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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

October 17, 1805


October 17th Thursday [over Tuesday] 1805 Forks of Columbia

Took altitude with Sextant as follows

Observed time and distance of Son and moon nearest Limbs the Sun East (at the Point)

Magnetick azmoth. Time and distance of the Sun &c.

Took Equal altitudes

altitude produced is 35° 9 30

This morning after the Luner observations, the old chief came down, and Several men with dogs to Sell & womin with fish &c.    the Dogs were purchased the fish not good.

I took 2 men and Set out in a Small Canoe with a view to go as high up the Columbia river as the 1st forks which the Indians made Signs was but a Short distance, I set out at 2 oClock    firs course was N. 83° W 6 miles to the lower point of a Island on the Lard. Side, passed an Island in the middle of the river at 5 miles, at the head of which is a rapid not bad    at this rapid 3 Lodges of mats on the Lard emenc quantites of dried fish, then West 4 miles to the Lower point of an Island on the Stard. Side, 2 lodges of Indians large and built of mats—    passed 3 verry large mat lodges at 2 mile on the Stard Side large Scaffols of fish drying at every lodge, and piles of Salmon lying.    the Squars engaged prepareing them for the Scaffol—    a Squar gave me a dried Salmon    from those lodes on the Island an Indian Showed me the mouth of the river which falls in below a high hill on the Lard. N. 80° W. 8 miles from the Island. [1] The river bending 〈Star〉 Lard.—    This river is remarkably Clear and Crouded with Salmon in maney places, I observe in assending great numbers of Salmon dead on the Shores, floating on the water and in the Bottoms which can be seen at the debth of 20 feet.    the Cause of the emence numbers of dead Salmon I can't account for [2]    So it is I must have seen 3 or 400 dead and maney living    the Indians, I believe make us[e] of the [illegible, crossed out] fish which is not long dead as, I Struck one nearly dead and left him floating, Some Indians in a canoe behind took the fish on board his canoe

The bottoms on the 〈West〉 South Side as high as the Tarcouche tesse [3] is from 1 to 2 miles wide, back of the bottoms rises to hilly countrey, the Plain is low on the North & Easte for a great distance    no wood to be Seen in any direction.

The Tarcouche tesse bears South of West, the Columbia N W above range of hills on the West    Parrelel a range of mountains to the East which appears to run nearly North & South distance not more than 50 miles— [4]    I returned to the point at Dusk followed by three canoes of Indians 20 in number—    I killed a Fowl of the Pheasent kind as large as a 〈Small〉 turkey. [5] The length from his Beeck to the end of its tail 2 feet 6¾ Inches, from the extremity of its wings across 3 feet 6 Inches.    the tail feathers 13 Inches long, feeds on grass hoppers, and the Seed of wild Isoop [6]

Those Indians are orderly, badly dressed in the Same fashions of those above except the women who wore Short Shirts and a flap over them    22 Fishing houses of Mats robes of Deer, Goat & Beaver.


October 17th Thursday 1805 [7]

A fair morning    made the above observations during which time the principal Chief came down with Several of his principal men and Smoked with us. Several men and woman offered Dogs and fish to Sell, we purchased all the dogs we could, the fish being out of Season and dieing in great numbers in the river, we did not think prper to use them, Send out Hunters to Shute the Prarie Cock a large fowl which I have only Seen on this river; Several of which I have killed, they are the Size of a Small turkey, of the pheasant kind, one I killed on the water edge to day measured from the Beek to the end of the toe 2 feet 6 & ¾ Inches; from the extremities of its wings 3 feet 6 inches; the tale feathers is 13 inches long: they feed on grasshoppers and the Seed of the wild plant which is also peculiar to this river and the upper parts of the Missoury somewhat resembling the whins—. [8] Capt. Lewis took a vocabelary of the Language of those people who call themselves So kulk, and also one of the language of a nation resideing on a Westerly fork of the Columbia which mouthes a fiew miles above this place who Call themselves Chim nâ pum    Some fiew of this nation reside with the So kulks nation, Their language differ but little from either the Sokulks or the Chô-pun-nish (or pierced nose) nation which inhabit the Koskoskia river and Lewis's R [9] below.

