and flags, one grand chief to each nation, to whom we gave medals with the President's likeness. In council, we requested them to give us an answer tomorrow, or as soon as possible, on some points which required their deliberation. After the council was over, we shot the air gun, which appeared to astonish the natives much. The greater part then retired soon after.

The Arikara chief, Arketarnashar, came to me this evening and tells me that he wishes to return to his village and nation. I put him off, saying tomorrow we would have an answer to our talk to their satisfaction and send by him a string of wampum informing what had passed here. An iron, or steel corn mill which we gave to the Mandans was very thankfully received. The prairie was set on fire (or caught by accident) by a young man of the Mandans. The fire went with such velocity that it burned to death a man and woman, who could not get to any place of safety. One man, a woman, and child much burned, and several narrowly escaped the flame.

A boy half white was saved unhurt in the midst of the flame. These ignorant people say this boy was saved by the Great Medicine Spirit because he was white. The cause of his being saved was a green buffalo skin thrown over him by his mother, who perhaps had more foresight for the protection of her son, and less for herself, than those who escaped the flame. The fire did not burn under the skin, leaving the grass around the boy. This fire passed our camp last night about eight o'clock, P.M. It went with great rapidity and looked tremendous.

We sent the presents intended for the grand chief of the Minnetaree, or Big Belly, and the presents, flag, and wampum by the old chief, and those intended for the chief of the lower village by a young chief.

Captain Clark, 29 October 1804

 

Two chiefs came to have some talk: one the principal of the lower village, the other the one who thought himself the principal man, and requested to hear some of the speech that was delivered yesterday. They were gratified; and we put the medal on the neck of The Big White, to whom we had sent clothes yesterday, and a flag. Those men did not return from hunting in time to join the council. They were well pleased. (Second of those is a Cheyenne.) I took 8 men in a small pirogue and went up the river as far as the first island, about 7 miles, to see if a situation could be got on it for our winter quarters. Found the wood on the island, as also on the point above, so distant from the water that I did not think that we could get a good wintering ground there; and as all the white men here informed us that wood was scarce, as well as game above, we determined to drop down a few miles near wood and game.

On my return, found many Indians at our camp. Gave the party a dram. They danced, as is very common in the evening, which pleased the savages much. Wind S.E. A fine morning. The chief of the Mandans sent a second chief to invite us to his lodge to receive some corn and hear what he had to say. I walked down and, with great ceremony, was seated on a robe by the side of the chief. He threw a handsome robe over me, and after smoking the pipe with several old men around, the chief spoke:

Said he believed what we had told them, and that peace would be general, which not only gave him satisfaction but all his people: they could now hunt without fear, and their women could work in the fields without looking every moment for the enemy; and put off their moccasins at night. [Sign of peace: undress.] As to the Arikaras, we will show you that we wish peace with all, and do not make war on any without cause. That chief-pointing to the second-and some brave men will accompany the Arikara chief now with you to his village and nation, to smoke with that people. When you came up, the Indians in the neighboring vil1ages, as well as those out hunting, when they heard of you, had great expectations of receiving presents. Those hunting, immediately on hearing, returned to the village; and all were disappointed, and some dissatisfied. As to himself, he was not much so; but his village was. He would go and see his Great Father, &c.

He had put before me two of the steel traps which were robbed from the French a short time ago, and about twelve bushels of corn, which were brought and put before me by the women of the village. After the chief finished and smoked in great ceremony, I answered the speech, which satisfied them very much, and returned to the boat. Met the principal chief of the third village, and the Little Crow, both of whom I invited into the cabin, and smoked and talked with for about one hour.

Soon after those chiefs left us, the grand chief of the Mandans came, dressed in the clothes we had given, with his two small sons, and requested to see the men dance, which they very readily gratified him in. The wind blew hard all the after part of the day from the N.E., and continued all night to blow hard from that point. In the morning it shifted N.W. Captain Lewis wrote to the N.W. Company's agent on the Assiniboine River [fort, &c., there, about 150 miles hence] about nine days' march north of this place.

Captain Clark, 31 October 1804

 

The wind hard from the N.W. Mr. McCracken, a trader, set out at 7 o'clock, to the fort on the Assiniboine. By him sent a letter (enclosing a copy of the British Minister's protection) to the principal agent of the Company.