I took two men in a Small Canoe and assended the Columbia river 10 miles to an Island near the Stard. Shore on which two large Mat Lodges of Indians were drying Salmon, (as they informed me by Signs for the purpose of food and fuel, & I do not think at all improbable that those people make use of Dried fish as fuel,[)] The number of dead Salmon on the Shores & floating in the river is incrediable to Say and at this Season they have only to collect the fish Split them open and dry them on their Scaffolds on which they have great numbers, how far they have to raft their timber they make their Scaffolds of I could not lern; but there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction— from this Island the natives showed me the enterance of a large Westerly fork which they Call Tâpetêtt at about 8 miles distant, the evening being late I deturmined to return to the forks, at which place I reached at Dark.    from the point up the Columbia River is N. 83° W. 6 miles to the lower point of an Island near the Lard. Side    passed a Island in the middle of the river at 5 miles at the head of which is a rapid, not dangerous    on the Lard Side opposite to this rapid is a fishing place 3 Mat Lodges, and great quants. of Salmon on Scaffolds drying. Saw great numbers of Dead Salmon on the Shores and floating in the water, great numbers of Indians on the banks viewing me and 18 canoes accompanied me from the point—    The Waters of this river is Clear, and a Salmon may be Seen at the deabth of 15 or 20 feet. West 4 miles to the lower point of a large island near the Stard. Side at 2 Lodges, passed three large lodges [10] on the Stard Side near which great number of Salmon was drying on Scaffolds    one of those Mat lodges I entered found it crouded with men women and children and near the enterance of those houses I saw maney Squars engaged Splitting and drying Salmon. I was furnished with a mat to Sit on, and one man Set about prepareing me Something to eate, first he brought in a piece of a Drift log of pine and with a wedge of the elks horn, and a malet of Stone curioesly Carved he Split the log into Small pieces and lay'd it open on the fire on which he put round Stones, a woman handed him a basket of water and a large Salmon about half Dried, when the Stones were hot he put them into the basket of water with the fish which was Soon Suficently boiled for use.    it was then taken out put on a platter of rushes neetly made, and Set before me    they boiled a Salmon for each of the men with me, dureing those preperations, I Smoked with those about me who Chose to Smoke which was but fiew, this being a custom those people are but little accustomed to and only Smok thro form.    after eateing the boiled fish which was delicious, I Set out & halted or came too on the Island at the two Lodges. Several fish was given to me, in return for Which I gave Small pieces of ribbond from those Lodges the natives Showed me the mouth of Tap teel River about 8 miles above on the west Side    this western fork appears to beare nearly West, The main Columbia river N W.—    a range of high land to the S W and parralal to the river and at the distance of 2 miles on the Lard. Side, the countrey low on the Stard. Side, and all Coverd. with a weed or plant about 2 & three feet high and resembles the whins. I can proceive a range of mountains to the East which appears to bare N. & South distant about 50 or 60 miles.    no wood to be Seen in any derection—    On my return I was followd. by 3 canoes in which there was 20 Indians    I shot a large Prairie Cock Several Grouse, Ducks and fish.    on my return found Great Numbr. of the nativs with Capt Lewis, men all employd in dressing ther Skins mending their clothes and putting ther arms in the best order the latter being always a matter of attention with us. The Dress of those natives differ but little from those on the Koskoskia and Lewis's [11] rivers, except the women who dress verry different in as much as those above ware long leather Shirts which highly ornimented with beeds Sheels &c. &c. and those on the main Columbia river only ware a truss or pece of leather tied around them at their hips and drawn tite between ther legs and fastened before So as barly to hide those parts which are So Sacredly hid & Scured by our women. Those women are more inclined to Copulency than any we have yet Seen, with low Stature broad faces, heads flatened 〈the eyes back〉 and the forward compressed so as to form a Streight line from the nose to the Crown of the head, [12] their eyes are of a Duskey black, their hair of a corse black without orniments of any kind braded as above.

The orniments of each Sect are Similar, Such as large blue & white beeds, either pendant from their ears or encircling their necks, or wrists & arms.    They also ware bracelets Of Brass, Copper & horn, and trinkets of Shells, fish bones and curious feathers. Their 〈Dress are as follows viz〉 garments Conists of a short Shirt of leather and a roabe of the Skins of Deer or the Antilope but fiew of them ware Shirts all have Short robes. Those people appears to live in a State of comparitive happiness: they take a greater Share labor of the woman, than in common among Savage tribes, and as I am informd. Content with one wife (as also those on the Ki moo e nim river)    Those people respect the aged with veneration, I observed an old woman in one of the Lodges which I entered    She was entirely blind as I was informed by Signs, had lived more than 100 winters, She occupied the best position in the house, and when She Spoke great attention was paid to what She Said—. Those people as also those of the flat heads which we had passed on the Koskoske and Lewis's [13] rivers are Subject to Sore eyes, and maney are blind of one and Some of both eyes.    this misfortune must be owing to the reflections of the Sun &c. on the waters in which they are continually fishing during the Spring Summer & fall, & the Snows dureing the, winter Seasons, in this open countrey where the eye has no rest. [14] I have observed amongst those, as well in all other tribes which I have passed on these waters who live on fish maney of different Sectes who have lost their teeth 〈quit〉 about middle age, Some have their teeth worn to the gums, perticelar hose of the upper jaws, and the tribes generally have bad teeth    the cause of it I cannot account    sand attachd. to the roots &c the method they have of useing the dri'd Salmon, which is mearly worming it and eating the rine & Scales with the flesh of the fish, no doubt contributes to it [15]

The House or Lodges of the tribes of the main Columbia river is of large mats made of rushes, Those houses are from 15 to 60 feet in length generally of an Oblong Squar form, Suported by poles on forks in the iner Side, Six feet high, the top is covered also with mats leaveing a Seperation in the whole length of about 12 or 15 inches wide, left for the purpose of admitting light and for the Smok of the fire to pass which is made in the middle of the house.— The roughfs are nearly flat, which proves to me that rains are not common in this open Countrey

Those people appeare of a mild disposition and friendly disposed— They have in their huts independant of their nets gigs & fishing tackling each bows & large quivers of arrows on which they use flint Spikes. Theire ammusements are Similar to those of the Missouri.    they are not beggerley and receive what is given them with much joy.

I saw but fiew horses    they appeared make but little use of those animals principally useing Canoes for their uses of procureing food &c.

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Summary | 1 Annotation
Those people appears to live in a State of comparitive happiness: they take a greater Share labor of the woman, than in common among Savage tribes, and as I am informd. Content with one wife (as also those on the Ki moo e nim river)    Those people respect the aged with veneration, I observed an old woman in one of the Lodges which I entered    She was entirely blind as I was informed by Signs, had lived more than 100 winters, She occupied the best position in the house, and when She Spoke great attention was paid to what She Said
2020/08/09 17:29