At about 10 o'clock, the chiefs of the lower village came, and after a short time informed us they wished we would call at their village and take some corn; that they would make peace with the Arikaras; they never made war against them but after the Arikaras killed their chiefs. They killed them like birds, and were tired of killing them, and would send a chief and some brave men to the Arikaras to smoke with that people.

In the evening we set out, and fell down to the lower village, where Captain Lewis got out and continued at the village until after night. I proceeded on, and landed on the S.S. at the upper point of the first timber on the starboard side. After landing and continuing all night, dropped down to a proper place to build. Captain Lewis came down after night, and informed me he intended to return the next morning, by the particular request of the chiefs.

We passed the villages on our descent, in view of great numbers of the inhabitants.

Captain Clark, 1 November 1804

 

This morning at daylight, I went down the river with 4 men, to look for a proper place to winter. Proceeded down the river three miles, and found a place well supplied with wood, and returned. Captain Lewis went to the village to hear what they had to say, and I fell down, and formed a camp, near where a small camp of Indians were hunting. Cut down the trees around our camp. In the evening, Captain Lewis returned with a present of 11 bushels of corn. Our Arikara chief set out, accompanied by one chief of Mandans and several brave men of Minnetarees and Mandans. He called for some small article which we had promised, but as I could not understand him, he could not get it. [Afterward he did get it.] The wind from the S.E. A fine day. Many Indians to view us today.

Captain Clark, 2 November 1804

 

A fine morning. We continued to cut down trees and raise our houses. A Mr. Charbonneau (husband of Sacagwea), interpreter for the Gros Ventre nation, came to see us, and informed that he came down with several Indians from a hunting expedition up the river, to hear what we had told the Indians in council. This man wished to hire as an interpreter. The wind rose this evening from the east, and clouded up. Great numbers of Indians pass, hunting, and some on the return.

Captain Clark, 4 November 1804

 

I rose very early and commenced raising the two ranges of huts. The timber large and heavy, all to carry on hand sticks (stout sticks used to carry a log) cottonwood, and elm, some ash, small. Our situation sandy. Great numbers of Indians pass to and from hunting. A camp of Mandans a few miles below us. Caught, within two days, 100 goats, by driving them in a strong pen, directed by a bush fence widening from the pen, &c. The greater part of this day cloudy, wind moderate from the N.W. I have the rheumatism very bad. Captain Lewis writing all day. We are told by our interpreter that four Assiniboine Indians have arrived at the camp of the Gros Ventres, and fifty lodges are coming.

Captain Clark, 5 November 1804

 

Last night late we were awakened by the sergeant of the guard to see a northern light, which was light, but not red,and appeared to darken and sometimes nearly obscured, and open. Divided about 20 degrees above horizon-various shapes-considerable space. Many times appeared in light streaks, and at other times a great space light, and containing floating columns, which appeared to approach each other and retreat, leaving the lighter space at no time of the same appearance.

This morning I rose at daylight. The clouds to the north appeared black. At eight o'clock the wind began to blow hard from the N.W., and cold; and continued all day. Mr. Joe Gravelines, our Arikara interpreter, Paul Primaut, La Jeunesse, and two French boys who came with us, set out in a small pirogue, on their return to the Arikara nation and the Illinois. Mr. Gravelines has instructions to take on the Arikaras in the spring, &c. Continue to build the huts out of cotton [wood] timber, this being the only timber we have.

Captain Clark, 6 November 1804, Fort Mandan

 

A cloudy morning. Jussome, our Mandan interpreter, went to the village. On his return he informed us that three Englishmen had arrived from the Hudson's Bay Company, and would be here tomorrow. We continued to build our huts. Many Indians come to see us, and bring their horses to graze near us.

Captain Clark, 8 November 1804

 

A very hard frost this morning. We continue to build our cabins under many disadvantages. Day cloudy. Wind from the N.W. Several Indians pass with flying news [reports]. We got a white weasel-tail excepted, which was black at the end-of an Indian. Captain Lewis walked to the hill about 3/4 of a mile. We are situated in a point of the Missouri, north side, in a cottonwood timber. This timber is tall and heavy, containing an immense quantity of water; brittle and soft. Fine food for horses to winter, as is said by the Indians. The Mandans graze their horses in the day on grass, and at night, give them a stick [an armful] of cottonwood boughs to eat. Horses, dogs, and people all pass the night in the same lodge, or round house, covered with earth, with a fire in the middle. Great number of wild geese passed to the south. Flew very high.

Captain Clark, 9 November 1804

 

Rose early. Continued to build our fort. Numbers of Indians came to see us. A chief, half Pawnee, came and brought a side of buffalo. In return, we gave some few small things to himself and wife and son. He crossed the river in the buffalo-skin canoe, and the squaw took the boat on her back, and proceeded on to the town-3 miles. The day raw and cold. Wind from the N.W. The geese continue to pass in gangs, as also brants, to the south. Some ducks also pass.

Captain Clark, 10 November 1804

 

A cold day. Continued to work at the Fort. Two men cut themselves with an ax. The large ducks pass to the south. An Indian gave me several rolls of parched meat. Two squaws of the Rock Mountains, purchased from the Indians by a Frenchman-Charbonneau-came down. (Charbonneau had bought the captive girls to marry him, one of them very possibly was Sacagawea) The Mandans out hunting the buffalo.

Captain Clark, 11 November 1804, Fort Mandan

 

A very cold night. Early this morning, The Big White, principal chief of the lower village of the Mandans, came down. He packed about 100 pounds of fine meat on his squaw for us. We made some small presents to the squaw and child, gave a small ax with which she was much pleased. Three men sick with the [blank in MS.]. Several. Wind changeable. Very cold evening. Freezing all day. Some ice on the edges of the river.

Swans passing to the south. The hunters we sent down the river to hunt have not returned.

The Mandans speak a language peculiar to themselves, very much [blank in MS.]. They can raise about 350 men; the Wetersoons or Mahas, 80; and the Big Bellies, or Minnetarees, about 600 or 650 men. The Mandans and Sioux have the same word for water. The Big Bellies or Minnetarees and Raven [Wetersoon, as also the Crow or Raven]. Indians speak nearly the same language, and the presumption is they were originally the same nation. The Raven Indians have 400 lodges and about 1,200 men, and follow the buffalo, or hunt for their subsistence in the plains, and on the Côte Noire and Rocky Mountains, and are at war with the Sioux and Snake Indians.

The Big Bellies and Wetersoons are at war with the Snake Indians and Sioux, and were at war with the Arikaras until we made peace a few days past. The Mandans are at war with all who make war [on them-at present with the Sioux] only, and wish to be at peace with all nations. Seldom the aggressors.

Captain Clark, 13 November 1804, Fort Mandan

 

A cloudy morning. Ice running very thick. River rose 1/2 inch last night. Some snow falling. Only two Indians visited us today, eluding a ceremony of adoption, and interchange of property, between the Assiniboines, Crees, and the nations of this neighborhood. We sent one man by land on horseback to know the reason of the delay of our hunters. This evening, 2 Frenchmen who were trapping below came up with 20 beaver. We are compelled to use our pork, which we do sparingly, for fear of some failure in procuring a sufficiency from the woods.

Captain Clark, 14 November 1804, Fort Mandan

 

A cloudy morning. The ice runs much thicker than yesterday. At 10 o'clock, George Drouilliard and the Frenchman we dispatched yesterday came up from the hunters who are encamped about 30 miles below. After about one hour, we dispatched a man, with orders to the hunters to proceed on without delay through the floating ice. We sent by the man, tin, to put on the parts of the pirogue exposed to the ice, and a tow rope. The wind changeable. All hands work at their huts until 1 o'clock at night. Swans passing to the south- but few waterfowls to be seen. Not one Indian came to our fort today.

Captain Clark, 15 November 1804

 

A very white frost; all the trees all covered with ice. Cloudy. All the men move into the huts, which are not finished. Several Indians came to camp today. The Assiniboines are at the Big Belly camp. Some trouble likely to take place between them, from the loss of horses, &c., as is said by an old Indian who visited us, with four buffalo robes and corn to trade for a pistol, which we did not let him have. Men employed until late in daubing their huts. Some horses sent down to stay in the woods near the fort, to prevent the Assiniboines stealing them.

Captain Clark, 16 November 1804

 

Captain Lewis and myself move into our hut. A very hard wind from the W. All the after part of the day, a temperate day. Several Indians came down to eat fresh meat. Three chiefs from the second Mandan village stayed all day. They are very curious in examining our works.

Captain Clark, 20 November 1804

 

A fine day. Dispatched a pirogue, and collected stone for our chimneys. Some wind from the S.W. Arranged our different articles. Many Indians visited us today. George Drouilliard hurt his hand very bad. All the party in high spirits. The river clear of ice, and rising a little.

Captain Clark, 21 November 1804

 

A fine morning. Dispatched a pirogue and 5 men under the direction of Sergeant Pryor, to the second village, for 100 bushels of corn in ears, which Mr. Jussome let us have. [Did not get more than 30 bushels.! I was alarmed about 10 o'clock by the sentinel, who informed that an Indian was about to kill his wife, in the interpreter's fire about 60 yards below the works. I went down and spoke to the fellow about the rash act he was likely to commit, and forbade any act of the kind near the Fort.

Some misunderstanding took place between this man and his wife, about 8 days ago, and she came to this place, and continued with the squaws of the interpreters. [He might lawfully have killed her for running away.] Two days ago, she returned to the village. In the evening of the same day, she came to the interpreter's fire, apparently much beaten and stabbed in 3 places. We directed that no man of this party have any intercourse with this woman under the penalty of punishment. He, the husband, observed that one of our sergeants slept with his wife, and if he wanted her he would give her to him.

We directed the sergeant (Ordway) to give the man some articles, at which time I told the Indian that I believed not one man of the party had touched his wife except the one he had given the use of her for a night, in his own bed; no man of the party should touch his squaw, or the wife of any Indian, nor did I believe they touched a woman if they knew her to be the wife of another man, and advised him to take his squaw home and live happily together in future. At this time the grand chief of the nation arrived, and lectured him, and they both went off, apparently dissatisfied.

Captain Clark, 22 November 1804

 

Capt. Lewis and 2 interpreters and 6 men set out to see the Indians in the different towns and camps in this neighborhood. We continue to cover and daub our huts.

Captain Clark, 25 November 1804

 

A cloudy morning after a very cold night. The river crowded with floating ice. Captain Lewis returned from the villages with two chiefs, Marnohtoh and Mannessurree, and a considerable man with the party who accompanied him. The Minnetarees, or Big Bellies, were alarmed at the tales told them by the Mandans, viz., that we intended to join the Sioux to cut them off in the course of the winter. Many circumstances combined to give force to those reports, i.e., the movements of the interpreters and their families to the Fort, the strength of our work, &c. All those reports were contradicted by Captain Lewis with a conviction on the minds of the Indians of the falsity of those reports.

The Indians in all the towns and camps treated Captain Lewis and the party with great respect, except one of the principal chiefs, Marparpaparrapasatoo, or Horned Weasel, who did not choose to be seen by the Captain, and left word that he was not at home, &c. Seven traders arrived from the fort on the Assiniboine from the N.W. Company, one of which, LaFrance, took upon himself to speak unfavorably of our intentions, &c. The principal, Mr. Larocque, and Mr. McKenzie 10 were informed of the conduct of their interpreter and the consequences, if they did not put a step to unfavorable and ill-founded assertions, &c.

Captain Clark, 27 November 1804

 

A cold morning. Wind from the N.W. River full of floating ice. Began to snow at 7 o'clock, A.M., and continued all day. At eight o'clock, the Posscossohe, Black Cat, grand chief of the Mandans, came to see us. After showing these chiefs many things which were curiosities to them, and giving a few presents of curious handkerchiefs, arm bands, and paint, with a twist of tobacco, they departed at 1 o'clock much pleased. At parting we had some little talk on the subject of the British trader, Mr. Larocque giving medals and flags, and told those chiefs to impress it on the minds of their nations that those symbols were not to be received by any from them, without they wished to incur the pleasure of their Great American Father. A very disagreeable day. No work done today. River fell 1 inch today.

Captain Clark, 28 November 1804


 

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